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“I DON’T want to scare you, sir,” Frank said, as he continued to clip his customer’s hair, “but we’re about to be robbed.”
“Say what?” The man leaned forward and put his feet on the floor.
“Wait. It’s okay,” Frank said putting a hand on the man’s shoulder and nudging him back into the chair. “Nothing’s going happen to you.” Frank continued with the haircut. “It’s just Billy Jacobsen. He’s got a little circuit of small businesses he robs once every two to three months, sometimes more often around Christmas.”
“Why don’t you turn him into the police?”
“Oh, he’s harmless. Not quite all there, if you know what I mean.” Frank picked up the clippers and began cleaning up the back of the man’s neck. “We all know his schedule, so we make sure we have some extra money on hand. That way, he and his dog don’t starve.”
“What about his parents?” the customer asked.
“They passed in a car accident. Another stupid drunk driver.”
“Ouch.” The man flinched, wondering if the clipper had drawn blood.
“Sorry about that,” Frank said. “I get kind of riled up on that topic.”
“Yeah, well let’s not talk about it anymore.”
“Hey, let’s have some fun with Billy,” Frank said, winking into the mirror. “I’ll be right back.”
Billy lowered the ski mask over his face and patted his pants pocket. Satisfied the knife was still there, he opened the door, stood tall, and said, “This is a stick — Jesus, man, what are you doin’?”
“What are you talking about?” Frank said.
“You ain’t got no pants on,” Billy said.
“Oh, that,” Frank replied. “It’s No Pants Day.”
“It’s what?” Billy said.
“No Pants Day.” Frank stepped away from the chair and turned to give Billy a full frontal view. “People go to work without pants.”
“But . . . I mean . . . you ain’t wearin’ no underwear.” Billy reached back for the door. This guy was obviously crazy. He hadn’t noticed that the previous times he’d been in.
“Hey, no pants means no pants. I don’t make the rules.”
“I think you’re still supposed to wear underwear,” the customer said under his breath.
Frank gently cuffed the man in the back of the head.
“What he said,” Billy replied, pointing at the customer.
“All right. I’ll put them back on. Boy, you guys sure are party poopers.” Frank took a step forward, and Billy retreated closer to the door.
“Hey, stay right there,” Billy said, his hand held up like a crossing guard.
“My pants are on the chair behind you.”
Billy glanced to his right and saw a pair of khakis draped over the back of the chair. “You wait ‘til I’m outta here. You hear me? Then you can get your pants.” Billy backed out the door. “Crazy old coot,” he muttered.
“Wait,” Frank said. He reached into his shirt pocket and pulled two 20s out. “Don’t you want your money?”
Billy paused. Thought about what to do. Finally, stepped onto the sidewalk. “No way man. I don’t know where that money’s been. You keep it.” He let go of the door and jogged down the street.
“He’s right, you know,” the customer said. “You are crazy.”