THE PROPOSAL (Part 3): Close Shave with Mr. Destiny
Despite her enthusiasm, Kelly had a great night filled with a wonderful dream that she was flying, which even people in ancient times reported to have experienced. It was always thought to be a prelude of good things to come.
Still, she woke up a little groggy and got dressed and ready to meet Mr. Destiny at the address he had given her across the street from the British Museum a few blocks away from her hotel.
She arrived at a plain door, and from the little information Mr. Destiny had volunteered, she expected to see a barber shop. However, she found it a little strange that there was no sign, no barber pole, and no big glass window revealed what was inside. There was only a brass sign on the door that said, “By appointment only.”
Kelly rang the bell and in less than a minute Mr. Destiny opened the door with a big smile on his face. “It’s so good to see you again, Kelly. Please come in.” The interior was more than she had expected. It was the most beautiful barber shop she had ever seen. It had large beveled mirrors as one would expect, but it was obviously paneled in oak throughout by the finest of craftsmen. The counter tops were marble stone. It wasn’t at all dark and musty. Every surface was white glove clean. There was ample light from a window up high on the wall above two oak chairs. There was also a skylight above. It was simply elegant. After a few minutes exchanging pleasantries, Mr. Destiny said, “I expect you are ready to begin your training straight away.” “Yes, I am,” Kelly confessed with a smile that showed her dimpled cheeks and chin.
With that, Mr. Destiny picked up a reusable shopping bag with ASDA emblazoned on the side. “Are you familiar with ASDA stores?” He asked, seeing the puzzled look on her face he volunteered, In America you know them as Walmart.”
Mr. Destiny reached into the bag and pulled out a bag of grapefruit and held them up. This will be your training for the day. He then picked up a black box from the counter and offered it to Kelly. Kelly responded with a knowing smile. In beauty school she had heard once that citrus fruit was used in the old days to train barbers how to give a straight razor shave. When she opened the box, she found exactly what she expected. She opened the box and found a beautiful pearl handled straight razor with a Dovo Solingen label on the handle and engraved in gold on the blade.
As she admired it Mr. Destiny said, “That is for you my dear, you won’t be using it today.”
Then he pulled an ancient looking razor out of the pocket of his barber’s smock and handed it to her. From the ripples in the metal she could tell that it was a “Damascus blade,” but this one had no markings. Mr. Destiny saw the look on her face and volunteered, “It was hand forged a long time ago. I don’t use it anymore, but I keep it for sentimental reasons.”
Mr. Destiny then reclined the only barber’s chair in the shop and placed a wooden holder on the head rest and clamped it on. He then placed a grapefruit in the cup. Then he proceeded to show Kelly how to sharpen the blade on the leather strap that hung down the side of the chair. Her teacher was astonished how quickly his student caught onto the technique, the precise rhythm and angle as she sharpened the ancient instrument. He then took the razor from her hand and showed her that it would cut a piece of paper with no effort at all.
“Now, you’re ready to learn to use it,” as he turned on the tap in the sink to put a little water in a cup of shaving cream. He whisked it into a lather and put a thin layer on the grapefruit. He pulled out a small protractor and showed her that he was setting it to 30 degrees. “The trick is to keep a thirty degree angle all of the time.”
With that, she spent the rest of the day shaving Grapefruits. She spent the next day shaving oranges and the day after that, shaving limes.
On the fourth day, Mr. Destiny produced an assortment of citrus fruit that was all deformed in some way. Two oranges grown together. A grapefruit with a big crevice in it and several odd shapes. After she spent the rest of that day shaving fruit she finally said, “Surely, you didn’t bring me to London to learn to shave fruit?” she asked. “No, as a matter of fact, I didn’t,” Mr. Destiny admitted. Then, at that very minute the door rang for the first time since she came.
Mr. Destiny opened the door to reveal a familiar face: Mr. Fate.