A Short Story: A Gift to Charity

Here is a short story I wrote sometime ago. It’s about 900 words. Sort of on the silly side, but then sometimes we just need to laugh.


Charity whirled the chair around so that Mrs. Sutherland faced the mirror. “There Mrs. Sutherland! You look fabulous! As the Bible says, ‘If a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her.’ This hairdo is my specialty. Someday, I’m going to own my own salon, and do nothing but Christian hairdos! Just like Saint Martin!” She kissed the small rosary hanging from her neck and sent a silent prayer to the saint’s icon taped to the mirror.

Mrs. Sutherland’s face revealed no emotion—none at all. With her fingertips, Mrs. Sutherland gingerly touched the tip of the foot-high beehive. Then her jaw dropped, her teeth clinched and ground, and a primeval sound, a high-pitched whining scream, erupted. “I look horrible! Johnboy! I should sue you!”

Johnboy, owner of the Le Jolie Blonde Beauty Salon, replied, “Oh, Mrs. Sutherland! You are such a tease. I’ll be right there. Johnboy to the rescue!” He laid down his scissors and comb, then patted the shoulder of his customer. “You sit still, honey, and let that solution do its work.”

Charity admired Johnboy. Extremely talented and confident, last year he’d nearly won the Golden Scissors Award. He cut a striking figure with his platinum blonde hair in a fashionable coiffure, his black silk shirt, black Armani leather pants, and Driving Mocs. However, upon seeing Mrs. Sutherland’s hair spiraling up in a tall beehive, he placed his hand over his heart. “Oh, my God! Charity, where on earth do these bizarre ideas come from? She looks like Marge Simpson!”

“More like the Bride of Frankenstein!” Mrs. Sutherland said as she clawed at the plastic protective cape. “Johnboy! I’ll never return to your salon again! Needless to say, I’ll not pay for this!”

Johnboy followed as she fled the salon. Charity heard Mrs. Sutherland’s sobs mingling with Johnboy’s pleadings. “No accounting for taste, I guess,” she said.

When Johnboy returned, he collapsed in one of the chairs in the waiting area. The receptionist hurried over and fanned him with an old copy of Glamour Magazine. When Johnboy revived sufficiently, he yelled, “Charity, I want to speak to you. NOW!”

Charity cringed, but walked over. “Yes, sir,” she said.

“Charity, I’ve tried to overlook your past shenanigans, but I can’t afford to lose any more business because of your ineptness. You’re fired!”

“Fine! I’ll take my client list and just start my own beauty shop!”

“Charity, you signed a no-competition clause when I hired you. They’re not your customers—they’re mine! And thank God they are! Do you realize how psychologically damaging it is to ruin someone’s hair? Of course you don’t! You ruin somebody’s hair every week with these new, wild hairdos of yours! Now, leave my salon!”

Crushed, Charity sobbed all the way home. She knew she was an excellent hairdresser. More than that, she hated the idea of losing her clients. She had worked so hard to build up her list, and now Johnboy would get them all. Then, she had an idea of how she could get her client list back. At midnight, she drove back to the salon.

Charity sighed. Breaking into a building always looked so easy on television! But she had been teasing the door lock with a bobby pin for almost ten minutes and it didn’t show any signs of opening. The ocean surf pounding in the background drowned out any clicks that she thought she was supposed to be hearing. Suddenly, the door flew open, she fell forward with a grunt, and there she stood a man, standing behind her chair and cutting Johnboy’s hair. “Come in, Charity,” the man said. “Your client list is on the table.”
“Do I know you?”
“My name is Martin.”
“Saint Martin de Porres,” Johnboy added in a giddy voice. “The Patron saint of hairdressers!”
“You’ve been drinking again, Johnboy. A saint? He doesn’t even have a tonsure!”
“Monks have tonsures, Charity, not saints, silly girl!”
“Why are you being so nice to me?”
“Oh my God! So much has happened! First, Mrs. Sutherland called. It seems all her friends love what you did with her hair! Then Martin visited me tonight. He knew I actually fired you because of jealousy, and he pointed out that he had given you a special gift, just like he had given me, and that these new hair designs you’ve been using actually came from him. Please, forgive me. If you want your job back you can have it, but Martin thinks you are ready to go out on your own. If you do, I’ll front you the money to start your own salon.” Johnboy studied his reflection. “Excellent technique, Saint Martin. I can see why you’re our patron saint.”
“Thanks! As a barber in Dominican monasteries, I picked up a trick or two. So, Charity, it seems your prayers are indeed answered. You will soon have your own salon and much business will come your way. That is, if you want.”
“Yes, I do. Thank you.” Again, Charity kissed her rosary and sent a silent prayer of thanks to Saint Martin.
“You’re welcome,” Martin said. “Go home, Charity. Johnboy and I still have a few things to discuss so he can win the Golden Scissors next year. Besides, you’ve got a salon to plan.”