They call me â€œAdmiralâ€ – though itâ€™s not official. Â My last official promotion was to Captain. Â That was before the Squids invaded Earth. Â As far as we could find though, I am the most senior officer still alive.
At this point though, nothing is really official anymore. Â We donâ€™t have a permanent base, just a network of camps that move pretty frequently. Â We are working to regain control of earth, between trying to survive.
Though many of those currently under my command were US Navy, plenty werenâ€™t. Â Some were from other branches of the military, but many are civilians. Â I even have a few from Norwayâ€™s Royal Navy, though they donâ€™t really consider themselves under my command, just allies who run their own missions alongside my people. Â The Norwegians are stuck here for now, since their boat was destroyed in the early battles against the Squids, and itâ€™s not like they can hop on the next flight to Europe.
Weâ€™re in the middle of a meeting and weâ€™re hitting all the usual topics. Â What camps need to be moved where, how are we doing at disrupting Squid activity, general survival.
â€œDr. Lambert, you needed to bring something up?â€ our secretary asks, looking at the agenda.
We all turn to Dr. Lambert. Â Lambertâ€™s a short, practical woman, a bit older than me. Â Till two days ago, she had soft white hair to her shoulders. Â Itâ€™s gone now. Â Yesterday I noticed sheâ€™d cut it all off to a very short buzz cut. Â When I asked her what was up with the hair, she had said it was on the agenda. Â Thinking about it, Iâ€™d been noticing more and more people with buzz cuts over the last month or two.
â€œHead lice are reaching epidemic levels,â€ Dr. Lambert starts. Â â€œI know it seems minor, but it is a huge drain on people. Â The itching is really distracting, scratching can lead to infection, a bad case can even lead to anemia. Â With summer coming, itâ€™s going to get worse and spread.â€
â€œWhat do you recommend we do about it?â€ I ask with a sigh.
Tonight, I know I will have to face Linda. Â She is going to be devastated.
Linda is one of the civilians weâ€™d picked up. Â I hadnâ€™t taken much notice of her when she first joined us. Â She was an artist and art historian before the invasion, it hadnâ€™t occurred to me she would become one of the most valuable people we could have. Â I was wrong. Â She knew how to do things most modern people had totally forgotten how to do. Â Archaic skills that in an industrial society were relegated to artists and historical reenactors turned out to be vital when you canâ€™t just go to a store and buy blankets or paper. Â She could jerry-rig together all sorts of things. Â I was both surprised and impressed by her.
Her skills werenâ€™t the only thing I noticed. Â She was beautiful, graceful and witty. Â She was the epitome of the fiery redhead. It took me a bit to realize how attracted I was to her. Â During the years Iâ€™d been with my late husband, Iâ€™d just kind of ignored parts of myself to the point of almost forgetting I am bi. Â Falling for Linda reminded me.
Iâ€™d lost my husband during the early battles. Â Though there were a few months of not knowing before Iâ€™d gotten word of it. Â It was some time after that that Linda had come along. Â I was lonely. Â She ended up becoming my lover.
Now I have to tell my flame haired lover that her hair has to go.
Iâ€™d tried to get her to cut her hair once before, but had given up. Â It was a few years ago. Â Sheâ€™d broken her arm. Â Trying to comb out her hair one handed was a disaster. Â She was completely incapable of putting it back in a braid or a ponytail by herself. I was busy, I didnâ€™t have time to take care of her hair every day. Â Her hair is harder to deal with than mine too. Â Her hair has conflicting personalities. Â Some strands are a lighter strawberry blonde, which are baby fine and straight. Â Other strands are a deep red and they tend to be thicker and curly. Â Put them together and they tangle like mad.
