I was just meandering through some of my old, old flash fiction this weekend, and happened across this little story. I decided that during this unique time of absenting ourselves from routine cosmetic care, this little gem might lighten the day for a few people.
IT’S THE PRINCIPLE OF THE THING
Albert, the town barber, whistled as he walked the few blocks to his shop, key in hand. But as he rounded the corner, he saw that he had a customer impatiently waiting at the door.
“I thought you’d never get here!” the customer said.
Albert’s eyes grew round.
“Come on,” the customer urged. “Let’s get inside.”
Albert unlocked the door and followed his customer in, returning his keys to his pocket and unfolding a clean cape, while all the time never taking his eyes off his guest.
“Well, don’t just stand there,” the customer said, now in the chair. “Quick! Get me shaved.”
“Oh … I couldn’t! I just couldn’t!” Albert said, as he gently wrapped the cape around the customer. “Why, that’s the most perfect beard I’ve ever seen.”
“Why, it’s thick and velvety, with perfect color. Every barber longs for a customer with a beard like that to care for.”
“Don’t be ridiculous! What’s wrong with you, man?”
“I’ll delight in trimming it for you, but I could never shave it off.”
“But you must! I’m not leaving this chair until you do!”
Albert shook his head.
“Now look here,” the customer shouted. “I’ll pay you double your normal price. But get me shaved now!”
Albert looked genuinely concerned, but continued to shake his head.
“No, it would be a shame to do it” He said. “I’m very sorry if it upsets you, M’am. But I will not shave off your beard.”