Elizabeth Kate Switaj

A Bad Haircut

When Jenna start­ed wear­ing long sleeves in the sum­mer, her friends advised her to get a new haircut.

—It’ll give you your con­fi­dence back.

A co-work­er gave her a card for Wicked Salon on 15th.

As soon as Jenna stepped out­side with her short­er do, how­ev­er, she knew some­thing was wrong. Most hair­cuts are sat­is­fied with being looked at in any shop win­dow, but this one insist­ed that she go down to Broadway and look in the win­dow of Castle, the sex toy mega­s­tore her Japanese stu­dents had told her was list­ed as a land­mark in their Seattle guidebooks.

When her new invert­ed bob drove her on past the lin­gerie and dil­dos to buy a pair of hand­cuffs, she did­n’t know what it had in mind. She did­n’t real­ly under­stand, in fact, until her hus­band’s body, still wear­ing the cuffs, was dis­solv­ing in lye in the bathtub.

Realizing what she had done, Jenna faced her­self in the mir­ror on the antique dress­er in their bed­room. She held up her arms. It would be anoth­er few weeks before the bruis­es fad­ed and she could wear short sleeves again. Or go sleeve­less: why not? He would nev­er tell her she looked slut­ty again. In the mean­time, her hair­cut was sure to get atten­tion. She just hoped it would be the same after she styled it herself.


Elizabeth Kate Switaj’s short sto­ries have appeared in The Lorelei Signal, Christmas in Outer Space, Expanded Horizons, Colored Chalk, The Death Mook, Ruins: Extraterrestrial, and Gratitude with Attitude. She is cur­rent­ly an intern for Irish Pages and a doc­tor­al can­di­date at Queen’s University Belfast where she is writ­ing a the­sis on James Joyce. For more infor­ma­tion vis­it www.elizabethkateswitaj.net