Haircut, by Ring Lardner

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Free download available at Story of the Week - Library of America.

A small-town barber regales his out-of-town client with the local gossip, and he recounts the fate of the town’s practical joker.

In the Barber Shop (1934), oil on canvas by Russian-American painter Ilya Bolotowsky, completed under the auspices of the Public Works of Art Project. Transferred from the U.S. Department of Labor to the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

From LOA:
Jonathan Yardley, in his authoritative biography of Ring Lardner, mentions a newspaper column by Lardner that appeared on January 6, 1916. Titled “Fifteen Cents’ Worth,” the item “contained a monologue by a barber who, a captive audience in his chair, delivered himself of his opinions on politics, sports, automobiles, Christmas and liquor.” Nine years later, Lardner would feature the same character, “mindless chatter and all,” in his most well-known and anthologized story, “Haircut.”