Johnny Flattop

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I just finished my morning shift and was taking the back roads home because I was kind of tired and didn’t want to risk the highway. Traffic was unusually heavy in the strange part of the outskirts of the city. I was getting really fatigued so I pulled over to find a store to get something to drink maybe a coffee to revive myself. I walked into the 7-Eleven, poured myself a large coffee and proceeded to the check out where there was an exchange going on between the cashier and attractive woman. She was saying to him “Ah Sammy, your hair is getting pretty long again I better see you in my chair real quick!”. And then the man, apparently Sammy, with a outgrown crewcut said “oh yes Miss Nicole I’ll be there when my shift is done. It’s been about two weeks hasnt it?”. She responded “I don’t know or care how long it’s been, but your hair is much too long now, be a good lad get me my daily two packs of Virginia Slim 120s.”

Sammy then got her the cigarettes, they finish the transaction and she left promptly. As I was paying for my coffee I said to him “your hair looks alright to me, you got something going on with that girl?”

He just laughed and said “Nicole works next door, she’s a great barberette, she just likes to tease me a lot and keep my hair real short.”

I left the store and proceeded to walk to my car, but I couldn’t help but notice Nicole standing in front of her stop checking her iPhone while smoking a cigarette. She was wearing black jeans and a white smock, her long black hair tied in a high ponytail. She had very short, blunt, straight, bangs.

I return to my car and sip on my coffee for a bit hoping to be revived. As I did, I watched a woman bring two children into nicole’s barbershop. She greeted them and appeared to wave them on and indicating she was finishing her cigarette and be in briefly. A little interested I watched for little while but my drowsiness got the better of me and before I knew it 15 minutes had gone by. I woke to the sound of people walking down the street , one of them crying apparently these were the people that were just in Nicole’s barbershop. The woman was trying to console one of the boys who apparently had his head shaved the other had some sort of fresh crewcut. Then I saw the barberette come out, she and the woman shared a cigarette, apparently laughing about what had happened. After a few minutes the woman with the two shorn children left.

As I was sitting there wondering what had happened I made eye contact with the barberette. She gave me a look and a nod and smile. She flicked her cigarette and then went inside the barbershop.

Being in a strange neighborhood and a little sleep deprived I looked in my rearview mirror and thought “maybe I should get a haircut.”

I finished the coffee and walked on over to the door of Nicole’s barbershop. I opened the door and saw the woman from the convenient store (and the apparent barber) sitting in the chair reading a magazine. She got up and said “I was wondering when you’re going to come in. have a seat”.

Almost sleepwalking I went over and sat in the big red chair. She wrapped tissue around my neck and draped a very heavy barber cape around me. It had been years since I’ve been to a barbershop, I usually opt for salons and keep my hair a little on the longer side so this is a very fresh and new experience.

She said “hi I’m Nicole, welcome to my barbershop”. I said “hi, I’m …” And then she interrupted me “I don’t care what you used to be called, you’re now Johnny flattop.” I Was a little startled by this assertion. She continued: “I can tell you’re a little drowsy and even allured by the idea of a surprise haircut, but looking at you and what I know about hair, I think you should go for it. I think you need a really short flattop. I’m going to call you Johnny flattop. what do you say?”

I was stunned. Confused and mesmerized by this very attractive Barberette, I just sat there and said “yes ma’am, I’m Johnny flattop let’s do this.”

“that’s a good boy. Now hold still.”

She went over to her counter and picked up the Oster 64 clippers and proceeded to attach the quadruple zero attachment. My throat got dry and I began to get a bit nervous. What was I getting myself into? What were my friends at work going to say? What was my girlfriend going to say? My hair has always been wavy and longish and always coming in around my collarbone. The shortest it’s ever been was halfway up my ear and just covering my eyes. I’ve never had a buzz cut, not to mention a flattop.

“I can’t do this.” I thought to myself, and then looking up at Nicole I said: “Look Nicole, I just remembered I need to get home real soon, my girlfriends expecting me and I don’t think getting a flat top is the thing to do right now, maybe next time.”

Nicole just looked at me for minute. Then she went to a counter, took out a cigarette, lit it and looked at me and said “head down.”

She put the cigarette in her mouth and then picked up the clippers. Then she turned them on, put her left hand on my head, pushing it down and pushed the clippers to the nape of my neck. “be still Johnny flattop.”

The clippers mowed my hair down from my nape to the crown; repeatedly up then down. Swaths of hair began hitting the floor. she then went to the left side pushing my ear down putting the clippers to my sideburn and pushing them up past the temples.

By this time the ash on her cigarette was quite long. as she moved over to my right side it fell and landed on my cheek. She remained unphased and puffing away with the cigarette in the corner if her mouth, she continued to mow the right side of my hair down to skin.

Seeing myself in the mirror, sides of my head practically bald, long droopy hair on the top I felt humiliated. What was I going to do? My eyes started to well up.

“Oh no, is Johnny flattop about to cry?” Mocked Nicole as she put out her cigarette. She then went over to her set of attachments and picked up a very large flat top comb. She then lit another cigarette blew it in my face and said “you’ve got perfect hair for this Johnny flattop. We have to give you a nice horseshoe flattop.”

Cigarette in the corner of her mouth, eyes squinting from the smoke, she placed the flat top comb on the front of my head and began to systematically mow the top down.

Within the minute my top was an 8th an inch long while my sides were near bald. She then said “hold on Johnny flattop we’re going to get this nice. ”

She’s introduced a can of shaving cream and smeared the contents on the side of my head as well the top of my head, leaving out a small horseshoe in the front. She took out a razor blade and shaved my sides clean as well as a very large landing strip on the top. I was left with but a ring of short hair at the top of my forehead.

“Looking good Johnny flattop!” She said “you come back in two weeks now to keep that looking fresh.”

She put out her second cigarette and unfastened my cape. I walked to the counter and payed her and then left. I then sat in my car for another couple of minutes. I looked in the mirror and thought “what the hell just happened to me?”

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