4. Dirt Road Stories: Hair

So you’re still with me? Or you’re new here? We’re all new eventually. We’re all old eventually.



Kid 1: Poor kid

Kids 2 – 4: Probably got their school clothes at JC Penney’s

Mom: Tired. Rough. Has a spare tire, but looks crack thin somehow

Narrator: Wise old black man

Young Adult 1: Older Kid 1

Young Adult 2: Probably smokes weed, probably works with YA 1

Customer: Someone not minding their own damn business

Roommate: Drug dealer living in the sunroom downstairs



open to rickety wooden ramp with wide green stripe going up the center

the ramp runs alongside the portable

there is some type of completed grade school craft projects displayed on the rail

children are in line on the ramp

Ms. Smith goes through their hair with a fine-tooth comb

Kid 1: Didn’t we just do this?

Kid 2: Yeah, but some kids still have lice. Probably _______.

Kid 3: I heard that, _______! It means my hair is clean.

Kid 1: (Not wanting to leave Kid 2 defenseless) We all know it’s you. We can see them from here. Gross.

close with Kid 4 bouncing on a loose board in the ramp


open to quickly disintegrating dwelling with 3 inspection stickers displayed in the window

            Kid 3 hands Mom a note

            note has lice scotch taped in the bottom corner

with This is what lice look like at the end of the arrow pointing to the bugs

Mom shakes her head

Mom: I can’t take a damn day off! Who’s supposed to watch you? (Pulls small bottle with a many sided red shape on the side some small word in white in the middle of the shape) I’ll have to wash all the sheets and blankets.

Kid 3: (cries)

Mom: It means your hair is clean. It’s okay.

Kid 3: This is why I want to cut it.

close with brown hair swirling

around a drain with suds and dead bugs

the water burns

the chemical burns

it itches worse than the bugs

     – engineered death


open to a daycare

            many kids gather around a TV on the floor

            two grown-ups

            Kid 3 sits in a chair in the back

            Grown-up 1 plays with Kid 3’s hair

            her hands moving through it

                                                                                                                                    Eyes wide

Grown-up 1: (whispers) I hope you never cut your hair. It’s so pretty.

Kid 3: (watching movie) shhh (blushing, hating the hair)

Grown-up 1: (quietly chuckling) oh “shhh” yourself

Kid 3: ((Bats Grown-up 1’s hands out of hair, walks to bathroom) (Uses the bathroom) (Comes back to sit in chair))

Grown-up 1: (Whispering) Why is the tip of your hair wet? Were you playing in the sink?!

Kid 3: (Desperate, honest) No! I swear I wasn’t!

Grown-up 1: (snatches Kid 3 by wrist and takes her to daycare principal)

close with a door closing

            on a man

            on Kid 3

                                                                                                                                   man calls home


open to Kid 3 hitting self in the head

                                    with wetbrush


Mom: ((readjusts brush) (Grabs Kid 3’s wrist) (Physically directs her to brush)) You do this 100 times.

Kid 3: This is stupid. I don’t want to do this.

Mom: (over it) Don’t come crying to me if someone doesn’t want to date you because you have a rat’s nest in your hair.

Kid 3: (yelling, snarky) I wouldn’t want to date someone who didn’t want to date me just because of my hair!

Mom: (slaps Kid 3) Go to your room

close with mutterings from Kid 3

                                                                                                               but only as Kid 3 walks away



open to Kid 3 laying on a couch

            Scissors on plywood used as a wall-shelf

            Looks sharp from here – she thinks

                           – I’m supposed to be napping

Kid 3: ((grabs a clump of bangs) (pulls strands straight out) (cross-eyed staring) (thinks) (doesn’t think) (cuts) (tucks cut hair between couch cushions) (hides scissors where they belong) (screams)) Mom! _____ cut my hair while I was napping! You little jerk!

Mom: (looks at Kid 3’s hair) He did it fairly crooked, huh?

close with adults grown-ups laughing

            holding domestic beers

            the smell of mildew everywhere

                                                                                                                            it’s so embarrassing


open to framed school portrait of Kid 3                                                                                                             misshaped hair over forehead

Narrator: And so our little hero shares an interesting relationship with hair. Do you have a relationship with your hair? Do your friends have a relationship with your hair?

close with some song about being young

                                                                                                          then some song about being old


open with Kid 3 as Young Adult 1

            folks are around

            some public place

            Adult 1 knows them

            she isn’t working

                                                                                                                             but she works there

Young Adult 1: (announces) I’m gonna shave it all off.

Young Adult 2: But it’s your mane!

Young Adult 1: Only dude lions have manes, man.

Customer: Why would you do that?

Young Adult 1: I just want to.

Debates ensue.

close with blacked out stage

            as Narrator speaks

            images of hair cuts

            at home hair cuts mostly

                                                                                                                                moms with bowls


Narrator: But our hero didn’t just want to. She needed to. It was her hair, goddamnit. It gets hot outside, damnit. We’re talking still Florida summer here, folks! Not a breeze to be felt!

It was her hair. End of story. Leave the damn girl alone. It’ll grow back.


open to mirror reflections of Roommate and Young Adult 1

            there are electric clippers

                                                                                                                               they mouth things


Roommate: Okay. I’ll do it. Ready? ((turns on clippers) (drags them down the center of Young Adult 1’s head) (hands Young Adult 1 clippers))

Young Adult 1: Um. Are you gonna finish.

Roommate: Nope. You are. (leaves)

close the curtain

            hear a clipper motor

            candid disposable pictures of Young Adult 1

            hair is in different state of growth for each

                                                                                                                                         people notice


Narrator: And everything was just fine.


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