Here’s the follow up to Rose and the Professor’s adventure! I had planned on the story being a one and done, but I couldn’t get our pair of adventurers out of my head and knew there were still stories to tell about them. Maybe if people enjoy this one, I can write a few more. So let me know your thoughts and what these two might do!
Here’s the link to the first in case you missed it:
Rose loved the jungle. It felt so good to be back, to be on a new adventure. Back in the jungle, sweating under her wide brimmed hat, a pistol on her hip and a machete in her hand, with her husband, the Professor, by her side.
Not that the last three years hadn’t been an adventure of course. They had married as soon as they had arrived back in America, the pair wanting to hide the fact that she had gotten pregnant while on their journey.
The nausea had been easy enough to hide as seasickness and Archie had been born small so they had been able to conceal the date of his conception. Her hair had been enough of a scandal, as well as her relationship with the man who ran her graduate program, a pregnancy out of wedlock would have only made things worse.
Then there were three wonderful years. Her hair grew long again as she split her time between raising their child and studying towards her doctorate. Archie was a wonderful child and the Professor was an attentive and loving husband. Although the difficulty of his assignments did occasionally cause a small amount of strain.
But now, on this new journey, the hard work all felt worth it. This time, she wasn’t along as an assistant. Instead, she was there as a researcher, on a grant supported expedition to study the Amazonians both for her dissertation and to further the field of study on a society that truly treated men and women as equals. From their duties, to their dress, to their closely shaved heads, all began life as equals. What they did determined who they became.
Rose had fallen in love with that idea, almost as hard as she had fallen in love with her new little family. It hurt leaving Archie with her brother’s family, knowing she would be gone for weeks or even months. She would miss him and she carried his photograph with her everywhere she went, but she knew he was in loving hands. And she knew she had to do this.
Another thing she had to do was something she equally dreaded and excitedly anticipated. She knew what she had to do to earn her way back in with the Amazonians, knew that it would make her time in the jungle more pleasant, but it was still hard.
Just as she had before, when she had earned respect among the women of the tribe she now returned to study, Rose would be shaving off her long blonde hair.
She knew that in a few short hours, her time would come. Her hair had grown in thick and strong, now reaching well past her shoulders. She knew that if she went topless the way the Amazonian women did, that her hair would have easily covered her nipples. But shaving that hair off would be her ticket back in with the tribe, she was sure.
The shaving of her head had been liberating, for sure. It had led her to challenge every social norm that her society had, and the Professor couldn’t have been more proud. Yet, she loved her hair and loved the way her corn silk locks looked, whether worn back in a bun or in the big curls of the fashion of the day. She knew exactly how long it would take to grow back and she was far from excited to have to go through the experience again.
”Darling, do you hear them?” the Professor whispered in her ear, lowering his machete.
Rose paused and listened. The sounds of birds, monkeys, and every living creature imaginable cried their cries. She listened more carefully, listening for the telltale sounds that she had learned the last time in the jungle.
It had been years, but with a little focus, she heard the small sounds. The footfall of human feet, the faint ruffle of of the grass skirts they wore, the clacking sound of the spears of a young warrior who hadn’t quite learned how to move silently.
The professor removed his wide brimmed fedora hat and smiled his crooked grin.
”Hello friends!” he called out in the language of the Amazonians.
Like magic, and like the first time she had seen them, four Amazonian warriors materialized from the jungle. This time, their were two women, a man, and a boy who was perhaps thirteen. All four were dressed the same, in simple grass skirts, tattoos on their torsos, each with a shaved head. Rose immediately recognized one of the women as a member of the tribe who had taken a liking to her on their last journey.
”Flower! It is good to see you again!” the woman said in her native tongue.
Rose laughed, her name did not translate into the language of the Amazonians and so the people of the tribe simply knew her as their word for flower.
Stretching her arms out for a hug, “Tina, how good it is to see you!”
Tina was not the woman’s name, but in Rose’s unsteady use of the language, it was the closest she could get to saying at least a portion of the name correctly. The short, mostly nude woman wrapped her taller and significantly more clothed friend in a hug.
”You have been practicing our words, Flower,” Tina said proudly.
“I am here to learn even more from you, if you’ll allow it,” Rose said.
Tina stepped away and held Rose’s arms, “That would make me happy. But you didn’t learn something.”
With calloused fingers, Tina lifted Rose’s hat and revealed the long blonde hair that was tied back.
”What is this?” she asked with a laugh.
Rose patted her hair in embarrassment, “Don’t worry, it won’t be there for much longer.”
