Some guy named Eugene went to a party and had his hair styled as a joke in a combination of extensions and hairpieces. It ended up becoming a huge black creation that looked like a beehive hair-do, tall and puffy, with curly strands hanging down behind and Eugene adored it. After the party he kept his hair that way. He bought outfits that worked with it like little black dresses and pantsuits and loved walking in the park to show it off.
Eventually the hair-do became ragged and frizzy- hairpieces were beginning to fall out and get tangled. His untidy appearance depressed him and one night at home he tried to fix his hair with glue, staples, tape and black markers and the entire thing was ruined. Eugene stayed inside after that, upset, and his friends worried. He looked in catalogs for wigs that were the same as his wig but they were horribly expensive. He didn't go out because he didn't want to be seen in just his own hair or with a hat on.
Then one day someone left him a package with a big purple Mod styled wig and as nice as that was... it was purple and he really wanted black. Eugene's friends worried because they never heard from him- were always wondering how he was doing. They slipped notes under his door, yelled up at his windows. Somewhere during that period Eugene got the idea to film himself in black and white so his wig looked black. He installed a TV in his front door where he would leave a tape for its VCR everyday so his friends could come by and watch his updates saying he was fine and what he was doing that day. Mostly the updates were about cleaning up and making lunch.
On several tapes he tried to be creative- and animated them with simple cartoons. They were crudely done black and white animations of himself in a perky dress in some kind of happy badly drawn landscape. Eventually a few tapes were stolen, especially the animated ones, and used to make fun of him in the neighborhood. When some got onto the town's local TV channel, word spread and a sudden and unexpected support emerged.
Hairdressers and stylists arrived with bags of curlers and combs and hairpieces and would call to him at his windows. He let them in one day and when they emerged he was a changed man. He had so many beautiful wigs and hairpieces and also had the skill to style and dye his own hair things. Eugene never forgot the kindness shown him and now proposed the new holiday- "Wig Day". He believed any child or adult who wanted a wig should be able to have one. Then every year on the appointed day they could leave their wigs out for repair or restyling. Eugene himself would do the work and have help from some of the stylists who thought it would be fun.
The Pied Piper was amazed. It was crazy to him- all this about a guy with wigs! He flipped through the signature notebook seeing the addresses one after another. It seemed that almost the entire Town By the Sea had signed his petition to create "Wig Day"!
The Town by the Sea was just across the valley from where the Piper lived and worked. He thought, maybe, he should move to this town, and see if he could get work and support too.
When the Piper handed the heavy notebooks back, the city worker threw them back into a massive box that was just one of literally hundreds of boxes of applications and proposals filling the office.
The beginning of the end
The Pied Piper was always tired from his long work hours crawling around basements and attics, playing his flute to charm out bugs and creatures, but he decided one day he would walk across the valley to the Town By The Sea. He had not been able to afford gas in the van for a long time. He didn't really want to be by the sea, it was too sad to him, but if it would help, he would go.
The Piper had an idea that he planned to act on and perfected it in his head as he walked. The town was bigger and darker than he expected and he got lost looking for the address he had written down for Eugene, yes Eugene, the "Wig Day" man. He thought maybe the guy would help him.
When he did find the street after dark he noticed the Wig Man's neighborhood was one of the nicer ones. The Piper knew he looked somewhat ragged, he had not been able to buy any new clothes for a long time, but he thought the neighborhood would be friendly since they supported Eugene and his wild idea. This was not true.
The Piper was feeling insecure because people laughed and stared at him, so he stopped about a block away from the Wig Man's address to practice one of the songs he had written for the Clean Day Holiday. He thought that it would be very impressive that he had written his own song. The Piper thought he could also offer to write a song for Wig Day in thanks for the help Eugene would (hopefully) give him.
While the Piper played, a man walked by and without pausing threw change into the open flute case. The Pied Piper stopped playing, in shock. The man spoke quickly looking back over his shoulder as he walked away. A worm emerging from the dirt heard all of this.
"Be safe friend, but you'll be arrested if you beg in this area. You should go before the neighborhood security force sees you."
It was Eugene, the Wig Man. The Piper recognized him from all the photos in his proposal at the office. Eugene kept walking quickly away. He wasn't even wearing a wig and he said in his proposal he wore one, and dressed up, all the time. Of course Eugene The Wig Man didn't know The Piper was there to see him. The Piper's spirits plummeted. He wondered at the truth of the proposal story now, but he also felt that man would never help someone he thought was a beggar.
The Piper wandered after that. Sad thoughts coming in waves made him tired. Too tired to cross the valley he thought he should sleep in a park or in an alley for the night. If people thought he was a beggar now no one would think it was strange to see him sleeping on a park bench.
He ended up in the waterfront area and it was a slum. He would blend in. The sound of waves lapping was depressing. He thought of his wife and child and he felt like crying. That’s when he heard a voice going "pssst pssst"...
When you feel that you have a crumb of hope for the future you don't take chances, so at first The Pied Piper walked quickly away from the hissing voice. But the events of the evening played over and over in his mind and he began to see how foolish it was to think he could count on the FGT paying him anything. He began to feel numb and it wasn't the cold weather. The voice followed him through the streets and he was getting scared.
As it got darker he had no idea where he was going. He stopped by a building to look at its address and suddenly heard a "PSSST!" that seemed to be right in his ear.
The Piper spun around in fear and was relieved when he saw an elegant gentleman in the alleyway behind him. He had a hook for a hand, and it was golden.
The Pied Piper should have run. There are other folks in the world with the power to charm, but they aren’t concerned with making people happy. Take a person of that kind and add the gift of enchantment to their natural abilities for evil and it's a lethal combination. This man the Piper saw in the shadows looked rich and happy. Everything the Piper wasn't.... The man even called to him saying-
"You are the Pied Piper. I so admire your talents. I was a friend of one of your ancestors, you know the one." The voice was smooth and soothing. Even mention of the horrible first Pied Piper sounded like friendly pleasantries. Only the roaches on the wall thought his slickness was slime.
The Piper was very curious and flattered, and he stepped into the alley.
Check out the previous parts of Happily Ever Over right here.