Nearly two pounds of auburn hair rested in 19 year old Cindy’s lap while her neck vibrated
from the set of unguarded clippers operated by her mother, Carol. Tiny neck hairs gave
way to smooth, tanned skin.
For as long as she could remember Cindy sat in boredom the first of every month so
her mother could check if she had any split ends. Rarely would her mother trim Cindy’s hair
to even it out. In fact, many times an hour would pass with not so much as a single hair being
touched. And, always this even would end by her mother cleaning her neck.
“Good as new.” Carol carefully brought Cindy’s hair behind the chair, avoiding any
movement that would cause a knot. “I’m thinking two dutch braids today.”
Cindy feigned delight, agreeing to another twenty minutes in the kitchen. Her 13 year old
brother, Max played video games in the living room, uncaring of the ordeal his sister was
going through. His own black hair had grown out from months of their mother not caring
about it. Another month, Cindy figured, and it would be buzzed short in minutes, and then
he would be free for months more.
Cindy wanted her hair gone as far back as she could remember. But, her mother forbid her
from ever touching it. When her mother caught her with scissors in 6th grade, she told
Cindy she’d never get another thing if she cut it. From then on, a sizable weekly allowance,
fashionable clothes, and a nice car at 16 kept Cindy in check. Never had she needed to work.
Twenty minutes later Carol finally allowed Cindy to leave the chair. “Please be careful exercising!”
She watched with pride, as her daughter left their raised ranch home.
“Nice braids!” Martha greeted her friend since kindergarten at the front door of the local
gym. “Your mom does awesome work.”
“Mhmm.” Twin braids annoyingly tapped Cindy’s upper calves while she walked. “Yours, if you want
them.” Weights clanked against each other in the distance.
A single blonde braid, that in any other company would have easily been the longest in the room,
followed Martha as she turned to admonish her friend. “You have hair I would murder SO many people
to have.” She motioned to her own knee-length braid.
Cindy watched with envy as a muscular man wipe his bald head with his towel. “I’m done with it. I
don’t understand why you like your hair this long.” Two guys with short sweaty buzzcuts lifted bar
bells. “Do you know how quick their hair dries?”
“Just chop it off if you hate it so much.” Martha cringed at the sacrilege that had escaped her
“If I cut this.” Cindy lifted her right braid. “My mother will never pay for another thing in my life.
Her head bobbed slightly to the right as the braid tugged at the end of it’s fall.
“So, you can either have amazing hair, a great car, all the nice clothes you want, and any guy
of your choosing… Or, you can give it all up.” Martha picked her shake up from he counter, and took
a sip. “It doesn’t seem like a hard choice.”
“Actually, it’s not.” And Cindy meant it whole heartily. “I’m going to find a way to get rid of this.”
“Fuck you, Mom would kill me.” Max continued to shoot people with his friends on the 50 inch TV.
“Two Hundred!” Two crisp bills waved in Cindy’s hands. “Come on, I can’t do it myself. Mom will disown
A squad flanked Max from his left, killing him in mid conversation. “Damn it.” A white controller smacked
into the wall. “I’m not cutting your hair while you sleep. I would be screwed just like you.” A blur of
auburn thwacked against his head. “What the fuck?”
Cindy prepared her braid for another swing. “See, you hate this shit just as much as I do.” Two feet of
her hair spun threateningly.
“OH MY GOD. FUCKING STOP.” The house sounded with Maxes angry footsteps.
Cindy followed her brother into the kitchen. Her hair swung for her brother. “You know how you can make
The fridge door opened as he was hit. “FUCK! FINE! Find a way to get rid of it without us getting in FUCKING trouble, and I’ll take your two hundred FUCKING bucks.”
Even with a cohort Cindy found herself stumped. Pondering the dilemma she slowed her hair down to a
twirl. “No one else is allowed near my hair.” She desperately wanted to never sit in that chair again. “And
it’s not like she’s going to willingly shave my head.”
Max looked blankly at Cindy from the kitchen doorway. “Shave?”
“I’m not messing around here.” Auburn circles continued in front of Cindy. “For years I’ve wanted her
to screw her up with those clippers.”
