'Ah, excuse me,' Roy said. 'You want to shave...what? My head? You must have me mistaken for someone else!'
The boss man spun on his heels. 'Weren't you at John Oliver in 93?'
'Yeah, so what? There were hundreds of kids there.'
'Didn't you take up with Maria Theresa Angelis and become her boyfriend?'
'No,' said Roy. 'I never had girlfriends in high school. I tried to. But I wasn't popular. I didn't even know any Spanish girls. I was trying to make it with the cheerleaders. Is she Mexican?'
'No, you little shit and neither are we. We're El Salvadorian. Shave him!'
'Now please, wait a minute. If you have a yearbook we can sort this out. My name is Roy McLean. I never dated anyone in high school. Believe me, if I did I would remember.'
'Hugo, shave him!'
'Please, Mr. Boss El Salvador, I don't even remember you! Maybe you were skinnier then...I mean....just...maybe you've changed. Get out your yearbook and I can show you that I'm not the guy!'
The boss man left the room and left Roy with Hugo.
'I hate this job,' said Hugo. He opened a drawer on the desk and pulled out some electrical clippers. 'Now where is the stupid extension cord? Sit over here next to the wall and let's get started.'
'You've got to be kidding,' said Roy. 'This is a prank, right?'
Hugo pointed to the wall, while holding the clippers in his right hand. 'Sit! I could be home having dinner with my mom and now I'm here shaving you. You think I like it, you white, honky, little turd?'
Roy dragged his chair over to the wall and sat down. Hugo turned on the clippers. Roy heard the buzzing. He looked down and saw bits of hair on the floor. 'You guys do this often?' he asked.
'Yeah, it's the boss's fave.'
'You believe me, don't you Hugo?'
'Shut up! Don't say my name, or I'll have to kill you.'
'Okay, but hey man, I'm not the guy. I didn't talk to girls in high school. I don't talk to girls now. I'm a complete loser with the chicks. I'm not the guy!'
'Too bad, so sad,' said Hugo.
Roy started to tremble as Hugo ran the clippers back and forth across his head.
'Hey man,' said Hugo, 'this will make you look better. I was almost going to become a hair stylist you know, but I couldn't stand all the homos in class. Even the teacher was a homo. I hated it. Sit still. So instead, now I work for Carlos. But maybe in the fall I'll sign up again. I'm always shaving someone, I might as well do it right.'
Hugo by now had shaved Roy's head pretty much bald.
'Hey man, it looks good on you. Now for the fun part. But you can do it yourself. Drop your pants.'
'Please, let's talk to your boss one more time,' said Roy.
Roy ran his fingers across the top of his scalp and was surprised to find how nice it felt. He looked down at the mound of hair on the floor and thought, 'Could be worse.' And then he saw Hugo holding out the clippers to him and sort of motioning that Roy should take them.
'Go for it dude,' said Hugo.
Right then the door opened and Jose and Carlos came storming back.
'Okay,' said Carlos, 'I only kept this so I could track you down and kill you. So let's look you up.'
Carlos opened a yearbook and flipped through the pages until he came to the grade ten's. He ran his finger down one side of the page and up the next and then he said, 'Ah ha! Little shmuck punk! Here you are!' He handed the book to Roy.
Roy took a look and said, 'That's not me, that's Roy McKenzie. I'm Roy McLean. But I remember him. He stole your girl? Aw, that's too bad. I can see why you'd be mad, but what is it? Ten years ago and you haven't got over it yet?'
Carlos grabbed the book back and Hugo looked over his shoulder. 'He's got you there, boss.'
Jose looked as well. 'Yeah boss, look up McLean and let's see what he looked like then.'
Carlos ran his finger along until he came to Roy's picture. He looked at the yearbook and then at Roy and then back at the yearbook.
'Okay, so what, take him back.'
Hugo looked at Jose and said, 'Jose, it was your idea, you take him back.'
'Forget it Hugo, you drove the car.'
'Both of you can take him back and don't bring any stupid, white guys here again!'
Back in the car, driving down Hastings Street, Roy felt like he had won the lottery. What the heck, a little fun with the boys.
'Hey you guys, so do I get some laundry detergent?'
Hugo and Jose pulled up to the Laundromat and waited for Roy to get out.
'Can't you at least spare a toonie?'
But as he slammed the car door they pulled away, their tires screeching and a final yell of, 'Fuck off, loser white boy!'
Roy stood there watching them drive away and before he could help himself he waved goodbye. Old habits never die. When they turned the corner he finally went back to the Laundromat to find that luckily it was still open but empty of customers and that someone had dumped all his wet clothes on the floor.
He scratched his scrotum. 'Well,' he thought, 'it could have been worse.'
Time for a recipe.
1/2 cup rolled oats
Enough milk to make it worthwhile, maybe 3/4 of a cup
Nuke it one minute.
Add whipped cream, about 3 big dollops
Add a sprinkle of cinnamon and a crisscross of drizzled honey.......Yummy!