The Clippers: Part 4

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What’s three years between parts? Part 1

OVER LUNCH

“Angie” Nathan stirred his cold coffee as he whispered to his wife
under the din of of the diner. “We have to do something.”

Chestnut curls stretched, and bounced back, from the nervous pulling
of Angie’s fingers below the table “It’s probably our whole town by now.” Her
eyes darted around the room, apparently checking to see if anyone’s head had
suddenly been shaved.

“Angie, what if I told you I had an idea,” terrible possibilities swam
through Nathan’s slumped head. “What if you could stop this from going
further?” He did not dare look up.

“You are the expert on these things,” her voice was sadder than he
ever wanted to hear it.

“We need to try…” a knot caught in his throat, “I mean, I would
never, normally, ask this of you.” A hand placed itself gently on his,
stopping him from stirring.

“I understand. You can’t get anywhere near them.” She held him
hand tightly, “This has to be done.”

PREPARING

Paying for an hour to use a motel room made Angie feel like she
was seventeen, again. Clandestine meetings between her and Nathan, her
parents being wholly against her dating below her station.

“Why are you laughing?” Damn if Nathan did not still have that
same nervous look from the first time they shared a motel room.

“My parents always told me that you’d get me in trouble.” Trying
to distract herself she arranged plastic guards from a brand new clipper set
on the bed. “I just thought they meant getting me pregnant.”

Nathan pushed an ottoman closer to the outlet by the window. “Should
have taken Michael up on prom.”

“You know what?” Angie sat on the ottoman, and gathered her
curls into a ponytail. “I’m not sure this is worse.”

Nathan pecked her on the cheek, then caped her. “If this doesn’t
work…” the cape snapped behind her neck.

Looking up at those teary blue eyes nearly broke her. “This will
work.” With blurry eyes of her own she let her doomed locks fall all
the way down her back.

When the clippers popped on Angie was steeled by the faces of
her daughter, and her friends. Beth was too sweet, too kind to warrant
such a fate. And those kids next door, robbed of those beautiful golden
waves. How terrified must those girls have been to be powerless to stop
themselves from being robbed of the cornerstone of their femininity?

“Are you sure?” What was Nathan thinking asking that? Of
course she was sure. This had to be done, her daughter, those girls, all
of them needed to be rescued from that cult.

Filled with purpose, and vigor to do what was right she held
her head high, daring those steel teeth to do their worst. And
then they did.

Tears welled in her burning eyes. Her curls fell away, their
softness stripped from her, never to caress her again. Was this how
Beth felt? Frozen behind her eyes, forced to destroy her beauty by
a malevolent force?

Those bits of plastic on the bed could have been used to save at
least a little bit of her hair. Rage filled her. What kind of evil could
take away what those girls and women had loved?

Pressure on her head grew with each stroke of the clippers.
Their speed increasing as if to punish her for her thoughts. Fresh,
beautiful, curls fell over the front of her shoulders now, sliding
down the cape and draping their pampered lengths over her knees,
taunting her with the goal she had set for them so long ago.

“Head down,” her husband’s strained voice cracked.

She tried to think of anything else, a happy thought to transport
herself to a place before any of this happened. But, the clippers trapped
her like the strands between their blades.

Over her ears they went, assaulting her with their electric crackling,
demanding she feel the full force of the sacrifice she was making. A flood
of her chestnut pride washed down the front of the cape, over her numb
body.

Trembling, and her husband near finished taking away the largest
part of her, she focused on one overriding thought. “This has to be done.”

UNDERSTANDING

All was normal where Nathan had dropped Angie off at the edge of
town. Besides Angie, who would make the mile walk to the salon on her own.

Constantly she wanted to put her hair behind her ear, or to put it up
when the wind picked up. Each time she drew the attention of Women, and
girls, their hair still very much part of them.

They were members of her church, and the PTA. Others she only knew from
when she went shopping, and they cashed her out. All Angie could do
was hold her shorn head high, and know she was doing her best to help
them avoid a fate they could never know about.

By the time she reached the salon she felt like she was crazy.
Where were all the bald women? The town was so normal. Then she
saw the salon.

There was a news van there, now. The reporter, a girl, twenty at best,
was arguing with her cameraman, Her red hair was up in a bun.

As Angie walked up, eyes shifted to her. There was a shift in
everyone’s demeanor. Backing up, she considered walking away from
the crowd that was considering her like a pack of animals figuring out
a new comer.

The reporter took advantage of the cameraman’s confusion,
and started to invite all the women who were listening to come down,
and experience what was going on for themselves. She moved to
go inside, and a trio of women forced the camera away from the man

who sought the safety of his van.

“This is the site of the revolution,” the reporter waved her
hand across the room, showing the viewers the carpet of hair that
no one was bothering to clean up.

Others made way for the reporter. One, freshly bald woman
moved from a chair. Angie could not quite figure which hair in the
shifting tapestry was hers.

“You get to watch as I join the movement, and become free
of my own doubts.” The woman took her hair out of her bun, grinning
as it twirled down the back of the char, revealing the lengths of its
coppery luster.

Of course, Angie thought. Some asshole at the news station
sent the poor girl with the longest hair to investigate. Was she even a
reporter?

“Angie.”

Her heart sank at the sound of her own name.

“Don’t worry, you’re safe here.” A woman was holding
out her arm, her hand offering a set of clippers. “You’ll come to
see that.”

The reporter turned to Angie. “You will be the one to free me.”

Everyone turned towards Angie, she had no choice. Stepping
forward she now stood behind the reporter. Was she going to do this?
Could she let herself be controlled by what she hated?

The clippers popped on in her hands. As she brought them
to the reporters forehead she considered them. They were just a machine,
a machine that this woman wanted to be used. A tool to remove something
this reporter did not want. Freedom from what was used to control her,
and so many others.

Angie glided the clippers from the reporters forehead to over the
back of her head. The strands of the reporters heavy spiritual weight
dropped away, letting her feel the joy that had been locked away,
compressed by societies restraints, released all at once in pulses of
ecstasy.

With each backward stroke Angie joined the reporter in convulsions
of her suppressed happiness. Her  husband was wrong, there was nothing
evil about this. All of these people were being awakened. Their need for
societies acceptance being challenged, and overcome in a glorious act of
self realization.

Behind her a girl, not much older than Beth was guided through the
door by her arm. She was complaining that she was not sure she wanted to
be here, anxiously fidgeting with hair that was far too long, and heavy for
this weather. Waist length tresses that bore the pampered marks of
vying for the male gaze.

In the chair, the reporter was ecstatic. Her frenetic proselytizing
being broadcast by the trio with the camera. While Angie still held
the clippers to her head the reporter managed to slip off her bra,
and toss it aside.

A dozen or so women took turns professing their own love for
what was happening before Angie had finished with the reporter,
the newest layer of silk added to the floor.

Angie did not bother turning the clippers off, the girl who had
entered the salon was already in the chair. There were no questions, no
waiting, and no objections. Angie did what had to be done.

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