Was it not Shakespeare who said Hell hath no fury like a bad haircut? Maybe not, but bad haircuts suck. Hell, I’ve been dumped, beat up and fired over bad haircuts, but bad in this case doesn’t do it justice. Nothing, and I mean nothing, compares to the haircut David Beck Campbell got. The adjective atrocious is the closest word I can think of, and it’s not a gross overstatement to say it was unbearable to be around. It might sound as if I’m stretching the truth or being hyperbolic, but Dave Campbell’s haircut was like a murder scene, both gruesome and terrifying in its scope. I swear that I’m not exaggerating when I say his haircut was like a train wreck on the sun, and you had to look away within a second or you’d be blinded.
It all started on a Tuesday. David’s mother took him to his regular barber. His name was Mr. Malaki and normally he was quite the pleasant man. However, on Sunday he had been in an accident. As the barber finished his unspeakable act, the stool lowered slowly and Mr. Malaki was holding a mirror to the back of David’s head like a gun, “What do you think?”
David reflected later that he wished it had been a gun and Mr. Malaki had pulled the trigger. What do I think? He couldn’t think. David stammered for words. Luckily the barber wasn’t paying attention; Mr. Malaki hadn’t quite seemed himself today. Within moments of looking in the mirror, David thought he heard glass shatter. He had to look down. He didn’t say anything. Yikes, can you tell a barber the haircut he just gave you sucks? David looked at the ghastly form on his head. It was hard to say what was wrong with it. The haircut just wasn’t quite right; it was uneven in many different places. Everything was wrong with it: the bangs seemed shorter than normal, the top buzzed and the sides were extra long, seeming to climb over his ears like flames licking at a hub cap.
It didn’t take long for David to realize this haircut was different. As he and his mom walked to the car, they had to cross a major intersection, a maneuver that at times took upwards of fifteen minutes, especially when traffic was bad. Today, however, as David and his mother approached the intersection, the heavily moving traffic, flying by him just feet from his face, came screeching to a halt. Each driver had slammed on the brakes. Some cars had been going 40 mph. It was so bizarre, every automobile came to a standstill. No one looked at him, they had just stopped. David and his mother crossed quickly before traffic realized it had stopped still or why. Still, all the while David couldn’t help wonder in the back of his mind, Did my haircut just actually stop traffic?
Sitting in the car on the way home from the barber, he had known it would be bad. He had no idea how bad. Looking in the mirror the night before school, he realized something was off-kilter. There was just something not right about it. It was unnatural, it was both bobbing and weaving, and it was a pompadour and a fade. And what about Mr. Malaki, had he not suspiciously looked as if he was possessed by an agent of Lucifer? Well, maybe not, but he was off, too.
The next morning, the hallways of Marin County High School seemed to part like the Red Sea, but in David’s mind this was not God’s doing. No, this was clearly the work of the Devil. Surely, this was the Devil’s haircut. As he walked down the hall, it was like a scene from Godzilla with people scattering in the wake of what was more than just a really terrible haircut. To illustrate this point, Rita Miller stared too long at David’s haircut and she had a seizure. Right in front of her locker, she fell to the floor and started shaking uncontrollably. The paramedics had to be called, and it was an unnerving scene.
As David tried to sit passively through homeroom, he felt his hairline wiggle and twitch. He sat there uncomfortably for eight minutes. Everything was going fine, until Ricky Tavers walked in late, took one look at David’s haircut and vomited all over the floor. Ricky had to be escorted out by the school nurse and a lunch lady. Rick Tavers was sick. That did not just happen or at least not as you perceived it, Dave thought to himself. There has to be some other alternative reason. It certainly couldn’t be your haircut. Still the evidence was mounting. He looked around the room, nobody would even look at him. David raised his hand to try to get the attention of his teacher, Mrs. Gramm, but even she ignored him.
The bell rang. The hallway was even worse this time. Suzie Summers’ blue bow on the top of her bright blonde hair actually abandoned ship and ran, ripping and yanking itself from her hair leaving a small bald spot on the top of her head. The bow flew down the hall and out an open window. Suzie was last seen in the office crying and bleeding profusely. Bonnie Conklin took one look at David’s new do and fainted dead away causing her to smash her head on a bunch of lockers and the paramedics to be called. Again.
It was all so strange; everyone seemed oblivious to the fact that it was David’s haircut that was doing this. Does nobody realize that it’s my hairdo that’s causing all these catastrophes? David wondered when he finally made it to third period. They didn’t seem to. Still, no one would even look at him. It was like a bad dream. David decided he needed help. He texted his friend Stan,
i need a hat
Stan did not reply immediately. Most teachers are pretty strict about letting you text in class. When the bell rang, Stan replied,
meet at locker
David arrived before Stan. Will Stan still be my friend after seeing my new hairdo? David thought. You’re being ridiculous, he thought. Still, even David was shocked to see the look on Stan’s face when he saw Beelzebub’s bangs. Stan’s eyes looked shocked and his face turned white. He looked as if he might lose it and run away screaming, but he stayed. He just wouldn’t look at David. He looked down at the ground before turning to open his locker.
