Beards – Short Story

Beards - Short Story Artwork

It’s the end of the day, but technically it’s still Friday, so here’s Friday’s short story, “Beards”. It’s not that good. I tried, though. Typo hunters, welcome.


Some men have beards. Some people say every man should have a beard. This is obviously not true because some people don’t have beards. However, maybe most men should have a beard. Jeremy Clover thinks so. He’s trying not to shave his beard in the bathroom right now. He’s looking at it in the mirror with an electric trimmer in his left hand, puckering his lips side-to-side, trying to psyche himself out of running it without the guard over his entire chin, neck, lips, and cheeks. He hates beards, but his friend Matt tells him he needs it. He likes Matt. He trusts him. He has no real good reason to believe that Matt would sabotage his face just to win the heart of Natalie Paymer, their newer mutual friend they both met at the bar on third street a few months ago. Still, he wonders if Matt would ever do something like that.  

One time, Matt called in to work so that he and Jeremy could go to Chicago for the weekend. They bar hopped, checked out the Art Institute, bought sweaters for their girlfriends, got drunk in Boys Town, road the rail lines next to a guy with his underwear hanging out, got a deep dish from one of the places they didn’t think they’d ever been, and fell asleep in the hotel with it on the nightstand between their beds.

Jeremy wonders if Matt would ever lie to him. He’s sure he has. Jeremey has lied Matt to get out of going kayaking or to the strip club a few times. Friends lie to friends sometimes. But, do friends lie to friends about their facial hair? Maybe, if sex is involved. So, assuming the worst and that Matt is love with Natalie and thinks Jeremy is, too, and also assuming Natalie is somehow infatuated with both of them as well and is specifically looking to the quality of their facial hair when choosing between them, Jeremy supposes it makes sense that Matt would tell Jeremy that he should keep his facial hair exactly the way it is, even if his face would look amplitudes better without it, or without part of it. So, Jeremy takes his beard in from the jawline a little. Jeremy wonders if Matt will notice. Jeremy gets dressed and goes to work. 

By Eric Shay Howard

Eric Shay Howard lives in Indianapolis. He's a teacher, a literary editor, and writer. He's a graduate student in the Bluegrass Writers Studio MFA in Creative Writing program at Eastern Kentucky University. He also has MBA and BA degrees.

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