“I can’t believe she’s gone”,Greta sighed as her mother chose her funeral outfit.
”Well honey, it was her time to go”,her mother said, she was half-sincere, it was her desire that her mother should kick the bucket, at last, the jewels from her mother’s box was hers.Of course, she would have to divy it up with her two sisters but that was no problem, she was the oldest.
Grandma Berry was a respected member of the town in her older years, owning a beauty parlor on the east end.
A diverse customer base meant more types and colors to bend to her will meant more profit.
The sisters would bring in their young to have cuts and trims, the elder would do it for free if the mothers joined in which they rarely did.
Greta tightened her bow as her father entered in a black suit with grey tie,”Ready to go?”
”Yeah, waiting on mom”
”How are you feeling, Grit”, he playfully called her.
Greta was close with her grandma, being the only grandchild to visit often and thus, got the most home-cuts. It was a time of therapy for the girl, grandmother Berry would listen with a smile as she would waltz across the circumference of the chair, trimming up a bob or shorter style.
”Ready to go, babe?”,Greta’s mother asked her dad, she turned to her child,”Stand up, we’re going to a funeral”
Greta and her folks went to the old berry church that grandma berry helped raise up from the verge of corruption with events she called “Beauty sales”, depending on the resources she had spared, she and the pastor would set barber chairs on the church lawn and women who desired had their hair done.
”Beauty sales”, mother chuckled,”She was always a kooky woman”
”It was a great achievement”,corrected Greta’s dad.
”They were too long”,said her mother,”And every time, I had to get a cut, I’m sick of bobs”
”It was her nature”, he smiled.
She shrugged and sat silent as the road curved to the church.
It was quite big and vintage, that’s why grandma berry felt a sense of duty to rebuild it.
Many cars were in the parking lot and the families were about the lawn, seeming quite confused.
”What’s going on?”,her father asked.
”I don’t know”,was the reply,”The doors are locked”
Greta walked onto the grass and she noticed something: a curled lock of blonde hair.
She picked it up and rolled it in her hand.
”GG!”called Greta’s niece, she was young but bright with fluffy, light brown hair.
The young girl hugged her about the waist, Greta put her hand on the young girl’s head and strummed her hair,”Hey, Maggie”
The lot waited and thought what was up, the door was unlocked and a lady in a pantsuit came out, she wrote up all grandma’s affairs, her last testimony, and will.
” Oh thank God”,her mother sighed in relief,”What is going on in there?”
”Gentlemen”,the woman ignored Greta’s mom,”You may proceed to the gravesite”
”Miss Berry was very specific in her last will”,she flipped a page on her clipboard,” I want all my male relatives to meet me at my final resting place, the women & girls will meet me in the church to weep and receive their inheritance”
Then mother’s eyes lit up, she ushered the boys away and when the lot was empty, she herded her breed up the church steps.
The madam of rights gentlemanly opened the door to let the feminine lot in.
The youngest aunt opened the second door but shut it suddenly before anyone could see what was inside,”Don’t go in there”
”Why?”mother asked,”Move, my inheritance is in there”
She pushed past her sister and flung one door open but then her eyes bulged in their sockets.
The pews were cleared away, two barber chairs sat a few feet apart and their masters were women in white barber shirts and hairdressing utensils were slotted into a utility belt about the waist.
”What is this!”mother demanded.
”The second part of the will”,the right’s woman explained,”I have divided up the inheritance into piles for each girl. If they want the full amount, they will let one of two hairdressers of my choice to cut their hair, a piece an inch: end quote”
”A final beauty sale”,Greta said under her breath.
”This is insane”,mother said,”I’m leaving”
”Walking away means forfeiting the inheritance stockpile”,kindly spoke the woman of files.
Greta’s mother had no choice but to stay and do this, she nudged Greta,”Go get your inheritance”
Greta stepped towards the chairs but the rights-woman stopped her,”Greta Tuse is not to go first”
”Oh come on”
” I am a punctual woman, Mrs. Tuse”
“I can see that”,huffed mother.
After the shock wore off, deliberating began; the short end of the stick was Greta’s little niece’s.
Her mother walked a reluctant child up to the chair and sat her in it.
”How much will you take off for my baby to get what she is owed?”,her mother asked.
”All of it”,nonchalantly put the hairdresser, securing a cape around the girl.
Everyone was back in shock.
”You can’t do that!”Greta screamed, trying to rescue the niece from the chair but held back by the rights-woman,”It’s up to her mother”
The mother looked to Greta than to the group; the hairdresser waited patiently, tapping her fingers on the top of the backrest.
”Cut it all off, then”,the mother consented; the answer was a great shock to the room and Greta wanted to protest but again, she was held back.
She could only watch as the hairdresser switched on the clippers, sweep back the hairline, and push the device through the bushels of hair.
Maggie began to cry, causing her mother to caress her hand in a effort to avoid more tears.
”You ass!” Greta shouted at the casket that bore her grandmother at the foot of the building,”This is your doing!”
She couldn’t yell forever so she collapsed in the arms of the clipboard woman.
The fluffy, brown tail came off and Maggie was almost bald, she leaned forward and hugged her mom, sobbing.
Her mother reached to undo the cape but the hairdresser restricted her from doing so.
”You have her hair, what else do you want?”cried Maggie’s mom.
”Not all of it”, the hairdresser corrected, waiting for the hug to end so she could place the child back into position.
