'Rock Paper Scissors' by Sarah-Clare Conlon

Her face was sour like cola bottles as I spectated from my perch in the window. They put me here so potential customers could admire their handiwork. I was a good advert.

I had lured this woman in to the overly humidified shop high with ammonia. I was surprised she could even see in, the curved bays were so streamed with condensation, but she threw open the door and made a beeline for me. The other girls stayed stuck to their stations, craning their stick-thin necks and combing.

The woman stopped an inch from my crossed-over legs. Our toes would touch if I stood. After staring without blinking for a gaping hole of time, she turned to my boss at the desk.

“She’ll leave you, you know. These ones always do. My husband went off with one and she was gone within the year. It’s the fringe – it hides dark thoughts.”

And with that, she was gone. My boss winked. “Elfin crop?” he said. “No one will feel threatened if you look like a boy.”


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