Permdemic! : Chapter 2

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“Good Morning!”

Stacy Preston, the Biochemistry departmental secretary, was sitting at her desk, working through her emails. She looked up as the greeting rang out to see Katie Williams, the department’s golden girl, walk through the door.

Her eyes widened in shock. For the last couple of years,  Katie had worn her hair shoulder-length, and permed into loose waves. The  fashion-conscious Stacy had always thought that was desperately out of style, and hadn’t hesitated to tell Katie so. This was something else, though. Katie’s hair was now in the shortest, tightest perm that Stacy had ever seen, at least on anyone under 80.

The truth, of course, was that Katie had always been obsessed with traditional permed hairstyles, and was now, finally, realising her dream.

“Do you like my new perm, Stacy?” She asked, innocently walking over. “Mildred helped me to do it, last night. I’ve developed an entirely new type of perm solution, and the best thing about it, is that it smells so much nicer than perms normally do. Here, have a sniff!”

She thrust her head towards the startled secretary, who couldn’t help but inhale.

“Oh, er, yes, that, erm. That does actually smell quite nice.” She took another sniff. “Kind of lemony.”

“That’s right! I spliced in the relevant genes from lemons, so the solution actually develops the scent as it works!” Katie straightened up, adjusting her jacket. She had embraced the extra formality of her tight curls, and rather than her usual more casual office wear, she had dressed carefully in  a smart skirt suit and a primly buttoned white blouse.

Katie was, understandably, proud of her achievement.

“So, er, this is the big invention, is it?” Stacy sounded just as sceptical as Mildred had. “A new kind of perm solution?”

“That’s right!” Katie beamed at her. “It’s going to revolutionise the world of hairdressing.”

“I don’t think so, hun” Stacy might not have known much biochemistry, but she knew about hair and fashion. “No-one perms their hair any more. Straight hair is where it’s at, and that’s not changing any time soon.”

Katie shrugged. “I guess we’ll see. You never know how these things will change. Maybe even you will change your mind, and go for a nice curly perm.” She patted her own tightly cropped curls.

Stacy snorted. “Not likely.” She flicked her pin-straight blonde hair back over one shoulder. “I’d rather not look like my Grandma just yet.”



“Hi Mildred.” Stacy distractedly looked back at her screen, then suddenly remembered. “Oh, hold on, can I talk to you”

“Uh, yeah, sure. What did you want?”

“Well, Katie came in about half an hour ago.”

“Yes, she’s always early.” Mildred replied, puzzled. Then the penny dropped. “Oh, you saw her hair?”

“Yes! She said you helped her with it?”

“Uh, yeah. This is her supposed great invention. A new kind of perm solution, and for whatever reason, she decided to try it on herself, so I gave her a hand.”

“Crazy. And she thinks this is going to change the world?” Stacy shook her head.

“Apparently. It is quite clever, I suppose. Self-neutralising, and it actually smells really nice, not like perms usually do.”

“Yes,” Stacy replied thoughtfully. “She made me smell it. It was nice, but really, I mean, no-one’s going to start perming their hair just because it smells good!”

“Mmmm…” Mildred made a non-committal noise.

“I mean, she looked like my Grandma, with those really tight curls. Who on earth would want to look like that?”

Mildred looked uncomfortable. It wasn’t that she actually liked Katie’s perm, but, well…

“She seemed really happy with it, though.” She tried to put it diplomatically. “And, er…”


“Well. I think it suited her, actually.” Mildred took in Stacy’s raised eyebrows and ploughed on.”I know what you mean about ‘Granny hair’, but, you know, somehow, it kind of looked good on her.” She shrugged, unable to put her thoughts any more clearly.

Stacy looked at her sceptically. “You next in line then? If Katie wants another subject you’ll have that ponytail snipped off, and a head full of lemon-scented curls?” She laughed, clearly finding the whole thing ridiculous.

Mildred joined in with the laughter, but a little uneasily, somehow unable to get rid of the image of herself with a short, tight curly perm.


Later that night, Stacy was preparing to head off, tidying her desk and preparing her bag.

“Ready to go home dear?”  Asked Katie with a knowing smile on her face.

