You wouldn’t think a man would brag on how he beat his wife into submission, or so willingly tell how he cheated a fair man out of his land with a few scribbled words on paper. It seemed though, every day in my barber shop, men would tell me and each other things they wouldn’t want the preacher to hear.
It began to wear on me as I stood cutting their hair and listening to the sinful and unlawful things they admitted. This of course was my living. How could I say anything that might drive my customers away? I lay awake nights trying to think what a Christian man could do and finally one restless night it came to me. Whether it was a dream or a revelation I don’t remember, but I began to do God’s bidding the very next day.
Angus Blue was always one of my first customer of the week. He was, everybody knew very wealthy,
but he squeezed a nickel till it hollered and I could be sure that I wouldn’t get a tip from the likes of him. He sat down in my chair that early July morning, dressed in a fine suit and seemed a bit less agitated than usual.
“Morning Angus, shave and hair cut?” I asked curtly. My stomach turned when ever he came in. The whole town, at one time or another had heard his wife scream as he whipped her. No one knew why, but all agreed he would get what he deserved someday. I felt utter contempt for him and my hand always shook as I neared the razor to his throat.
“Yes, Thomas, a good shave and hair cut this fine morning. I want you to be the first to know that I am to be a father sometime this next Spring.” There was actually a smile on his face and the cold blue eyes he stared holes through you with most times, almost danced.
“Well, congratulations, Angus. “I says, all the while pitying any child born to a monster who beats his wife. I wondered, as I cut a deep gash in the back of his neck, how badly he would treat a defenseless child, knowing how unmercifully he beat his poor wife. “Sorry Angus, the blade must have slipped a bit. No harm
done.” says I, knowing all the while that this cut was deep enough to build a scar that would mark him. On judgment day, I would turn round those whom I had scarred this way, so that God would be reminded of their sins.
The Reverend Timothy Sweet was my next customer that morning.
He was a good looking man as men go and we all knew the women of our church shamefully flirted with him on Sundays. The sun didn’t set long before he was out saving souls and that being hard to do with his pants down. He’d just wanted a shave this warm summer morning and I lathered him up real good, strapping the blade till it would have cut butter or flesh equally as quick. The blood oozed out onto the white soapy lather. I noted its location and would remember it on judgment day as well.
It wasn’t that I judged these men and others like them so much as they judged themselves with their bragging and boastfulness. How could they think anyone would see them as more than the hateful, deceitful souls that walked the streets of Whispering Creek? Well, there wasn’t time for me to think of such things, I had others who waited in line for my chairs and to tell their stories.
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