welcome to the baldie stories blog.

Maybe you're bald, maybe not, maybe you care, likely not; stories here, some funny, some not.

"Baldie Stories 1" now available for purchase - visit amazon Kindle today! click here; Baldie Stories 1
Stories used for publication of Baldie Stories 1 have been removed from this blog.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


     "What are we doing? Look! We're upcycling! It's proven, sensible, the only thing to do these days. You read? Time Magazine featured this concept - I'm applying it! It's a life-cycle issue: I've completed the analysis, look - what goes in the pipe, what comes out of the pipe! I bet you didn't even know there was a pipe! Green! Shouldn't we be GREEN! Everyone else is GREEN! I want to be green too! Me and the little guy here! Look at him, tell her - go ahead, tell her!"
     "Green, Papa."
     "See, he knows, we'll be LEED certified, right here! BOnk! BOnk!"
     "GGC, ISO, MFA - that's right, it's a work of art! I'm going for my Masters! Right Munchkin?"
     "Right Papa!"
     "Put down the scissors and move away from my son."
     "Your son? Yours? Hmm... looks like my son to me! And this? My hair now! He doesn't need it, I need it - up-cycling! Not just recycling, re-purposing! Think of it! Reclamation! Re-Happy!"
     "Re-Happy! Papa!"
     "That's right little man! Re-Happy! Your hair on my head! A little glue - recycled glue! Yes, yes, yes!"
     "You're impossible."
     "Tell it to the planet!"

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

     Baldie Stories now has a sibling short-story blog named, 'that monster there...' and could be found at; thatmonsterthere.blogspot.com      Please come, read: thrill and chill at that monster there... and share, share, share!
As noted in "Knucklehead Convergence" - noir meets metaphysical porn; if doesn't glue Roberto to the world, nothing will!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Therapy in December

This story will be available in "Baldie Stories 1", through Kindle.

Friday, December 3, 2010


     “Poppa di—di-ill-gun Buzzzz! ina woot wit Mason!”
     “Yes, but you have the sixteenth bit there, it’s too small. The nails will get stuck.”
     “Big Big one! Dis one dill bits!”
     “Yes, that one – here, like this, with… careful, sharp.”
     “No Ouch! Macy Zupp-Zupp – ina woot for BIG scup-cha!”
     “Eighth is good, the nails will fit, here – drill here, and here and careful!”
     “Big Big Big! High ina sky scup-cha onna wall Macy N Poppa makeit!”
     “And Momma, Momma too. Listen, she makes the big decisions; we fabricate.”
     “Cate! Good Cate! Naiel-it!”
     “here, we put the nails in from behind, take the hammer…”
     “Hamma! Mamma Hamma Mamma….!”
     “Quiet about the hammer – don’t….”
     “What hammer? You aren’t giving him the hammer are you? He’ll sever a finger… Who has the nails? He doesn’t have the nails, does he?”
     “Hold the hammer like this and.. NO! not on the window! Like this, from the back, and that’s it – we put the corks on the front, right over the nails.
     “Hamma! Scup-“
     “We need more drawing on this – where’s the pencil – here, you draw, around here, where we put the spackle…”
     “You have to take it up wit Momma, she’s no-go on the spackle – aesthetic decision.”
     “Who’s calling me? You’re not putting on more spackle are you? We’ll have to get out the sand paper again!”
     “Just draw; why aren’t you drawing? Here, no, right here –NO, right here- No…”
     “Why is he crying? I hear him crying. I’m trying to get the right corks here, can’t I get the – He is crying – he didn’t hammer his finger off did he?”
     “Mason, stop being fickle, no one likes a fickle artist – draw here – this is a collaboration…”
     “Hey, he’s saying he won’t do it.”
     “Tell him it looks right.”
     “He just won’t.”
     “No coaburate! No!”
     “What happened?”
     “Poppa no coaburate! Sky-hi scup-cha! Mason make it!”
     “Hey! Hey!”
     “What now!”
     “MY head, hey, cut it out – he’s – he’s drawing on my head…”
     “Hey, that’s not bad – better than this mess.”
     “Poppa hed-scup-cha! Up up sky high!”
     “You too… very nice.”
     “Momma ha-ha-ha laf-hing!”
     “You all laugh. Go ahead. We’ll see, just wait, we’ll see.”

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Baldie Group

This story will be available in "Baldie Stories 1", through Kindle.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Out Of Town - part 4 final

     After five beers no one was very hungry. We all decided to pack up the food to clear space for more beer. Buzz took the lead and began to order pitchers. He gave the crew the rest of the day off and asked me if I’d be needing aspirins for the flight home.
     It turned out that Willie and Chuck were brothers. George was indeed a farmer’s kid, and May was hot to trot. Bob was the serious man in the group, but with a number of beers inside him it wasn’t hard to get some riotous hunting and fishing stories out of him.
     I noticed that the patrons at the other tables were doing all right by themselves; the volume in the Red Pony escalated to a roar. So this, I thought as best I could, was what people in the country did with themselves! Not bad. Not bad at all!
     The three guys from lower management razzed me for being a city boy. I got a kick out of that reversal of paradigm but managed to defend myself and get a few laughs as a self-depreciating wise guy. I told them about some of the lousy things city people did and they told me stories, equally as lousy, about hayseeds.
     It didn’t take long before May and Buzz climbed up onto their chairs and did a little country dance for me. Buzz was drunk and lost his balance. He pivoted off the back of the chair and fell to the ground with a roar of shocked laughter. When he stood up his toupee was covering half his face. I almost died. The rest of the crew blew out a single unified scream of laughter.
     “Well, I’ll be damned!” howled Buzz, adjusting his rug back into place. “I’m maybe having just a bit too much fun here!”
     With that he lost his footing on an overturned bottle and fell to the floor a second time. Everyone around the table squealed with delight as Buzz’s toupee shot straight up into the air and came down, flat, in the center of the table.
     Chuck spit his beer.
     May swayed violently and had to lean against George for support. Willie hacked out one long, rasping roar and crashed, doubled up, over the planked tabletop. The others couldn’t draw a collective breath.
     May lifted the toupee from the center of the table and held it out with two fingers. Her mouth jabbed up and down, there was something she wanted to say but the words were buried under gasps and a few indelicate burps.
     “This here… This - Burp!” May’s eyes went wide. She covered her lips with one finger and fell into tears all over again.
     Someone, I thought, is going to get hurt.
     Buzz stood up and comically groped around his half-bald head with outstretched fingers.  
     “Where the hell’d it git to?” he screeched.
     George fell on the floor.
     May, having finally presented the trophy as the catch of the day, turned to me, with the object still in her outstretched hand.
     “Now, take look here Mister..,” she whimpered, rocking a dangerous angle above the table, “I think it’s bout time that someone’s told you that this here,” she belched loudly, “this right here’s pretty much exactly what you’re in need of!”
     Through my drunkenness I was stung with shock. After hours and hours without the slightest hint or mention about the toupee enigma, May had come out with it.
     George, having just managed to lift himself back into his chair, doubled over once again but this time instead of hitting the floor, rocked his way, chin to knees, out through the swinging doors of the Red Pony.
     May lost complete control of her gyroscope, went limp and crashed against the table, knocking down half the remaining bottles and glasses. Pools of beer washed the floor.
     Buzz lifted May and sat her in her chair. She still had the toupee clenched in her fingers. Buzz grabbed the rug into his fist and held it up in my direction.
     “Now, I’m not being, uh… impolite here…” Buzz slurred, “but what Maybell here’s, uh – well; what she’s say’in is that we all noticed that you… ah, damn!”
     Buzz grinned slyly, held back a laugh and throttled the toupee savagely. I leaned in over the table for the rest of it but Buzz couldn’t get it out.
     Chuck scraped his chair up to the table.
     “What Buzz and May here are trying to say is… well, we been in the meeting all damned day and I guess we notice that you might…”
     “I might what?” I said, drunk and perplexed. May stood up again.
     “What we’re trying to say is that we just can’t figure – just can’t figure out why in the world you’re walking around with that…” she stammered.
     “Don’t say it May! Don’t say it!” shouted George, stumbling back into the bar. “I’m gonna drop dead right here, right now!” he shouted.
     May let out a small shriek and stamped her foot to the interruption but continued;
     “…Why are you walking around with that bald little head of yours when you could look nice and proper with one of these!?”
     She grabbed the toupee out of Buzz’s hand and shook it between her fingers.The whole room fell silent. Patrons at the other tables took a moment to listen. They’d been watching after the bald guy: The only bald guy in the place - hell the whole town - without a rug on his head and they wanted to understand what it was all about.
     Buzz leaned in on the table, woozy but attentive.
     “What she’s saying,” He lifted a glass off the table and took a deep, sloppy swig, “…if you’ll pardon the impropriety, is this” Buzz snatched the toupee from May.
     “You, my man, need this rug here more the hell than I do!”
     The Red Pony exploded.

