Jeff Friedman

Somebody’s Got My Hair | Cuffed
December 18, 2017 Friedman Jeff

Somebody’s Got My Hair


Somebody’s got my hair, I said to my lover, who stood in front of the mirror in a long white t-shirt brushing out her thick black hair. The silver brush glinted. I touched my head again and again, nothing but craggy dome and small patches of stubble over my ears. I felt a little tired and weak without my hair. How could I go out into the street as a bald man? “When’s the last time you had your hair?” she asked. “Try to remember where you were.” I could imagine myself with thick wavy brown hair, but I couldn’t picture myself in a particular place. She put the brush down and came back to the bed, pressing her palm against my forehead. “No fever, no hair—did you lose it somewhere?” “No, it’s hair; it’s goes with me everywhere.” She removed her hand. “Is it possible that someone from the office stole it while you were napping?” She looked deeply into my eyes, probing for the truth. “I don’t work in an office,” I said; “I don’t work at all.” “Did you possibly sell it to someone?” I shook my head. She knew I would never sell my hair. Was she trying to help or ridicule me? She got up and began searching through my drawers and the closets. “No sign of your hair anywhere, not even a single strand.” I rose from bed and got dressed. She kissed me on the top of my head. “I fell in love with a bald man, not a man who has brown wavy hair.” I smiled and kissed her back, though I knew she was in love with someone else.







On Pleasant Street near the diner, a policeman catches up to me. “Please stop, sir,” he said. I looked into his broad face, his chin fringed with blond fuzz.

“Have I done something, officer? Littered? jaywalked?” He shook his head. Then I thought about it for a second. “Are you selling tickets for the policemen’s benefit? I’m happy to contribute a few dollars.”

“Nothing like that at all,” he laughed. “I just want to hang out with you for a while, be your friend.”

“Sorry, officer, I said, “I’m very busy today. Maybe some other time.” He frowned, then pulled out his ticket pad and began writing. “What am I getting a ticket for? I demanded to know.

“Just taking a few notes,” he said. “A blue bird flew out of the diner door. I think it may have been an indigo bunting.” A moment later, he sighted another unusual bird on the roof of the vacuum cleaner shop. He pointed at it. “That’s an Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, I’m sure of it. Very rare,” he said.

To me the chubby bird looked like a pigeon, but I’m no bird expert. “Thanks for the ornithology lesson,” I said and started to walk away, but he placed his hand gently on my forearm.

“Not so fast,” he said and in one quick motion cuffed his wrist to mine. “Where to now?” he asked.

Unsure of what I would do with a police officer cuffed to my wrist, I guided us to the police station. “I’d like to report a police officer handcuffed to my wrist,” I said to a young woman at the front desk.

She excused herself for a moment and returned with the Chief. He smiled at the police officer. “So you’ve found yourself a new friend,” he said. “Good work, Jim.”

Then to me, he said, “Sir, this is not a crime; it’s community outreach.

He nodded at the police officer attached to my wrist. “Book him.”

The officer led me through a door to the back of the station. “One of our best rooms, he said, uncuffing me and locking me into a cell.

A small bird flew overhead.  “A canary?” I asked.

“No, a finch,” he said. He pointed to a container of pellets. “Don’t forget to feed him.”

JEFF FRIEDMAN has published nine collections of poetry and prose, including The Marksman (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2020), Floating Tales (Plume Editions/Madhat Press, 2017), and most recently The House of Grana Padano (Pelekinesis, April 2022), cowritten with Meg Pokrass. Friedman’s poems, mini tales and translations have appeared in American Poetry ReviewPoetry, New England Review, Poetry International, Cast-Iron Aeroplanes That Can Actually Fly: Commentaries from 80 American Poets on their Prose Poetry, Flash Fiction Funny, Flash Nonfiction Funny, Fiction International, Plume, Dreaming Awake: New Contemporary Prose Poetry from the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom and The New Republic, and Best Microfiction 2021 and 2022. He has received an NEA Literature Translation Fellowship and numerous other awards and prizes.