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  • Sayuri Lal

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. (Part 2)

“Me?! Why can you not do whatever you are doing to yourself? I am still recovering from the last debacle.” James said, pointing to his back.

Liz softened her face and eyes. Her body slumped toward the back of the couch. She took her pointer finger and began making the sad puppy face. Then, in a soft sweet voice, she said, “This time it will be different. I read the directions very carefully. Plus… it is more fun when we spend time together.”

Oh God, James thought, she is using The Voice. Stay strong James, he thought to himself. “I need to know what it is first.” He could not believe he was even asking the question but her words did something to him. “It is so simple really. I don’t know why I did not figure this out before.”

I have some ideas, thought James. “Okay, what is it?”

Liz sat up, slapping her hands on her legs. “Lather. Rinse. Repeat.”

James looked at her incredulously and did not know what to say. “What? Are you out of your mind?” “Are you sure you know the directions ?” James could not believe this conversation was happening. This was a whole new level even for Liz.

“Yes! I have never read the directions before. How hard can shampooing be? You lather it in and rinse it out. It is more complex than that. I was cleaning the bathroom and putting the bottles back in the shower when something on the label caught my eye. I could not believe it. Another step! There was also something about the amount to use but I cannot remember now. Pea size? Quarter size...?”

“You are nuts. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. You can shampoo your own hair for this, Liz.” James stood up. “I am going outside and mowing the lawn before it gets too hot.” “Wait! I need you. I just want to see if it really makes a difference. Come on, you’ll get a nice scalp massage in the process...”

James knew he had to be sure before agreeing to anything. Shampooing seemed harmless but this was his hair on the line. “How many times do you repeat?” Liz stopped cold. Her smile began to fade. “What?” “You said the directions said to lather, rinse, repeat. How many times do you repeat?”

“Are you kidding?”

“No. This is my hair we are talking about.”

“What do you mean?”

James could see a crack in her plan. Miss Confident did not seem so confident now. “I mean, how do you know you have repeated enough times? Does the hair feel a certain way? Does it look different somehow? Cleaner? Shinier?”

Liz was stumped. “I. Do. Not. Know.”

Crisis averted. “Exactly.” She was not touching my head until she knew for sure, thought James.

“Wait!” Liz said, desperately searching her mind for the answer. “I am sure you only repeat once.”

James looked Liz square in the eyes. She looked sincere but he had to ask to be certain. “As sure as you were sure you used sugar instead of salt last Christmas in the cookies we sent to all of our friends and family last year?” It was a low blow, he knew, but it had to be said.

“That was an accident! The containers were not marked. It was unfortunate but no one was seriously hurt.” Liz knew it was a low blow and he had to say it but it still stung. “This time, it will be different. I am surer than I have ever been in my whole life.” Liz knew she needed something to get her over the edge of doubt. “Except for the time I decided to marry you. I did not need to read the directions to do that.”

In for the kill, thought James. Well played. “Wow. Nicely done.”

“Thank you. What do you say? Are you up for some shampooing?” Liz was smiling again but this time with a twinkle in her eye. The lawn can wait, thought James. “Alright alright. We can lather, rinse, repeat my hair.

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