Numerous lascivious young things, walk-pasts from thetanning parlor down the street
ART ((((( the postman
Several elderly ladies
A MALE STATUE, ANATOMICALLY CORRECT
Three plain-clothes intruders
ONE ((((((((((((( the shop,
Harry and Mort are sitting in the two barber chairs, looking out the window.There are about three minutes of Country and Western music, no conversation.Harry breaks the ice.
Would you like a haircut?(( HARRY
You just gave me three last(( MORT
I can't pay you none anyways.
Besides, I'm getting pretty damn tired of looking
What you need is a customer.
You don't have to pay me(( HARRY
It's a freebee.
But I don't need a haircut.(( MORT
You just gave me three
Last week.Three haircuts.
I got a rash on the side of my head from all
You COULD use a trim.(( HARRY
That's crazy.(( MORT
That's crazy as hell.
Nobody comes in here all week, and you get bored,
Bored like hell, and you end up cutting my hair.
I don't know why I come in here anyways.
Maybe I'M bored.
Got to be bored to talk to you all day.
Horny old redneck—that's what you are.
Hate everything that walks, even yourself.
Hate your own mother.
No damn wonder nobody wants to come in here.
It ain't me, Mort.It's this new(( HARRY
Everybody wants long hair now.
It's worse than the Sixties.
(a sweet young thing passes out front)
Get a load of those titties.
That's what I mean, Harry.(( MORT
You're horny as the biggest damn gun-kissing
I ever seen.
Can't you say something nice?
I don't understand a thing you're(( HARRY
This cutie passes, and I pass a remark
About her tits, and you got something to say.
Hell, you're in your thirties,
And you act like a college professor.
Like a liberal.
Where you been all your life?
Been sitting here talking to you.(( MORT
(the phone rings; Harry jumps as if he's been shot,
trembles the receiver to his ear)
Barber shop.Harry here.(( HARRY
Wise ass S.O.B.
Goddamn creep.Commie fuck.
I hate these calls.
Waiting all morning for the right call, and somebody
Fresh rings up.
You watch the shop.
Listen for the phone.
(picks up a magazine and steps through a rear door
into the toilet)
What'd I say?(( MORT
(as if to himself)
Horny old redneck.
(then . . . )
What'd I say?
(Harry, beyond the door, turns on a faucet full blast; we hear his voice, muted, somewhere near the floor)
Eat it, Mort.(( HARRY
Just pipe down.
I'm busy in here.
TWO ((((((((((((( the shop, minutes later
Again, Mort and Harry are seated in the two barber chairs, Country and Western music in the background.
Tell you what.(( HARRY
Tell ME what?(( MORT
You come over and sit in this(( HARRY
And I get the clippers out and pretend to be doing
Your hair, just a trim, see,
Only I won't be doing nothing at all,
And nobody the wiser.
You must be losing your mind.(( MORT
What's the matter with you, Harry?
Giving ME a pretend haircut.
It'll be good for business.(( HARRY
People come by and see you sitting there
They want one too.
Nobody wants no stiff-assed(( MORT
Like you give.
That's your whole problem, Harry.
They come in here and ask for what they want,
And it don't matter none
WHAT they ask for,
You give them the same cut.
Army style, just like mine.
And then you tell them all those sick jokes,
And you laugh like a hyena,
And you expect them to come back.
They ain't never coming back, Harry.
You might as well
Close it down.
Or go back to school and learn it all over.
That's crazy, Mort.(( HARRY
You got to rethink it,(( MORT
You got to rethink it fore it's too late.
You're getting on, you know.
How old ARE you, Harry?58?
57.But I act younger.Look(( HARRY
Younger, act younger.
Hell, I'm in my prime.
They can't teach ME nothing.
What about this new guy that(( MORT
Moved in next door?
What about Finch?
What about HIM, Harry?
He don't have no problem.
Finch's a hair STYLIST.(( HARRY
I'm a BARBER.
Besides, Elliot Finch can't cut hair.
He just cuts around it, like the fag he is,
Mort.He don't understand haircuts.
Useless as tits on a steer.
