Day labor

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Reading the morning paper I seen an ad that read,  I need Christmas cash. I responded asking “what do you have to offer”? “Nothing but labor” was the reply. “come clean my house and yard? $100 I suggested.  “Perfect” she replied. When she arrived she had two boys with her with long straggly hair.  So I ask if she had a place to live or was she homeless. I have a home for now but I really need $300 for rent. As she cleaned the house. I told her I couldn’t help but notice they all needed a haircuts. She said she had no money for that right now just rent and eating was a challenge. She spotted the barber chair in the den and ask if I would mind trimming the kids. I said I only do summer cuts if that would do I’d one glad to, while she was sweeping the porch and doing a few things outside. She really didn’t want the kids hair that short but said ok but please not to short. She called them in an told them I’d be giving haircuts and to behave or I’d shave their heads.
Who is first I ask. The younger of the two said I always have to go first and stepped up. I put him in the chair and said this will only take a minute. Decided a #4 with a #2 chaser would look good on this guy. With a flip of the switch the clippers came to life. I said to the boy say good bye this mop it is fixing to be gone. I started by lifting the bangs and pushing the clippers down the middle and working to each side pass after pass he squirmed more and more till I was completely though with the first stage of the cut. When I paused he started to get up and I said hang on that’s only part one. I’ll let you know when I’m done. I snapped on the #1 instead punishment for trying to escape. I tilted his head down and started shearing the back and over each ear slowly as not to miss any. Then with the help of the comb I blended it all together to a prefect long high and tight.
Your turn I said to the older child as the younger one was released. No way in hell are you cutting my hair off that short he said. Ok I said how would you like it? Just a slight trim. Ok hop up here and I’ll ask your mom. I replied. As he sat down I threw the cape on him and secured it to the chair with straps I had sewn on for just this kind of situation. Then I ask do you remember your mom saying behave or he will shave your head? He nodded, started cussing under his breath and crying. His mom walked in and he began to beg. Please don’t let him do this please! She tried to reassure him it would grow back and he would be ok.  But It wasn’t working he just got louder and louder with his protest. I picked up the clippers still having the number 1 on them. And slowly put them up to his forehead and flipped the switch leaving a very short path of hair. Then I stepped back and said at least I didn’t shave it. By this time his mother was in tears but watched silently as  he was frantically trying to feel how short it was but was unable due to the straps. I just ignored him and preceded to cut each strip with care. Passing by the right ear several times then the left several times making sure he understood who was in charge of the haircut. I made several passes over and over to make sure it was the shortest #1 haircut I could give.
I took the cape off and all he could do was rub his head and look in the mirror that had been behind him.
As he walked away I said to the mother your next. No she said. Just pay me and I’ll go.  I offered “I’ll give you the $300 you need if you get in the chair.” She stood still and silent for a moment. Then slowly moved towards the chair. I didn’t want to seem excited by I was already dreaming of that long red hair hitting the floor. She sat in the chair and ask what was my plan? What would it cost me to shave it? I ask. $500. She replied. “No” I said.  Didn’t you say you was trying to save your house? How about $400 and we pick cards for haircut choice. She nervously replied Ok. I knew I only had a 50/50 chance but figured I’d spice it up and at least be assured something. Your getting a chin length bob at least. I replied. She nodded so I picked up the scissors and sliced off a chunk on the side. Then I picked up the cards from the shelf and fanned thenm out for her to choose. She pulled one from the deck and flipped over for us to see. The Queen of hearts. How fitting. I’ll have that chin length bob. She exclaimed. I proceeded to comb out her hair and act as I have given up and was just going to bob her.  I picked up the scissors and started cutting and shaping the same side as I had started earlier. I turned her towards the desk and said I guess I’d better draw to make it official. As I pulled the card off the top of the deck she sat in silence. I showed her the card but didn’t look at it myself. The tears began to run. I knew I was in charge again. I didn’t look I just put it back on top and  said “time to shave”. Please no shave she begged. I wadded up the long red hair in my left hand and brought the scissors over the top sniping them to make sure she knew what was about to happen. Slicing and crunching though the think ball of red hair as she continued begging not too short please. When I was done I just tossed the ball of hair in her lap. That’s not that bad. I reassured her it would grow back. She was almost done with the crying and was starred  in the mirror watching me with every bit of intensity. I picked up the clippers. She resumed the begging. Please don’t she repeated over and over as I was changing guards. I told her my mom used to have my hair burred the first day school was out for summer every year. I told her to look at those boys that she allowed to have shorn. Now it’s your turn the feel the clippers.
what guard are you using? she ask. #6 I replied. Then I slowly put them to her neck and turned them on. She started protesting more than before as I lifted the vibrating teeth though the red locks. Watching them fall to the floor strand after strand. Strip after strip letting as much I could to slide down the cape to floor. Leaving nothing but bristled red hair. She had cried out and the protest was over till I flipped the guard off and reoiled the blade. Then again she started with the no’s and shaking her head. I simply lifted up the clippers and said it will grow back and down the middle it went. I had considered a woman’s flattop but who can resist the begging. When I was done she had nothing left but a light tinted stubble. Almost perfect I said looking at the can of shaving cream sitting on the desk. She seen the thought on my head but said nothing. Next time perhaps.

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