Jazzy Jax

-Barbershop Tales-

Chapter 3

“Fly me to the moon… 

let me play among the stars,

And let me see what spring is like…

On a-Jupiter and Mars.”

Floyd was working on his supply list when he heard the pleasant voice outside, singing one of his favorite old Sinatra tunes.

A tall, thin man stood at the foot of the steps with a microphone in his hand. The colorfully clad gentleman wasn’t singing into it, however, it appeared that he was holding it for someone else. 

Floyd stood up and leaned over his desk toward the window to see that it wasn’t a ‘someone else’ at all. It was a parrot. He had heard rumors of this singing bird, Jazzy Jax, but he had never really believed it. And here, outside of the barbershop, perched the proof. 

He went outside and introduced himself, offering the man a few dollars that he had pulled from his petty cash box. The gentleman bowed as he took the money, and Jazzy Jax nodded his head up and down and spoke for the pair.

“Thank you, thank you… whistle, whistle.” He sang. “Nice man, nice man.”

The gentleman’s name was Jeffrey, and he and the bird were making a few final stops in Jagger Hills before heading out for their summer tour. Every June and July, when the weather was best, they would travel to the neighboring towns and perform. Kids parties, church picnics, and every now and then – when they were lucky – they’d be offered gigs at week-long community fairs. 

Floyd loved the idea of this singing bird, and his thoughts wandered… far away from the conversation… as he imagined how fun it would be to have the two perform inside of the barbershop. 

Jeffrey was still talking, unaware that Floyd’s mind was now somewhere else, but Jazzy Jax seemed to notice and he interrupted his thoughts.

“Hello, hello!” Jax shouted. “You’re so pretty!”

Floyd saw the whole thing as a sign. He’d never thought of things that way before, but with Henry’s presence around the shop he was beginning to think differently – his mind opening up to consider that maybe… just maybe… signs and miracles might exist.  

Suddenly, the wind began to stir and dark gray clouds covered the sun. The sky opened up and it poured. “And what kind of sign is this?!” Floyd muttered to himself with sarcasm as he hurried to the barbershop door. 

Jax fled to his partner’s shoulder, and Jeffrey – soggy and confused – grabbed his stand. 

“Don’t just stand there,” Floyd yelled. “Come inside.”

The rain persisted for several hours, so Floyd and Jeffrey enjoyed hot coffee and cocoa. They talked about the bizarre weather they were having, and then Floyd asked about the possibility of Jax performing at the barbershop.

Jax had napped through the worst of the storm, but he opened one eye and shook his head when his name was mentioned. Jax contributed his own two cents to the conversation with some Nat King Cole…

“That’s why darling, it’s incredible…

that someone so unforgettable,

thinks that I am unforgettable too.”


This was a little off the cuff here. I created the illustration over the last couple of days and literally kept adding details as I thought about what might be happening in the scene. That being said, the chapter kind of tells the story of the image, rather than the image being created for the story. Not an easy task!

The chapter I had been working on before – that is almost finished – is staying on hold until I figure out which letter it might represent. For now, Jazzy Jax seemed like a cute “J” word and a fun addition to the barbershop story.

I’ve been having conversations with my son about what is going on in the world (wars, and rumors of wars), and I absolutely had to go total upbeat fiction on this because there is far too much sadness and fear out there already. So, a singing bird it was!

That’s about all for now. Thank you so much for reading… I hope you were entertained!

Until next time,

Peace & Love!

Hallelujah Henry

-Barbershop Tales-

Chapter 2

Floyd had just finished locking up when he heard tapping on the door.

“Hold on,” he yelled.

The taps turned to thumps, and by the time he reached the door it sounded as though someone was trying to jack hammer their way in. He was greeted by Henry, the gentleman who lived in the apartment above the barbershop, his forehead dripping with sweat.

“Hallelujah,” he said, trying to push his way into the shop. “I have an emergency!”

Floyd’s blood pressure nearly hit the roof. Henry’s place had flooded several weeks prior, and the last thing he needed was another ceiling incident.

“I need to be somewhere in twenty minutes and my hair’s a disaster.”

Floyd sighed – a little annoyed, slightly amused, and totally relieved that the plumbing was still intact. He pulled the door open and signaled toward the chair.

“Oh, hallelujah!” Henry shouted as he looked at the ceiling and raised his hands to the air.

Floyd laughed, finally understanding why everyone in town referred to him as ‘Hallelujah Henry’. He was quite the talker. In the ten minutes it took to trim his hair and beard, Henry managed to fill Floyd in on the last fifteen years of his life.

Henry grew up in Jagger Hills (where he’d been born), but he moved to Hollywood, in pursuit of stardom, the day he turned twenty. He never said what went on in those years, but people in town suspected that something traumatic happened.

When he returned, at the age of thirty-seven, Henry spent most of his days on Washington Avenue, traveling from Rory’s Pub on the west side, to the Frog & Toad on the east. Leroy, the bartender there, kept a cab on standby – ready to drive Henry home when he was inebriated.

On his ‘off’ days, he would lock himself in his apartment – lights off, blinds shut tight, and covers over his head. It was on one of those dark days, some five years ago, that Henry saw the light. He ran downstairs and into the street, his clothes wrinkled and his hair an oily, tangled mess.

Henry got down on one knee, bowed his head for a moment, and then he raised his hands to the sky and shouted…

“Hallelujah, I am free!”

And that was that. Henry never drank again.

Once sober, Henry took on odd jobs around town. He helped out at the church, worked at the library twice a week – putting books back on the shelves – and he did a little gardening now and then for Felicity and Mrs. Peabody.

