If you take something that no-one else wants, something that has been thrown away, that would never be missed – that isn’t stealing.
You work as a Saturday girl in the children’s barbers. You sweep up the hair. You make coffee. Sometimes, you pick up a small ball of hair and put it into your pocket.

You like your job. You like to see the small boys, who are so excited and who feel so grown-up. You sympathise with the mothers and you trade silly jokes and secrets with the boys.

After work, you go to the old woman’s house, the woman with the dry skin, and the strange smell of musk and earth.

This old woman, who is obviously crazy, pays you for something dead and thrown away. Pays you £20 for a small ball of hair – there’s nothing wrong in that.

You notice that there are less and less children at the hairdressers each week.

If children are getting sick that’s a coincidence – right?

Anything else might tear you up. You feel confused, but there’s nothing really wrong with what you’d done.

You can’t sleep. Your friends are worried about you. You think, and think, and think – all the time.

You give the money you’ve saved to a children’s charity – it doesn’t help.

What can you do? Go to the police? Go to your parents and tell them what you’d been doing?


There is only one thing that you can do. On Saturday you bring that old woman the last ball of hair. Not taken from the floor of the hairdressers, but cut from your own head.

It’s only hair – right?

And then you wait.

"Saturday Girl"
Copyright: © 2009 Deborah Walker
Find Deborah Walker in the British Museum nicking ideas from ancient cultures. Saturday Girl first appeared in Bards and Sages Quarterly, January 2009.

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