City in the Mountains
By Jim B. ©opyright January 2010
This is a story of an actress who took time off for herself and found herself, in heart and mind.
A few months in the mountains, with its fresh air and no city problems, until her true inner being was found.
A way to mend her losses, renew her life.
A little “City in the mountains,” with its woods, lakes, and animals.
Where no one cared what you did. Nor who you are.
To live off the land, to test one’s mind and will.
This was the vacation she had wanted.
But, it’s true beginning began at the little barbershop in this “City in the mountains”.
JimB ©opyright January 2010
City in the Mountains
By Jim B. ©opyright January 2010
“Yes,” her voice said with a sting. “I know what I am doing. It has been a long time coming for me.
“I need the rest.”
Sally listened to the person on the other end of her call phone, her red hair, cut into a China Doll haircut, flowing softly around her face as she drove her Ford Mustang convertible up the winding mountain road.
“I do not care what type of script you have,” she barked.
“If they can’t wait for six or seven months to do the movie then tell them to find someone else.”
“I need this break.”
She set the cell phone down to pull the Sun visor down, to block the bright Sun from her eyes. The Sun and air were refreshing, not like in a big city.
She could hear the sounds of the rivers flowing, birds singing.
This would be her best vacation ever.
The person on the other end was still talking, so she just said, “YES, I hear you,” as she picked the cell phone up.
“Just find me a script I can work with. NOT one like ‘Wilson’,” she said to the other person, with a spiteful sound in her voice.
“Wilson” was her last movie, the one that had bombed its first week in the theaters, five months ago. A movie for which she was paid five hundred thousand dollars, one the studio had high hopes for.
One, they said, “Would put her in the top ten actresses in Hollywood, California.”
But, everything fell apart when the director quit after one week and another one, directing his first movie, came on board.
Since then, she found it hard to find a script that worked for her.
Maybe after fifteen years she needed to get herself together and kind of start all over. To change her thinking about the type of movies she would do.
A place like High Point was just the place to do it.
No telephones, no televisions, no one coming to your door with scripts for a movie or play to read over.
A place to watch the Sun come up, and go down.
“Just see to it that my bills are paid and the yard is maintained at the house,” she told the caller. “Don’t try to find me, no one knows where I am headed and how long I will be there.”
With that said she disconnected the cell telephone. She would call her manager, the person she was talking to, once a week to see how things were going.
But, now her thoughts were of her first night’s rest in a long time.
She heard of High Point while in a restaurant one day.
Some diners were talking about it and mentioned its name.
She did not have a hard time finding more about it, just a few calls to some travel agencies.
It was the kind of place where no one cared what you did, or why you were there, something like the French Foreign Legion.
The air was sweet and fresh, the sunshine flickering through the tall pine trees as she drove higher.
Finally, she reached the little rest stop she was told to look for. It was the last big diner and general store for miles.
She stopped for a meal, a little rest, and to see what the general store had.
As she got back into her car she thought of fishing for the first time.
How she would have to learn, fast, about rowing a boat or canoe.
The times she would have swimming in the lake of cool water.
The owner of the diner and general store did not blink an eye when she told him who she was.
He just smiled, a smile she had never seen on the faces of people in the big cities.
A smile of warmth, of friendliness.
He had told her there was a little town, as they called them, a few miles before she arrived at her cabin.
It had “some of the more personal needs”, Sam, the general store owner, told her. They had a telephone and short-wave radio for emergencies only.
As she drove the road became flat and level and she saw a sign, “High Point – 15 miles”.
The little town would be coming up soon.
She decided to stop there and see what it was like.
The trees were getting thick, blocking out the afternoon’s bright Sun. The road turned to dust, the kind you find in out of the way places like this.
The large sign appeared reading, “Last stop before High Point”, as the little town came into view. The stores were carved back into the trees.
There was a Police Station, a Fire Station, a doctor’s office, a small general store, and another store she could not make out.
She checked in at the Police Station to let them know she was there and would be in the “old Maison” cabin, by the lake, and to see what she needed to know about the dos and don’ts.
She took a walk around, to have a cup of coffee with some of the people in the little general store.
To sit on the porch of the general store and hear the sound of quietness. Her mind began to think clearly, about changes she wanted to make in herself and her career.
She strolled around the town, stopping to watch some squirrels run up and down the trees. To watch some children swimming in the lake below, as their parents did a little fishing.
She strolled back towards the little shop she could not make out from the road. It had no sign on it.
She wondered what it could be, as she had seen someone come out of it as she pulled into the small parking lot in front of the little general store.
Her eyes strained to see into the small window in front.
It looked more like a cabin than a business.
As she walked around a large tree she was able to see clearly into it now.
There was a large chair and mirrors on the walls.
On the side of one of the pillars, holding the porch up, she saw a small striped pole sticking out. It had red and white stripes like a candy cane.
“It’s a barber shop,” she said to herself.
The door was open, so she stuck her head in to look around.
The chair was the kind used in her movie “The Trick”.
A green leather seat and a back lined in shiny silver, a footrest raised in green leather to rest one’s feet on. The headrest used when giving men facial shaves was sticking up from the back.
The barber’s cape was draped over one arm, covering the worn brown leather strap hanging from the right arm.
The wall behind it had a shelf with a small wooden cabinet on either side; the kind you see in pictures of old barbershops.
Under the shelf hung three clippers, each used for special cutting.
The floor had signs of hair, as if someone had just gotten a haircut.
The ceiling fan turned slowly, flowing a soft breeze through the shop.
She had never sat in a barber’s chair.
She remembered how her father would settle into one for his monthly haircut at Mr. John’s shop.
The times her mother had gotten her hair trimmed by Mr. John, as she played on the floor looking up every now and then.
She slowly walked towards the chair, looking around for the barber.
Her fingers traced the chair’s arm, over the cape, walking around the back.
She looked at the combs, brushes and scissors. All reminded her of her father, who had long passed.
How Mr. John would toy with her with the scissors, or with the clippers, when she would come to the chair to watch him cut her father’s hair.
She noticed the shaving mug, the brush standing strong next to it.
She brushed her fingertip over it, how soft and wet it felt.
The smell of the sweet powder lingered in the air.
The mirrors, so shiny and clean, with the soft reflection of the overhead lights.
She turned to see the old wire-rimmed chairs lining the other wall, where the customers would sit waiting their turn in the barber’s chair.
How she had sat in them, her feet swinging to reach the floor.
It had been a loss to Mr. John and his customers when it caught fire that night.
A loss she never felt until now.
How she now wished she had sat in that chair, to let Mr. John trim her hair as he did her mother’s a few times.
Slowly she stepped to the front of the chair, fingertips gliding over its silver and leather.
Her right foot stepped onto the dim metal footing. Her body slowly rose up leaning into the seat.
She lowered herself into the large soft seat, room to place her arms beside her body.
A strange feeling came across her, one she had not felt before. Her head rested against the headrest, so soft but so hard.
Her legs rose straight leveling with the seat, as a child would when getting sleepy. One foot at a time lowered and touched the footrest, bouncing back up as if to play.
Her breathing became deep.
Her mind began to think of what it would be like to have her hair cut in a barber’s chair, to be watched by others waiting their turn.
The sounds of the old radio slowly came to mind.
The breeze of the fan slowly relaxed her more.
One foot rested flat on the footrest, the other quickly crossed over it. She felt more comfortable than in the styling chair in the beauty salon.
They were so tight, no room to move.
“Can I help you?” came a gentle male voice.
Her eyes began searching the shop, coming to rest to the back.
“No…..,” she whispered. “No. I just saw the building from the road and could not tell what it was. So, I came over to see.”
The man, in a white shirt and black pants, was the barber, walked to her.
“I cut women’s hair, too. I am the only barber around for miles,” he said in a conversational way.
“If you want a hair stylist, you will have to travel about fifty or sixty miles north to Clayton.
“Of course, you will have to call and make an appointment.”
“I do not do all those fancy things with hair they do,” he continued the conversation. “All I do is give haircuts.”
“Sounds about right,” she told him. “Not many places to go all dolled up with a fancy hairstyle.”
He walked behind the chair where he tuned on the water.
“Don’t mind if I clean up?” he asked her. ” Unless you want a haircut or trim.”
She looked over her shoulder and shook her head “no”.
He began cleaning the wooden shelf and cabinets.
Each comb and brush was put into the large glass jar of blue water.
Each pair of scissors was wiped and oiled.
Each clipper was brushed and oiled.
“Do you have many female customers?” she inquired.
“I’m the only haircutter for miles,” he told her again.
“When Spring comes around the ladies come in for a little shortening of their hair.”
She looked at the old clock on the wall, it was close to 4pm and she wanted to be at her cabin before the Sun had set for the day.
“Got to go,” she told him as she quickly got out the chair.
“Come back anytime,” he told her, “I’m …..”
“I know,” she interrupted him. “The only haircutter for miles.”
She waved to him and walked out to her car.
As she drove off to her cabin she looked at her hair in the rearview mirror.
“May need a trim in a few days,” she told herself.
After a few days, of settling into her new setting, she made a trip to the small city to pick up some supplies and catch up on any news, to meet her neighbors and have a cup of coffee.
They sat in the open, in front of the little general store, talking of fishing and passing around the latest newspaper.
The children ran about tossing small twigs at each other in a game.
Miss Norma, as she was called, came by with the mail and news of the high school baseball game.
She had a large box for Mike, the barber.
A delivery truck with the week’s supply of soft drinks came in, quickly the children helped put them in the freezers to get cold.
Fresh bread was delivered that morning and Mrs. Conway was there to pick up her weekly supply.
Mike came by around noon to pick up his package, to have a cup of coffee and do a little talking.
“Have to be back at the shop for 12:30,” he said. “The weather is getting warm and you know those girls will becoming for their haircuts.”
Sally watched as he walked back to his shop, a man a few years older than she.
The sound in his voice was of joy when he mentioned the time of season and “those girls” to get their hair cut.
She wanted to question his enjoyment, but put it aside.
She sipped her ice coffee and read the “LIFE” section of the morning newspaper. The others talked of the high school baseball game Miss Norma had told them of.
As she picked up another section of the newspaper to read her eyes caught two young girls go into the barbershop. Both had hair around the shoulders.
It was a little before 1pm when everyone began going about their business, so Sally went into the little general store and got her supplies.
As she walked to her Mustang she noticed two girls wandering around outside the barbershop. She could not tell if they were the same two she saw go in a while ago.
She stood looking at them, as they looked around as if looking for someone else.
They sat for a few minutes and quickly rose as three other girls, around their age, came running up to them.
Few words were exchanged, as one of the other girls brushed her hand over one of the two girls’ head.
It was then Sally realized the first two girls had extremely short hair, had it not been for the bouncing of their breasts she would have thought they were young boys.
Mike came to the door of the barbershop and said something to the girls. She was too far to hear what was said but the girls quickly walked into the shop behind him.
She could see one of the girls flop into the barber’s chair and Mike pulling the cape around her neck.
After the cape was fastened in place he walked out of view.
With his back to the window, blocking her view, his body began making motions around the girl and the chair. Within a few minutes he was removing the cape from around the girl, who jumped out the chair.
Within a blink of her eyes another young girl was popping into the chair. She too was caped and he began his movement around her.
Sally became interested, wanting to know what was going on.
Slowly she began to walk to the barbershop, only to stop as three women, around her age, walked into the shop.
She could see one standing in the door moving her arm as if she were waving or moving her hand over something.
Sally became more interested as another girl sat in the chair.
Her steps quickened to catch what was going on.
As she reached the door of the barbershop, the third girl was getting comfortable in the barber’s chair.
With a flick of his arm the cape was tossed across her. Sally could now see what was going on and what had happened.
Her eyes slowly crossed the shop to the other girls, sitting with their hair cut close to their heads.
As she looked at them, and they back at her, there was a “click” sound with a smooth winding sound.
Her head turned to the barber’s chair …..
She watched, in disbelief, as Mike passed the clippers over the girl’s head, cutting her hair close to her scalp. The girl sat still, her legs bouncing on the footrest.
Quickly Mike worked the clippers around her head cutting her hair off close to the scalp.
The women sat looking as if nothing unusual was happing.
In less than five minutes Mike had cut all the hair off the girl’s head. He undid the cape, pulling it back across as the hair fell to the floor.
