Quick Silver
By Stephanie Modkins

The day I lost my curl, I almost lost my manhood.

"Quick, you so f-i-n-e. Let me run my fingers through your hair."

"Naw baby. Get your hands down! No one touches my hair!"

Now, how would I know that would be last time I'd ever get to say that. It was a dark Tuesday when I went to Mr. Ed's Barber Shop off of Fifth Street, two spaces down from Conti's Liquor Store and The House of Prayers Barbecue Ribs and Chicken Shack. I had on my Member's Only black leather jacket and a tight pair of Levi jeans. As I walked down the street with the wind blowing across the soft, thick curls covering every inch of my head and hanging in a V-shape just below my shoulders, I wondered could life get any better than this? And then it did. This fine girl name Levita stopped me on the street.

"Hey Quick."

"Hey Levita."

"I've been looking for you."

"For me? Aw yeah — what's up baby?"

"You. I want you to come to my place tonight. I want to give you somethin' you'll never forget."

"All right, all right. What time, baby?"

"Nine. Don't be late, Quick."

"Don't worry. I won't."

Levita was 5'7", high yellow with long hair that flowed down to her back. What I liked most about Levita was her big booty. It was the kind that caused the hemline of every dress she wore to raise a little higher up in the back. As I watched her walk away that day, I imagined what we'd do that night. Levita bent over on all fours, butt-naked with that big booty in the air. I was gonna ride her like a pretty pony. Now all I needed to do was to get my curl together and take a quick shower. I walked into Mr. Ed's shop just in time to get a seat.

"Hey, Mr. Ed."

"Hey Quick. Whatcha wantin' today son?"

"A touch up on my curl. It's a little nappy at the roots."

"Alright, have a seat, son, and you'll be up next."


I sat down next to Jermaine, my cousin. He was the coolest fag I knew. Unless you met his boyfriend, pretty Tony, you'd never know he was weird.

"Jermaine, my man." We briefly hugged. "Did you watch the game last night? Kareem did it again!"

"Yes, he did man. Quick, I got in on this pool at my job and won big!"

"Yeah, man. That's c-o-o-l."

"Man, I was the only one who guessed right on how many baskets Kareem was gonna make with a right hook."

"That's cool, Jermaine. That's real c-o-o-l." I put my hand in my pocket and felt a piece of lint. I barely had enough to get my hair right. "Uh Jermaine, could you lend me a few? Just till the end of the week. That's when I get my disability check."

"Sure, man." He handed me a twenty.

"Jermaine, why didn't you come by Big Momma's house last week? I
was lookin' for you."

He bent his head back and looked up at the ceiling. "Quick, Big Momma's been on me lately about... you know, my situation. Man, I just didn't feel like hearin' all of that. I am who I am."

"Yeah, well, that's cool. Big Momma's usually on everyone about their situation, whatever it is."

"True, dat. True, dat."

"Next time, man, come on around. Big Momma made a sweet potato pie that was out of this world! Man, I ate at least three slices."

"Aw, man, that sounds good. I'll come by next time. Quick, it's time for me to go." Jermaine got up and paid Mr. Ed. Then, he walked out of the shop behind pretty Tony.

"Come on son. You're next." I jumped up and sat in Mr. Ed's black leather chair."Mr. Ed can you tighten up my back after you finish with the curl. It's lookin' a little ragged."

"Sure I can, son. Sure I can." He began parting my hair and putting Vaseline around the edges of my scalp. I was glad! Last time, he didn't do that and my edges were raw. "Quick, what you been doin' with your life lately?"

"Nothin' much. My leg is still botherin' me so I chill most of the day. But, I still hang with the ladies, if you know what I mean."

"Yeah, I know, son." He started spreadin' on the perm. It had an extra foul smell, like a mixture of rotten eggs and gas. I grabbed my nostrils. "So, Quick, besides the ladies, what else do you do? You're a young man; you should be goin' to school or learnin' a trade."

"Yeah, well I don't know what I want right now. So, I'm takin' it easy 'till I find out."

"Okay, son. It's your life." The perm was burning now. I felt layers of my scalp melting. I didn't say anything. I wanted the perm to take.

"So, Mr. Ed, did you watch the game?"

"Yeah son. Kareem is somethin' else! He's unstoppable!" My scalp is on fire now. I don't say anything 'cause it's about time. "Okay, son, let's rinse out now."