The Lady With The Dog
By Clinton Morgan
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Yet another hair salon emerged in Sonning Common. Jacqueline and Rosalind Kennedy were weighing up the odds over which Marilyn Monroe film to play on the wall mounted television set. Rosalind opted for ‘Bus Stop’ whilst Jacqueline had a predilection for ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’. To solve matters a coin would be flipped. Only problem was who would be flipping and which side of the coin would represent ‘Bus’ and which side of the coin would represent ‘Blondes’?
Sat upon a wooden plank was six year old Noah Barnaby. As Rosalind was out purchasing provisions it was left to Jacqueline to do the honours. Noah’s mother Candy-Patricia had left him alone for a little while in the company of her trusted friend. Was Noah to be trusted on the other hand? He was a confident little tyke and when the whites of his peepers glistened Jacqueline was very much aware of his wandering eyes for the ladies including the Kennedy sisters. O, how the ladies of the intertwining counties of Berkshire and Oxfordshire would blush like beetroots in vinegar whenever that quick developer proffered a naughty look. Noah was audacious in conversation too. Candy-Patricia had to be quick witted to catch up with him. Repetitive smacks round his gluteus maximus would only prove him right.
As Jacqueline trimmed Noah’s fringe to Jane Russell’s courtroom appearance in a Norma Jean Baker disguise the salon’s bright black dial telephone shook the windows with its chimes. Jacqueline was too occupied to answer. During Noah’s follicle manicure the old fashioned telling bone pealed its bells on three occasions. “Could you be a little careful when trimming round my ears?” He asked. “There’s this girl I’ve got my eye on.” Jacqueline looked at her reflection and raised an eyebrow before carefully trimming round his ears. The shop’s door opened and in walked Noah’s mother. She complimented her son’s haircut. Jacqueline said Noah was quite the interesting conversationalist. “I’m sure he was. Come on sweetie, it’s shepherd’s pie tonight.”
“That’ll keep you warm this winter’s evening.” Jacqueline added before asking Candy-Patricia if she had seen her little sister. Noah’s mother shook her head. Stood in the salon was a tall woman with long fingers that had nails painted with the same brilliant crimson as her mouth, within those fingers on her left side was a lead and on the end of that lead was an Old English sheepdog.
“I phoned earlier……I have a request.” The tall woman then turned to Candy-Patricia and her son to inform that they may pay the woman and leave. Candy-Patricia curtly responded, “I’m staying put.” The tall woman looked at Noah’s mother, and then continued. “I would like you to give The Admiral some much needed hair removal. She’s been washed with the appropriate shampoo so there’s no need for you to add more onto the price by breaking her neck over a sink with a semi-circle cut into it.” Jacqueline gave a cordial smile and imparted “There might be dog grooming boutiques down the Oxford Road in Reading. Maybe even Prospect Street in Caversham. Sorry. Cannot help you.” The tall woman looked at the ceiling and then at the widescreen television. “I like her. My personal favourite is ‘Don’t Bother To Knock’ She attempts to kill a child in that. If I watch that film enough times, she will.” Noah rapidly parked his posterior onto the plastic waiting chair.
The tall woman walked The Admiral to the barber’s chair, removed the wooden plank, and rhythmically patted the leather cushion. The Admiral leapt upon the chair shaking nervously. The tall woman laid her right-hand upon her cranium and soon she felt the female human’s soothing energy flow from her painted nails. The tall woman turned towards Jacqueline and said, “You may now begin.” Jacqueline gingerly stepped around The Admiral. She searched for hair that might need cutting. Dead or anything potentially irritating to a sheepdog. The tall woman stood and looked whilst Candy-Patricia and Noah watched with simultaneous eyes. Jacqueline took a small comb in one hand and a clean pair of scissors in the other. Using the teeth of the comb as a guiding tool for the requisite length of dog hair to be cut Jacqueline began snipping. She felt sheepish at doing such a leftfield activity. The tall woman patted The Admiral with the flat of her hand. “Good girl.” Then she turned and in a ladylike fashion stepped towards the door. “You’re doing a grand job my fat darling. I shall be back within a little while.”
“It’s nearly closing time.” Candy-Patricia piped. The tall woman eyeballed her son and Candy-Patricia went quiet. Stood outside the door of the hair salon the tall woman rested her palms upon the glass emitting a halo of condensation and then she turned away.
The Admiral struggled to breathe whilst scissors stood erect in the right side of her neck. Noah shivered as the experience of experiencing his first kill sunk in. “Don’t feel bad my little darling. She was a little beserk.”
“A little beserk?” Said Jacqueline. “That is the understatement of the year.” Candy-Patricia leant over as the canine gasped its last. Then she turned to Jacqueline and did not speak. Jacqueline replied likewise. Silhouetted against the black sky the tall woman stood calm. Noah double took as she tapped the display window with her right index fingernail. Making her way in Jacqueline and Candy-Patricia were sycophantically apologetic. Not looking at the two women and the young boy the tall woman picked up the electric hair clippers and knelt down by the pooch’s bloodied cadaver. All observed with patient perplexion as the tall woman removed all the hairs from the dog gradually exposing bare skin.
Then Jacqueline’s chest trembled and quivered as her broken hearted tears dampened her barely wrinkled apple-cheeks. “Oh Rosalind. Oh Rosalind.”
The tall woman placed the electric hair-clippers back into its holder
and walked away
into the distance.
© 2010 Clinton Morgan
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