“Oh, yeah, it’s been a long day, what about you grandma, are you going straight to bed?” She tried to give Katie some shade, but Stacy’s usual sassy tone somehow fell flat, as if something was off, and the Doctor picked up on it right away.

“Au contraire mon amie, actually I’m on my way to a big meeting with my sponsor company. They’re intrigued by my ultimate perm solution. The cosmetic department is going to be delighted when they see how well it works.” She proudly patted her perm, while Stacy stared directly into her curls, as if entranced.

“Well I love to chat more, hun, but money calls, ciao!” Katie smiled with an air of superiority as she walked away, leaving the secretary still frozen as she saw that perfectly uniform perm getting further away from her.

“Stacy…. Stacy… Stacy!” Called Mildred, raising her voice and finally snapping her fingers to get Stacy’s attention.

“Mildred?! When did you get here?” Asked a startled Stacy.

Mildred eyed her warily. “Not long ago, but you seemed to be off with the fairies. Is everything alright?”

“Ah, yeah, sorry. Just lost in my thoughts” Stacy replied, a bit embarrassed.

“No worries, happens to me all the time, especially since I’ve been helping Dr. Williams with all the copyright process for the perm solution. I’m exhausted.”

“So, er, will it be on the market soon then?” Stacy asked, trying not to sound too interested.

“If the meeting tonight goes well it will! But knowing Dr. Williams I’m sure it will be on sale by the end of the year, if not sooner.” Mildred had a smile on her face, and a hint of anticipation.

“Isn’t that wonderful?” Stacy replied, trying to sound sarcastic, but somehow, it came out more like genuine excitement.

“It is! Perhaps you were right earlier Stacy, maybe soon we will all be the doctor’s lemon-scented curly subjects.” She thought she was joking, but deep down, Mildred felt a rush of adrenaline when those words came out of her mouth.

“Yeah, perhaps…” Stacy replied thoughtfully, more to herself than to Mildred’s retreating back. She shivered a little bit as she gathered her things and left.


A few days later, Stacy had finished with all of her tasks and documents for the day in record time. She was a very capable and accomplished secretary, but her real motivation to hurry with her workload was so she could spend more time watching some very special YouTube videos.

“Ohh! That’s a poodle perm tutorial by Retro Vintage right?” Stacy had been engrossed in the video, and hadn’t heard Mildred as she approached her desk.

“What? How did you…? I mean…Um…” Stacy was lost for words and embarrassed as she closed up the window on her desk computer.

“Relax Stacy, I have the same video saved on my perm watchlist, I’d be happy to share the list  with you if you like” said Mildred kindly.

“I…I would actually love that…thank you” Stacy sounded like she was finally giving in to the thoughts that had been nagging her for days.

“Anything for a fellow perm fanatic!”

“Well I wouldn’t say fanatic is the right word…” Stacy objected, trying to save face.

“It’s all right Stace, your secret is safe with me” Mildred winked conspiratorially at her perm enthusiast comrade.

“Is there something I can help you with, Mildred?” Stacy gave her an awkward smile, desperately trying to change the subject.

“Oh yes actually! You see, Dr. Katie wants me to send all these documents for chemical licensing and approval for the perm solution, but I don’t really understand what the process is. I was hoping you could help me?” Mildted was clearly bemused as she handed Stacy a folder with dozens of documents.

Stacy quickly skimmed through the folder.

“I see, the problem is you were trying to fill a FG-57 Form when you should be doing a EG-45 Permit Form, in order to receive a AZ-35 Approval Certificate.”

“Oh My God Stacy! You really know your stuff!” exclaimed a very surprised Mildred.

“Of course I do! You think I was hired just because of my pretty face?” Stacy regained her imposing look.

“Right! Sorry, let me text the Doctor real quick.” She typed ferociously on her phone.

“All right, all settled! Dr. Williams is going to request for you to be working full-time for her while the whole process of getting the perm solution to market is finished, isn’t that great?!” Mildred sounded very excited.

“What!? But, but how?!” Said Stacy very perplexed.

“Well, the deal with Hathor means that the University will be getting a significant income stream, as soon as the product is launched. So they want to accommodate her with anything she needs in order for the project to go on smoothly, and I told her that with your help all the paperwork will be done in no time!” Mildred sounded very enthusiastic about the prospect of working more closely with Stacy.