How much is he knocking down(( MORT
For one of those haircuts?
Hair-Do's, Mort.Hairdo's.(( HARRY
He don't know hair-CUT.
Hairdo, haircut, how much is he(( MORT
75 for a 15 minute job?
I bet it's at least 75.
Maybe 90 with the tip.
When's the last time you got a tip?
Hell, when's the last time you cut HAIR,
Not my fault people growing(( HARRY
Their hair long.
Not my fault.
Just have to hang in here till the fad goes.
That's all it is, you know.
A crummy fad.
Pretty soon it'll change.It's got to.
(the phone rings; Harry jumps as if he's been shot,
grabs for the receiver)
Barber Shop.Harry here.
What's that you say?Barber Shop.
That's right.Ain't no other in this county,
So I called it Barber Shop.
What's your problem?
15 for the regular.25 for a style.
There's nowhere cheaper.
No.I AIN'T coming down.Not for nobody.
The prices are firm.
I got overhead, you know.
You don't want no haircut anyways?
Suck my ass.
Commie sicko.Creep.Why do those guys always
Ain't there no NORMAL people in this world?
See what I mean, Harry?(( MORT
You got no class.
Can't be talking to customers that way.
Even POTENTIAL customers.
No WONDER nobody comes in here.
People refined these days.
Your type dying out.
Go back to school.I MEAN it.
Ain't going back to no fag(( HARRY
It's just a fad, I tell you.
THREE ((((((((((((( the shop, minutes later
Mort is seated in a barber chair, Harry fussing at his hair with the clippers.
You said you wasn't going to(( MORT
I GOT to cut some to make it(( HARRY
Nobody looks in here.Nobody(( MORT
At all ceptin Finch and his mom.
And the mailman.
Art—he looks in.
And some of those sweeties from the tanning
Parlor down the street.
I don't know how
You even pay your rent.
(they lapse into silence; then . . . )
You goin to the Reunion this(( HARRY
Me?Hell no.(( MORT
Last time I was up there
I lost a shoe and pissed myself,
And they hauled me back in the bed
Of a pick-up,
And my old lady threw me out.
Had fun though, didn't you?(( HARRY
Mud up every crevice.
Mud up your whatsit and in your ears.
Pumping and humping like a robot.
I heard about it.
Just like the old days
Since this AIDS thing been cleared up.
That's the whole problem.(( MORT
Homosexuals coming out of the walls
Ten behind every tree up there.
Never knew when one
Was going to slip it to you unawares like.
Enough to make you paranoid.
That's the word for it, ain't it?
Scared of the dark.The(( HARRY
Or 9 ½ inches up your rectum.(( MORT
Hell, I was half panicked.
Well, did they pork you?(( HARRY
Who's that?(( MORT
One of the gay guys.(( HARRY
Somebody like Elliot.You can tell me.
HELL no.(( MORT
Leastwise, I come home intact.
All but the shoe gone
And stinking of piss.
No hemorrhoids?(( HARRY
HELL no.(( MORT
You got lucky then.(( HARRY
Maybe.I hope so.(( MORT
One thing's sure I ain't going back.
Did you have some reefer?(( HARRY
Or some of that new stuff?
Spirals, they call it.
Spirals and Dervish.
Can't say I really know.
The whole 3 days was a blur.
Pumped your brains out.Right?(( HARRY
Like I said, I don't remember(( MORT
Maybe you ought to take it in this year.
Give you something to talk about
To your paying customers.
Wherever they are.
(the phone rings; Harry jukes, in panic, goes
for the receiver)
Barber Shop.Harry Flint here.(( HARRY
I ain't giving no money out to no AIDS crisis.
It's been over 2 years.Finished.
All right.All right.OK.
You ring up Elliot Finch at 4097.
He'll give you a bundle.
You know you're pretty damn(( MORT
Something on your mind?
No.Just expecting a call,(( HARRY
And these retards on the line.
Hell, this is 2011 AD, and THEY'RE talking
About a AIDS crisis.
Whole world banging away like it went out of style,
And THEY'RE collecting.
Don't make sense.