“What the fuck happened?” Stan asked, still not looking at David.
“Mr. Malaki wasn’t feeling well,” David explained.
“Jesus,” Stan said, “I can’t even look at it.”
“Here,” and he handed David a hat, slammed his locker and was already hurrying down the hall.
David put the hat on and headed towards Mr. Krumpkey’s room. He felt slightly better with the hat on, almost normal again. Everybody seemed only slightly intimidated by his haircut, now that a thin piece of fabric was covering it up. David sat down in his assigned seat, pulled out his planner and was writing down the work for the day when the altercation started. Mr. Krumpkey taught English. He was one of those old teachers that every kid hated. Sometimes he had this gross white stuff around the corners of his mouth. Still, most students in his class didn’t misbehave, because he was really mean.
Mr. Krumpkey had gotten out of his seat, which he rarely did, and was standing in front of David’s desk with a scowl on his face. “MR. CAMPBELL,” he said with authority, “I’M AFRAID I’M GOING TO HAVE TO ASK YOU TO REMOVE YOUR HAT.”
David tried to protest, “I can’t.”
“AND WHY IS THAT?” Mr. Krumpkey seemed annoyed.
“I got a really bad haircut,” David tried to explain.
“ENOUGH OF THIS NONSENSE. REMOVE YOUR HAT AT ONCE,” Mr. Krumpkey demanded.
David thought about continuing to protest or possibly even running away, but did as he was told. He pulled the hat off his head, sitting there revealing the terror that lay beneath. As he expected, it was more than just a bad haircut; Mr. Krumpkey’s heart stopped immediately. He fell to the ground. He was dead before his body hit the floor. The paramedics were called but it was useless. He had been dead for ten minutes already. The coroner said he died of a heart attack and made no mention of Satan’s stylish new do atop David’s head.
By lunch the body count was mounting. Miss Doris, a teacher’s aide, had had a stroke when David walked by her. Apparently, an embolism in her brain just popped, and rumor was she had passed. David did not even bother to go to the cafeteria. He wanted to avoid large crowds, especially after what happened with freshman Ronnie Harmon’s scalp. They were in gym, bouncing basketballs, shooting around. David was standing off to the side, when Coach DeCarolis blew his whistle and they proceeded to choose sides. David was picked last; the captain didn’t even look at him. As the game started, David tried to stay away from the other students, even as Coach DeCarolis yelled, “MAN UP!!!” On offense, David didn’t even want to touch the ball. He rolled around the perimeter in an arc-like motion careful not to get near any other students. Everything went fine until the game was tied 19-19 and class was almost over. David was doing his usual perimeter roll when suddenly the ball was passed to him. David looked up and it was hitting his hands. Ronnie Harmon, who wanted to win badly and must have forgotten about David’s haircut, ran toward him, reaching in for the ball. As Ron’s head leaned in getting extra close to David’s head, Ronnie’s hair seemed to waver. No, it did more than that, it straight up moved like a sentient being. His hairline ran backwards, up and over the back of his head, scalping him in the process. It didn’t stop there, it slid across the gymnasium floor leaving a bleeding mess everywhere. The most disturbing part, and David wasn’t sure anyone else was taking notice, was the scalp actually slithered away. It left a bloody snail trail down the music hall. Ronnie had to be taken away by ambulance to Marin County Medical Center. He was in critical condition. I’m not kidding, haircuts rarely render a boy on life support.
As the lunch recess continued, David hid out backstage in the auditorium. He knew a shy, timid boy in the drama club named Rico Gibbons. Rico had backstage access; they were painting a set for the school musical. No one was really bothering David. They were busy which was good. He snacked on a pretzel while he thought strategy. Okay, the day is nearly over, just two more periods. He had to get through Spanish and Science. Could he do it without someone freaking out or dying over his hair? He doubted it but, he wanted to try.
He left the auditorium early; he wanted to try to avoid the hallways when they were filled with people. The hallways during this time were as empty as a tomb, it was hard to believe that in just ten minutes they would be packed with teenagers yelling and screaming. David arrived at Mr. Sendak’s door five minutes early only to find it shut and locked. Damn it, David thought, just my luck.
The bell rang and slowly students started to make their way through the hallways to their after lunch classes. A freshman stopped short and dropped his binder, exploding papers everywhere, but nobody passed out or died. Then Mr. Sendak was fumbling for his keys to open the door.
“David,” Mr. Sendak seemed to do a double take actually taking the time to observe the awful do, “goodness gracious, that haircut is atrocious.” Mr. Sendak had always been a straight shooter.
“I know,” David admitted.
“What should I do?” David asked meekly.
“Just shave it off,” he said simply opening the door and turning on the lights. When he turned, David was gone. David knew what he had to do. He cut the rest of school and ran to the strip mall near his house. With what little money he had, he bought shears from the store and went into the bathroom. His mom wouldn’t be home till five; he had the place to himself. As he shaved his head, he half expected his hair to fight back. It was, after all, the Devil’s haircut. It did not; it fell to the floor lifeless where it lay.
By: Joe DeMarco