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In a flash you materialize into a seat inside a classic barbershop, caped up and ready for a trim. Get it? The hair from that old man’s hat was the clue. It was either going to be a barbershop or a laser hair removal clinic but since I’ve never been to the latter because my hair is removing itself, I went with what I know. Enough about me, let’s get back to you. A short man with grey hair comes up behind you.
“How you want cut?” he asks.
“I’ll take the usual,” you reply.
You used to do this trick when you wanted to impress a date at a restaurant. You’d ask the waiter for “the usual” despite not being a regular, tricking your date into believing you’re hip to a scene and that you live life without menus. It’s a risky movie but you figure a pro barber (unlike a unlicensed waiter) would have a client elaborate on such a request especially when you’ve never actually been to this place before, only the barber starts clipping away without a moment’s hesitation and your signature look that your stylist from the real world calls “The Leftovers” begins to disappear.
Unlike the other stops on your strange trip, you don’t seem to be in any imminent danger here in the barbershop unless this guy starts combing your eyes or something. This gives you a chance to reflect on what you’ve been through so far, hopefully leading to a way out. Here are the facts:
– Every portal has been sealed by a gate emblazoned with a day in December
– Each new stop on the trip doesn’t smell the way you figured it would (the barbershop smells like banana rum instead of your old man’s ties like you figured)
– Your favourite part of the journey so far has been the steamy sex in the longboat you had with a Viking Lord, which we couldn’t divulge in previous posts because it’s way too gross.
You snap out of it and stare into the mirror to see how the barber is doing. You like what he’s done with the sides but are a little unsure about the way he’s clipping your upper wave. Oh well.
The barber wraps up and you’re wondering what to do next because you don’t have any money and last time you didn’t pay a barber the guy made you give a haircut to his dying grandpa using nothing but a butter knife and your lucky shark’s tooth. You realize you haven’t had to poo, pee or puke since this whole thing started so you ask the barber where the washroom is. Instinct is telling you there’s a portal in there and you shudder at the thought of climbing into a toilet for the third time this year. The barber ignores you and says, “You getta me a present?”
“Ha, um, yeah I think I might take a dump, definitely,” you say.
“No no, not poota, mina birthday isa today, you getta me a present?” he replies with the hopeful, pathetic stare of a polecat whose trainer won’t let it have any peanut butter until it performs a simple spin.
“What day is it today?” you ask, hoping to hear anything but December 4 so you won’t have to kill this guy or slice him open or whatever.
“Issa Dicembre four, a quattro, you givea me a kiss,” the barber demands as he puckers his lips that look like dried worms.
The portal! Without thinking about it, you give the barber the kind of smooch you might administer to your child’s teacher after they tell you your kid won “most rad student”. The barber pulls away with his eyes closed in ecstasy. He mumbles something about wine then procures a red lollipop from his wallet. While the wallet is open you notice there aren’t any bills, only a few leaves of romaine lettuce and vow to remember to replicate it once you get back home. You unwrap the sweet, give the barber a wink, lick the pop as lustfully as possible (you’re never going to see the guy again, who cares?) and disappear. You hope your next stop has a bathroom.