My name is Skye Summers. I'm a hairstylist and I can't stop fantasizing about killing my clients.Not all of them, of course. I only want to kill the ones who irritate me, which, if I'm being honest,
is most of them. My occasional fantasies have turned into chronic daydreams. They're bloody and
vivid, like watching a slice-and-dice movie on IMAX.
I also want to kill my husband's ex-girlfriend. She's not a client but she tops my list. Eighteen years
ago, she gave birth to his daughter and has tormented him ever since. I should be troubled by this
growing desire to use my surgically sharpened shears for more than a haircut. Instead, I wonder how
I can get away with it.
My name is Lilly Skye Destiny Summers. My parents thought
it was a great idea to give me three names with the initials LSD to go with my
last name. For years they called me LSD Summers. They lived in a commune and
did way too much acid.
Most people call me Skye. Except
my father’s parents, who always call me Lilly, and even that name is said with
some disdain. They’re partial to my father’s sister’s kids. My cousins’ names
are Victoria Marie and Benjamin James. Benjamin is a gay surgeon living his
life in the closet and Victoria is a P.T.A. mom with a Princeton degree in
bullshit and an addiction to painkillers. My grandparents are in their late
eighties and live in a fancy housing complex for old people. My grandfather
wears Depends and drool constantly dribbles from the corners of his mouth. He
still puts on a tie before going down to dinner every night. The whole thing is
I’m 37, married to an
electrician who could have made huge money as a porn star. I’ve kept my maiden
name for reasons other than my love of LSD Summers. My husband’s name is Scott
Skyler. Had I changed my name, I would have been called Skye Skyler. Skye
Summers is bad but Skye Skyler is ridiculous.
I work as a hairstylist in a
salon called The Cutting Edge. When I started my career 17 years ago, I had
visions of my unfettered creativity transforming ordinary women into sexy
tramps or glowing goddesses. I was terribly naïve. Now I spend my days trying
to explain to the round-faced Oreo-addict that, no matter what I do to her
hair, she will not leave looking like Angelina Jolie. Try and pull that off
At the moment I am contemplating
murder. Today is Friday and I have been on my feet since 8 a.m. The clock above
the desk tells me it is now 2:10. I have not eaten lunch. Have not even peed
all day. The woman in my chair is speaking nonstop and I am thinking about
I smile and nod while Marla
prattles on incessantly about her existence. She watches my reflection in the
mirror – or, more likely, her own. She is talking about Amy, her 5-year-old
“princess”. According to Marla, Amy is gifted beyond measure. I’m told that
everyone she comes in contact with comments on the child’s extraordinary charm
Amy recently stuck a wad of
chewing gum in a classmate’s hair. This is not something Marla would ever tell
me. I know this because I had to cut the wad out of the other child’s beautiful
blonde curls. That child’s mother is also a regular client and not a fan of
Marla or Amy.
I gave Amy her first haircut
when she was 3. She bit me twice. Last week, Amy kicked me while I tried to cut
her bangs. Amy is indeed a princess.
Marla turns the topic to her
son, Justin, age 8. Apparently he should be declared a child prodigy because he
has read an entire Dr. Seuss book to his sister.
I continue to smile, snip the
requested one-quarter inch from Marla’s bangs. Yes, precisely one-quarter of an
inch. And one-eighth of an inch off the back. Am I supposed to hold a measuring
tape to her hair? Does she?
My jaw aches from the tension of
my phony smile. I catch a glimpse of my reflection and marvel at how relaxed I
appear. No one would know that I am currently harboring fantasies of cutting
off Marla’s perfect little ears that hold the perfect pearl studs that her
perfect husband presented to her on their Alaskan cruise last month.
Marla is saying, “When I watch
Amy and Justin interact with other children, I realize the tremendous advantage
my children have with me being home, rather than selfishly pursuing a career.”
I smile, fantasize about cutting
Marla’s tongue off with my surgically sharpened $500 shears.
I don’t have children, which
Marla has made clear she feels is a tragedy of epic proportions. The real
tragedy is that people like Marla are allowed to procreate.
I have three dogs. Neal is a
terrier mix, Cassady is a Chihuahua, and Jack is a chocolate lab mixed with
something of questionable descent. They are named after Neal Cassady and Jack
Kerouac, two famous writers of the Beat Generation.
My parents were thrilled that I
named my dogs after figures that were so central to life in the sixties. Of
course, having been raised by flower children and given the name Lilly Skye
Destiny Summers, you’d have to expect some of the sixties subculture to rub off
My three dogs are rescues and
tend to be spoiled brats with bad manners. At the moment, they are probably
lounging on my couch, watching Jerry Springer and raiding the snack cabinet.
Okay, in reality they are probably sprawled out in their respective beds,
sleeping blissfully. Either way, I wish I could join them.
My mind has wandered and I
missed the last minute or so of Marla’s monologue. She doesn’t seem to notice.
I continue to smile and nod.
I glance at Renee, my coworker
and good friend for the past decade. Being surrounded by mirrors makes it
impossible to roll our eyes or gesture obscenely. Renee’s client is talking
with her entire body, her hands moving rapidly and her head bouncing like one
of those stupid Bobblehead toys. Do people not realize how hard it is to work on
a moving target?
Renee and I often toss around
the idea of quitting The Cutting Edge and going to work at a funeral parlor.
Our clients would then have to sit still. And they wouldn’t speak, so we
wouldn’t have to pretend to care what they say. I don’t tell Renee that I
constantly fantasize about turning my live clients into cadavers.
I move on to the blow-dry stage
of Marla’s hairstyle. Unfortunately, the noise does not deter her from
speaking. “Amy has her first jazz recital next month,” she says. “We’ll need
you to do her hair early that morning. I’m thinking that she should wear it up,
maybe with tendrils around her face…”
Tendrils. Why do mothers want
their young daughters to look like the fashion models in Vogue? What is wrong
with looking like the children they are? I keep my smile in place and tell
Marla that of course we can do that.
My next client walks in the
door. She is booked for a highlight and has her newborn son with her. He is
already fussing. I can now understand how people suddenly snap and commit mass