Clarifying Shampoo

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Betsy over at Parenting is Funny was recently musing over a bottle of clarifying shampoo (yes, it’s a real thing). Her blog is a hoot, and I encourage you to visit. Her post popped a story into my head. I hope you enjoy.

Clarifying Shampoo

Clara was born a Libra. Not the normal kind of Libra with a smattering of other signs in her chart to balance her scales. She was an anomaly, an astrological case study, solid Libra from her Sun all the way across the galaxy to Pluto. She vacillated like a seesaw and simple decisions were intolerable with all the second-guessing.

Worst of all, she was the epitome of annoying. Potential friends stopped calling after a week, and romantic relationships unraveled before they had a chance to knit. She frustrated counselors. Even her mother had stopped answering the phone.

Clara had to do something, and the only thing she hadn’t tried was consulting a psychic.

Madam Bea’s Fabulous Fortunes occupied the basement below a hair salon. She specialized in Tarot, but the handmade poster on her sandwich-board advertised results, and that was exactly what Clara needed. Results.

At the bottom of the concrete steps, a peeling door led into a tight space cordoned off by red sheets tacked to the ceiling. A disorienting combination of odors—garlic, mildew, and sandalwood—assaulted Clara’s nose. A card table separated two folding chairs, complete with a sparkly glass ball on a plastic stand.

Madam Bea, a beak-nosed woman with painted eyebrows, sat at the table finishing off a pizza. She waved to the unoccupied chair while munching on the crust, and then tossed the pizza box behind the makeshift curtains.

Clearly, Clara had made another mistake, but she accepted the seat and laid out the saga of her peculiar horoscope complete with runny mascara—another miscalculation. She should have applied the waterproof variety.

The fortune teller listened intently while picking her teeth with a ruby fingernail. “I have joost the thing,” she said and disappeared behind the sheets. When she returned, she placed a half-empty bottle of shampoo on the table.

“Shampoo?” Clara frowned.

“Clarifying champoo.” Madam Bea’s eyebrows arched higher than already arched. “Trust me. I give you discount. That be fifty dollars.”

Clara forked over the cash with a sigh and drove home. Before dropping into bed, she washed her hair.

In the morning, she shuffled to her closet and ruminated over what to wear. Slacks or a skirt? Maybe a dress. Or slacks in case the office is cold. But what if it’s warm? A dress with a sweater? Although a skirt…

The lavender suit.

Clara froze. The whispered voice seemed to originate from somewhere above her head. She glanced up and then peeked over her shoulder. Alone. Was the voice real? Inside her head? She backed up and sat on the edge of her bed. Should she make another counseling appointment?

Ivory blouse and low pumps. Pearl studs but skip the necklace.

Clara jolted up with a yelp. She rifled through her closet and wriggled into the lavender suit. Studs in her ears, she dashed from her apartment to the sidewalk, the low heels a wise choice with all the running.

She inhaled a lungful of sunshine to calm her racing heart, shoved the morning’s weirdness from her thoughts, and wavered over whether to walk to work or take the bus. Or drive. Or walk. What if she got blisters? And then there was city parking…

Walk. It’s a nice day. You need the exercise.

Clara frowned and casually swept a hand over the top of her head. Was her hair giving her instructions?

I’m clarifying.

“Clarifying?” She wrinkled her nose. “Why? But what if—”

Clarity never hurt anyone. Now, no time for waffling or you’ll be late.

Still suspicious of her hair, Clara set off for work, and for the first time in three years, she arrived on time, a fact noticed by Harry, the tall, dark, and hunky cubical-occupant across the aisle. Her hair urged her to have tea instead of coffee and to check her emails before returning calls, decisions that would have taken an hour.

By the time the clock struck noon, her lips curved into a relaxed smile, the day’s decision-making handled entirely by her hair.

Harry cleared his throat. “Clara, would you like to join me for a quick lunch?”