     Bob, who had been quite reserved, stood up, walked around the table, pulled the toupee from his head and delicately laid it in my lap. He clamped a firm hand on my shoulder, turned, and slowly found his way back to his seat.
     The room cheered. George began pounding on the table with his fist. May followed and then a wave of table pounding filled the room.
     I wanted to die; I didn’t want to be murdered, but I wanted to die. There was no contest; if I didn’t put on the rug, they’d surely bury me behind the lot at the Red Pony. No one would hear from me again.
I lifted a pitcher off the table and drained the contents. Then I lifted the toupee and slowly brought it down on my head.
     One person in the back of the room giggled. I looked at the faces around our table. Every eyebrow was a silent question mark. The laughs seized up and idled.
     Oh God, they’re going to kill me now, I thought.
     May looked at me cross-eyed, fell against me, and reaching up, turned the toupee around on my head.
     George took one look at me, screwed up his face, screamed, and then threw up. The place went wild. Howling laughter tore through the place like a fast fire.
     They wouldn’t let me remove the toupee. I spent the final two hours at the Red Pony with Bob’s toupee on my head, drinking beer out of pitchers. That’s when things got a bit hazy… We danced around the outside of the building - I remember that. For some reason I also remember riding an electric bull, but for the life of me I don’t remember one being in the Red Pony. I think Maybell might have kissed me too.

     I can’t recall if Rudy picked me up at the Red Pony or back at The ArchDyne Group’s office. I was too drunk. I found out later that Bob was there to help Rudy get me back on the plane. I do remember a couple of visits to the airport bathroom and a brief encounter with airport security.
     What I remember clearly is waking up in my seat on the plane as we prepared to land in New York. It took two attendants to bring me around. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out what these people were doing in my bedroom. Then I felt my stomach leap.
     When I tried to get up I realized where I was. That’s when I saw the large bottle of aspirins in my lap with a note attached. I had a hard time focusing, but the note read:

City Boy,
Figured you’d probably need these. We all chipped in.
Don’t worry about the fine, that trooper was my cousin,
I’ll take care of it for you.
It was a pleasure to meet you and we look forward to doing
business with your company. Any time you’re in our neck
of the woods, just give us a call and we’ll come pick you up.
May’s saying that you looked awful cute on that electric bull.
I’d have to agree.
Oh, by the way, Bob says this one’s on him. He’s got extras

     My stomach leaped again as I pulled my attention away from the note and tried to draw the whole day in. Where the hell was that electric bull? Which trooper? I didn’t remember any trooper – And just what was Bob going to do?
     Then I remembered: The damned toupee. I put my hand on my head. One of the attendants walked by as I lifted my arm and I caught her with my elbow.
     “Sorry dear,” she said absently.
     Then I felt it. It was still there. It was on my head. I’d flown half way across the country with that thing on my head; they’d left it there. I didn’t have to touch it to know that though - it was in the attendant’s eyes when she turned to see who gave her the bump - It was the same look that I had given to Rudy when I met him at the airport. It was the same look I had when I met Buzz and Bob and George and the rest of the gang:

     It was the look of mild horror.

     The End

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Today is the one year anniversary of the Baldie Blog!
For those of you who have nudged in and scraped around with these
little shorts, I thank you.
And now a brief explaination;
My intention with the blog was to keep the writing going in some small fashion after the birth of our son Mason, going until we pass the critical point (who would have guessed there was no point, just an infinite line?). Many stories were taken out of the original Baldie Stories collection, wiped off and posted, but now, there are more than 35 original stories that have tracked a year filled with both joy and sorrow. Many of the new stories have been stark, terse, and often dark - different from the earlier shorts; my attempt has been to use this blog to experiment with style and voice and theme, an effort has been made to bring the language and style to the narrowest point possible, an effort born after finding that my novel, SuperDuper, had grown to over seven-hundred and forty pages, proving nearly impossible to edit without honing some serious "narrowing" chops.
The darkness comes from illness and death that have surrounded our small nest as well as the plague of desperation that comes with a failed economy and worries about how to realize dreams and a future filled with hope in a society that seems incapable of making even one intelligent decision that wasn't hung with selfishness, ignorance and greed.
But dark days pass and the stories will flourish again, smile again, and find the voice that is now being spoken in the series here - "Out of Town" - the last part to be issued tomorrow, one year from the first day I posted a real story here on Blogspot.
thanks all who have taken the time,

Out Of Town - part 3

     I did my best to pay attention but I spent every other moment scanning the room for the hidden camera. I checked the clock, the phone, the walls, the dropped ceiling, the video display unit, and I scanned suit buttons. There didn’t seem to be a thing out of place. If they were playing with me it was going over well. The whole group occupied themselves perfectly by pushing papers around and filling me in on the joys of, among other things, selling polish.
     They didn’t need the projector.
     And after an hour and a half of mind-splitting monotony the hoax theory seemed to grow more and more plausible. All those rugs flailing around the room like skinned monkeys and not one of them had anything to say about it - It just couldn’t be. It had to be a put on.
     I watched closely for sly signs. I figured they had to be teasing one another somehow. I dropped my pen and quickly hunched under the table to see if they were nudging knees or tapping each other’s shoes in delight.
     They were good, I had to give them that. At one point Bob actually gave his toupee a great big smack and then, with both hands, adjusted it on his head as if it were a football helmet. Then he looked me right in the eye, shrugged, and put on a wry smile. That’s when I figured it was over.
     I laughed. It was a snicker-laugh, a chortle. I looked straight at Bob, hunched my shoulders and lightly mimicked the helmet routine.
     I laughed again.
     Bob had little reaction. He gave a small wince, picked up his pen and turned his attention back to the presentation. But an instant later, almost imperceptibly, he blinked a quick eye my way. It was a game.
     I shook my head slightly and put on a broad smile. Bob caught it and winced again. Buzz, catching the moment, interrupted the presentation.
     “…Have a question for us?”
     “Me? No. A question?” I replied, maintaining the silly grin.
     Chuck was in animated mid-sentence during the interruption and paused. Like dominos, each member of the group turned to face their attention towards me.
     Buzz took a slow breath and said, “Just thought you were trying to get Bob’s attention there for a second.” Then he shot Bob an authoritative look and rested his hand, palm down, on the coffee pot. Bob shrugged and winced a third time.
     “Chuck, you were saying?” said Buzz, pushing forward.
     That’s when I began to think that the hoax angle maybe wasn’t the prize-winning thought of the day.

     All I wanted to do was fly into town, make people smile, take them to lunch and go home. I didn’t bargain for the geek show; I wanted out. There was no way that I could hold a serious conversation with any of these guys, and forget about lunch. I wouldn’t be able to eat. At that point, sitting there in the conference room, I just wanted to go home - hidden camera or no hidden camera.
     I sat there and thought about how to escape. My mind began to wander. Buzz promptly brought me back to reality.
     “So boys, are we ready for lunch?”
     Lunch! I screamed to myself, shocking the last of the circus thought off the bar.
     “Lunch?” I said, perhaps a bit too wide-eyed. I hadn’t prepared. I only had the two votes from Rudy and May. The toupee thing had me so distracted I completely forgot about arranging lunch.
     “Yes lunch.” Said Bob, still visibly questioning my character after the awkward moment earlier. “You do eat lunch?”
     “Ah, lunch. Yes, I do eat lunch...” I rolled open my notebook as casually as possible. What was it? What was it… The Pink Heifer? The Black Cow…
     “I’ve heard the Red Pony is a fine place?” I asked, more than announced.
     “Why sure is!” declared Willie and Chuck in unison. The other men shook their disastrous heads in agreement.
     “Well, lunch is on me today, gentleman. It’s the least I can do for the hospitality you’ve shown me!”

     I was in a terrible bind. There we were, about to go into the public realm - the country circus sideshow and me. I’m not good in the public forum. I choke up, I’m quick to bouts of paranoia – I say and do stupid things. The backs of my knees were already sweating. That spelled trouble. The sweaty knees are just a warning.
     Before I knew it, we were racing down the road in a company van. George had the wheel and he wasn’t kidding about it. I always thought that people in the country took their time about things. George apparently didn’t think so. He had his foot anchored on the gas pedal the whole ride into town. There was no slowing down for curves and I’m guessing that stop signs are optional out here in the sticks. No one else seemed to mind getting flattened against the passenger windows each time George raced around a bend in the road. All I could think of was slamming into a tree at seventy miles an hour - how it would have been a blessing.
The van skidded into the parking lot of the Red Pony. Before any of us even had the doors open four more vans and trucks had skidded up in a similar fashion. Everyone was skidding.
     There was a riot for the door. Men and women of every shape and size clamored along the wide pathway from the parking lot to the restaurant entrance. It seemed the whole town made it to the Red Pony for lunch.
     There were loud greetings, heavy, dusty slaps on backs, walloping handshakes and the hoots and hollers of friends and relations.
     A large man with a cowboy hat, followed by another troupe of local patrons greeted Bob.
     “Beat us this time Bobby-Boy!” He doffed his hat and when he did I was mildly surprised to find an ugly, little toupee beneath it.
     One at a time I scanned the heads of the other patrons. Sure as hell – the whole damned town was covered in rugs. But before I could swallow that beautiful realization I was shoved through the swinging doors into the well-regarded eatery.
     It was a bar; a honky-tonk bar filled with smoke, beer bottles, a working fireplace, old couches and some dusty animal’s heads on the wall. The place was littered with signs for Budweiser Beer and a bunch of wooden tables that had been lacquered too many times. I counted two, no three, dartboards near a kitchen where burgers and ribs were being rocketed out the door by two very good looking waitresses, whom by the way, seemed to have long and natural blond hair. These waitresses were delivering sky-high piles of food and beer to tables filled with loud and animated men and women. All of the men in the place, every last one of them, wore a toupee.
     “I’ll have a Bud,” I remember saying to the waitress.
     Five beers later we were still waiting for our food. Somewhere after the third beer it occurred to me that all the racing in the van had indeed served a purpose; it bought beer time.
     By the time the food came I was laughing with the whole gang. The fact that the whole male population of the town was riddled with toupeetosis went floating to the back of my mind on a wave of cold foam.
     Three of the lower managers were hilarious when drunk. Maybell showed up at the end of the third beer and did her best to catch up. They teased her about her quirky speech and she, in turn, teased them about their own little foibles; but nowhere along the line did anyone mention the rug-jobs.

