By Patrick Trotti
I have far too much hair to be a rapist. At least according to Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. I shed like a Husky. She’d be covered in them. Lone pieces uprooted from my disgusting, heaving form would be pasted like a clumsy kindergarten art project to her sweaty, disheveled body. The first responders, the ones that collect the evidence at the scene would be amazed at the amount of data. Heaps of sealed bags each containing a single hair, a lone thread. Any one of them conclusive enough to put me away for a long time. Yeah, I wouldn’t be good at raping. They’d catch me in a matter of days. As soon as the lab was done processing my leftovers.
I don’t believe I’m the type to rape someone anyhow. It’s not in my makeup. I’m far too timid, in most instances I can’t even converse with a female properly. But these are the thoughts that invade my mind. Irrationality has become the major side effect of my shedding.
Dark, straggly hairs are left throughout my apartment, reminders of my unattractiveness. Give it a week without a thorough cleaning, scrubbing the floorboards on my hands and knees, and the place turns into a forest. They’re attached to the soap; they clog the shower drain, they line the sink bowl. My bed sheets are covered in them. The pillows are the worst. I’m forced to breathe through my nose while sleeping, keeping my mouth closed so that I don’t choke. I haven’t been able to wear a white t-shirt in years. My closet is full of dark clothes, my personal set of camouflage protecting me from the others.
They keep me up at night, forcing me, baiting me, to count them, one by one, on my once clean pillow. They intrude on my daily schedule; derail my effectiveness at work. As I type the quarterly reports, strands of hair cascade down from my scalp, like dandelions, suspended in the air just long enough to make their presence known, before falling silently on my keyboard.
The worst part is that they blend in with dark surfaces. By the end of the day, while my co-workers are shredding old documents I’m dusting off my work space. The trash bin in my cubicle is filled to the brim. I hide within the four constructed walls, slouch down and hope that no one bothers me. I stay in for lunch, eating a homemade sandwich.
The janitor is on to me though. As he makes his mid day rounds, he glares in my direction, announcing his disapproval of me. I’ve become his major burden, the only obstacle in an otherwise mindless job. He doesn’t understand. He’s bald.
I’ve tried everything. For a while I wore a hat everywhere I went. My boss sent out an office wide memo condemning the wearing of any “non religious headwear” in the workplace. I even started to shave my body. I launched a pre-emptive strike against the shedding. Figured I beat it to the punch. It didn’t work. It only delayed the inevitable, pushing back the shedding a few hours in the day.
Each morning is the same. The monotony is razor sharp. I’ve come to expect it but nonetheless it somehow amazes me, leaves me in a state of confusion. The rest of the day spent in a fog like stupor. No matter how much I shed, it returns.
There I am standing naked in the bathroom, brushing my teeth watching this hairy figure looking back at me. He mirrors my movements, he looks just like me, has my same facial ticks. He is me and I am him. When I go to turn the shower on I pause and let out a defeated sigh, knowing that the shedding is about to begin all over again. I just hope that a lock of my hair won’t end up on some body somewhere because nobody would believe my story. No matter how slowly, and convincingly, I explained my ailment no one would consider its validity.
As the lukewarm water from the shower head flows down onto me it begins. At first it’s just one piece but it quickly escalates into a handful, a patch gone missing. By the time I towel off and get dressed I’m missing a third of my hair. I look back and see the trail of my hair, following my every step, shadowing me no matter where I go.
BIO: Patrick Trotti is a writer, editor, and student. On good days it's in that order. Check out www.patricktrotti.com for more.