The other four girls jumped up from their seats and they began rubbing each other’s head.
One turned to the women waiting, “We’re going swimming, mom.”
One of the women looked up and shook her head “O.K.”, as the five young girls waltzed out the shop, whispering and giggling as teenage girls would.
“I’ll be back,” Mike told the women as he walked to the backroom.
The women just looked up at him, as if to say “we’ll be here.”
Sally stood in shock, wanting to say something to the woman.
As she was about to turn and leave, one of the women got up and introduced her self and the other two women.
“Hi,” she said. “I’m Penny, this is Sara and Jean. That was our girl’s.”
Sally became more shocked as Penny continued, “Spring get’s to you up here. You lose thought of the outside World and do strange things.”
“O.K.,” Mike’s voice said as he came out the back room. “Who’s first?”
As he walked to the chair carrying a small box partially opened, he reached in and pulled out a can.
Jean looked at the other women.
“Don’t look at me. I was first last year,” Penny said to her.
Sara just looked at Jean and went back reading her magazine.
“I guess I am,” Jean said as she got up and walked to the chair.
Mike poured the contents of the can in to a jar on the shelf. It was light blue in color.
He put a few combs into it and put the cover on top.
He turned taking the cape from the arm of the chair and tossed it across Jean.
As he pulled it up and around her neck, he asked, “What’ll it be this year.”
“Just a quick buzz like you gave the girls,” Jean replied.
Sally’s eyes grew, her heart quickened, it became a little hard to breathe.
As she felt for a chair to sit, Jean spoke, “Ron and I have to go into St. Pete’s about Edith.
“I’ll come in tomorrow to get my head shaved.”
Sally’s eyes began to roll a little, as she watched Mike bring the clippers to Jean’s forehead.
Slowly he pushed it back over her head, cutting a path of hair close to her scalp.
The hair fell behind the chair as he began a second pass.
Pass after pass her hair was clipped close to her scalp, leaving behind hair so short she looked almost bald.
As he began clipping the right side Jean asked Penny, “Do you need a ride to see about Gail.”
“Yes,” Penny replied. “Tom is out of town and won’t be back until Saturday.”
“You’ll be getting buzzed, too?” Mike inquired of Penny.
“Yep,” she told him as she looked up from the magazine.
Sara looked up from her magazine, “I’ll be getting shaved.”
Just as quick as the conversation was, that is how quickly Mike had clipped Jean’s head. Just as quickly Jean was out the chair and Penny was sitting in it.
A flick of the arm and the cape was across her, being pulled up and around her neck.
“CLICK” was the sound of the clippers jumping to life.
As he brought the clippers to Penny’s forehead, Mike asked Jean, “When will you be in for a shave?”
“Gail and I will come by tomorrow morning,” she answered as Mike began a quick pass over the top of her head.
Sally sat as if she was not there, watching as Mike clipped Penny’s head, as he had the five young girls and Jean.
Not a word was said by them.
It took only about five minutes and he was undoing the cape. As it fell to her lap, Penny wiped some strands of hair from her face.
Mike was brushing her head with sweet smelling powder.
Jean got up and started walking to the door, as Penny stepped out the chair.
They said “bye” to Mike, and Penny told Sara “We’ll met you at the lake tomorrow morning.”
As Sara stepped into the chair, she smiled at Penny, and said “O.K., see you then.”
Mike tossed the cape over Sara, saying “Smooth?”
She looked around at him, “Nothing but skin.”
He turned to the sink and turned on the hot water. As it flowed steam rose up covering the mirror.
“CLICK”, the clippers jumped to life in his hand.
Sara looked at herself in the mirror behind where Sally sat.
Like he did the others the humming clippers were brought to her forehead and slowly pushed back over her head.
Again each pass left behind hair clipped close to the scalp.
Sally had never seen women get their hair cut so short.
“Only at the bottom of the neck,” she thought to herself.
Another thing, Sara was going to get her head “shaved”!
“WHY?” Sally asked herself.
Mike moved around her head with quick strokes of the clippers.
Hair fell to the floor and into the cape. Not an eye was twitched by Sara, nor by the other two ladies as Mike cut their hair off.
The cape slid down over Sara’s breast, the left side catching and holding onto her blouse.
He tucked a large white towel in the collar of her blouse, spreading it out over her shoulders.
He had tossed another large towel in the sink with its running hot water.
Taking hold of it he wrung it out a little and wrapped it around her head. She jumped a little, but slowly returned to the comfortable position she was in.
He allowed the towel to sit on her head as he ran water into the pale white shaving mug.
Slowly, as he turned back to her, he worked up the lather in the mug.
As the brush hit each side of the mug you could hear a soft clanging and the lather grew in the mug.
With his right hand he unwrapped the towel from her head and tossed it back into the sink.
Dipping the brush into the mug he scooped up the warm lather and began brushing it over her head. As he worked the lather into her clipped hairs her head rocked around, almost rocking her to sleep.
Gently he worked the lathered brush around her head, looking for places he may have missed. He dipped the brush back into the mug, scooping up more warm lather and painting it on top of the first brushing.
With her head covered with white shaving cream he put the mug and brush on the shelf next to each other.
He picked up a straight razor, opened it, and spread a little oil over the blade.
Taking the leather strap, hanging from the right arm, he began to strop the open blade over it.
Kindly and with the swiftness of years of use the blade was brought to a shining glow.
Placing his left hand under her chin, he gently pushed it away from him causing her head to turn and tilt to the left.
The shinning blade was placed at the center part and a short quick stroke was taken leaving behind soft tanned skin.
The blade was wiped across his open left palm and returned to its mark to begin another pass.
Each pass was two or three inches in length, leaving behind tanned skin. Skin being shaved of any hair, which had once covered it.
Sally sat in amazement as Sara’s eyes closed with enjoyment.
Her mind began to wander back to the days Mr. John would tempt her with the scissors and clippers.
Sometimes saying “A little snip here and a little snip there.”
She would turn and run away in laughter, as a child her age would in playing.
She had seen the same pleasure many times on her father’s face as Mr. John shaved his face.
She would softly stroke her little fingers over his face afterward, smiling and giggling at play.
She wondered had the shop not burned down, would she have let him cut her hair!
Sara’s head was now tilting downward into her chest.
The right side was shaved smooth, with streaks of shaving cream left behind by the passing razor’s blade. Her head was rolled to the right as Mike came shaving over the top of her left ear.
Sally was still amazed at what she was seeing, as if it were a dream.
“What are you here for?” Mike’s voice broke her through.
Sally looked at him with a, “I do not know” stare on her face. Her mouth tried to open to say or ask something.
But, she was unable to do so.
Was it fear or disbelief holding her back?
“The weather gets real hot up here,” Sara told her. “That’s why we get our heads buzzed or shaved.
“The only thing you can do about it.”
“I have never seen a woman with her hair cut so short,” Sally replied with a questioning voice.
“You are the first woman I have ever seen get her head shaved. I don’t know what to think or say. I am at lost for words.”
Sara smiled at her as Mike began taking the last stroke with the straight razor.
The blade was closed and the razor put on the shelf next to the shaving mug and brush.
He leaned over to the sink and turned the hot water on. His right hand tested it as the water came out hotter.
When it was right he tossed the towel back into it.
Taking hold of the sides he began working it in a rocking motion under the hot water.
After a few minutes the running water was turned off and the towel wrung out until no water dripped from it.
He turned and wrapped it around Sara’s shaven head.
It was allowed to sit awhile.
Then, he began wiping her head with it.
Her head was shining from the warm water.
Her eyes were large.
Her smile was of pleasure enjoyed. She sat up a little and moved her head from side to side.
He put the mug under the running water filling it until water flowed out of it.
The shaving brush was pushed into it causing some water to rush over the side. He poured the water out, while the brush was used to hold the shaving soap in.
With an upward and downward shake of the mug and brush, he shook the last drops out and slowly began working up some lather in the mug.
As he turned to Sara he smiled at Sally, “Well, you have not answered my question.”
Sally looked up at him, her heart in her throat, with disbelief in her crowded mind.
What was she to answer him?
What was she to do?
She became a little uncomfortable as he started to ask her again, only to be stopped by Sara.
“Give her time. This is only her first week here,” she hissed at him.
He looked a Sally as he applied the lather to Sara’s head for another shaving.
“I’ll use a safety razor this time,” he told her as he walked, looking at Sally, to the shelf.
The safety razor was picked up and put to action.
Each stroke was short and quickly rinsed clean of the shaving cream and hair that was removed with it.
Unlike the straight razor her head was tilted away from him, as he pulled her skin below where he was shaving.
The skin pulled downward caused hair that was below the skin to stick up, as he shaved upward with the safety razor.
As he shaved a section of her head, he would stroke his fingers over it checking for unshaven areas.
When he was sure there were no hairs to be shaved, he would start shaving another section.
It felt like hours as Sally sat watching and wondering.
Her deep mind began to speak from its quietness.
She became puzzled at what it was saying, or was she hearing someone else was saying to her.
Her eyes fixed on Mike shaving Sara’s head.
“MOM, mom,” a girlish voice was heard as it broke the quietness.
Sally turned her head to the sound as Sara answered, “What?”
There in the door stood a young girl in her mid teens.
Her hair was long, compared to the other five girls, and flowed with soft gentle reddish curls past her shoulders. In her hand she held up a string of fish she had caught in the lake.
Holding up the string she walked towards the chair, her mother, Sara, looking up at her.
“I can have these babies cleaned in an hour,” she said.
The girl was Sara’s youngest daughter, Sandy. Sara inspected the catch, as Mike finished shaving her head.
“What do you think of them,” Sandy asked Mike.
He looked them over, “I’ll take a few for myself.”
Sara gave her a smile and a wink.
“Four all right?” she told him as she undid the line.
Walking to the back room she slid the fish off, holding the end of the string in her mouth. After putting them in something in the back room, she returned holding up the string of fish.
“Well,” Sandy cracked, “do we eat them or not.”
As Mike wiped her head, Sara told her daughter, “Make sure you clean up the mess.”
Sandy smiled and turned to leave the shop.
“Hey,” her mother said quickly to get her attention before she raced out.
“Ohhhh, sorry,” she said in a childish manner. “Mr. Mike, I’ll come in tomorrow for my haircut.”
Sally began to wonder.
Wonder why only the females were getting their hair cut, or head shaved.
What about the males, the boys and the men?
“Better make it before noon,” he told her. “The boys will start coming in around 12:30. Unless…”
Sandy smiled and walked out the door.
Then, she began running in the direction of her home.
“She’ll be in a little later this afternoon,” Sara told Mike.
“What is she to get?” he inquired.
“I told her she could get her hair cut as she wished,” Sara replied.
“Even if she wants it smooth?” he inquired of her.
“EVEN, if she wants her head shaved,” Sara told him. “You shave her head smooth.”
He was finished shaving Sara’s head and was patting it with a towel.
His fingers did another brushing of her head, finding some stubble he quickly razor them away.
He pulled the towel from her collar as he dusted her head.
As she stood to get out the chair, she looked at Sally, “The chair is now open.”
Sally took a deep breath.
City in the Mountains
By Jim B. ©opyright January 2010
Sally looked at both of them, Mike’s eyes eyeing her red-haired China Dolls cut, and Sara with a helping hand extended to the barber’s chair.
Her eyes turned to the chair, how inviting it looked, how peaceful.
Then, she looked at herself in the mirror.
“No,” she replied.
“No, it just sounds too wild. I do have a career to think about, you know.”
With that said, she turned and walked out the door.
Her head turned so she was looking over her right shoulder, to see if they were watching her.
Her breathing was rapid and shallow. Her mind began to flash pictures of her BALD.
She did not remember them talking about this at the restaurant. The travel agencies did not mention anything either.
WHAT was she to do?
As she walked to her car, the five teenage girls came running by her. One stopped a few feet from her.
She turned and looked at Sally.
With a smile she passed her hand over her head, as if to say, “how good it felt.”
A lump came to her throat.
She tried to catch her breath.
Slowly she made it to her car and sat for a while.
Had she been led to a “crazy farm”?
Her hand shaking, she put the key in the ignition and started the car.
Sara came out the barbershop looking around.
“Is she looking for me,” Sally thought to herself.
Just then one of the girls ran up to Sara.
Sara noticed Sally’s car and gave her a wave.