”Good, there is no need for such things. Come, Flower and Teacher, there is food to be eaten and stories to be told,” Tina said, putting her arms around Rose and the Professor and leading them in the direction of their village.
In what truly felt like a homecoming, the anthropological party was led into the village of the Amazonians. All around, men and women worked, children played, and smiles were seen. They were all happy to see their friends from America had returned, even if Flower had returned with so much hair.
They all made comments as they hugged her, pulling her hat off and making her untie her hair from the bun she wore. When she finally found her way to where they would set up their tents, her hair was a tangled mess.
”Well, I guess you’ll have to shave it,” the Professor said inside their tent once it was pitched.
Rose tried to run a brush the a knot, “I guess so. They certainly didn’t like it.”
”Would you like to do it now?” the Professor asked, lifting a pair of scissors from my trunk.
”No, I’m not quite ready to say goodbye,” Dose said, covering her hair with her hands.
The Professor stepped close to her and hugged her, stroking her head, “You know I always think you’re beautiful, but I’ll miss it.”
”Me too. It’ll be worth it though. Think of how much I’ll be able to learn,” Rose said, leaning her head on the Professor’s chest.
”Well, brush it out and you can wear it long for one last time,” he said, kissing the top of her head.
That night they had a dinner full of laughter, good food, and fun. Rose knew that the food wouldn’t be as abundant as it was at the dinner for the rest of their stay, but the Amazonians wanted to celebrate their friends. By the end of dinner, Rose’s hair had dozens of flowers interlaced through its length as men, women, and children added them throughout the night.
In their tent, the Professor and Rose stood and kissed as they prepared to sleep. Rose didn’t bother taking the flowers out of her hair, knowing there was no point as the hair would likely be shaved off in the morning.
Rose felt the professor start to unbutton her shirt as they kissed, but she pushed his hand away, “Excuse me, silly man! I will not be leaving this jungle pregnant again. I have to present before the Anthropological Society and I won’t be doing that with a big swollen belly, sir.”
“So no more studies of mating rituals?” the Professor asked, returning his fingers to Rose’s buttons.
She playfully slapped them away again, “Absolutely not. I believe we got to study that plenty the last time we were here.”
The Professor smiled his crooked smile and kissed her one more time. Then he kicked his boots off and laid on his cot, covering his eyes with his hat. Rose followed suit, kicking her boots off and laying down. Just like the professor, she was tired enough to lay down and not even take her pistol belt off.
Rose snapped awake to screams. She and the Professor both sat up on their cots.
”It’s a raid, get your boots on,” the Professor said.
Heart thumping in her chest, Rose pulled her boots on and hurried to lace them up. She heard a battle cry outside of their tent when a man covered in black paint burst through their tent flap, a carved wooden club in hand.
Like a flash the Professor pulled his pistol from his belt and shot the painted man who crumpled to the ground.
”My God!” Rose cried, clapping her hands to her ears at the painful sound of the gunshot. She knew she said the words as they came out of her mouth, but the sound of her own words was muffled by an intense ringing sound.
She looked around, bewildered, and saw that the Professor’s mouth was moving. It looked like he was shouting, but she couldn’t hear him.
He rose from the bed into a crouch and moved closer to her and shouted again, “Get your pistol out and stay behind me! We need to move!”
Rose nodded numbly and stood, following her husband out of the tent and into the chaos that waited outside.
Everywhere she looked, she saw screaming people. The Professor shot his pistol again at another charging attacker, renewing the ringing in her ears.
Looking around, she pulled out her own pistol, the Colt pocket pistol that her brother had given her and held it in her hand the way he had shown her when he gave it to her. It was then that she saw Tina.
Alone and surrounded by three attackers, Tina swung her spear around in a wide arc, doing whatever she could to keep the black painted marauders back. The three were armed with clubs and couldn’t find a way to get close, but Rose suspected that soon they would.
Taking off at a sprint, Rose charged to her friend’s aide. She faintly heard the Professor try to call her back, but she ignored him and charged headlong into the fray.
She dodged and ducked as she ran until she finally came upon Tina. One of the men had just knocked her to the ground and stood over her, club raised high.
Not thinking, Rose pointed her pistol and aimed at the man. She squeezed the trigger and he dropped. Turning to the next man who stared at her stunned, she squeezed the trigger and he fell too. The last attacker took off at a run after seeing the fate of his two companions.
”Come, Tina!” Rose shouted over the ringing in her ears.
”Thank you, Flower!” Tina said, standing to her feet.