When I said we needed to cut it as I combed and braided it for her, she just sat there silently, looking miserable. Â I promised her she would look adorable with a bob. Â Iâ€™d even gone and found a pair of scissor to do the task. Â She never said no, but it was clear she felt it. Â She was just too worn down from the pain to actually put up a fight. Â Even though she didnâ€™t voice an objection, I couldnâ€™t bring myself to do it. Â So, tired as I was, I combed out and braided her hair for her each night before we went to bed till her arm healed enough that she could do it herself again.
So here I am, about to have to tell her again that we have to cut her hair, and this time â€œnoâ€ isnâ€™t actually an option.
This was going to be a bitter pill to swallow, not just for Linda, but for a lot of my people. Â Sure, those who are male and had been part of the military before the invasion would probably not blink an eye, but many of the others werenâ€™t going to be prepared for this. Â Even the females who had been military were most likely going to be shocked. Â Most of them joined after the Navy stopped requiring females to get haircuts. Â Iâ€™m one of the older females here and I was in one of the last groups of recruits that got haircuts, and that was well over a decade before the invasion.
To make matters worse, what I was about to order was a lot worse than the bob Iâ€™d gotten when I joined. Â Back then the bob had seemed like a pretty big deal to me. Â When I discovered that if Iâ€™d just put off joining for a few more months I could have skipped it, I was annoyed beyond belief.
When I joined the Navy, I had fairly long hair. Â Not that Iâ€™d ever been the trendy type, wearing the latest fashions. Â Half the time my hair was just pulled back in a practical ponytail. Â Thing is, when youâ€™re not spending a lot of time on makeup and clothing, long hair is the easy way to feel feminine. I could just be like: sure, Iâ€™m wearing blue jeans, sneaker and a t-shirt, but I still feel like a girl because I have pretty hair.
Iâ€™d been worried that Iâ€™d look awful with the bob, but it had looked great. Â It took more maintenance though, requiring regular trims. Â And I couldnâ€™t just put it into a ponytail, since it wouldnâ€™t all reach.
Contrary to popular belief, long hair isnâ€™t always super high maintenance. Â Long hair can be much lower maintenance on people like me who donâ€™t tend to get a lot of tangles. Â You can always pull it into a ponytail. Â If youâ€™re busy you can just let it go forever between cuts. Â In a lot of ways itâ€™s the ultimate â€˜Iâ€™m not thinking about my hairâ€™ hairstyle – ignore your hair and itâ€™s what you end up with by default. Â When Iâ€™ve had short hair, Iâ€™ve always felt more of a need for it too look done, since I canâ€™t simply resort to the ponytail.
Mine is long these days, in part because I havenâ€™t had time to actually get around to cutting it. Â Thatâ€™s going to change tonight.
As I head into the building that Linda and I have set up as our temporary home, I have a pair of scissors and a set of clippers with me.
I borrowed the clippers from Dr. Lambertâ€™s stash of equipment that sheâ€™s collected and generally is very reluctant to let anyone use. Â The personnel of our medical unit are the only ones whoâ€™ve had access to clippers for a long time. Â Anyone else who wantâ€™s to cut their hair has to settle for scissors or razors.
We reserve the clippers for medical for two reasons. Â One is simply that they canâ€™t be easily replaced. Â Dr. Lambert insists that if they get worn out being used for everyday haircuts, she might not have any available if she needs to get hair out of the way so she can drill into someoneâ€™s skull quickly. Â Or I guess for moments like this.
The other reason is that we keep the use of anything electric to a bare minimum. The squids can track it when we use electricity. Â We can get away with a little here and there, by tricking their systems. Â One of our best tricks is dropping LEDs hooked up to solar cells randomly far away from any of our camps. Â It means there is enough noise that itâ€™s hard to spot small uses by actual people. Â But if we started using electricity in large amounts regularly, weâ€™d soon be located. Â So, normally, no clippers.
I start digging out the battery and homemade crank generator we use when we do have a good reason to use electricity. Â Linda isnâ€™t home yet, so I crank the generator in peace while thinking about how I am going to talk to Linda.
