For my wife, who requested it.
All she had wanted was to put her hair up in French braids. They looked so neat and elegant on that woman in the booklet where the step-by-step instructions made it sound as simple as looking in the mirror. Maybe it was, for all she knew, but for her, a woman whose hair was so unruly that she couldn’t even get a brush through it, it was a Herculean task.
An hour into the process, Medusa was so frustrated that she just wanted to shave her head and become a mass-murderer.
“Okay, let’s try this again,” she said, studying the instructions. “Chad and Lucifer go over Jafar and Travis.” The snakes hissed and she reached back and wrestled them into place. “Okay, now Hecate and Adolf go over Jafar and Travis.” She grunted as she tried to grab the writhing mass. One of the snakes bit her—probably Adolf; he was still mad at her for the whole split-ends treatment she’d had done the week before.
She had just gotten the first two steps in place and was searching with her pinky finger to pull Devon and Mephistopheles into the emerging braid when her cell phone rang. It was Stheno. Jezebel, who was one of her bangs and more helpful than most, answered the call with her forked tongue.
“Where are you?” Medusa asked. “I thought you were coming to help with this.”
“Hero trouble,” Stheno said. “I’m in a taxi on my way over now. When’s he picking you up?”
“At seven. That’s ten minutes from now. I haven’t even put on my makeup yet.”
“You don’t expect him to look at you, do you?”
There was a pause. “Well, I want to look nice in case he does,” Medusa said, a touch defensively. “Anyway, that’s why I needed your help with this braid, so I could let him look at my back.”
“I don’t know why you don’t do what I do and wear a hat,” Stheno said. “I fill it with mice; that’s the only thing that keeps my hair under control.”
“I want to impress him. He looks like such a special guy.”
“You met him on Tinder,” Stheno said.
“He swiped right, didn’t he?”
“But you didn’t put your real profile picture up.”
“Of course not! I’m not trying to turn the whole Internet to stone,” Medusa said. The snakes were restless and her fingers were getting tired. “Just get over here, would you?”
Just then the doorbell rang. “Crap, he’s here already.” She released her hair reluctantly and the snakes all wriggled out again into the freedom of an intractable tangle.
“Put a hat on,” Stheno said.
“No. Look, I don’t care. He’ll just have to accept me as I am. I’m sure Perseus and I will have a great time tonight. I’ll call you later.”