Hammer of the Gods By Sabrina S. & HeadBoy
She sashayed into my office and I almost melted like a candle in the sun. The rickety clack of the pedestal fan almost drowned out the click of her high heels. THIS was a dame! One hell of a dame. I took my time and eyeballed her from the ground up. Her feet, slim and dainty, were encased in shoes so hot-damn high I don’t know how she walked in them.
The legs attached to the feet were endless and made me want to be an ant with a penchant for mountain climbing. Near her knees they were hidden by her dress, a frivolous summer concoction of fine white cotton I think, printed with red roses so real you could almost smell them. Or maybe it was her perfume. Whatever it was, it was knocking me for six and when I looked at her breasts, firm and pointed, my eyes almost crossed. They were the kind of breasts that made a struggling private eye like me feel the job was worthwhile after all. I kept wandering up, and encountered the sweetest but most knowing face I’d ever met. Those ruby lips had kissed a million guys but looked innocent as hell, full and shining.
Her skin glowed with a mix of California sun and Max Factor. Her eyes, when she took off those big Audrey Hepburn sunglasses, were the liquid brown of very, very old Scotch whisky, and fringed with lashes that were obscenely long. Shapely dark eyebrows arched above them, eyebrows that men like me didn’t dare mess with. On top of this face, this Botticelli meets Bad Girl visage, was a hat, a wide-brimmed, straw summer hat pulled down low that covered her hair. God, I was longing to see her hair, just to find out whether it was as good as the rest of her.
I sat back in my chair, lighting a cigarette with fingers I hoped didn’t tremble. “Can I help you, miss?” My chair creaked.
Her voice had a southern twang to it, the same bitchiness and sweetness you knew Scarlett O’Hara had been born with. “I hope so, Mr -”
“Hammer. Mike Hammer. At your service.”
“Well, Mr Hammer. I’m new in town. Like, I just arrived today, and it’s SOOO hot here in California.” Her pout was delightful, it would turn a priest to polygamy. “I can’t find anyone else to help me, and I just know a private eye would know EVERYTHING. So tell me… where can I get all this shaved off?”
With a dramatic flourish she ripped the hat from her head, and about seven tons of hair tumbled down to her butt, all dark brown and shining. I wanted to dive in and swim in it, it was so lush. At the same time, I wanted to reach into my second drawer down, take out the spare razor I kept there and shave every precious, crackling lock of that hair off to the scalp.
My jaw hit the floor like a Tex Avery Coyote, lady luck was grinning at me like some prison guard eyeballing new flesh walking through the gate on Christmas morning.
I did reach into my desk to pull something out, and I only kept two things inside that desk beside my spare razor and deodorant; the first was a 38 that I kept loaded, the other was a bottle old Bushmills that kept me loaded.
I’m the guy you call when you need something unpleasant done and you don’t want to get your hands dirty. Dirty never bothered me, hell, I kind of liked it. Turns out, I wouldn’t need the 38 after all. I would need a jolt.
“Join me in a drink?” I asked, pulling my hat up out of my eyes so she could get a good look at me.
“Mr. Hammer, it’s scarcely 9 o’clock.”
“So, that’s a no?”
“That’s a no.”
“Let me see if I have this straight, ma’am,” I said, trying hard to fight the urge to make a dishonest woman of her, “you want someone to shave all that hair off your head?”
The room felt still while the blades turned overhead. They weren’t making the room any cooler, but a dame like this would raise the temperature in Hell a couple degrees.
“Are you up for the job, Mr. Hammer?” Her voice was pure honey, such honey I wanted to be a loaf of bread so she had something to spread out on.
“You must know a barber who’d be willing to take on the job… unless your private eye capabilities run to head shaving as well as investigating?”
“I’m a very capable man,” I said, wondering if I was asleep and dreaming, wondering whether this goddess was really standing in front of me asking me to cut off every strand of her butt length locks. I took my swig, it burned on my throat with the right amount of pain to go with the warming pleasure. I made sure my 38 was loaded, shoved it into its shoulder holster and followed her out the door to a waiting checker cab.
She took me to a nearby hotel. It was the kind of place that was decorated in a way that made velvet conquistador paintings seem stylish. The lamp was made from an unfortunate frog – he’d been varnished and had a banjo stuck into his hands. A light bulb screwed into his head and fringe hung from the shade. My shoes stuck to the shag carpet like it was the floor of a movie theatre after a children’s matinee.
What was a dame this classy in a dump like this? Who was she hiding from and what was the real story behind all this? One thing was for sure, I was going to find out.
“You’ll have to excuse my living quarters, I assure you they’re quite temporary,” she said as she sashayed into the other room. She tilted her head, signaling me to follow. I did, like a homeless puppy looking for table scraps and a tickle under the chin.
I looked around the joint, no clues in plain site, there almost never were. My gut told me she was a rich broad on the lam from under the thumb of some wealthy Mack who wouldn’t know what to do with a dame like this other than use her for arm dressing and eye candy. My head popped with images of her sitting in my third floor walk up, sitting at my table, nursing a cup of joe, with her head as smooth as a cue ball about to kiss the eight ball into the side pocket. It would be the morning after, and she’d have an exhausted smile on her face and my red bathrobe wrapped around those hourglass hips.
