Apparently the child’s hair was very long and unruly. Marlene mentally rubbed her hands with delight. Cutting was her forte and she so seldom got the chance these days to do a new cut.
Day after day she trimmed and permed and rinsed and listened to the endless moanings of old women. Today she would have a proper head of young, healthy hair to cut and – who knows? – maybe she would tell her friends and Marlene would get a whole new young clientele.
She had looked forward to this appointment all day and now it looked as if they weren’t coming. She checked her watch again. Twenty minutes late. She decided that she would make herself a cup of tea and if they still hadn’t arrived by the time she’d drunk it, she’d give it up as a bad job.
She went into the little kitchen and put the kettle on. As she reached for a cup, she heard the soft ting of the door and muffled scuffling sounds. She turned back into the salon just as a woman with a beautiful head of dark chestnut hair came through the door, dragging a young girl by the wrist. The girl was struggling and making small whimpering noises.
“Come on, Amanda,” her mother said. “She won’t bite you.”
“I don’t want to,” the girl moaned. “It won’t like it. It doesn’t want to be cut.” Marlene stood still, watching in amazement. The mother had beautiful hair but that of the child was magnificent – long, thick, golden locks – so long they hung well below her waist, and so thick that they swept out around her like a glittering cloud as the child struggled to get away.
Marlene itched to get her hands on that hair. Oh, this was worth waiting for. She went forward to meet them and the child quietened down as she approached. “Mrs Midwinter?” Marlene said, stretching out her hand in greeting.
The woman shook her head and kept a tight hold on the girl. “I can’t let go of her,” she said. “Where do I put her?” She looked round the salon distractedly. Marlene took hold of the girl’s other hand and led the pair of them to one of several chairs facing a row of mirrors.
“Here,” she said but the girl pressed her lips together and refused to move. Marlene looked helplessly at the mother.
“Come on, Amanda,” the woman said. “Don’t be difficult. You know you can’t start big school with all that hair. It looks awful.”
Marlene privately thought the woman was jealous of her daughter, whose hair was even more beautiful than her own. So beautiful it seemed a shame to cut it. “Wait!” Marlene put her hand out. “Are you sure you want me to cut it? It’s so beautiful. Can’t you plait it or put it in a ponytail? It seems a shame. . .”
She tailed off as the woman glared at her venomously. “I’ve tried that,” she said between clenched teeth. “I’ve tried everything. It won’t let me.” Then with a note of pleading. “Please, please will you cut it off?” She pulled back in alarm as a stray lock of her daughter’s hair fell forward across her arm and for a moment it looked as if it were gripping onto her.
Marlene suddenly realized she’d got it wrong. The woman wasn’t jealous of the hair. She was afraid of it. “OK,” she said. “Let’s get her in the chair.”
The child fought like a demon, the wild hair whipping round her head as she struggled against them, but at last they got her in the chair and Marlene, still holding onto the girl with one hand, reached out and took her scissors from the shelf.
The child screamed as Marlene grabbed a substantial lock of the hair. Under her hand, the hair writhed. Marlene was so surprised she almost dropped the scissors. But she was made of sterner stuff. “Right,” she said, grasping the hair more firmly in her left hand and cutting across with her right.
In her need to restrain the thick lock of hair, she cut blindly, slashing as quickly as she could. The heavy lock fell to the floor, leaving the short hair twitching in the breeze of its passage.
The woman gasped, the child wailed...
Somehow this short story seemed to be perfect for New Year's Eve. But I wondered how Jenny Twist, a multi-genre novelist, which includes fantasy and scifi, chose to write the book. I was happy to have her include the reason: she had been asked to contribute to an anthology about an inanimate object, and even got the suggestion! I was intrigued even more so I included how the story came about. Note that current events in our countries was the impetus...
For me, it was much more simple. I had received a notice of FB connection and realized that I'd never read this author... so I went out looking. You can assume you are correct why I chose this short story... LOLEarlier this year my friend, Mary Patterson Thornburg, herself a damned good writer, asked me whether I would be prepared to submit a story to an anthology, the theme of which was inanimate objects taking on a life of their own. Nothing immediately suggested itself to me and Mary said, well how about the president’s hairpiece? I was inspired. I have become more and more concerned with the world political system in the last couple of years and the rise of right-wing governments. There has always been a surplus of dictatorships in the world but it seems to me that it is getting out of hand. In my own homeland, Britain, we have a right-wing government apparently determined to grind the people into poverty. Like many of my stories this one is an act of petty revenge. I hope you enjoyed it.
I was pleasantly surprised how the story began. A young girl and her mother were seeking a haircut prior to starting school. Both knew, as the story tells us, that the hair didn't want to be cut. Yes, that's right. Little Amanda's hair had become alive...
And the reason was quite simple... A bully at school had pulled that beautiful hair and, to protect itself, the hair took control... It's kinda funny when you think of it. Imagine whenever a bully hurt someone else, that part of the body would take over and take revenge... Could stop bullying cold in its tracks...
Marlene, the hairdresser, was in a neighborhood where many of her customers were older women who all looked alike, from the point of view of their hair. So Marlene was thrilled to have a new client with such long, lovely hair... Little did she know when she tried to take a curl into her hands to cut!
Actually, it took both Marlene and Amanda's mother to finally cut off that hair. But the cut was so bad, because of the hair fighting back, well it was a mess. But at least the remaining hair didn't fight and Marlene started over to make that mess into a beautiful new short hair cut that all of them loved. Amanda and her mother left in joyful thanks!
But Marlene turned around and looked at that hair on the floor. First she swept it out of the way so it touched nothing... But that hair was so beautiful...Did she dare? She put it away in a box to see if anything happened...and nothing did. So after some time, she contacted a friend to see if he wanted to buy the hair for a wig...
And the wig-maker took one look and immediately knew who could use a new wig...
Remember, the ending is surprising, while I must add--The Hair Did It! Even inanimate objects become, when worn, what the individual is... Shocking...and Fake News. But a quite engaging story to ponder as a fantasy, don't you think? Readers can't help but find it humorous... And certainly find a bit of satire... Especially for readers who have the same concerns as the author. Do check it out!
Jenny Twist left school at fifteen and went to work in an asbestos factory. After working in various jobs, including bacon-packer and escapologist's assistant (she was The Lovely Tanya), she returned to full-time education and did a BA in history at Manchester and post-graduate studies at Oxford.
In 2001 she retired and moved to Spain where she lives with her husband, Vic, and their rather eccentric dogs and cat. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, knitting and attempting to do fiendishly difficult logic puzzles.
In July 2018 she was awarded the coveted TOP FEMALE AUTHOR award in Fantasy/Horror/Paranormal/Science Fiction by The Authors Show
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