All Stories, General Fiction

Grooming by Andrew. T Sayre



My alarm clock rings.  It wakes me up.  I sit up in bed, and run my fingers through my hair.  I have such pretty hair.  Everyone thinks so.  They’re all so jealous of it, they never tell me how much they like my hair, but I can tell.  I can see it in their eyes.

My walls are all brown and grey.  And sticky.  They are so dirty.  And it smells in here.  My clothes are all over the floor, with stains and old food.  I can’t afford to clean my clothes.  I have to be extra careful to keep them clean, but sometimes I spill stuff on them.  I am so clumsy.  Momma used to tell me how clumsy I am.


I can hear firetrucks and police cars on the street below.  I used to play with firetrucks.  All by myself.  Momma wouldn’t let me play with all the other kids.  She said I was too old, that I scared them.  But I wanted to.  But Momma would hit me hard on the head when I asked to.  She always hit me hard.  But she’s all gone now and she can’t hit me no more.  I love my Momma.  All people should love their Mommas.  I love mine.  I do.

The sirens are so close.  Maybe they found me.  Maybe they’re gonna take me back to the hospital.  But Ricky said that they wouldn’t find me.  Ricky is my friend.  He gave me the new name that the checks come in.  I give him some money every week.  He’s so smart.

The neighborhood is bad.  But I don’t got enough money for anything else.  I have to live here ever since Momma died.  The check I get in the mail every week is not a lot of money.  I can’t buy many pretty things.  Like toys.  I like toys.  Momma used to get me toys.  But I have no toys now.  I miss my toys.

Momma is all gone.  I miss my Momma.  She loved me so much.  She used to take care of me and I love my Momma.  But sometimes she hit me, real hard on the head, like I done somethin’.  But I didn’t do anything.  Momma got mad at me like that sometimes.  She always said such means things to me.  She always told me I was ugly and stupid.  But I know I’m not.  Ricky tells me I’m not.  Ricky is so nice to me.  He’s my friend.

I gotta comb my hair.  It’s so pretty.  I like to comb my hair all the time.  Every mornin’ when I get up I comb my hair, first thing in the morning.  Yup.  I like to comb my hair.

People always used to tell me how pretty my hair was when I was with my Momma.  They were nicer then.  They liked me.  All the people around here are mean.  Jealous.  They don’t have pretty hair like I do.  Except Ricky.  He’s always nice to me.  He tells me how much he likes my hair all the time.  He’s my best friend in the whole world.

Momma always said she hated my hair.  She hated that the only thing that was pretty on my whole ugly body was my hair.  She said that it was God thumbin’ his nose at her.  I remember when she used to try and cut it off.  But I would squirm and get away.  Sometimes she tried when I was sleeping.  But I always woke up and got away then too.  She never got to cut my hair.  Even when she gave up trying I could always tell that she still wanted to.  Maybe I should have cut it off for her, but I like my hair so much I just couldn’t.  Not even for her.

But I still love my Momma.  I do.

I get out of bed and walk to the bathroom and turn on the light.  But the light doesn’t work so it’s dark.  It smells bad in here too.  The kitty litter in the corner is so old.  I used to have a kitty cat but it ran away.  I let it outside one day and it never came back.  I didn’t feed him, I didn’t change his kitty litter, so he left me.  Like Momma said a kitty would if I didn’t take care of it.  Momma wouldn’t let me have a kitty.  Because she said it would leave.  Momma was right.  My kitty left me.

I look in the mirror.  My mirror has its own lights and they are so bright and shiny new.  I see myself better when I turn them on.  I get scared.  When I first look in the mirror I can’t see my hair.  My head is bald.  And dirty.  Someone cut off all my hair when I was sleeping.  One of those jealous people like Momma was snuck in my house and cut off all my pretty hair when I was sleeping.  I’m bald.  I’m bald.  I’m bald…

No they didn’t.  I lock my door like Ricky always tells me to.  He’s so smart.  They couldn’t get in here and cut off all my hair.  I have pretty hair.  I’m still sleepy.  I’m playing tricks on myself.  I close my eyes and rub them real hard.  I’m more awake now.  I open my eyes and there’s my lovely pretty long hair, wild and puffy from sleeping on my head, nice and shiny, and yellow, and curly, so nice.  It’s so pretty.

