80. Oracle of the Follicle.

I was in the toilet.
Maybe I should set up a little stall selling aftershave and rubber johnnies.
I might as well make some extra money from all the time I spend in there.
Can’t see Soulless Boss liking that.
“Lucifer! Where’s the proof copies for Spazda that you’re meant to be working on?”
“Sorry Soulless Boss. I’ve not done them. How about a french tickler and a squirt of Sex Panther instead?”
No, it might be better to keep my toilet time a bit more low-key.
I was in the toilet looking in the mirror.
I get these weird hairs in my beard sometimes.
Hulk hairs.
Like normal hairs, only bigger and more gnarly.
Hurt like fuck as well.
I’ll find what I think is a spot on my jaw line, fuck about with it relentlessly until it gets a bit infected, then suddenly a beanstalk erupts from my chin, hideous and wiry, and I pluck it out.
I hope I’m not the only person who gets this.
Maybe it’s beard cancer and I don’t know it yet.
Maybe I was accidentally irradiated as a child by a faulty microwave oven and my beard was mutating into a new species of beard, a beard that would take over the world.
Or maybe most blokes get them.
Anyway, I picked away at my chin, tears springing in my eyes.
“Ow! You horrible fucker…”
“What are you doing, Lucifer?”
“Fuck a duck! Don’t do that, Scorcher! I nearly shat myself!”
“You’d be in the right place if you did.”
“Shit yourself. You know, if you’re gonna shit yourself, the bog is the place to be.”
“I suppose so…”
“I’ve shat myself in some odd places, Lucifer.”
“I haven’t. I don’t make a habit of that kind of thing.”
“Did it in the barber’s once.”
“What? Why did you do that?”
“I didn’t mean to. He was giving me a shave, he plucked out a nose hair, it made me sneeze, when I sneezed I shat myself.”
“Oh. Bet that didn’t go down too well.”
“No, it didn’t. I go to a different barber now.”
“I bet you do, Scorcher.”
Anyway, Lucifer. What you doing?”
“Funnily enough, I’m pulling out a hair on my chin.”
“You’re making a right fucking mess of it.”
“I know. It’s one of them Hulk hairs.”
“A hulk hair? What’s that?”
“Like a normal hair only bigger and meaner and it fucks up my chin. Do you get them?”
“Yeah, I get them. You should leave them alone, though.”
“I’m glad I’m not the only one who get’s them. I was a bit worried, to be honest.”
“Yeah, I get them, but you should leave them alone, don’t fuck about with them.”
“Why not? If I leave this thing alone it might take over my face. It’s like copper wire. I’m going to pull it out.”
“Don’t do that! It’s the worst thing you can do!”
“How come?”
“I did it once, Lucifer. It was terrible.”
“Fuck. What happened, Scorcher?”
“I was doing just what you’re doing. I found lump on my chin, fucked about with it, felt this stiff hair and started pulling it.”
“Did it come out?”
“Yeah, and then some. I pulled it out, but it kept coming. Longer and longer. Hurt like a bastard, but I kept pulling. I couldn’t stop.”
“Shit! How long was it?”
“Three feet long.”
“Fuck off.”
“No, really! It were three feet long. With one big tug it finally came out of my face, and do you know what happened?”
“My ear fell off.”
“Jesus wept.”
“Yeah. Had to go to A & E with my ear in a matchbox. Surgeon said it happened all the time. Blokes find a funny hair somewhere, fuck about with it, pluck it out and a bit something off. Got to be careful.”
“Yeah, well your ear looks alright to me.”
“It were my other ear.”
“Scorcher, there’s nothing wrong with that ear either.”
“I know. The surgeon was fucking ace.”
“See you later, Scorcher.”
“Yeah, see you around, Lucifer. I’m busting for a crap.”
I left him to it.
I looked in the mirror.
I could see the hair now, poking out.
I grabbed it, pulled.
It came out.
Just an ugly, gnarly hulk hair.
But for just a second, as I pulled it, I wondered…
And glanced at my ear.

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