Heather’s New Haircut !!!!!
By JimB ©opyright July 2015
It was mid-June and the heat was sweltering.
George Pankin and his family had just moved to a small town north of Atlanta, very close to the Tennessee border.
George had spent years in the hardware business and finally had the opportunity to buy a store of his own. The previous owner was ready for retirement, with no children of his own, put the store up for sale.
George heard about the offer and jumped at the chance. He always knew what he wanted and never let anything stand in his way.
The family had finally finished unpacking and for the most part, the house was beginning to come to order. Robert, thirteen, was the oldest boy. Along with his eleven-year-old brother Sean, he enjoyed getting into trouble more than just about anything.
The two brothers were the “tough guys” amongst the younger boys in their old neighborhood and ready to try to take on that role in their new surroundings.
Robert and Sean tolerated their two sisters.
Often they had to occasionally stick up for their nine-year-old sister Katie, who often got herself into many predicaments with her sassy mouth.
Their mother, Emily was also a confident and forthright person. Hidden in this boisterous family was the oldest child, sister, Heather.
Heather had spent most of her years in the shadows. She wanted the attention or the chance to voice her opinion quite the way her parents and siblings did.
She had just graduated from high school and turned eighteen the month before. George briefly delayed the move to allow her to finish her senior year. Heather was a great student.
But, never joined in or participated in many extra-curricular activities. Instead she spent much of her time jogging after school, listening to classical music on her headphones. The rest of her free time was spent reading and occasionally writing short stories or poems about her thoughts.
She, of course, never let anyone see them, or even know of them.
She had few friends throughout most of her school years. She wore plain clothes and little or no makeup or jewelry.
She had slightly shorter than shoulder-length, in a thick richly colored brown hair with huge brown eyes to match.
Her years of jogging had kept her in perfectly fit shape. She was lean and petite, five feet six inches tall and just over hundred and twenty-five pounds.
Her very small chest, loose blue jeans and lack of cosmetics could often pass her for a boy.
However, on the few occasions Emily helped Heather with her makeup and clothes. Like the time Heather served as a bridesmaid at her cousin’s wedding, she was gorgeous.
Despite this fact, Heather had never had, nor really wanted, a boyfriend. George had wrapped up his unpacking and decided to go check on the hardware store.
Emily piped up, “The boys needed their haircut.”
“Yeah, it’s hot!” exclaimed Robert.
The boys kept their hair in a Crew Cut throughout the summer. It was comfortable and fit their image.
“And, take the girls with you,” added Emily.
“If Heather wants a trim, let her get it.
“But, Katie does not get her hair cut.”
The hardware store was close by, within a mile. It was in the downtown area of this small town. A few antique stores, a small department store, which could be better described as an old general store.
One bank and about a dozen other shops made up the tiny downtown area. Along the way was the Central Barbershop.
It was one of three barbershops in the town, the only one in the downtown area. It was a very old shop, one of the original tenants in the one of the four buildings, which made the two blocks strip shopping mall. It was a long and narrow shop, four chairs, dusty old shelves and vintage haircut signs showing a variety of cuts for men and boys.
The chairs were old and showed their age.
The brass parts were tarnished and the leather on several of the seats was torn. The pump handle on the last chair had been broken off.
A couple of boxes in the chair and supplies piled up on the counters behind it, indicated it was no longer in use.
There were enough waiting chairs to accommodate ten people, lined up side by side along the wall opposite were the barbers worked. An old cash register sat on the counter next to the first chair. A small black and white television had been mounted on a shelf above the last waiting chair.
The floor was black and white checkered board tile and the walls were marred by years of wear.
The entire wall behind the barber’s chairs was covered with several mirrors mounted side by side running the length of the shop. The mirrors were used only when the cut was finished, as the barbers positioned their customers at an angle toward the television.
George and his children arrived at the shop and Robert led the charge in the door.
Three barbers were at work that day.
The first chair was an older gentleman, likely the shop’s owner, grayed Crew Cut.
He wore a simple shirt and trousers the choice of barbers some forty years earlier.
The second chair was idle.
The third and fourth chairs! Were manned by two younger women, in their late thirties, perhaps early forties. They were wearing less traditional clothing for the task.
The place was unmistakably a man’s place.
A place to gather, to get away from the women!
One of the last places of true man hood, which had not been overtaken!
Only the shop’s owner had a customer, the two female barbers were watching the college football game on the fuzzy black and white screen above.
As the whole group walked in the door, the older barber paused to greet them.
George introduced himself and the barber quickly guessed he was the gentleman who bought old man Morrison’s hardware store.
George laughed and affirmed his guess by shanking his hand.
“My boys need a haircut,” he stated.
“And, my daughter would like a trim.
“Do you trim girl’s hair here?”
The old barber looked at him, “Made a point years ago never to touch a woman’s hair.
“That goes double for girls too.
“Just too picky, never satisfied.
“However my younger associates don’t hold the same principals, they can take care of her.”
Laughing, George acknowledged the old man’s ways and said, “The boys get their Crew Cuts and just a trim for my daughter.
“I’ll be back in about two hours.”
Robert, Sean and Heather stood in a group near the waiting chairs and Katie started to make her way off with her father.
“No, no Katie, you stay here,” George responded.
“I’ll be back to get you when everyone is finished.”
“Who’s up first?” barked one of the younger lady barbers.
Quickly, Robert and Sean jumped into the two chairs.
Heather slumped down in the closest waiting chair and Katie joined her.
