The Legend of the Last Follicle


      The first thing Petey saw were the big, controlling eyes and the last thing was the pink razor as it climbed the horizon.  Then he passed out.

     No one was sure exactly what day Peter was born, nor the week.  Let’s just call it the spring of 1962.  The first year of Peter’s life was really just about being wet and dry depending on how much of Nana Rose’s spit was left on the top of Stephen’s head as she repeatedly smooched Peter and his friends.

Toddlers have no regard for where their head goes; be it dirt or poop, and since he was the one that laughed the loudest his friends soon thought Petey fit him much better.  Boys wore crew cuts in those days and Petey and the gang reveled in the muck and mire that young boys allowed themselves to get into long before a bath entered their lives.

The teenage years flashed their rebel wave and Petey and a few of his friends broke off from the group.  They named themselves Cowlick and refused to conform to the way everyone else was going.  Soon the rest realized the fun they were missing and joined in: Stephen’s twenties filled them with alternating mousse, dancing under flashing lights and rolling around in different sheets.  The party seemed like it couldn’t end, all the changes in length and blow dryers filling their lives with excitement.  If they’d only noticed the danger that lurked on the other side of Stephen’s head as a few of their brethren had lost their lives in the fight against male pattern baldness.

But no.  The 90s was a time for ponytails and the truth was covered up.  The entire head felt alive as each follicle was stroked and pulled back!  On weekend mornings the boys were all let loose to fly, shake and jam to the grunge metal tunes of Stephen’s iPod; his head banging up and down to the beats of Pearl Jam was like a non-stop thrill induced roller coaster ride. But then it happened:  more hairs clogged the drain, the brush collected many of his friends, and Petey stopped growing.

In a bold and mature move, Stephen opted not to try to cover his bald spot, which was now more than visible through the long hairs; and cut his hair very short.  In the ensuing few years the length got shorter and shorter and more members of the old gang passed on.   Finally, Stephen opted for the shaved head.

Petey was scared.  As the hot water and bath wash that had once brought so much pleasure now signaled the end, he stood shaking as the screams of all of his boyhood friends rang in his ears and were silenced in the drain.  Minutes passed by, feeling like hours.  He looked around and realized he was still there and was being dried off.  He had made it!  You see, Petey had three things going for him:  he was only a centimeter in length, he lived on a scar and he was gray.  He went unnoticed.  And then she showed up!

Stephen’s girlfriend Margie moved in and took over the job of inspecting and approving Stephen’s hygiene and appearance regiment.  So this fateful day Petey woke to the sight of the blade and knew this was the end.  About to pass out again, he shook as she stroked him with the edge of her finger.  “You know, it’s kind of cute.”