Sally quickly put the car in gear and left for her cabin.
She looked at herself in the rearview mirror a number of times as she drove the dirt road to her cabin.
The breeze was blowing dust into her hair but she did not want to stop and put the top up.
She wanted to be home, to be were it was safe, to compile her thoughts at what she had witnessed.
Was all this true?
As she readied her dinner for the night, her mind filled with the sights she had seen.
The girls being clipped, Sara having her head shaved.
All as if it was the usual thing to do!
As if it was a requirement to live in High Point.
With the Sun setting, she sat in her lawn chair looking out over the lake. The breeze was blowing softly, tossing her short hair freely.
Her mind brought her back to when she had her hair cut this way for her last movie.
How everyone thought “it was the style for her”, how she should “keep it as her trade mark”.
WHAT would they say if she returned with her hair clipped like the teen-age girls, even shaved like Sara?
What would her manager think of her, would he be able to find her scripts!
Would a director be willing to take the chance of a wig falling off in the middle of a shooting?
Slowly the breeze began to put her to sleep.
Slowly she began to sink into a deep sleep, where her thoughts of the day began to float around.
Her body turned and twisted in the chair as the images of the girls and their mothers with clipped heads and of Sara’s head shaving began fading in her mind.
Of Mike’s out reaching eyes wanting to rid her of her soft red locks.
Slowly her body and mind drifted away from the images and thoughts, letting her fall to sleep.
As the breeze grew warmer she felt the glow of the Sun warming her eyelids and face.
Loud giggling of teenage girls rang in her ears. The splashing of water was heard.
She opened her eyes to see the five teenage girls from the day before and five or six more jumping and splashing in the lake.
She noticed the mothers she had met the day before sitting on the small sandy beach.
They were joined by three other mothers.
Looking to her right she saw a group of young boys rowing a large boat in the lake.
They were rowing toward the little town.
Her body slowly came to life.
Her arms were stretching as she took a deep breath to waken herself more.
Hunger came to her, so she got up to go fix some breakfast.
As she reached the cabin door she heard, “Morning, Sally.”
She did not recognize the voice, so she looked over her shoulder.
It was Penny.
“Hi,” Sally replied. “Just going in to fix some coffee. Want to join me?”
She said this in a friendly way.
She noticed something about Penny, as she got closer.
Her eyes still sleepy and out of focus, she blinked them a few times. When Penny was a few feet from her, she realized what was different.
Her head was shaved.
They entered the cabin and Sally put some coffee on.
Nothing was said by either, as Sally put out the cups and cream and sugar.
She tried not to look at Penny, not wanting to make a case out of what she was seeing.
As she poured the coffee Penny looked at her, “How do you like me with my head shaved?”
She stopped pouring, not wanting to over flow the cup, and looked at Penny.
“Didn’t notice it,” she said. Penny just looked at her and smiled.
Did she believe her, Sally thought.
“Had it done this morning,” Penny continued. “I was going to wait until this evening but remembered the boys and men would be in today.
“Sara was telling us you stayed and watched her get her head shaved,” Penny said as she sipped her coffee.
“Do you think we are crazy?”
Sally became weak, feeling for her chair with her arms shaking.
Why did she ask this question?
Taking a sip to calm her nerves, Sally looked at Penny.
Penny’s eyes looked at her over the rim of the cup, as she took another sip.
Sally did not know what to say, would she be able to say the right words?
Letting the sip go down, Sally held her cup in both hands.
“Well, it was a bit unusual to see women get all their hair clipped off,” Sally said with her heart in her throat.
“Buzzed,” Penny replied, correcting her.
“Buzzed,” Sally said.
“Yes, buzzed,” Penny told her.
“It’s called buzzed when you have the clippers cut all your hair off at the scalp.
“Shaved, better yet smooth, when you have your head shaved, like Sara did yesterday and I did this morning.
“It was a good feeling having the clippers combing over my head, sexual somewhat. All that hair, it’s starting to gray a little, falling on the floor and in the cape.
“The gentle breeze blowing over and between the fuzz.
“The warmth of the hot towel being wrapped around your head, just drawing the life out of the little hairs sticking up.
“The soft bristles of the shaving brush stimulating your scalp, as it spreads the warm shaving cream.
“Then, the razor.
“The razor effectively severing those little hairs from your head.
“Finally, the warmth of the Sun beaming down on your smooth scalp, and the wind…
“The wind brushing smoothly over your nakedness.
“Sally, you are foolish if you don’t get a buzz cut,” Penny told her in an excited voice. “We have been doing it for the last six years,”
Penny spoke then took another sip of coffee.
“Ever since Mike came to town and opened up shop. He likes to clip and shave us women.
“A sexual thing we think.
“He does the boys and men so they won’t think he’s weird.”
“He has this thing about women with extremely short hair cuts and shaven heads. We get it done free and he get his fun,” Penny commented.
Sally’s heart began to pound.
Her face began to get warm.
Her mind became interested, interested in why they allowed this.
Didn’t the men have some power over Mike?
How could a man have such power?
“You should consider having your hair buzzed before it turns hotter,” Penny whispered.
“BUZZED?” Sally said as she choked on a sip of coffee. “I can’t afford to do such a thing. I have an acting career to think about.”
“Didn’t you tell us you ‘will be here for six months’?” Penny inquired as she poured her and Sally another cup of coffee.
“Six months is plenty of time for it to grow back.”
“Is that fresh coffee I smell?” a voice sung out from outside the open front door.
They turned to the front door as Sara stuck her head in.
“Come join us,” Sally said welcoming her in. “Cups in the white cabinet.”
“See you went to the barber shop early this morning,” Sara said to Penny.
“Had to,” Penny replied. “The boys started coming in earlier than Mike thought.
“And, you know, they will be coming in all morning.”
Sara shook her head in agreement.
“You must have made a visit while they were there,” Penny asked of Sara.
“Naaaa,” Sara cracked. “Ken got into one of those moods last night and it carried over to this morning.”
Sara sat as Sally poured coffee in her cup, “When I got out the shower he poked me in the ass and shaved my head.”
“Wish Tom would poke me in the ass, once in awhile,” Penny said candidly.
“Mike was wondering when Sandy would be in,” Penny inquired of Sara.
“She’ll drop in when the boys are there,” Sara joked. “You know how girls her age are.”
Penny nodded her head “yes” as she sipped her coffee.
Sara looked at Penny and saw a look on her face.
“See Penny told you about her head shaving,” she inquired of Sally.
Looking a little unsure Sally said, “Yes, how could you tell?”
Penny just looked at Sara and gave a little giggle.
They talked about the weather, neither questioned Sally about her getting a haircut.
Sally asked about many things, asking as if she were planning to build a summer home here.
She wanted to ask more about Mike and this strange power he had over them, their husbands, and children.
Why would a community let a man like Mike come in and take over, as it seemed.
“How long has he been there?” she wondered.
It was around 10am when Penny and Sara left.
But, they did not question Sally …..
Around 1pm Sally took a walk into the small city to see if she could order some of the materials she wanted.
And, to get a newspaper, or magazine.
The tall trees held back the bright day’s Sun, with only flickering through the branches.
There was a cool breeze coming from the lake, carrying the sounds of children playing and swimming in the water and the splashing of the gentle waves against the rocks and boats along the shoreline.
She could see small boats in the middle of the lake, with people fishing from them.
The path was a winding one, over fallen trees, rocks. This was the kind of place one could fall in love with after so many years in the big city.
No cars blowing their horns, no people shouting at each other, no sirens of emergency vehicles rushing to the aid of someone.
Just the sounds of quietness all around.
A place to think about for retirement years, not just one for a little vacation.
As she approached the small city she saw young boys walking to the lake, their heads buzzed or shaved.
Young girls, some with buzzed or shaven heads, talking and watching the boys pass by.
Each group glancing at each other as they passed
Mothers walking around talking, or going shopping.
Some of the men, some shaved, others clipped, sitting on the porch of the general store reading and talking.
Were there any women and girls with long hair still to be clipped or shaved, she wondered.
As she entered the general store she walked around looking for some things.
Candi, the owner’s daughter came up to her.
“You must be Sally,” she said offering her hand in greeting to her.
“I’m Candi. My dad owns this little wonder,” she said a little disheartened. “Dad tells me you are an actress.”
Sally shook her head and said softly, “Yes.”
“Can you order me something?” Sally inquired.
“Sure. Follow me to the counter and I’ll write it up,” Candi said as she turned and walked to the counter.
Sally gave her order, which Candi said would take about three or four days to get.
“We only get deliveries twice a week, except for holidays and this week every year.”
“Oh?” Sally inquired. “Why this week?”
Candi looked up from the order book.
“It’s called “Mike’s week”, can’t you see?
“This is the week everyone bounces over to his barber shop and gets buzzed or shaved,” she explained. “Have you ever seen a community do anything like it?”
“I take it you don’t like this week to come around?” Sally asked.
“Naaaa,” Candi smirked. “I see you’re not interested in it either.”
“I can take it for another two years,” Candi said cattily.
“Then, I’ll be eighteen and I’m out of here.
“Thinking about maybe Hollywood or New York.
“Any place where I don’t have to follow everyone and get buzzed or shaved.”
“What make you think you have to follow everyone else?” Sally jested.
“Just wait and see…” Candi said as she placed Sally’s order in an envelope.
Sally looked at Candi, trying to think about what she was saying.
What did she mean?
“Turn around,” Candi commanded as she twirled her hand in a small circle. “Come on, turn around.”
Sally looked behind her, to see if someone was behind her.
“Turn around,” Candi commanded again.
Slowly Sally turned around.
“I give you a week. Two weeks,” Candi offered as she looked over Sally’s hair.
“Naaaa, on second thought I give you till Friday.
“Yaaaa, Friday and you’ll be walking around like the rest of us.”
“If you don’t need any more help,” Candi asked of Sally, “I have to get over to the barber shop and get my head shaved.”
“Sounds like you don’t like doing it,” Sally questioned Candi.
They looked at each other, “So, why do you do it?”
Candi looked at herself in the dressing mirror, brushing her fingers through her dark brown hair with sun blonde fading.
“I can’t really say, it’s just…
“Just so usual to not do it this time of the year.”
They walked out the store, Candi asking Sally about her career.
About her movies and if it was true what they say about Hollywood and New York.
If it was hard for her to become an actress!
Would it be hard for her to become one, too.
Before Sally had finished telling of her career and life on the big screen, they were walking into the barbershop.
There was a young boy, about Candi’s age, getting his head shaved.
He looked at them as they entered.
“A little late, hey Candi?” the boy questioned.
She looked at him, his hair all around the chair on the floor, his head half shaved and half shaving cream.
“Say another word to me and I’ll take that razor from Mr. Mike and finish the job for him,” she told him in a fit of anger.
As they sat down Candi whispered to Sally, “He’s a smart ass.
“He tried to shave his girlfriend’s head two years ago, while they were in gym class. Got expelled for a week.
“She’s from Jovan, about ten miles north.”
“How you doing Sally?” Mike inquired. “You get things straightened out at the cabin?”
Sally looked up, “Yes.”
Candi looked at the boy and Mike, “How much longer you going to be with the ass?”
Mike looked at her, as he held the boy’s head still, “About five.
“Why, are you in a rush?”
“Yes,” Candi said. “Dad and mom went to Aunt Fran’s yesterday, and I have to watch the store. Got a special delivery coming at eleven.”
“I’ll be finished before then,” Mike commented as he began wiping the boy’s head with the hot towel.
As they sat Sally would look at Candi, as if to ask her, “Why, if you don’t want to?”
Candi somehow knew what Sally was saying with her eyes and she just patted Sally’s leg as if she herself did not know why.
“O.K., sweet ass,” the boy said as he stepped out the chair. “It’s your turn.”
Candi looked at him with daggers shooting from her eyes.
Quickly jumping from her chair she darted for the boy with hands reaching out as if to strangle him.
The boy eyes popped wide as Mike told him to get lost. He backed to the door, turned and ran as if his life was in question.
“Calm down young lady,” Mike told her as she walked to the chair. “I think you two have something going.”
“Me and that, that…” Candi replied harshly with her face boiling red in anger.
As she sat in the chair her body came under some kind of spell.
Her face became unred, her anger went as if it had not happened.