end of part 3

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Out Of Town - part 2

     “Mr. Roberts,” May sung, “Buzz asked me to send you in. It’s those doors, just around the way.”
     “Thank you May.”
     The doors opened into a very large conference room fitted with a tremendous and frighteningly well-polished mahogany table in the center. A crush of stiff, empty chairs surrounded the table. At the opposite side of the room a single door opened and through it came two large men in dark suits.
     “Welcome Sir, how was the flight?” exclaimed the larger of the two, his bulk pushing chairs, air and a small telephone table into a wake behind him.
     “Oh, it was just fine,” I replied.
     “Please, I’m Buzz Baker and this is my partner, Bob.”
     “Bob Higgins! It’s nice to finally meet you.”
     Buzz and Bob both shook my hand furiously. Their eyes were wide and friendly but it was evident that they were fans of the communal coffee service.
     “Need a refill there?” Buzz asked and without waiting for my reply leaned over the conference table and hit a button on the speakerphone intercom.
     “May! Get George to fill us up a pot and get it in here!” He hit the button again before there was a response. Then he hit it a third time. “And May! See if he can find a little something… You hungry?” he eyed me, “…to put on a tray!”
     As Buzz leaned over the table I notice that the hair on the nape of his neck was incongruous with the hair around his ears and sideburns. I couldn’t take a good look because Bob was beside me. I turned to Bob.
     “It’s a beautiful space.” I said, trying to fill the moment. “How do you keep everything in this place so clean? So polished?” I said, jokingly.
     Bob looked at me blankly. “We sell polish… polish is one of the things we sell…”
     I should have known that. I mean, I really should have known that. I tried to think of a cute response but I looked at Bob and when he suddenly cracked a smile, I noticed that the hair above his forehead didn’t move a speck.
     Buzz and Bob were both wearing rugs. Decent rugs, it seemed, but rugs all the same.
     When you attend a meeting one of the cardinal rules is this: don’t get stuck in your own head. But no one ever told me about getting stuck in a rut of toupees.
     Buzz got on the line again. He barked orders into the speaker. He needed all the files, all the plans and the paperwork for our meeting. He hadn’t put it all together and apologized sincerely, saying that business was booming and there was simply not enough time for anything. We spent a few minutes discussing the pleasantries of small town life and I did my best to get a quiet handle on the nuances of the wigs they both wore: First Rudy, now Buzz and Bob. I didn’t like this hair-thing at all. It made me very uncomfortable.
     A brief moment of salvation came with a knock on the glass doors followed by a young man with a service cart loaded with two large pots of coffee, creamers, sweeteners, cups, saucers and two full trays of pastries served over sugar doilies, wrapped in clear cellophane and tied at the tops with red ribbon.
     “Just set it down here on the table George!” commanded Buzz.
     George approached with the cart and began to set the works down on the conference table. George was tall, awkward, and probably about twenty-five, dressed in clothes that his father must have given him for his first real job off the farm. He said hello to me as he leaned in for a spot to place the pastries. As he did I noticed with horror that he too was wearing a wig. It looked very similar to the job that Rudy had. I wheeled back a few inches and clipped Bob’s toe. I let out a short, incoherent yelp, a little lip fluster.
    “Geezebus!” but I quickly added, “Let me help you with that!!” and I grabbed the tray.
     “Don’t bother the man, George!” snipped Buzz, interrupting another intercom order.
     As George finished up, I apologized to Bob for running over his toe and groped awkwardly after anything in the pastry dish. The single door at the end of the room opened again with two more men behind it. They stepped into the room, each carrying folders and other documents. Buzz waved them in.
     “Willie, Chuck, just set those things down here and pull up a chair,” ordered Bob.
     Willie and Chuck, both in suits and both wearing ragged toupees, sat down across from the three of us who were already working on the pastries.
     “These boys keep our house in order!” said Buzz as he plugged away at the intercom.
     “Glad to meet you!” they exclaimed simultaneously.
     “We’re just about ready here,” said Buzz to Bob. “Just waiting for the lower management to arrive. I figure he’d might as well meet the crew!”
     Willie and Chuck had opened folders between them and were comparing notes on something or another in preparation for our meeting. Their hairpieces were a better quality than George’s but less sporty than Buzz and Bob’s. But it didn’t matter: as they sat there whispering to one another the two piles of hair got caught in a static array. I watched with a cream puff stuck in my mouth as their toupees came to life and tussled like Godzilla and Mothra atop each man’s head. I began to sweat.
     Then I had a terrible thought, but it was too late to even bring it around in my mind.
     The glass doors opened again and five more men in suits entered the room. They were of varying shape and size; all seemed quite cheery and friendly with one another. The group was busy chatting and barely acknowledged our presence until they casually pulled up to the table.
     “Gentlemen!” declared Buzz. “I’d like to introduce you to our New York affiliate, Mr. Roberts!”
     I lifted another cream puff.

     A subtle flash-calm came over the room. It was a short moment, a lapse; that necessary point of adjustment where ears give a moment to surrounding sounds, a primal acuity that allows us to refine our spatial bearing; a page turned against a finger, one throat clearing, a door in the hallway opening or perhaps, closing, the quick sound of a spring flexing under a chair, someone swallowing. Then it was over.
     During that quick moment I had scanned the heads of each additional man. There was no doubt about it; I had to rethink the sweets and the coffee. Something, apparently, was causing an epidemic of baldness followed by a subsequent and horrendous lean toward bad toupees. I removed the cream puff from my mouth and grabbed a napkin. It could be the food. It might be the air, but it could be the food.
     One thing was certain: A room full of men wearing various degrees of despicable toupees had surrounded me.

     Buzz began the meeting, a review on what was going on locally and nationally with the company and whom the major and minor players were; typical rag-tag twitter as an excuse for a meeting.
     “You’ll find this all very interesting…” noted Buzz, “More coffee?”
     “No thanks, Buzz. I got the jitters already.”
     Buzz begun to pass the coffee pot around. The team filled up.
     “Now wait! Damn it… do we need the projector in here for this?” Buzz bellowed.
      That’s when the terrible thought I’d had a moment earlier began trickling through my brain once again. Projector? Film? Camera? I began to sweat.
     This was all some sort of a hoax, that’s what it came down to. One of those hidden camera television hoaxes set up by someone in my firm…