“Fake a fucking sneeze.” Max checked his controller for damage.
Her hair sped up at his stupid remark. “No, it has to be her that messes up. I can’t chance being caught.”
Max queued for another match with his friends. “Make her slip?”
The twirling braid slowed, and came to a stop. “No… you make her slip.” A plan started to form. “And , I’ll
toss my head back to make sure the damage is REAL good.”
A blue bus carrying Max’s avatar floated across the TV. “How am I supposed to do that?”
“Umm…” Cindy inspected the kitchen where she’d be sitting in a couple weeks. “I’ll mop the floor like
she’s always begging me to.” Gears continued to turn in her head. “Then… umm… you can walk by, “slip”
on wet spot, and fall into her.
“It will be dry by the time she’s done. Come on if you really want to do this, you need a better idea.”
Max landed with his friends on a snowy mountain.
“I have two weeks, I’ll think of something.” Braids tapped Cindy’s calves as she walked to her room.
“Last picture with hair.” Cindy messaged Martha a photo of her hair free nearly to her ankles. Calmly
she made her way down the hall into the living room. A feeling of intense happiness overcame her. “Please
work, please work.” She prayed as her brother got sheared.
“Almost ready, sweety.” Carol worked the clippers like a professional.
Eagerly Cindy waited for her mother to remove the white sheet from her brother. A minute later off it came,
and off Cindy went like a shot. “My turn!” She loudly proclaimed.
“Just need to sweep up.” Carol went to get the broom.
Auburn spread across the floor as Cindy knelt to palm her brother’s hair. “Come on, I don’t want to be
late to meet Martha.” Cindy pushed. “I’m cutting it close, already.”
Carol turned around. “If your brother got off his game quicker, you wouldn’t be.” She swept black hair clippings into a red dustpan.
Cindy smiled wide at her brother. “I’m sorry, you know I love this time with you.” Her pulse quickened
realizing everything was coming together.
Five feet of hair twisted slowly, revealing shorter strands for inspection. Carol thought about the less
than two years Cindy had left at home. “Remember, I’ll always be here for you after you graduate college.”
Ticking of an old cuckoo clock marked the minutes until Carol had her daughter lean her head forward. And
for the first time ever this made Cindy eager in anticipation. Forty minutes passed, and her lap had become
heavy with her verified split-end free locks.
“Killing your friends, Max?” Cindy spoke loudly, in code. Her mother neared the end of her searching. The
ball of Max’s black hair in her hand begged to be used. “Going quickly today, mom. No split-ends?” Her
mother passed the second to last section of her around her side.
“Very few this month. See? I told you wearing more braids helps.” With the same care as when she started,
Carol twisted the last section.
Max made his excuses to his friends to sit out their next game. He moved the left earphone off his ear to
covertly listen for his queue.
“Did you lose again, Max?” Cindy put her chin to her chest.
“Shut up.” Max made his way across the living room, into the kitchen, and walked past his sister to get to
the fridge. He rummaged for a snack, sneaking a peek of the tiny clippers to see when his mother turn them
The two siblings locked eyes. Max nodded. Cindy blinked twice. Their mom clipped upwards with precision.
Max made his move.
Cindy tossed the hand full of clipped hair behind the chair.
The clippers started their upward path.
“Hey mom. We’re out of … WAA!” Max exaggerated slipping then fell to his right.
The collision sent Carol forward. The clippers continued up with the added force. BZZZZZZZ.
Cindy immediately lifted her head. “What’s going….” BZZZZZ the clippers plowed to the top of her head. “Oh
my god.” She turned to look at her mother, forcing more of her hair into the well oiled oscillating blades.
With a look of abject horror Carol stood. “WHAT THE HELL DID YOU MAKE ME DO?!”
Max froze like a statue. “I-I-slipped.” He looked at the small bit of his hair on the floor. “It wasn’t my
fault…” Forcing his breath into stutters he started the narrative. “You missed this when you swept!”
