Haircut

A sketch from A Bit of Fry & Laurie

Stephen is dressed as, and therefore in dramatic terms is, a barber. Hugh enters the shop.

Stephen Good morning sir.

Hugh Morning.

Stephen Yes sir, I do believe we're in for a spell as they used to say in the music halls. Not too hot, but not too mild neither..

Hugh Mmm.

Stephen Re the weekend just past, might I enquire as to whether sir was in receipt of an enjoyableness, or did events prove themselves to be of an otherwise nature?

Hugh Very pleasant thank you.

Stephen Thank you sir. Very pleasant. Good. Then in presumption of sir's answer, I may take it that sir was for that period without the boundaries of Lincolnshire, wherein, I understand, it rained like a bitch.

Hugh No, I was nowhere near Lincolnshire.

Stephen Sir, I am uplifted to hear such news.

Hugh My wife and I spent the weekend in Hull.

Stephen Sir is married?

Hugh Yes.

Stephen I had literally no idea.

Hugh Well never mind ...

Stephen Will sir at some future time, as yet unspecified, forgive me for not having immediately congratulated him on his joyousness in the good tidings department?

Hugh Of course. I didn't expect you ...

Stephen Would sir perhaps consider it to be beyond- boundingly forward of me, on behalf of all the staff here, to send a bouquet of flower-style objects to Mrs Sir?

Hugh Well that's really not necessary.

Stephen Sir, since I began as a barber, not thirty-nine years ago, the phrase "not necessary" has been neither more nor less than as a spur to quicken my actions.

Hugh Well thank you, that's very kind of you ...

Stephen Alright sir. To business. Being one of the shrewdest sirs it has been my privilege to meet, you are no doubt keen to exploit the social and financial advantages inherent in having a hair cut?

Hugh A haircut, that's right.

Stephen Of course. A hair cut is a hair enhanced if sir will fail to slash my throatlet for being so old. Now the hair in question is ... ?

Hugh What?

Stephen The hair presently under advisement belongs to ... ?

Hugh What do you mean?

Stephen What do I mean?

Hugh Yes.

Stephen Haha. I sneak myself towards the suspicion that sir has me cast as the mouse in his ever popular cat drama.

Hugh What are you talking about? It's my hair. I want you to cut my hair.

Stephen Ah. So sir's own hair is the hair upon which this entire transaction is to be founded?

Hugh Well of course. Why would I come in here to get someone else's hair cut.

Stephen Sir. Please set fire to my legs if I am trying to make haircutting seem more glamorous that it really is, but may I just say this - you cannot be too careful in my position.

Hugh Really?

Stephen Indeed sir. Once and only once, I cut a gentleman's hair against his will. Believe me when I say it was both difficult and impossible.

Hugh No, well it's my hair I want cut.

Stephen Your hair.

Hugh Yes.

Stephen The hair of sir.

Hugh Yes.

Stephen Excellent. Then let us proceed to the next and most important of stages. Which one?

Hugh Which one what?

Stephen Which of sir's manifold hairs would he care to place in my professional care for the purposes of securing an encutment.

Hugh Well all of them.

Stephen All of sir's hairs?

Hugh Yes.

Stephen Sir is absolutely sure?

Hugh Of course I'm sure. What's the matter with you?

Stephen I seek not to question the drasticity of sir's decision, only to express the profoundness of my humblings at the prospect of such a magnificent task.

Hugh Well, all of them.

Stephen All of them. My word.

Hugh Is that a problem.

Stephen By no means. I merely hope that sir can find a moment in his otherwise hectic schedule to appreciate that for me to cut every one of sir's hairs represents the snow-capped summit of a barber's career.

Hugh Well you've done it before, haven't you?

Stephen Indeed, sir. I once cut all the hairs on a gentleman's head in Cairo, shortly after the War, when the world was in uproar and to a young man everything seemed possible.

Hugh Once?

Stephen It would be pointless for me to deny that I was fitter and better-looking then, but let us hope for sir's sake, that the magic has not entirely disappeared up its own rabbit hole. We shall see.

Hugh Wait a minute. Wait just one cotton-picking minute here.

Stephen Sir?

Hugh You've cut someone's hair, all of it that is, once since the war?

Stephen Would sir have preffered that in the sphere of total hair cuttation, I was to him a virgin?

Hugh I beg your pardon?

Stephen That I can respect.

Hugh What?

Stephen The desire that we should both of us embark upon this voyage as innocents, wide-eyed travellers in a foreign land, unknowning of our destination, careless of our fate - to emerge somewhere, some day, bruised, tender, a little sad perhaps, but ultimately and joyously alive.

Hugh Goodbye.

Stephen Sir is leaving?

Hugh Yup.

Stephen Might I be favoured with an explanation as to why?

Hugh Because I don't believe you have the faintest idea as to how you're going to end this sketch, and I simply don't want to be around when you try. It's going to be painful and embarrassing for both of us, and to be honest I'd much rather it was only painful and embarrassing for you.

Stephen But sir!

Hugh What?

Stephen Sir could not be more mistaken if he tried. I know precisely how this sketch is going to end.

Hugh Really?

Stephen Really.

Hugh Go on then.

Stephen It might take time.

Hugh Yes, time and pain and embarrassment. Goodbye.

Stephen You bastard.

Hugh Here we go.

Stephen The number of times I've hung around while you've stumbled on to some pathetic ending.

Hugh You see? You're completely stuck.

Stephen No I'm not.

Hugh Ha.

Stephen Forty-five seconds. I can end this sketch in forty- five seconds.

Hugh Yeah?

Stephen Yeah.

Hugh OK. Forty-five seconds.

Stephen If sir will resume the seatedness of his posture.

Hugh Alright.

Stephen Can I assume that sir is close to the level of maximum comfort?

Hugh Forty seconds.

Stephen I will now fetch the necessary tools. Stephen exits.

Hugh Haha. It's going to be a chainsaw or some bloody ... tscch. Hugh looks at his watch. Stephen does not re-enter. Long pause. Hugh realises he has been left holding the baby. Fuck.

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