Everyone knew that Henry was barely squeaking by, but he never complained, and he never, ever, asked for help.

“I think we’re done here,” Floyd said, brushing loose wisps of hair from the back of Henry’s neck.

“Hallelujah! What do I owe you?”

Floyd thought for a moment. He imagined he’d be struck with guilt if he asked Henry for money – knowing what he knew about him now and all. Or maybe that was Henry’s plan? Nah. Floyd hated to think that people in Jagger Hills might be manipulative.

That was one of the reasons he had moved to this quiet, small town – to get away from the fraudsters and hooligans that he had to deal with in the city.

His shop there had been vandalized three times, and looters ran off with his brand new, extremely expensive hair dryer. “Who in the hell steals a hair dryer?” He thought to himself.

Floyd’s business in Jagger Hills had grown faster than he imagined, and there were days when it took all that he had just to fall into bed at the end of the day.

“This one’s on me,” he said, his mind still churning. “I was wondering though… would you like a job here… sweeping, taking out trash… things like that?”

“Heck yeah!” Henry sang.

They agreed to work out the details later, so Henry could make it to where he was going, and Floyd could go home and get some rest. He locked up again and grabbed his bag.

As Floyd was leaving he could hear Henry’s footsteps trotting up the stairwell, and the squeaking of his door as it opened and closed. A rather large smile came to his face as he heard a muffled roar… coming from Henry’s apartment…



So, I’m still having fun! I really enjoyed writing about Henry – my “H” word. When I started the story, the idea that I had in my mind was much busier and more complex – with Floyd’s clients arguing and gossiping inside of the barbershop. It may still get to that point, but for now I’m going where the characters lead me, and they are much more mellow than I imagined. Ha!

I’m doing the illustrations first so that I have time while I’m doing it to think about who the character is and how they might behave. I thought of ‘Hallelujah Henry’ for some unknown reason and I loved the idea of his quirky, constant (but authentic) praise. Maybe he’s a metaphor or a symbol, for how grateful (most) alcoholics are when they finally get sober. Imagine if we all ran around shouting… “Hallelujah!” Hard to imagine, but it doesn’t sound all that bad when you think about it.

I think that’s about all for now. Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed the story and illustration.

By the way, a photo of Andy Garcia was my inspiration for this one. My son sees the resemblance, but I think that’s because he saw the original photograph that I used as my guide. Maybe you can recognize him in there… or maybe not!

Anyway, I’m off to ponder the letter “I” and I’ll be back soon to write about it.

Until then, Peace & Love!

Amazing Grace

-Barbershop Tales-

Chapter 1

“My husband’s having an affair,” Grace mumbled, her eyes fixated on the floor. 

A single tear slid down her cheek as she clicked her sandals together – shaking off remnants of freshly cut hair that had managed to land between her toes.

Grace was one of Floyd’s first clients and she saw him religiously – every other Friday. Normally, there was nothing but small talk between the two, so Floyd was quite surprised when Grace decided to unload.

Her hair was long and tired, and she’d kept her natural color (salt and pepper tones) for nearly a decade. She was aching for something new, something dramatic, but every time she got to Floyd’s the panic would set in. 

Grace’s heart would race, her palms would sweat, and her knees would wobble as she walked to the sink. “A simple trim and blow dry will do” she would always say. 

But this time Grace was different. Having said, out loud, what her husband had been doing, she felt stronger – more courageous. She was angry, too, an emotion that had been trapped inside of her until now, imprisoned behind her silent sadness.

“You have my permission to go wild,” she said to Floyd. “I want to feel beautiful again.”

Floyd was ecstatic. There was nothing he loved more than creative freedom. He bluetoothed some classical music to the barbershop speakers, turned the chair away from the mirror so that Grace couldn’t watch, and he began to work his magic. 

Large locks fell to the floor, Floyd brushed on dye from two bowls of color, and a couple of hours flew by as Grace talked about her situation at home. Soon, it was time for the big reveal.

“Close your eyes,” Floyd said, slowly spinning the chair toward the mirror. “Ready, set… Ok, you can look now!”

Grace opened her eyes and stared, taking her reflection in with awe. She barely recognized herself.

The bell over the door jingled as Floyd’s next customer walked in. Grace was so absorbed in the mirror that she hadn’t even noticed, but when she got up to thank Floyd she saw someone seated in the waiting area.

The man was leafing through an old newspaper when the woman rose from her chair. As their eyes met, there was an air of familiarity about them.

“Peter?” Grace questioned, even though she knew it was him. She could never forget those eyes. 

It was Peter McGuire, an old flame from high school. He had moved to Utah after graduation, and the two hadn’t seen each other since. They stayed in touch briefly – a few calls and letters – but eventually, as with everything else in Grace’s life, the romance fizzled out. The two went separate ways… each in search of a more convenient, and more local, relationship.

Peter nodded, still searching his mind to recall who this woman was. Then it hit him.

“Oh my God! Wow. Grace, you look amazing!”

Floyd swept his station and then hid in the back, giving the two a few minutes – and a little privacy – to catch up. 

The door jingled again, and Floyd came out to find the shop empty. “Amazing indeed,” he said, smiling to himself. He turned the sign at the door to read Closed and grabbed his keys to lock up.


That’s about all for the letter “G” – a little intro about “Grace,” one of Floyd’s (many) loyal customers. This is exceptionally fun, because stories about each character can change, grow, or even end… the sky is the limit. We may or may not find out where Grace and Peter ran off to. Maybe we’ll meet her cheating husband? You just never know.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed tonight’s chapter… I’ll see you again soon for the letter “H.”

Until later,

Peace & Love!