What does, Harry?What does?(( MORT
FOUR ((((((((((((( the shop, minutes later
Harry fusses, almost delicately, with Mort's hair.A young thing switches past.
See those nipples, Mort?(( HARRY
Christ sake, big as the end of your finger
Or a big fucking eraser.
Didn't see nothing(( MORT
The way you got me turned to the wall.
You missed it.Jesus H., you(( HARRY
There'll be more.(( MORT
(they lapse into silence; then . . . )
How about the pigeon shoot this year?
The pigeon shoot?(( HARRY
(experimenting with ways to comb Mort's remaining hair)
Harry, you go every year.(( MORT
Hell, some weeks it's all you talk about.
Slaughtering pigeons with a 20 gauge
Ithaca Featherweight.(( HARRY
OK.Ithaca weight.(( MORT
When is it, Labor Day?
I guess so.(( HARRY
You GUESS so?(( MORT
Last year you'd be pumped up by now,
Salivating, just to think of it.
What's wrong with you?
Well, it's a long ways off.(( HARRY
The first Monday in September.(( MORT
And we're in July.
That's not far.
Just a couple weeks, just like the Reunion.
What's all this stuff about
If you can't even look forward to the Pigeon Shoot?
Gunning to your heart's N.R.A. content,
Little girls with cute asses picking up
The twitchers and breakin
Feathers and guts a hundred yards in every direction
And 3,000 souls hollering
To beat the soul out of Jesus.
Come on, Harry.
For Mr. Flint, this is big time.
I guess so.(( HARRY
(the phone rings; he jukes as if shot, grabs the receiver)
Barber Shop, Harry.Mr. Flint here.
No, it AIN'T the MILWAUKEE ZOO.
No, lady, it AIN'T THE ZOO.
(slams down the receiver, bursts into sobs)
Christ, Harry.What's eating at(( MORT
Skip it.(( HARRY
Skip it?Christ, you're a(( MORT
Tell me, Harry, tell Mort.
What is it?Get it off your chest.
(turning back to embrace the other chair)
There's something on my liver.
That day I was out.Remember
And the Thursday before that?
Remember all the trouble I've had with my stomach?
Burping and pains and stuff?
Well, they did a upper GI and a sonogram.
And they found something on my liver.
And then, just last week,
The second Thursday,
I had to go in for one of those big ones.
They used to call it a cat scan.
Why didn't you tell me?(( MORT
Hell, I didn't even tell my wife.(( HARRY
I'm scared, Mort.
They say they're growths or something.
Fact is, could be anything.
The Doc just crossed his arms
Down his nose through those thick glasses
At me like I was a goner.
And then the weirdest thing happened.
What was that?(( MORT
What was that, Harry?
Well, you lay in this big machine(( HARRY
And you drink this stuff like dog puke
And they put a needle in your arm
And feed you more
Of the same dog puke,
And they run you up and down
Through this tunnel, feet first, like into a coffin,
And out, and I looks up,
And it's fluttering and batting
Against the grid,
And it can't get out, and YOU can't get out—
You're stuck in this tube
With the dog puke in your gut and veins,
And the technician is smiling kind of,
Like he knows something you don't
And all of a sudden you know you're going to die,
That they found
Something on your liver,
And you're going to die.
It's CANCER, Mort.The big C.A.I know it.
How do you know?(( MORT
How do you know?
The moth, Mort, don't you see?(( HARRY
It's called a symbol.
It's like a big black ugly bird or something.
And you're going to die.
But who told you?(( MORT
Who told you it was cancer?
The moth told me.(( HARRY
Christ, Mort, don't you get it?
I don't get nothing.(( MORT
Is that why you been peeing yourself
Every time the phone rings?
Is that it?
You're waiting for the NEWS.
Mort, I don't need to wait.(( HARRY
You don't know WHAT the(( MORT
You don't know from nothing.
Hell, you're acting like a goddamn baby, Flint.
Like a fucking infant.
Get a hold of yourself.
It could be just a mix-up.
It could be anything.
Get a hold of yourself.
