The Wig and the Windowpane

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a story about assumtion. A tale that I hope leaves you a little squimy. It speaks to how we try not to believe, but we do any way.

Submitted: October 30, 2007

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 30, 2007



The Wig and the Windowpane


glynn scott


His left hand, black and dark like the inside of a cave, is empty except for the lifelines that cut deep into it, deep lines that hold the sweat from his palm, storing it there until he wipes it on his pant legs.  He takes little notice of the weight of the wig, dangling, black and ugly from his right hand, a cheap Afro wig, nappy and matted.  He tries not to think of the heads that had worn the artificial hairpiece: people with lice, maybe even a few children, ugly, and uncaring people.  He had no way of knowing this.  It was a feeling he had when he picked the wig off the thrift store shelf.

Hooker Hair, was his first thought as he caressed the course material.  His hands are large black soup bowls, and from a few feet away it looks as if he is holding a small dog.  He rubs the hair against his face, feeling the plastic strands pulling at the hairs on his unshaven face.  His fingers pluck various colors of lint from the wig.  As a teenager, after the fall of Afro, he and his friends were of the mind that only hookers wore such outrageous hairdos.

He holds the wigs to his nose, smelling the cheap wine and cigarettes, pork chops, chitterlings, greens, and cornbread.  Underneath is the real smell, the smell of all that can go wrong in life.  He pays for the wig, ignoring the looks of uncertainty on the faces of the few people who stand behind him in line clutching someone else’s blender, thinking they are getting a bargain.  He pays for the purchase with one of the many hundred dollar bills he had earned during the week, being careful not to allow his hand to touch the clerk’s.  She is clean and pure, he can tell by her face, the face of an angel.  Her breath smells like cinnamon tic-tacs, and when she gives back his change he holds his hands under hers, watching as the coins pile up, waiting until she nods her head, the signal that they are finished.

He knows he is not as clean and fresh as the young lady is.  He is a stud.  At least that’s what the Director called him earlier this week.  “Yeah, boy, that’s what you are, a real stud, a real money-maker.” 

Walking out the door, he shifts the bag from hand to hand without giving much thought to his actions.  A small wind blows and he makes a game out of dodging the leaves as they dart from behind trees and under cars.  One leaf blows higher than the others, flicking his nose before sailing over his shoulder.  He stops, lights a cigarette, places the bag between his legs as he sits on the curb.  The girl’s image and the smoke drift up together in front of him.

He wanted to ask the clerk if she would like to go to a movie with him, one of his movies.  In his own right he was a star.  “Born and bred for the part,” were the Director’s words.  His own words, the ones he use to describe himself and what he does, are stuck to the insides of his cheeks, his tongue lying there trapped in a pink paralysis.

A nice girl like her wouldn’t be interested in seeing “Black Orgies,” “Black Superstars,” or Blacks Next Door,” what would she think of me if she knew that my purchase was…?  He thinks to himself then pauses for a minute, remembering the Director’s words, “erotic enhancement.”  He concentrates on the smoking of his cigarette, listening to the sound of a child’s laughter as it floats near him before drifting across the street and into the park.


He is aware of the Director’s voice from earlier that day when it begins to mingle with the wind.  “Yeah, boy, in this business, like all business, you have to meet the demands of the consumers.”  At this point the Director moved over to his desk, leaned back in his chair until his head rested between the breasts of the blond imprinted on the poster tacked to the wall behind him.

The wind blows harder and the Director’s voice grows louder in his head.  “So boy, this is the situation.”  The Director spoke firmly, without pause or hesitation.  “The consumer is no longer interested in adult movies that have plots or some type of story line.  Our research tells us that our particular consumer wants the clothes off quick, to deal strictly with the bump and grind.  You catch my drift?  Now this is where you come in my good fellow.  Through marketing, surveys and such, we have found that a large percentage of our consumer base is demanding movies portraying studs like your self, engaging in relations with white girls.  Are you following me?  Now think back to your last movie.  That’s the kind of movie that’s in demand my boy.”  The Director leaned backwards, laying his head on the poster girl’s left breast.  “The only thing wrong with that movie was too much talking and not enough action.”  The Director stopped to ask him if he had any questions.  He said no, but could use a drink of water.  The Producer poured him one from a pitcher on the Director’s desk.  The water was cold and he let a few drops escape from his lips and drip down onto his shirt.

A tall man, the Director seemed to unfold as he stood up.  He watched this unfolding, then looked down at the drying stains on his shirt and tried to remember where they had come from.  Talking his way around to the front of the desk, the Director leaned back, arms folded.  “Further research has also shown that in order for us to compete in the market we need a gimmick, something that’s gonna hook the viewer.  Something that’s gonna make them burn up their VCRs watching our movies.  I don’t need to tell you this, you’re a big star, you get around.”  The Director paused, reached behind him, searched for a piece of paper that eluded him until the Producer handed it to him.

The Director held the paper in his hand, not needing it, didn’t even look at it.  Going on slowly, the Director seemed sure about what he was going to say next.  “MKM has the woman with six inch nipples.  Hello Productions signed the greatest deep throat artist since Linda what’s her name.  KMMB are making movies with women as old as you old granny.  So you can see, and it’s like I said before, I don’t have to tell you these things.  The point is this: we plan on making you our gimmick.

