He was annoyed. Ooh, was he annoyed. He was so annoyed you couldn’t shake a stick at it. He was that annoyed.
He’d passed through death without the dying part. He was undead without becoming dead in the first place. His life as he knew it had ended, yet it carried on.
He was still here.
He found it odd doing that without breathing, Not breathing had its ups and downs. He could pretend to be dead and startle people in the mortuary by sitting up. He chuckled inwardly as they turned a shade paler than he was. He then had to profusely apologise and explain it had all been a joke set up by one of their friends, although he could never remember their name. That’s what he told them. They were in such a state of shock they always believed him.
He liked it when he dropped his keys in the canal and could spend hours looking for them, always finding them. Being this side of life gave him great night vision, and this also helped in the murky, cloudy, and putrid waters of the canal. He even liked the taste. After about a hundred times of deliberately losing his keys, he’d had enough. He wanted more to do.
Walking through the shopping centre, he began to notice more and more people were avoiding him. Dashing into shops; crossing to the other side of the mall in a hurry; hastily talking on their mobile phone whilst scratching away at a speck of ‘something’ on their shoulder. Even the lady by the flower cart started to close early. She’d closed for lunch five times one day, he noticed.
He’d decided to try to improve himself.
Money was no object, and as nobody knew that he hadn’t literally died, nobody gathered to share his fortune between them. He was happy nobody bothered with him.
He’d bought an on-line university course in self improvement, and the first part focussed on image. Hair was the first chapter.
He’d washed, and cleared away most of the smell from the canal. He bathed in disinfectant, floral fresh, to make doubly sure. He slicked his hair back, and after building up his confidence, he’d walked across the shopping centre to the Elite Hair Management salon, kindly acknowledging all who avoided him.
The salon was open, so he walked in and up to the desk.
“Good morning, madam,” he rasped. His speech was a little rusty. “I’d like a hair cut.”
The girl on the desk giggled, and an older, stern looking woman dashed over and ushered her away. “We’re fully booked”. She said, sternly.
He looked around the salon, empty chairs everywhere, some staff filing their nails, others brushing clean floors.
“Madam,” he rasped once more.
“No!” she bellowed. “Fully booked.” She started to walk away, so he grabbed her arm, gently. Unfortunately, his hand touched the skin on her arm just beneath her silk sleeve, causing her to sizzle instantly.
Guttural sounds came from her throat next, and her eyes rolled over and over. She frothed at her mouth.
Her skin became the same shade as his, as she crossed over to his domain.
“Ah. Sorry,” He meant it.
“What have you done to me?” She rasped, staring at her reflection in one of the salon’s mirrors. Her ‘hairdresser’s elegance’ hanging on by a mere thread, just like three of her false eyelashes. Her black hairpiece hung limply like floppy coal over her left shoulder. Her tight-fitting silk blouse now just a saggy rag around her shrunken frame. “Get OUT of my shop!!!” She bellowed. She shooed him out, and he watched as she chased her staff out almost immediately afterwards. She slammed the door shut, pulled down the closed sign, and sat herself in front of one of the mirrors.
He looked at the young girl who he first spoke to when he entered the shop, who was standing beside him, shaking. She looked at him, fear etched across her face.
“I’m never coming here again.” He told her. “Your customer service skills leave a lot to be desired.”