The Street Performer’s Beard ~ A Short Story

The street performer sat on the bench, hunched over. In one one hand was a laminated piece of paper with his name and photo and in the other he held a cellphone to his ear.

“Four years. After four years of paying dues, it’s finally mine. Because I need it to perform.” He rolled his eyes. “Because it’s the rules, I can’t perform without the license you know that. Oh don’t, don’t you give me that. All I ever get is criticism from you and I’m just trying to be a little happy. Is that okay with you?”

He stood up and paced around the bench. For a moment, he lowered the phone, forgetting what he was doing. Quickly, he corrected himself and glanced about to see if anyone was watching.

“I want you to be proud of me. All of this is for you and I just want you to see how happy I am when I’m doing something I love. Making ends meet hasn’t been easy but if I don’t take this little bit of time to enjoy myself, well, I don’t want to imagine what could happen.”

After a pause, the performer closed the phone and placed it back in his pocket. He turned around and after another short pause, he gestured to his pocket. “What that? If anyone sees me talking to myself, they’ll put me away again. That’s my beard.”

The tiny marker at the head of the plot remained silent. But he was certain she could hear him. After he was sure that the license was visible to anyone who might happen by, he performed for her.

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