“Alright ladies, I’m glad to see all of you here. You’ve all proven to be exceptionally strong swimmers, and we’d be happy to bring each and every one of you on. Of course, as you all know, every team member must always be on their top performance, and several things get in the way of that. Hair can be kept under a swim cap, but that’s not enough for this team- for this team, you keep your head shaved at all times.”
I walk up next to the massive machine at the back of the room, and tell the assembled girls, “We all use this machine to stay smooth, every day. You will too, soon. Today will be the first of many days.”
I smile wryly, and ask for one of the girls in the crowd to come up to me. She shakily walks forward, and I take her hand to pull her closer. Her body is trembling, but I stroke her arm to help calm her. I can smell her berry shampoo wafting off her cute little shoulder-length brown mop.
“Kerry here will serve as our example. She’ll go first.”
Kerry nervously looks back at me, then back at the other girls. I lead her to a chair sitting on the end of a conveyor belt, and she sits down cautiously.
Almost immediately, clamps secure her arms to the rests and her legs to the base, and another holds her neck in place. She yelps, but I reassure her, “Don’t worry sweetie. It’s not going to hurt you. In fact, it secures you to make sure you’re not going to get hurt. Just stay calm.”
I flip a switch, and the chair rolls down the belt, behind a curtain. I invite the recruits to come watch through the window on the front of the machine as robotic hands snap a magnetic black cape onto the chair’s restraints. After a moment, four pairs of clippers come from the machine, and Kerry squirms a little bit, and closes her eyes. The loud buzzing is audible even through the window, and it gets lower and deeper when the various clippers make contact with hair. One pair of clippers runs down the middle of Kerry’s head, one up her left side, one up her right, and one up the back of her head. At different times, each pair of clippers throws a clump of hair off the girl’s head and onto the surrounding floor or the cape, and then goes back to shear more away. Big clumps of brown hair rain down off her head, all around her. It feels euphoric watching her get transformed from just another girl to a respectable member of the team.
Eventually, the side clippers retreat- there is nothing left on the sides of her head. The top and back clippers continue to throw locks away, letting them run down her cape or fall to the floor. A pile of clipped hair in her lap grows every few seconds, when a new lock falls down into it. I love how thoroughly the clippers shear her, passing over her head multiple times after there’s nothing but fuzz, to ensure that nothing has escaped anywhere.
The remaining clippers retreat eventually- and she opens her eyes.
She looks cute with her buzzcut, especially sitting among all her sheared hair, looking dazed. I glance at the other recruits- they’re all shivering and watching Kerry intently. I smile, knowing the best is still to come.
Mechanical hands come to detach Kerry’s cape and shake the hair on it off onto the floor. Her chair rolls behind another curtain- when she comes out, her head is covered in cream. Quickly but steadily, several snakelike tendrils with razors at their ends descend, and begin shaving away the stubble the clippers had left behind, along with the cream. I can hear her panting through the window- it feels good to have the razors against you. They’re gentle but very thorough, and they leave nothing behind.
I watch one of the razors closely as it runs down her scalp, leaving her smooth skin a shade paler than her olive face. Within a flash, there’s no hair left, and the machine’s hands dry her head thoroughly with a towel. The chair rolls out the end of the machine, and releases Kerry. She gingerly reaches up to touch her head, and recoils a bit under her own fingers. Eventually, though, she lets her hand rub over her clean scalp, and she smiles. A small smile at first, but a broader one soon.
I go to help her out of the chair, and to feel her head- it’s always so smooth and soft after a fresh shearing. The chair automatically springs back to the front of the machine.
I take Kerry back to the other girls. One has her hands over her mouth- a little blonde girl. She’s next. Another, a big redheaded girl with a long, thick braid, reaches out to touch Kerry’s head, and pets it much like me. Kerry seems to enjoy the attention- her blissful smile tells me that she’s very much enjoying herself.
“See?”, I tell the girls, “It’s a very efficient machine, and it will take care of you very well. You all are in for a great treat getting to use it.”
I point to the blonde girl.
“You’re next. Come on.”
She bumbles, and I take her arm. She spits out, “Wait! Is there.. Isn’t there any way I could join without cutting my hair?”
“No,” I tell her bluntly as I pull her toward the chair.
Just as I’m about to seat her, the redhead, Ashley, puts a hand on my shoulder. She smiles, and asks me, “Hey, do you mind if I go first? Hannah clearly needs a little bit more time to get used to the idea of this. I think it looks fun, though.”
I sigh, and gesture toward the seat. She sits down casually, and the chair straps her in.