Carol looked at her apparently terrified boy. Then to the side of her daughters head. “I don’t think
it’s that bad.” He heart stopped when Cindy sat back in her seat, revealing the back of her head. Clear
as day there was a white path of skin splitting the back of Cindy’s hair. “I’m so sorry.” Tears filled her eyes looking at the thin layer of hair that failed to hide the damage. Her face was white as a ghost.
“Tell me you didn’t cut anything mom.” Laying it on as thick as she could, Cindy raised her voice. “Not my
hair. Please, no!” She winked at her brother.
“I’m so sorry.” Carol cried. “It’s all they way up.” She searched the ground for the missing hair. Grieving she couldn’t comprehend that the weight in front of Cindy had pulled almost all of it into her lap. “I can’t fix this.”
Max moved another kitchen chair behind his mother. “You’ll be OK, mom.”
“What am I going to do? I’m supposed to be at Martha’s in 20 minutes! I want my hair back!” Cindy pushed all
the blame she could onto her mother. “Am I going to be fucking bald!?” She tried to morph her gleeful laughter
into a sad choking cry.
“I can’t leave you like this.” Carol pushed herself to her feet. “There’s no way to…” A knot in her throat
held back her words. “There’s no way…” She forced her self to say it. “There’s no way to save it.” She wiped
her eyes clean of tears. “I’m so sorry.”
“Are you sure?!” Cindy kept her happiness out of her words. “Oh my god.” Tears worked to form in her eyes.
“Just fucking do what you have to do.” Her sub-par acting managed to sell her anger. “I’m going to kill you,
max.” She winked at him, again.
“Head forward, sweety.” Cindy’s mom gathered her strength. “I’m so sorry.” The clippers clicked on. “I’m so
sorry.” She brought them up the back of Cindy’s head, on purpose this time. All the years of doing her
daughter’s hair flashed before her. All of the happy months it grew past a new major length. Shoulders,
bra-strap, waist, hips. Her vision blurred with water. Classic, thigh, knee. The clippers skipped across
Cindy’s neck. Calf, and nearly ankle…
“Get the hell out of my lap.” Cindy tossed her shorn, and unshorn auburn hair to the floor to look pissed
Max stood in awe that their plan had worked. A mountain of his sisters legendary hair grew upwards before
him until the weight made the silky strands spread further across the kitchen floor.
“Head up, sweety. I need to…” Carol collapsed into the chair. “I can’t do this.”
“Mom, I can’t go out half bald!” Five feet of hair ascended with Cindy. “You need to finish this!” Shorn
lengths mingled with rest of her hair. What would have been an amazing undercut was spoiled by the stripe
of missing hair that went up and over the back of her head. “Give me those!” She snatched the still buzzing
clippers. “You’re so dead, Max.” Without a thought she glided the clippers through the parting in her hair.
Auburn locks fell in curtains around his sister while Max stared dumbfounded. “HO-LY FUCK, SIS” He gingerly
made his way out of the kitchen, avoiding slipping on his sisters giant mess. “HOLY FUCK.”
Stoicly Cindy drew the clippers back. The vibrations felt like freedom to her. No longer was she literally
weighed down by her stupid hair. She turned to her brother as he put on his headset. “So, fucking dead.”
Carol managed to raise her head. Her daughter stood before her with her almost ankle length hair. No sign
of damage could be seen from this side. Vehemently she prayed for the nightmare to be over. Only for
a mass of auburn to part from her daughters head.
“It’s OK mom. I’m the bald one.” The clippers passed behind Cindy’s left ear. “Max!” Cindy yelled at her brother.
“Does it look good?” She rotated her head to show him her pale scalp.
“It’s still stubbly in some spots.” Max held back his laughter.
Carol dropped her head in agony. How could she have done this to her daughter? Would Cindy ever forgive her
for destroying her? Why did she have to be so careless sweeping? How could one small bit of Max’s hair ruined her daughter.
“Whatever, I’m late. I’ll have Martha fix it.” Cindy laid the clippers on the table. “I’ll be back tomorrow,
mom.” She stepped over her hair, leaving it for her mother to deal with. “I’ll be fine, I promise.”