I wonder why Iâ€™m thinking of this as a talk that I need to have with Linda. Â Itâ€™s an order Iâ€™m giving every single person on this base. Â Itâ€™s no different for Linda.
I figure she is most likely tending to her small herd of angora rabbits. Â At first I had questioned the the wisdom of keeping the little fuzz balls. Â They were a particular nuisance when we needed to move camp and Linda would run to gather them up which took more time than I liked. Â Theyâ€™d proved their worth though. Â They live off vegetation we canâ€™t eat and their wool is unbelievably warm which was a godsend the year we had an unusually cold winter. Â Also, though Linda wants no part in it personally, since they breed like bunnies – so to speak – a fair number of their offspring have gone into stew pots. Â When the babies get big I just tell her that Iâ€™m taking them off to new homes and she doesnâ€™t want to know where. Â Enough people keep a few that as long as she never bothers to count she can tell herself that they are all there.
As I crank away at the generator, I decide I will put off telling Linda about the haircut till after weâ€™ve eaten. Â When Linda comes in, she asks what the battery is for, I tell her Iâ€™ll show her later, and we sit down to eat. Â As soon as weâ€™re done cleaning up, I grab her into a hug.
â€œYou know I love you, donâ€™t you?â€ I say into her ear as we embrace.
â€œWhatâ€™s wrong?â€ Linda asks.
â€œI say â€˜I love youâ€™ all the time when nothingâ€™s wrong,â€ I say defensively.
â€œIt was the â€˜you knowâ€™ that tipped me off, Ash,â€ Linda responds, pulling away.
Linda is the only person who calls me Ash. Â Most people donâ€™t even know that my first name is Ashley, and even those that do still call me Admiral Jones, or just Admiral. Â Itâ€™s a reminder how different my relationship with Linda is than what it is with everyone else. Â I was kidding myself when I tried to pretend that telling Linda that she had to do this was going to be no different from giving the order that everyone had to. Â It is worlds different.
I lead her over to a comfortable spot and we sit. Â I brush a lock of hair back from her face and tuck it behind her ear, then place my hands down on top of hers in her lap. Â I want to just start kissing her and forget the whole thing when I look into her worried eyes, but I take a deep breath instead.
â€œI have to cut your hair tonight, Linda,â€ I say.
Lindaâ€™s mouth drops open and she just stares at me in disbelief.
â€œIâ€™m sorry honey.â€ Â My heart is breaking as I continue, â€œyou wonâ€™t be alone. Â Dr. Lambert is trying to get a lice epidemic under control. Â I am ordering everyone to have their hair cut to an eighth inch or less from June till October.â€
Linda takes a ragged breath and I can see a vein on her neck pulsing. Â â€œDid you say an eighth of an inch?â€
I nod, looking at the horrified expression on her face.
â€œNo,â€ she simply says and gets up to walk away.
â€œThatâ€™s not an option,â€ I say. Â â€œItâ€™s an order for everyone under my command.â€
â€œIâ€™m not under your command, Iâ€™m your girlfriend!â€ her brows are furrowed together.
I decide to leave it alone for an hour or two, sheâ€™s obviously angry and I donâ€™t blame her, sheâ€™s right. Â This is why there were regulations about fraternization back when there was civilization. Â Itâ€™s not fair in a relationship to be able to give your partner orders. Â Unfortunately, right now itâ€™s necessary.
I figure the best thing to do at this point is to face cutting off my own hair. Â Not that I want to, but Iâ€™ll feel less hypocritical telling her she has to cut her hair once mine is gone. Â Iâ€™ve had short hair plenty of times over the years, but this is a whole new level. Â Iâ€™m rather nervous about it.
I lug the battery set up, scissors and clippers to the other room. Â Then I strip down to just my panties and bra.
I sit on the floor mat in front of the mirror we have set up. Â I think about Linda sitting in front of it, brushing out her long hair. Â The bright orangey red she started out with when we first got together has mellowed over the years, and now it has a white streak in it, right at the front.
