The papers were signed, and all the lawyers shook hands. My divorce was final and the life I knew was over. I had come to Hollywood to be the next big star, and for a while I thought I would be one of the “A-listers”. My career was starting to take off, as I had parts in several movies. It all came about when I met a film producer named Charles Allen. I had a small part in one of his projects and we hit it off. This led to some bigger roles and a greater payday. We married after going out for a year and I went from a tiny apartment to a mansion in the hills and all the benefits that go along with it. I was a little hurt when Charles had asked for a prenuptial contract, but I felt it was only fair because he had much more than I did.
Over the next 3 years I was contracted for several movies and television shows. I was starting to finally make some great money, but I had no idea what to do with it. I asked Charles if I should hire somebody to manage my money, but he told me to just use his guy. Charles had just started his own production company, and I felt I needed to support my husband, so I directed all of my savings to get in on the ground floor of my husbands company. Things were going good as I had more movies lined up and the production company had made a couple of big hit movies. I was out of town shooting a movie and we finished our schedule early so the director gave all of us 4 days off. I hadn’t seen Charles in 4 weeks, so I caught the next flight to L.A. Much to my surprise I came home to see Charles having the time of his life with a couple of girls from the bunny mansion. l flew into a rage, screaming at the girls to get out of my house, then screaming at Charles that I was leaving him. All Charles had to say was that I would be a nobody without him.
I went back to the movie I was working on, but I just didn’t seem care if I did quality work or not. It was about 4 days later when one of the other actors asked me if the news was true. I had no idea what she meant and she told me to do a search for myself online. I almost fell over as I watched the story online. Charles had made a statement that he had caught me with another man, and had previously caught me with young girls in my bed. He even had doctored pictures showing me making out with several girls. He had also mentioned that he kicked me out because he wouldn’t allow drugs in his house. I never used drugs and he was careful in his words not to say that it was me who was using them. It didn’t take long before I was dropped from my next two films, the producers were good friends of Charles and didn’t want to upset him. They both released statements to the effect that they were upset by my actions so they had moved on.
I knew that I would be okay, even if I never got another part again. I had made close to 10 million dollars in my career so I figured I could live a good life. I had hired a good lawyer, one of the few who didn’t know my husband, and told him I only wanted what was mine. I showed him the agreement I had signed and after he read it over he gave me the shock of my life. Charles was apparently a major swindler. He had the agreement worded in a specific way so if we divorced all I would receive out of OUR money was $200,000 and my car. He told me that there was nothing I could do to recover any of the money that I had invested in the production company.
I packed my things into the Mercedes G-Wagon. I picked that one out of all the cars we had because it was the most expensive, plus it would actually hold all my stuff. I had my clothes, about $20,000 worth of jewelry, and a check for $200,000. That was all I was allowed to take as his lawyer, and a Deputy Sheriff followed me thru the house. I was so humiliated that I just wanted to get out of L.A. and get back to a normal life.
I had been on the road for four days, not in any hurry to get anywhere. I had spoken with my best friend Rachel, from when I was a kid in suburban Chicago. We had always stayed in contact, but lately it was mostly cards on birthday’s and holiday’s. Rachel was an athlete in school, and went to state college on a full scholarship. After college she was offered a job for a major tractor manufacturer in the Quad Cities area on the Illinois- Iowa border. Rachel invited me to come stay in her apartment as she had just gone through a divorce as well. I told her that I was looking to get back to a normal life, but she just laughed. “Abbie, everybody knows who you are now. No body will believe that the famous Missy Allen is going to work a regular job” I had thought about what she had said during my drive, so the first thing I decided that I needed to do was get rid of my car as regular people don’t have $100,000 cars. I had stopped for the night in Des Moines Iowa and while I waited for my meal to arrive I searched for one of those online car retailers that buy and sell vehicles. I knew that I wouldn’t get full value for the car, but was happy that they offered me $90,000 for my ride, and I spent $15,000 on a 5 year old mini van. I figured it would hold all my stuff and make me look like local wife. I was scheduled to turn over my car and pick up my ride the next day in a small town called Parrieville.
