Being There


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Cartoon Network was on, almost mocking Jen as she sat there, helpless. Hands tied behind her back, feet strapped to the chair legs, rubber ball shoved into her mouth and taped in place. It was pure hell, no doubt about it. The harmless images danced on the screen, Wile E. Coyote was, yet again, dropping anvils in vain on that pesky Roadrunner. Maybe not so harmless after all. Much less dangerous than the situation she was trapped in currently.

Ray laughed, maniacally, as he shoved the clippers into her face. He laughed, mercilessly, as he placed them by her ear and popped them to life. Ray was enjoying himself. Ray was laughing. Ray was in control. Ray was insane.

Jen felt her eyes begin to water in terror. She fought to get loose, but it was no use, she was stuck. It was a hopeless fight on her part as Ray placed the clippers at the top of her ear and ran them around Jen’s head. Jen would never cut her hair, not this short. Not this way. Not this dramatically. Bound and gagged, she was powerless to stop Ray’s twisted vision. The buzzing sound was omnipresent, filtering out the music from the animation in front of Jen’s eyes. She longed to be a kid again, far away from the chair that held her now. Far from the torment she was going through. The clippers on the back of her head, as they rolled along her head, felt foreign, unnatural. There was a tickling sensation, but it was one that burned too. Burned away her lifetime achievement, her glory, her hair.

“That was a number 5,” Ray said, rubbing the buzzed circumference of Jen’s head. The hair below the shaved stripe hung, nearly begging for mercy. The hair above had been clippered, pushed or shoved out of the way. It sat, terrified. Jen’s eyes bulged, she fought harder, still to no avail.

“Now hold still, you don’t want to be bald, do you?” he asked, mocking Jen’s predicament as he ran the clippers over the same terrain again to add extra terror to her moment of fear. The omnipresent buzzing sounded louder, more rude, more forceful, more free to roam. Jen felt knots in her stomach, butterflies too. Maybe they were butterflies turning into knots?

“Next,” Ray said, rubbing his hands together, like Simon Bar Sinister with Sweet Polly Purebred tied to a train track and Underdog nowhere in sight, “let’s see how number 3 looks.” He changed guards, popped them back on, shook them back and forth in Jen’s face, her eyes bulged even larger, and he plunged them around the back, starting behind one ear and ending at the other. The remaining hair in back was a shadow of what was there minutes before. The long, blonde locks were gone, the question of whether or not Jen was a natural blonde was answered with a idiot grin plastered to Ray’s face. “Well, Miss Clairol, looks like you’ll need a fresh bleaching when we’re done; if there’s anything left to bleach.”

Jen sat, helpless and fighting with all her might to break loose. The damage had begun, but not been complete. She could still break free, still get away and run, run until she couldn’t stand. Run until her chest exploded. Run until she got away from this freak boy with the trusting eyes and sinister laugh.

The remaining hair at the base of Jen’s neck got clippered away quickly, with no guard. “Guards with numbers are for wimps,” Ray said, “wouldn’t you agree?” He held Jen’s head in his hands and shook it up and down. She fought to free it, no such luck.

“You certainly are a feisty one, aren’t you?” Ray asked, amused that Jen could not get away, not for all the struggle she was putting up. Not for all the muscle in her powerful legs – made strong from nightly jogs that stretched into runs, long sprints really – could Jen get away. She could not struggle free, only try to focus her attention on Bugs Bunny on the TV. It wasn’t working, the mirror above the TV kept pulling Jen’s eyes up toward it. She did not want to look, but felt she had to. She wanted very badly to what she was left with, what happened to her long, full and flowing blonde mane of hair?

It was going, going and gone. Ray clippered away the back of Jen’s hair, from the bottom of the ears, down the neck, leaving only a hint of stubble in his wake. He ran the guardless clippers over and over, raising a rash on Jen’s neck. The hair on top was disheveled and chopped unevenly.

Ray grabbed fists full of it, plunging the clippers in again and again, cackling with glee as Jen teared up and sobbed into the rubber ball in her mouth. No one outside would hear her, they couldn’t. Ray’s chuckling and cackling became waves, rushing over Jen, the terror was gone, but the reality hadn’t sunk in. She longed to touch the damage, even as Ray was still hacking away at the top, sending hair tumbling all over the place. Jen wanted to understand what had happened, but all she could do was sit, helplessly. All she could do was be witness to her own massacre. All she could do was struggle in vain as Ray was having all the fun, and Jen was getting a severe case of rope burn on her wrists and ankles. She was also getting buzzed, severely, while all she could do was watch.

“Well, that just won’t do,” Ray said, surveying the chopped, clipped and frazzled mess that was once a mountain of hair that was voted “Best hair” in Jen’s high school year book. Ray lifted the clippers up to Jen’s face, “so, do we want the number 7s now?”

Jen tried to shake her head, but the violent movement of her head was up and down, courtesy of Ray’s hands.

“Now hold still, or it’ll look bad,” he said, clippering off the bangs that a second ago had hung to Jen’s breasts. “All gone, darn pretty don’t you think?”

Ray looked at Jen, she slumped in the chair, too tired to fight and resigned to her fate. He smiled. “That’s a good girl,” he said, “we’ll let you leave here with something on your head after all.”

Since Jen was no longer fighting, Ray made quick work of the last vestiges of Jen’s hair. It clippered away nicely when she stopped struggling, Ray even attempted to make it look even.

He shut off the clippers, dropped them into Jen’s lap, and asked, “well, what do you think?”

Jen’s eyes were red, her limbs sore, her hair mostly gone and her back an itching mess of clippered hair and sweat.

“I asked what do you think?” Ray said, his voice becoming a command.

Angry, he asked again, then he realized that Jen couldn’t talk, she still had a ball in her mouth. Ray reached down, pulled the tape off Jen’s mouth and pulled the ball out.

“Now,” he said, “what do you think?”

Jen’s voice was a dry mouthed whisper, barely audible from the struggle to escape.

“You were right,” she said. “This was insane! Better than when we went bungee jumping.”

Ray smiled, and kissed his wife.

“We’re insane, aren’t we?” she asked.

“No more so than those people that listen to Michael Bolton’s version of ‘When A Man Loves A Woman’ and think it’s superior to the original,” he said.

Jen rubbed her wrists while Ray untied her feet. In the morning, they’d clean up her haircut and make it presentable. But right then, at that moment, it was Jen’s turn to strap Ray in for the ride of his life.

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