“Well I suppose that makes sense, but still-“

“Come on Stacy! Don’t you want to be part of the project that will revolutionise the hair industry? And besides, you’ll have the chance to learn all about perms and everything to do with them. Doesn’t that interest you?” Mildred was doing her best to sound tempting.

Stacy felt her heart rising and her cheeks blushing as soon as she heard those words. She played with a lock of her hair, curling it with her finger, as a shy smile formed in her face.

“Lead me to my new desk then, partner!”

Mildred very gently took her arm and guided her towards the lab.


The next few days passed in a blur. Katie, Mildred and Stacy worked long hours to get through all of the work needed to allow Katie’s new invention to be manufactured in volume, and then go on sale to the public.

Meanwhile, both Mildred and Stacy were slowly succumbing to the insidious effects of inhaling Katie’s invention. Inhaled along with the lemon-fresh fragrance, the biological elements had begun to do their job, and slowly make the two young women more and more obsessed with the ideas of short, tight, curly perms.

They found themselves spending more and more time together, both working, and also feeding their new obsession. Searching for images of the perfect perm, streaming videos of women being tightly rolled up and popped under the dryer, even reading about the experiences of women who had taken the plunge, and had their long straight hair cut and permed into neatly rounded helmets of curls.

By the end of the week, the two of them had got into a routine where they would leave work together, go back to one of their flats, and grab some food whilst hunting down even more perm material.

Stacy had no idea what had got into her, and could only assume that being around Katie and her new perm had made her realise that, actually, curly hair could look nice, and perhaps it was time that she considered a new look.


Mildred was sitting at the kitchen counter, eyes glued to her phone. Stacy slipped her friend’s hair out of its customary ponytail, and began to run her brush through it.

“Mmmm, that’s nice.” Mildred responded, arching her back. Stacy continued brushing. She’d been dying to get her hands on Mildred’s hair. It was just so boring. Long, straight, plain brown and always in a ponytail. She separated it into sections, and began to fashion it into a tight, neat french plait.

Mildred felt the firm but gentle pulling on her hair and sat up straighter. “I haven’t had my hair plaited in years, since my Mum used to do it.”

“Well it’s time we did something other than a ponytail with it.” Stacy chided her.

“Mmm, yes, I suppose so.” Mildred replied. She flushed, knowing that what she really wanted, deep down, was the kind of old-fashioned, short tight curly perm she’d seen so many times on her phone screen. She could never do that, though, could she?

Stacy finished off the plait and gave it a little tug. “All done, Missy. Swap.”

She held the hairbrush out, and they exchanged places. Mildred began to carefully run the brush through Stacy’s long, golden locks.

“You have such pretty hair.” She sighed. “I think all the girls in the department envy you.”

“Well, maybe.” It was Stacy’s turn to flush now. “It’s a lot of work though, and recently, I just can’t stand having it in my face. Can you plait it for me?”

“I’ll do my best.” Mildred sounded a bit unsure. “I’m not very good with hair.”

She clumsily split Stacy’s hair into three, and tried to form the neatest plait that she could. She felt a bit inadequate. Stacy had given her a perfect french plait, and she could barely manage to twist the three strands together. It had got Stacy’s hair out of her face, at least.

Mildred wound an elastic around the end. “That’s the best I can do, sorry.”

Stacy ran her hand down the clumsy plait as she turned around. “Don’t be sorry. It feels much better, just having it out of the way for once.” She paused. “But you know, maybe I could do with a cut, so it doesn’t keep getting in my face.” She gave Mildred a mischievous look.

“I totally know what you mean.” Mildred agreed, in a conspiratorial tone. “My hair always seems to be getting in the way, lately.”  She ran her hands down Stacy’s plait with tender care.

“Well, maybe we should both have a cut, Missy.” Stacy teased in her usual sassy tone, picking up Mildred’s plait and miming cutting it, making  her fingers into scissors.

“Do you think so?” Mildred gasped. “How short should we go? Maybe… to our shoulders?” She moved closer to Stacy.

“I was thinking of something… shorter.” Stacy was almost whispering as she too got closer to Mildred.