“Mr. Hammer, can we get out of here? I have what I came for.”
We headed up the street for breakfast and a chat while we waited for the department store to open across the street. If I was going to shave her head, I’d need a pair of clippers.
She – and I still didn’t know her name – seemed excited at the prospect of losing all that hair. Standing silently beside me, she kept tossing it back impatiently so it rippled like a live thing down her back.
“Other people can cope with the California heat without shaving their heads,” I said conversationally. “So what’s the real reason?”
Her eyes behind those Hepburn specs were unreadable. “Mr Hammer, I hired you to shave my head, not investigate.”
Given that determined knock-back, I was equally determined to find out the real reason behind her intended baldness. However, I said nothing, but took her slim arm at the elbow when the store opened, and guided her to the electrical goods counter.
“It’s such thick hair,” I said in a voice that was slurry and not because of the Bushmills. I dared to touch her glossy locks, to feel the weight of them. The thought of watching them fall to the floor leaving white scalp in their place made me catch my breath and go dizzy. “You’ll need a good pair of clippers.”
Hidden behind the cheap stuff was a set of Wahl clippers, and she nodded in satisfaction. “They should chew through all this hair.”
She paid in cash, from a wad of the stuff curled up in her bag. The saleswoman smiled. “Givin’ your husband a haircut for the summer, huh?” she joked.
My client smiled sweetly and said to me mockingly, “Come along then, darlin’, let’s get cutting.”
Still in silence we walked the sweaty streets back to her digs. The stale smell of a hundred thousand fast food meals, about a billion cigarettes and countless cases of cheap booze seeped from under every door we passed in her hotel. Her own room reeked of cheap air freshener, so sharp it made you want to cough.
The bathroom was barely big enough to swing a cat. No way could she sit there and have room for me to work my way around her, clipping off those lush locks bit by bit.
So she pulled a chair out from under the laminex excuse for a dining table and sat it in the middle of the floor. “Nobody will notice the hair on the carpet,” she giggled. “It’d be an improvement.”
“Don’t you want a towel around your neck?”
“Hell no, I’ll just jump in the shower afterwards.” The look in her eyes, minus the sunglasses, told me that I’d be welcome in there too, if I wasn’t mistaken.
The fingers that could point a .38 dead on target fumbled like a child’s opening the Wahl box. I drew out the clippers as if they were as deadly a weapon as my gun, and fancied I could hear her hair shrieking, “Don’t kill me! Don’t kill me!”
But murder was on my mind. I plugged them in, all white and new and shiny.
She watched from the chair, a beautiful, enigmatic Mona Lisa smile on her Virgin Madonna meets Rock Star Madonna face. Sitting in the chair, her head tilted back, her hair almost met the carpet.
“Keep your head back,” I said unsteadily, and flicked the clippers into life. There was no guard on the blade.
Her molten eyes looked up into mine. For a moment I hesitated, unwilling to ravage such traditional beauty for a look I found even more tantalising than long, sweet-smelling hair. But as she watched the clippers edge closer and closer to her forehead, her eyes half-closed in a private ecstasy, and any doubts I had vanished like last night’s date.
They seemed to have a mind of their own, as they rode toward her temple, chewing away all that mane. She let out a moan that said more about the sin of Saturday night than the salvation of Sunday morning. Her head rotated to the side, and her chin lifted toward the ceiling. She not only didn’t put up a fight, she made sure I knew she was enjoying this. Rain started to fall on the roof, it sounded like a platoon of dog-faces marching into Munich after D-Day. It had that menacing but victorious sound you don’t hear often.
The clippers sounded as if they were locked in the fight of their life. Her hair snarled and caught as the Wahls clipped away. Short strokes, like Tiger Woods on the back nine, reduced the side of her head to stubble. She rolled her head around to expose the other side, giving some form of encouragement, but I was not the kind of guy who could hear her and concentrate on what I was doing at the same time. Her voice, that honey-sweet concoction that reduced my knees to Grandma’s lime Jello in a millisecond, it just slayed me. Slayed me like a pug trying to go ten rounds with Mike Tyson, fighting back would just make it ugly.
The top of her head put up less of a fight than the sides. Mountains of hair fell down around her and she looked like the kind of dame Michelangelo would sculpt for David to have someone to chat up in the early morning hours when the museum was closed. It hummed, the little, well-oiled, motor of that Wahl, the white paint glowed and felt hot, like a night boat in Cairo in August. She moaned again. The leggy woman sat in the cramped bathroom, the smell of scorched hair wafted through the air. The sight of all that hair hitting the ground, sticking to her supple breast, sticking to my over-starched white shirt, hitting somewhere around the coffee stain, was all too much. My senses hit overload and I was on auto-pilot. Clippering this dame was one of the high points of my Bushmills-soaked existence. Watching the rote groans emit from her full, pouty lips was a delight.
