Sunday, April 28, 2013
Monday, April 15, 2013
Phil the barber was just that, Phil the barber. He always steamed his barber’s jacket first thing in the morning, organizing his sheet clips, scissors, placing the fabric softening neck tethers neatly behind the seat and next to his blue jar of heirloom combs. Next, he would make sure the electric razors were cleaned and plugged in, refilling the tissues, and checking to make sure the head massager still worked- it had been on the fritz for the last 30 years. Then he would sweep, clean the windows, turn on the pole outside and make the coffee. There he was, ready to put on his jacket. Sitting in his chair, waiting for his first customer. Reading the paper, smoking a cigarette, his razor humming mind loved the mixing of the coffee and smoke. The dry sweet steam smoke mixed with the iridescent buzzy smell of the blue comb disinfectant, leaving a professional home. After the first cup of coffee, Phil would fill his thermos with a bit of coffee, and pull from below the cabinet the bottle of blue disinfectant. Uncrewing the top, he would hum to himself, a monotone hum in harmony with the spinning pole and the electric razors that would soon fill the shop. Taking a swig from the disinfectant, he would then slow pour it into the thermos, enough coffee to mask the color. It was a pungent liquer- helping to make his parts straight and his tapered edges clean. Larry always stopped in to talk sports and politics on his way to open the pharmacy next door.
Nick was the only picture taker in the neighborhood who still had a dark room. A picture’s got to be nurtured under the baths to really take shape after all. Coming out of the walk in closet dark room, his back aching, his shoulder hunched, his nose scalded from the chemicals, his apron hanging off him like a Halloween ghoul.
The morning coffee evaporates into the mist of the trail. Walking up to the bend, Ben and Wyatt stop and look at the overhanging branches obscuring the path forward. The cliff down to the right is thick with bramble. The slope up to the left rises sharply; small weeds and loose rocks jut out inviting them to climb aboard like toothless carnival workers beckoning them onto the loose pin coaster. Hummingbirds buzz through the canopy leaves, searching for the source of the sweet smell just through the path covering branches. They swoop and dive, cutting through the branches like arrows threading needles. Wyatt sniffs the air; his tail twitches at the hummingbird swarm. Their wings create a surging greenhouse above. The buzz covers them, thickening the air, choking out any sign of the sky through the hive. Wyatt turns in circles, looking back down the path from which they’d come, his nose to the ground.