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the oldest trick in the barber shop

Haircut day today so a man has to wander up and down River Street calling into the various barber shops to see if they have an open slot and whaddya know the Lebanese mob’s shop has a young lady standing around with nothing to do. We say howdoyedo and I’ll have a short back and sides and don’t worry about the eyebrows or nose hairs.

She’s from Perth, name’s Ros and she’s staying in town with her old dad and been cutting hair for ten years. Doesn’t read the papers or watch the TV news, doesn’t believe any of it and would rather Google for worldly updates. Hasn’t read a book since school but admires Charles Dickens and Enid Blyton.

Ros clips. I listen.

Two young blokes walk in and sit in behind us in a large leather lounge and watch her at work. One of them whispers something to his friend and they both snigger, then he starts to bite his fingernails. Chews them down one after the other. Slouches in his seat and every now and then I catch his eye in the mirror.


Ros clips. I listen. They wait.

She is an attractive girl all tattooed up and dressed in what passes for bib and braces these days, tells me she went to see Lionel Ritchie at the last Blues Festival up here. Knocked everyone out she said.

All done.

Blink now and you’ll miss it.

So it’s over to the desk and out with the credit card etc but before leaving I ask Ros if she can change a $50 into two $20’s and a $10. No problem she says. I take the $50 out of my wallet, hold it and wait for her to get the $20s and $10 out of the till and hand them to me. I put them with my $50 then extract the $10 and place it on the counter top.

‘That’s for you,’ I say.

‘Wow! Thanks,’ Ros says and gives me a big smile as I turn and walk out of the shop.


Five minutes later I walked back in and gave her back the $50 I just walked away with.

I hope the deadbeat was watching.

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