end of part 2

Monday, October 18, 2010

Out Of Town - part 1

     A few years ago I worked for a large company that had business all over the country. My job involved flying into cities all over the map to have meetings with clients and vendors for the sole purpose of buying them lunch and making them smile. We’re here for you, I’d tell them. Whatever you need, we’re here for you.
     I spent hours doing detective work at my desk, figuring out where decent restaurants or cafes might be hidden in the small towns I’d be visiting each week. It’s no easy job. You can’t trust a soul. One person’s gourmet is another’s pig roast: Sam’s Spit, in South Carolina, is not in the Zagat Survey. There’s a good reason for that. So when the clerk at the hotel tells you Sam’s Spit is the jumping joint in town you’d better get a second opinion. Otherwise your client might not smile, and remember: that’s the job.
     Occasionally the job took me to small rural towns nowhere near a city. These visits were the most difficult. Large companies in rural towns typically mean that the company is the town. One way in and one way out - lots of trees and little pavement. Pick your nose in your car half way over Red Farm Hill and they’re already talking about it at the Egg and Basket Dairy three miles down road.
     I arrived in such a town on a scorching day in August a few years ago. The city I flew into had one tall building. One. Before the plane even entered the state I could make it out in from my window seat. I asked the attendant if she’d ever been there before. She had.
     “Lots of parking lots.” She told me.
     “But there’s only one building.” I said, confused.
     “I don’t know, they like parking lots. Building, parking lot, building, parking lot…” she said with a shrug.
     “But there’s only one tall…” I tried.
     “They’ve got lots of space, what do they care?” and she walked away down the aisle assisting people into their upright positions.
     It’s strange how cattle don’t fear low-flying aircraft. You’d figure they’d be flat against the ground, legs splayed, with terror in their eyes each time a jetliner passed six feet above their backs. But they don’t. They don’t even seem to notice. As the jet came howling down over the runway I could see flies square dancing on the rump of a very handsome looking cow in a field below us.
     A man at the exit gate had a sign with my name printed on it. He wore a white suit and hat, with a cream colored tie and shoes. His name, as the pin on his lapel read, was Rudy.
Rudy was a thick man with a cheery eyes and a bad sunburn. When I approached him he fumbled quickly to get the sign under his arm, extended his hand eagerly, and smiled from ear to ear.
     “You must be my man!” he declared.
     “You must be Rudy!” I replied, clamping my hand in his.
     “Yes I am!” he said, tapping his pin. “Got any bags to pick up?”
     “No bags, Rudy.”
     “Fine, fine.” He said, checking his watch.
     “How’s it out there?” I asked.
     “Hotter’n we’re used too.”
     We crossed the main lobby of the airport.
     “Hey Rudy,” I said, tagging behind, “It's very, very clean here in here. No litter, not a spot on the carpet - I don't even see a spec of dust...”
     “That's how we like it here.”
     Rudy whisked me out into the standby parking area. There were at least four standby areas and another four secondary standby areas followed by a series of parking areas – short-term, day, long-term, auxiliary, attendant, and on and on. They were all empty.
     “Rudy,” I shot another stupid question “how is it that there’s so much parking around here?”
     He stopped just in front of his limo. He turned to me and gave me a quizzical look. “Well, I’m not sure about that…” he said slowly, pulling the white hat from his head and scratching behind his ear. “I guess we just got a lot of space sideways is all.”
     “Ah. I see.” I said.
     And I did see: I saw it when he took off the hat. Rudy had a thick, black-haired toupee glued to his head. It shrugged back and forth as he scratched behind his ear. A trickle of sweat ran down the side of his neck. It was damned hot out, he wasn’t kidding about that, and the rug on his head was making him sweat after a minute away from the air conditioning.
     “We’d better get a move on quick. I’m dyin’ out here,” he said, tossing his white hat into the passenger seat while unlocking the rear door.
     I climbed into the back of the car with my briefcase. Rudy locked the doors, started the engine, and flicked on the A.C. to full blast.
     I spent the next forty-five minutes trying to keep my eyes off Rudy’s wrecked head. It wasn’t a comfortable ride. The edges of his toupee flared out around the sides like a tin sign after a gunshot wound. None of it wanted to stay down close to his head. Bits of Rudy’s natural hair edged out beyond the limits, sickly brown brush; I tried to ignore it and watch the beautiful rolling landscape unfold in front of us but I couldn’t help being drawn back to that strange little monster on Rudy’s head.
     Rudy either didn’t notice my staring or didn’t care. He was happy and cordial for the whole drive.
     As we pulled into town I kept my eyes open for a nice place to eat. I also asked Rudy if he knew of any good places this far out of the way. I’d had no luck in the office: it would have to be off the cuff figuring. He filled me in on the local joints. I took notes. He knew quite a bit about the town. Then he told me he was a local. There you go.
     “And here we are, right on time. The ArchDyne Group.”
     The limo came to a gritty stop against a raw gravel drive. The large, two story, concrete building had a large sign above the front entrance. It said: The ArchDyne Group in glowing red letters. It could have been any building in any office park in any town in the country. The name of the company didn’t suggest a thing. It rarely did. They could have sold dental floss or skyrockets. No difference.
     “Thanks Rudy.” I said, stepping out of the car. “Hey, you’re picking me up at seven to take me back to the airport?”
     “That’s right. See you at seven.”
     The whole interior of the building was done in polished black stone with glass doors everywhere. The same stone that covered the floor and the walls of the main entrance also covered a tremendous reception desk. A young woman at the desk wearing a lightweight headset greeted me with a smile.
     “Good morning!” she said cheerfully. “How may I help you today?”
     “Hello,” I replied. “I’m here to see Mr. Baker and Mr. Higgins for an eleven o’clock appointment – I’m Mr. Roberts.”
     “Oh, You’re New York! We’ve been expecting you. Please, you can have a seat while I buzz Buzz and Bob.”
     “Buzz Buzz?”
     She giggled. “Isn’t that just a riot! I forget how funny that sounds. Mr. Baker , Buzz Baker?” she rattled quickly. “Of course his name is Sylvester but we call him Buzz.”
      I smiled, but all I could think was that I’d have to call him Buzz.
     “There’s coffee just around that corner if you’d like…” she noted.
     “Thank you…I’m sorry, what is your name?”
     “May. Short for Maybell,” she said with a scrunched up nose.
     A call came in and May took it. I ducked around the corner for a coffee and returned to find May finishing up her call.
     “Excuse me, May,” I asked, “What’s the best place in town for lunch?”
     “Oh, that’s the Red Pony just down the way.” She answered.
     “Thank you.” I took a seat on a thick leather couch and sunk halfway down into it. Red Pony, Red… Yep. Rudy had it too. One more check and it was smiles, smiles, smiles.

end of part 1

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Sylvester

     The quorum had formed, the banner unfurled, the testing, testing, one-two-three – completed and the second annual “Baldies Are People Too” meeting began without a hitch. It was only after the formal lectures, announcements and notices had been read, after the first and second “Thoughts from our Members” speakers had taken the stage, when things went slightly off.
     The third “Thought” had moved quickly to the stage, found the dais almost incidentally, and then with automatic finesse nearly swallowed the microphone in a rush that made it appear he was being arrested instead of offering a few solemn words about balding.
     “This!” he blurted, pointing to his head, “this must be equalized – harmonically! In harmony! With…” quick gestures to all points head, knees, backside – held a shod foot up and pointed to the weak rubber sole – “This! – and this! – and… THIS!”
     “Who is this imbecile?” whispered the BaldieMaster into the fleshy ear beside his.
     “Uniformity! Synthesis!” Blurted the lunatic as he threw off his jacket.
     He molested the buttons down the dingy yellow shirt while his tone became threatening, “Collaborative unity! That’s what has been missing! We have this!?” pointing to the shiny head.
     “I don’t recall him,” said the second.
     “He seems to be missing eyebrows – eyelashes – I can see that from here,” said the BaldieMaster.
     And then the pants, after the shirt, the pants, and with one finger, the tighty-whities. “AH-HA!” said the mad-man, to an unexpected round of sudden applause and then, as suddenly, dead silence.
     “I call this, The Sylvester!!”
     “Why, he’s shaved clean from head to toe!” exclaimed the second’s wife with more than a hint of appreciation.
     “Including toes!” replied the psychopath. “I have shaved my ears, my knuckles, my back, my kneecaps – I have shaved,” he gloated loudly, “my own ass!” and he turned around, disappeared behind the dais, and re-appeared, inverted with head between legs, to the left, and then to the right, with index finger plugging his enthusiasm –
     “Get this moron off the stage!” shouted the BaldieMaster. “Now!”
      But not one baldie stepped up to the command. The man, we never learned his name, he was never seen again, up-righted himself, at his leisure, as if alone, and with the same casual, humming attitude, dressed, took a bow, and skipped off stage and without looking back exited the main entrance via the center red carpeted aisle of the silent auditorium.

     Remember the Sylvester.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

this little head of mine

     People don't trust a small head. It's worrisome.
     Sometimes a worried person doesn't even know it's over the small head - he's got the sweats, he's looking at the guy with the small head, and he's getting more nervous by the second... In another moment or two there will be a fight, bloodshed, and nobody will know what it was about.
     I see people looking at me, casually, on the subway, in the library, they want to smile - I've got a kindly face, an honest aura, a nice behind - and they do, for a moment. And then it begins. It's the bald head; it makes the smallness that much more obvious, that much more worrisome; they squint, shift some newly noticed uncomfortable weight, shoo a fly that isn't there, and then squint again. I can feel the tension building, the mistrust. I want to say it, tell them what it is - "My head - it's small - it's got your worried, that's all!"
     But I can't do that. There are laws about self-incrimination, disturbing the peace. Small-headed bald people know this.
     And a guy can get used to this kind of thing. I did. Got used to it, over the years: I learned how to dodge and step, point and block, fake-out, and when push comes to shove, pretend I have fleas.
     Now that I'm all set I find that the Fates are not happy with bestowing the simple small, balding head on some of us. They wait a while, about forty years, and then they trade in your nice neat nose for a door-knocker, the thing just starts growing - no matter how much you refrain from sticking fingers and other objects up there, no matter when you quit pulling on the thing out of anger at the world, no matter how gently you blow your sneezer - it become distinct, then pendulous,and then one day it hangs a sign on itself with a notice of vacancy - room to let.
     The eyes then, at the failure of the nose, begin to weaken, falter, sag and give up while the brow above gets heavy and thick, the hair upon it becomes vegetative over the new offense. The cheeks then loose all interest in maintaining their healthy elasticity, and the mouth just gives up all together and the whole head pushes up toward the ears for advice, and the ears respond only by growing larger, flap-like, and redden with embarrassment.
     This then is the plight of the small headed, balding, middle aged man. It may be pretty funny, but it is not pretty. When you next feel like you are worried, and then angry, and for no reason at all want to punch a harmless looking fellow in the nose - think of this.
     Thank you.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

what I got

This story will be available in "Baldie Stories 1", through Kindle.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


     He said he was waiting for a break and she told him he was waiting in the wrong spot, and he said he knew it because he’d been waiting a long time but didn’t know where else to wait. She tried to comfort him, cupped his head with one hand, tried to run her fingers through his hair but the stuff didn’t budge, he’d jammed it all up with volumizers and stiffeners and other budge-breaking products.
     Only the day before she, Dread, had the child, Dawn, hanging from those same fingers by her hair over the side of the paddle-boat - bait for an unconventional proposition, a real life-or-death bargain – in the lake in the park in the town of Loss.
     “Momma,” Dawn cried, two toe-deep in the grey still water.
     “Momma,” she whimpered, spilling tears, concentric circles, small desperate spins of warm air touched with juniper, winding sheets.
     “You better do it! You better! I’ll make you!” Dread threatened pond-side, to the smudge against the clouds, the blinking puddle that didn’t even have the guts to whimper back. For one moment he clutched up to his own hair, a small gesture, more of an erasure, a dimming signal into the grey air that failed between them.

