Adapted from a short story having the same name.
EXT. CITY OF BOGOTA - 1940s
A faded white JEEP vehicle parks in front of a Barber's shop named NATALIA's. The front doors of the vehicle open and an ARMED DRIVER and an UNARMED MAN get out of the Jeep. The two men exchange inaudible talks in Spanish and the Unarmed Man laughs loudly. The Driver salutes the unarmed man and then, the driver gets into the Jeep and starts it.The Jeep EXITS.
The Unarmed Man, is a giant of a man , coarse and bearded and forty-ish. He runs his fingers over his hair and wears an army dress and heads into Natalia's. He has a bullet-studded belt but he does not have any weapons.
INT. NATALIA's BARBER SHOP
The UNARMED MAN enters the Barber's shop. The barber is NATALIA, a 25-ish Doe eyed girl who notices the unarmed man walking in, as she shaves another man, MAN#1. The MAN#1 who has lather on his face, sees the UNARMED MAN and he looks terrified. Natalia looks startled too. MAN#1 stands up in fear/respect and offers the seat to the UNARMED MAN.
Ppp-please take the seat, Gustavo.
The UNARMED MAN, who is known as "Gustavo" smiles.
Oh thanks a lot.
Don't you need the shave, young man.
I will take it sometime later. I got to go.
MAN#1 wipes the lather and with his half shaved beard, he makes a quick EXIT.
Gustavo sits on the barber's chair as the stone faced Natalia watches him.
It's hot as hell. Give me a shave. I think it is a six day beard.
Natalia tension seems to ease. She maintains her cool and she doesn't want to show her fear to Gustavo.
Your face looks red. Burnt by the sun, eh ?
I guess so.
Carefully, Natalia begins to prepare the soap. She cuts off a few slices, drops them into the cup, mixed in a bit of warm water, and began to stir with the brush. Immediately the foam began to rise. Natalia has the cup full of foam in her hands. Meanwhile, Gustavo keeps looking at his beard, scratching his massive face and combing his hair.
By the way, me and my boys....We did some good stuff this week. We killed a few of your town's generals, you know.
With curious, sharp eyes
And what did you do ?
We did all right, you know. We got the main generals. We brought back some dead, and we've got some others still alive. But pretty soon they'll all be dead.
No doubt about it, I was upset....He leaned back on the chair when he saw me with the lather-covered brush in my hand.
The town must have learned a lesson from what we did the other day.
Natalia starts shaving his beard.
I wanted to kill him, when he talked like that.
His name was Captain Gustavo Torres. Right under the roof of my shop. A man of imagination. An enemy of the state. A fearless rebel who was on his way to become a dictator. A man whom man of us loved to hate. A cold and hearless enemy. Who else would have thought of hanging the naked generals and then holding target practice on certain parts of their bodies?
Without any effort I could go straight to sleep, but there's plenty to do this afternoon.
A firing squad?
Gustavo looks at Natalia in the eye. There is a desire in his eyes.
Nah.Something lesser than that.
(Changing the topic, Looking at Natalia in the eye)
Ohh look at those eyes. Hmmm...I feel like falling in love with the first woman I meet. I feel like taking her in a wheelbarrow and wheel her down the street.
(with a small fit of assertive anger)
Thanks. That comment was not invited.
The radio whizzes some incomprehendable Spanish song. GUSTAVO is about to fall asleep. Natalia is into deep into her job.
The beard was now almost completely gone. He seemed younger, less burdened by years than when he had arrived. I suppose this always happens with men who visit barber shops. Under the stroke of my razor Gustavo Torres was being rejuvenated-rejuvenated because I am a good barber, the best in the town, if I may say so.
GUSTAVO begins to snore. Natalia is shaving with her sharp eyes fixed on his chin and throat.
I could cut this throat just so, zip! zip! I wouldn't give him time to complain and since he has his eyes closed he wouldn't see the glistening knife blade or my glistening eyes.
Natalia starts off a second shaving by mising some more lather.
If I could kill him, I would be the Captain Torres' murderer. The rebels would say "She slit his throat while she was shaving him - a coward." And then on the other side, "She was the town barber. No one knew she was defending our cause."
And what of all this? Murderer or hero? My destiny depends on the edge of this blade. I can turn my hand a bit more, press a little harder on the razor, and sink it in. The skin would give way like silk. There is nothing more tender than human skin and the blood is always there, ready to pour forth. A blade like this doesn't fail. It is my best. But I don't want to be a murderer, no sir. You came to me for a shave. And I perform my work honorably.
I don't want blood on my hands. Just lather, that's all. You are an executioner and I am only a barber. Each person has his own place in the scheme of things. That's right. His own place.
By now, Natalia has finished shaving. She applies the after-shave lotion and wakes him up.
You are ready.
Wow! you are a good barber. Excellent job.
He grabs a few notes out of his pocket and hands it over to Natasha. Gustavo goes to the hanger for his belt, pistol and cap. Natalia looks very pale but confident; her shirt is soaked. Gustavo finishes adjusting the buckle, and after automatically smoothens down his hair and he puts on the cap.
Oh, by the way, they told me that you'd kill me. They told me that you hated me a lot. I came to find out. But killing isn't easy. You can take my word for it. And you are a beautiful woman.
Gustavo walks out of the shop.