“What the hell is going on,” Sally wondered to herself.
How could a chair change a person so fast?
The cape was tossed across Candi and brought up and around her neck.
Mike clipped it in place as Candi shook her head, wildly sending her hair flowing in the air.
“CLICK, hummmmmm,” came the sound of the clippers as Mike turned them on.
He turned to Candi, her eyes closed, her body pushing up from the chair to meet the singing clippers.
Mike brought them over the top of her head and began a slow pass down the center of her head. A pile of golden brown hair was pushed back, falling to the floor.
As the clippers were brought forward Candi took a deep breath.
Again her head raised a little to meet the clippers’ sound.
Slowly another pile of hair was pushed back over her head, falling to the floor behind the chair. As the clippers came forward the third time, she opened her eyes and smiled at Sally.
A smile, Sally could not understand, because of what Candi had said earlier to her.
“Do you want the hair?” Mike asked Candi.
Candi looked at Sally, with her inquiring eyes and look.
“Yes, I have another picture in the making. I am looking for some red hair, if you get any let me know.”
Sally’s mind went wild as she heard Candi’s inquiry.
She had not seen anyone with red hair, no one but her.
Candi was not thinking of hers?
Sally watched, as she had when Sara was given her haircut, as Candi’s golden brown hair came off with ease.
The clippers seemed to cut it off as if there were no hair to clip off.
As if Mike was just passing it over her head for fun, just to give her a “sexual” buzz.
“Don’t know of many people with red hair around here,” Mike told Candi as he too looked at Sally.
“But, I’ll keep an eye open for some.”
Sally’s right hand slowly rose to the ends of her hair.
Her eyes glanced as if they were hoping to find another color hair.
Her fingers rose brushing into her China Doll cut, pushing the hanging strands up and out. Up and out as if to show she still had her hair.
The cape was undone and slowly slid down into Candi’s lap.
Candi brought her hands up and wiped hair from her face, the cape folded sending some long strands of golden brown hair onto her legs.
As her face appeared from her hands she smiled at Sally.
“Friday,” she said looking and smiling at Sally.
“What?” Mike asked.
Candi turned and looked at him, “Nothing.”
He saw a strange smile on Candi and looked at Sally.
Candi’s head was wrapped in the warm towel, her eyes glowing with the thought of seeing Sally’s red hair in the picture she was doing.
Mike spread the shaving cream over Candi’s light skin.
It looked as if her head had already been shaved.
Candi sat looking, staring, at Sally and her red hair.
Sally became uneasy but could not move or say anything.
She watched as Mike stropped the straight razor over the leather strap.
The sound guided her eyes and ears to its soft sweeping.
Her eyes watched as the blade began to gleam to a shiny sharpness.
Sharp to smooth Candi’s scalp, like it had done the others before her.
Having done to them all over the last six years: women and men alike.
Sally tried to look away but she could not.
Her deep mind began to bring the images she had seen her first night.
The images of her bald!
Images of her hair being clipped from her head and falling to the floor, or into the cape.
Those before her watching from the wire-rimmed chairs, the door and the windows.
Her head being wrapped in the hot towel, enjoying the pleasure they had felt.
Her head being lathered by the long soft brush brushing.
The shaving cream covering her head.
The straight razor being oiled and stropped to a shinning sharpness, to shave her head smooth as the others.
The soft feeling of the breeze and Sun, as she walked out the shop like the others.
“Hi, Candi, Miss Sally,” came a happy voice. “Lookin’ good, Candi.”
It was Tish, Jean’s oldest daughter.
She walked in and sat next to Sally.
“Are you next?” she asked Sally.
“No, nooooo,” Sally replied nervously as her right hand rose quickly to her hair.
“Too bad,” Tish said. “You’d look great with your head free of all that hair.”
“Friday,” Candi said again.
Sally became more nervous, again she tried to get up and walk out.
Again something strange kept her there, watching as Mike began shaving Candi’s head.
Each stroke of the razor was short, leaving behind soft white skin.
Each stroke was wiped in his free hand, as if he was piling it there for some reason.
As she watched Candi’s transformation to a lovely bald young lady, her deep mind began to wonder to Friday.
The day Candi had given her to join them.
Again her mind’s images were taken to her being clipped and shaved.
She tried to think why…
Each time something would bring her back to watch Candi’s head shaving.
This lovely young lady who, just earlier, told her she had only two more years.
This time it was the giggling of Candi and Tish as they talked about, what else do teenage girls talk about, boys.
Tish was telling Candi how her boyfriend wanted to shave her.
“Well, you know, down below,” she told Candi in an embarrassed way.
Mike was holding back as if to say he did not hear what they were talking about.
“Well, Tish,” Mike asked of her, “what are you getting today?
“Buzzed or shaved?”
Sally could not believe he had asked her so openly, as if she were older than she was.
“Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzz,” she sounded.
“Shsssssssssssssss,” Candi answered.
They looked at each other.
“Yesssss,” Candi barked, “shave your head. Don’t do like you did last year.”
Tish looked at herself in the mirror, her hand combing through her hair.
“Will you stay and watch?” she asked Candi.
Candi’s eyes lit up in sexual satisfaction, a wicked smile on her face.
“Yessss, my dear,” she toned in a high-class male’s voice. “I wouldn’t miss your shaving. Your head or your…”
They giggled and Tish again sat next to Sally.
They smiled as Tish told Sally, “Really, you would look great with your head shaved.”
Again Candi spurred, “Friday…”
Mike was now shaving Candi’s head with a safety razor.
Her head was becoming smoother, like the others. Her eyes grew large, her smile brighter.
As the shaving cream was removed Sally could see how nice Candi looked.
The large loop and jade earrings showed off her facial features.
Her head was just the shape for a shaven head.
Her mind began to imagine herself in the same manner.
“Mmmmmmm, that smells great,” Candi said as Mike began powdering her head.
The cape was removed and the chair lowered.
Candi tossed her arms out.
“GREAT!” she announced as her hands rose to her shaven head.
Tish rushed to the chair.
“Let me feel,” she cried.
“Naaaaa,” Candi said warding off Tish’s eager fingers. “You’ll get a feel after your shaving.”
Was Sally really seeing this?
Was this really happening?
“Not in a rush?” Candi asked Sally as she sat next to her.
Sally looked at her, wondering why she asked her a question like that.
Again she wanted to get up and leave; again she could not as her eyes caught sight of the cape floating across Tish’s lap.
Slowly it was drawn up and around her neck.
Before Mike turned on the clippers, her mind went “CLICK, Hummmm.”
Her eyes saw not Tish in the chair, but herself, as Mike pushed the clippers up the right side of Tish’s head.
She felt a strange sexual “shiver” rush up and down her body.
Hair fell down Tish’s caped shoulder into her waiting covered lap.
Her eyes followed the first strands as they came to rest. Her breathing became shallow, her throat dry.
Her mind saw red hair fall to the floor.
Again Sally wanted to get up and leave.
Mike was making fuzz of Tish’s short wedge cut.
Her dark black hair fell under the teeth of the clippers, leaving behind tan skin with a dark five o’clock shadow.
She had only seen this on a man’s face, now her eyes were seeing it on a different place.
The cape fell from around Tish’s neck, into her lap causing some strands of hair to tumble down her legs. Tish shook them off as they tried to rest there.
Her head was wrapped in the warm towel, as Mike began working lather in the shaving mug.
She and Candi exchanged winks and smiles.
Sally’s attention was brought back to herself, as she felt fingers combing through her hair.
With a strange feeling in her she looked at Candi.
“Maybe Thursday,” Candi whispered.
Sally became more nervous than before, it was if Candi was becoming aroused.
Her eyes were glowing as she combed her fingers up the back of Sally’s head.
Sally’s body became strangely stiff, unable to move.
Just a gentle rocking motion, in fear.
“Don’t be afraid,” came Tish’s voice with her head tilted downward, as Mike was shaving up her neck.
“She’s just playing with you.”
Sally heard a soft, but strange giggle from Candi.
As she turned to look at her, she was smiling like a little angel.
Sally tried to watch Tish’s head shaving but now she felt strange sitting next to Candi.
Mike just went about shaving, making the shadow disappear somewhat.
“The Sun will darken her scalp,” Sally thought to herself.
But, why did she care if Tish’s head was tanned darker?
Tish’s head was tilted to the right as the straight razor began shaving the left side of her head. Short strokes were taken coming over the top of her left ear.
A few more strokes and Tish would be bald like Candi and the others.
Mike re-wrapped her head with the warm towel, re-lathered her head for a second shaving as he had done to all the others.
Was this a sexual turn-on for him, always shaving the women’s head twice?
But, she had never seen him completely shave a man’s head, so she did not know for sure if he did shave them twice, also.
Tish was enjoying the lathering, her head softly rocking like a joystick of a video game.
He began shaving the top of her head, unlike the others.
Stroke after stroke made her scalp smoother, shining in the light of the shop.
Her head began to look like a man who had no hair on the top of his head.
When Candi saw this, she even made a comment about it.
They laughed as Mike looked in the mirror to see for himself.
Tish began to clown around and talk in a high man’s voice.
Soon, Mike had her head tilted to the left as he began shaving the right side.
Sally looked around to see if anyone had walked in while her mind was bringing out those strange images of herself.
But, there was no one but them.
Her eyes caught sight of children playing a few feet from the shop.
She heard the voices of men and women as they walked by.
But, none of them came in.
Tish stretched her neck to the right, as if in discomfort.
“Just a few more,” Mike told her.
She smiled as he began shaving the back left side of her head.
Five, six more strokes and he was finished.
Tish’s head was wrapped in the warm towel again, her head wiped clean of any shaving cream. He gently rubbed her scalp with some skin cream.
Then, he dusted her shaven head and face with the sweet powder.
Tish’s hand rose to her head.
“Aaaaaaaaa,” she let out.
“Feels great. Too bad I can only shave my head this time of the year.”
Candi stood up and rushed to the chair.
She and Tish rubbed each other’s shaven head.
Both looked great, as they would say.
For some reason Sally was beginning to see why they buzzed or shaved their heads.
But, she still had her career to think about.
Candi and Tish walked out the shop, as if she were not there.
Mike began sweeping the hair on the floor, again as if she were not there.
She got up and walked to the door.
“See you tomorrow,” Mike told her.
“Tomorrow,” she thought to herself. “Tomorrow was Wednesday, not Friday or Thursday as Candi had said.
“But, why was she worried about it, or any other days, she was not going to get shaved or even buzzed for that matter.”
She just smiled at him and walked out the door.
“At last,” she said to herself. “I can walk out the shop.”
City in the Mountains
By Jim B. ©opyright January 2010
The walk back to her cabin was long for Sally, her mind would flash images of the boys and girls, and men and women with their heads buzzed or shaved. Every few images she would see herself buzzed or shaven.
As she neared the lake a group of teenagers dashed before her, each with shaven heads.
It was hard for her to imagine herself with a buzzed hair cut, even harder with a shaven head.
But, her deepest thoughts saw her as such.
She tried to block the images out of her mind, only to have them come back stronger and more plentiful. Each time they would be clearer than the ones before.
She could see her face, her eyes.
Walking the trail was rough enough, with its winding into the trees and along the lake.
But, it was even harder when she came upon men and women with buzzed hair cuts or shaven heads.
Her mind would wander off the trail trying to think of some of the pleasures this country offered.
When she approached the last turn to the lake, she heard the sounds of two people, engaged in what could only be sexual intercourse, behind a large fallen tree.
She tried to walk past them, but her inter-thoughts gave in.
Slowly and carefully she approached the fallen tree the sounds were coming from, her head crawling over it to view Sara and another woman.
The woman was clean-shaven, like Sara, but Sally had not met her.
She could not believe what she was seeing, though she had known of such.
Women cutting all their hair off, shaving their heads bald.
Now, for the first time in her life, she was also seeing two women making love.
This scared her.
It was hard for her to adjust to the haircutting, now she would have to do the same for this.
She crawled back from the tree and ran to her cabin.
Out of breath she sat on the porch looking out over the lake.
It was clear, no one boating, no one fishing, no one swimming; just the cool breeze and setting sun.
She sat thinking, thinking about what her friends would say about this place.
What they would say about her for staying.
Her mind became a bundle of images, thoughts.
Was Candi right?
Was she doomed to join the buzzing and shaving?