     This, while the man with the inky rug stood blocking the entrance to the subway car with his sparkling new kicks, threatened a young woman drenched in sweat and sorrow as she tried to pass with a baby on her back and another in the stroller…
     while the Boss took his stretch from counting what he made on a lie and planned how to spend it with his mistress who had given her love to a spineless man who loved his wife but couldn’t argue anymore, couldn’t argue anymore, not anymore, while Dawn hung top-down, one last minute, from that long golden hair.

     The woman stood on the platform and watched the angry man shouting from behind the window of the moving train, the crease in his new kicks mimicking the crease of hatred in his face, the sorrow and loss she felt – a stranger herself to this all, alone, no one to hate, no one to hassle, no one to lie to, no one hurt; just the little one on her back, and the little one in the stroller. She pushed up the soft nest of hair upon her head and she waited there, waited and waited and waited.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Awkward Therapist

This story will be available in "Baldie Stories 1", through Kindle.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


     A clean white button-down, a stiff collar and some nice close pattern; floral, paisley, geometric but nothing zig-zaggy – and always with an earth-tone, something to meander around in, a breeze, maybe a shadow of a breeze – and a sharp crease in a long leg. Those things and a pair of shoes with a nice line, a good finish and a balanced seam. That’ll do. That’s enough. For me, nothing fancy. I’m not fancy, I’m barely there, barely, but neatly; existant.
     Him, he’s slinky, slinky into the office, slinky around the meetings – we work well together, set each other off, do daring things with ideas, plans, spreadsheets – the differences are our strength; Together we have tidal waves of strength, moxie, balls. Different styles, different manners, different. It's like this:
     His shoes find him on Madison Avenue. I get my kicks on Sixth, in a box in a bag. Everyone’s got their own thing.
     Those suits he’s wearing – Barney’s – Boss – Fifth, yeah, yeah - Fifth Ave for them deep pocket rides; fabrics I can’t pronounce, far away places, exotic countries, weaves that dazzle, colors of the rainbow, perfect balance, daring, evident, masterful. Okay, okay. I got bin-picking elbow, who’s ashamed? You? Not me. You care? Not me. I’m comfortable. Mostly. Mostly comfortable…
     Except for the hair. He’s got the hair; it’s some growing stuff, real, very alive, fast – it’s got a mind of its own - I got some, some hank of hairs; he’s got a fine wild steed’s mane, I got the hairy kneecap of an old mule topping the top of me.
     The hair of his, it grows so fast he can’t keep up – he’s doing things with it daily to show who’s the boss of the stuff, He’s doing magic tricks with it – different styles, morphing moves, sudden shifts, tricks; it’s a live show, effortless - he’s past the old hat hairdos, I’ve seen those come and go, a few a day sometimes.
     I recognized twenty or thirty that had names - that was the first month:
     The Princeton, the Harvard jumping off a Crew, grows into a Brush Cut and slides into a Square Back – this in a matter of days!
     Not a word, never a word, not about the hair. He never lets on, not even a glance upward...
     This is what he'll do: He’ll run a French Crop, push it over into a Pompadour, and then bounce it back over into a Fringe – then he smiles, takes an afternoon off, and shows up again with a Crop, sneezes into a Flat-top, and laughs his way into a Caesar.
     I’ve seen things on that head of his that defy the laws of physics. He’s worn a Mule with a Battlement Fringe, a Landing-pad tied back to a Weeping Widow! He’s had an Augustan flanked by Rolling Curls in the morning only to be transformed in a one-run to the toilet into a Saddle Twist humped by a Faux Mullet!
     And me… I got this mange, this startled lacking, this bony bit of a mule's kneecap touching off my fine style. What can I say? There's not much to work with. You pull the knot in your tie a little tighter, that’ll put some color in your scalp. A few pushups.
     It keeps me up nights, I’ll admit, a few hours, just a few – but add’em up – those hours, you got something, something tired, tired looking, hard to manage. Bitter. Maybe something bitter. I don’t know. Too damned tired. Hanks of hair.
     Differences, choices, makes a good team, good team.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


This story will be available in "Baldie Stories 1", through Kindle.

Friday, July 2, 2010


     The 8:45 was allergic to her own hands, itchy welts rose up, multiplied as she scratched, her body literally crossed out again and again and again in self-denial; he couldn't even look.
     11:30 couldn't feel his tongue whenever he said the word "love". The frightened muscle dropped dead in his mouth. The patient's wife was filing for divorce.
     12:00 had anger issues and carried a rag mop everywhere she went. Arrests were frequent and often followed by trips to the emergency room.
     2:00 showed up every day at 9 am and waited.
     5:15 - this was something special. If you stacked up all the psych texts, all the journals, articles, references and case studies, you still couldn't reach the branch that this cuckoo-bird rested on. 5:15 was bald and frightened of his own head - sweating, running-in-place nightmare frightened - of his own head. The pale lump of it terrified him. He didn't have to even see it in the reflection of a shop window, or, heaven forbid, a mirror - just knowing it was sitting up over his eyebrows made him moist with fear. Looking at his toes gave him a jolt because it was a short skin-walk to the terror-dome.
     5:15 had some sweet life before his hair began to recede; a terrific career as a race-car driver, and horticulturist of note; the guy - you knew him by name - had a line of organic pastry shops across the country, one wife, six kids, and fourteen homes across the globe.
     Then his hair began to recede. Each hair lost was matched by the loss of a marble, and every marble that rolled away drew with it a bit of that piled up fame and fortune.
     Now, a full year and a half later, 5:15 is down to his last few hairs, which combined, amount to just about one last marble, one last dollar, and one last scream.
     5:15 was a pip. A real pip. He'd be sad to see him go.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Line

     That guy, that one standing there with the jowls, the golf clubs, right there next to the subway map - look at that - the short socks and nub-knees; he should be older than I am.
     That woman, with what, what's that? Her niece? Her friends kid? It couldn't be her granddaughter, could it? She needs to be older than me. Right? doesn't she?
     The anchor on the six o'clock news, that guy with the fish-face, cardboard tie, dustbowl-smile; he's older than I am.
     Isn't he?
     Popeye should be older than me. Homer Simpson should be older than me.
     My high-school buddy is a grandfather. He called me up and said, "what's the funniest thing I can tell you? I mean, what would be the one thing, on top of all the other things, the strains, stains, tricky situations, that would give you the biggest laugh of all?"
     I knew right off.
     But my kid's only two. Two! That's about right, that makes sense to me, cause that's about my speed, in light years, in relative terms, in dreamland. It means my pals granddaughter will one day be fair game for my son. Think of that!
     Standing, shivering, swaying over the heads on the F train, I can see the heads, the bumps, the hair, the recessions, the red ears, the crooked noses from above; I can put myself in line, the start and finish line, the big one, bead-to-thread-bead-to-thread, the one we're born into, ride and slide off of: NEXT! NEXT! NEXT! You, baldie, your turn! NEXT! It's a strict arrangement, no cutting ahead, no falling back!
     So how come I feel like I'm racing up the line?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Text Message

     The new text message from an old friend read:
     Skydiving - missed target - way off - hit trees - stuck - upside-down - phone broken - only text, only ur # - need ur help bad -
     The second message a few seconds later read:
     banged head - losing blood - rug fell off, can see it from here - feel inadequate, please - before they find me like this!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"triple lick"

This story will be available in "Baldie Stories 1", through Kindle.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

mouse in my hair

     It was the mouse, scratching, scritching, making something out of nothing, nothing in the kitchen at three A.M., three oh-five, oh-nine, oh-dear sweet… Something - something about a meeting, very big job, very big money, an architect, nice guy – lots of hair, lots, it grew while you watched… scritching, tick, tick, ticking three oh-what was that? A client, a big deal, a big challenge, a big – head of hair too… what was that? It was the mouse, scratching, scritching, making breakfast in the kitchen, sweating over a hot stove, under a blanket, looking for some sleep at; at three oh – oh – look out, he’s gonna poo! Gonna poo! Get that diaper… the boy’s got a lot of… hair for – what, one and a half? How do I keep that kid alive? How do we keep him smiling, fed, safe, bug-free, lint free, lint-free?
     FOUR am.
     Four oh-look out, it’s falling off the wall – you want that bronzed? Sewn, Buckled, Carved, Carpeted, Spun, Extruded, Dipped, Plated, Wrapped, Ironed, Injection-molded, Breaded, Framed? Linted? I can have it linted for you. If you’d like it linted, at four thirty a….m….
     It’s not him – don’t worry he’s asleep, it’s the mouse; I hear it, scratching, keeping me up, waking me up, every other nightmare, every other worry, every other dealer, owner, buyer – how much if I have it Dyed, Waxed, Drawn, Flocked, Buttoned, Sealed, Hammered, Gilt, and how long will it take, I got a guy in Chelsea who wants it for his hair… Thirty-six thousand square-feet – per floor, that’s a lot of squares, squeeks, scratches, scritching – guy’s got a head on him like a skunk – at…
     Five AM! Ding-a-Ling! Papa! UP! UP! Ding-a-Ling! Baa-Baa! Baa-Baa! Baa-Baa!
     At Five-oh-dear!

