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STEVE: Listen to me. Let me tell you this. The first haircut he gave meówhen 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 thatís 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 itóand probably factoring in certain favorable atmospheric conditions...
STEVE: No. Yeahómaybe something like that. I donít 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? Thatís four years back in dank and murky pastóthatís 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 heís not here yet heís not comingówe know that, donít we?
STEVE: Yeah...I guess.
HAROLD: [Turns away again. Turns back.] Actually...
HAROLD: I was thinking that he could be coming. I mean thereís a chance that he stumbled into a serious crisis situation on his way here, you know? Itís 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 heís done.
STEVE: This is weird. I was just thinking very same thing.
HAROLD: [Motions toward STEVEís 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, heíll likely need more than just another twelve minutes.
STEVE: A disaster of magnitude weíre talking about...Yeah, Iíd say he...
HAROLD: What I think is that, under conceivable circumstances, we should go another roundógive him another full hour.
STEVE: [Taken aback. Emits a quick laugh.]
HAROLD: Hey, another hourís not unreasonable, manónot under conceivable circumstances.
STEVE: [Holds up his hand.] No. You're right. Absolutely. Another hourís more than reasonable. [Looks at Harold with a suddenly pensive expression. Says softlyÖ] You're on my page now.
HAROLD: And, if you think about it, man, under conceivable circumstances we owe him that much, donít we? Under conceivable circumstances it BEHOOVES us to give him another hour.
STEVE: [Looks at HAROLD with mock admiration.] Thatís 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 canít think of any.
HAROLD: Then weíre doing itóweíre doing another hour?
STEVE: I don't think we could live with ourselves if we didnít. [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."