Watching as the clippers chewed the hair off the back of her head and exposing that neck, as long and slender as a crane, but four times as beautiful, sent shock waves through all 185 lbs. of my 6 foot, slouched frame. The mountain was scaled, she had stubble left, where moments before a mass of hair, of some sort of tonsorial delight, had stood.
I lathered up her head, she spoke softly. “Do you want me to tell you what is really happening?” she asked.
I nodded, the lump in my throat prevented audible speech.
“My husband…” she started, the honey in her voice disappearing, only the Southern accent and pain remained. “My husband was arrested the other night. With a prostitute, her name was something ridiculous like Cherry Blossom.”
Her tone was deep, straightforward and without remorse.
I titled my head closer, as I began scraping away the shadow that was once her mane. “He was caught in bed with another woman, a woman that could compromise all he’s worked so hard to accomplish,” she said, and things began to make some sort of sense.
Her husband, if what she told me was correct, was in the papers this week. His name was Tony Fisticolli, “Tony the Fist”, or “Big Tony”, one of the last capos on the West Coast. He dressed like John Gotti raided his closet for leftovers, always looking sharp, and never breaking a sweat. His picture in the paper sent shock waves through my end of the world, private dicks and gangsters were stunned he’d be so careless, caught, literally, with his pants down.
The woman sitting there in that fleabag motel, on some remote interstate where dreams, and apparently polyester, go to die, was “Tony the Fist”‘s wife. She was having her head shaved as some sort of revenge on him for neglecting his marital responsibilities.
“He loves my hair, touches it all the time,” her voice said. I’d stopped shaving now, and stood, mouth agape. “He’s going to hate this, don’t you think, Mr. Hammer?”
“You mean Mr. Dead Man, don’t you?”
“Whatever do you mean by that?” The honey was back.
“When he finds out who did this to his wife, Big Tony is gonna make a meal outta me. There won’t be enough of me left for my ma to bury.”
She took the razor, and scraped away the rest of the stubble. The rain was failing harder now. Warm summer rain, hitting the blacktop and doing a pretty good job of washing away the scum around this hellhole of a motel.
She darted outside, pulling me by the hand. “Come on.”
She stood in the rain, then began spinning like Baryshnikov. Water drops hit her newly sheened scalp. The water droplets formed and slid down her smooth melon; Niagara Falls never looked this pretty. “Isn’t it breathtaking?” she asked, rubbing the rain into her skull and grinning away. That grin could light up New Orleans during Mardi Gras.
She grabbed my hand and told me, “Dance with me.” Cars honked as they drove past, some approvingly, some telling us to get the hell out of the rain.
“Come on, what have you got to lose, Mr. Hammer?”
I stood there for a long second. The stench of an open dumpster was drowned out by the smell of her perfume. ‘Dance?’ With her? If “Tony the Fist” found out I danced with his wife, after shaving her head, I’d be as dead as Julius Caesar. Hell, I was already a dead man walking. If I was already dead, and in the presence of a woman this beautiful, this vision of near naked, totally bald, womanhood. Who could have ever passed this woman up for some skirt named Cherry Blossom?
Would the redoubtable Ms. Blossom ever look this ravishing?
“Dance with me, Mr. Hammer,” she said, almost pleading.
So I did. If I was a dead man, and chances are I was, I might as well go out with a bit of fun.
“So, beautiful lady, what is your name?” I asked, letting the music of a thousand raindrops pinging onto her barren skull act as the beat.
“You don’t need to know.”
I could find out easily enough. A man as notorious as Tony the Fist had information about his private life floating in every sewer. Discovering the name of Audrey Hepburn’s now-bald doppelganger would be a cinch.
I closed my eyes, feeling the warm softness of her shaved scalp against the bristles of my chin. I had something hard in my trousers that wasn’t my .38. The rain pelted us, warm and tropical and hard, the world’s biggest shower closet for two.
Her dress in its soaked state was see-through, and her nipples stuck out like twin cannons against my chest.
“This is crazy,” I muttered, opening one eye to peer at every passing car in case Tony the Fist was inside it.
“It’s fine, Mr Hammer,” she assured me, pressing against me and feeling my hardness, acknowledging it with an upward twist of those incredible lips. “I’ll tell my husband I shaved my own head. He need never know about you. After all, I have the clippers in my room.”
Then she was kissing me, her hands in my wet hair and my hands roaming of their own accord over her bald head. How small it felt, how feminine, how right.
Somehow we got back upstairs to that disgusting room of hers. Passion had transformed it from a fleapit into a paradise, and we walked dizzily across a carpet of cut hair to the bed, where I took her as soon as I’d pulled the pricey sundress from her body. She writhed under me, biting me, marking me with animal amour.
When we were both spent, both exhausted and gasping, and I felt like I could sleep for about three months, she pulled me to my feet and sat me in the chair.
I knew what was coming. Had known ever since that saleswoman had taken her money.
Still naked, she switched the clippers on and dragged them through the thick hair on top of my head. Her fingers were light where they touched the shaved patch of skin, and I felt myself responding in a way that made her chuckle in pleasure.
The clippers were so loud in my ears I never heard the black limousine screech to a stop in front of the fleapit.