Anne van Kesteren


A four day beard on a campsite full of hippies. He would fit right in except that he was not there by choice. Nor was his beard.

Since it had been a couple of days he wandered off to the showers. While waiting there he wondered whether somebody was jerking off inside. It took too long. Like ordering take-out and waiting two full hours. Might as well have dined someplace nice. Once inside it turned out the showers were coin-based. Two coins. Five minutes of hot water. Having neither coins nor the desire to acquire some he brushed his teeth, washed his face, dried it, and left the building.

The beard stung a little. Four days was always bad like that. Usually he went for something that ought to pass as clean-shaven — but did not really in his opinion — after two days of neglect. Sometimes three, but very rarely four. Four stings. Problem was, no shaving equipment in sight and plenty of days to go. Clean-shaven on his face meant shaven wet, while afterwards still clearly seeing where the beard would go. Not because of a tan. And not because anything he could think off. It just had always been that way.

After lying down in the tent rain started gently dropping down. As if someone poured eye-drops in half-second intervals at random places on top of the tent. It was quite comforting. Rain always is when not outside.

Despite its shortcomings, the four day beard does have an upside. It looks a lot rougher than the two day beard. And also, one day later the itching would be gone. At which point you may well ask yourself why one would shave again. After all, not having to do anything at all is way more convenient.

After a nine hour pattern of waking up and falling asleep, Polly from Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged started playing on his cellphone. 4:30 AM. Fuck. It was time to get moving again.