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[personal profile] backdrifter
Assignment: Turn the tables on a usual power dynamic. This is probably the most wtf thing I've ever written, involving carnivorous hairpieces.


"I feel like I ate away all my lipgloss at lunch... Do you have a mirror, Aline?"

"It's at the bottom of my purse somewhere, ugh. You could always wait for Ned to get back from lunch, though. His head's shiny enough to double, hahaha!"

The two women laughed as Aline rummaged through her purse. "God," Aline continued, "he's such a loser. The way he cringes around the office and tries to make friends with the younger girls makes me want to projectile-vomit all over this cubicle. All over it."

"Keep it to your side of this little slavebox, okay?" Salma said, snorting. "You talk about Ned so much I almost swear you want to sleep with him."

"Ew, no!" Aline retorted, laughing harder as she plucked the compact mirror from her bag. "Not even his wife will do that." They laughed again, computer chairs leaning backward.

"Good afternoon, ladies," a voice said from around the corner, and suddenly Ned was in the opening to their cubicle, sporting the ugliest hairpiece either woman had ever seen. It looked more like a fur hat than a toupee. "I hope you both had nice lunches." Ned's voice was strained through a wide grin, his eyes slightly manic.

"I hope you kept the receipt for that thing," Salma snickered, eyeing the dead rat on her coworker's head.

"Thing? What thing?" Ned asked, eyes fluttering with innocence, though his smile became tighter.

"Nobody's fooled, Ned," Aline said into her coffee, rolling her eyes. "It's a toupee."

"What's a toupee?" Ned said, the corners of his smile beginning to twitch and falter. One knotty hand reached upward instinctively; he caught himself, letting his fingers rest on the shell of his ear instead.

"That!" Salma finally shouted, pointing up at the offending hairpiece. "It doesn't even match your natural color!"

Ned howled as he clutched at the sides of his head, doubling over, and suddenly there was hair everywhere. Aline disappeared behind a curtain of coarse brown hair, and Salma glimpsed her eyes between the strands before Aline's shrieks became muffled, and then quiet. Salma found she had fallen to the floor; whatever was happening, it was overloading her senses and she could barely judge top from bottom anymore.

The hair retracted, and Aline was gone.

Salma looked up at Ned with newfound fear, the arms that supported her upper body shaking. She caught a few stray tendrils sinking back into the toupee in an eerily prehensile manner, but other than Aline's disappearance, there was no evidence of what had just transpired.

"I," Salma said, mouth dry, and she swallowed a few times. "Where's... Ned, where's Aline?"

"Girls just go wild for a man with a good head of hair!" Ned crowed, eyes manic as he resumed grinning. "Don't you think, Sally?"

"I-it's Salma," she ventured, and never had Salma seen a smile almost literally flip upside down so quickly. Ned's front teeth gnawed on his lower lip and his brow furrowed, and Salma felt her heart rattling the bars of its cage. Ned's eyes began to cross and Salma propelled herself from the thinly carpeted floor, not willing to wait and see what Ned would do next. Brown artificial locks filled her peripheral vision as she ran, toward the exit where certainly there would have to be security guards, locks, glass doors, anything to slow Ned down. She ran through a row of cubicles filled with more young employees, mostly female, and she heard more shrieks in her wake.

"Ladies love full, sexy hair!" Ned was bellowing, the sounds of things crashing punctuating his words. When she dared to glance back, she saw a pair of ballet flats disappearing into the top of Ned's head, where ropes of plastic hair were pushing her in—where? Salma briefly wondered if she had time to really consider the physics of what was happening on Ned's dome of a head, but then the ropes were coming for her and she was speeding up.

"How about dinner tonight!" Ned shouted, the pitch of his voice fluctuating wildly, and Salma slammed into the glass doors that led to the elevator bank with her entire body. She fumbled with her ID's magnetic strip, panic making her clumsy. Giant locks hit the doors on either side of her with thuds that shook everything, and then pulled away slowly.

"Sally," Ned clucked, "don't you like my hair?"

"I-it's wonderful," Salma stammered, her back sliding down the doors until she sat on the ground, staring up at Ned in terror. She wanted to believe she was having a nightmare, some very detailed midday hallucination from skipping breakfast too often, but the way the tendrils of hair were tapping her on the bulb of her nose like a naughty child made her feel death's presence. She closed her eyes and let out a long, juddering sigh.

"Well thank you, Salma," Ned replied, beaming, and with that the tendrils retracted with whiplike speed. Ned clicked his tongue at her and winked, a sign of confidence she'd never seen in the cringing man of yesterday, and then with arms akimbo he strolled off into the heart of the office, leaving Salma confused and traumatized at the doors.
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June 2011

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