Friday, June 4, 2010

congratulations for all the support!

I want to thank my family and friends for all their loving support, my associates and my dead cat for leg up, my agent and my priest for the professional and moral muscle, my community for the annonomouys applause, the state for the financial pat on the back, and the federal government for just doing the right thing, all the time, looking out for me, Mr. Number one - I'm proud to be an American! I'm happy being a family man, and I love doing the right thing every day - it pays well... Thanks for all the comments and notes, it's only been one and a half novels worth of stories, geeze... you shouldn' have!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Slow Death

This story will be available in "Baldie Stories 1", through Kindle.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Yuppie Hair

     I can’t figure it out. Men who work in cities, the kind who work in offices, you know… suits, polished shoes, strong chins – the kind you see in expensive bars between six and eight PM on a week night; they’ve all got hair. Real hair, big waves of propped up hair. How does that work?
     It doesn’t seem to matter how old they are. Thirty, forty, fifty… they’ve got the same hair, a lot of the same hair. It’s real, I know real - I can tell a fake, I’m a student of hair.
     Is it wealth and nastiness that puts hair on their heads? How would hair know how much money you have in your wallet? Does DNA understand the workings of modern economics, or is this the survival of the fittest hubbub?
     Don’t think the idea’s too silly. I’ve noticed that the guy who’s most likely to knock you right off your bar stool in order to get a whiskey sour for himself is usually the guy with the biggest head of hair. He’s also the guy who shouts over everyone in the bar to be heard. You see where I’m going with this?
     Think about it. Way back, when we were covered in hair, head to toe, grunting around, wondering what it would be like to stand up straight, that’s when it all started. The guy who wanted that prime cave next to the swamp, the one who didn’t think twice about bashing in the brains of the Neanderthal family living in there already, he’s the one with the jet-set hair today. He’s the one waving his meaty fist with a hundred-dollar bill squeezed into it up at the bar - This is our modern, city-dwelling yuppie. A Neanderthal.
     That’s the way it is. Don’t call me and start yelling, it won’t do any good. I’m submitting a paper to Scientific America. It’s in the envelope. I licked the stamp myself.

Friday, May 7, 2010

In the club - part 2 of 2

     I knew the owner of the restaurant and he knew me, but with all that crap on my head he had no idea who he was dealing with. He rattled the stick back and forth.
     “You go away! I call the cops!”
     “Hiroshi, it’s me… Don’t call the cops! For God sakes..!”
     He cocked his head. “Who you?”
     “It’s me, Andy from next door!”
     He let the cane down and leaned on it, immediately relieved, even at ease upon recognizing who he was facing.
     “What the hell you doing?” he giggled.
     The girl and her mother watched the exchange warily from the entrance of the restaurant. Meanwhile, the building super, a big joker who spends most of his time minding other people’s business, was glad to find me on the street in a bind.
     “Hey Satch!” That’s what he calls me, “You’re lookin’ pretty!” He leaned the weight of his fat little body back on his hips and laughed into the sky.
     “Sorry guys,” I said, with my heart still thumping, “I got to go now.”
     “Hey, good-looking! Hey Satch! Wait a minute..!”
     But I was already half way down the block. Luckily I had decided to venture out in my get-up during mid-morning. The street was only spotted with pedestrians, but all of them had something to say as I passed by.
     By the time I hit the door of the drug store I’d almost forgotten why I had made the trip. I arrived out of breath, with no rehearsed routine and still shaken from the run-in with Hiroshi.
     My man at the register gave a double take that almost pulled him off his feet when he got a look at me; it must have been some sight - all the panting, the dripping colors, and the shower cap to boot. Then I caught a look at myself in the convex mirror when I approached the counter and burst out laughing.
     That didn’t help my plan much.
     “Say,” I burbled over the counter, “I was just in the middle of this… this here business with my hair…” I pulled a wedge of the shower cap near my ear and let it thwap against the side of my head. A narrow stream of pink and neon green shot out onto the tiled floor.
     “Oh! Sorry bout that!” I said, delirious with laughter.
     My friend leaned over the counter to get a better look. I was surprised by his restraint; it must have been his nature. I certainly wouldn’t have put up with that kind of behavior.
     “It’s you!” he declared with a hand to his forehead.
    “It’s me! Yes, it’s me!”
     “But, sir…” he fumbled.
     “We’re not in Kansas anymore, are we boss?”
     “Where are who?” he asked, delicately.
     “Oh, never mind,” I said, coming down a notch.
     “You are in the middle of something?”
     “Yes, I’m in the middle of something. You can see I’m in the middle of something?”
     “Of course!” he said, offering his palm toward my head. “Look at that!”
     “I know, I know! That’s why I’m here.” I stomped.
     A woman walked into the store and we both turned to watch her enter. She took one look at me, turned around and walked out without looking again.
     “Sir, I can’t let you – you’re going to have to…” he looked after the door and his voice trailed off.
     “Look, I’ve just got a question about this… This!” I pointed to my head.
     “What is it?” he asked.
     “Why, it’s the stuff I’ve been buying all these days for my hair! You know, I’ve been in here buying all this crap to – Say, don’t you remember me buying all this crap?”
     “No sir, I’m sorry but I don’t…” he shrugged and offered his palms a second time.
     “You mean to tell me that you haven’t even noticed that I’ve been buying all this stuff? I mean – You ring it up! You check it out!”
     “But, sir...,” he said apologetically, “I am so busy here!”
      "I know you’re busy, that’s not…” I let out a long deep breath.
     “Are you going to tell me that you haven’t noticed?”
     “Noticed what?” he asked, blinking.
     “Noticed what? Notice what?” I was squealing. “You haven’t noticed how similar our hair is? How much we’ve got the same balding thing going on!?” I tapped the shower cap again.
     He stared at me silently from behind the counter. I continued.
     “I mean - it’s been years now! Years! You must have noticed!”
     “I’m sorry sir, but I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
     “You don’t,’’ my mind raced. Was it possible? Was it me? All along was it me?
     I pulled the shower cap off my head and wiped a handful of green and pink off and onto the floor.
     “Just look at this, would you? Just take a look here!” I leaned over to show him my head. When I pulled back up he wasn’t looking at my head at all. He was staring, stock still, at the splatter on the floor.
     “Sir,” he said, mournfully, “I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
     “You what?”
     “I’m sorry, sir. You’re making a mess; you’re frightening the customers. I have to ask you to leave.” He looked sad.
     “But I only wanted to…”
     “If you don’t leave, sir, I’m going to have to call the police.”
     “But I thought you always knew…”
     “I’m picking up the phone now. Please leave.”
     “Don’t you want to talk about our - aren’t we..?”
     “Now, sir!”
     He pointed towards the door. I hung my head and turning, gave one last attempt to speak. He pursed his lips and strengthened the muscles in his outstretched arm.

     Well, as I said, it’s been a week since I had that bright idea. Now I’m sitting here and there’s no toilet paper left in the bathroom. There’s no dishwashing detergent either. I suppose I could hump it four blocks to the grocery, it’s not a bad walk, but I don’t feel like it.
     I’ve been using the all the cleansers, and volumizers and all the rest of the stuff a couple of times a day now. I’ll use it until it’s gone. My wife tells me that the owners of the drug store don’t want me to come back there anymore. She stopped in when I asked her to pick up a few things but they recognized her and said they wouldn’t sell her anything because it might be for me. Somehow that just doesn’t seem right. It just doesn’t.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

