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Mullet Man, P.I.

Story by Stacey Richter September 15, 2006

The Mullet Man keeps a brass plaque on his desk engraved with the only rule he has: Don’t Fuck With the Mullet Man. He leans back in his chair and cranks the classic rock, looking at his client, a honey blonde. She takes a long moment to eye his mullet before shouting: “My daughter’s been gone six months. She’s only sixteen!” She hands him a picture of a freckled-faced kid in a school uniform. Then she hands him another picture of the same girl dressed in a g-string with a snake tattooed on her spine. Scrawled on the bottom are the words, “Hey Mom! I’m doing awesome! Love Trixie!”

The Mullet Man thinks the girl looks better with the tat and the g-string but he takes the case anyway. Why not? He loves a case, any case, he loves his job. He loves his mullet. It makes him feel good, it makes him feel masculine and sexy and he doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. He talks in a loud voice and drinks beer from a can and has a black belt and smokes. His monster truck is up on blocks in his yard but he’s going to fix it someday, fucking A, because he loves that truck. He is who he is; he lets people know it. He’s the Mullet Man.

He throws his business card on the bar. It says Mullet Man, P.I. The bartender has short red hair and a pierced eyelid. Her arms are covered with tattoos and bangles; she’s a beautiful girl, a beautiful lesbian. The bar is in San Francisco at the bottom of Haight Street where his search for the girl has brought him. All runaways end up in San Francisco, it’s a no-brainer. But this town is not the Mullet Man’s town. He’s been scoffed at ever since he stepped off the plane, because if there’s one thing tolerant liberals can’t tolerate it’s a man with a mullet. He’s had to invoke the rule several times. Don’t Fuck With the Mullet Man. He’s on the verge of invoking it now. The lesbian smirks at him, screws a rag inside a glass.

“Have you seen this girl?” He holds up the picture of Trixie.

“What’s the deal with the mullet?”

“No deal. It’s just hair.”

The bartender gives him a level gaze. “It’s not just hair. It’s a mullet.”

“You look like a tough chick,” he says, “so what’s the deal with the Hello Kitty shirt?”

“Oh you know. I think it’s funny. It’s ironic.”

He chews a toothpick. “You mean you like it because you think it’s stupid?

“I like it and I think it’s stupid.”

“I love my mullet, it’s part of me.” He leans toward her. “None of this irony bullshit. No boxes inside boxes, no love-hate-love. I’m a man of passion. I’m all me and I’m all mullet.”

He wakes up the next morning in the bartender’s bed, the sheets in a knot, a bottle of whiskey on the floor. The bartender is asleep, naked and pale, with a constellation of piercings glinting in the sun. The Mullet Man gets out of bed and stretches. Something catches his eye on the dresser: an advertisement for a strip club. And there, leaning against a brass pole, hair loose, a snake coiling up her spine, is Trixie. Another nugget falls into the Mullet Man’s lap. Who can hide from a man with nothing to hide? Not Trixie.

Just then the clock radio clicks on and Back in Black rips through the room. The Mullet Man throws back his head and windmills his arms to the fucking greatest air guitar song ever. On the other side of the room, the bartender sits up and looks at the Mullet Man in all his glory. Shit, she thinks. Who did I bring home? Who is this guy?

But she knows. Everyone knows. He’s the Mullet Man.

About the Author

Stacey Richter is the author of the short story collection My Date With Satan. Her next collection of stories will be published in the spring of 2007. She lives in Tucson, Arizona.

This story appeared in Issue Fourteen of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Fourteen

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