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Missed the Cliterary Open Mic? Check out the highlights here
March 29 2013
Sex & Low Beach
by Suze Myers
In the camper registration line, Bax runs back to some of us wild smiling and says, “Free fucking haircuts!”
“Oh, how wonderful,” Oni preens, touching his hair like he’s in a Pantene commercial. “It’s been weeks and I’ve been craving a neck trim.”
An emphatic Ugh from all us boys. We’re not really into Oni’s brand of prissy pretentious coquetry anymore. He’s been doing it since forever but now that we’re older it reminds us of our mothers and we don’t want to be anything like our mothers.
“Number one: faggot,” Bax says. “Number two: it’s a full shave.”
“Military style,” Winston adds.
“Mandatory, too,” Mr. confirms from farther behind in line. “They say it builds character.” He rubs his already shaved head and grins. “And who wouldn’t want to look like me?”
Oni, eyes wide, pauses, runs his fingers through his hair making incomprehensible sounds. He takes a deep breath.
“No,” he says. “This isn't a thing. Things aren't this.”
“Well believe it or not, there’s a pile’uh hair taller’an ten dicks in the next room,” Bax says.
“Your metaphors,” Winston glares.
Oni looks like he might hyperventilate.
“So we absolutely have to?”
“Yes,” Mr. says.
“Like but are we at summer camp or concentration camp? That’s what I’m wondering.”
Winston Ums loudly. Bax laughs from his throat.
PhD rouses, “Oni, no. We are definitely not in a concentration camp.”
We wait in line until the last of the troop ahead of us moves on from the next room. The pile of hair is indeed taller than 10 dicks. The boys coming out of the chair all look selfsame: white shaved lambs ready for combat or camping or both.
“I do not see the need, is all that I am saying.”
“It’s just that you can’t take my hair away from me it makes me beautiful and it means a lot to me and because and what about human rights and my body and.”
“If you break that down he’s not exactly wrong but my ability to care is hamstrung by the fact that Oni is Oni,” Winston says to Bax.
“Oni,” Mr. says, using the voice adult white men use to indicate that they believe they have hold of the power in a situation.
“Sass!” Winston mutters.
He is next in line.
“No no no no no no no no no no no no no I conscientiously object to the removal of my follicles no no no no no no no no no no no no no no.”
“Wussfaggot,” Bax says, and spits on the hardwood.
All eyes on Oni and he is intractable. We watch as Mr. picks up his body while he struggles flailing and it is both horrible to look at and incredibly funny because really.
“MISTER MISTER MISTER NO.”
Finally, Mr. pins him down with both hands locked on Oni’s thighs. Oni pushes against arms that are much stronger than his and shakes his head back and forth up and down, hoping Mr. will surrender and save him from this.
“Um, what do you want me to do?” the barber asks Mr.
Oni is crying now and it’s still kind of funny but it’s also like not that funny because of he’s really upset and they’re doing it to him, they are the willful upsetters, and we’ve literally been at camp for something like less than a half-hour, and if this can happen to Oni, could something else totally circumstantially different but like essentially the same happen to us? Could we be ripped open like this? Is there something in us we don’t know about ourselves that could gash us up too?
“Mr., respectfully, let Oni keep his hair,” Winston says.
“Really,” Bax adds. “He’ll whine the whole week if we buzz’im.”
“It’s camp policy,” Mr. says in a voice that now indicates that he has instantaneously lost all former power over said situation. He strains his brow and looks up as if all reason were cornered in the ceiling joist. His eyes fall to the mustachioed stand-in barber who is holding his blade humming and cocked ready in the air, poised but looking wholly disarmed, a person in an entirely different kind of story who is presently coming into the vague apprehension that he is ill-equipped to actively interpolate this kind of a scene.
“Uh,” he says, “You’re right, sir, it is camp policy.”
And then Oni starts to moan and quiver and spit everywhere because he doesn’t deserve this, he thinks. We think that that’s what he thinks. He is a boy who usually gets his way and now he is throwing a temper tantrum because something he doesn’t want to happen to him is about to happen to him.
Pretentious preening coquetry.
“I’m going in,” the barber stranger says.
“No no no no no no no NO NO NO.”
We hear Oni cry out again but it’s a different kind of thing, infinite and injured, and we all of us take a step towards him.
Winston mumbles through dark fits of laughter, “Oh my god the barber literally has blood on his hands this is too much, this is TOO too much.”
“Not cool faggot,” Bax says, lobbing Winston a look.
“Oni, hold on,” Mr. says, putting his hands on Oni’s forehead, “You got a little cut.”
“Geez, I’m sorry,” the barber says. “I should have waited till he calmed down. I just thought…and so weird—”
We wait for Oni to say something. Head down, he gestures two fingers limp-wristed to the barber who in turn approaches the way you might approach a man about to jump off a building not tall enough to kill him. Oni asks, “A mirror, please.”
“Oni…” Mr. says, “It took out a good chunk of your hair.”
The barber jimmies to the table and finds a Compact and brings it over to Oni who claps the mirror open, holds it up and changes the angle gingerly a few times. A slender diagonal line of hair in his left eyebrow has gone missing, and above, a triangular notch has set the part back another inch. Connecting them is an incision thin but deep that could have been wrought by penknife or axe.
In all, new Oni looks strange: askant and a bit threatening, the way he’s always looked to us, but now he’s even more of it.
“Regrettably,” Oni sighs, “I cannot say that I hate it, but I do think I will need stitches.”
“Well, yes,” Mr. says, coming to.
“I think that’s a given, mate,” Winston smiles.
“If they have blue thread I would like the thread to be blue. Preferably royal blue. Indigo as a second choice but very second.”
“That is one faggotass thing to say,” Bax proffers.
The barber steps forward, asking, “Should I…?” but Mr. holds his hand out to stop him.
“No, no, the hair stays. No.”
Note: An incorrect version of this piece appeared in print on Thursday, March 7.
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