by Laura Solomon
and Kerryn Young
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At first I was distraught
that my eighties perm had been replaced by a
sharp, jagged mohawk, but I soon learned to
embrace my new do. I went with the flow. The
first person to pass comment was of course Beryl.
I was cleaning in behind the dryers when she came
in to work.
Now hang on a minute,
she said when she saw me. Theres
something different about you. Have you lost
weight? Got makeup on for a change? No? Oh, I no,
oh golly its the hair.
Her hands flew up to her
Where did you get that
It was done to
me. At a picnic table. On a common. Somewhere on
the outskirts of London. Not sure where.
Well Im sorry
love, but we cant have you coming into work
looking like that. Whatll the customers
think? Im going to have to let you go.
But I only just
I tossed her the keys to
I know love, but I
didnt realise you were going to fix your
hair all funny like that or I wouldnt have
hired you in the first place. You cant go
changing your appearance so drastically and hope
to keep your job.
Fine then, I
said. You can stick your crappy job. Im
sick of the dead mice anyway.
No need to be like
that dear. If you can get your old hair back we
can see what we can do.
get my old hair back, can I, you old trout. Its
been chopped off.
I grabbed my jacket and
handbag and stormed from the laundromat in a huff.
I was marching furiously
down the high street, not watching where I was
going when I bumped bang smack into Philip. His
camera was slung on a strap around his neck
he looked to be in his early forties.
Love the hairdo,
he said. Bold, confident. It says I
am me, deal with it world.
I looked up, gazed into his
baby blues and echoed quietly I am me, deal
with it world.
I was flattered by the
attention of an older man.
Say, can I take your
photo? he asked. Against that wall
over there. All you have to do is pout a bit and
put your hands back against the wall, fingers
Sure, I said,
This was the first time a
complete stranger had asked for my photograph.
I did as instructed. Moved
back against the wall and gave my best pout and
splayed my fingers and Philip clicked away and
seemed happy. He invited me out for a drink and I
didnt say no. We sat together in the Dog
and Duck, me sipping Chardonnay and him drinking
beer with a nice frothy head.
So what do you do for
a living? he asked me.
Long story. I used to
be a hairdresser, but I had a little
with the peroxide. Some idiots took exception to
what I was doing and put me out of business. So I
took a job at the laundromat. Got the sack this
morning because of my new hairdo. So I guess I am
officially unemployed though I havent
signed on yet. I intend to look for other work.
I clenched my fists.
I wont be
defeated that easily. Theres life in the
old girl yet.
Philip put his arm around
Thats my girl.
How about another Chardonnay to drown your
sorrows? Sounds like youve had a rough time
of it lately. Youre very special. Youre
I nodded my head. Downed
the new drink in a couple of gulps. It was only
10:30am and Id skipped breakfast so I was
feeling a little tipsy. I put my hand on Philips
knee and began stroking. Then I moved my hand a
little higher up his thigh. I was pleased to note
that Philip was happy to make my acquaintance. I
snuggled in closer and put my head upon his chest.
I could hear his heart thumping. Philips skulled
the rest of his beer and said how about we
go back to my place in a deep manly voice.
How could a girl resist? I
dont want anybody thinking I am a tart. I
dont do this kind of thing often. Enough.
Philip drove a red sports car with a sun roof. He
put on a pair of wraparound sunglasses and put
the top down and we drove through the Peckham
streets feeling like King and Queen of the
universe. I waved out the windows and called out
yoo-hoo to several passersby.
We arrived in Brixton at
Philips pad. We went in through the front
door and into the living room. Philip bought me
another glass of white wine and took a Budweiser
for himself, then brought out a bag of white
powder and put it down upon the table.
What this? I
asked. Icing sugar?
I put my finger in and
licked it. My gums tingled and then went numb.
Funny tasting icing
sugar, I said. Bet your Mum didnt
give you that.
I winked at him. One thing
led to another and we were in flagrante delicito,
doing it doggy style facing the TV. We had been
going for about ten minutes and we must not have
heard the front door open or shut. The next thing
I knew one of Philips flatmates was
standing in the doorway, mouth open.
O Philip, he
said. Ive just finished a hard shift
at the club. I dont want to come home and
see this. You could at least have gone to the
Philip rolled away and
grabbed for the TV remote.
We were just watching
Hymns of Praise on TV, he said,
cranking up the volume.
Yeah right. Come on.
Take it to the bedroom. I need to use the dining
area, I have to cook some brunch and I dont
want to see you two bunny rabbits going at it.
The mood was ruined. Philip
said we should go watch the kites at Brockwell
Park. I giggled and said okay. We trotted down
the road to the park and sat on the side of the
common watching the multi-coloured shapes swing
and sway in the breeze we were as high as
kites ourselves. After a couple of hours the
booze and coke started to wear off and I asked
Philip to take me home.
these lovely memories weve made, I
said, kicking one heel up behind me.
Philip took me back to the
car. I figured he was safe to drive by now. We
roared through the London streets back to my
place. I thought about asking him in but I didnt
want him to think I was too easy. I gave him a
peck on the cheek and went to say goodnight but
then realized it was only mid-afternoon.
I said with a giggle and skipped merrily up the
What a day. If only stuffy
old Beryl knew what I had been up to!
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