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STEVE: Listen to me. Let me tell you this. The first haircut he gave me—when I was working lights for a music thing in little park around corner and needed a quick trim. It was strange because I asked him for just a simple trim and at first that’s all that I thought I got, you know? There was nothing noticeably out of ordinary. If anything, it seemed a little on flat side.
HAROLD: Right. But after you washed it—and probably factoring in certain favorable atmospheric conditions...
STEVE: No. Yeah—maybe something like that. I don’t know what it was, what he did, and whenever I bring it up he says he doesn't know what I'm talking about.
HAROLD: When was this exactly?
HAROLD: 2000? That’s four years back in dank and murky past—that’s back when you were with Beth, lost love of your wretched, woebegone life.
STEVE: Actually it was day before I met Beth.
HAROLD: [Startled.] He gave you a haircut day before you met Beth?
STEVE: [Looks at HAROLD squarely. Nods.]
HAROLD: [Stares back at STEVE. Then abruptly turns away from him; walks a few steps off; stops; comes back.] Let me have one of those.
[STEVE gives HAROLD a cigarette, takes another one himself; lights them both.]
HAROLD: If he’s not here yet he’s not coming—we know that, don’t we?
STEVE: Yeah...I guess.
HAROLD: [Turns away again. Turns back.] Actually...
HAROLD: I was thinking that he could be coming. I mean there’s a chance that he stumbled into a serious crisis situation on his way here, you know? It’s possible that he was called upon to administer multiple emergency mullets and buzz cuts and shit, and he could have every intention of showing up when he’s done.
STEVE: This is weird. I was just thinking very same thing.
HAROLD: [Motions toward STEVE’s watch.] How much time did you...?
STEVE: [Looks at his watch.] Twelve minutes now.
HAROLD: Considering that disaster he may be dealing with could have a heart-breaking size and scale, he’ll likely need more than just another twelve minutes.
STEVE: A disaster of magnitude we’re talking about...Yeah, I’d say he...
HAROLD: What I think is that, under conceivable circumstances, we should go another round—give him another full hour.
STEVE: [Taken aback. Emits a quick laugh.]
HAROLD: Hey, another hour’s not unreasonable, man—not under conceivable circumstances.
STEVE: [Holds up his hand.] No. You're right. Absolutely. Another hour’s more than reasonable. [Looks at Harold with a suddenly pensive expression. Says softly…] You're on my page now.
HAROLD: And, if you think about it, man, under conceivable circumstances we owe him that much, don’t we? Under conceivable circumstances it BEHOOVES us to give him another hour.
STEVE: [Looks at HAROLD with mock admiration.] That’s very good. Shit, I could learn a lot about living from you.
HAROLD: It's not like we even have any respectable options here.
STEVE: I can’t think of any.
HAROLD: Then we’re doing it—we’re doing another hour?
STEVE: I don't think we could live with ourselves if we didn’t. [Looks at his watch.] Make that sixty minutes. [Squints down block. Looks at this watch again. Purses his lips. Grimaces.] Exactly sixty minutes.
HAROLD: [Sits on his haunches. Wipes his face with his handkerchief. Thinks aloud.] Yeah, another hour. Who knows? That might do it. That might be just what prick needs us to give him.
Former contributor to The Village Voice and Rolling Stone. Coauthor and coeditor, respectively, of two collections of essays about jazz and rock in the '60s: 'Music & Politics" and "Giants of Black Music."