Tales from Coopers Townhouse Part 2: Hail To The King.
She shaved it all off, Baz – every single strand of hair.
Adam pulled his baseball cap up off his head and angled his scalp at Barry, who was nursing a pint and straining to keep a smirk off his face.
Ah, lad. That’s a shame, that. Real shame. How did she manage to get the whole head?
Dropped a sleeping pill in me drink, didn’t she? Crafty sod. Just woke up this mornin’ and -
Adam paused and quickly wiped what felt like a sudden rush of tears from out of the corner of his eyes, and in a flimsy voice, that broke at key emotional words, continued,
– Sorry, lad – allergies– and yeah, just woke up and there was her lady bic razors next to me face, and shaving foam everywhere, and me hair Barry, lad! Just everywhere under me head – she’d taken me quiff and pinned it up on the wall like a bloody trophy!
Ah, flippin’ell, eh? Don’t you hate it when that happens?
It’s not funny, Barry. You need to take me seriously on this – this is me livelihood we’re talking about here.
I know, Adam, lad. It’s alright. I’m here listening to yer, aren’t I? Just reckon you’re more upset about losing your hair than you are about losing your wife, like, s’all.
Realising that he was right, Adam took a large swig of his drink and replied Nah, like. Don’t get me wrong, I’m gutted about me hair an’that, but I’m devastated about our Lisa. Proper messed everything up, haven’t I? I can’t lose her, Barry. I can’t—
Barry nodded, he checked the time on his phone – it was 11.45 in the morning, everyone else was due in anytime soon. He looked up at the sign that read ‘Scouse Elvis – Wednesday lunchtimes’ with sneaky glee. Today was Wednesday.
You should just consider yourself lucky that it was only your hair that she lopped off, that’s all I’m saying, Barry continued, sniggering, I mean, she’s put up with a lot off you hasn’t she? I mean, first off you’re hardly rakin’ it in as an Elvis impersonator are yer? And then there’s all that stuff with that woman you were seen with after that show – -
Nothing happened, though, I swear! She was just a fan, like.
- -Ha! A fan!? Barry lad, you’re an impersonator, not the man himself, so stop pissing around, eh? And then you spend a massive chunk of your savings – which, let’s face it, Lisa earned didn’t she? She’s the one with three bloody jobs trying to make ends meet – and you’re wasting it on a bloody shiny jumpsuit? Who are yer? Elton bloody John?
That was an investment! Come on, don’t be tight Baz – I’m a professional! I was building up a strong fan base – regular paying clients. This is me dream we’re talking about! I was going somewhere!
Adam took his hat off again, and forlornly stroked his unadorned head. He looked up from his pint, just as four more of his mates burst into the pub unannounced.
There he is! The bloody King hast’fallen from his throne, fellas! Heheh – how’s yer scalp feelin’, mate? Chirped Danny, making a pint action with his hand at Tony ahead of him, who nodded and headed straight to the bar to get a round in.
Alright, Danny. What’re yis’all doin’ here? Adam asked, startled. He stared at Barry who was grinning knowingly from behind his near empty pint.
We’ve got a confession to make, lad, Barry chuckled, wiping tears away from his eyes, as though his laughs had built up to such an extent that they were now escaping through his eye sockets.
Yeah, sorry Adam, lad – you left us with no choice! Laughed Chris, who had just sat down next to him, and was giving his baldhead a friendly pat.
What?! What is it? Don’t tell me- -you wouldn’t! Adam stared in horror at his mates who were all vibrant with a collective humour.
We would! Danny continued, absolutely howling, We would and we bloody did! Consider this an intervention – Lisa got rid of your hair, and we’re doing the rest.
Yeah, you were turning into a right nobhead. We had to do something! Chris smirked.
We’ve got you a job, lad. Full time with Tony there, at the bar, just helping out on the site. You start on Monday, but today we drink and – -
At that moment Scouse Elvis entered from the back of the room, dressed in a navy fringed jumpsuit and winking as he went.
- -Ah, right on cue! What timing! See, this is how you do it, Adam, lad. Scouse Elvis. Watch and learn.
Tony returned with a tray full of pints and took a seat.
You can’t do this! You can’t just tell me what I can and can’t do! You rotten sods, you’ll ruin everyth- -
Eh! Listen – you’ve got two kids at home and a very, very patient but pissed off wife. It’s time to change, lad. So shut up, and drink your drink. This is happening – end of!
And at that, Barry turned himself away from the table and to face Scouse Elvis who had just fired up the song and grabbed the mic.
This one goes out to our mate Adam in the corner over there, cheer up lad! Could be worse!
Well, since my baybeeee left me! I found a new place to dwell! It’s down at the end of a lah-onely street called heart-break ho-tel…uh-huh…yerrr make me so lonely, baybeeee…
A couple of his mates had thrown their arms around Adam and were swaying away to the music, singing loudly along with the song, whilst he grimaced despairingly and thought to himself about Elvis. Nobody ever dared to intervene against that crazy bastard. Not one person. He looked around at his mates, he touched the lack of hair on his head, he watched Scouse Elvis pulling down his jumpsuit to expose a nipple, and he realised I am not The King. The King is dead.
Photography by Pete McConnell.