Back Room Banter

Back Room Banter

“I’ve seen people come into the shop with all sorts of things,” I said to Kamy. “One time, this lady brought in those sticks that a doctor uses to check your tonsils.”

“Uh huh,” Kamy said, looking at her text messages.

“She wanted to know if I could give her a perm on them.”

Kamy whooped, set her phone on the counter. “That’s crazy!”

“You bet it is. I told her, I’m sorry, Mrs. Hammond, but I’m a beautician, not a magician.”

Kamy laughed so hard she almost puked up the lunch we’d just devoured from La Cantina. “One time,” she said when she got her breath back, “I was doing a color consultation on Mrs. Lee. And I was halfway into it, you know, color charts, swatches, level this, retouches, blah, blah, blah. And I notice something moving on her lap. Like, under her cape.”

“She was a he?”

Kamy punched me playfully. “No, silly, she had her Pekinese on her lap. I must have been with her five minutes before that dog ever moved.”

Chuckling, I looked around the corner from the back room of the salon. Coast clear. No clients. “What about that time the Jesus guy came in here selling those daily slogan cards?”

Kamy looked confused. “That wasn’t a Jesus guy. That’s my friend, Eddie. He’s deaf.”

“Oh.” I felt like an ass, so I ate the remnants of leftover tortilla chips.

“Hey, I wanted to ask your advice,” she said.


“I’ve got this guy coming in at 2:00 for a wax service.”

“Oh yeah?” I’d never done any waxing, except in cosmetology school with Miss Jo. “What’s he getting done? Eyebrows?”

“No, it’s on our books as Back, Crack and Sack,” Kamy said.

As the shock registered, my mouth gaped open.


About Robert Vaughan

Originally from NY, Robert leads week long National writing retreats at sites like Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Synergia Ranch, and EarthRise IONS. His poems and fiction are published in over 500 print and online magazines, such as Necessary Fiction, BlazeVOX, Los Angeles Weekly, Literary Orphans and Smokelong Quarterly. He is Editor-in-Chief at (b)OINK magazine and leads round- tables for Redoak Writing in Milwaukee. He is six times a Pushcart Prize Nominee and his fiction and poetry have won awards, including a Micro-Fiction runner-up (2012) and twice a finalist in the Gertrude Stein Fiction Award (2013-14). His books are: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps); Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms); RIFT, co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press), and FUNHOUSE (Unknown Press).
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12 Responses to Back Room Banter

  1. Andrea says:


  2. Don says:

    This is hilarious! Fresh dialogue and fun. You have a great knack for every day, realistic fiction. I liked both of these characters and especially the pekinese was great!

  3. Angela says:

    Hahaha! More hair salon stories, please! ACK! Hahahahaha!

  4. Tom Froehlich says:

    LMAO!! Not sure about the earlier dialogue, but the ending is a hoot!

  5. Betsy says:

    That last line was just for David, right? 🙂

  6. Dez says:

    I have heard of the service you mentioned at the end, but I can’t imagine how painful it would be to receive it! Funny as all-get-out!

  7. christine says:

    Robert — You did it again. You lulled me into the scene with your realistic yet interesting conversation. Then, the zinger. Right on! And thanks.

  8. theprayerlady says:

    Oh Lordy Lou, I don’t know which to feel sorry for, her or the guy getting waxed. LOL Your amazing kid of mine. Love MOm

  9. Rontuaru says:

    Just another reason why I’m glad I never went into that biz. Or massage: Are you happy to see me or is that your Pekingese? Ug!

    I don’t know who theprayerlady is, but I think it’s pretty creepy that she calls you “her kid” and calls herself your “Mom.” You have a Mom. She’s deceased. It’s not amusing, but disrespectful of your Mother’s memory. She needs to come up with a different shtick.

  10. david says:

    Wait until you get them on all fours.. tightly grabbing their sack.. and loudly announce that it will be ten dollars extra to do their nasty excessively hairy hole. Works every time. We had a guy who really ENJOYED the pain of getting EVERYTHING waxed… the gals would “accidently” make little burn marks and not hold the skin down so that he would bleed. He’d come back every two weeks asking for more extensive “treatments.” Like you have used a nasty tongue depressors for a perm… righty oh… straight from experience. Folks are NASTY and it’s so much fun!

  11. david says:

    Scrub, tub and Rub… NEXT

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