Sheâ€™s always managed to find a mirror and set up a comfortable space like this after weâ€™ve had to move. Â Usually the mirror is cracked, but somehow, when we came here, she found an almost completely unbroken one. Â Itâ€™s just chipped a bit up in one corner.
I watch myself in the mirror as I let down my ponytail. Â My light brown hair is generously streaked with gray these days. Â I comb it out for a few minutes. Â It is very long, since getting it cut hasnâ€™t been a priority for years. Â The ends are thin and feathery from lack of care. Â It reaches to the waistband of my panties.
I am about to begin when Linda comes in.
â€œWhat are you doing?â€ she asks.
â€œI told you, the order is for everyone.â€ Â I force myself to keep my voice steady.
I hold the scissors in my right hand and lift up a lock of hair from the front with my left. Â I place the blades against my head and close them. Â Shlunk. Â I swallow. Â Left behind is uneven fuzz that stands straight up and doesnâ€™t fully hide my scalp. Â I drop the long lock of hair off to my side and look at Linda.
â€œOh god, Ash, not your hair!â€ Linda gasps.
Lindaâ€™s eyes are filled with tears. Â I suddenly remember itâ€™s not just her own hair she cares about, itâ€™s mine too. Â If my hairâ€™s in anything more elaborate than a pony, it was probably Lindaâ€™s doing. Â After we make love, she often lays next to me, running her fingers through it working out the tangles.
I look back at the mirror and pick up another lock. Â The scissors bite through it next to the scalp with a crunch. Â It was a much larger lock, so I have to squeeze the scissors repeatedly before I can close them fully and the next lock comes away from my scalp, leaving behind more uneven short sprigs of hair. Â It looks much choppier than the first bit I cut.
Linda comes around in front of me and wraps her arms around me. Â She buries her face into my shoulder, crying.
I suddenly realize that I have her hair exposed to me, just inches from the scissors Iâ€™m holding. Â Itâ€™s very tempting to just start getting the inevitable over with. Â I know though that it would be an unforgivable breach of trust, and instead I just stroke her head. Â When the sobs slow down, I gently guide her down to my lap as I turn back towards the mirror.
As I start to cut another lock of my hair, she lays on the floor next to me with her head cradled in my lap looking towards the mirror. Â I have to twist to not drop the severed hair on Linda. Â Her wet eyes follow every move as I lift the locks up and cut through them. Â Iâ€™m finding it easier to just do smaller locks that I can get through in a single snip of the scissors.
For the first few locks, the hair on my head insulated me from the feeling of the cold metal. Â Now though, the blades almost always touch one of the spots I have already cut the hair off of. Â It sends a chill through me. Â Actually, as my head gradually becomes bare, I am feeling kind of chilly in general. Â I wish I hadnâ€™t stripped down quite so much.
I bend my head down as I grab a lock from the back. Â I look down at Lindaâ€™s red eyes. The whole thing is so awkward.
â€œDo I really look that bad?â€ I joke.
She frowns, but shakes her head no, then reaches up and strokes my cheek as I cut hair from the back of my head. Â Some of the hair I am cutting isnâ€™t in my grasp and it falls down onto Lindaâ€™s face. Â She closes her eyes and scrunches up her nose. Â Then she starts swiping her face.
â€œWhy donâ€™t you sit up now, honey?â€ I suggest, leaning back so that she has room.
She sits up next to me. Â She takes a moment to rub her hand over my cropped head.