The Director walked over and rubbed him between the shoulder blades.  It was a comfortable, soothing feeling, the contact was brief, but it had left him feeling wanted.  Back at his desk, the Director wiped his hands on a napkin.  “For the next six months we’re going to be busy, busy, busy, you understand me boy?  So make sure you stock up on the vitamin E!”  He watched the men, their smiles flashed like switch blade knifes.  “We,” the Director said, as he waved his hand around the room, as if he meant the moth-eaten curtains and the threadbare carpet agreed also, “are doing this because believe me my boy, you are a star, you are our ticket.”

Their laughter fell over his head, cutting off his air.  He rubbed his hand across his face, trying to clear his nose, get some air.  “Okay boy,” the Director began, “let’s cut to the chase, but first let me say this.  I want you to know that a lot of thought went into this decision.  It wasn’t something that we (again the wave), decided over a six pack.  We feel we know you well enough to have made the decision without you.  So if you have any problem with any of this, let us know.  Remember, you are the star.

The Director winked as if letting him in on a joke.  “From now on, or at least in the near future…”  The Director paused here to ask for a drum roll.  The Producer picked up two straws and began to tap on the bottom of a Dixie cup.  The Director reached for a drink of water, and then continued.  “Your first movie will be Sambo Sam Goes to Virgin High.  You’ll play a janitor who takes care of all the wet spots.  Get it, wet spot?”

He left the office and stood outside in the hallway, inside, high-fiving and backslapping all around.  There was something about a phone call and the name of an old school on the other side of town.  He stood reading the names written on the gray painted wall: Rocky, Polecat, Little Bit and Bobo felt as he should know these people.  As he carved his name in the wall next to Redbone’s, the memory of what had just taken place moved into that dark place in his mind, that place where he keeps all that he wishes to forget.

Behind him the door opened and the Director stuck out his head, not commenting on the vandalism.  “Buy a wig, the Afro kind.”  The Director closed the door without waiting for a response.  Below the names was a phone number.  He rubbed his fingers across the numbers as if he might rub them off.  He licked his fingers and tried again, nothing.  He walked to the end of the hall before giving in to the urge to look back.  From where he was standing, he could see the number, 1-800- BLOW-JOB.  He stepped through the door.  The wind helped to move him down the street.

He stands up from the curb and walks back to his apartment where small pieces of ice, the last survivors of the past winter, cling to the edge of the windows.  Leaning forward, he rests his head on the chilled glass, the wig hooked over his middle finger, swaying back and fourth as if stirred by a small breeze.  He hears the fly before he notices it skipping from one spot on the window to another.  Watching, his dark brown eyes move from left to right, up then down, following the movement of the insect.  He wants to kill the creature, and raises his hand, the wing clinging to it like a raven.  The fly is a bother, buzzing and leaping, hop scotching over the four square windowpane like a schoolgirl. Poised, read to strike, he stops.  The fly buzzes away, not grateful that its life has been spared, leaving him alone to study the pictures that seem pasted to the windowpanes.  It takes him a few minutes to understand that the photos are the reflections of the four posters hanging against the wall behind him.  He wipes at the glass with the wig as if the images have been drawn on with crayons.  He knows this is a waste of time, but he needs something to do, to fill the empty minutes.  Stepping back, arms at his side, he can feel the stiff bristles of the wig against his leg.  The hole in his jeans allows easy access to his flesh.

The phone rings.  He walks across the room quickly, grabbing the phone to stop its cry for attention.  The director is on the other end telling him the time and place to meet for the evening’s filming.  He hangs up, picks up the wig, brushing and combing it, tosses it back into the thrift store bag.  Holding the door open, he glances over his shoulder at the reflections on the windowpanes, and they seem to wave to him as he leaves.

At the high school the Director gives the janitor fifty dollars and three movies, to let them use the gym and two classrooms.  Pulling the wig from the bag, he places it on his head where it bobs like a cork in water.  The Director speaks in a voice that is more for a small child than a grown man.  “Take your places everyone,” he says before sitting down in his chair.  The action is fast and all the acts are completed without much fanfare.

During the break the director pulls him over.  “I know that the plan was to use as little dialogue as possible, but we feel that just a few words will not take away from the movie, or its plot, or lack of plot I should say.  I’ve instructed the girl on what she is to say, just want to clue you in so you won’t be surprised.  No response from you is needed, it just one sentence.”  The Director dismisses him with a wave of his hand.

The girl lies under him, urging him on, doing what she is paid to do.  When she speaks, her voice is filled with a practiced passion, it gathers in his mind, rolls around in his head like marbles, clanking against each other, piling one on top of the other, bouncing off the baseboard of his reason, then rolling into the dark corner of his brain.

Back at his apartment he touches each pane of glass, caressing the cheek of his reflection in one before moving onto the next.  Outside the wind blows, shaking loose the images, they fall away from the window, caught in the crystal pieces of ice.  He watches as they float down to the street where they shatter into a thousand pieces.  He looks down at his leg where the wig lays waiting like a faithful dog.



© Copyright 2018 glynn scott. All rights reserved.

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