“Yeah, you’re right and perhaps something…”

They were right in each other’s faces.

Curlier…” They said in unison and immediately shared a long passionate kiss while holding each other’s plaits. After a few minutes of making out, they let go of each other’s lips, exchanging an excited smile with one another.

“Seems we are on the same page.” Mildred was blushing deeply, sounding nervous but happy.

“Seems we are on the same page about a lot of things Missy…” Stacy replied, taking Mildred’s hand softly and lovingly.

“So, are you serious about cutting your hair? You really want to go short, and curly?” Mildred asked anxiously.

“I’m serious about cutting our hair, Missy.” Stacy cleared her throat, and adopted an assertive tone. “We’re both going to be getting old-fashioned, tight and curly perms”

As she finished her sentence a rush of excitement went through Mildred’s body, which prompted her to kiss Stacy with twice the vigour of before.


“So how should we do it?” Asked Stacy.

The two young women were just laying on the couch, looking at each other, both slightly flushed from their  session of tender embrace. Mildred knew exactly what she meant.

“Well, I suppose we could just go to a salon, but I kind of want to use Dr. Katie’s solution. I don’t think I’ll be any good at rolling your hair up, though, let alone cutting it.” She looked thoughtful for a moment, then inspiration struck.

“Oh I got it! How about we go and ask Katie if she could have some of her perm solution, then take it to the salon, and get them to use it on us? There’s gallons of the stuff in the lab, and I’m sure she will be delighted to help us get permed!”

“Well I would like to use the Williams Ultimate Perm Solution, obviously, and I’m sure Josie would be happy to use it,  but, uh, …” Stacy’s voice trailed off.

“What is it?”

“Does it really have to be both of us who ask her for it? Don’t get me wrong, I want to get permed just as badly as you do, but after all the sass and granny jokes I made about her, it will be, well, a bit embarrassing.” Stacy looked rather uncomfortable at the prospect..

“Don’t worry about it! Dr. Katie isn’t one to hold a grudge, and besides, all that was before you started working with us, you two are on much better terms now.” Mildred reassured her.

“Anyway, even if it is only me that asks, she’s going to see you with your tight perm soon enough, so what difference does it make?”

“You’re right…” admitted Stacy, letting out a big sigh.  “I guess, I’ll just have to swallow my pride.” Stacy sounded a bit deflated.

“Don’t worry love, I”ll be right there with you” Mildred reassured her and gave her a sweet kiss on the cheek.

“Girls that perm together…” Said Stacy

“Stay together!” Laughed Mildred, and they started to kiss again.


The next day was Sunday, normally a day off, but the two new lovebirds were making their way towards the science department, hand in hand, knowing that Katie would be in the lab, as ever. There was something different about them though. Stacy’s long and usually carefully styled locks had been pulled back in a plain, but neat, low ponytail. Mildred’s usual practical pony had been banished, and her hair was loose, beautifully styled and subtly curled. The girls had styled each other’s hair in a cute attempt to have fun with the little time that they knew they had left with their long locks.

When they got to the lab, there was a temporary photo studio setup, with lights, a white vinyl background and a professional camera which Katie was fiddling with. The couple stayed for a moment, letting her finish her work as they both quietly admired her tightly curled perm. Katie had been dressing more formally since her perm, but had outdone herself today. She was wearing a calf-length floral dress, with a pleated skirt and a primly buttoned collar. A navy-blue blazer added to the formality.

“Oh morning girls! Didn’t notice you were there.” Said Katie as she turned around. “Oh look at you both! A bit of a fun hair day huh?” She grinned at them.

“Yeah, something like that.” Stacy replied, squeezing Mildred’s hand tightly. Mildred blushed, and bent her head, allowing her hair to fall over her face. She gathered her composure and straightened back up.

“Actually Dr. Williams, Stacy and I would like to ask you for a big favour.”

“I see, and may I ask what that would be?” Katie’s interest had been piqued.

“We were hoping you could give us a couple of samples of your ultimate perm solution” Mildred asked a little bashfully, but with hope in her eyes.

“Interesting, and what would you girls be doing with these samples?” Katie asked in a knowing tone.

“Well you see, um, we were hoping to um…” Mildred was losing her words as she stared into Katie’s piercing eyes and cheshire cat smile. Stacy realised that she would have to take over.