He grabs Harry's shoulders and shakes him, slaps his face.Harry Flint sinks to his knees, blubbering, and crawls toward the toilet, closes the door.There is the sound of retching.
FIVE ((((((((((((( the shop, minutes later
Mort is in the back, rapping on the toilet door.There is muted sobbing.
Come on out now.Stop that blubbering
And come on out of there.
Never coming out.Not this guy.(( HARRY
(muted through the door, punctuated by sobs)
Sorry I slapped you, Harry.(( MORT
Come on, Harry.
You want I should break this door down?
(the mailman steps into the shop)
Where's Harry?(( ART
He's in the toilet.He thinks he(( MORT
And he thinks it's serious.
He thinks he's gonna die.
No shit, Mort.(( ART
Harry, I got some mail for you.
Come on out, Harry.HARRY?
It's the plain brown envelopes again.
I don't think he hears you.(( MORT
Christ, look out there.
(three elderly ladies have appeared with signs)
Harry, the pickets are back.
HARRY, THE PICKETS, THE OLD LADIES,
RIGHT OUT FRONT.
Read him one of them signs.(( ART
You do it.I can't see so good.(( MORT
Listen to this one, HARRY.(( ART
HARRY.LISTEN UP. THIS ONE IS A WINNER.
"HARRY FLINT IS A PERVERT."
And the one in the middle—
"HARRY FLINT PICKS ON ELDERLY LADIES."
"HARRY FLINT IS BAD FOR THIS TOWN."
What do you think of that, Harry?
These old biddies say you're a prevert.
(the toilet door opens; Harry enters, wiping his eyes)
Shoo em out of here, Mort.(( HARRY
Tell em I'm calling the troopers.
GET OUT OF HERE NOW.GO QUIET
AND THERE WON'T BE NO PAIN.
JUST GET OUT OF MY LIFE.
(steps out onto the sidewalk and shakes his fist; the old women scatter; Harry steps back in; the mailman heads on down the street)
SIX ((((((((((((( the shop, minutes later
Mort is over by the window with the envelopes.Harry has taken a seat on one of the barber chairs and is rubbing his eyes with a paper towel.
You got some new books here,(( MORT
God knows I need em.(( HARRY
You know your time's up nothing gets you active.
Nothing under the sun.
God knows I need something HOT.
What do you got?
(Mort tears open one of the envelopes)
Pretty sick stuff.(( MORT
Flat out sick.
What did you expect, READER'S(( HARRY
DIGEST?LADIES HOME JOURNAL?
Put them under the counter for now.
Don't let those WITCHES see them.
What d'they got against you,(( MORT
The old dimes trick?
Or the paycheck envelope?
Which one was it?
Well, it was Farley's idea, not(( HARRY
That guy'd put me up to anything.
Gluing down dimes on the cement
For the old biddies to go for.
Quarters, a half a dollar.
A couple stones in a paycheck envelope
Out on the walk for them
To grab at.
Just fifteen minutes of thinking they're rich,
With lots of tape on the envelope
Till they got it open and there was nothing
But smelly old rocks.
Coated with his own faeces.
Gaaaddamn . . .
(taking a seat, rubbing his forehead with a paper towel)
You go out there and tell them I'll have
The troopers on them,
They come back.
(Mort sticks his head out the door)
I think they got tired for now.(( MORT
They just climbed into a Lincoln down the block.
The one across the street?(( HARRY
That unmarked car?
On down.The other's(( MORT
Been there all morning.Same
Guys in and out.
Tom Landry types.Remember him?
Could be cops.
Maybe they want to buy you out.
Well keep an eye on them.(( HARRY
I'm taking a nap.
(closes his eyes, leans back on the chair)
Get the phone.If it ain't the doctor
Tell them to eat one, I ain't here.
(a period of silence)
Whatever happened to Farley?(( MORT
Damn it, Mort.I'm sleeping.(( HARRY
Farley.The guy that set you on(( MORT
He got pissed off at this town(( HARRY
And moved out.
The Ford agency wanted him to cut back
On his hours,
And then there was that thing with the F.B.I.
