(St. Petersburg, Russia) - Grigory Rasputin, bon vivant and holy man-about-town, celebrated the grand opening of his new barber shop yesterday by distributing free balloons and haircuts to the first fifty serfs through the door. The shop is conveniently located at the corner of Ivan the Terrible Boulevard and Peter the Great Place.
“Let me tell you, I’m tired,” said Mr. Rasputin, fixing his hypnotic gaze on this reporter as he prepared to close after a long day of trimming, cutting, shaping and styling. “I haven’t worked this hard since last year’s Romanov family picnic.” Mr. Rasputin, who enjoys extraordinary influence with the Tsarina and her family, said the opening of his own barber shop for Russian peasants was the fulfillment of a life-long dream.
“I’ve been looking for a way to give something back to the community for a while now. As you know, I have long believed the first step towards bringing Mother Russia into modernity is to instill good grooming habits in the masses.” He added that a man with his expenses required a second income, and “you never know how long the Romanovs are going to be around.” Mr. Rasputin’s symbolic “first customer” was Czar Nicholas II. Mr. Rasputin “took a little off the top,” while both men enjoyed an amiable discussion about the weather, local politics, and Cossacks. Mr. Rasputin reported that contrary to popular opinion, the Czar is a generous tipper. He declined to specify the amount of the gratuity given by His Excellency.