Johnny America


Is As Was


In Oc­to­ber the leaves turned. In De­cem­ber they fell. Still, months af­ter she’d left, he found her cast-away bob­by pins when­ev­er he swept, turned the bed, or yawned. Like bread­crumbs, he thought, women leave a trail of hair care ephemera wher­ev­er they rest their locks. From mem­o­ry, he di­aled her number.

— Stephen!

— Oh, I’m do­ing well, and you?

— Re­al­ly? Con­grat­u­la­tions! That’s a long time a comin’, if you ask me. You should’ve got­ten that pro­mo­tion years ago, when we were…

— Fine, things are go­ing swimmingly.

— Oh, moth­er’s fine, complain‑y as ever.

— I’m not sure what you mean?

— “The male corol­lary to the fe­male trace of hair care and slumber?”

— Hmm.

— I do still find one of your red hairs once in a while. I had the car­pet cleaned re­cent­ly, but they still turn up.

— Well, you were los­ing a lot of your hairs.

— No, not bald.

— Bald­ing, I suppose.

— You’ve got a lit­tle spot, did­n’t you know?

— Oh, you take care too.

— Yes.

— Give my love to your mother.

Stephen hung up the re­ceiv­er and walked to the bath­room. Like a child try­ing to catch a glimpse of the back of his head through sheer ve­loc­i­ty, he spun ’round seek­ing proof of the sup­posed desert patch on his head. He ran his hand through his raven hair but re­fused the ev­i­dence. “buy hand mir­ror,” he wrote on the chalk­board near the dishwasher.

Filed under Fiction on March 19th, 2006

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