One Hundred Years of Accelerated Hair Growth


Shawn Birkenside had lived for fourteen of the One Hundred Years of Accelerated Hair Growth.  He was a twenty-seven year-old trainee stonemason when it was decided that the period would commence, so knew of a time when hair emerged from each of his follicles at what could once be described as a ‘normal’ rate, but now at age forty-one he knew that the meaning of normal had been grossly re-defined and that he would never know that time again.    But even now, his dark brown curls spooling from his scalp in a hyper-linear pastiche of time-lapse photography, bouncing from his shoulders and cascading down to further heap the barber’s shop floor that had formed the entire nation over; as his eyebrows slowly twilled and twisted away from his head like the questing roots of some small shrub recently pulled from the earth; as the dense fauna of his muscular forearms emerged as thick streams of jet black running water flowing over a riverbed of flesh; and as, beneath his trousers, he felt a tuft of pubic hair swell into a tight, prickly mass that made a ghastly pin cushion of his groin, the pressure so forceful after a time that coarse tips began to emerge, scrub-like, through the tight weave of his denim - even now Shawn reasoned that this immense physiological inconvenience was preferable to the alternate reality he could now be experiencing were the One Hundred Year Period not enforced.    He gazed from his balcony at the river Aire which now ran past his apartment in a strange, hirsute parody of a body of water, splashes of foam replaced with sideburns and fur; its fluid audio now a symphony of microscopic prickles and scratches as it grew downstream, knotting and fuzzing its way to eventually pitch out into the teeming mess of the North Sea; the flotsam and jetsam of hair clips, rollers, tiaras, headbands and ill-secured fascinators eddying in a monochrome iridescence of extensions, clippings and stubble. He observed passers-by venture onto the Leeds Bridge, their respective curtains, ringlets and fringes first falling to touch the ledge, and then, as they reached the opposite bank, tumbling into and becoming just another part of the tumultuous out-sized French plait twisting beneath their feet that, paradoxically, they were attempting to cross.   Shawn snipped absent-mindedly at his turbo-charged bangs, remembering the days when a hairstyle seemed less of a transient concept and when his beard was once the subject of careful, narcissistic topiary rather than something to grapple and wrestle and hack away at with every passing minute.  Rows of bristling black bin bags lined his hallway, stacked high and ever-present.  The futility of their removal, disposal and decomposition the equivalent of holding back the tide, which was now, funnily enough, mostly hair itself.