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This report is taken from PN Review 158, Volume 30 Number 6, July - August 2004.

My Father's Silver Horse Marius Kociejowski

On Monday 16 June 2003, while I was at the barber's, my father died. Such were certain of the peculiarities he imported into the English language, which he never corrected, that he would always refer to the hairdresser as `high dresser'. As a boy I hated being taken to the `high dresser' and I suffered then, as I still do, on occasion, as I did that very morning, from a condition I have never discovered in anyone else: I begin to go faint in the chair. Call it, if you like, Samson's Syndrome. The Greek Cypriot I go to, who usually asks me if I have been on holiday because he knows there's little point in discussing with me the latest football game, asked me nothing at all this time. I must have been carrying something heavy in my face. What can one hide from the barber, though, who is so close to the brains of those whom he emasculates? Such forebodings as I had then were to be realised in a few minutes' time. What will I say next time I see him, when he asks me if I have been on holiday? I will answer him in the affirmative or maybe I'll dodge the issue, create a military diversion, and ask him about the most recent game. There will be no major disclosures because that, too, is part of barbershop etiquette. One deals only in opinions there, in surfaces, never in dead certainties. One must be briskly ...


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