From a compartment below the chair, the dresser picked up a can of shaving cream.
”Oh no!”Maggie’s parent declared,”This has gone on long enough”
The hairdresser looked to the woman and she, in turn, explained her action,”If all must come off, they must see it through, abandoning half-way results in forfeiture of all inheritance”
She looked back at Maggie’s mother who, at this point, was on the verge of crying.
”Hurry up”, she relented.
Soon, all of Maggie’s head was white with shaving cream, a shaving razor was produced and the hairdresser glided the utensil over the girl’s head.
A towel covered Maggie’s head, two palms buffed her head, and the smoothness was revealed when the towel was slid off.
Maggie was crying, her mother was crying and everyone was uncomfortable.
Finally, the cape was loosened but Maggie’s mother took her bald daughter in her arms, before it came off, and left the church.
Greta wanted to go next so her niece wouldn’t be alone in her baldness but the clipboard woman denied the course of action.
Greta’s mother, her other auntie and her adoptive Siamese twins, and herself remained.
Another round of deliberations chose the twins as its targets.
Since there was two hairdressers, this decision was natural but Greta was still fuming.
Learning from the previous mistake, the twin’s mother requested they be bobbed instead.
The two lady-barbers nodded and simultaneously flipped a cape over each twin.
With snipping shears, the twin’s long, black tresses were cut to their mid-neckline.
A finishing trim later, the girls shook their short locks and smiled at each other.
”Hold on”,the lady with the clipboard halted the process,”I missed a page”
”Really!”Greta emphasized,”What now?”
”The twins, Gwen and Izzy, shall receive the twin jade necklaces with their names engraved on them”
”Great”,said Greta,”What’s the problem?”
”Their hair has to be cut into a bowl-cut”,explained the woman,”A severe bowl-cut”
”What does that mean?”their mother asked.
”It means the sides are shaved bare and the ends are curled inwards”, a hairdresser answered.
Their mother was hesitant to okay this project but the twins nodded.
” You want to do this?”
They nodded so their tops were secured to their heads and clippers were dragged down their sides; cream whitened their bare spots and razors cleansed them of said whiteness.
The tops were cut evenly around their heads and curlers did their job to curl the ends.
A dusting later, the girls were let go and they, in turn, felt each other’s sides and hair.
With all younglings done, Greta thought she’d be next but the woman informed her,”Your last, sweetie”
Greta’s mother was tired of waiting, telling her sister to hurry and have her hair cut.
”You go”,auntie told mother,”Since you’re in such a hurry”
”Mom!”Greta cut in,”Go up there and have this done so we can finally bury grandma”
”Don’t raise your voice to me, young lady”,her mother told,”In fact”
She took hold of Greta’s ear and tried to take her to the chairs but the pantsuited woman stopped her.
”She’s last, madam”
”You’re not her mother”,retorted the mother.
”I’m the reader of the last rights”
”You say that like it means something”
”It does”,the woman nodded to the female barbers who took hold of Greta’s mom.
”What are you doing?”
”Section 108”,the woman referred,”Regarding my eldest daughter, if she does not comply with this executive order, she will be forced to comply”
”That bitch”,mother huffed.
”That’s a demerit”
”One piece of your inheritance will be donated to a charity”
Greta’s mom was put into a barber chair and restrained with ties.
”Let me go”,she ordered but no such thing would be issued.
The pantsuit turned to Greta, she was unhappy about the situation but refused to interfere.
”She’s all yours”,the woman declared.
”Huh?”Greta replied but then realized she had to cut her mother’s hair. She got behind her mother and her mom didn’t think she would do it.
But something in the girl snapped, she took the cape and shook it thrice to dislodge stray hairs.
Greta swung it over her mother and snapped its buttons, she started the scene by braiding her mom’s blonde locks.
Grabbing the scissors, her mother still thought she wouldn’t dare touch her tresses and so she taunted her,”Go ahead, and I will disown you and kick you out of the house”
That promise sealed her fate, Greta breathed and let the scissors chop their way; her mom screamed in horror but that didn’t deter the daughter.
The braid fell and Greta cut and cut til all her mom’s hair was short as was permissible.
Still, she grabbed the clippers and passed the vibrating blades over her scalp, shearing it to bits.
”You are no longer my daughter”, her mother declared.
”I know”,was all Greta said as she coated the head white and with the razor, she wiped the head clean.
Greta dusted off her parent, uncaped and untied her, her mother looked at her and retreated out of the church.
The remaining women, besides the barbers and Greta, left the building.
However, Greta’s mother stay by the church; she knew Greta was still her kid and planned on apologizing when she emerged.
The sun bothered the woman so she turned to find shade and in that moment, Greta came out.
Her mother turned and gasped, Greta was bald and eyebrows were shaved off.
”What have you done?”
”This is for my niece, nothing more”
At the cemetery, all the husbands and fathers were angry at what was done but what was done was done.
Greta found her bald niece plucking at grass and she couldn’t recognize her auntie without her blonde hair.
”But why?”,she whined.
”For you”,Greta smiled, kissing Maggie’s head.
Before they closed the casket, Gwen spotted in the breast pocket of the suit that grandma Berry wore, lay a blonde lock of hair.
(Author’s aftermath: Greta decided to resume “Beauty sales” and become its new head. She graduated beautician school and bought her grandma’s beauty parlor)