“Just Lather, That’s All” by Hernando Tellez is about a barber who is forced to shave the beard of one of the troops, whom he wants to kill but using all of his strength not to. The barber is a rebel himself so having the enemy’s face in his hands with a razor sharp enough to cut the skin was a little too much temptation. the barber is hesitant with Captain Torres. When in the presence of the Captain, the barber is forced to decide what is more important: him being an experienced barber or him being a rebel. With much hesitation he established that being a barber will be a lot safer.
When the troop comes into the barber’s shop, the barber starts to tremble. He recognizes him as Captain Torres. The one who gives the orders. The one who kills the rebels. The one who tell him that all the rebels will die. “‘The other boys in the group should have this much beard, too,’ he remarked. I continued stirring the lather. ‘But we did all right, you know. We got the main ones. We brought back some dead, and we got some others still alive. But pretty soon they’ll all be dead. ‘ ‘How many did you catch? ‘ I asked. ‘Fourteen. We had to go pretty deep into the woods to find them.
But we’ll get even. Not one of them comes out of this alive, not one. ‘” This is the passage where the barber and Captain Torres talk about how many rebels the Captain and his troops caught. The becomes upset but tries to not let Torres see his trembling hands. When the barber starts lathering Captain Torres’ face, Torres talks more about shooting the rebel and giving the people in the town a show and a “good” lesson. The barber considers Captain Torres “A man of imagination, because who else would have thought of hanging the naked rebels and then holding target practice on their bodies? It doesn’t take long for the barber to start imagining different scenarios of what would happen if he did kill Captain Torres. He wondered if he would be a hero or be hunted down as “Captain Torres’ murderer”. In this next passage, the barber imagines how easy it would be to cut his throat: “I could cut his throat so–zip, zip! I wouldn’t give him time to resist and since he has his eyes closed he wouldn’t see the glistening blade or my glistening eyes. But I’m trembling like a real murderer.
Out of his neck a gush of blood would spout onto the sheet, on the chair, on my hands, on the floor. I would have to close the door. And the blood would keep inching along the floor, warm, ineradicable, uncontainable, until it reached the street, like a little scarlet stream. I’m sure that one solid stroke, one deep incision, would prevent any pain. He wouldn’t suffer. But what would I do with the body? Where would I hide it? I would have to flee, leaving all I have behind, and take refuge far away. But they would follow until they found me. ‘Captain Torres’ murderer.
He slit his throat while he was shaving him– a coward. ‘ And then on the other side. ‘The avenger of us all. A name to remember. He was the town barber. No one knew he was defending out cause. ‘” he considers all of the possibilities. He doesn’t want to be a murderer though. He is not Captain Torres. He is not an executioner. He is a barber, and he performs his work virtuously. In the end, Captain Torres walks out of the barber shop. Alive and well. With a clean shaven neck. He says to the barber that “‘They told me that you’d kill me. I came to find out.
But killing isn’t easy. You can take my word for it. ‘” This could perchance that the barber would think twice about the Captain. Maybe it isn’t he who gives the orders to kill. There is a higher controlling group. They are the ones who should be taken out. Since the story ends with that last explanation, we can only infer the impact of which it had on the barber. Not everyone is who they might seem to be. An extravagant barber could be a big time rebel. No one would expect it. For all we know, Captain Torres could be a sweet-heart. He doesn’t like killing people, but he has to.