“I see where this is going,” said Javelin. “Sooner or later, their resources get used up, and then the army’s called in.”
“Exactly,” said Wil.
“But they’ll be more efficient and better prepared.”
“True, but by this time, so will we. This is perfect. It will draw our enemies to us, rather than have us create various areas of havoc. Once we defeat the military’s efforts, we’ll have the attention of governments. Eventually, we’ll negotiate with world leaders on the terms of their surrender.”
“When do we start?” asked Odin.
“Today, but our first stop is to get costumes.”
“Why?” Odin asked incredulously.
“Like I said before, ‘It’s all about making a statement.”’
Mick made his way into the local tech college, with $5 in hand, which he had saved to pay for his haircut. That left him $2 for lunch. He carried the tools of his trade, a large suitcase into the building. Extending the handles for the wheeled carrier, he backed up the stairs. A young man trotted down to a halt beside him.
“Do you want help with that, old fellow?”
Mick looked, refusing to yield to an angry glare. Although in his 50s, he was fitter and stronger than most men in their prime.
“No thank you,” he said, resuming his climb.
“Are you sure?”
Am I sure? Does he think I don’t know what I want?
“Yes, that’ll be fine,” Mick assured him.
He entered the second floor and found the hairstylists’ class. Almost the entire end of the floor had been sealed off with a window. Through it, Mick could see students, cutting hair at their barbers’ chairs as a lecturer supervised. With their backs to him, he could see potential customers waiting their turn in chairs lined against the window. He never waited more than a few minutes. The lecturers always pushed to get people in and out as quickly as possible.
Taking his seat, he waited, opening his case to make sure he’d brought everything. It read, “Mick the Magnificent” in bold letters on the lid. Inside, it had three portable cassette players, his ventriloquist doll, his vampire like cape, and an assortment of props, designed to entertain his audience. He snapped the case shut again.
“Excuse me, sir; you’re next,” said the lecturer.
Mick placed the case under the long counter, serving all the students. He looked in the mirror as he took his seat. His face had grown drawn, and his hair had become a dried mixture of black and white. Nothing about the face distinguished him or looked appealing; merely old.
A young man, whom he couldn’t tell if he was Asian or Pacific Islander, snapped a protective cape, discarding previously cut hairs. He fastened the cape around Mick’s neck.
“How would you like your hair cut?” asked the student.
“Wait a minute,” said the lecturer. “Start with introductions. It builds good rapport with the customer.”
The student adopted a professional smile. Already, Mick didn’t like him. He detested insincerity.
He said something with an M which Mick couldn’t understand; not that he cared either, as he had to get to his next show straight after his hair cut.