â€œThere had to be another way,â€ Linda sounds hoarse as she speaks. Â â€œYour hair was so nice.â€
â€œTheir really isnâ€™t another way. Â Anything we could use to kill the lice has other, more urgent uses. Â If we had enough mayo to suffocate them, weâ€™d be eating it,â€ I say. Â Then I ask, â€œwant to give me a hand with the stragglers?â€
â€œNope,â€ she says, Â backing off and leaning against a wall where she can watch me. Â â€œThis is your circus.â€
I let out a deep sigh and continue cutting. Â I want to get as much with the scissors as possible to minimize the amount of wear on the irreplaceable clippers and to minimize battery usage. Â Bending my head down uncomfortably, I try to reach everything in the back. Â I canâ€™t really grab anything more with my fingers. Â I run my hands over my head, feeling for any slightly long bits that are left. Â I place the scissors against my scalp and crunch through them, the short bits shower down on to my bare shoulders and get stuck in my bra. Â I put down the scissors.
I plug in the clippers. Â I havenâ€™t used clipper in a really long time. Â Last time was on my late husband. Â I had cut his hair many times during the years we were married. Â I remember one time, after Iâ€™d cut his hair and was starting to put away the clippers when he grabbed them from me and teased me that he would give me a mohawk so Iâ€™d get kicked out of the Navy for having a faddish haircut and then he could have me all to himself. Â I laughed really hard and informed him that they probably wouldnâ€™t discharge me over it, just yell a bit and insist I do something to fix it. Â He chased me around the house anyway though, sweeping me up in his arms when he caught me. Â Five weeks later, I got a positive pregnancy test. Â Which reminds me, I should try to visit our now adult son, I miss him.
I flick the clippers on with the familiar clunk. Â The vibration makes my hand feel tingly. Â I have no guards for them, Iâ€™m sure those were lost long ago.
There is still the taper lever on the side that lets them adjust very slightly. Â Probably between an eighth and a sixteenth, or maybe a sixteenth and a thirty-second, but Iâ€™m not totally sure, basically between really short and really really short. Â I figure I will set it to the shortest setting so I can put off repeating this process as long as possible. Â Frankly though, the difference between the longest and shortest is barely noticeable.
Linda bites her lip. Â I raise the heavy clippers to my forehead and start pulling them over my head. Â The short clippings pile up on the blades, then rain down my back as I go over the top.
The strip thatâ€™s left behind is now a neat even length. Â I run my hand over it, feeling the prickly stubble. Â I raise the clippers to start another pass. Â I watch in the mirror as the uneven crop is peeled away and replaced with a uniform shadow.
As I move to the side of my head, the hair falls to my shoulders. Â The vibrating clippers are beginning to get warm as I go. Â I carefully steer them around my ear. Â I tilt my head to try to see how Iâ€™ve done.
â€œIf you give me a hand with this you wonâ€™t have to spend the next couple of weeks looking at whatever patches Iâ€™ve missed,â€ I say to Linda.
â€œYeah, no. Â Iâ€™m not helping you ruin your hair.â€
â€œItâ€™s already ruined, I just thought you could make sure it was ruined evenly.â€ Â I smile and laugh, but meet a cold unamused gaze.
I sigh and start on the back. Â I push the clippers up my neck and into the hair on the back of my head. Â I feel the prickles of hair fall over my hand as I go. Â With my other hand I feel to see how I did. Â The path is a bit crooked, but that shouldnâ€™t matter once Iâ€™ve done the whole head. Â I start another pass.
Once Iâ€™ve gone over the entire head once, I feel around carefully for all the little patches that Iâ€™m sure I missed. Â There are several, and I swiftly go back over them. Â Just for good measure I do a second full pass over the entire head and do get a slight dust of hair from it.
I turn off the clippers and put them down. Â I start rubbing my hands over my scalp. Â The hair feels like the softest sand paper ever. Â Itâ€™s a sensation I havenâ€™t felt in years, and never all over my own head. Â Iâ€™ve only ever had clippers used at the very back along the nape before.
â€œSeriously Linda, did I miss anything in the back?â€ I ask her.