I like to pet my hair all day.  Momma used to get sore at me.  She would always hit me hard on the head when she saw me petting my hair.  She would drag me around on the ground by my hair telling me to cut it off.  But I wouldn’t.  My Momma was mean.  She hated my hair.  Not like Ricky.  He likes my hair.  He always tells me what pretty hair I got.  I like Ricky more than my Momma.  But I still love my Momma.  I do.

I turn on the shower.  The water is brown.  Dirty.  But I have to take a shower.  I have to wash my hair.  I have to wash my hair so it’s nice and pretty.  I like to have my pretty hair.  And it’s so pretty.  Everyone thinks so.

They’re all so jealous.  They laugh at me when I am outside, and they point fingers, and little kids run away from me.  But I know they’re all just jealous.  They wish that they had pretty hair too.  But they don’t.  My hair is prettiest.  They’re all just jealous so they don’t admit it but I know they all think so.  Even Rachel.

She thought my hair was pretty.  She hung out on the corner all night and I know she thought my hair was pretty.  But she was mean and jealous.  She laughed at me and called me baldy baldy baldy.  I got sore at her and I hit her for being mean.  She was real hurt after that and never came back.  Everyone hated me when I did that.  But they’re all just jealous.  I know.  I see their eyes.

Ricky told me they were too.  He told me that Rachel was just jealous of my pretty hair, that she was just a two bit whore with a knotty rat’s nest on her head.  Ricky didn’t get mad at me.  He told me it was right to hit her for being so mean to me.  Ricky never gets mean to me.  He likes me.

Except that one time, when I lost my check behind my bed, and Ricky stomped round my room yelling and screaming at me.  He was so mad that I lost my check.  He hit me hard in the face like Momma used to.  I got mad at Ricky for that.  I hit him and he fell over onto the floor.  His mouth was bleeding.  He left, saying such nasty things to me.  He called me baldy and said I was just a stupid fuckin’ retard.  I was sad when he left after I got done bein’ mad at him.  I missed him.  He was my best friend.

But he came back the next week.  I thought he was gonna hurt me when I opened the door and saw him standing there.  But he said that he was sorry for getting mad at me that he really cared.  He told me that he didn’t mean to be angry with me like all the people on the street and call me baldy.  He told me how pretty my hair really was.  He said he was sorry.  He is always so nice, except for that one time but I forgive him for that.  He’s my friend.  Friends always forgive friends.  Ricky told me that.  He’s so smart.

I grab my shampoo.  It’s the most expensive shampoo in the whole world.  Comes in tiny little bottles.  Ricky gets it for me at the fancy store downtown.  It’s the best.  I need it for my hair.  I can afford two bottles a week with my check.

I get a small gob in my hand.  Its feels so tingly.   I rub it together in my hands, not spilling any.  I don’t wanna spill it but I’m so clumsy.  I’m extra careful with my shampoo.  I want to use it all on my hair.  I have pretty hair.

I rub the shampoo into my hair.  It tingles on my scalp.  It’s cold on my head.  But I need it.  I gotta clean my hair.  My scalp is bumpy.  I can feel the bumps, through my long, thick hair.  They hurt.  My scalp bleeds from the bumps sometimes.  I don’t know why.

I got the bumps after the fire.  The house burnt down.  I got hurt in the fire.  It scared me so much.  A big board fell on my head when it was still burning.  I remember the smell of the fire.  My head burnt all up.  That was a long time ago.  I feel better now.  My hair grew all back.  The doctors were so mean to me in the hospital, the one I went to with all the scary people after the first hospital.  The first hospital was okay.  But I hated the second one.  They said I couldn’t leave ever, and that I didn’t have any hair.  They wouldn’t let me comb it, or wash it, or anything.  I hated the hospital.  That’s why I left.

My Momma died in the fire.  She was sleeping when it started.  The matches in the corner of my bedroom at Momma’s house caught on fire.  I wasn’t playing with them.  I never played with fire.  Never.  Momma told me never to play with matches.  I love my Momma.  I do.

