Cleo traveled with her mother to Tokyo on a business trip. She was a fish out of water, an African-American girl with natural hair in twin puffs among tall, skinny Asian men in grey suits and ties.Their slit eyes and perched lips scared her
Fast forward 10 years, Cleo had fallen in with the wrong sort. They were non-friendly to people other than their breed. Well meaning girls that had even the slightest amount of non-African blood were excluded from their gang. Cleo held most of these racist views, even hitting a transfer student from Hong Kong.
The bad crowd even introduced her to a racist group who hated Asians, Cleo felt she belong.
But, Cleo’s grandmother wasn’t thrilled.”Your mother wouldn’t approve of such hate,”she would say to Cleo.
“What do you know, she’s not here!”Cleo would scream back.
Grandmother Beatrice was angry,”I’ve seen where hate leads, my best friend died because he tried to leave it, so yeah, I know what exactly what your mother would say. She would tell you to get smart and kind or get out of this house”.
Cleo didn’t listen so Beatrice came up with something. She followed Cleo to the rallies of hate and waited (knitting accompanied her).
When Cleo was seen with other members, she made her move.
“Cleo! Get your tiny black ass in the car or so help me Almighty, I’ll drag you by the hair and stuff you in”
Cleo and the other members froze, some even pissed their pants. Beatrice had left her impression on the herd so part II came:
She wasn’t joking, she quite roughly caught the girl’s hair and drugged her to the car.
“I warned you, did yee listen? No, you acted like a fool, what would your mother say?”
“I don’t know!”Cleo shouted,”Let’s just go home”.
“Ank, we got to make some stops first”
“Stops? Where?”Cleo asked
Grandma went quiet,”you’ll see”
The car ride was uneventful except for the Bible Rock music station.
They pulled up to the best barbershop in town.
“What are we doing here?”asked Cleo as grandma got out and opened her door.
“Come on”,she said but Cleo disobeyed so Beatrice took hold of her arm.
Marching the wannabe hater into the shop, grandma called to the barber,”Theo, she’s ready for you”.
“Ah, grammy, I missed you”,he said, hugging the elder.
“This is Cleo (the one we spoke of). She got into unholy habits and she needs a lesson on what happens to hate in our community. Be a lamb and clean her up, will you”
“Anything for gran, come sit Cleo”,said the polite barber.
Cleo did not move so grandma spanked her to move,”Go on!”
Cleo dragged her feet as she moved and feebly sat her tickling bottom in the seat but the two adults waited for her to do so.
Finally in the chair, Theo tore a strip of special paper off the roll and wrapped it around Cleo’s neck.
“You want the style we talked about on the phone on her?”
“The very same”,approved Beatrice.
Theo nodded and tightened the cape, he got into a drawer and pulled out shiny clippers.
“What the duck!”shrieked Cleo, jumping from the chair.
“Sit your black ass back in that there chair, young lady”
“Yes you are young lady of you ain’t sleepin at my house. So if you enjoy being homeless, then by all means, you can walk yourself out of here and be on your own or you can sit your ass in the chair, get a harmless haircut and still have a warm bed to sleep in. Make your choice!”.
Cleo was confronted with the option of freedom but no grandmother or a warm home to go back to but she would have to submit herself to this punishment.
Reluctantly, she sat back down.
“Good, glad you see it my way, go ahead Theo”
Theo nodded again and started his tool. Cleo shed a tear as the clippers passed through the middle of her scalp.
“I’m really sorry, Cleo, but this is my way of teaching you. If your mother was here, she would agree with this, I taught her the same way”.
“If she was here, I would never be this way”,Cleo sobbed as the clippers stripped her head naked.
“I know”,said Beatrice, shedding a tear.
Theo also sobbed a little,”Ah, you guys, stop, you’re gonna make me sad as hel-“
“Watch your language, Theodore”
Cleo’s head was a cue ball now and gran looked pleased in a motherly way.
“You look so much like her”
Cleo blushed, was she really that cute.
“You want me to shave her”
“It’s up to her?”
“No thank you”,said Cleo.
Theo released the bald girl from her clothy prison and Cleo hugged her grandmother, sobbing deeply,”I’m sorry”.
“It’s okay, dear”
Before grandmother paid Theo, she asked,”I guess I’ll take a shave as well, how about it, Theo?”.
Theo patted the chair as grandma’s purse was given to Cleo. She step onto the chair and Theo wrapped a paper around her wrinkly neck.