The F.B.I.?(( MORT
Somebody, I ain't saying who,(( HARRY
In that Farley had threatened the President,
And they came and took him away.
Took him out screaming
And grilled him for three months
And let him out finally,
But he was never the same.
That and the agency—they dumped him when he turned 55.
He ever phone you up?(( MORT
Hell, he hates the ground
I pee on.
Word was I put them onto him,
But it just ain't true,
But you couldn't convince Farley.
I don't miss him.
No sense of humor when the joke went against HIM.
Old Farley—sour as a fart in a Space suit.
I don't miss him, not this guy.
He was one ornery S.O.B.
Well , you get some sleep, Harry.(( MORT
I'll keep an eye out.
Yeah.Never can tell when you're(( HARRY
Going to get a customer.
Yeah.Things could turn.(( MORT
(Harry Flint covers himself with a newspaper)
You sleep tight.
SEVEN ((((((((((((( the shop, minutes later
The phone rings.Harry jerks erect.Mort picks up the receiver.
Give me that, give it here, Mort.(( HARRY
Barber Shop.Harry here.
The AIDS crisis?
Hell, one of your guys just called here.
There AIN'T no AIDS crisis no more.
They got it solved.
That's their problem.Not yours,
Certainly not mine.
Elliot Finch.He'll give you the whole bundle.
(hangs up; suddenly there is a disco bass through
the walls, competing with their radio)
Speak of the devil.
In there with all his Jew friends
Shaping, mind you, shaping hair.
Even Art—you see how his hair was?
Down to his shoulders.
Now how the hell am I supposed to make a living
When the U.S. Postal Service
Lets their best men
Sprout all those stringy locks?
You tell me.
(the booming increases in intensity; Harry hammers on the wall; moments later a flamboyant redhead appears in the entrance way; she is past 60)
If you have a problem, Mr. Flint,(( ELLIE FINCH
JUST AIR IT.
We don't need that racket in our salon.
We don't need YOUR racket(( HARRY
Listen to that booming through the plaster.
Simple enough.You make a(( ELLIE
Like any refined young man that I'm sure you are,
And I'm certain Elliot will give it
ALL the weight that it's due.
What would you prefer—that farmer music?
Just can the talk about farmer(( HARRY
I don't make fun of that stuff Elliot
Entertains his friends with.
It's just too loud, that's all.
Relay that message.
And while you're at it, what's this about having
A naked statue with the gonads showing
In your hallway next to my shop?
What's the statue for?
You're grossing out my customers
With it all hanging out like that.
While you're at it, make the politest little request
For a little decency
In YOUR shop.
Your dear son can bang away all he likes on his own
Time, but he don't be needing
Not right next to my window
Where every soul walks by can see it hanging.
That statue you refer to is an(( ELLIE
Of one we saw in Greece.
Why it's a Praxiteles.
I don't care if it's Moses long(( HARRY
Wang's sticking out.
It ain't decent.
And YOU, SIR, are(( ELLIE
(she exits; Harry reaches under a counter and pulls
out a long-barreled Colt revolver)
And this goes right up your(( HARRY
If he don't BEHAVE HIMSELF.
(more to Mort than her vanishing form)
Tell you something about that fag.
Rub the wrong guy he's bon voyage.
Mort, the day they call here and confirm it?
Yeah, Harry.(( MORT
I ain't saying.Not right now.(( HARRY
No.Go ahead.(( MORT
The day that phone rings(( HARRY
And that Jew doctor
Fag tells me I'm on my way out,
I take a fairy stylist with me.
(pounds on the wall with his empty fist)
Finch goes with me.
I swear to Lord Jesus and the Virgin
I'll drill the son of a bitch.
(sits down with the big revolver, cradles it, weeps)
EIGHT ((((((((((((( the shop, 45 minutes later
Harry Flint is alone in his shop, eyes on a magazine, restless.
Where the fuck did he go?(( HARRY
I send him out for a hero and coffee
And he stays out over 40 minutes
At the least.
What's he up to?
Mort Mortimer.What kind of name is that?
Sorriest S.O.B. I ever seen in THIS life.