“Oh, er, hm.” Clara didn’t know. Should she? What would she order? Maybe she shouldn’t. But then he might not ask again. So, she should. But what if she did, and he ended up being a creep, and then he’d ask her every day? She might have to quit her job. Or he could be nice. “Um, I…”

Gah! Just say yes!

“Yes,” she blurted.

Eighteen years later, while Clara unpacked her shopping bags, her daughter, Elizabeth, sauntered into the kitchen, phone in hand. “Mom, there’s a bonfire at the park tonight. Chantelle and I were planning to go, but her mom needs their car. Can I take ours? I’ll be home by nine.”

Clara wanted to say yes, but driving after dark… And what if there was beer? And boys? There would be boys. Was Elizabeth old enough? Should she say no? Eventually, she’d have to trust her daughter’s choices. She could drive the two of them. But that might be humiliating. Was it worth a fight?

She’s a responsible kid. She said she’ll be home by nine.

Clara sighed. “All right, you can go. I trust you to make good choices.”

“Awesome, mom. I have to hurry and hop in the shower.”

“Oh!” Clara perked up and searched through her bags. “I bought you some shampoo.”

125 thoughts on “Clarifying Shampoo

  1. A delightful story, Diana. I can smell the odor and I’m allergic to perfume. Love the painted eyebrow and the runny mascara!

    I know of a Clara, came home with a bagful of clothes resulted in returning all of them and repeated for years, meeting all Mr. imperfects with no “Harry” by age 45.

    Diana, where can I get the Clarifying Shampoo for this dear friend?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. LOL! Love this! If it was only as easy as getting some clarifying shampoo … And Madame Bea–the painted eyebrows thing reminded me of someone I met in my wanderings. Great flash, Diana!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sarah says:

    I WANT THIS SHAMPOO!!! 😄 Because, you know, I’m a Libra. 😉
    Such a wonderful story, Diana, I’m glad you followed through with this idea!
    And I love that Madame Bea was munching on some pizza – now I’m hungry! 😁

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Could you get me some of that? I’ll pay you back. 🙃 Loved this, Diana. And the last bit is awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha ha. You have to visit Madam Bea at her Fabulous Fortunes basement. As an aside, I checked my bathroom shelf and I have “Purifying Shampoo.” Now that would be a totally different story. 😀

      Like

  5. mylilplace says:

    Hahaha…I couldn’t help but laugh as I read. What a creative and funny story, Diana! You have a bottomless well of imagination. I can imagine it as a skit for one of those comedy shows. Thanks for making me laugh today. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. cath says:

    Lovely, what a great concept.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Staci Troilo says:

    I have clarifying shampoo, and mine doesn’t work that way. How I wish it did! Great story, Diana.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Oh, Diana! This is absolutely delightful and funny and so brilliant! What a writer you are! I have the goosebumps. See what practice practice practice does? It turns us into Masters, and that you really are. I so enjoyed this story! Good for you letting your imagination run free!! Way to go!! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼🌟🌟🌟💜💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Brilliant Diana.. loved it and we should all have some clarifying shampoo.. a little recent for my sleuthing but much appreciated..hugsx

    Like

  10. What an enjoyable read, Diana. Now, if only there were shampoo like that. If not shampoo, then how about shower-gel? Or toothpaste?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Haha! I love it, Diana. Easily worth $50 a bottle. I loved your description of the psychic too. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Awesome! Well done! I’m so glad you took my off-hand remark and ran with it. This was so fun. If only such a thing really existed! Your characterization of the psychic was truly wonderful, too, btw. Loved her.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Jennie says:

    This was a great story!!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. acflory says:

    -giggles- I don’t know how you come up with these stories, but this one’s a beaut!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Oh my, the story cracked me up! I seriously had a good laugh. 😀 Because as a Libran, I can relate to the notorious indecisiveness. I could do with that clarifying shampoo. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Ok, I’m hooked. Now I need to find myself some of that shampoo and another dose of these funny stories.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. rijanjks says:

    Fantastic story! I love the humor! Thanks for the laughs!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. inese says:

    What a lovely story, Diana 🙂 Thank you for the chuckles 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Fun story! My hair often tells me what it wants, and I at least take it under consideration 😂

    Liked by 3 people

  20. How fun! Who knew ‘clarifying shampoo’ was so entertaining? Well, I suppose Betsy did–and I’m off to read her post now. Thanks for starting my day right, Diana.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Too good story, Diana and you made me laugh too. I too would love to have that shampoo. Thanks for this awesome story.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. What a great story to wake up to. I just laughed and laughed while reading this charming and oh-so-funny story. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Solitaire says:

    Now I know! I have to go and buy some clarifying shampoos!❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Steven Baird says:

    This is great, Diana. Makes me wish I wasn’t bald (among other things). Well done!

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Thêa says:

    What a lovely and funny story! It really gave me a good start of the day. I wonder where I can find such shampoo? Think I will ask my daughter, she is a hairdresser and makes a lot of magic daily. 🤔😁

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Adele Marie says:

    I love this story, I need some of that shampoo myself. xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Don’t do it, Elizabeth! That shampoo sounds horrifying!

    Liked by 2 people

  28. areilly88 says:

    I really loved this, Diana! Thanks for the delightful read 💚

    Liked by 2 people

  29. dgkaye says:

    Who knew such an entertaining story could be born from clarifying shampoo! Clever and funny! Thanks for the giggles 🙂 xx

    Liked by 2 people

  30. I’m getting some of that shampoo, Diana! haha! Love the ending, too. Nothing like having some parenting support from your shampoo. It probably works as well as many other techniques we all tried with our teens.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. I need me some of that there shampoo 🙂 Great story Diana, you must always write down these little gems ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Oh, my brain has reacted like Clara’s. This story is so delightful. Loved it. I’ve used clarifying shampoo before! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  33. memadtwo says:

    Love it! Now where do you buy that shampoo? (K)

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Jay says:

    I like exploring these strange pathways down which your mind is inspired.

    Liked by 2 people

  35. joylennick says:

    Quite delightful. I even thought about washing my own hair, but then remembered I wear a wig! (And aint that the truth…) I really do. So I washed that instead. Am still chuckling. Hugs xx

    Liked by 3 people

    • It probably works on wigs too, Joy, but the “champoo” has be purchased from Madam Bea’s Fabulous Fortunes or it may not give the expected kind of clarity. I’m glad you got a smile from the story. ❤

      Like

  36. Lol, I wish MY shampoo worked as well 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  37. ghostmmnc says:

    Clara sounds a lot like me. I can never make a decision with all the what ifs, and I’m not even a Libra! Wish my clarifying shampoo would help me out! haha! Fun story. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  38. This is a great story, Diana.

    Liked by 2 people

  39. What a great story, Diana! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  40. Teri Polen says:

    When I saw the title, I couldn’t imagine what this story would be about – thanks for the laugh, Diana!

    Liked by 3 people

  41. Violet Lentz says:

    Delightful story! Always my pleasure to stop in for a read, D.

    Liked by 3 people

  42. Almost Iowa says:

    THIS IS AWESOME!!

    (Though one should ALWAYS avoid writing in caps and never use the overused word AWESOME, there are rare exceptions to the rule – and this was one)

    Liked by 4 people

  43. Jen Goldie says:

    I’d stay and tell you how much I loved your story and the fact that I had fun reading the wonderful characters BUT! I have to go buy some shampoo. Take Care! Gotta Run!

    Liked by 3 people

  44. Sadje says:

    A wonderful story, giving new meaning to clarifying shampoo. Mine never fave me any advice!

    Liked by 3 people

  45. Adorable! Thanks for sharing! ❤

    Liked by 4 people

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