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Unstoppable and Unmovable by Zero


[AUTHOR’S NOTE: Hey, guys. Zero here. So, I decided to revisit ‘The Rockstar Wannabe’, which was the first story I ever published on the site. More of a warm-up, exploration of sorts. No idea/memory of that first story? No need to read it before this one! They’re both standalone and quite different. As always, comments of any kind are more than welcome!].




It had been long since an argument between him and his dad had ended up like this. With his father sending a fist straight to his face. With him getting back on his feet and tasting the blood on his lip.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

"You okay, kid? I didn’t mean to hit you so hard" his dad grabbed his forearm, pressing his fingers into his muscles deep enough that his touch would go straight to his bone and he could feel the capacity he had to break it in two if he wanted to.

Or if he dared to. Part of him knew he did and would, given the right circumstances. Part of him knew that his father’s training as a pathologist meant he knew where not to go and what and how to inflict it.

"I’m okay" Kurt answered, not looking into his eye "And I’m leaving. My friends are waiting for me, we have a presentation in RockFest and I’ve got to be there" he gathered his hair back with his hands. F***, where was his hair tie? He couldn’t feel it around his wrist.
His dad stared him down, without moving "Get out that door and I’m calling the cops".
"So, what of it?" Kurt gave up on tying his hair and let it fall loose, he picked his guitar case from the floor and put on his right earplug, heading towards the door. He could hear the track speeding as the song approached the bridge.
"Seventeen years-old. Tall. Blue-eyed. Bloody lip from a street fight. Not to mention everyone in the police knows my son by his red hair down to his shoulders" he saw dad did a spiteful gesture at the level of his breastbone in the mirror "Just how far do you think you’ll be able to go?".

Kurt put his hand over the door knob. He was a movement of his wrist away. All he had to do was turn it.
Then, he saw his dad approaching him out of the corner of his eye. He felt a chill down his spine. All his defenses shot up when he saw him in front of him.

"Kid, they’ll get you in ten minutes flat. Don’t even try it" he ran a single hand through his mane, Kurt felt him rake back his bangs softly, away from his face.

He heard the vocals of the lead singer and the guitar following his voice through his earplug. His father’s words seemed to slide into the composition on his left side.
He knew this tactic. His dad was smart. F***. Unstoppable and unmovable. He had to be brilliant in every sense and he knew how to caress his hair in that way that was his mother’s and how to mimic displays of care.
Sometimes he thought that he did care. That deep down he did. But sometimes he thought that was just his mind inventing faulty consolations mechanisms and that he shouldn’t even be asking himself this.
Kurt added and subtracted the minutes and seconds as the clock moved onward. As he mentally went through the subway map, the bus lines and the traffic of the city.
He could still make it.
He could pull it off.
The cops.
Ha.
What about the cops?
Seventeen years-old. Tall. Blue-eyed. And red hair down to his shoulders. His dad was right. His description could be hard to miss. Even if it wasn’t, he knew exactly where he would be headed, and many police officers knew what he looked like. A mirror-image of his father.
But yet. Maybe.
Maybe what?
He released the door knob.

"Alright, dad" he muttered.
"I knew you’d come around, kid" his father smiled, victorious, at him. He rushed his fingers through his long hair once more and then secured his hand on his back and guided him back to the stairs "You’re my son, after all".





He entered his bedroom. Defeated. He hated himself for not standing up. He should have tried to fight back. He could have punched his dad back, at the very least, he wasn’t a child anymore. Leave him unconscious and run for it.
He glanced at his phone. He started counting down the minutes to the time they would be onstage. He saw all the notifications from his band mates asking him if he was on his way.

Where are you?

He turned down the volume on his earplugs. He checked his options. Either telling them right away that he wasn’t coming or letting the time keep running and letting them know at last minute.

Where the f*** are you?

