Most people's hair stands up on end when they're frightened. My hair stands on end when it's ready to fight back.
And that's with a hat on.
I suppose you could say I'm not the easiest person to get close to. My friends have learnt now to stand at least a one metre radius away. My hair generally just embarrasses me, but sometimes it can come in useful - especially in dangerous situations.
Take last Saturday for example. I'd just had a brilliant day out with my friends. It was dark on the way back but I was walking through the snaking city streets beaming happily. I'd made up with Jo, laughed with Anne and been shopping with everyone. I think it's safe to say I was in a good mood; so I didn't notice the menacing shadow looming behind me. My hair however was not blind in this sense. I felt my body yanked backwards slightly by the force of the punch my hair threw at the stranger. The person behind me grunted in pain and collapsed. I turned in surprise and found myself looking down at a teenager not much younger than myself. His nose was bleeding from the punch, an almost amusing contrast to his pale face which practically glowed inside his hoodie. Nervously he got to his feet and scurried away into the dark. I patted my head gratefully before heading home.
See what I mean? But then again there have been some pretty awkward moments hair-wise. I can't watch horror movies for fear of my curls breaking the TV and I've never been on a single date. I'm eighteen for god's sake! It's sad. My friends try to convince me otherwise but I am always reminded of the time a guy tried to ask me out. The experience still haunts me, even today. I think my hair was being seriously over protective. By the time it was done with him he was pretty beaten up. I tried to stop it, but it hung over my eyes. After that event he looked scared every time he saw me in the corridors. Poor Mark narrowly escaped.
It's really difficult to keep my damn hair under control. Sprays, gels and brushes don't work, I've tried the lot. It physically hurts me to hold it back so I try to avoid doing so. It means I have to be cautious and prepared for significant property damage. Precaution number one is to never buy anything expensive or fragile. My hair almost seems to relish destroying those. Unfortunately my relatives are unaware of this rule. It's not like I don't tell them, they just don't tend to listen. As a result I have a drawer full of precious presents stashed out of my hair's grasp.
At first my parents thought that a good hair cut would put a stop to it all and I agreed initially. However my hair had other ideas. I won't go into depth as the details are painful to discuss. Let's just say that didn't work.
I've always considered my hair to be the wildest part of me but this did not prepare me for the 'salesman' who called at the house that day.
The doorbell's ring resounded through the hall. I sighed and went to answer it. As I opened it I saw tall thin, man wearing a business suit with a large H gleaming on the front of it. I raised an eyebrow which I hoped said get on with it.
"Hello. I was wondering if I could talk to you about hair products,"
"No." I said and started to close the door in his face.
He made the mistake of putting his hand inbetween me and the door. The man winced as the door closed on his hand.
"Hear me out! I know your hair is – special."
Now I was curious. I opened the door.
"How do you know about that?" I asked.
"I come from a company, well, more like a select group of individuals who deal with these special problems."
I hated the way he said 'special'. It made me feel like a freak.
"Have you ever cured them?"
"You would be our first." the man admitted.
I sighed. It was worth a try. After all, it wasn't like he could make my condition worse.
The salesman stepped into my home.
"Nice place." he said appreciatively.
"Skip the pleasantries."
"No, I mean it. Anyways have you ever heard of the Charities league?"
I frowned; did he want me to sponsor a dog now? The name rang a VERY faint bell.
"Possibly. What's charity got to do with my hair?"
"They're a team of superheroes. You could join them if this doesn't work."
"They can't be that great if I've never heard of them. Heroes like Tallyman are on the news all the time!"
The salesman looked slightly uncomfortable at my words.
"The Charities league prefers to keep a low profile so the media doesn't interfere with their work."
My hair gave my neck an impatient tap reminding me of why I'd let the man inside in the first place.
"Just get on with it." I snapped.
The salesman was stalling.
He reached into the small satchel by his side and pulled out a machine that looked far too big to fit into the bag. It was reminiscent of a vacuum cleaner.
The salesman rested the large nozzle on my hair.
"You may experience hallucinations."
This was sounding dodgier by the minute but before I could launch into a proper protest he pressed the red button on the machine and I felt a draft of cold air sucking at my hair. The salesman stepped back as my hair started to struggle. Tendrils of it struck out at thin air. My eyes however were focussed on the salesman who appeared to be racing around the room at a speed so impossibly fat he was barely visible. Well, he had warned me about hallucinations.
Finally the salesman slowed to a stop and pressed the button again. The pressure left and my hair drooped.
"How do you feel?" the man asked.
"Great!" I said.
My hair stretched over to him and slapped his face.
"You've just made it worse."
My hair never stretched before.
"I'm sorry. But remember what I said about the Charities league. I'm part of it, if you want to joi-"
"So what does the H stand for?"
"Huh?" he said, nonplussed. I gestured at his suit. He looked down. "Oh this; stands for Hermes."
"The Greek messenger - your super speed wasn't a hallucination was it?"
"Nope." he admitted.
My expression hardened.
"Look I'm not about to join a band of freaks –"
"Oi!" he exclaimed.
"- just to feel like I belong somewhere! That's what the circus is for." My hair stretched round to point at the door. "You know what to do."
"Look Mr Not-So-Salesman –" I began, the anger flaring up at his protests.
"Look – Joe – how am I supposed to cover my hair up now if it can stretch?"