A Fake Mohawk – A Masque of Infamy excerpt

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Back at Hillcrest, I counted down the days until my departure. Sandra said I would be out of the hospital some time before Christmas. To commemorate my inevitable discharge, I requested a trip to Supercuts so I could get a mohawk. “It’ll be my Christmas present,” I told Calvin. “I got the cash. Just need somebody to take me to get it done.”

As I was leaving the Sheltons’s house, Mrs. Shelton slipped a bill into my pocket. “In case you need anything down there…” In Sandra’s van, I unfolded it and smiled at Benjamin Franklin’s smirk. One hundred smackeroos!

“You’ll look like a fool with a haircut like that!” Calvin scoffed when I showed him the picture of the hairstyle I wanted. “I’d let you do it just to see how dumb you’ll look afterwards, but I’m not that cruel.”

“What do you know? It’ll be tough.”

After a few days of persistent cajoling, Calvin went to Julie, who decided that I needed to get permission for such an extreme hairstyle.

“From who?” I asked. “My mother’d let me do it.”

“Your caseworker.”

“Oh.”

I was vaguely optimistic when I picked up the phone, but Sandra was ambivalent.

“I don’t know… that sounds a little drastic.”

“It’s not a real mohawk,” I protested. “I just want to shave the sides, that way if I want, most of the time my hair’ll just fall over the side, or I could part it down the middle and nobody would be able tell.”

After she relented, Nina drove me to Supercuts, where the hairstylist wrinkled her brow when I described the haircut I wanted.

“I don’t think that’s gonna look very good.”

I was persistent. But she refused to shave my sides to the skin. Instead she left an inch of hair that she slicked back with gel. So it was almost like a real mohawk.

On my way out of the mall, I stopped by the photo booth and documented my new style.

— from A Masque of Infamy

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