The boys’ hair had grown a little scraggy during the move, the family had been very busy and haircuts had taken a back seat. In unison, the barbers snapped the blue and white cotton capes around the boys, allowing them to come to a rest gently on the shoulders.
Each barber pulled a tissue from the dispenser and tightened it around their necks. They pulled up the capes and snapped them on the tightest snap.
The barbers adjusted the chairs to the proper height and began cutting their hair into the Crew Cuts their father had requested.
Shortly into their cuts, the older barber finished his customer and thanked him as he walked through the door.
The barber returned to the chair and brushed away the loose hairs from the previous customer.
He looked to Heather and said, “Come on, let’s go, you’re next.”
Heather’s eyes lit up, as if to ask, “Who, me?”
She, of course, had heard the barber’s soliloquy and had no idea what could have changed his mind in five minutes.
What could have caused him to suddenly set aside a forty-year-old pact with himself?
Never one to question anyone or speak up, Heather slowly rose from her seat and walked toward the chair.
Heather was wearing a loose white T-shirt, a pair of khaki shorts, Kid’s tennis shoes and no socks.
Her perfectly fit and tan legs seemed to slightly give way as she approached the chair.
She turned around and raised her self up onto the chair.
“Slide on back, I’m not going to hurt you,” commanded the barber.
Heather pushed herself to the back of the huge chair and at the moment her back hit it, the barber stretched the tissue around her neck.
Heather had been to the barber’s with her brothers before.
But, never had she seen them treated so roughly.
At that moment Robert and Sean turned their heads slightly toward one another and smiled.
They did not speak.
The barber tossed the cape around Heather and tightened it up around her neck, perhaps a bit too tightly.
The barber was a tall man, so he had to pump the chair several times to get Heather to the proper height.
With each pump, her dangling feet bounced. To control them, she slowly crossed her right leg over her left.
Heather could feel herself trembling slightly, but would never dream of saying a word.
With her brothers carrying on in the other two chairs she felt especially shy and out of place.
She turned her neck slightly to relieve some of the pressure of the cape.
The cape hung down almost to her feet, all that was revealed was her ankles and shoes.
The chair raised high, the barber turned to the shelf and looked over the several items.
He spun back around with his comb in his left hand and the clippers, with no attachment, in his right.
Heather, of course could see nothing as she sat perfectly still and silent.
Robert had turned to look and knew exactly what was going on.
He looked at Sean and they smiled at each other.
Combing straight through her shiny brown hair, the barber worked his way around the back of her head.
“Been a while since you got a haircut, huh son?
“Well we’re about to take care of that right now,” with his final word he snapped on the clippers.
They were the older type of clipper with a very loud motor, sounding much slower and deeper in tone from the newer clippers.
At the pop of the clippers, Heather’s body tightened like that of an electric chair’s victim.
Numbness fell over her body, as she started to feel a little dizzy.
He placed his hand on the top of her head and pushed her head to the right and forward, bringing her soft brown hair up off the cutting cape.
The barber placed the unguarded clippers at her narrow soft-skinned neck right behind her left ear. With a rolling motion, he ran the clippers up through the hair and with a quick flick of his wrist, four inches of brown hair floated to the floor.
Katie quickly covered her mouth in disbelief.
But, her eye caught the stern face of Robert whose unmistakable stare said, “Don’t say a word.”
The barber passed the clippers up through Heather’s hair each time stopping halfway and flick away the sheared hair.
One clump landed directly in the middle of the cape on Heather’s lap. The sight of it quickened her dizziness.
The barber continued to cut through her hair with powerful sweeping strokes and a time-perfected rolling motion. Hair began to pile on the floor, on Heather’s stiff body.
One clump from the back was flicked over her head and landed on the top of Heather’s foot, sticking between her foot and tongue of the shoe.
Heather made no effort to free it.
The barber continued around the back of Heather’s head, each time running the clippers up to the halfway point.
Once around to the right side, he adjusted his grip on the clippers and folded Heather’s ear down with his finger as he circled the clippers over her ear, shearing away the hair to match the back.
With a pop, the clippers were off.
“Much better already?” he asked looking at the quivering girl with merely a patch of straight hair on top of her head.
He changed clipper and added the number one attachment.
Reaching over Heather and supporting her head from behind, he set the clippers at the right side of her forehead and slowly moved it to the back to meet the already clipper hair.
Across her head!
Stroke by stroke, he sent brown tresses slithering down Heather’s back to the floor.
A few tears began to well at the bottom of Heather’s eyes as she felt the cold metal of the clipper shear away her hair.
The older barber worked much faster than his counterparts.
He grabbed another pair of clippers and blended the top hair into the sheared sides and back.
He loosened the cape and quickly brushed away the loose hairs which once crowned Heather’s shivering head.
With a quick spin of the chair he turned Heather to the mirror. Her face expressed her unbelievable shock.
“There you go,” the old barber quipped. “Back to normal.”
Heather barely had enough strength to slide down off the chair and collapse in the waiting chair.
The older barber turned to Katie and said, “You’ll have to wait on one of them, like I said I don’t cut girl’s hair.”
Robert quickly answered, “She’s not getting a haircut.”
“But, your father asked us to give her a trim,” responded the barber.
“Not her, Heather.
“She was supposed to get the trim!” Robert shouted as he pointed to his sister.
“He’s a girl!
“Our BIG sister.”
The End ????? JimB ©opyright July 2015