I arrived in Parrieville about an hour early, so I decided to grab some coffee and walk down the main drag. I hadn’t been able to do this while I lived in L.A. because I would always be hounded by photographers and fans, but here was just another girl out for a coffee. As I made my way back the other side of the street I noticed the town beauty salon. I thought about how it would feel to just go in and let some stranger have their way with my hair, but as I was standing there I noticed several people staring at me, then a couple of young girls came up to me and asked for my autograph. I was recognized, not at all what I wanted, but I was pleasant to them, gave a couple autogragh’s and excused myself as it was time to turn in my car.
The manager at the dealer seemed to have recognized me, but having my real name on the paperwork threw him for a short while. Just as I was finishing up he asked if we could take some pictures together. He said he does it with everyone who buys a car, but I didn’t see any other pictures at the dealer. Thankfully he never asked why I was making such a huge downgrade in vehicles, so I just put my stuff into the van and left as soon as possible.
I continued my drive down Route 43 and about 12 miles later I entered another small town called Carnsville. Much like the last one it had your typical town square area with rows of shops surrounding a square with your standard statues and cannons and benches. I decided to pull into an open parking spot to try and set up the mini van’s GPS unit. I looked up from the dash as I noticed someone walk by. She continued on her way down the street and I noticed the shop directly in front of where I was parked. I read the painted sign :”Pat’s Hair World”. I thought to myself as I read the name, “How worldly can it really be in such a place” Looking into the window I see it is just like the beauty parlors that I remembered on old TV shows and movies. As I continued to take in the sights of this foreign environment, I happened to see a sign in the window “Makeover Specialists”. I thought about what had happened in the last town and didn’t want to repeat it in every place I went to. I decided that the easiest way to hide myself was to look like everybody else, so I got out of the van and headed for the door.
I walked in, and there was a lady coming out of the back of the shop, about 50ish with a huge bun in her hair. The place was empty, so my heart stopped, because this was it. The lady asked how she could help me. I said I did not have an appointment, but I was hoping to get in now for a haircut. She said that she had an appointment coming in a few minutes and my heart sank with disappointment. I turned to walk out the door and the lady said, “If you want to wait a few moments, Debbie should be back.” I stopped and said great. I sat in the chair up front. I looked around and saw all these different styles from the past. I started playing with my hair in anticipation. 5 minutes went by, it seemed like 2 hours. The lady stylist noticed me playing with my hair, and just smiled. A few minutes later, Debbie walks in through the back, comes up to me and asks me to come back to her station. Now I am starting to get nervous. I know that this is what I need to do, but I have spent so long and so much money maintaining my look, it is hard to imagine some small town beautician having her way with it.
I sit in the chair, my heart is beating a million miles an hour. Debbie comments how thick and beautiful my hair is. Now it was time, I was waiting for the question. Debbie went behind me, I was looking into the mirror, she was looking into the mirror. “So what can we do for you today?” I explain to her that I tired of my current look, and I was looking for a more subdued look with less style than I currently had. Debbie said ” So what you’re really looking for is a “Make-under”, that’s something we’re good at here”. I looked a little surprised by her statement, then she explained. “We get mothers bringing in their daughters and young daughter in laws all the time” “They get tired of the girls flirty ways , or tired of them spending too much time on their beauty routine. We could give you a nice curly perm, or pageboy cut if you like, but I think I know just what you need.”
Debbie was a no nonsense stylist. A firm wash was then followed by an equally firm combing of my wet hair. She sectioned off my hair, and without hesitation began lopping off a foot plus off my Beverly Hills style. We exchanged only a few words, mostly about if I was from the area. The whole cut took about 20 minutes, and I was now sporting a Shag cut that ended just above chin length. Debbie told me that the modest cut would be simple to maintain and would help me hide in plain sight.
I got back in the van and started off towards Rachel’s house. I made two stops along the way, and for a while thought that nobody had recognized me, when all of a sudden three girls start pointing my way, then they came over to see if it was actually me. As I drove off I was somewhat distraught that my “Make-under” had failed. So, I spent the last 3 hours in the car trying to figure out what I was going to do next.
I hadn’t seen Rachel in six years, but she greeted me like a sister when I arrived. She still had her athletic figure, but she now had several tattoos and her hair was now in a short pixie-hawk style. She commented on how much she liked my new look and I told her that it hadn’t worked and how desperate I was to charge my look so I could go unnoticed. While I unpacked and settled in to her spare bedroom Rachel made us a nice home-cooked meal. It had been years since I had a “middle-class” meal, and I ate like I hadn’t seen food in days. After we ate Rachel told me that one of her friends from the gym worked for a Cosmetic Surgery Center, and she could introduce me to her.