Sally tired to think of other things, to bring her mind to focus on her career.
She laid her head back, looking up at the blue-gray sky as it faded into darkness. The Sun slowly disappeared in the west, as the moonlight came into view.
Her breath began to come under her control, slowing its quickened pace.
Her hands rose to her head, her fingers combing through her red hair.
How peaceful it felt.
It was dinnertime, so she fixed herself some of the fish she had caught.
“Life food” a friend of hers had called fish.
“Eat a lot of fish and you will live longer,” she had told her.
As she started frying the fish her mind began flashing to Sara and her daughter, Sandy.
The day she sat viewing Sara getting her head shaved and Sandy coming in with the string of fish.
How strange it was seeing a woman getting her head shaved, then telling the barber it was O.K. to shave her daughter’s head.
No parent would approve of such, or give such instructions.
The image of the next morning, when Penny came to visit her with her head shaved.
Telling her of how it was done, even becoming excited about it.
All this was beyond anything Sally was able to imagine.
The day Mike offered to buzz her head, being told by two teenage girls she should shave her head.
How open minded could these people be.
After dinner Sally walked to the lake. To wade in the cool shallow water, to feel the sand between her toes and the soft waves rush against her legs.
“What’s up?” came a man’s voice.
Sally turned looking for it, becoming a little scared when she did not make contact with it right away.
“Over here,” the voice beckoned her.
Again she looked around, this time her eyes saw the image of a man sitting on a large rock by the lake.
As she walked closer to him she could make out the image, it was Ron, Jean’s husband.
“Hey,” Sally replied when she recognized him. “Where is Jean?”
“She’s swimming,” he said, pointing to the lake. “See by the canoes?”
Sally looked closer and saw a woman swimming in the nude. The moonlight reflecting off the water made a soft gray canvas of her body on the lake, with the top of her shaven head showing as if it was a glass.
“How come you’re not with her?” Sally asked him.
He looked at her.
“Word is you will be getting your head shaved by Friday,” he inquired.
“WHAT?” Sally tossed back. “Who told you such a thing?”
He looked at her. His eyes glowed in the light of the moon, as if he were a werewolf looking for a prey.
He smiled, pointing to his wife in the lake.
“Jean says you will have it done before dinner time tomorrow. The others are with Thursday or Friday.
“Friday seems to carry the most votes.
“But, Sara and Candi are with tomorrow.”
Sally stood, shocked, as she tried to make a decent conversation.
She tried to change the subject.
“How’s the baseball team doing”, Sally asked him. “I haven’t heard much about them.”
Ron looked at her.
“Feels strange talking about cutting your hair?” he coolly said.
“We thought the same thing years ago.
”But, Mike showed us it was not that unusual.”
“Noooo, I can talk about my hair,” Sally commented. “But, I have a career to look out for.”
“Career?” Ron said as he looked back at her. “A career has nothing to do with one’s hair, nor how you cut it.”
“Why?” Sally asked. “Why are you so interested in me and my hair?”
“Hey,” came the voice of Jean, as she walked up from the lake.
“See you two met.”
“Just talking about Sally getting her head shaved tomorrow or the next day,” Ron told Jean.
“You’re going to love it,” Jean commented.
“It’s like having sex for the first time.
“You want to do it, but when you do it feels wrong.
“But, the next time around it’s as if you have been doing it all your life.”
“Who the hell are you people?” Sally demanded.
“Who do you think you are, to… to… want to see me shave my head? Is it some kind of game with you people?”
Jean and Ron looked at each other and smiled.
Sally stood staring at them.
“How could they?” she thought to herself.
“See you tomorrow,” Jean said, as she and Ron walked off into the trees.
Sally stood dumbfounded. She watched them blend into the trees.
“How could they?” she spoke out loud. “I should pack tonight and get the hell out of here before I end up in the nut farm.”
“This is worse than the big city,” she said out loud as she walked up to her cabin.
The more she thought about it, the more her mind brought out the images. It was becoming a headache for her.
This was worse than a bad script.
She was never treated like this back home.
No one questioned her about her hair, or told her how she should cut it. They only commented about her changes, like this China Doll cut.
She was pleased that others liked it like she did. She thought she looked great with it.
So, why would she consider cutting her hair off?
Why would anyone want to shave his or her head?
The breeze from the lake did not help her tonight. It only made those images come out more.
They were somehow beginning to take over her every thought. She was unable to think of anything, without seeing women with buzzed or shaven heads.
Was she going crazy?
She lay on the couch with her eyes open, hoping the images and thoughts would stop and give her a rest. Her body began to toss around on the couch as she tried to hide from the images and thoughts.
From the buzzed and shaven heads.
To forget what she had seen the last few days.
“Why?” she wondered.
“Why would any woman want to shave her head?
“It does nothing for them.
“Or, does it?”
Her need for sleep became stronger than the images, slowly her eyes closed letting her fall to sleep. The breeze rushed throughout the cabin like a gentle children’s song, slowly singing her to a deep sleep.
A song a mother would sing to her child.
A soft breeze blew through the open windows of the cabin, brushing across Sally’s warm cheek.
She turned her head to the open window as the Sun’s rays flickered through the trees. She heard the gentle sound of the birds, singing to awaken her to a new day.
Her mind was clear, no thoughts or images of women with buzzed or shaven heads bouncing around in it.
“Coffee,” she said. “Coffee. A nice cup of coffee will wake me.”
As she got up she looked for anyone coming up the trail to her cabin.
To see if there were any reflections, off a scalp or two.
To listen for the sounds of someone, anyone, playing down at the lake.
There were none, just the birds with their pleasing songs.
She poured her cup and walked onto the porch.
The Sun was becoming bright as it rose above the mountain. She could smell the lake as the breeze blew from it. Still there was no sound of anyone playing down by it.
She went about her planned morning of cleaning the cabin with a late morning swim in the now warm water of the lake.
No one was there but her and the fish.
The waves bounced off the rowboats, canoes, and the sandy shore.
They were small ones caused by the gentle breeze blowing across the lake.
The wind and Sun dried her hair out fast as she swam.
Each time she would duck under the waves, wetting her hair, she could feel it stick to her face when she came up.
The Sun was at its highest now.
“It must be noon,” she thought.
Gathering her towel she dried herself for the walk back to her cabin.
She picked up the sunning lotion and looked around.
Her ears caught the sound of a boat being pushed into the lake. It was four females, mothers she thought, each with shaven heads.
They rowed the boat to the middle and dove in for a swim. The bright sunlight reflected into her eyes, so she could not tell who they were.
After changing into she shorts and a tank top she walked to the little city.
She needed some bread and a few cans of soft drink, and to catch up on the news and listen to some music.
As she approached the shops she noticed there were not many people walking around, like they had been for the past few days.
There was no sound of children playing, nor music from the general store. It was if the city were a ghost town in the old west.
It was a strange feeling she had come over her. As if she were dreaming.
“Over here,” came a soft male’s voice.
“Sally, everyone is over here,” the voice calmly yelled to her again.
“We’re over here at the barbershop.”
Sally tuned around and saw a man waving her over.
Hesitantly she looked around for others, to catch three shaven-headed women walking toward the barbershop.
As she started walking toward the shop she felt a tug at her blouse.
“Better hurry up,” the voice said.
“Why?” Sally questioned. “What’s happening?”
The female turned around, and began walking backwards.
She told Sally, “Mary is getting her head shaved for the first time.”
She turned around just as she reached the barbershop.
Sally quickened her steps, rushing to see Mary get her head shaved.
As she reached the front door of the barbershop her eyes looked in the door. It was full of people, sitting, standing, watching.
Her head peeked in the door to see Mike standing behind the chair.
But, there was no one in it.
She let her eyes view those in the shop. All had a buzzed or shaven head.
There were only adults, no children or teenagers were visible.
“Sally!” Someone called out her name.
“Sally, come sit here!”, her name was called out again with a command.
She looked down the row of wire-rimmed chairs.
There she saw Penny waving for her to come sit by her.
Sally walked slowly past the others as they looked up at her.
“Sit here,” Penny recommended, patting her hand on the chair next to her. “This is my pain in the ass, Ken. Ken, this is Sally.”
Sally looked over at Ken and said “Hi” and he returned the welcome.
“I know this is going to sound stupid,” Sally whispered to Penny.
“But what is going on and who is Mary?”
“That’s right, we never told you about Mary,” Penny whispered back.
“She has been living here for the last four years, and when it is buzzing time she leaves,” Penny continued.
“She always returns a few days before the weather starts turning cold, and she never had her hair cut.
“But, this year she is staying home and is going to get her head shaved by Mike.”
“By the way,” Ken spoke. “I hope you will wait until after Friday to get your head shaved. I have a thousand on it.”
Sally looked at Ken with disbelief.
Now they were placing bets on her!
“Where is Mary?” Sally asked of Penny.
“Said she would be here about 3pm,” Penny replied. “But, Mike has a few others to do before her.”
Sally looked around. She saw no one with hair but herself.
Then, she heard Mike’s voice.
“O.K., where are my two new customers?”
Everyone began looking around, Sally hoped Mike was not talking about her and they were not looking at her.
Then, the back door opened.
In stepped two ladies.
Both had hair to their shoulders, one dark black and the other a rusty red color.
They walked past everyone who looked them over.
“The dark-haired one is Pam and the other one, the redhead, is Babs.
“They are bisexual and moved up here last winter,” Penny whispered to Sally.
Sally looked at Penny shaking her head as if she understood.
Babs sat in the wire-rimmed chair by the door, and Pam climbed into the barber’s chair.
With the skill Sally had seen before, Mike tossed the cape across her and pulled it up and fastened it behind her. Pam turned her head to Babs and gave her a wink.
“CLICK, hummmmmmm,” came the sound Sally had heard many times since her arrival.
Mike placed his left hand on top of Pam’s head and pushed it gently downward. His right hand brought the singing clippers up her nape, higher to the arch of her head.
A pile of hair was pushed until the clippers stopped and the hair was tossed to the side with a flick of Mike’s wrist. The clippers returned to her nape and upward they rose to toss another pile of hair to the floor.
He worked faster then before.
Each upward stroke ended with hair being tossed to the floor or falling into the cape. Pam’s eyes were looking at Babs sitting as she watched.
They smiled at each other.
Mike tilted Pam’s head to the left, running the clippers up the right side of her head.
Her cape-covered lap was beginning to fill up with the hair being clipped from her head.
Slowly the dark black hair began to cover the cape, looking like a black hole in outer space.
Babs watched, taking a deep breath with each upward movement of the clippers.
Mike brushed his hand over the clippered side and back of Pam’s head, as if to brush sticking hairs away. With the clippers still singing their song, Mike walked around to the left side of the chair and pushed her head to the right.
Working from the back, over her ears, he finished the left side and began pushing the clippers over the top of her head.
Moving from the back to the front the clippers pushed a pile of dark hair.
When it stopped the pile fell down into the cape, passing Pam’s wide-opened eyes.
Another pass was made, then he walked around to the right side and made quick work of the clippers.
“CLICK!” and the clippers stopped singing. Mike hung them on the hook under the shelf.
A large white towel was tossed into the sink of running water, as Mike filled the shaving dispenser. He tucked another towel in the collar of her blouse then wrapped her head with the first one.
He turned to the dispenser as he looked at the clock above the mirror.
It was a quarter to two.
He filled his hand with the warm shaving cream, turned and removed the towel from Pam’s head. It was tossed into a basket under the shelf with others.
Sally looked at Pam sitting there, her head being jerked around as Mike lathered it.
First, to cover the clippings, then being rubbed to work the lather between each little standing hair of fuzz.
A second coating was applied covering the first.
“A cap of white”, Sally remembered someone calling it.
Mike picked up the safety razor and began shaving Pam’s head in front.
Each stroke was short, revealing untanned skin.
Each stroked showed the paleness of Pam’s scalp, how her dark black hair had covered it, protecting it from the sun.
The crowd looked on as if they were watching a theater act.
Every eye had watched as the clippers had made its way across Pam’s head, leaving behind a buzzed cut.
As Mike lathered her head, and now as he was razoring away what small pieces of hair were left.
Soon she would be bald like most of the women.
Sally could not help but watch the presentation Mike was putting on.
One with three acts, each with the main character ending up clipped and shaved bald.
