She was in a dire state.Â The company she used to work for went bankrupt with three months of wages unpaid. The timing was unfortunate too as she had just had a breast enlargement. D-cups can be nice, but not when you donâ€™t have the funds.
She had lived on her savings, applied for jobs â€“ unsuccessful. She was really at a loss as she was behind in rent too. She had managed to keep the landlord at bay, however she was sure today it would be game over for her and her apartment.
A knock came upon the door and when she opened she saw the frustrated face of Mr Kent, her landlord.
â€œLook Paulaâ€ the said quietly, â€œI wish I could let you stay, I have had several good offers for this apartment, from people with jobs to boot. Iâ€™m not welfare, I need to earn a living tooâ€
She looked sullen, tears trickling from her eyes â€“ not only because her contacts were overdue, she really was desperate. Her once impeccable blond hair hung greasy , the black roots a clear sign it hadnâ€™t been colored for a month or two now. She really looked pitiable.
And Mr Kent took pity.
â€œPoor Paulaâ€, he said, â€œmaybe I can help you a bit, though I donâ€™t think youâ€™ll like it muchâ€
AnotherÂ sob left Paula.
â€œI have a friend who could use some help in his shop, he may even let you stay in a vacant room above the shopâ€
â€œYou still have to pay the amount due though, the owner would be furious if you didnâ€™tâ€
So it was that a few hours later Paula found herself standing inside a barbershop looking at the friendly face of a bald man she was introduced at being Chuck Beni.
â€œWell, I have a respectable shop hereâ€ Chuck said, â€œI canâ€™t have some girl like you distracting all my clients, But I promised John to give it a go, so if youâ€™re willing to tone down your looks you have a job and you can stay in the room upstairs.â€
â€œOh thank you Mr Beni, Iâ€™d do anything to get out of this messâ€
Her eyes were red from the worn contacts, tears dripped down her cheek.
â€œNot if you keep crying thoughâ€ he said.
â€œOh itâ€™s not thatâ€, Paula replied, â€œitâ€™s these lenses,I badly need new onesâ€
â€œWhy donâ€™t you wear glasses?â€
â€œI donâ€™t have anyâ€
â€œWell, youâ€™re in luck again, this used to be a optician shop, I still have some of the old stock in a drawer somewhere, letâ€™s see if we can find any to your subscriptionâ€.
They went in the back , to a shed where stood an old cabinet. Chuck opened a drawer. In it were several pairs of glasses, allÂ obviously longÂ outdated.
â€œTake out your lenses and try to find one that matchesâ€
Reluctantly Paula took out here contacts â€“ wow didnâ€™t that feel good to her eyes â€“ and tried them one for one. Unfortunately, none of them were perfect, but one gave her enough vision to see things acceptantly.
When she looked in a mirror she saw they were of the dark rimmed Buddy Holly type.
â€œComeâ€, Chuck said, â€œLetâ€™s give you some more appropriate clothesâ€.
They went into another room and there Chuck gave her an oversized black shirt and some black slack pants.
â€œWe canâ€™t distract clients with your curves.Â Dress down with these.â€
â€œIf youâ€™re okay with it, Iâ€™m gonna cut your hair very short in a style thatâ€™s my trade markâ€
â€œIâ€™m okay with itâ€ Paula murmured, realizing she didnâ€™t have many options.
â€œOh, and can you please cut your fingernails firstâ€. Chuck gave Paula some nailcutters.
â€œIâ€™ll let you get ready, Iâ€™ll be back in half an hourâ€.
Paula started to cut her long fingernails as Chuck left the room closing the door. She put the glasses on the dressoir and started to undress.Â She silently folded her now only dress on the chair and start putting on the pants. After that she put on the shirt and buttoned it up almost to the neck.Â It would have been way too big if it werenâ€™t for her implants. She let it fall over the pants.Â She put her hands under her hair and pulled it out of the shirt. There was a pair of sandals she put on her feet.
Paula sat on the chair on waited for Chuck to return.
After a while a knock came on the door. â€œAre you decent?â€
â€œYes, you can come inâ€.
Chuck entered the room carrying a bag, â€œyou can go to the salon, take the chair furthest from the window, weâ€™re not putting on a showâ€. He took Paulaâ€™s clothes and put them in the bag. â€œMeanwhile Iâ€™ll get rid of these, you canâ€™t use these anymoreâ€.
Paula looked surprised but didnâ€™t answer. She silently went into the salon and sat in the indicated barberchair.
A few minutes later Chuck entered. He put on his white coat and came to Paula.
