Leo’s Barber Shop

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Leo’s Barber Shop

As the glass door opens, the din from Second Street fades from your ears. The clean crisp cut of scissors, the flick of combs through wet hair, the buzz of electric clipping shears, and the occasional blast of air from a blow dryer captivate your sense of sound. Joe, a large, bald man, wearing an aqua T-shirt and blue jeans tied up with an old brown leather belt, gives his customary greeting, “Howdy there,” to a man who has just entered. The sign above Joe’s mirror reads: “Hair cuts—ten dollars, Seniors—eight dollars.” It is Saturday morning, and at Leo’s Barber Shop business is brisk. Joe and two other barbers are working at a fast clip, keeping their eyes on the scalps of the customers and periodically throwing quick glances to the line that is forming in the waiting area. Hector, wearing a maroon wind-breaker and baseball cap, is putting an apron on a kid to the right of Joe. Chris is trimming a man’s sideburns, leveling her green, contact-lens covered eye to the shears. Four chairs near the entrance are occupied by men of various sorts. Some are reading newspapers or magazines, while others sit looking out the front window. One man clad in denim is standing outside the shop with a cigarette held to his mouth. The barbers at Leo’s have their work cut out for them today.

Inside, Joe puts the clipping shears to the locks of a slumbering child, whose head is being propped up by his mother’s hands. The child awakens to find his lamb-like curls falling to the checkered floor; his large chocolate brown eyes begin to swell with tears. Fortunately for Joe, the boy’s mother is able to shut off the water works with a few words of reassurance in Spanish. The youngster stoically endures the procedure. Ju...

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...s asks.

“That looks good,” the student replies, looking into the mirror.

“Here,” she gives him the comb, “brush it the way you like to.” Finding the part, he combs it down. Afterwards he compliments her on a job well done.

After paying, the student tells Chris that he will see her in another six weeks, and to take care. Before opening the glass door Joe throws the student a wave. “Hey, when you’re done with that English paper bring us a copy, I’ll put it up on my wall and make yah famous!” he says. Returning his wave, the student walks into the light of the setting sun; the sounds of the barber shop diminish. Looking through the shop window, he sees Hector sweeping up the hair of his last customer. Shouts from the nearby Cantina, interrupted by a blast from a car horn, take the place of the low, metallic murmur of the clipping shears.

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