welcome to the baldie stories blog.

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

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Stories used for publication of Baldie Stories 1 have been removed from this blog.

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