3 things to inspire 1 story written in 20 minutes. #story320
The headbands had to be worn at all times. This made it difficult to wash the hair, so the most practical hairstyle was dreadlocks. As the most practical, it quickly became the most popular.
Hair washing was something only the extremely wealthy could afford. Not only did we need to keep our head bands on but we also needed to keep them dry or our status would become impacted.
So hair washing was an elite activity, making the barbers and hair stylists the most valued of occupations.
I was a hairstylist consultant. Earning my way in experience and of course currency into the upper echelons of society. My job had become to provide expertise to haircare professionals and advice to potential clients.
It was risky business putting ones entire status, reputation and potentially wealth into the literal hands of hair washers, cutters and stylists.
Teams of hair professionals worked in threes to complete one clients cut; a washer, a cutter and a stylist.
A recent trend, I noticed, was the pleasure, pride and covert piousness the upper class attributed to the risk involved in changing ones hair.
The trend had begun when a wealthy eccentric of conservative noble birth, whose family had lived with dreads, decided to make a political statement about justice and the rich. he found a barber (once one of the best) who had now become old and completely blind.
During the lunch hour, in the center of his city square, when all were out for lunch, he had the man cut his hair.
Hindsight reveals the youth was depressed at the time but what was supposed to be a meaningful statement, soon became another status symbol.
Who among the rich could get the riskiest haircuts?
And so, as so often happens with the extremely comfortable and wealthy, a battle of who-could-care-less ensued.
A man got his haircut upside down. A woman had her hair dyed, adding more moisture thus more risk. And on and on.
So I devised a plan to provide haircuts under a canopy in a field during the rainy season. I cut holes in the edges of the canopy which would gradually send rivulets of water toward where the client was getting their hair done. This added the element of limited time, the team must complete the haircut before the water reached the center of the canopy and dripped onto their heads, risking wetting the headband.
The consequences? The simplistic torture of eating only garbanzos for the rest of ones life.
At first the punishment was understandably laughable, a ridiculous penalty for a ridiculous rule. Then many of us watched as smiles twisted into gaunt screams through sallow cheeks.
Garbanzos are nutritious, high in protein but they are by no means a complete meal. So the body slowly breaks down from the lack of nutrients, eventually becoming an anorexic husk with a distended belly. The belly remaining from the constant bloat of the garbanzo beans.
The psychological toll of eating the same, single food is also a quiet hell. Tasting a singular flavor in the present but experiencing cravings of diverse foods from the past. The mind quickly begins to think of ways around the rules, but the headbands control the punishment.
I’ve seen men and women displaying the same cycles of hell after the punishment. A person could eat anything they wanted but the headbands, plugging directly into their brains, continued to provide the garbanzo taste.
Ripping off the headband only made one into a drooling vegetable, trapping the senses into a motionless cell, where everything continued to taste like garbanzos.