The citizens watching as an attentive audience would. Watching every detail of each act, not missing one movement.
Babs watched, seeing her fate unfold before her in the form of her friend.
Her act to follow, would it be the same?
Mike began shaving the right side of Pam’s head, searching for unwanted hairs after each stroke. Stretching the skin as he shaved away from its hold.
A five o’clock shadow was beginning to show, as if she was not being shaved.
But, the days in the Sun would do away with it in the days to follow.
The last stroke was taken and the razor put to rest, for now.
He removed the cape, dusted her shaven head, and she stepped out with arms outstretched.
Babs, her lover, rose with reaching hands to feel what her fate would be.
But, Pam’s outstretched arms stopped her short.
“When you are bald,” she told her.
Babs’ eyes lit up with unreasonable pleasure. A smile told of her willingness to follow her lover’s wish.
Babs climbed into the chair as Mike tossed the cape across her.
The cape was brought up and around her neck and pinned in the back.
“CLICK, Hmmmmmmmmmm,” came the song of the clippers.
Their song singing again, for they must go to work.
Babs’ head was pushed downward as the clippers began their upward movement on her neck and head. A pile of red was pushed upward, with little tumbles to the side.
It was tossed up and away from her head, floating to the floor into a dark black sea of her lover’s hair.
Her hair, thicker and fuller, began to cover the dark sea as more joined the first pile.
Her head was rolled to the left as the clippers came over the top of her right ear. The pile of hair fell into her lap as it was pulled from her eyesight.
She felt the warm clippers being pushed back over her head, as Mike’s fingers pushed her right ear down out of their way.
Her eyes caught sight of them come up and over her head.
Backwards over the top of her head Mike pushed the clippers.
A pile of hair tumbled down her back to the floor.
The clippers came back forward and were pushed backwards over her head for a second time. She began to feel the cool breeze flowing through the window as Mike walked around to her left side.
The clippers began to clip her hair away as they came over the top of her left ear.
One stroke, a second stroke, a third and a fourth stroke was taken leaving behind a buzzed scalp.
Her red mane began to mingle with that of her lover’s dark black strands.
“CLICK!”, the sound of the clippers stopped. Again they were hung under the shelf.
The sound of running water filled the shop, telling all the final part of the act was to begin.
The whining of the dispenser as it filled Mike’s hand with warm shaving cream.
The towel removed, he began lathering Babs’ head. Slowly he worked the cream into her buzzed cut.
A second layer of white was added to cover the first, to weaken the short strands for removal by a hungry razor.
Each stroke was short, his fingers testing for unshaven hair and smoothness.
First to become smooth was the back of her head.
The razor shaved her nape first, then higher to the back of the head.
The left side was the next to become a skin of smoothness.
Her head was tilted to the left as Mike began shaving the right side of her head.
She looked at herself in the mirror, she looked strange with the little white cap.
Before she could think of something funny to tell herself, Mike was razoring the top of her head smooth. Stroke after stroke revealed her soft pale skin.
It was not dark like Pam’s, but whiter because of her red hair.
Her fair skin would be hard to darken, taking longer than others.
As he began shaving the remaining lather from her head, he looked at the clock. “2:55 p.m.,” it showed.
Mike began looking around, as did some of the others.
Would Mary be on time, or had she left town as she had done for years?
The last stroke was made. The razor was tossed onto the shelf.
Mike undid the cape and let it fall to Babs’ lap. He dusted her head with sweet powder.
As he removed the cape from across her, her arms came up reaching out for her lover.
Pam was standing in front of the chair as she stood up. Their hands rose to each other’s head and they began to softly rub. They gave each other a quick kiss and turned to show everyone.
“We have joined you,” Pam announced.
Just then, everyone’s eyes turned to the door as Mary walked in.
Her hair hung freely down her back.
To her waist and beyond, as if it were reaching for the floor.
Dark brown, with a hint of natural sunlight blonding.
She walked to the chair.
Mike took a clean cape from the cabinet and tossed it across her as she sat.
“I want it in a braid,” she told him.
The cape pinned together in back, he began braiding her hair into a single long thick braid.
It reached halfway to the floor when he had finished.
With the braid finished he turned and took hold of the hungry clippers.
“CLICK, Hmmmmmm,” they were singing their song.
Mike took hold of the braid holding it high over her head for everyone to see. He started in the back clipping the hair loose from her nape.
One upward pass, a second, a third, six passes the clippers made to clear the hair from their victim’s head. Slowly the clippers moved up the back of her head under the base of the long thick braid.
Next to fall to their song was the right side of her head.
Slowly cutting strands in a row, hair was parted from her head. In front of the ear, over the ear, behind the ear the clipper’s song sang loud and clear.
Mike moved around to the left side of his victim, clippers still humming for all to hear. Like the right side they made their way up her head.
The strands fell limp, dangling in mid-air looking for their anchor.
No longer to grow to long lengths, no longer to be washed by her gentle fingers. To be brushed to a shining glow that shined in the sunlight.
The paleness of her scalp was now showing, twitching its eye as the sun came upon it.
Then, coming from the front he moved the clippers back over her head to break the final ties of the braid.
Stroke after stroke hair came loose.
The last push of the clippers sent her head bobbing as if to say “YES, yes ….., finally free!”
The braid was lifted free of her head.
With the clippers still singing their song, Mike held it high for all to see, like a trophy scalp an Indian would have taken.
Then, he laid it in Mary’s outstretched hand. Her trophy now, to remind her of the years of her life it took.
The cape was removed, it had not really been needed this time, as her head was wrapped in a warm towel.
The whining sound told of the final act to her head.
As he had the others, her head was lathered.
The first layer to be worked into the buzzed cut, the second layer covering the buzzing.
A safety razor was again used.
As he began shaving her head Sally noticed Mike looked as if he was enjoying this shaving, and she let Penny know this.
“Yes,” Penny said, she was noticing the same thing. It was as if he were now accomplishing something for the first time.
He was slow to shave her head, as if it was planned this way.
Her head was not tilted as were the others.
Each stroke was longer, with a second stroke being taken over the first.
It was now 3:45pm and he was now just finishing the right side of her head.
Her head tilted a little forward as he shaved her nape, up the back of her head to the arch.
Slowly the razor came over the top of her left ear.
4pm, the clock showed as he began shaving the last of her buzzed cut on top.
Everyone was beginning to wonder if it was all a show being put on for them.
They were becoming unsettled.
Then, with theatrical movements he tossed the razor onto the shelf.
A warm towel wiped her scalp clean of any remaining lather. He patted her scalp dry with another towel and applied the powder.
Without saying a word or doing anything special, not as the others had, she stepped out the chair and walked out the shop.
Everyone looked at each other.
They stood and started to walk out as you would a theater.
Sally sat looking at the hair, which had fallen to the floor.
Her mind began showing her the images of herself.
Her mind began to speak to her.
Through the crowd walking out she could see Mike standing by the right side of the chair, the white cape in his hands ready for the next customer.
Slowly her breathing began to quicken.
Her body began to weaken.
She stood and started walking out.
As if the crowd was guiding her, her body stopped by the chair.
Her eyes looked at Mike, the cape in his hand, at the chair.
Her mind showed her sitting in the chair, as her hair came falling off her head.
City in the Mountains
By Jim B.
Chapter IV – “The final step”
Sally’s eyes became focused on the chair.
Her mind could see the girls and women as they had their turn in it.
Each acted as if getting their hair buzzed off, or their heads shaved, were something women did at this time of every year. As if it were the normal thing for women to do.
Mike put the cape over the back of the chair, as if Sally were not standing there.
The cape was ready for the next customer, for her, or his, hair to cover it until there was no more to come tumbling on to it.
Strands that would join many before them somewhere only Mike knew.
Candi had stopped outside the doorway, waiting for Sally to go with her to the general store. Some of her requested items had arrived early that day.
Candi noticed Sara, Jean, and two other women looking back into the barbershop.
Their eyes were focused on something.
As they slowly started walking back to the doorway Candi turned around.
She stood watching Sally, her mind in a wondering state, her eyes fixed on the barber chair.
“Is she?” Candi thought to herself.
Candi felt Jean’s hand on her shoulder.
“Do you thinking she is going to?” Jean whispered into Candi’s right ear.
Candi shrugged her shoulders in an “I don’t know” way.
Slowly Sara slid her right arm around Candi’s waist.
“I think she is just thinking about it,” she whispered into Candi’s left ear.
Candi felt Sara’s heavy breathing, as her right hand slowly moved up from her waist.
As Sara placed a soft kiss on the left side of Candi’s head, her right hand gently cupped the bottom half of her right breast.
Candi turned her head to the left.
She smiled at Sara, who was giving her a wink.
Candi shook her head “yes”.
“Are you coming to get your order?” Candi spoke loudly breaking Sally’s mixed thoughts.
“Hua?” Sally said as if she was woken from a deep sleep.
She shook her head and blinked her eyes. “What?”
“I said, part of your order came in today,” Candi told her. “I just wanted to know if you were going to come with me and pick it up.”
Sally shook her head again.
She looked around for Mike, but he had disappeared into the back of the shop.
Her eyes, glazed like a crystal glass, looked at the chair, then the women standing in the doorway.
“Oh,” her voice cracked. “I’ll come get it.”
“Well, let’s go,” Candi sparked. “I have something I have to get taken care of.”
With that Sara removed her hand from Candi’s breast, Jean and the other women turned and walked away.
Sara reached her hand out to Sally.
“Thinking about it,” she told Sally.
“About what?” Sally asked.
“CLICK – BUZZZZ,” Candi sounded as her eyebrows rose in anticipation of a favorable reply.
“Don’t be so silly,” Sally said meaningfully. “It will be a long time before you see me in that barber’s chair.”
They walked over to the little store, where Candi and Sara helped Sally put her things into her car.
As she drove off Candi and Sara waved, Sara’s right hand rising behind Candi to come to rest on her soft behind.
Sara turned her head a little, “Come my dear, we have a problem to take care of.”
They walked to Candi’s apartment above the store.
When Sally arrived at her cabin, she unloaded the things and put them away. She fixed herself a soft drink, with a little short of bourbon “to calm my thoughts,” was her reasoning.
As the next few days passed Sally began writing about the events which had happened, since her arrival.
Her story began, “No one is going to believe this quiet little place and what happens here every year.”
Her first time at writing something and it would have to be about something many would find strange, and others would call fictional.
For her it was reality.
If she did not put in writing no one would believe her.
Then, again not many would even when it was finished.
“Oh well, at least it may get published,” she thought. Her first book, something many actresses had done.
Maybe some producer would read it and turn it into a movie. She could get a good price for them to do so. The money would come in handy.
Each night she would write a little, wanting to make sure she remembered what was done, to whom it was done, and the many other things she had seen and heard about.
Days began to turn into a week. Soon she noticed the date.
She would only be here three more months.
She could hardly believe she had spent three months.
Three wonderful but crazy months.
Months no one would believe, months she hardly believed herself.
The weather had been a mixture of cool nights and warm days, with a few days of rain. The mist lay until mid-morning for a few weeks.
But, for the last four days, the Sun had been coming up early and the temperature was getting higher each day.
Yesterday it reached the mid 90’s, and the low 100’s was predicted for today.
It had been almost a month since she was in to get some groceries, read a newspaper or even talk to her neighbors.
They must think she had left, or maybe become a female hermit.
After making a list of things she needed, she put on a summer skirt, a short sun blouse, and tennis shoes.
She walked through the woods and was shielded by the tall pine trees. Just a flicker of sunlight caught her “in the cabin” eyes, causing her to see spots.
She heard the sound of the children swimming and boating on the lake, the soft song the birds were singing, and felt the fresh air.
“A good day for a swim,” she thought to herself. “I’ll sneak over to the little place Sara told me about, and do a little skinny dipping.”
As she approached the little city, she heard someone call out, “Where’ve you been hiding?”
She looked around to see who it was, but could not see anyone close to her.
But, when she reached the general store everyone was interested in where she had been keeping herself.
She explained her first adventure in writing.
That she had chosen this little city to write about.
“No one would believe what goes on up here this time of the year,” she told them.
“What do you mean?” asked Mr. Crammer, who ran the boat launch by the lake.
“You know,” Sally said as if she had said something they did not know about. “You know, how all of you get your head shaved.”
They looked at each other, wondering what she was talking about.
