The short story "Just Lather, That's All"—also known in English as "Lather and Nothing Else"—by Colombian writer Hernando Tellez tells of a visit to a barbershop of a ruthless man named Captain Torres. He is the head of a military unit that is hunting insurrectionists, and the barber is a secret informer for the insurrectionists.
The story opens as Captain Torres enters the shop. The unnamed barber, who is the narrator, has been sharpening his best razor with a strop. Torrez takes off and hangs up his holstered pistol and asks for a shave. The barber estimates that Torrez has not had a shave for about four days.
As the barber prepares lather, Torrez begins to tell him about his latest operation against the rebels. He and his unit found a group of their leaders, killing some and taking others captive.
The barber ties a sheet around Torrez's neck. He recalls that recently the soldiers rounded everyone up to view the corpses of four mutilated rebels hanging in the schoolyard. As the barber applies the lather, Torrez shares his intention to torture his new captives.
As the barber begins to shave Torrez, he considers his responsibility as a conscientious barber to shave his customers closely but without a drop of blood spilling. However, he is troubled because he is also a revolutionary, and the man sitting in the chair before him is his enemy.
Torrez tells the barber to come to the school at six o'clock and he will see a good show. He is referring to the torment of the prisoners. The barber wonders how he will justify to the other rebels having Torrez right there in his shop and not killing him. He realizes how easy it would be to pierce a vein in the neck. Torrez would probably not even feel any pain, and he wouldn't have time to make a sound. He would bleed out onto the floor.
The barber realizes that he has to make a decision to remain a good barber and shave his customer faithfully or to kill the man and become a hero of the revolution. In the end, he doesn't want to become a murderer. He completes the shave. Torrez pays him and then, as he is leaving, says that some people told him that the barber would kill him, and he wanted to find out if it was true. He affirms that he knows from experience that it is not easy to kill.