The new blade, one of a sharp twin pair, slices skin and lets blood out. Thereâ€™s hardly even a sting at first, before the foamy shaving cream turns pink, then red, and hereâ€™s the sting, for real now, as if let loose by blood. Foam redder still. Itâ€™s a pretty deep cut. â€œDamn.â€ His right hand passes the razor to his left then dives into a blue box of paper napkins by the basin and brings oneâ€”two actually, they tend to cling togetherâ€”out. He presses them against his skin. Holds them there for a few seconds, then tests the damage done by removing. Blood keeps oozing. He dabs the cut a few more times, checks again: the bleeding does not stop. These are precious minutes. â€œDamn,â€ again. It insists on bleeding. He throws the bloodstained napkins in the toilet bowl and grabs another pair from the box. Dabs the cut again. Less blood this time. Dabs again. Even less. Finally. Leaves a strip of napkin stuck to the cut to help the blood settle and seal. Then he finishes shaving, carefully now. The cut still stings and it will show. â€œDamn,â€ for a third time. Then the after shave, which smarts like hell. It sizzles the cut, now a small red smile smack in the middle of his right cheek. It looks ridiculous and it still stings. The aftershave reminds him of Alice. Aramis. The scent brings her face along with it. Alice of the long red hair and the many freckles. Alice of the great smile, of the wedding bells, or else. Now-with-some-malice Alice. He-said-no-not-right-now-so-she-took-off-and-left-him-to-rot Alice. He had not even heard of Aramis until she brought him a very large bottleâ€”he had no idea that after shave came in a liter sizeâ€”from the Amsterdam airport on her way back. Back from that vacation. I love the way it smells on you, she said. They had just met. She had to go to Europe for three weeks. Vacation. He sulked. Already planned, she said, for months. Sorry. Canâ€™t cancel now. Iâ€™ll be good. He missed her terribly. Longest three weeks on record. He inspects his face again. With that cut he now looks more like a like a worse-for-the-wear price fighter than a sales representative. His other cheek looks hurt too, as if sympathizing with its injured twin, reddish from these new, enthusiastic little blades. But heâ€™s not a boxer. Far from it. Heâ€™s a sales representative, or an account executive as they like to call them nowadays, name du jour. And a good one at that. One of those people that people buy from. And thatâ€™s the truth: People buy from people. Lesson number one. People buy from people. The truth. His mantra: People buy from people. He adjusts his tie. The dimple is not right; too far to the left. â€œDamnâ€, again. He undoes the tie and starts from scratch. People buy from people. From people. But do they buy from guys with cuts on cheeks the size of small lips? That does not look good.