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The car pulled up in front of the large salon. The neon sign, that sexy broad thing, on the salon's
roof read "Mr. Gil's All-night Salon". The exhaust pipe of the car was pumping solid smoke, the
swirls moving from the car and towards the salon. We should have fixed this car, but we didn't
want odd delays of any kind. Inside the salon, several people were having their hairs either cut
or braided or permed or being turned to Jerry curls. Several barbers were at work. Sadly, we
didn't really see the other blood-stained signpost that read: "Cut Your Head Here." Or maybe
we thought it was just a typographical error, or that the owner lacked education to know about
the "linguistic misdemeanor" he had commited. Anyways, John needed a haircut urgently that
night. So we got out and walked towards the salon, swaying our shoulders to plain defiance –
after all, what's Dick's or Harry's business with a man's mistake when he can really barb. As we
were getting closer to the glass door, a lady pushed the door and ran out into the night –
sweating. Her head was clean-shaven, and we didn't really take a good look at her face. We
turned only to find she was gone. We looked at ourselves in askance but entered nonetheless.
Let's stop here a bit.
What happens when you don't ask questions? You die? Maybe. Come with me in this narrative.

So the first barber we met was using a clipper I had never seen before. Maybe John, but not
me. I widened my eyes, but didn't ask questions. Instead I walked past him and sandwiched
myself in-between the other waiting customers.

In the Hands of my Legs, Horror, Pephel, 721 words

"Who's the last?" John asked, still standing. But nobody replied him. Instead the barbers were
busy with their tools, none raising a head to look at the customers. John didn't ask any further,
instead he came to sit with me. What a bunch!

And as I looked into the mirror in front of me, I saw my face beaming with smiles. But in reality I
was not smiling. I felt that something was wrong and looked at myself carefully and well
enough. But this time, my face had lost the smiles. I rubbed my eyes and said aloud:
"Please, we are in a hurry! Can my friend get his hair cut in the next five minutes or so?"

At that instance, the other barber with dreadlocks said: "We are ready to cut. It's our work.
Come over." And, immediately, the barbed fellow stood up and relinquished his seat to John. I
watched as the customer paid and turned to leave. Next thing I saw was that the man shook his
head this and that way and rushed out of the salon. I felt I was having enough of this, but John
was already seated – the clipper on his head.
"Come on, John!" I said. "If you don't barb today you will not die. Damn everything! We should
hit the road, I say. Don't cut your hair."
John looked at the mirror and replied: "Why, Timothy? I need this cut."
"No. You will not hear. We have to leave." I said. "I have an urgent call. Just pay if he insists."
"But it doesn't work that way, Tim." all the barbers said in unison. "Actually we won't cut his
hair. That's not part of our job description. We are professionals. An insult to one is insult to

In the Hands of my Legs, Horror, Pephel, 721 words

"Jeez!" I said. "Jojo...Jo...John." I stammered.
"We cut head here." they uttered in mechanical fashion. "We are professionals. We do our

I peed on my pants. And when I looked, I saw John's head off in the mirror. Another seated
customer got up as John paid and rushed out of the salon with a fake head.
I cried and rushed out with my life in the hands of my legs.
And I have lived with this massive shock ever since. And since then I have not spoken of this to
anybody – except the last time I met the fake-headed John on the road to Hunsey. But he didn't
believe me and asked that I learn how not to scare strangers. And now I'm scared I must have
scared you. I shall never tell this story again.


Marvel Chukwudi Pephel, also known as Poet Panda, is a Nigerian writer and biochemist. His writing stays in the intersection of weirdness and the familiar. In 2021, he was invited to the Sixth Chinua Achebe Literary Festival. He is venturing into what he calls Comic Horror. He has synaesthesia. According to him, if mosquitoes were on any other planet then it would be quite an unwholesome,  unpleasant surprise.


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