She and the other girls jump when a big red light flashes and an alarm sounds.
“Shit,” I whisper to myself. I forgot that the machine is picky about hair always being loose. “We’re gonna need to undo your braid before it will take you- just give me a few seconds.”
I let Hannah go and walk behind the chair so I can work with the braid- it’s secured extremely tightly. Even after taking off the bands securing it, it’s difficult to break loose.
“Sorry about that sugar,” I can hear Ashley telling me, “I’ve learned to braid my hair up tight so that it doesn’t come loose at an inopportune time. Shouldn’t have to worry about that anymore, though. Looking forward to it.”
She’s really not kidding. Eventually, though, the braid pattern comes loose, and her hair tumbles across the back of the chair- a big fiery tangle of curls. The machine quickly detects the braid’s absence, and the chair whisks off behind the curtain. I wish it would wait for me to run to the window- I want to watch the cutting- but I can hear the clippers start without me. When I do reach the window, the clippers are already deep into her hair, dropping big licks of flame down her cape without remorse, relentlessly. She’s smiling broadly, and I notice that Kerry’s eyes are bright- she knows how good it feels to shed a pile of hair now. She lifts a hand up to touch her bare scalp and shivers. Inside the machine, the clippers are moving more slowly than before- I think they might be having trouble shearing such big, thick locks. I watch with interest as one of the side clippers dumps a massive, thick pile of hair into her lap- it’s definitely more than the machine is used to dealing with, but it doesn’t seem to be having a problem after all. I look behind the chair- the pile of red hair that’s growing behind the chair has already covered the brown locks of the previous occupant completely. There’s so much more hair to cut off. Even as I look at the pile, another big group of curls hits it and distorts the mountain of hair under its weight.
Whereas Kerry only took only about thirty seconds to finish getting clipped, we all stand waiting, watching, for a full minute and some more waiting for the poor clippers to chew through all of Ashley’s hair. She keeps her broad smile through the whole experience, though, up to the point where the back clippers make their final cleaning pass up her head, and finally retreat. Finally, the robotic hands come, taking the cape off and throwing a giant pile of red hair on the floor in front of the chair. Ashley looks shocked for a moment, watching her hair bounce to the ground, but she regains her composure quickly before the chair moves behind the creaming curtain, and she emerges ready and happy to be shaved by the prepared razors. They move on her head quickly, and she is shaved quickly and efficiently, just as Kerry was. I love watching the two razors that simultaneously travel up the sides of her head, whisking away the remains of sideburns and cleaning behind her ears. She closes her eyes and smiles euphorically, enjoying the experience- she’ll love coming back here every day to get repeatedly shaved, I can tell. She’s already loving it, just like me. When the razors leave her head, she opens her eyes, and tries to look around- quickly, though, the towel on her head covers her eyes, as the machine wipes her clean scalp down. When it’s complete, her chair rolls out, and her restraints are released. She’s not as dazed as Kerry, and doesn’t need help getting up- we both come anyway to admire her smooth head, though. She has to lean down for us to rub it, as we both want to, and she looks majestic when she stands tall and bald.
“God, it feels good not to be hauling that much weight around by my neck!” she tells us, “And it’s so much cooler. I should have done this sooner.”
She smiles broadly at Hannah when she comes back to the group, and ruffles the much smaller blonde girl’s hair gently. “Are you ready? I think you’ll love it.” she urges.
Hannah gulps, and I can see her trembling before she asks, “Can I please go last?”
I turn my eyes to the other girl present- she’s barely spoken at all, not only today, but ever. I don’t really know what to make of her. Upon hearing Hannah’s request, she shrugs her shoulders and pulls a scrunchie out of her long raven hair, stunning all of us. It’s beautiful.
She brushes it outward with her hands, letting it flow out behind her like black water.
She walks past all of us, with a glowering expression, her hair trailing behind her. I’m half tempted to tell her she shouldn’t do this, but she gracefully sits in the chair without saying anything, and it straps her in. There’s no going back now.
The chair pulls her behind the curtain, and we all crowd around to watch the window. It takes a moment for her hair to settle around her, but the hands don’t wait so much as a moment to cape her up, and the clippers follow them soon, plunging into her hair on all sides, and shearing through it easily. When a severed lock falls, it drifts wistfully to the ground or the cape in contrast to the previous large clumps falling quickly. Her hair must have been very thin- perhaps it wasn’t as healthy as it was beautiful. Each clipper pass exposes a creamy white scalp contrasting the dark hair, and she looks less intimidating with each pass. Clippers dropping her bangs onto her cape reveal her eyebrows, and her expression- it appears she may not have been glowering after all. She actually looks quite content and relaxed, even without a smile.
