A Short Story by Amy Kay

March 16th, 2012

The long black hair had a long life. It rode atop the scalp of a one Cary Liu. Slowly he saw his friends leaving the scalp and wondered when would be the day that he would also let go of his roots and leave. Where would he go? He saw the horrors of many of his friends going down the drain or being whisked away and put in the garbage. Some would hang on as long as they could, grasp to the bowls of the sink for as long as possible. He also saw some of his friends hiding in the corners of the rooms hoping to not be discovered. In one horrifying afternoon he saw a huge clump of his friends tangled in a massacred mess as they exited the appliance used to wash clothes.

He was determined not to have any of those things happen to him. But what could he do? Where could he possibly go that he would not be found? A place he could peacefully live out the end of his days with out being disturbed or tossed aside. He began plotting. As the scalp he traveled upon roamed about he would contemplate and ponder over the possibilities. What if he just let go one afternoon in a warm summer breeze? He would ride along on the wind exploring places he could never see before while on his limited scalp. No, it was too risky, eventually he would settle to the ground and who knows what he might land in. How about in the corner of the big machine his scalp rode around in? Rarely was it cleaned. A long life he could live out there before the sucking machine came along and got him. But he decided he could not take the anxiety of not knowing when that would be. Surely he would have a panic attack each time the machine was opened.

At last he had determined where he wanted to spend eternity. Like a cat stalking their prey, he made sure he knew every route he would need to take in order to get to rest in this final place. It would not be easy. He would not only need the scalp to perform certain gestures, but he would also need to detach from the scalp at an exact time. This was something that was out of his control. He knew the days were drawing nearer; he’d had a few scares already that he was not going to detach in the place he wanted. Similar to a loose tooth, you know it is about time, but not quite yet. Each time they would pass his desired final resting place, he would draw a breath and try to will himself from the scalp, but it hadn’t worked yet.

*****

Cleaning her house was habit for Amy. Her mind constantly scouted out the next deep clean, remembering to clean out the microwave, sweep underneath the furniture, and dust between the rails on the stairs. It was never ending. Not that it was exhausting; just there was always the next project to work on. Of course there were always areas that eluded her. This particular day she did not have a ton of energy, but this project had been nagging her for a while. She had disassembled and scrubbed all the surfaces she could find, removing stains and smells that had been there for who knows how long. As she removed the last pieces of the assembly, there he was. Who knows how long he had survived down there by himself, at least a year or so. Wondering how the hair had gotten there, Amy wiped it up with the rest of the debris and discarded it in the trash. Standing up, she took a look at her fridge and marveled at how sparkling it was and wondered what had taken her so long to clean it. Maybe it was the long black hair willing her away.

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