A second message came.
He rubbed his eyes and took a look at the posters of his idols on the wall. Still holding to his guitar case. Then his gaze fell on a picture of him next to his parents. A twelve-year-old him looked into the camera with military-short hair.
He still remembered how much he had hated having his hair like that. And in that picture, it had finally started growing out after having it all buzzed off by his dad.
It had happened in a logical progression of events: He had caught lice. His dad had noticed first. His dad acted on his behalf with a flawless home remedy passed down by generations on his family and promptly shaved all his hair off. He cried his eyes out. His dad told him to man up. His mom lashed and chewed his dad’s ass. His dad (pressed by him, he suspected) had given him complete freedom with his hair as compensation.
His dad had cut his hair in the backyard then. He had done it at home and he had seen the hair clippers in one of their bathroom’s cabinets, banished back to their box after a single, unfortunate use.
Maybe out of some deep, buried remain of regret, or in respect of the memory of his mother, or out of paternal affection (in the least twisted, manipulative way he could show and feel it, if he could at all), his father had never done something like that to him again.
Not that it had kept him from doing everything else, really.
And he would have rather had him force a buzz cut on him, if that was only that, or if that could have been a thug-of-war, a concession, to keep him at bay in everything else.
But it wasn’t that easy.
It was never easy.
He stood in front of the mirror for a moment and looked at his lip that seemed to had stopped bleeding. He pushed his hair out of his face.
The clippers were still there underneath the sink. He knew they were there.
It rushed to him.
He replied to his friends’ message.

I’m on my way.

He took all the money he had and his backpack. He started filling it with clean clothes.
He had a plan. They were both going to see how far he would be able to get.
And he was going to show up tonight onstage.




When he left his room, his dad was still downstairs. Kurt caught glimpse of his copper business man’s cut right away.
He walked into the kitchen to take note of where he was. Right next to the fridge, was their home phone. Holding the door of the fridge open to cover him, he swiftly removed the cable line and slid it into the garbage can when he reached for a clean glass.
His dad was in the living room reading. All he had to do was lift his gaze and he would see the door. He was reading. TV off. He needed to be able to perceive the noises.
If there was one thing he knew about his father, was that nothing happened casually with him.
Alright then.

"So, you’ve decided to stay home" his dad used his unbearable know-it-all tone on him with feigned innocence and that hint of so-proud-of-you-doing-the-right-thing that got into his nerves.
"Can I put on some music?" Kurt asked him softly, looking at him and his surroundings. He noticed his father’s phone wasn’t on the table.
"As long as it’s being played by a real musician not a mediocre attempt of a guitarist like you".
He didn’t answer back.

As he went back upstairs, he found his dad’s phone charging. It would still take it a while to get full. So, he figured his father wouldn’t come get it too soon. He took a tool of his pocket and looked for the SIM card tray. The corner slid out effortlessly, and he took the SIM card out of it. He took great care to place it between the pages of a magazine. Hidden from sight.
Next, he unplugged it and threw it inside the pocket of a random coat in the hanger. Time was racing against him, so he better made the best out of the minutes that were passing while he was home. And that meant, adding as much delays as he could to his father’s ten-minute flat rate that it would take the cops to find him when he walked out that door.
He had to be quick. Because time was racing and the longer this took him, the less time he would have to get away and to get there.
Maybe a fraction of his dad’s way of thinking had been passed down to him.
He was his son after all.
He locked himself in his room. He turned up the volume of the music as loud as the speakers would go.
He tested the waters with a minute of the harshest accords, staring at his watch and waited. He saw the seconds going by, knowing he would have to rush like his life depended on it if he wanted to make it.
His dad wasn’t coming to tell him to turn it down.
Perfect.
On the free outlet of the wall, he plugged in the hair clippers.
He stood in front of the mirror.
Him letting his hair grow out had more or less occurred in parallel to his decision to be serious about music.
In both vanity and honesty, it looked fantastic in pictures falling over his face when he played the guitar. He felt he invoked all the hundreds of musicians he owed his dreams to.

Look at you. Long red hair down to your shoulders.

