A Guest Blog Post by Laurels
Sable as a new wig. Sable, years into her captivity.
Costumes and props in the Foil Arms & Hog world are almost as legendary as the finely-woven and well-loved characters themselves. Drop into any [of FAH's] Youtube comment sections, Twitter threads or Instagram feeds and you will likely find a running commentary from FAHns on favorite hats, glasses and wallpapers—some of which are making it into FAHn homes. Now that’s dedication!
So why did I write a story about a brown wig?
To begin, this is not an ordinary brown wig. This wig has tasted success. From starring in a beauty blog spoof [Post-Festival Make Up Tutorial] to embodying the character of an entire decade, the 1960s, [The Decades Throw a Party], the wig has demonstrated its versatility. Is the brown wig the hardest working wig in the Prop’s Room? I ask you, where would the 1960s be without it?
It was in the [FAH] Patreon Outtakes for "The Decades Throw a Party" when Hog, on the defensive, asked Arms, “What happened to your hair, man?!”, that solidified the question in my mind, “What, indeed, had happened to it??”*
In the FAH tradition of anthropomorphizing inanimate objects, this short story is an imagined look into the FAH costume and prop's room, through the lens of an innocent wig whose only dream was to be a star! (Ok, maybe some of her dramaticism is rubbing off…). Having forcibly become part of Foil’s La Bullshat ensemble during the “Quickest Costume Change” competition [Patreon Hog Show, October 22, 2020,] the brown wig was traumatized.
In the weeks and months that followed, the ‘wronged’ wig continued to pop up in FAH-lore via Youtube and Patreon videos. The wig stayed in my mind, plotting her great escape! When Barbara announced the FlAsH fiction competition, I knew Sable’s story had to be told!
The question was posed [to me as to] why I gendered the wig as female; and quite honestly, it was something I had not thought about. I suppose in my mind, this storyline harkened back to an old Hollywood starlet, reminiscing about her glory days. How does a wig go from pristine to disheveled? That is the story I tell.
On the face of it, I worried the story came across as too dark, a bit too noir; but I hope you will be able to see a little bit of FAH…a little bit of Les Misérables…That’s right, this story is now a musical. The opening song could be: “One Wig’s Fight for Freedom”. Hope you enjoy!
"The Wronged Wig Cuts Twice"
They’d left the scissors gleaming on the table. That was their second mistake. Their first mistake was crossing Sable, the Jubillee III lace-front synthetic wig. She let go of the edge, slumping back down inside the cardboard prison to settle in a heap beside the other wigs. This was not a new scene unfolding, but rather one that replayed with startling regularity—ever since ‘The Incident’.
From its perch high on the shelf in the Props Room, small dejected sighs floated from the box into the yawning silence. “Ah, here lass—what’s the trouble?”
“Another day -- GONE!! I’ve got to get out of here!” Sable’s voice quavered desperately.
”W’ot you mean? We’ve got it good here.” “Besides, no one gets out…even the Kidney Failure Boy’s mug has been on the shelf for a year!”
Sable tossed her gnarled hair angrily. “You don’t understand…you’ve ALWAYS been a two-euro wig! When I was young, I was beautiful!!...Sleek…shiny…”
She trailed off, remembering the day she’d been taken out of the box at the Foil Arms and Hog office; flawlessly backlit and for some inexplicable reason, the perfect breeze had swept over her, catching the light of the overhead fluorescents, illuminating glorious locks envious of the best shampoo commercial on American television. She luxuriated in recalling the admiring glances and reverent tones whenever she was brought out. She remembered eagerly awaiting her big break, the mahogany curtain bringing SO MUCH to the character. But neglect soon caught up with her as snarls began to appear. Her looks and career spiraling downward to the lowest point—or so she’d thought--demotion to a drugged-out hippy role. Oh! the waste of talent! -- and not even properly accessorized!! She heaved another dramatic sigh, which threatened to suffocate the crowded container.
“Mama?...Is she going to start singing?” the high, reedy question from Ann, the disheveled tri-colored yarn wig, sliced into the silence. “God! I flippin’ hope not!!” Mary McCormack’s pale cotton candy cloud impatiently turned over to face the wall; the pink Velcro curlers harrumphing in solidarity.
Sable was largely immune to her wig box neighbors, instead reliving her downfall vividly in her mind. Speaking to no one in particular, she began her well-practiced, sing-songy monologue. “It was subtle at first,” Sable gave a humorless chuckle. “The benign, even playful toss into the box—I know, it was the end of the day… they were tired.” The two-euro wigs exchanged uneasy glances as she stared off into the insulating darkness. “But weren’t we all tired?” One neglectful action had tumbled into another, and before she knew it, her hair was knotted, matted; the twisted twines rendering her completely unrecognizable from her previous grandeur. Pain knifed through her as she recalled that awful moment when thinking, “Finally!” she was going to be showcased once again, pulled partway out of the box, before being passed over for the Flapper wig. Ah! The treachery! But that paled in comparison to The Incident! Sable shuddered, remembering the quick, abrupt shoves from icy fingers into the denim trouser legs, which were scuffled onto Foil’s arms. None of this made sense. None of this was right! And all for some cheap laughs! “They used me as CLOTHING!!” burst the anguished cry.
“Keep it down!” “Yes, some of us are trying to sleep!”
“Shut up, Hats!! No one is talking to you!!” Sable retorted angrily. The bowlers quivered with indignation. “I say!” “Well!” “The cheek!!”
Stillness soon filled the Props Room as quiet murmurs and soft snores settled into the silence. NOW was her chance!
Pulling herself up to the edge of the box once again, Sable teetered on the precipice, surveying the room. She zeroed in on the shears glinting in the shimmering moonlight. Deciding her fate, she propelled herself forward, free-falling in a natural parachute formation, catching the scissors in a beautiful arc. All going smoothly... until she hit a snag. A literal snag.
The scissors clattered to the floor as she landed in a partial heap. Sable turned over to look behind her, following the trail of cobwebby hair ensnared by her new jailor. The metal elephant sat in stony judgement on the shelf, the barest smug smile touched his frozen face as he looked down at her sprawled position. His coppery-teal patina glowed eerily in the moonlight.
It was particularly galling that the elephant should be the stoic hurdle in her path to freedom, as he had also witnessed her biggest disgrace. She envisioned him during the live stream perched pompously on Arms’ head. And why not?? It had been a crowning moment for an object whose sole purpose up to that point had been to offset a pot of petunias!
Well, this puffed-up pachyderm was not going to stop her! Sable braced herself to pull against the unwieldy lawn ornament. With each tug, the iron elephant teetered closer to the edge, looming over her. As the dead-eyed obstacle began to give in to the pull of gravity, she made a split-second decision. Grasping the scissors in her crooked coils, in one smooth volley she snapped the steel shears closed on the strands. She spun away to safety as the elephant thudded in dull finality on top of her severed locks.
Fluorescent lights snapped on overhead as the door to the Prop's Room swung open. Sable winced at the light that whisked away the shadows of the night, which still lingered around the edges of the room. Had it all been a dream?? She hugged the scissors closer to her corrupted tendrils, the weighty steel heft providing a cold sense of security. Like a junkie--exhausted, excited and edgy—she softly repeated her mantra, “There’s time, there’s time.” And in the meantime, where could she find a comb?
*See FAH's Patreon Monday Outtakes 3, published Jan 11, 2021--and if you are not on Patreon, GO THERE IMMEDIATELY AND SIGN UP!! It’s the best thing you can do for yourself!