It stands between a Latino record store on one side and an adult bookstore on the other. You've passed it by a thousand times; there's one in every city. The barber pole is broken. No red-white-and-blue spiral identifies this establishment.
Few people get their hair cut there. The few who do don't linger long; something about the place bothers them. It's not obvious until you go to another barber shop down the street and notice how much bigger it seems. Then it hits you: there are no mirrors in Gus's place. No wall mirrors, no vanity mirrors in the restrooms. Gus has the only one, and it's a hand mirror that he holds for the customers. He likes it better that way, and he's sure the customers would too.
You can't see Gus in a mirror.
There's a back room at the place, with couches, a few chairs and a TV. It looks a little like a college dorm lounge, with some exceptions. There are no vending machines, no coffeemakers, no snack shelves. Those who congregate there don't eat.
For all that, it's a comfortable room, as rooms go. It has a kind of homey feel that those whom Gus invites to share its ambience prefer. It's a kind of club, really. Every month they get together to play cards, BS a bit, and talk about life, such as it is. There are no mirrors in the back room as well, but it doesn't matter. You wouldn't be able to see any of them either.
Gus calls it "The Belfry," and these are the stories of the bats in it.
Read alsoe-Study Guide for: Essentials of Physical Anthropology by Robert Jurmain, ISBN 9780495509394
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