As Rachel and I walked in to the building, I really had no expectations of what they could do to help me, or what I was even looking for. I looked around at the different posters in the waiting area, and most of them were for breast implants or Botox injections. I already had a pair of fake boobs and had had filler put in my lips before, so I knew this wasn’t for me. Rachel’s friend Cate, called us into the consultation room so we could come up with a plan for the changes I needed. I told Cate that I wanted to look more like I was from the Midwest and not from L.A. Cate told me that any of the products they use to plump up certain areas could also be used in other area of the body to basically take away beauty. I tell her that I didn’t want to be ugly just have my looks toned down, so she told me she would work up a full plan to make me more of a plain Jane, and we scheduled the procedures for later that week.
I was nervously excited as the day arrived. I signed a few last forms which they told me were standard release forms. I was then taken to a prep area and given an IV and the first round of drugs to put me into a relaxed state. As they wheeled me down the hall I barely made out the nurse saying “breasts first, then she goes for fat injections”, before I can ask any questions about the procedures, I quickly lose consciousness. After several hours of procedures I start to awaken from my drug induced sleep.
As my eyes start to focus better, I look slightly downward, and I a little confused because my chest is now wrapped on bandages and now appears much smaller than my stomach. Just then a nurse comes over and removes what looks like a helmet from my head. I ask her what it was for, and she explains it is a blue light laser used to treat my hair. My head felt very itchy, so I reached up to scratch it and was shocked to feel nothing but bare skin where my beautiful hair had been. I asked the nurse why they did this to me, but all she would tell me was the doctor will be in to go over my procedures.
A few minutes later I see Rachel coming towards me with her friend Cate. They are both smiling and telling me how great everything went. I am still in the dark about what all they have done to me and I am starting to get upset that nobody will tell me what happened. Cate then tells me that she can tell me everything that was done if I was ready. She begins to read from what looks like a long list of items.
“Subject: Abbie Wilson. Beginning weight:120 pounds. Estimated finish weight:200lbs. Beginning breast size: 34DD. Current Breast Size:36aa. Procedures: Implant Removal, Synthetic fat cells implanted into thighs, stomach, hips, lower back, and arms. Laser hair reassignment. Dental readjustment”.
I could process all that had happened, but then Cate did her best to explain what they did. “Oh Abbie, you’re our greatest make-under yet. The first thing that the doctor did was remove tour breast implants. He then took the rest of the leftover tissue from your breasts to the lab and the bound it to our new synthetic fat material. This new process causes to fat cells to reproduce at an alarming rate, so in a few short weeks the area injected will really start to plump up, and the best thing about it is because it is synthetic it won’t ever go away no matter how much you exercise. I see you have yet to notice the new braces in your mouth. These are unlike traditional braces as they are designed to move your teeth out of alignment and make them appear crooked. Before the braces were applied the first thing we did was add an acidic wash to your teeth, while it is trapped under the bands of the braces it will permanently dull your enamel. No more pearly whites for you”. Cate then said ” And finally your hair, or currently lack of hair. We shaved your head then used a special blue laser treatment. This changes the structure of your hair follicles, and the best part is there is no way to tell what it did until the new hair grows in. Some girls end up with a beautiful head of thick curly hair, but some end up having very fine grey hair. If you find that you like the bald look, we can do a quick treatment that will keep it smooth forever.”
The next day I was staying back at Rachel’s house, I was already starting to feel like I was starting to plump up. We had to go back to have my bandages changed and I had the first look at my new boobs, or actually no boobs. They were now as small as they were before puberty. Cate then said” How great will it be when your arms and belly get nice and plump, but your chest stays flat as a board.”
Two month’s later I’m now Abbie the chubby girl with the flat chest. Thankfully, my new hair is coming in thick and red colored, but I don’t like that its very curly and I’ve heard some of my co-workers refer to me as fat Annie, but I just don’t care. Nobody has figured out who I am, or I should say who I was.
******Note: There were a couple lines of this story that were paying homage to one of my favorite stories from the old Haircut Story Archive many years ago: “My Day” by K Locks