Now I live here now all by myself like a grown-up.  Momma said I’d never be a big kid.  She used to tell me that I was always gonna be a baby, a little baby.  But I’m a big kid now.  Momma was wrong.  I love my Momma.  I do.

I wash the shampoo out of my hair.  It feels nice going down my back and into the drain at the bottom.  My hair goes down my back too.  It feels so nice.  I like my hair.  My hair is pretty.

I find a towel on the floor.  It’s so dirty.  It was resting on the kitty litter box.  I miss my kitty.  I wish she would come back.  But I didn’t feed her and she’s all gone.  She left me.  She was so skinny.  I could see her bones through her legs.  I used to like to poke her.  She liked it too.  I could tell.

The towel is dirty.  It got stains on it.  Red spots all over it.  But I need to dry my hair.  I rub real hard with the towel on my head.  My scalp hurts.  The bumps on my head really hurt.  They come off in my towel.  Flakes of bumps fall to the floor in front of me.  But I gotta dry my hair.  I have pretty hair.

I open up my mirror and take out my comb.  My nice comb.  Its so shiny and pretty.  It had little rust on it but that’s okay.  It’s still real shiny.  It was from the hospital.  They didn’t want me to take it with me but I put it in my pocket and I left with it and I didn’t tell anyone.  I am so sneaky.  They didn’t want me to leave but I snuck out my window when nobody was looking.  I just bent the bars back and crawled out.  A mean man tried to stop me at the gate but I hit him real hard and ran.  He didn’t get up.

They haven’t come to get me back.  They don’t know where I am.  Ricky gave me a new name.  The checks come in my new name now.  I give him some money every week.  He’s so smart.

Ricky tells me how pretty my hair is.  He’s not jealous.  He’s my friend.  He helped me.  He is so skinny.  His eyes are so small too.  I like to look into people eyes.  That scares most people.  But not Ricky.  He’s my friend.  He tells me how pretty my hair is.  He lets me look in his eyes all the time after he takes his medicine that he gets with my money.  I give him money every week.  He’s so smart.

I look in the mirror.  My hair is so pretty.  It’s all wet and puffy and I like it so much.  I just need to comb my hair now.  I like to comb my hair.  It makes it look prettier.

I prick myself on my comb.  The teeth are so sharp.  A little blood comes from my finger.  It’s okay.  The teeth are so sharp, and strong.  I sharpened them to get through my pretty hair better.  My comb is made of metal.  It has only a little rust on it.  I like my comb.  It’s so shiny.

I bring the comb along my pretty hair.  It hurts.  I press my pretty comb down hard to comb my hair real good.  I wince and shut my eyes when I comb my hair.  I feel the comb go through my hair so well.  I feel liquid come down my face.  It hurts a little.  I’m sweating.  It’s hot.  The liquid on my face is sweat.  Yes it is.  It does not hurt that bad.  Only a little.  Only a little.

I keep combing my hair.  My pretty comb goes through my hair nicely.  My hair does not snarl like it used to.  My hair is much prettier after the fire.  My comb is so sharp too.  I like my comb.  It works so well to make my hair pretty.

All done combing my hair.  I open my eyes, and everything looks funny.  My eyes are watery, and I rub out the water.  I look in the sink.  The water in the sink is all red.  I don’t like to look at my sink.  The dirty water scares me.

I look in the mirror.  My hair is so pretty.  It’s all clean and washed, and combed, and it looks so pretty.  It is so nice, and long, and shiny yellow, and curly.  Everyone likes my hair.  I know they do.  I can see it in their eyes.  They’re all just jealous.  They are.  I know it.  They’re all just jealous because they can’t have such pretty hair.  They can’t grow pretty hair like I can.  They’re all so dirty, and filthy, and bad people.  My hair is so much prettier than theirs and they’re all just jealous.  I know it.  I can see it.

I love my hair.  I really do.  I do.

Andrew T. Sayre

Banner Image: By Klaus Post ( [CC BY 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

4 thoughts on “Grooming by Andrew. T Sayre”

  1. Hi Andrew,
    Welcome to the site!!
    This was weird and a privilege to read.
    The character came across as very real and all the thoughts were disturbing. To create a story that makes the reader wonder even more about their back-story and the secondary characters is quite a skill.
    Excellent! I hope you have more for us soon.


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