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About the Author

Jeffrey Whitmore’s work has appeared in Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone Magazine, The Whole Earth Review, and the webzine Sour Grapes. His "Bedtime Story" is featured in The World’s Shortest Stories (Running Press) and has been reprinted in numerous other publications, including Glamour magazine and the supermarket tabloid Globe. It has shown up on numerous web sites around the world and has been read on NPR and on the BBC. It has also served as the inspiration for two ultra-short films. A California-based freelancer, Whitmore is currently writing the screenplay for Sterling Johnson’s English as a Second F*cking Language (St. Martin’s Press).

[an error occurred while processing this directive] Outside In: Review by A.L. Sirois

The Works

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Nathan Crane enjoyed a close shave. As with any of his pleasures, it was not a luxury; a legacy of blue-chip stocks provided him a tidy income.

Nathan traveled the world, but not as a sightseer. He roamed as a man misplaced, a man who wished to be elsewhere. He'd been shaved in such far-flung locales as Cairo, London, Asuncion, and Beijing. At home now in New York City and just a three-minute walk from his apartment he stood before a barber shop he'd never noticed before. Its entrance was at basement level, under the front steps of a residence hotel. A red-white-and-blue striped barber pole was barely visible from the sidewalk.

The shop was a one-chair operation. Over the marble sink and counter a large mirror reflected the five bentwood chairs that lined the opposite wall. The floor of the shop was clean and bright, patterned in nickel-size black and white octagonal tile.

The barber, a giant of a man, stood before the barber chair, his arms folded across his chest. Except for a red handle-bar moustache and coarse devil's eyebrows, his head was devoid of hair. His scalp was smooth and shiny. Nathan guessed it had been shaved that morning.

There were no customers in the shop, and Nathan went directly to the barber chair and sat down. As he sank back into the chair, he noticed a sign above the mirror:

Shave

Haircut

The Works

There were no prices. Nathan looked into the mirror and cocked his head. A wisp of hair fell too far below his collar to suit his taste. He looked at the barber and shrugged. "The works," he said.

(continued)

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