As if she was talking about something strange, but to them it was normal.
Something they found as a way of life.
Sally decided to stop there, as she could see the looks on their faces. It was enough to make her think they were maybe right, and the rest of the planet wrong.
It was around 3pm and the Sun was still high in the skin.
The heat from it made even sitting in the shade hot.
The thermometer read 102 degrees, the humidity gauge read 100 percent.
Everyone was wearing short pants and short sleeved shirts or blouses.
Many were walking around in bare feet, dancing and jumping every time they touched a hot stop of dirt.
Jack, Candi’s father and the owner of the general store, was doing good business selling soft drinks. The children were drinking more than usual, as were the adults.
Mr. Crammer was allowing the teenagers to use the boat and canoes for free, as they would paddle to the center of the lake and go diving in the deep part. On the floating dock some were sunbathing.
He had ordered a lot of Sun tanning lotion and sold almost all of it that morning alone.
The heat had water running off their buzzed or shaven heads. It became sticky when it dripped down the blouse or shirt.
“Glad I got my head shaved yesterday,” said one teenager as she and two others, also with their heads shaved, came out the general store.
Was this statement meant for her?
As she watched them run towards the lake, her thoughts of how they must feel came to mind.
No hair to stick to your neck or face.
The thought almost had her wishing she had her head shaved, or at least buzzed close.
The more she watched and saw the women with their heads so cool, the more her mind, her deep mind, became hypnotized by the thought.
Her eyes turned to the barbershop.
“I wonder if anyone is there,” she thought.
Her breathing slowly started growing with anticipation. Her body was nervously moving, moving her towards the barbershop.
The barbershop for the chair, and to watch and feel the relief she would get with her hair cut short.
Not buzzed or shaved, but short.
“A nice comfortable short haircut. One everyone back home would like on me,” she told herself.
Dryness came to her throat. She took a sip of her soft drink.
She looked around, the Sun shining in her eyes to block any view she wanted.
“Has anyone seen…?” she asked, but stopped.
There he was.
Mike was sitting in the doorway of his barbershop. No one was there but him.
“This would be the right time,” she said under her breath.
She stood up and tossed her empty soft drink can in the barrow with the others.
She looked at the barbershop again.
Her mind was now being over-ruled by the heat.
“It was time”, she told herself. “Time to get her hair cut shorter.
“Shorter, but not buzzed or shaved. Just a few inches, say three or four”.
“Where you off to?” asked Candi, who was filling the ice bucket.
“It’s time,” she said to her.
“Time?” Candi asked in a voice of high anticipation. “Time for what?”
“A few inches,” Sally replied as she took a deep breath and started walking towards the barbershop.
Her pace was slow, as if she were walking in a Jazz funeral.
The closer she got the more her heart began to sound.
Her eyes focused on Mike, wondering if he would know why she was walking towards him and the barbershop as such.
Mike looked up from the newspaper with a glance. He looked back at the newspaper as Sally came around the big pine tree.
She was about fifteen yards from the barbershop where she stopped.
“Am I doing the right thing?” she wondered.
“It’s only hair,” came a soft voice, one she had not heard from in many years.
With a lump in her throat she took another deep breath.
Mike looked over the top of the newspaper, as Sally came closer.
He slid from the middle of the doorway, to see what she would do.
Her hands were twitching in each other.
Was it a nervous twitch, she asked herself.
Her throat became drier the closer she got to the barbershop.
She looked up and saw the big chair through the window.
There was no one in it.
She stopped in front of Mike, her breathing deep and heavy.
She smiled at Mike as he looked up at her from the newspaper.
“Just a few inches,” she told him.
Mike folded the newspaper as she stepped into his barbershop.
She was now on his playing field.
It was his game they would be playing, just as he had played with the others.
As he turned and entered the door Sally was standing by the chair, her left hand out, gently brushing the leather of the right arm, her eyes staring at the footrest.
Mike walked behind the chair and pulled the cape from the bar behind the chair.
With a flicking movement of his arms the cape was popped open.
Sally’s left hand slowly reached for the left armrest.
Her right foot slowly stepped on to the metal plate of the footrest.
Her body slowly turned and rested into the chair.
Her eyes closed as she took a deep breath in relief.
The nervousness became a tightening in her stomach.
Her beating heart became soundless, as if it had stopped.
Another deep breath and her eyes opened, looking at her in the mirrored wall.
“You did it,” the mirror said to her. “Just sit and watch. Enjoy…”
Mike tossed the cape across her, as she saw the barbershop begin to fill with her neighbors, Candi, Sara, Jean, and Penny.
Gail, Penny’s daughter, and some of the teenage girls sat on the floor in front of their mothers.
Some of the boys were standing and sitting in the back of the shop.
The men were looking in from the doorway or the window.
There were more there than when Pam had had her head shaved.
And, she was only getting a few inches cut off.
Just above the ears, something like a bowl cut of kind.
She smiled as she looked over her gallery of spectators.
It was as if she were at a convention of some kind.
The patient in a surgery theater.
All eyes were on her, on Mike.
Her eyes caught Mike bring the comb to the center of her head.
He began making a center part, from the front to the back of her head. He combed each section to its fullest.
Slowly he worked his way around her head, her hair becoming free, flying in the breeze of the ceiling fan. He sprayed her head with warm water, combing each section back off her face.
She had never combed her hair this way. It looked strange.
Boyish, or butch, as some back home would call it.
Only women who like other women combed their hair this way, back off their face in a boyish style.
Was shaving their heads a way for the women to cover their true selves?
But, why the men?
Her mind was brought back to reality as she heard the scissors starting their first slice.
Mike had begun cutting at the center part.
The strands of the first section hung in front of her right eye.
He combed it three times before sliding the section between his fingers.
He hesitated, as he looked at her in the mirror.
His fingers were holding the section of hair just two inches from her head.
She closed her eyes.
“Two inches too long” she thought.
Just as her eyes opened she heard the sound of the scissors cutting the strands.
Slowly they started falling before her eyes.
He let go and combed another section.
This time he did not hesitate, nor did he look at her in the mirror.
She was in his playing field.
The second section fell past her right eye, not touching her face like the first.
Another section was combed, the scissors quickly cut their way through it. It tumbled from his fingers, making a quick soft touch of her right cheek.
The fourth section was combed and cut, falling behind the chair where she could not see it fall.
The cut section was standing straight up, as if telling her.
Mike started combing and cutting on the left side of the center part.
Each section fell as on the other side of the part.
Candi was leaning over telling the others something.
They looked up at Sally, as Mike was cutting the rest of the right side of her head.
Each section of hair was cut to the same length, two inches from her head. The cape was being filled with her hair, the cut length longer than she wanted it.
Her mind began showing her with a buzzed head.
She tried to shake the image from the mirror, from her mind.
But, it stayed, looking back at her.
She felt Mike’s rough hand shaking her head from side to side, back to front.
Her thoughts came back from the image of her buzzed head, to see her hair shorter than she had ever had it cut.
Shorter than she wanted it cut.
She watched as Mike put the comb and scissors down on the shelf.
As his right hand reached under the shelf, his left brought a small can of oil to it.
There was a loud “CLICK” with a steady humming.
A soft lump came to her throat.
The onlookers took a breath and watched with anticipation.
Mike walked to the right side of the chair, the clippers singing their song.
Their eyes locked on each other in the mirror.
Sally made a dry swallow as Mike brought the clippers to the center of her forehead.
She took a deep breath as he quickly pushed the clippers back over her head.
A pile of hair was being pushed back, some of the clipped strands falling to the sides.
Behind it was left hair half an inch in length.
Her eyes grew as the clippers came back singing their cries of victory.
The second pass was made on the right side of the first one down the center of her head. The clipped hairs fell down onto her shoulder, some tumbling into her lap.
The third was made just above her ear. A short upward pass was made in front of her right ear.
Mike placed his left hand on top of her head and tilted it until her chin was resting at the bottom of her throat.
She looked up at the mirror; she could just see what he was going to do.
The clippers made contact with the skin below her hairline.
The humming sound began to cut her hair, as strands fell to the floor behind the chair.
One, two, three… six passes upward and the back of her neck and head was as short as the right side.
Standing on the left side of the chair, Mike began clipping her head the same way he did the right side.
First pass was made left of the center clipping pass.
Three backward passes, two upward passes and he was finished.
Her hair was standing up, standing up half an inch.
“Just the beginning,” the image in the mirror told her. “Just the beginning…”
Her breathing had slowed, her heartbeat was almost normal; her thoughts were blurred.
Candi was sitting nervously watching.
Sara, Jean and Penny were holding hands, as if in prayer.
The image of Mike came clear to her eyes in the mirror.
He was holding the singing clippers in his right hand.
There was no cover on their hungry teeth.
His left hand brushed over her half-inch hairs from the front to the back. At the back it came to a rest, holding her head still from any movement.
Slowly the clippers came up to the center of her head, stopping just within eyesight.
Her eyes were almost cross-eyed as they watched.
Watched to see what the clippers were going to do.
Candi was now holding hands with the other three, their eyes staring into hers.
The humming sound got louder as Mike moved the clippers to the hairline.
The hungry teeth chewed at her hair, to do away with each strand as they made contact.
The image in the mirror began to chant.
Her eyes made contact with Mike. She took a deep breath, causing her body to rise.
Not a word was said.
Before she could blink her eyes the humming clippers turned to a cutting sound.
She watched in fear, in joy, as the clippers left behind a buzzed scalp.
The movement of the onlookers was as if they finally had what they wanted.
She became relaxed as the clippers came back for their next pass back over her head. Her body became relieved as the second pass began.
Quickly Mike made pass after pass, leaving behind only an eighth of an inch of hair.
“Fuzz,” she recalled one girl calling it. Fuzz to be shaved, shaved.
Her eyes grew large as the image smiled a “YES” to her.
Her thoughts were now of her head being shaved.
Shaved bald like Candi, Sara, Jean, Penny, and the other women and girls.
Like the men and boys.
She tried to shake the thought as Mike was finishing up clipping the right side.
Clipping it to a buzz cut.
As she looked at herself in the mirror, her red China Doll hair cut grown out a few inches and now all that was left to the right side was a buzz cut.
As Mike buzzed the back of her head and neck the image told her, “Soon you will have that pretty buzzed cut everyone has been telling you to get.”
The more she looked at the image, the more she looked at Candi, Sara, Jean, and Penny.
Their shaven heads looked so cool, so soft and gentle.
“Sexy” she had heard Jean’s youngest daughter call it. “Smooth and sexy.”
The eyes of the onlookers were pleased at what they had seen. The image in the mirror was pleased as well.
She watched as the clippers made their last upward pass.
They were pushed upward in front of her left ear, tossing the hairs they clipped into the air and their singing stopping.
Mike walked to the shelf and hung the clippers up.
He returned with the long soft hair duster and began dusting her buzz cut and face and neck. Its softness sent shivers down her spine, causing her body to shake as if with a chill.
She did not think a haircut could feel so good, so great, to give her such relief, as if her hair were begging in pain.
Candi, Sara, Jean, and Penny had let go of each other’s hand.
Sara let her’s gently rest on Candi’s left knee.
Penny gave Sally the thumbs-up sign in approval. She smiled back.
Mike’s right hand reached up and undid the clip holding the cape around her neck, as his left hand pulled something from the cabinet below the shelf.
As the cape slid down her, Mike turned and turned on the hot water in the sink.
She knew what he had removed from the cabinet. She watched in the mirror as Mike moved about behind her.
The sound of running water stopped.
Mike turned around with a large hot towel in his hands.
She took two quick breaths as he wrapped it around her buzz cut.
Her head rose as its warmth touched her sensitive buzzed scalp.
She had watched Sara’s head being wrapped by the warmth of the hot towel.
She began to wonder if this was one of the reasons that they shaved their heads.
As Mike let the warm towel sit on her head, he tucked another one in the collar of her blouse.
“Don’t want to get shaving cream on it,” he whispered to her.
She smiled at him.
The sound of the shaving cream dispenser filled the shop as she, and the onlookers, watched a pile of white grow in his left hand.
Soon, the sound stopped and he turned to her.
His right hand removed the now cool towel from her head. Her buzz cut was damp, the paleness of her scalp showed.
He tossed the towel into the sink of running hot water.