Have to be to put up with Harry Flint.
Oh, we had our times, even old Farley
Practical joker he was, but then . . .
I wonder if Mort likes me or's just lonely.
I know my wife can't stand my ass
For a minute,
No matter how hard I try to please her.
Last time we had oral sex, must be years
Now.I said, "It's your duty,"
And it worked, but that was the end of it.
She wised up.
Making all that money with Mabel Leech selling
Door to door, and the parties.
Too good for me now.
I even goes so far as to take her in by bus
To the NUTCRACKER, was it?
Yeah, by that Russian fruit,
Kikovsky or something.
That had to be the worst damned time of my life.
God, I ached to be out of there.
And we sat it out to the bitter end.
And what's she got to say—I ain't refined enough
To appreciate a ballet.
Christ, did it stink.Worse thing I ever sat
Through, like a bunch of fairies goosing grasshoppers.
She don't bother me none now
About those excursions of hers anymore.
Has her own company.
Two women twice her age and an old duffer
That couldn't get it up if his life
"I ain't sucking you off, Harry."
"But you got to.It's your duty."
Where the hell is Mort got to?
Can't take 45 minutes to buy two heros and coffee.
So I borrowed the money from him, so what?
He's got it made with the disability
Living by himself and such.
What a poor old wasted son of a bitch
And only in his thirties.
I shouldn't of showed him the pistol.
One thing Mort's got's a big mouth.
Well, it don't matter none.
Old Harry's set to cash it in.
How long will they give me?A year?
Better off putting the Colt in the back of my mouth
And blowing my brains all over the bathtub.
Hell of a mess to clean up.
Maybe then she'd have some regret about things,
The sex and stuff.
Her hoity-toity friends.
Even that old worn bitch of a Ellie got more class
Than Jody Flint.
Where did Mort go?
Christ, I'm going to die and only a sad suck like Mort
Gives the smallest pinch of shit.
Alone.That's the word for it.Alone.
That's one thing you always do alone.
Maybe so, but Finch'll grease the track.
Going to blow his whatsit out through his ass.
Going to put that slug where it hurts.
Slow like, watch him, savor it.
But where is Mort?
(the phone rings; he jukes mightily and goes for the
receiver; he is trembling, the voice nearly broken)
Harry here.Yeah.Harry Flint.
Yeah.Yeah.Put him on.
Yeah.This is Flint.
What'd you find out?
On my liver.
Is that good or bad?
Good?You ain't just saying that, Doc?
You mean I ain't going to die?
GOD BLESS YOU, DOC.Yeah.
Next year another scan, and it's over.
I'M OK THEN?You mean I'M OK?
Yes sir.How about my diet?
Nothing to worry about.
God, thank you, Dr. Rosen.THANKS.
He settles the receiver into its cradle gently, and stands bent over the phone for about a minute, then springs up and begins to dance across the floor, hollering, screaming, moaning, yelping in utter frenzied joy.
I'M GOING TO LIVE!!!!JESUS H. CHRIIISSSTTTTT,
I'MMMMMMM GOINNNNNGGG TO LIVVVVVEE!!!!
HOLY FUCKIN SHIT, I'M going to LIVVVEEEEEE!!!!
Just then Elliot Finch appears in the doorway with three cold looking steely-eyed men, Mort Mortimer in the background, hiding himself partially from view.The hair stylist speaks out in a deep hard voice with just the slightest touch of gay in the force of it.
That's him.That's the one that(( ELLIOT FINCH
Threatened the President.
And he's got a revolver hidden under the counter.
That's the guy.Be careful.He's dangerous.
Two plain-clothes intruders rush forward and pounce on Harry Flint, locking his neck and shoving him face down into the rear chair, while the third goes for the gun.As they drag him out, Flint is hollering in pain and laughter, gales of laughter that resound through the theater.Mortimer pockets a large denomination bill from Elliot Finch and disappears down the block.A number of young things from the tanning salon have gathered to witness Harry enter the unmarked car, head lolling on his neck as the door slams and they pull out, laughter, gales of laughter, muted through retreating steel and glass.