In the club - part 1 of 2

     There’s a guy I know at the drug store that’s got the same Baldie program going as I have. He runs the register at the store so there’s no avoiding him. I don’t know his name and we hardly speak, but it’s clear that we’re brothers in the club with no name: We’re twins from the forehead up.
     He stands on a raised platform behind a high counter and from that vantage point the man’s got a damned good look at the top of my head. I can tell he’s aware that we’re in the same boat, it’s the glimmer in his eyes and the way he runs me that coy smile. I give him the same look. I can see that head of his in the convex mirror they’ve got up in the corner. It gives me the willies each time I see the distorted reflection. It’s as if someone’s playing a lousy trick on us. We look nothing alike in the face, but over the top and from behind we’re interchangeable.
     So you’d figure we’d have something to talk about. You’d think that we’d spend a little time comparing notes on the state of our domes, but we don’t. We exchange pleasantries, smiles and howdy-do’s. It’s been years now but we never go near the bald thing. We don’t touch it. You see, this is the Baldie dilemma we’re in: He’s not going to bring it up because he thinks I might get embarrassed. I’m not going to bring it up because I don’t want to embarrass him or myself for that matter. So we don’t bring it up.
     Even thought its right there, right smack on our heads, we can’t say a thing about it.
     Last week I decided to push my luck. I wanted to hear the man at the register say something about my head, his head, anything at all regarding our common plague. So I came up with a plan. It was going to take some work but I figured what the hell, I visit the damned place three times a day as it is.
     I ran through the strategy in my head a couple of times and set out for the drug store.
     The first time I walked in there I picked up some of the usual items: a roll of paper towels, some cleaning supplies and then I picked out something new, some scalp revitalizing shampoo. I put it all on the counter and nodded to the man at the register.
     “Yep,” I said, “Time for some new shampoo!”
     He nodded graciously, checked out each item then bagged it all without questioning the shampoo gag. That was fine, I figured, because I was only setting up the show.
     The next day I took another visit. I picked up a bar of soap, a package of sponges, and I grabbed some volumizing cream and hair root nourisher from the hair-care aisle. I pushed it onto the counter and beamed at my Baldie twin.
     “Sheesh! I’m in here all day long, huh!” I said, grinning ear to ear.
     He checked the soap and the sponges and bagged them but he had to find the prices on the other two items. He rolled the boxes around in his hand and raised an eyebrow. I waited for a comment but he found the prices, rang them up and bagged the stuff without even looking up. I gave him my money and he gave me the change and the bag, smiled politely and said, “Thanks”.
     The following day I picked up a can of cat food, hair intensifier, hydrating gel, and a three-part scalp treatment.
     “Oh boy!” I said, “Looks like I’m gonna spend some money today!” I brought my hand down onto the hair products and tapped them lightly.
     They went into the bag one after the next as he rung them up. I frowned. When he got to the cat food I stopped him.
     “You know,” I said caustically, “I actually don’t need that...”
     “Oh?” he replied, with nearly a hint of interest. “Well, don’t worry about it,” he continued offhandedly, “I’ll put it away for you.”
     “Yeah,” I tried, “I just needed a lead in…” I winked, “if you know what I mean…”
     “Sorry?” he wrinkled his brow and shifted his gaze to the can in question. I’d lost him.
     “No, say listen…” I went on, “This stuff here,” I poked one of the tubes of goop rapidly with a stiff index finger, “This stuff’s for men, right?”
     The tube swam around in his hand as he made an effort to read the small print on the back of it. I grabbed it out of his hand and tossed it into the bag.
     “Never mind! I’ll read it myself.”
     “OK, thank you,” he said, smiling again.
     I put my elbow up onto the counter and rested my head on my arm. I looked around. No one else was in the store. I thought of robbing it.
     “Do you need anything else?” asked the man behind the counter with some discomfort.
     “Nah!” I said. “I’m just not right today.”
     “See you later!” he said, half smiling.
     “Yeah! I guess so.” I said, defeated.
     I walked home vexed. My experiment wouldn’t put up; I’d spent a lot of money on the game and the rat wasn’t playing. That hair crap costs and I’m a man with holes in my socks as it is. I didn’t have much left in me.
     When I got home I tossed all the hair tonics into the growing pile in the bathroom. Then it hit me. I looked around the bathroom and found my wife’s shower cap under the sink. Just when you think there’s no use for something…
     I squeezed a sample out of each of the hair products I’d purchased to find the ones with the most vivid color. There were two that counted in; one was lime green and another was pink. I made a big mess of them, squeezing half the tube’s goop out into my hands - it’s diabolical stuff, this hair-care crap. They really know what they’re doing: they’ve got it smelling like French desserts and a summer vacation in the Bahamas. It looks like cartoon orgasms and if you could squeeze the juice out of the Garden of Eden, that’s what it would feel like.
     So I slapped the nasty balm all over my head, making sure to get it good and thick. Then, for good measure, I squirted the rest of it into the shower cap and carefully placed it over my head. This, I thought while looking at myself in the mirror, would get a reaction out of him.
      I hopped down the stairwell of my apartment building filled with excitement. By the time I got to the street I was so thrilled with expectation, the thought of sharing the details of our common but embarrassment-shrouded plight, I completely forgot about the long length of sidewalk between my apartment and the drug store.
     A little girl, standing with her mother outside the Japanese restaurant on the first floor of my building, screamed like hell and fell backwards when I shot out the foyer door. Her mother leaned back in horror, clutching her coat close to her neck. Little kids can scream loudly; the sound of it struck like an electric shock and shook me from head to toe, stopping me dead in my tracks. The girl screamed again and that’s when I realized she was screaming at my sudden, bizarre appearance. I raised my arms instinctively, hands palm out and thrashing fearfully, apologetically - but that only made things worse.
     The owner of the Japanese restaurant vaulted out of his place onto the sidewalk with a long bamboo cane clutched in his hand like a sword.
     “No, no no!” I shouted. “It’s me from next door! I’m just going to the store and she just – she just…” I stammered.
     I felt the thick goop dripping down behind my ears. A good bit of it, the lime green stuff, came off on the cuff of my shirt when I wiped my forehead in fright.

End of part 1 of 2

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

34th Street Oracle

This story will be available in "Baldie Stories 1", through Kindle.

Monday, April 26, 2010


This story will be available in "Baldie Stories 1", through Kindle.

Friday, April 9, 2010


This story will be available in "Baldie Stories 1", through Kindle.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

village idiot

This story will be available in "Baldie Stories 1", through Kindle.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010


     Fat and round and pale from lack of sun, he was a giant pink meatball rolling through the yard. They pulled the wall down and used a two-by-ten to pry him out of the bathroom. You couldn't see his legs, just the pink feet sticking out of the ball of him. His fingers stuck out from the folds in his flesh, latched on to the stuff, a sign of fright as he rolled over and over. Only the top of his head protruded from his neck, a thin tuft of hair on top to tell you it was a head, not a blemish or another fold, like a cork, a flesh button. His eyes were buried on the inside of the outside of him.
     As a child he had been skinny, too skinny. At school they poked fun at him; the way his socks lay like suicides at his ankles, how his giant head of hair most likely weighed more than the rest of him - they'd tackle him to count his bones. That was another life, before he lost his hair and began eating.
     Now he was rolling, blindly, dangerously close to the road.
     A quick thinker, a bystander, jockeyed his pick-up like a bronco buster into position at just the right time, and with a loud "Thud!" gave the meatball a quarter-panel assist into the hole they'd dug for him.
     Like a cue ball in the corner pocket.
     Dry soil kicked up into a swirl and when it settled you could barely tell there'd been a hole to begin with.
That tuft of hair gave a little shift, followed by some low hum, maybe a muffled sigh, and that was the end of it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

sculpture head

This story will be available in "Baldie Stories 1", through Kindle.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

baldie brawl

     I’m not six foot four, two hundred and sixty pounds of pure muscle. I’m not a tank or a truck or even a sedan. If you took a look at me maybe you’d say I was a tricycle or a scooter. I’m not saying I’m a roller skate - I’m slightly built. I’ve got a European cut. Let’s just say I’m not a very imposing guy when I pull up to a barstool.
     So how come every crazy-eyed dimwit out there wants to pick a fight with me?
     It’s not that I mind getting thrown around a bar now and then. I can take a beating without crying for mommy. I’ve even gotten a couple of punches in over the years; it’s just that I’m not interested in doing the bar room shuffle these days. I don’t pick fights. I’m a nice guy and I don’t, as my Uncle Louie says, “…give nobody no trouble!”
     But still they come at me.
     When I walk into a bar with my wife there’s always a bruiser or two with his knuckles on alert. It’s got to be my head, I’ve got a small head - it’s noticeable. When you don’t have hair and the head is rather small it’s out there for everyone to see. When a Neanderthal sees my head walking into a bar it looks to him like a big button that he’s got to push. He’s got to, even if he doesn’t want to.
     That’s animal instinct.
     They walk right up and step on my foot. They’ll try and make a comment. It doesn’t matter what they say. It doesn’t matter what I say. The first words out of my mouth are fighting words to them. Then it’s button-pushing time.
     My only advantage is that I know what’s coming. They don’t know that I know that they’re about to kick my ass. So I grab a bottle or a stool or an ashtray and strike first. It’s effective. Then, once they check the damage, they say something like, “Hey, what the hell’s your problem?” and the fight is on.
     Last month we had a real doozy of a fight. Local bars in Brooklyn are good for big four-on-one brawls.
     My wife and I and a few other friends went to visit a bartender we know at his new place in Brooklyn. It’s a dumpy joint but it had a bar and the drinks were cheap. We pull up some barstools and four young guys down on the end, local kids, get the scent of the small head right off the bat. I sized them up. Two of them are huge and one is the same size as me and the last looks like he fell out of a test tube early. All together, they didn’t look like they’d know how to tie a shoelace.
     Of course it’s test tube boy who’s going to put the rub on me while the others watch, back him up. That’s how it works with morons - the gimp is always the boss.
     I ordered a beer quickly and got the bottle ready in my fist.
     Before I even got to crack him in the head the gimp said, “Hey, what’s the matter, you don’t like our music?”
     I looked at my friend. He held up his cell phone and I gave him the nod. That means dial 911, we’re going to need an ambulance. He dialed.
     “Look,” I said politely, “We just walked in. Can’t you give me just a few minutes to warm up?”
     “Yeah?” he replied, truly to stupid for words, “Well you know what?”
     “No, what?” I asked, plainly.
     “Your girl here is a dog.” He snorted, scratched his head and added, “My friend says she looks like a whore! How’s that?”
     “That’s swell,” I replied with restrain. I figured we had a couple of minutes of this kind of thing before the ambulance showed. If I said something to piss him off his friends would have made a taco out of me on the spot.
     “Yeah?” he smirked, turning to his friends to make sure they weren’t lost.
     “…And?” I asked.
     “And you, you little shit! You’re a little shit!” His voice pulled way up at the end of the word, he strained the muscles in his neck to say it. He was up on tippy-toes.
     “You’re a stupid, cheap, ugly, little shit and your girlfriend is ugly - and your friends are a bunch of wimps!”
     “Ok...” I said. The time had come. I had the bottle in swing position and the comforting sound of sirens came to me from off in the distance.
     “Don’t hurt my feelings,” I said, leaning in on the gimp.
     He looked me up and down. His friends got up and stood behind him.
     “Oh yeah!” he shouted, searching, “You’re girl is a whore… You - you stupid shit! – You stupid bald shit!”
     “BALD shit?”
     That caught me by surprise. “BALD?”
     I raised the bottle. The ambulance came screeching up to the door.
     I leapt off the stool.
     It took about five minutes for them to get me off him. Meanwhile the big guys made a pretzel out of me from above, but I wouldn’t let go of the little guy. The cops were there, the ambulance was waiting and my friends had moved outside for safety. When they finally pulled me out of the bar it was on a stretcher. I could have tried to walk but why fight the pain? When you’re beat you’re beat.
     The cops were trying to figure out whom to cuff. The local boys weren’t being razzed to hard. They seemed to think that I was the troublemaker. That was apparent as they loaded me into the ambulance.
     My wife tried to climb in but the cops stopped her.
     “Are you ok?” she asked, a little disgusted.
     “How’s the little guy?” I said, with a broken smile. “I think I made him swallow that bottle.”
     “You’re going to have to stop this you know.”
     “Me? Me?” I said, stunned at the accusation.
     “You can’t keep getting in fights because some jerk says something to you.”
     “Did you hear what he said? You heard what he said! Let me up!”
     “If you try to get up they’re going to cuff you.”
     “I heard the little guy call that big cop Uncle Frank,” she said with a nod to the cop car.
     “That’s not good, is it?”
“But he called me bald...”
“Yeah, and he called me a whore…” She said, inspecting the fingernails on her left hand.
“I know,” I replied, “but calling me bald..?”
She turned her attention to the other hand and remained silent.
“I’m not bald, am I? Not completely bald …Right?”
They slipped me into the ambulance. Two cops climbed in with me. They didn’t look pleased. One of them had his handcuffs out.

