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Since 1993, my Halloween costume has been a cow, complete with udders and a tail. I recently added cow ears, and I’m still trying to figure out how milk could shoot from my udders, especially since complete strangers feel free to tug on them.Some years, I wear face paint and/or black and white hair-sprayed pigtails, which is what I did this year.

Which is what led to Thomas being fired as my knight in shining armor.

After a day of running errands, having my udders pulled by strangers, hearing various forms of “Your costume is udderly adorable” and handing out candy, it was time to wash the Halloween away.

But there was a slight problem.

I couldn’t get my ponytail elastics out. Not only had I hair sprayed my hair to the elastics, but throughout the day, stray pieces of hair had knotted around them.

“Hey, Thomas!” I yelled through the air vent, which echoed into the family room. “Do you think you could help me?”

He yelled something I couldn’t understand, but since it was only one syllable, I had no doubt my hero was on his way.

Sure enough, he walked into the bathroom. “I thought you were showering.”

“That was my plan, but I can’t get my ponytail elastics out.”

“Let me see.” He moved my head from side-to-side. “Huh.”

“Huh, what?”

“It’s pretty tight. I don’t think I’m going to be able to pull your hair out, I’m going to need to cut it.”

“OK,” I said trusting him completely.

I love the guy, but while he was moving my head around, I was trying to recall what annoying thing I’d done recently because he wasn’t being super gentle. “Dude, just cut it.”

“I’m trying to find the best angle.”

“What angle? Just cut it.”

“OK.”

Snip.

“One down,” he said and twirled me around.

I was able to slide my finger underneath the second ponytail elastic. “I’m helping,” I said proudly.

“That definitely makes it a lot easier,” Thomas said. “Now I can just cut it.”

“It?” I asked.

“Yeah, the elastic.”

“What did you cut before?”

“Your hair.”

“Umm, excuse me?”

“It seemed like the best option.”

“Cutting my hair seemed like the best option!”

“Yeah, but I was careful. I don’t think I cut off much.” He handed me the intact elastic and it had a little bit of hair on it. “See.”

“OK,” I breathed out slowly. “That’s one way to do it. I just figured you’d be cutting only the elastic.”

“Don’t you remember I was talking about angles?”“Yeah, and it was confusing, but now I understand. You were mathing my hair to see how much to cut.”

“Exactly.”

“And since you’re an accounting prof, you probably mathed well.”

“Hopefully.”

“Yeah, hopefully,” I mumbled. “How about this time you just cut the ponytail elastic?”

“You got it.”

A little finagling and another snip.

He handed me the cut elastic.

I shook my head, and something fell to the ground. We both looked at it.

“Is that what I think it is?” I asked.

“Do you think it’s your hair?”

“Yes, I do,” I said. “I do think it’s my hair.”

“Then you would be right.”

Listen people, I’m not talking about a strand of hair, I’m talking a chunk.

“Oh my gosh, how much did you cut off?” I yelled.

“About that much,” he pointed at my forlorn hair.

“Unbelievable.”

“I’m an accounting prof not an engineer,” he argued lamely.

“Obviously.”

“Where are you going?” he asked.

“To get the tape measure. I want to know how much of my hair is missing.”

Guess how much! Just go ahead and guess!

A whopping 11 ” in length and 2 inches in width of my hair was on the floor. I tried to keep my shaking under control. I placed my hair on the counter.

Thomas reached for it. “I’ll take care of it for you.”

“Don’t you dare touch it.” The decibel level of my voice increased with each word. “You’ve done enough damage. You’re fired!”

I’m not saying he left the room sheepishly, but he did sneak out while I was turning on the shower.

As I washed my hair, it took five shampoos to get all the black and white hairspray out, more strands of my hair fell onto the shower floor. I could have pushed it to the side with my foot or picked it up and put it on the wall like I usually do with the hair that falls naturally from my head and gets entangled in my fingers.

But I didn’t.

Instead, I chuckled as I shoved the hair down the drain. The next time Thomas had to use the long comb thingy to remove the snarled, smelly hair from the drain (mine not his cuz he’s bald), in between gags, he’d think about butchering my beautiful locks.

And maybe, just maybe, he’d feel bad and buy me a bag of Oreos or two.

Krista Vance is a former Champaign resident. While she now calls northern Colorado home, she spent five wonderful years in Champaign and misses great friends, corn and big-sky sunsets.