The Naked Face
After about a week of deliberation, I have shaved off the beard. (Goatee, Fu Manchu, whatever -- I've heard it referred to as all of the above.) My face, after three years, has undergone freaky transformations. My chin, which I had always felt was perfectly adequate, even stubborn at times, now appears weak and uncertain. My upper lip has become an uncomfortably wide expanse of not-entirely-smooth skin, with stubble showing through like grounds through a filter. And the features around these alien things have become chubby and soft. Clearly, someone snuck into my apartment one night, removed my beard and stole my face, leaving this weirdly blank mask in its place. They then reattached the beard and snuck off to tarnish my reputation by flipping the bird at honking motorists, cutting in line at the supermarket and drinking too much and making loud, inappropriate comments. If you should see that face, call the cops. It looks kind of like my face when I had the beard, only without the beard. I've also been told that it looks a bit like Barth's, only probably not so much now, since the beard is gone. Anyway, I need it back.
This face just won't do.
P.S. Have you read "Iron Ankles" yet? Have you told your friends?