Emails To The Owner Of The Barbershop Upstairs

By:
jimmythechang@gmail.com

To: aCutAbove@yahoo.com

Dear Upstairs Neighbor,

Welcome to the Orange Grove shopping plaza! The businesses here have a long and storied history that stretches back to the 50s when my father, Frank Gabler, Sr., first opened Gabler’s Sweets and Treats for business. And though we’ve been through a lot since that time, I’m proud to say that “S ‘n’ T” has very much become a local institution, and the first stop for anyone with a sweet tooth in the tri-county area.

We’re definitely glad to have you join the Orange Grove community. I know I don’t have a lot of hair these days, but I could definitely use a trim!

Best,

— Frank Gabler, Jr.

* * * * * * *

To: aCutAbove@yahoo.com

Dear Upstairs Neighbor,

Hello again! This is Frank Gabler, Jr., owner of Gabler’s Sweets and Treats downstairs. I hate to be a bother right when you’ve just settled in, but as I was opening the store this morning, I found a pound of hair on my countertop. I know it was a pound of hair because it landed on one of the scales. It appears to have come through a trapdoor in the ceiling, the existence of which I have only just now noticed. (Silly, right? I’ve worked here for over forty years, and when was the last time I really looked at the ceiling?)

I am a candy man born and raised, and admittedly know very little about the barbershop business, but I suspect that disposing of hair in this manner violates some health code (I am very stringent when it comes to following health codes and consider myself an expert on them).

Would it be possible for you to sweep your hair into a bag or a bin, instead of through a hole in your floor?

Thanks again,

— Frank Gabler, Jr.

* * * * * * *

To: aCutAbove@yahoo.com

To the owner of A Cut Above,

Last evening, while I was selling a bag of assorted jelly beans, a blanket of hair covered both myself and my customer, Timmy Dunn, a straight-A student in sixth grade whom I have come to know very well. My ceiling fan was running at the time, which evenly distributed the hair throughout the store. Where the hair didn’t touch exposed candy, it found its way into the drawers and scoops. My taffy is beyond saving.

Please do not sweep hair into the floor again.

— Frank Gabler, Jr.

* * * * * * *

To: aCutAbove@yahoo.com

I ran upstairs to your shop today. The lights were on, and I knocked on the door for a minute before I discovered it was open. However, there was no one at the counter or in the chairs.

I looked around for the trapdoor, but I couldn’t find anything resembling a hatch in the floor. I was in your barbershop for 20 minutes before I went downstairs again.

I’m calling the management.

* * * * * * *

To: aCutAbove@yahoo.com

Arthur, the plaza manager, says he’s never seen anyone go upstairs for a haircut. Come to think of it, I’ve never seen anyone come downstairs either. Where is all this hair coming from? And these short, orange hairs — they don’t look human. What are you doing up there?

I can’t tell if my fudge is compromised, but I can’t afford to throw it away.

* * * * * * *

To: aCutAbove@yahoo.com

Some of this hair is very wet. WHY IS IT SO WET???

* * * * * * *

To: aCutAbove@yahoo.com

Have I done something to deserve this? Have I done something to upset you? I called Arthur again, but he sounded strained. Irritated even, like he didn’t believe me. But I see the hair wafting down, thick as locusts. I hear its soft patter as it settles on every inch of my store. God, how old have I become?

The hair’s piling up too fast for me to clean up. Customers can see it before they walk in; all the lollipops in the display window have a five o’clock shadow. It looks like I’m selling assorted rodents. I saw Timmy outside a few days ago, for the last time I’m sure. I could see the disgust in his eyes before he turned away.

* * * * * * *

To: aCutAbove@yahoo.com

When I go home, there’s hair in my pockets. There’s hair in my shoes. My wife doesn’t care about any of that hair, though. All she notices is the one long, red hair stuck to my collar.

* * * * * * *

To: aCutAbove@yahoo.com

The hair’s just a slow, steady waterfall oozing out of the ceiling now. I ran upstairs and pounded on your door until my fist was raw, but no one answered, of course. So now I’ve closed early, pulled down the blinds. Now I’m just watching the hair pool into a barrel I’ve put underneath. These strands must be hundreds of feet long. They remind me of licorice. Of caramel.

It’s so silky.

* * * * * * *

To: aCutAbove@yahoo.com

the hair is waist-deep and i’ve had time to reflect on my life

* * * * * * *

To: aCutAbove@yahoo.com

I understand now. My father opened this store years ago, but he was a conservative man, never straying far from the conventions of the day. But this hair — it’s a call to action, to change the world of confections. A gift, to incorporate into my sweets. I’ll weave it into taffy, spin it with cotton candy. I’ll bind it with chocolate, streaked with blonde and brunette. Thank you. Thank you.

This hair was meant for the world to enjoy.

* * * * * * *

To: all@orangegrove.net

Dear Orange Grove tenants,

Unfortunately, we’ve made the decision to evict Gabler’s Sweets and Treats from the plaza, effective immediately. Sweets and Treats has been an important part of our community for nearly 60 years, but the store’s recent — and flagrant — health code violations have forced us to take this course of action. Furthermore, Mr. Gabler has been instructed not to return to the plaza, so please call the police if you see him on the premises, whether he is covered in hair or not.

Please welcome Donna Witzak, whose daycare center will be moving into the space at the end of the month.

— Orange Grove Management

 

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