Rose turned around and thumped into the chest of the Professor. He pushed her behind him, ready for a fight, but saw that the attackers were fleeing. They hadn’t expected the Americans and their firearms and had turned tail and run.
Tina twirled Rose to face her and shouted in her language, “You saved me, Flower! Tonight, you become a warrior of my tribe!”
Rose tried to deny her involvement as she and the others who had proven themselves in the fight were gathered. Tina would hear none of it and pushed her savior along.
”What about Teacher?” Rose asked in the Amazonian language as she was shoved along.
”The glory is all yours, my love,” the Professor shouted in English as he followed behind.
Rose soon found herself standing on a raised platform, torches and fires lighting the dark night. She was surrounded mostly by young men and women of the tribe and was likely the oldest by at least a decade. None had the tattoos of the older warriors.
”Remove this,” Tina said, pinching the bottom hem Rose’s shirt.
”What? No!” Rose said in English to the Professor.
”You wanted in! See where this goes!” he shouted encouragingly.
Hesitantly, she removed her shirt and covered her breasts with her hands. Just like in her last trip to the jungle, Rose had gone without her brazier. Now she wished she had worn it as it would have at least provided some cover against the eyes of the Amazonians.
One by one, the young men and women were led to tables and laid on their backs. But Rose was not led there straight away.
Tina told Rose to sit and she sat on the platform cross legged. Using a pair of scissors brought by some trader, Tina began to lift Rose’s hair up one lock at a time and snip them off right at the root. She would then drop the long hair on the platform around Rose, the flowers of the dinner before still interwoven through her golden locks.
Soon, all of Rose’s long hair had been cropped brutally close to her scalp. Tina rubbed her head and cheered, holding the scissors and a clump of Rose’s hair aloft. The people of the village all cheered with her, as did the Professor.
Then, a large clay pitcher of water was dumped on Rose’s head, wetting the remaining hair. Tina now held a new tool, a straight razor, aloft and cheered again. Again, the people in the crowd cheered with her.
With surprisingly skillful hands, Tina set to shaving Rose’s head. Her hands were quick and she made short strokes. Rose was pleased to find that the experienced woman of the tribe.
Tina used another pitcher and wet Rose’s head again as she continued to shave. She had started on the front of her hairline and worked her way out from there. Soon, Rose could feel the breeze of the night on her bare scalp and she knew that she would soon be bald.
With one more pitcher of water and a rub from Tina’s hand, Rose was finished. Tina helped Rose to her feet and led her to one of the tables.
”Lie here and be still!” Tina shouted over the cheering crowd.
Tina took one of Rose’s hands and a man she didn’t know took the other. Then an old woman stood over her with some kind of a crooked stick in one hand and a straight stick in the other. Next to Rose’s right foot was a bowl full of what looked like ink.
What happened next was painful. Not nearly as painful as the birth of Archie had been, but it hurt nonetheless. Rose quickly learned that the crooked stick had some kind of needle or sharpened stone fragments. The old woman used the other stick to tap the sharp objects against the skin of her abdomen, starting right under her breasts.
Making a line of pain under each breast, the old woman traced down either side of Rose’s belly button. Rose sat still, fearful of messing up whatever painful thing that was being done to her. She thought a few times that she might pass out, but after what felt like an eternity, the old woman stopped.
She panted as the woman dabbed her abdomen with a hopefully clean cloth and then she was helped up by Tina and the man.
”These are your warrior marks! One for each enemy you killed! Just like mine!” Tina shouted above the din. She pointed at her own abdomen, showing Rose three stripes.
”You are a great warrior! You took two in your first fight!” Tina said.
Rose held her stomach with a hand and looked down. She had two tattooed stripes that ran from just under each breast and went all the way down to the pants she wore. Nervously, she searched the crowd for the Professor. When she met his eyes, she pointed at herself, gesturing at the two stripes. Much to her surprise, he smiled a wide grin and flashed a thumbs up.
Next Rose was given a mug of some kind of drink. Tina motioned for her to drink it so she took a small sip. The drink was strong and felt dry on her tongue and in her throat, giving the burning sensation of hard liquor which she normally avoided. She shook her bald head, causing Tina to laugh.
”No, Flower! All! Drink all!” Tina said, miming the motion of tilting the mug back.
Rose took a deep breath and tilted her head back and drank. It was a fight to get through, but she made it and instantly her head was swimming. Soon, there was music. The thumping of drums and the singing of the people filled her ears and she was led to dance by Tina. The music was beautiful, not at all like something she would have ever heard in a concert hall, but more like folk music she would have heard back home with her family.