His hands felt like he had just learned to move them at all as he picked the clippers in his hand. They felt heavier than they appeared.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Yet here he is, shaking despite himself.
He turned them on.
His hands still trembled.
The riff and the drums drowned out their buzzing growl almost complete, but he could still hear it, struggling to get past it.
He pulled his bangs back and placed the bare metallic blades at the edge of his hairline.
Once he was done, his father won’t be able run his fingers through his hair again.
He did not close his eyes as he started to run the clippers towards his crown.
The first locks drifted soundlessly to the floor.
He saw the close-shaven path the clippers had left on his head. They got rid of all his hair save for a an almost colorless stubble that rasped to the touch.
He started buzzing a second section. He can do this.
He has to do this.
Another stream of his shiny hair fell.
He was almost appalled at how easily the machine almost uprooted his hair. How quickly all those years of growing out his mane, flaunting it proudly (because f***, he knew he had amazing hair), feeling it measure the tempo as he played when he moved his head, seemed to just fall apart in his hands.
It seemed disproportionate how it was taking him so little time to cut all that off. He could almost remember how it had felt to have his dad buzzing his head back when he was a kid, and that sense of ruthlessness echoed through him.
As he advanced with the first side, he saw emerge what would be his reflection from now on. His face naked and just a shadow of stubble drawn by his hairline.
He was reminded of why he hated having his hair buzzed when he grazed that itchy, rough texture on his head. Deafened by the music and the sound of the clippers, his touch seemed a thousand times more perceptive and that rasp heightened on his fingertips.
He released a breath and moved to the other side.
His fingertips brushed past a scar on the edge of his temple, on his hairline.

His dad had raised him on scars. He was a man that prided himself in doing whatever it took, on any means necessary.

As he released a handful of locks on the floor, he knew that he also believed in that.
Once he was done, his father won’t be able to get to him again.
He heard how the pitch of the machine mutated every time it clashed against his hair. It was an instrument. It had a tempo. It had rhythm. Not unlike the bass playing on his speakers or the drums.
And maybe if he hadn’t dropped music classes altogether, he would be able to tell if the speed was an eight note or a sixteenth.
He thought it was strange how the frequency of notes and the edge of the clippers worked on similar numerical scales. And in this act of him shaving all his hair off, with the music shielding the buzz of the machine and the blades peeling away the thing that gave the most away his identity, was how they met.
He bent over himself and went across the back of his head. He inspected, sought for any longer, uneven areas with his left hand. His nape was bare. His occipital area as well.
He stood straight once more. He turned his head right and went across this sideburns and temples, pressing the machine against his skin as he went back and forth over the area behind his ear.
He flicked the switch on the hair clippers. They went silent. There were bits of red hair clinging to the case, trapped between the metallic teeth.
He lifted his gaze and faced his reflection.

Long red hair down to his shoulders.

Not anymore.
His dad was smart and unstoppable and unmovable.
And when he saw himself with his head clipper-shaved, he knew that took after him, and he would make it serve him.
Time was gunning down on him. He roughly brushed the hairs that clung to his shoulders and t-shirt. He threw a hoodie on.
Then, he left.
Unstoppable and unmovable.



He took his bandmates’ lashing as he ran into them backstage, while he rushed to get the hoodie off and opened a water bottle to splash his face and wash the back of his neck, itching and covered in millimetric remains of his hair. Until they caught sight of his torn lip. That was how they knew what happened. Because it wasn’t the first time.
He read their questions in their eyes and the anger. They didn’t put them into words. They didn’t need to. Their names were called onstage. Kurt sighed with relief. He had arrived on time. He had made it.

"After the show, you’re going to tell me everything" his best friend put him aside before they climbed onstage together "And are you sure you’re okay?".
Kurt nodded and smiled at him "Let’s do this".

The roar of the crowd had given heartache to play. Hearing the notes, holding his guitar was how he felt at home. Embracing his fellow band mates backstage, he knew that they were his family.
Even as they annoyed him rubbing his freshly buzzed head roughly and teasing him, asking him if he head gotten lice again. He laughed and went to check his phone.
He had a message from his uncle who had come to see him play tonight, congratulating him and the band.
Also, he mentioned that he had not seem him onstage?
But that he was going to greet the others backstage anyway.
Kurt snorted. His uncle had not recognized him with his hair buzzed off, of course. He was going to be in for a surprise when he came to meet them.

Just how far do you think you’ll be able to go?

His dad has not even imagined it yet. That night, Kurt knew, that in spite of everything, he had it in him to go far.
As he ran his hand across his head, feeling the sandpaper texture of the stubble, he thought that he could get used to it.






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