Once upon a time, in a land too close to ours for comfort, or for justice, or for truth, there were identical twin EVIL hairdressers who became known for their message hairdos.
It might seem unfair, right off the once-upon-a-time bat, to say they were EVIL hairdressers, but that was their name, see? And far from downplaying it, they insisted that their first names were properly spelled with all lower case letters, paolo and petrov, with CAPS on their last name, as someone might deploy bigger, sillier letters if they were shouting, or lying, or shouting lies.
paolo and petrov EVIL quoted the Shakespeare shtick about “what’s in a name?”…and they never gave a thought to the long-term consequences of the hairdos concocted at their eponymous boutique. Here’s the sign they had on the door:
hair with a message
If bad is now good, then super bad is now super good, and EVIL is the ultimate good
The brothers were, of course, intrigued when they had a call from a well-known man named Don, angry anxious grasping star of a TV show, some reality deal about a sorcerer and the numerous debased characters who hoped to learn his techniques for making something out of nothing, or vice versa. With all their message-making hair business, petrov and paolo were booked for months in advance. They had no time for television, but were aware of Don from supermarket tabloids that linked him with a succession of surgically enhanced women, each, it seemed, younger and more ambitiously enhanced than the last.
Don considered it a sign of a capricious universe that his hair was fleeing from his head like a refugee from Nicaragua. (OK, he didn’t know from capricious, so he just said it was VERY UNFAIR.) His self-improvement focus for years was on disguising the fact that more and more of his hair was stranded on his brush, or his comb, or clogging the drain of his HIS Jacuzzi. His wife, of course, had long ago demanded a HER Jacuzzi, with a working drain.
At first, all his comb-over-and-up-and-around efforts were D.I.Y. This was because he had made some exceptionally careless bets in business, and had to borrow money from questionable sources, pay them back with money from more questionable sources, and pay them back with money from sources about whom there was no question: they were plain dangerous.
Once his financial house of cards was again habitable, he appealed for help to the EVILs.
They readily accepted the gig, despite the rumors about payments delayed or denied altogether, on the theory that having Don the TV star as a client would yield invaluable exposure. As it turns out, though, the EVIL twins would find minimal artistic satisfaction from focusing on playing cosmetological defense. Preventing Don from going full-on chrome dome? Not on the EVIL bucket list. On the other hand, he was giving them more questionable money all the time, so they didn’t ask questions. In fact, they rearranged their schedule so that Don could come in every three days. They got him started on nightly intravenous bootleg knock-off Rogain (sic), and they sold him loads of proprietary supplements on which they had an 83% mark-up.
Soon, though, paolo and petrov felt like sculptors whose source for Calacatta Borghini had dried up.
They knew they needed something extra. So they told Don that they had to return to their laboratory in Fiji to develop the ultimate hairdo. They promised to be back in two weeks with a design that would enable Don to fulfill his wildest revenge fantasies, and some regular old fantasies as well.
Don gave paolo and petrov a suitcase of a currency they had never seen before, but he reassured them that it would work like a charm anywhere they went. Sure enough, every time they whipped out these bills, the recipient would look left, look right, repeat, and pocket the money in return for food and flights and every type of fun.
Way too much fun, from Don’s perspective, as it turned out.
paolo and petrov were gone, not for two weeks like they said, not for two months, like they apologized and promised next, but for nine months, after which they were truly, deeply, even abjectly contrite. Most of all, they were anxious to reveal their new creation to Don, on Don. He was relieved they were back, but had become more anxious and angry and grasping every extra day that passed.They said going back to this particular drawing board took time, and was the ultimate challenge of their professional lives. But they declared in unison:
“This hairdo will change everything.”
The first-time installation of the hairdo was more like surgery, and lasted almost seven hours. And at first, when Don looked in the Evil hair mirror, he was, to say the least, uncertain. But the Evil brothers were ready.
They explained: “this is a hairdo that will enable you to find the best people to help you do whatever you want to do or have done for you–or to you. Here’s how you’ll be able to tell when anyone you meet has the potential to be on your team in business, or even when you’re just looking for a beautifully enhanced woman with whom you may cheat on your current mistress, or your other mistress.”
At this point, Don interrupted, but his questions indicated that he was yielding to the deeper message of the new hairdo, setting aside the input of his eyeballs.
“So, how will I tell which people I should associate with? And how will I distinguish them from people I should just make fun of or make up nicknames for or make pay for making fun of me?”
“That’s easy…” said paolo.
…”if they bust out laughing, they’ll be dead to you, and you will make them pay,” smiled petrov, finishing the thought his twin had begun.
The EVIL twins proved that day that their talents were not limited to the outer surface of the head, but instead penetrated right through the scalp and into the anterior cingulate cortex.
Following his recovery from the seven-hour hair remodel, Don the TV Star was ready to deliver the EVIL meaning, devised by the twins, to the world, and to start making LOTS of people pay for withholding the respect he had deserved, did deserve and would deserve. On his way out the door, Don paused. He’d thought of one last question, and wondered, pointing at his head with the lollipop all customers got after getting their hair done at EVIL hair:
“Soooo, what do I tell people if they ask what kind of EVIL hairdo this is?”
“Oh, of course…” said paolo…”that’s our latest. It’s called der coifführer.”
“Ahhh, I like it,” said Don. “Sounds good–and thanks for all your work, petrov, paolo–you guys aren’t as EVIL as they say you are!”
In truth, though? Don had paid no attention during the few French classes he’d had in school, and was just barely fluent in one language, much less the two others he would have needed to fully understand the derivation or the underlying meaning of the handle for his own hairdo.
But, for a while, Don used his new method of interpersonal evaluation with surprising delicacy, and involved himself in the world of politics, although not, it should be noted, much in the world of governing.
As you might expect, there were lots of powerful people who recognized a fellow they could manipulate when they saw one. So, they were willing to suppress their laughter, and help him shock all the experts and the analysts to become Don the Premier–of the whole country!
Since there were still old-fashioned constraints applied to a Premier’s power, however, Don eventually was forced to wheel and deal, deal and wheel, in order to be made Don the Emperor instead.
There were no limits on the powers Don possessed once he became Emperor. He was able to indulge every whim, and take all he wanted when he wanted it. Even better, he was able to take all he wanted away from anyone who busted out laughing when first getting an up-close gander at der coifführer.
But one day, a group of children visited the newly designed Imperial Palace. The children had been given a stern warning about the importance of not laughing when they saw Don the Emperor’s hair up close. Unfortunately, one tiny five-year old was going potty when this warning was delivered, and she was completely unprepared for what she called a “Doctor Seussy” hairdo.
Yes, little Katia laughed when she saw Don the Emperor and his furry friend der coifführer riding atop his head. And this was not a giggle or a guffaw or a chortle. This was a laugh that came directly from Katia’s wee soul, and was, of course, infectious. Once all the children were laughing, it was impossible for the grown-ups to keep from laughing too. The laughter spread through the Imperial Palace, then through the city and the countryside. Before long, every citizen in the land laughed.
Don the Emperor was not amused. And it was easy enough to imagine that der coifführer was indeed a Doctor Seussy empty-green-pantsy-type-of-an-animate thing, feeling pretty sorry for itself.
Did this mean that every person in the country had to be either dead to Don, or ordered made a more literal type of dead?
Some vague expression about “kinda defeats the purpose…” crossed Don’s mind. And that’s when he knew: all the power he had ever grasped was gone for good.