My re-match with the barber of Sabo-Oke went quite well. He welcomed me into his parlour where his friends were engrossed in a game of draughts on what looked like a plain board! They all fell about laughing when I greeted them in Yoruba and then reimmersed themselves in their game. meanwhile, the barber had fired up his generator, fixed (sort of) a blade to the apparatus, heated it with a naked flame to sterilize it, sparyaed water on it from a washing up liquid bottle to cool it down, wiped it with a rag to dry it and then set to work - or rather stood there as if to say 'What do I do now?' He thoughtfully switched on the small portable TV that lived on a high shelf and which I could have watched - if I had been able to keep my glasses on and if i could have read subtitles backwards in the salon's mirror.
'Just like the other day?' he asked, referring to the day I last visited his salon back in November.
'More off this time' i replied, remembering the paltry amount he took off with quivering hand on that last occasion. This time he was in confident mood - so much so that when the draughts game got a bit heated with much shouting and gesticulating, he turned round to adjudicate without once interrupting the flowing motion of his shaving hand. The end result was better than i had expected -neat, even and carried out with the softest touch - unlike last time when i half expected to see an ear land on the floor alongside the whisps of hair he had removed. He was more than happy with the amount I paid him - meaning i over paid him, Yoruba'd my good byes, reigniting their laughter and left.
I emerged into the mid-morning heat like a western gunslinger emerging from a saloon bar, lighter in the wallet, but somewhat refreshed and relieved that i had not had to get embroiled in a duel ; but rather than saddling up and moseying on out of town, I strode off with my newly shaved head glinting in the sun, inducing migraine in passers by, dazzling oncoming traffic and compelling startled goats to flee for the hills of rubbish lining the road.
Five hours later and my hair has gone completely spiky - a reaction to the heat , to the glare of the sun, or to last nights rice and tomato dinner. Any resemblance between me and a rather pale-looking hedgehog is purely coincidental - and hopefully temporary!