Slice of Write

Stories & jibber-jabber by Janelle Parmer, Author of The Other Side of the Ledge & Chasing Calla Lilies

I first noticed it in the bathroom mirror.  No, this can’t be happening.  It must be the lighting.  I leaned in closer to the mirror as a predator ready to hunt its prey, just as I have seen my cat, Snake, do so many times before.  Maybe my eyes were getting bad.  The thought of having to increase my eye glass prescription soothed my quick beating heart.  There, in my mother’s dimly lit, pepto-bismol colored cell, I accepted my defeat.  The victor was a small gray hair sticking out of my right eyebrow.  “Son of a bitch,” I whispered intently at the little menace.  It didn’t speak back.  It didn’t have to.  Its presence alone did all of the talking.  The transformation of myself into my father had officially begun.

After a few moments of just staring at each other, I decided it was time to take action.  I wasn’t going to succumb so easily to fate.  I fumbled through my travel bag for my weapon of choice.  I started to panic when I couldn’t find anything to use against this horrid villain.  Finally, I felt my tweezers at the bottom of the bag and positioned them instinctively.  I was a man on a mission – the gray beast must die!  I yanked the monster from the forest with a sense of awe, and a rush of extreme pain.  “Son of a bitch!” I exclaimed again as I gasped in pain.  I leaned in to take a look at the aftermath of my killing spree. 

I noticed it right away.  The gray hair smiling back at me.  His arrogance mocking me.  I examined my weapon.  In its claw of destruction lay a black, perfect eyebrow hair.  A causality of war.  Sorry, my dear friend.  The anger bubbled inside of me.  Not only did I fail to destroy the gray beast; I accidentally killed an ally in the process.  Revenge set in as I grabbed the tweezers and leaned in once again for the kill.  Seconds of fumbling, positioning the weapon in its place, felt like weeks.  I started sweating.  This gray monster was a good warrior, which is why I had to be a great one. 

The second pluck didn’t hurt as much as the first.  I quickly stared at my face in the mirror.  I didn’t see the gray beast hiding among my comrades.  I jerk the tweezers to eye level and there it was, the gray beast, laying still and hopeless in its claws.  My worthy opponent now dead.  I celebrate with a quiet yell and pump my fists into the air.  The party is cut short as I realize there will be others that follow.  His comrades will seek revenge.  They may strike hard and fast at any time.  I must be ready.  We must be ready.  I clean the tweezers and carefully put them back in my travel pouch.  “Sleep well, my friend,” I whisper as I gently close the zipper.

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