This morning as I was driving out to school the following lines slipped into my head:

The Jefita had her own clippers and sometimes she dragged the boys into the bathroom for hairuts. They protested and squirmed out of her grip but she was firm.

Damn it, boys, the Jefita said. Do you want to look all vagamundo. Do you want to look like your Tio Mitedio.

Yes, the boys all agreed.

Oh, no, the Jefita said. you’ll never be men with that atitude. Always look your best. You want girlfriends don’t you?

No, Jefita, they returned.

You can’t get girlfriends with hair in your eyes and down your neck.

In those days the boys had two hair styles–shaved and long. When the hair grew too long it was shaved. The Jefita wanted tot ake the boys downtown to the Rodriguez’ shop but the Jefe ended that.

In my day, the Jefe explained. The Abuelito took a bowl and put it on your head and cut around with his scissors and that was that, mujer.

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john paul jaramillo

John Paul Jaramillo’s debut story collection The House of Order was named a 2013 Int’l Latino Book Award Finalist, and his most recent work Little Mocos is now available from Twelve Winters Press. In 2013 Latino Boom: An Anthology of U.S. Latino Literature listed Jaramillo as one of its Top 10 New Latino Authors to Watch and Read. He is currently a professor of composition and literature at Lincoln Land College-Springfield, Illinois.

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