She was led to remove her pants, and when they were stashed with her shirt, she was given a grass skirt like the one the other warriors wore. Then, she was given a head dress, one she had seen the important men and women like Tina wear while they dined. Finally, she was gifted a spear.
So, she danced, along with Tina and the Professor who joined them. She danced to the rhythm of the music, the strong drink coursing through her veins and melting away her inhibitions. Gone was the concern over her bare head, gone was the concern over the two new tattooed stripes down her belly, gone was the fear from the battle she had so narrowly survived.
The next morning had been brutal. She awoke on her cot in her tent, the Professor snoring loudly from his place in the tent. She propped herself up on her elbow and held a hand to her pounding head. Remembering she was bald, she groaned. The headdress was still on her head and she knocked it to the ground dramatically.
She groaned again and rubbed her bare head with her hands. The Professor awoke to her pathetic sounds and yawned.
”Good morning, my warrior bride. I guess you’re feeling the after effects of your initiation into the warrior class of the tribe?” he asked pleasantly.
”Please, not so loud. My head is killing me,” Rose complained.
”How is your head feeling? It’s rather bald now. I had forgotten what it looks like without hair,” he said, sitting up on the edge of his cot.
”It is very bald. Why does my stomach hurt so bad?” Rose said, holding her arms across her stomach.
”Remember your warrior’s tattoos?” he asked.
Rose looked down and saw the tattoos for the first time in the dim sunlight that shone through the tent flap. The two black ink lines had some redness around the edges and was tender to the touch.
”What have I done?” Rose asked, clapping a hand to the top of her bald head.
”What you’ve done is get in deeper with the Amazonians than any outsider ever has. You are going to be able to study more than anyone ever has before. You might just be famous over this,” the Professor explained.
Rose say up and nodded. She was humiliated over being almost completely naked in front of the tribe, she was horrified over the tattoos that now marked her body, and she couldn’t believe that, yet again, she was bald. It was strange to her, though, that baldness was the most familiar part for her.
And so, for the following weeks, as a warrior in the Amazonian tribe, Rose was allowed to study them. She learned their ways, their customs, rituals, and religion. Their history was an oral one and, with help from Tina who was beginning to learn English and the Professor who was better practiced in the Amazonian language, she learned of who they were.
During her studies, she followed the customs of her fellow warriors. She joined them on hunts, dressed in traditional attire, and she shaved her head weekly. Before, she had immediately begun growing her hair, but now she kept her blonde hair shaved for weeks.
Whereas on the ship ride home after her last jungle expedition, she had enough hair for pin curls, this time, she had a fuzzy coat of no more than a half inch of hair on the ship. Fortunately, her clothes covered the tattoos on her abdomen were covered by her dress, but she still got plenty of strange looks from the other passengers.
“Are you sure it’s a good idea darling?” Rose asked as she stared at herself in the mirror.
”I’m not sure if it’s a good idea. But I think it’s the exciting one. And those boring academics in the Anthropological Society need something exciting,” the Professor said as he stood next to her.
Rose ran a hand through her inch long blonde hair. She couldn’t believe she was considering this. But the Professor held shears in his hand. And there was a razor and running, hot water. It would be easier than it had ever been before. But what would come after the shaving of her head was what really robbed her of her breath.
”Do it,” she said.
And so in their washroom, Rose standing shirtless, the Professor working the shears with his hand, they shaved Rose’s head. First the shears took her hair down to stubble, and then came the razor and the shaving cream.
When they were done, they made love like they had for the first time back in the jungle all those years ago. Rose felt like there was something nostalgic about her shaved head and the Professor seemed to always love to relive it.
This time, he would kiss her tattoos as he worked his way down her body. She had initially been ashamed of them, but her perspective had changed. The Amazonians treated them as badges of honor and so would she.
The next morning, Archie got quite the kick out of “mother’s strange shiny head” while Rose prepared for her presentation in front of the Society.
She had shocked everyone during her presentation. In full garb, only wearing a strip of cloth to cover her breasts to prevent her potential arrest for indecency, she strode out as the foremost expert in Amazonian culture.
Within months of returning to the States, she had received her doctorate, one of the first ever women to complete the program, and had a position as a professor alongside her husband.
And so, just as a bald head had given her a husband and a child, it had now given her fame, notoriety, and a reputation. With her hair grown back in and curled for her classes, she could look at her tattooed stomach that was always hidden under dresses and remember her time in the jungle and dream of the chance to return.
Even if it meant shaving her head again.