by Randal Houle
Cutting hair is such a singular pleasure for me, that when the warden asked if I had any special talents that could be turned into a vocation during my ‘stay,' of course I suggested I could cut the other inmates' hair. He said no immediately. “Not you, pick another profession.”
What am I in for, you ask? I'm serving a life sentence for giving a bad haircut. One lousy haircut. I have hundreds of satisfied clients, but apparently, you can get the electric chair for a simple mistake.
So, when the warden said I couldn't cut hair on the inside, it really cut me deep. It wasn't what you think, I didn't murder one of my clients.
He was a walk-in. He refused the razor. I advised against that. Nearly everyone, well everyone in my shop gets the electric clippers. Scissors are for suckers and I liked watching the ball game while I worked.
I combed out a section of hair, from the top of his head. I pinched it between my fingers.
“Hey, that guy was safe,” I said to the television. He was out.
I squeezed the handle. It felt a little tougher than I remember from school, so I really gave it a good squeeze. There were no screams because I had sliced into his windpipe, but the gurgling was my first clue something was wrong.I'm still waiting to see if the warden will let me cut hair for the other inmates.