>>> The Lady's Shave
By staff writer NG Hatfield
January 30, 2008

We were the last dope deal of the night for Sam and everybody could tell he was getting frustrated. He was squatty, Irish, and always fucking stoned, but for some reason, the kid had a tick that just made it fucking obvious that he was upset.

“Listen man,” he said, rubbing the sweat from his temples in tight, quick circles, “I’m the only guy in this town who: one, calls you when I get shit, and two, gets it to you quick. Cut me some slack.”

Gary opened the Ziploc that held the eighth again. His hand looked like a duck preparing to gobble up a bag of oregano. He shook the spice and kept his frown, “All seeds.” And then, after another shake, “I don’t care if you give me fucking head when you deliver. I’m not paying full price for a bag of fucking seeds.”

“Alright. Alright. Seventy-five percent and that’s the offer.”

“We need witnesses for this shit. Phil’s going to go into a coma and I don’t want to be held liable.”

Gary looked up from the bag to me. I shrugged. I never bought dope and didn’t care about the seeds. It was all the same to me. I was a “scavenger smoker” and a good one at that. I never bought the shit, never kept it on me. I was the guy who was always looking out for cops when we went cruising. Both Gary and Jake, his roommate, gave me shit about it, but I’m sure on some level they appreciated my concern.

Jake finally cut around my shoulder, “We’ll take it.”

Gary protested, balled up the bag in his fist and let it drop on the brown linoleum table. We were in a Subway.

“Good,” Sam said, “I need to get back to work.”

Somebody pulled out the wad of cash they had collected and smacked it into Sam’s latex hand. He left our table and asked some cutesy-looking teenage girl what kind of bread she wanted for her veggie sub.

I’ll take herb,” she said, and Jake, Gary and I laughed on our way back home. For at least an hour.

Phil came over to Jake’s trailer the next day with the brazen intent of getting high for the first time. He was a tall, skinny guy and awkward as all hell. He was always speaking cryptically. Essentially, he was making inside jokes with himself.

He opened the door to the trailer shouting, “Polly Polly where is your Dolly?” and slapping himself on the chest.

“Phil, you’re a stupid bastard,” I said and went back to drawing cartoons of Jake’s mother and Gary’s cat having sex. It looked more like a unicorn jumping into a pile of maple leaves.

“What you doing there?” he asked.

“Oh, just trying to maintain some sense of reality.”

“Looks like a fucked up Canadian flag.”

Gary and Jake were playing video games and stopped to get out the weed and pack the pipe. They were best friends since early childhood and a lot of the time, they couldn’t get a five-minute job done in ten minutes because they were constantly bickering.

“You need to pack it so there’s a little more air in there,” Gary said.

“You need to let me pack my bowl the way I want to fucking pack it,” Jake said.

“Well if I did that, we’d all be smoking resin.”

“What the fuck does that even mean?”

Eventually, their voices twisted into each other and I couldn’t tell who was winning the debate.

In the most oblique way I could, I shouted at them, “Just pack that fat caddy, fuckers.”

In time, the matter was settled and the fresh, green stuff was sent over to Phil. Jake usually wasn’t so gracious with the weed, but we were all plenty

“So, you just hold this here and inhale?” Phil asked. The piece was a brass pipe, worn with use. It looked like a smaller version of something you’d find in a nineteenth century mill in Worchester or Lancashire or something like that.

Jake told him to let off the carburetor when he inhaled, and we watched Phil draw in the smoke and let it all out in a cough.

“Whoa,” he said. He hit it again.

They were all stoned and when Phil got what he wanted he went out on the deck of the trailer. I had just built the thing for Gary, so I went out to see how Phil liked it.

“It’s mayonnaise,” he said.

“What the fuck does that even mean?”

“It means more mustard than the deli shop’s got, you big lug.”

“Alright Phil,” I said, and headed down to the grass to enjoy some sunshine.

About thirty minutes later, Phil, Jake and Gary had joined me in the yard. The grass was hot and stale; it felt like stepping on little shards of cardboard when I walked around the trailer. I had been chasing Jake’s cat Ulma, and enjoying how large its eyes got when I threw beer cans at her.

“C’mere you little bastard!” I said.

“Leave her alone, goddamnit. She’ll never come back,” Jake said.

I stopped and laid down in the grass and folded my ankles at the heels. I stretched my arms out and looked up at the trees. Like it or not, my intentions were to feel like Christ. I don’t know why and I feel no reason to justify it. I looked just like him, though; or at least like the massive painting that hung above the alter at St. Pat’s: skinny, white, shirtless.

The sun was now shinning behind a few cumulus clouds, giving them a gold lining. Phil had looked up from his spot and saw these clouds.


“Huh?” Gary asked.

The lanky bastard spun around and was on his knees. He looked like he was praying. After a few seconds, I could see tears were streaming down his cheeks and being caught on the neck of his shirt.

“What the hell is wrong with you, Phil?” Gary asked, and laughed.

Phil didn‘t answer, but threw up two clenched hands to the sky, “THANK YOU GOD. THANK YOU GOD FOR LETTING ME LIVE!”

Phil’s existential quandary. He was there in the grass kneeling like it was the goddamned Sabbath and bawling. “IT’S THE JUDGMENT DAY. TAKE ME JESUS. TAKE ME INTO YOUR ARMS!”

Except for my head, I didn’t move. I kind of liked the idea that I was a martyr…or maybe a prophet. Whatever I was, I had inspired Phil into a moment of pure monotheistic bliss.

“Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.” He kept chanting. “Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.”

“Would you stop crying, for Christ sake?” Gary demanded. His command fell to deaf ears, if only because, it seemed to me, that he wasn’t convicted in it. He was still throwing a massive red ball in the air and catching it as he looked down at Phil.

“You’ve got to come over here. Phil is having a fucking Divine stroke,” Jake said, and let out his goofy-ass laugh. He was on the phone with McCoy. I could hear him laughing through the phone from a good twenty yards away.

“McCoy’s coming over,” Jake said to Gary and I.

“Sweet,” Gary said, “we need witnesses for this shit. Phil’s going to go into a coma and I don’t want to be held liable.”

It was true. Phil had moved from his praying position to a full-out, Christ-like pose. That of which I had moved out of as Phil began asking if he could touch my stigmata.

“No, you fucking fag,” I said, and leapt up to the porch.

Think of Phil what you might, but the bastard really believed. And it went on like this for about thirty minutes. That is, until Phil pissed himself.

That’s when we knew we had to get him back to reality or he’d die.

“Snap the fuck out of it,” I said. And honestly, I didn’t think that would do it. So, Gary, Jake and I began shaking him. I held his legs. Gary shook his head and Jake was there wailing at his chest.

I’d be lying right now if I didn’t say that it was fun—beating the heaven out of Phil—but something in the process wasn’t right. Homosexual overtones aside, we were removing the purity from our friend and I was always taught to embrace innocence.

But finally, with a big sigh, Phil returned to earth.

With an, “Oh,” he stood up to see the stain on his jeans. “I can’t believe you let me piss myself,” he said, and asked where all the weed had gone.

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