Ferd: Would you like to start a barber shop with me?

Jamie: Probably not.

Ferd: Why not?

Jamie: I think you’re too fat to start a barber shop.

Ferd: I beg your pardon?

Jamie: And you have too much hair.

Ferd: I didn’t know you had to be a skinny bald guy to cut hair. Jamie. What is this? You’re hurtin’ my feelings.

Jamie: I wouldn’t trust a fat guy with locks to keep things trim. Ya know?

Ferd: No, I don’t know. Jamie. Enlighten me.

Jamie. You know. Around the waist. Behind the ears. A guy like you ain’t keepin’ things trim. I ain’t tryin’ to hurt your feelings. I’m just sayin’ how I feel about the situation.

Ferd: What situation? This isn’t a situation. I’m just spitballin’ ideas here.

Jamie: You weren’t thinkin’ to start a barber shop?

Ferd: I mean…I was, okay. I was thinkin’ bout it. Tryin’ to bounce the idea off you. Jamie.

Jamie: Where’s the money comin’ from? You got investors?

Ferd: A few. Maybe. My uncle owes me some money. I heard he’s coming into some cash soon. I’m goin’ to hit him up.

Jamie: Is that it?

Ferd: Well, you know. I was thinkin’ if you liked the idea, you could…I don’t know. I’m bouncin’ the idea. That’s what I’m doing.

Jamie: The last one didn’t go so well.

Ferd: I know I know, that was different. This would be different. Lower risk, low risk this time is what I’m thinkin’.

Jamie: I didn’t like how things got between us last time.

Ferd: Like I’m sayin’, that was different. Much more complicated. This is simpler. We’re cuttin’ hair. I don’t even have to be the barber. We run the joint. Hire some talent. Open up shop. Real classy. Whiskey in the corner. Conversations. A decent joint. A throwback experience for all the divorced guys in the neighborhood.

Jamie: Maybe stick to your sales job.

Ferd: Tell me where I’m wrong on this.

Jamie: Fat, bald. Like I said before.

Ferd: You’re bullshittin’ me. Jamie. Tell me straight. You don’t havta insult me. Spit it out.

Jamie: Last time I told you straight.

Ferd: The chicken farm was a dumb idea. We see that now.

Jamie: My pockets aren’t benefiting from all our hindsight.

Ferd: You’ve recovered. We’ve recovered. The chicken operation was a bad idea.

Jamie: I’m gettin’ tired of this.

Ferd: Tell me straight why you’re not into it. Jamie. Then I’ll shut up.

Jamie: I told you straight last time. We’re city guys, I told ya. We don’t know shit about chickens, I said. We have no scale, I said. I laid it out. Our investors were drunks. Retired landlords these guys. The money would run out. No customers. I asked you. I asked ya what our strategic differentiation would be. We wouldn’t even know what goals to set. I said it all out to ya clearly. What’s the market like, I asked. Is there a gap in the market? You got offended. I asked good questions. Nothing personal last time. I didn’t question your character.

Ferd: Are you questioning it now?

Jamie: Nah nah. I’m just poking at your weight and hopin’ you’ll forget about it. Different tactics. Hopin’ for a different result.

Ferd: But, the idea. Do you like it?

Jamie: I’m not thinkin’ about it. What is it, a barber shop? I don’t hear half the things that come out of your mouth.

Ferd: You like it a little though. I can see it.

Jamie: Nope. Not at all.

Ferd: You still got that corner shop on 49th, right?

Jamie: I don’t know what you’re talkin’ about.

Ferd: Yeah you do. Jamie. Location location location. You know it’s a good spot. Lots of foot traffic. All those businessmen tryin’ to look sharp and catch a second wife. Somewhere they can bitch about payin’ child support. Premium cuts. We’ll hire the best barbers.

Jamie: I was thinkin’ to sell that place.

Ferd: One check? That’s all you’re lookin’ for? You forget you’re a businessman? Jamie. Think about it.

Jamie: I don’t want to put my brain through the labor.

Ferd: I can see the smirk under your grimace. You’re considerin’ it. I can see the wheels turning.

Jamie: I’ve got enough hobbies.

Ferd: This ain’t a hobby. Jamie. We’re goin’ to make money.

Jamie: I can see you now. Drunk in the shop. Sloppy with the cash register cash.

Ferd: I’m tighten’ up. Jamie. No drinks for the last month. You know me. I’m keepin’ it a lot cleaner. Don’t go attacking me again.

Jamie: What are my other options?

Ferd: You’ve got options. Jamie. That’s why I’m talking to you. You got opportunity. With me. You provide a little capital and I run with it. I’m putting my full steam behind this.

Jamie: You provide the steam. I provide the cash. Sounds familiar.

Ferd: You want somebody like me. Puts a little wind in your sails. C’mon. Give me a little more time to draw things up.

Jamie: I remember you tellin’ me a minute ago that you were going to shut up.

Ferd: Don’t be gullible. Jamie. I can see you’re at least a little interested.

Jamie: Hardly.

Ferd: Hardly is more than zero. I’ll give you a week. You’re ten percent in. I can see it.

Jamie: Ten percent is generous.

Ferd: I like to be generous with myself. Look. Jamie. Let’s give you a week to mull things over. I get some more things in line. Talk to my uncle. Next week you’ll be twenty percent in. We’ll go slow.

Jamie: Talk to me next week. But if you don’t get me to thirty percent after our next conversation, I’m out.

Ferd: Deal. Jamie. This won’t be like the chicken fiasco. I’m tellin’ ya.
__

Seven Months Later

Ferd and Jamie watch as the sign goes up over the door.

Jamie & Ferd’s Ten Percent on 49th
A Gentleman’s Barber Shop

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