â€œLetâ€™s get rid of this mopâ€, he laughed.Â â€œNo need washing that hairâ€ he told her as he took of her glasses and put them on the table in front of her. He threw a brown cape around her neck and making sure the hair wasnâ€™t caught under it, he fastened it. Â Paula couldnâ€™t see much, so she didnâ€™t see that Chuck took a pair of scissors and with his left hand started stroking through her hair, pulling a strand between the ring and middle finger of his left hand and started cutting. He did this very fast and soon dark rooted blonde hair fell to the floor. In five minutes he had gone over her whole head , she felt lighter already and peered into the mirror making out a face with short dark hair.
â€œWhat a messâ€, Chuck murmured, â€œas from tomorrow this will be your task, but seeing youâ€™re in the chair Iâ€™ll sweep the hair now, I realy canâ€™t work with all this mess about my feetâ€.
He disappeared for a while and came back holding a broom and swept the pile of aside.Â â€œSo, that should be well enough, you can tidy it up later and put it in the dustbinâ€.
He took a comb from his top coat pocked and started to comb the short dark hair. At time Paula had to hide her agony when he had to pull another knot in her hair.
â€œAh, that should be well enoughâ€ he whispered in despair. â€œIt wonâ€™t be long enough to comb anywayâ€.
There was a click, followed a few seconds later by another click that induced a buzzing sound.
With his left hand he firmly pushed Paulaâ€™s head down and started to push cold metal in her neck.
Buzzâ€¦. Flocks of hair fell down. Chuck, pushed he clippers from the neck to the front. Locks of hair floated past Paulaâ€™s nose. Back they went to the back of her head and another push forward released further hair from her head. Having done the neck, he went to her left side and pushed her head to the right. There goes the buzz again liberating more hair from the quiet Paula head.Â He didnâ€™t push through to the other side this time. Next he moved to the left and did the same thing there.
â€œThere, now we can startâ€ he cheered.
Dark thoughts entered Paulaâ€™s head, if her current state was where he could start, that didnâ€™t promise much good.
Chuck to the guard off the clippers and again pushed her chin in her chest.Â He worked her whole neck and sidesÂ and Paula felt a chill becoming more dominant .
After he seemed to have finished he put turned of the clippers and put some creamy stuff on a comb and started to comb Paulaâ€™s remaining hair straight up. Soon the clippers went buzzing again he put a thin comb through herÂ top hair. Paula could feel the cold metal comb and the buzzing of the clippers as it shed another load of woolly dark flocks. Chuck worked around the crown, often stopping to check the connections and symmetry. He put down the clippers and took a smaller pair of clippers.
â€œNearly done, just tidying up the neckâ€.
He put the clippers in the neck and went up to ear height. He worked this way from ear to ear.
Finally he put these clippers down as well and went for the water spray. He wetted the back of Paulaâ€™s head, went for his top pocket again and took out the straight razor. With swift strokes he went over the areaÂ below her earlobes, from earlobe to earlobe.
â€œThere doneâ€, he smiled, â€œAnd I may add I think I surpassed myself again !â€.
He took the glasses and put them on Paulaâ€™s nose.
Paula stood perplexed. In the mirror she was a familiar face with dark rimmed glassedÂ and sporting a very short flattop.Â Everything under her ears was a smooth as can be, above a stubble that grew denser to almost showing no skin. The top of her hair was as flat as can be, there the stubble showed a lot more stubble in the middle.
Before she could get used to it, Chuck pulled off the cape. â€œPlease clean up the mess, Iâ€™m going home to the wife, I bet supper will be cold againâ€.
Paula gazed in the mirror to the strange reflection as she got out of the chair. Chuck pushed the broom in her hands and took of his coat, put on his jacket.
â€œDonâ€™t forget to turn off the light after youâ€™re done. Thereâ€™s some sheets in the closet in the bedroom. See you tomorrowâ€.
Chuck was out the doorÂ and as he locked theÂ door Paula started sweeping. She swept all the hair and put it in the dustbin, and as she looked for the last time to her long blonde mane, she saw it covered her clothes that lay on the bottom .
In the end everything turned out nice.Â Because Paula had not much to do, she cleaned up the house. She read some books from the library and started doing the books. This gave Chuck time to do more haircuts. Every Monday on closing day, Chuck came to the shop to give Paula a check up cut. Paula didnâ€™t mind much, she got used to it. After a few years she had paid off her debt and even though she could have found a better job she stayed. She even put subscription glasses in her spectacles.
She found the love of her life, one of Chuckâ€™s clients. The day they married she became Proud Paulaâ€¦.