Friday, March 12, 2010

spam reply

     My name is Rolando Le Roar, your personal vacation planner. I am writing this email in response to your recent on-line inquiry regarding our cruise packages here at Circus Cruise Lines. Please contact me directly with any questions you may have regarding our package plans. If you are not interested in our packages, please send an email in response, to the above address or write directly to....

     Dear Rolando,
     Funny, that's about the hundredth e-mail I've received from you.
     To tell you the truth, I don't recall making any inquiry into Circus Cruise Lines, however, now that you mention it, I do have a question; do have any theme cruises for balding men?
     Do you?
     Do you have cruise packages for balding men and their families?
     I'd pay to see that.
     If you don't I can suggest a few theme opportunities, a couple of real laughers, cause there's nothing funnier than a room full of half-balding men, drunk off their keesters, wondering when their wives will finally get tired of all that sheen and squinting, not to mention the whining and complaining, and that brings us to the follies - a couple of barrels of tar and feathers, a few young guys with rock-star hair to get the ladies sharpened up - and the kids, some schnauzers, duct-tape, I'm not suggesting...
     I have ideas! We should get together, you and I - where you based? I can come and visit, I got time, a little time, between parole meetings, I'd love to stop by and discuss the whole thing - how's your hair by the way? I got some good stuff my dear old dad sold me before he went missing.
     I really don't remember sending any inquiries; I may try to Google you, maybe look you up, track you down, I'm a late night kind of guy, spend a lot of hours blinking in the mirror, listening to my wife snore - Yeah, I think I'll look you up, just to touch back on all the kind emails you've been sending me lately!
see you soon,
your friend,
Creepy Keester

Thursday, March 11, 2010


     "Oh," I said, swaying to the left, "thought you were a gnome, I mean, you looked like a gnome when this tin can lurched - when the lights flashed."
     Funny, right? She was way too tall to be a gnome, and all that long black hair, like a hundred tiny funeral processions hanging down her back - all the way to her boots, Ooooh! Scary black boots! Scary mascara! I could see it all in the reflection of the subway car window each time the lights dimmed and brightened; she was staring at herself, liking what she saw, too much, way too much, and then I said,
     "You got what tattooed on your knuckles?"
     And she said;
     "It was supposed to say ALOHA!, a small kindness to myself, I am not kind enough to myself, so it was supposed to..." and she trailed off, shook a finger at her black lipsticked mouth.
     "But it went wrong..." Then clucking like a duck she said, "And now when you read it backwards it says 'A-hole!'"
     The not-gnome said into the dark spot in the window, "Why do you ask?"
     "Well, it's that hair, you see."
     "It grows," she said, "every time I smile, usually when I lie, usually at your expense."
     "Huh? My expense? Did you say my expense?"
     "Sorry," she smiled, "I mis-spoke."
     We'll," I said as the subway car swung into West 4, "sorry for thinking you were a gnome."
     "Oh, it's nothing," she smiled again, her hair visibly lengthened. And before I could ask another question the car shook, small fluorescent cracks and chrome lightning shone in the darkness and she was transformed once again into the gnome.
     Just then another man, balding, lean and nervous, stepped up to the gnome and said, "Pardon me, didn't I know you once?"
     And the not-gnome appeared again with a flash and said, "You must be mistaken."
     In the dim light of the subway car I could see her long black hair suddenly grow just a bit, a tiny bit longer.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


     In early dynastic Egypt it was the custom for people to shave off all their body hair: Men, women, children – everyone. Naked shave, head to toe. Think about it, it’s the desert - so damned hot!
     I like the idea. No hair for anyone.
     The Egyptians knew how to run an empire. And I know what you’re thinking: “Wait a minute, what about Cleopatra? And the rest of them with long hair running down to their waists, and what about those guys with long, pointy beards?” I tell you this - Wigs and stick-on beards.
     You think I’m making it up? Do your own research, see who’s right.
     It’s pretty kinky too, if you want to know the truth.
     The barbers had all the luck: They’d fill a room with men and women, get them in their birthday suits and lather them, top to bottom, with shaving cream. There’s something you don’t get on cable!
     And they didn’t wear much either. Some flimsy, diaphanous cloth wrapped around the body once and that was that. It makes you wonder how they got anything done. Who’s got time to build a pyramid when everyone’s running around shaved and naked?
     It sounds good.
     Of course they did some human sacrificing, buried a few people alive, chopped up the dead and hid their body parts all over the place. Little things that might make you clench your teeth a bit, but hell, there’s a price to pay for paradise, right?
     Sure, prayed to dog-gods - serpents, bugs, grass, whatever - suits me fine. If you told me I wouldn’t have to worry about my balding head – that I’d get to run around naked, shaved, a tropical Eden - even-steven with everyone else, I’d pray to a cockroach.
     I would.
     When I tell my friends they get worried. They think I’d sell my soul for a good time. I tell them God would forgive me. I’m going out to buy a cordless razor, we’ll see who knows what.

Monday, February 22, 2010

simple math

     This whole baldie thing, it’s like a math problem and I may have found the solution. Listen to this:
There’s a hair growing off the back of my shoulder, it’s growing at a miraculous rate of about four inches a day. Oh! Yeah-Yeah! Go on and wince, at least I admit it!
     And then there’s a row of hairs coming in across the edge of my ear, a small troupe of them doing an inch or so each. Typically I give those little guys the yank - yanks, or plucks, what have you. Okay? See that?
     I’ve also noticed some strange fuzzy stuff around the back of my neck. Too fuzzy to be considered hair - honest to goodness hair - but when I give it a shave it comes to a small pile…
     Get it?
     There’s a shift, some confusion. It comes down to math in the end. Add up length times width times height of the new stuff and subtract it from the total of the same from the missing stuff and what do you get?
     It’s a wash. Multiplication-wise it’s a wash - Same with algebra - I knew I’d need it somewhere along the line: X equals the total mass of hair lost times Y, years of loss over M – misery, a variable. That’s X times Y over misery! Then take sX, or strange mass, times Yd, years of despair, and put it over Misery and you have it!
     Of course it’s one thing to see the problem clearly - and the solution as well. It’s a whole other thing to deal with an application of the result, as is, or should be - if you’ve done it properly - at least on paper. Hell, just about everything looks good on paper! But the real world (any physicist will tell you), doesn’t like paper-world applications. It likes sticky stuff; glue, cement, adhesive compound! That’s what engineers are for. They tack down those slippery figures!
     So get out the paste, micrometer and calipers – you’ll also need a loop, sterile gloves and a Ouija-board. Remember to keep the pets in the closet or they’ll throw off the whole thing! Tweezers, did I say tweezers? I don’t think I mentioned tweezers… You’re going to need tweezers.
     Now, remember where I was with the hair on the shoulder? Line up the micrometer, the loop, the calipers and the tweezers. Now get out the glue cause we’re going to do some math!