I went to the Chevron, and you must forgive my reasons, but there I went.
This was a time when my beard was big and full and free as a bear frolicking through a campsite.
There was a line. And ahead of me was a man with a smaller beard, and he knew it and he said it, and he told me it was three months’ growth.
It was a well-kept beard, and I looked upon it with respect, and so I said.
And so he said he had respect for my beard, and asked me, “How long did it take to grow?”
So I told him, “One week.”
I could see his jaw drop — for his was a short beard — and I could hear his tongue dry in awe as his words lost themselves.
“I do not hold the world record, so you cannot verify this, but if you spend the week with me, you shall see for yourself.”
He liked his home very much, so we struck an arrangement — he would shave my beard and we would meet at the bar in a week’s time. If I was lying — which is known to me — I would buy a round of beer for him and his friends — and he was quite popular. But, if I were telling the truth, he would read the Globe and Mail to me every weekend for a month — for he had a rather pleasant voice which did not stutter.
So he shaved my beard and threw it in the fire so I couldn’t glue it to my face — which wouldn’t be beyond me. Then a thick plume of smoke wrapped around my ankles and crawled up my body — up to my chin and lingered there. I smiled with a deep knowing of the events to pass.
Sure enough, a week passed, and I got a call, but I had to revert to text, for this week I was terribly sick, so it had to be the next week. But, sure enough, I had to visit my cousins in France that week, so it had to be two weeks after that. Then work was busy. Then a getaway with my lover. Then work was busy again. Then I needed self-care. And on and on did these inconvenient circumstances come upon me. And no, I do not have a camera or a smart phone.
A day came three months later that we could meet. But, I warned him, I needed to trim my beard for it had become quite cumbersome.
At this he lost his patience. He refused this for me, saying that I must have the longest damn beard in the world by now, and that he would accept no shorter length.
So I said I do not wish to make a spectacle of myself, so we must meet in the alley behind the Chevron. That I would show him my beard, but only a glance, for I’ll be concealing it because, again, I do not like making a spectacle of myself.
So we met in the alley. I was wearing a long trench coat with a scarf covering my face.
“Alright, lets see this fucker.”
So, very carefully, I removed my scarf, and there was beard. I popped the top button of my coat, and there was beard. And the next button. Beard. The next button. Beard. The last button and beard fell to my feet and folded out to his.
But his jaw did not drop. His tongue was not dry, and he was not at a loss. With the quickest shot, before any warning, before I could conceal my beard again, he gave it a sharp yank.
The beard remained. As did his hand. As did his hand despite letting go. As did his hand despite pulling away. As did his other hand as he tried harder to pull. As did his arms as the beard wrapped around him. As did his feet, his legs, his shoulders, and finally, as did his head with its little beard.
So, for a month, I would sit on the porch with my Globe and Mail, and a head with a little beard would poke out and read aloud the happenings of the week with a rather pleasant voice which did not stutter.
Nate Nate Nainers was there when the walls fell. When they poured over in droves and scoured the streets. Trapped in the keep, he heard the last cry of the king, and watched the city burn under the searing gaze of the Dark Lord. He now lives in Vancouver, BC, and writes to forget this which is forever haunting him.
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