cyle talley

A Little Trim

Writing (or trying to write) a story a day for Instagram (#storygram or follow me @borderlineobscene) has improved my ability to hone a story. Sometimes that honing means a distillation and parsing, and other times, it means an exhuming. In the case of today’s story, it meant the latter. I thought that I’d post the original version of what I intended to title, “The Jewish Barber”, and show you how the story changed and how it didn’t.


“The Jewish Barber” (original)

The old Jewish barber & I are talking about politics as he squints through thick glasses, parting my hair this way & that. He snips & talks; he scoffs when I suggest that the GOP is dying, they just don’t know it yet.

“Ha!” he says. “People are only Democrats until they make enough money to behoove them not to be!”


“A Little Trim” (final)

Morty double checks that the smock is covering my starched collar, then collects his scissors from the counter below the mirror where we are reflected, & gives the air above my head a few practice snips.

“I call this meeting to order then,” the old Jewish barber smiles & begins parting my hair this way & that, squinting through thick glasses, & trimming indiscriminately. “And so tell me, young babyface, how are things with the enviroment? Have you saved it yet with your lawyering then?”

Morty likes to talk policy. Issues, current events. He likes to wind me up & likewise, to be wound up himself. The severity of my haircut tends to be in direct proportion to how heated our discussion gets. I once walked out of his shop in mid-December with a nearly shaved head when we got to talking about minimum wage.

“It’s not good, Morty,” a hair lands on my nose. It stays put, regardless of how I wriggle my nose or contort my lips to blow it off its perch.

“Oh, come now, babyface,” he swipes at my nose brusquely, ridding it of the one hair, but leaving several more in its wake. “It’s like anything. How bad it seems depends on who’s looking at it.”



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