There are many types of work, and someone has to do them. But it has limits, and that would be the case with this barber. She was Portuguese and trimmed beards and cut hair in the Channel Islands. It might not have been easy, but it paid better than in Portugal. However, she was alone on the Channel, and it was there, on one of those trims, that a customer invited her to dinner. No big deal, she was alone and by the looks of it, he, a Scottish doctor, would be alone too.
They went to a pub, and the doctor came to the table with two pints of beer and some peanuts. It wasn’t exactly a Portuguese dinner, but for those who are alone, the alternative could be drinking canned beer while watching the TV.
The conversation went well until she couldn’t resist and alluded to the smell of formaldehyde that came and went without her knowing from where, but that seemed more intense when she brought the peanuts to her mouth.
– It must be from me, he said. I’m a coroner.
Imagine the stupefaction of the Portuguese barber who could have dreamed of dinner with salted cod washed down with good wine but was there drinking beer and munching peanuts from the same pot that the coroner was scratching without having washed his hands!
One would have thought that she would have grabbed her coat and left, but it was cold outside and Dr. Jekyll was intriguing; he even asked her if she would like to hear something about his profession. She should have jumped in horror right there, but she stayed, and he continued in a soft voice, telling her how he would begin cutting the corpses by sliding the scalpel from the ear downwards, and she indicated the movement by sliding her fingernail down from my ear. I should have jumped out of the barber chair, but I too, stayed.