I quietly whisper to Kerry that it’s a good thing this girl is getting her head shaved- she could hide her true feelings behind her hair. Kerry nods vigorously.
Before I’m even done talking, the machine is finished clipping her. The black hair barely looks like a dusting on the red pile, and the petite pile on the cape doesn’t elicit much reaction from the girl in the machine when it’s thrown off.
When her chair runs her through the next room, she has closed her eyes- she doesn’t see the razors approaching her head. When they touch her, though, her expression changes- first I see surprise, then I see happiness, and contentment. For the first time, I see her smile- a bit of a creepy, lewd smile, but a smile nonetheless, and I’m glad she’s happy. I think. I’m going to watch where her hands are for the rest of the time I’m with her.
Quickly, the razors do their work ensuring that her creamy white scalp is not only visible, but clear and shining. As the towel rubs her head down, her tongue lolls out just a bit- I envy the amount of fun she appears to be having. When the chair rolls out, her eyes are still closed, and she’s smiling in her weird way- her head is creamy white, and I want to touch it, but I’m also scared. Instead, I go to her, and take her hand, gently pulling her up. She seems to be in some sort of stupor, but she walks with me to the group of other girls. Kerry pets her head without thinking, and a long, deep moan escapes the girl’s mouth.
Kerry slowly withdraws her hand, and turns her head away.
“Hannah!” I say, trying to break the tension, “That’s everyone else. Time to get in the chair.”
Hannah looks at the ground, but Ashley pulls her chin up, and tells her slowly, “It’s okay if you can’t do it, sweetie. You can still go home.”
“No!” Hannah exclaims, making everyone jump a bit. “I just… needed some time to think, to get myself ready. I’ve been training for months, years to join this team. Nothing is going to stop me, and especially not something as stupid as this.”
She takes a deep breath, and walks to the chair. Carefully, she lowers herself into it, slowly and surely. When the clamps automatically seal her, she yelps loudly, and tries to break out of them.
When the chair rolls down the tracks, she yelps again, but she’s muffled by the curtain. Behind the window, I can see her fighting the restraints- tisk tisk, if she didn’t want this, she should have never sat down. When she’s caped, and the clippers lower toward her, we can all hear her scream. I almost wish I could let her go. Almost. And there’s no way she’s strong enough to break those restraints.
As swiftly as ever, the clippers descend on her, and plunge into her cute little blonde locks, throwing hanks of hair behind her and down her cape. She’s stopped struggling when she sees her hair falling, and I think she’s started crying. At least it won’t take too long- the clippers are making quick work of her little blonde mess, buzzing off big chunks of hair from every part of her scalp. “The shaving will probably cheer her up”, I tell the others, who have varying degrees of sympathy on their faces. When I turn back to the window, the back clippers dump a massive clump of hair into her lap, and I can see that that definitely made her start sobbing.
Within fifteen seconds, all the clippers are only cleaning up, buzzing her head several times over to ensure no stray hairs escape. When they retreat, and hands come to take and shake the cape, I can see that Hannah has mostly stopped crying. She’s still shaking like a leaf, though, as her blonde locks tumble all over the floor. They still haven’t managed to cover up the red carpet, but there are a lot of them. After Hannah is rolled into the next room, she starts shaking harder when she sees the razors- as I suspected, though, when they touch her scalp, she quickly stops. She starts to smile even with tears still in her eyes as they dust over her head, taking all the stubble away with them. It’s over too soon, and a towel descends on her head, cleaning her up, and then rolling her out of the machine. When the restraints are released, she jumps out of the chair and runs to Ashley, who takes her in a big hug, petting her bare scalp with a free hand.
I look at our new team members- four bald, efficient swimming girls. It might take a bit of getting used to, but I think they’ll all grow to love this style, and the team they’re on. I pet Hannah’s head, and get her to smile a little bit about how good it feels to have my nails dance on her bald scalp, before sending all of them off to the locker rooms for practice. Before I go, though, I watch them leave, and then I sit in the chair.
It always feels exhilarating to get strapped in for me- especially as I ride along the rails, past the clipper room, into the razors. Feeling so many razors gently dragging over your scalp is soothing and euphoric, even when there’s so little stubble for them to take away. And the warm towel you’re wiped off with is almost as nice.
Every time I exit the machine and am released, I feel completely refreshed. I’m ready to lead my team in practice. Let’s do this.