He stepped to the right side of the chair.
His eyes not looking at hers in the mirror, she turned her head toward him.
Her eyes looked at the soft white pile of shaving cream. She closed her eyes and turned her head forward, to watch in the mirror.
As her eyes opened the onlookers were watching with cheering eyes and smiles.
The image in the mirror was smiling at her.
It had no hair.
Its’ head was smooth with the hint of redness and paleness.
Mike took a small amount of shaving cream and began spreading it onto her forehead.
Her body became limp, sliding downwards a little in relief.
His hand took another small amount and began spreading it behind the first.
As she watched with the other onlookers, Mike began spreading the warm shaving cream over her head quickly.
The first layer was worked into the buzzed hair, slowly growing with each spreading. A second layer was applied to cover the eighth of an inch buzz, leaving only a cap of soft white on her head.
When Mike walked to the sink, her four friends huddled in joy.
Joy of seeing their new friend joining them in a smooth shaven haircut.
Sally sat looking at herself in the mirror.
The image she had seen was her.
Mike took hold of the leather strap and began stropping the straight razor over it. The blade began to shine, shine like it did when he stropped it for shaving the others.
Her eyes, her mind, watched, wanting the razor to do away with the white cream and the red fuzzy hairs it covered, to be smooth and bald like the others.
He began at the center part, shaving downward.
Each stroke was short, leaving behind smooth pale reddish skin.
Her mind worked faster than Mike and the razor.
It was shaving long strokes, removing more shaving cream and fuzz than Mike.
The cool breeze from the ceiling fan began to tickle her exposed scalp. Her body began to chill in pleasure.
Did the others feel this too?
As he shaved back over her head he tilted it toward him, shaving an even line back over her head down the center. It was about two inches, looking like a path down a snow-covered mountain.
His left hand pressed her chin up causing her head to tilt to the left.
Soon, the right side of her head was shaved smooth.
The dampness of the warm shaving cream left a glow on the scalp.
Mike tilted her head downward, but not as much as he did when he clipped her, to shave the back of her head and neck.
Her eyes watched the eyes of the onlookers, of her friends sitting in front of her.
They had a pleasing look, one of enjoying what they were seeing.
Her deep mind was feeling pleased she was now pleasing the others, as they had pleased her.
Mike was working his way around the left side of her head.
Soon she would only have skin showing.
No more hair to spend money on, to spend hours at a beauty salon only to walk out with something close to what you wanted.
More time to rest.
As Mike was taking the last few strokes with the razor, Sally began to wonder.
“Who won the bet?” she asked out loud for everyone to hear.
No one said a word.
They just smiled, and she did the same for them.
She watched Mike put the straight razor away.
He took another white towel from the cabinet under the shelf. It was soaked in the hot running water and wrapped around her smooth sensitive skin.
“I hope you are going to make my haircut real smoooooth,” Sally asked of Mike.
Mike turned and pressed the button of the dispenser. A pile of warm shaving cream filled his left hand.
Turning he removed and tossed the towel to the floor under the shelf.
As he began lathering her head he smiled and told her, “So smooooth you may want to shave it before going to bed. Just to feel how to do it yourself.”
Everyone was still there: no one had left.
Mike pulled a safety razor from the drawer under the shelf.
He shook it under the warm running water.
Standing on the right side of the chair he brought the razor up to her forehead.
Sally turned her head to look at him.
“I want to watch your eyes as you make the first few shavings,” she said to him, smiling.
Mike had never had one of the women or girls do this to him. He was caught off guard and hesitated somewhat.
She saw fear in his eyes. Had she made him wonder about things he had done?
Slowly Mike placed the razor on her head and made a short stroke.
He wrenched the razor and made another.
A third, fourth, and a fifth were made.
Sally smiled at him and turned to her onlookers.
Mike began to feel weak, but he returned and started shaving Sally’s head.
Each stroke made her scalp smoother, removing the hairs closer to the scalp than the straight razor.
She remembered Mr. John telling her father that, but he still wanted a straight razor shave.
Mike quickened the shaving as Sally’s eyes began following his every move, every razor stroke.
It was as if she were pushing him, pushing him to finish something she had finally realized she wanted from the first day she arrived.
It felt as if he was taking longer to shave her head than it took to do the others.
Was there some reason?
Her head began feeling cold from the ceiling fan, but it was a coldness she was enjoying.
He tilted her head to the right as he began taking the last few strokes.
The last stroke was in front of her left ear.
This one taken, Mike turned and tossed the safety razor in the trashcan behind the chair.
The large white towel was dampened under the hot water and wrapped around her now smoother scalp. He let it sit a few seconds and wiped her scalp of any remaining shaving cream.
He applied a sweet lotion and then he dusted her head with the sweet-smelling hair powder. The soft hairs of the hair duster felt gentle as he brushed the powder over the shaven head.
The towel was removed from her collar, the chair lowered to its fullness.
Sally stood up, as Candi was the first to come to her.
As Sally stroked her fingers over her shaven head, Candi asked, “How’s it feel?”
Sally smiled and gently closed her eyes.
They knew what she was saying.
Each one gave Sally a hug and a gentle kiss.
Sara let her tongue flicker on Sally’s cheek.
As Mike began sweeping the floor everyone began leaving the barbershop.
“Let’s have a barbecue at the lake,” some young male voice yelled out.
Everyone cheered and began chanting “Barbecue, barbecue, barbecue…”
The breeze was warm that night, the water also.
Everyone was dancing, swimming, boating, just having a good time. The barbecue lasted into early the next morning, but what the heck no one had to go to work tomorrow.
Sally kept her head shaved for the rest of her stay, as did the others.
Each Saturday the women would gather at the lake for a swim.
Sometimes some of them would shave each other’s head.
This Sally came to like doing. It gave her some power over someone else, but it was not like the power of control. It was the power of enjoyment of doing something you have come to like doing.
And, having done to you.
The last three months passed by fast.
She had completed the story, even adding a little more to it than was true.
Finally the last night came.
Sally had Candi, Sara, Jean, and Penny over for some Hollywood cooking and to down the last of the fine wine she had brought with her.
The dinner lasted late, just like the parties back in Hollywood would.
After they had finished all the food and the three bottles of red wine to wash it down, talk turned to why Sally had waited so long to join them for a bald haircut.
Sally told them she did not know, but maybe they should read her book when their copies arrived.
She promised each one a signed first-print copy.
It was around 10pm when Sally told them, “I have a surprise for each of you. Now don’t go away.”
She got up and went into the bedroom.
When she returned in a few minutes, she was carrying a box.
She opened it and began handing out a bottle of bourbon to each one.
“This is bourbon I bought when I got out of high school. I think it is time I got rid of it. Do you want to help me?” she asked with a intoxicating look.
Each one took a bottle, opened it.
“Cheers!” came their command as they poured its contents into their mouth.
“I know a place you are not shaved,” Sara said to Sally.
Sally looked at her, as the others began to laugh. Her mind began to think.
“Oooooo, you mean my little box of joy,” she said as her body moved in a small circle. “It is not now, but it has been.”
“Get the razor and shaving creams,” commanded Penny. “We must make you really bald like us.”
As Candi stood up, searching for something to hold onto, the others began taking their clothing off.
Candi somehow made her way into the bathroom and returned carrying the razor and a can of shaving cream.
“Seeeeee,” Sara slurred, “no hair here.”
“None here,” Sara said as she pulled Jean’s underpants down her legs.
Penny had none on, so Sara just pointed.
Before Candi could put the razor and shaving cream down, Penny was pulling her shorts down.
“My, my,” Penny stumbled out as she put her eyes close to Candi’s pussy. “Lookie here. She’s got a little earring in hers.”
Candi looked down and pushed Penny’s face out of the way.
She then propped her left leg on the table.
“Naaaaa,” she laughed. “See, I have four of them.”
“O.K.,” Sara commanded. “Let’s look at them rings later. We have to get Sally shaved.”
With that Sally flopped to the floor, half asleep from the wine.
“What’re you gonna use for water?” Jean asked, brushing her fingers over Sally’s pubic hair as if she was pouring water.
Candi looked into the box of bourbon.
“One extra,” she said holding up a bottle.
Before anyone could say a word she had it open and was pouring the bourbon on Sally.
Penny began spraying a pile of shaving cream on her pubic hair as Candi and Jean began spreading it.
Sara was sitting between Sally’s legs waving the safety razor around.
“Everyone, back off out the way,” she commanded as she leaned forward. “I need plenty of room.”
It took an hour, but Sara finally finished shaving Sally’s pussy.
Candi poured some bourbon as Sara wiped her pussy clean.
Sally gave a little jump as Sara let two fingers slide in.
“A little wet, arrrr we?” Sara asked.
They fell on top of Sally laughing, hugging and giving each other little pecks on the cheek.
It was around 2 o’clock the next morning when Penny, Jean, and Candi left.
Sara said she would stay behind and help Sally clean up.
They had poured about four pots of coffee down by this time. Still they walked with a little sway.
When they were out of sight, Sara asked Sally if she was still a little wet.
At first Sally could not think clearly, but when Sara slid her hand between her legs she knew.
“Yes,” Sally told her.
And, before she could say a word, Sara was down on her knees, her face pushing Sally’s legs apart.
It was late the next morning when Sara left.
Both of them had a smile on their face.
Sally stopped at the general store to tell Candi’s father where to send any mail that might come for her.
Penny was there with a little food basket, Jean with a little gift from everyone.
Mike was nowhere in site.
In fact the barbershop had a “CLOSED” sign on the door.
Sally began the long drive home, taking her time as she watched the tall pine trees pass in her rearview mirror.
Her thoughts were of the adventures she had had, and how much better her stay had been after she had submitted to having her head shaved.
As she turned onto the highway heading south to Hollywood, she turned on the radio and turned the knob until she found the easy listening music.
A few miles down she reached down and plugged in her car telephone. She punched in the code of her manager’s telephone number and it rang.
“Hello?” her manager said.
“Hi, love. It’s me,” she softly told him.
“Where in the hell have you been the last six months?” he asked her.
“In a little cabin by Lake Hi,” she replied. “I needed some rest, a long rest. So, I packed a few bags and took off.”
“Lake what?” he asked her.
“Lake Hi. Up in the mountains by a town called High Point,” she said in disbelief.
“High Point? Lake Hi?” he returned. “What have you been drinking, Sally?”
“The usual,” she told him.
“And, you would not believe what I did there.
“I wrote a book about my little adventure, and I got my head shaved.
“And, I like it.”
“You’re what?” he asked in fear.
“BALD!” she yelled back at him.
“You know, bald as in no hair on my head. And, no hair on my pussy as of last night, too.”
“Sally,” he said calmly.
“What have you been taking. You did not start back on the drugs, did you?”
“Babe, the only high I’m on is life,” she cocked back at him.
“So, you’ll have to start looking for movies I can wear wigs in, because I am not letting my hair grow back for you or anyone.”
“Sally, I want you to pull your car to the side of the road,” he told her. “Do it now.”
“But why?” she asked.
“Don’t ask. Just do it,” he said to her.
She pulled the car off the road and began slowing down.
When it came to a stop she told him, “I’m stopped and pulled to the side.
“Sally, I don’t know where you think you were,” he said in a pondering voice.
“But, there is not lake named Lake Hi, or a city called High Point.”
“What do you mean?” she asked nervously.
“Remember that movie role you turned down last summer. The one for Dick Young?” he told her.
“Yes,” he heard her say.
“Remember why you turned it down?” he said waiting for her to say something. “You turned it down because they wanted you to shave your head. REMEMBER?”
Sally’s right hand reached for the rearview mirror and turned it so she could see herself in it.
Her eyes stared in the mirror in disbelief.
Her hands jumped to her head.
She blinked her eyes a few times.
She took a deep breath and ran her hand over her head again.
Her head was full of red hair, it was not shaved.
She was not bald.
She let out a loud scream in disbelief.
She could hear her manager yelling for her on the telephone, but she was too scared to pick it up and talk to him.
She just sat there looking at herself and running her fingers through her hair.
“What? Where?” she began to wonder to herself. Did she really?
I end this story with this long last chapter.
Sometimes, they say, your mind does strange things to itself.
You think you are doing something, but you are not.
This story is a case in point.
I hope the wait was worth it, and the ending was…
Well, we can’t always have it our way, can we?