“We’re going to use it on ourselves.” She blurted out. “You see, Dr. Williams, we both want to get very short, tight and curly perms, just like yours, and as soon as possible.” Stacy did her best to sound confident and self-assured, but it wasn’t easy when saying something she never thought she would.

“Oh my goodness girls! I have to say I’m surprised, I would never have imagined you would both like to join me in the curly perm club! Well, perhaps there was a chance for Mildred here, but you Stacy? Never in a million years would I have thought to see the day that you would be asking to have your glorious mane turned into an old-fashioned head of granny curls.”

Katie pretended to be surprised by this development, but took her chance to have a bit of a dig at  Stacy’s pride while she could.

“Well, it’s a bit of a surprise to me as well.” Stacy confessed. “But what can I say? I think it’s just spending all this time working with you, and learning so much more about the wonders of perming. I’m not afraid to say that I’m not just fond of perms now, in fact, I love them!” She held Mildred’s hand and looked into her eyes as she spoke.

Katie allowed a proud and satisfied smile to cross her face as she heard the fashionable and  glamorous Stacy made this admission.

“And you Mildred, do you feel the same way as Stacy?” Katie enquired.

“Of course Doctor! I suppose that at first I didn’t quite understand the significance of your invention, but after all you I’ve learnt working on this project, I think this could truly be a revolution in the hair industry of the 21st century. Both Stacy and I want nothing more than to be part of it!”  After Stacy’s bold statement, Mildred had regained her confidence and assertiveness.

“Well in that case, I will be very happy to help you!” Katie felt a huge sense of accomplishment flooding through her. This, surely, was proof that her invention was working as well as she had always dreamed it would.

“In fact, I want you girls to try these new scent variants I’ve been working on, it works just like the original, but I’ve spliced in genes from different plant species, to give a variety of fragrances.”

Katie offered the girls a box filled with bottles of the perm solution, but with different coloured caps, and they eagerly started to examine them.

“Thank you so much!” enthused Mildred. “I’m going to try the Rose scent”  She smiled shyly, knowing that Stacy was very fond of roses.

“And I’ll go for strawberry.” Stacy returned the smile. Mildred loved strawberries.

“Excellent girls, so, are you doing each other’s hair, or…?” Katie left the question hanging.

“Oh, er, no, we’re going to go to a salon. My friend, Josie, is a hairdresser. She’s been doing my hair forever, and she’s going to perm us both, this afternoon. I messaged her earlier and persuaded her to open the salon up, just for us.”

“Oh, well, in that case, why not take the whole box with you. Give the rest to Josie as free samples. We can use the publicity and with any luck, they might become our first customer.”

Katie was very excited at the prospect of having more of her invention out in the real world, spreading through the population.

“Well sure, Dr. Williams, thank you!” Stacy took  the box from her.

“One last thing darlings, do you have time to give me a hand with all this?” She gestured at the photoshoot set.

“The company wants some photos of the results of the perm solution, and the photographer cancelled on me at the last minute. Could you help me take some pictures for the portfolio?”

“Sure, it would be a pleasure!” replied Mildred.

“Thanks. And since you’re both going to be using the solution later, could you pop back here afterwards? It would be really good to take some of yours, too.”

“That would be lovely!” Stacy beamed. “And it will be a perfect memory for us to keep.”

“Precisely my dears. Oh, I just can’t wait for your do’s to be done, we’ll all be looking so lovely with our matching perms!”

Katie was desperate to see her plan come to fruition, and Mildred and Stacy just nodded with smiles on their faces.

“Right, let’s get started with the photoshoot.” Katie pointed towards the set.

Mildred and Stacy helped Katie get everything ready and began to take various shots from different angles. Both of them were secretly picturing themselves in Katie’s place, with their own tight head of curls.  


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2 responses to “Permdemic! : Chapter 2

  1. The trap shuts and the girls hooked , “the vicious plan” works clockwise …. Becoming a lab “rat” like customer, being hooked for eternity to a bubble perm, sounds delicious …… lol …… i would gladly become a customer ….. so now the plot forms and the outcome is money , success , fame ….. great go on tell us your vicious fantasy

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