“’N-O-Y-B,’” I said,
laying down the phone. “‘None of your business.’”
yeah?” Marco smirked. He was doing a cut
when the text came through. “Everything’s my business!”
The client cringed.
Marco was always pulling hair.
Not everything, I thought. Everybody’s. “Section
Eight,” he said, after one
lady left. Eighty bucks for a color but she got free rent.
Twenty years I’d
worked in his shop. It was OK, with clients of all ages, some real old. Vintage
perms, they wanted. The solution burned my nose and eyes.
worth like five mill,” Marco said, as a
nonagenarian was shuffling out the door. Like she was deaf. The guy with her,
maybe her son, gave Marco a dirty look.
As the door shut behind
them, Marco said, “Bet he can’t wait to collect.”
“Oh, shut up,” I
Owner or not, he
still wore his curly hair as long as when he sang in a Zeppelin cover band. He
was still starved for attention.
“È pazzo!" he said, about some clients. Crazy or not,
one guy took back his
“Cheap fuck,” Marco
said, in English.
“You,” I said, “talk
He did mostly cuts,
left the shit-work to me: frostings, two-tones, those dreaded old-lady perms.
But when Himself was swamped, I also did simple colors.
“Gina, please . . .”
Last week, a regular squeezed my arm till it hurt. “Redo my color! Saturday . .
. he missed . . . the whole side of my head!”
“Wow,” I said.
Saturday he’d been too
busy trashing the client before. Theresa, this married chick he was hot to fuck.
“She could’ve had me,”
Marco said, “Anybody but her would’ve dumped him by now. That . . .” He looked
around the shop before saying, “finocchio.” His wrist went limp. “Can
you believe it, Eddie Mangione takes it up . . .?”
Silence, all over
the shop. Nancy, the pink-haired shampoo girl, just stared.
Eddie Mangione was
once famous, in our town. Owned restaurants that went broke. A bar that got
busted for serving minors. People said he’d hit rock bottom. And, lately, we
heard he was sick.
Marco had never met
him, but trashed him, anyway. Once, years back, he’d seen Mangione’s picture in
the paper. Chubby-cheeked, with blond hair longer than Marco’s.
“Meat Loaf!” Marco had
“Someday,” I told him,
that day I redid the lady’s color. “The wrong person will hear you.” My hand shook
so, I squirted dye everywhere but on her head.
“Sorry!” I told her.
yelled. “Blue-black’s expensive.”
Big inkblots I had
to clean up, mostly on the lady. “It’s OK, Gina!” she told me.
What was up with me?
That shit I’d said, about the wrong person hearing him, had come out of
Later, like 3:30, not
long before closing, I saw Nancy pack up to leave.
“Where you going?” I
said, and she jumped.
“Um . . .” She slid
her phone in her purse. “My son . . .”
Son? She looked like a sixth grader.
“There’s one more
cut,” I said.
“He . . .” It was
like lightning had struck her face. “He shouldn’t have said that.”
But I knew.
N-O-Y-B, I thought.
“I’ll wash his hair,”
The guy had called earlier,
with a mouthful of marbles. Like Don Corleone from The Godfather, he
sounded. “Last-minute gig,” and “haircut” were muffled. The clearest words were
Only Marco could cut
“What’s his name?”
Marco asked me.
As Nancy rushed out,
the guy walked in, as if neither saw the other. Strange, especially ‘cos of her
shocking-pink hair, and how he looked like Death took a holiday.
He was so thin, his
bones nearly creaked. Face was familiar, but at the same time, not. Like it
would’ve been, but something was different now. Hair real long, like an aging
rock star’s, some blond, mostly gray. Something big bulged in the black leather
He walked right up
“Sit down, bro.”
Marco pulled out his chair.
“My niece said, you
said I take it up the ass.”
Marco froze. For the first time, he was
shut up good. His face worked, like he was struggling with something.
Nancy, I thought, my heart racing.
That meant her uncle
was . . .
“Only way you would know that,” Eddie
Mangione said, “was, it was your dick in there.”
“Huh?” Marco looked nervous.
I started edging backwards, toward the
“If my Theresa thinks . . .” Mangione
reached in his jacket. “Your dick was in me,” he said, “I’m blasting yours
“Please,” Marco begged. That fast, he was
crying. “I’ll shut up.”
Should’ve done that way back, I
thought, getting closer to the door.
On my way out, Mangione started
“Help!” I yelled, but couldn’t hear myself.
The shop shook with the impact of giant bullets. I ran. A cop car passed, and I
It was horrific.
What a mess that huge
gun made: mirrors shattered, bottles of perm solution, color exploded. Like a
bizarre mural, blood, guts, and cellophane colors streaked the walls.
On the floor lay
Marco, his bottom half drenched in blood. His top half close by . . . that
mouth shut up for good.
Mangione turned the
gun on himself, but the cop I’d flagged yanked it away.
pleading Man 1 but got twenty-five to life. I mean, he’d brought that monster
gun with him. His face alone could scare you to death.
Bet he gets out,
though. They say that wife, Theresa, sticks by him.
Some say Marco was killed in a lovers’
quarrel. Others say, “Shit, he and Mangione were made for each other.”
I say, “N-O-Y-B.”
Cindy is a Jersey girl who
looks like a Mob Wife and talks like Anybodys from West Side Story. Her
noir/horror/bizarro stories have been published in the coolest places, such as Shotgun
Honey; Megazine; Dark Dossier; Horror, Sleaze, Trash;
and Rock and a Hard Place. She is the editor/art director of Yellow
Mama and the art director of Black Petals. Her seventh collection of
short stories, Backwards: Growing Up Catholic, and Weird, in the 60s (Hekate
Publishing), is out, now! Cindy is a Gemini, a Christian, and an animal rights
Sophia Wiseman-Rose is
a Paramedic and an Episcopalian nun. Both careers have provided a great deal of exposure
to the extremes in life and have provided great inspiration for her.
She is currently spending time with
her four lovely grown children and making plans to move back to her home in the UK in the
Sophia had a few poems in the last edition of Black Petals Horror/Science Fiction Magazine.