The hairdresser’s scissors dance a mad staccato about my head, loped off locks of hair falling to the floor. She performs her task silently, as she knows that I’m not one for small talk. I’m a regular, you see. Everything that is happening now has been practiced and performed many times: the snipping, the silence, the spying.
Oh yes, the spying.
As you know, they are always watching me, even as I sit less than serene in the stylist’s chair. My eyes fall down to my toes, poking out from under the crude black cape covering me, but then suddenly dart up to the mirror; if I’m quick enough I might be able to catch them looking.
But they’ve always been faster. Not once have I caught sight of even one of them reflected in the expansive mirror.
The hairdresser smiles back at me, probably encouraging me to continue my struggle. And I do. Maybe, one day, I will have honed my reflexes enough to beat one of them at this game of hide-and-seek, maybe catch a fleeting glance.
“All done, Alpaca Dave,” she says, startling me.
She used my full name! I think to myself. Maybe she knows that they were not watching all this time.
A smile twitches at my lips as I have a most beautiful realization.
“Thank you,” I reply, standing from the chair and causing a cascade of hair to fall from my front.
I pay the bill, thank her again, and don my coat as I step out the door. A small bell rings behind me as the door closes. The smile from before is still plastered on my face.
Why do I smile? Well, it’s because of that most beautiful realization from before: if they weren’t watching in the hair salon, then they won’t know that I got a haircut.
Which means I am now disguised.
My smile widens as it becomes a laugh. With renewed confidence I set out for the rest of my day, knowing that they are, for once, not watching.