â€œAs far as I can tell you got it all.â€ Â She says, sounding annoyed. Â â€œYouâ€™ve got a major mess to clean up on the floor, though.â€
I look around, sheâ€™s right, there is a large circle of hair around me. Â Plus whatâ€™s stuck to my skin and in my bra. Â Fortunately itâ€™s a chilly enough May evening that Iâ€™m not sweaty, so it brushes off my skin with reasonable ease.
â€œIâ€™ll clean it up after I do yours,â€ I say as I continue brushing myself off.
â€œI only have the clippers for tonight,â€ I explain, working to keep my voice even. Â â€œWe can do this privately here, or you can deal with Dr. Lambert publicly.â€
â€œYou really think everyone is going to go along with this? Â Not everyone is a sailor used to following your orders.â€
â€œAnyone who wasnâ€™t part of the Navy has the option to leave, and I wonâ€™t consider it desertion. Â If they stay, they follow my orders.â€ Â Then I sigh and change to a gentler tone, â€œthink of it as a prescription from Dr. Lambert, instead of an order from me.â€
â€œI donâ€™t have lice.â€
â€œI donâ€™t either, but if we donâ€™t do something about this, the entire camp and most of the surrounding camps that I send anyone to will be crawling with them by the end of the summer.â€
â€œI canâ€™t believe you want to do this to me.â€
â€œDamn it, I donâ€™t want to do this to you! Â I just canâ€™t make an exception for you.â€ Â Iâ€˜m yelling. Â â€œI would if I could, but I canâ€™t. Â Itâ€™s about our survival. Â No exceptions for anyone. Â Shit, do you think I wanted to do this to myself? Â Lambert just thought that the order would go over better if I took the plunge myself before I gave it!â€
I need to cool off, I pull on some clothing and head out for a walk. Â I visit Lindaâ€™s bunnies who hop over eagerly hoping I brought them kitchen scraps. Â When I get back, Linda is quietly knitting socks. Â Another thing we can thank her bunnies for.
Iâ€™m tempted to just drop it and leave her to deal with Lambert, but I know that Lambertâ€™s solution will be way less gentle. Â I donâ€™t want that to happen to Linda.
â€œLinda, Iâ€™m done arguing about it. Â You can let me cut your hair tonight, or you can face whatever Lambert decides to do about it on June 1st,â€ I say as I sit down.
I can see sheâ€™s been crying more while I was out. Â She doesnâ€™t say anything. Â She just sits there silently, looking miserable and knitting at half her normal speed while tears drip from her chin. Â I walk over and gently take the knitting from her and put it down.
â€œCome on,â€ I say as I take her hands and start lifting her up. Â â€œLetâ€™s get this over with.â€
I lead her into the other room and over to the mirror where my hair is still scattered. Â She stares ahead blankly into the mirror as I push down on her shoulders to get her to sit. Â Sheâ€™s shaking like a leaf.
I start pulling the calico dress sheâ€™s wearing up and off her. Â Now in nothing but her bra and panties, she pulls her knees up to her body and wraps her arms tightly around them. Â I kneel behind her. Â Sobs ripple through her body.
I loosen her braid. Â Her hair spreads out over her back, down past her bra. Â Even though I know it has been a lot longer since she cut her hair, itâ€™s not quite as long as mine had been.
I lean around her to reach for the scissors. Â As I do, I feel her face brush against my ear.
â€œPlease donâ€™t.â€ Â Her voice is less than a whisper, barely audible. Â Her hand reaches up to restrain my arm.
â€œIâ€™m sorry, itâ€™s going to happen.â€ Â My own voice breaks as I say it, and my eyes are now filled with tears. Â â€œYou have to choose, me or Lambert.â€
She says nothing, but releases my arm. Â I take it to mean that she would rather not face Lambert.
She lowers her forehead to her bent knees. Â I gather a handful of her soft red hair in my hand. Â My hands are shaking and my heart is pounding as I bring the scissors to the thick bundle. Â I sit there, trying to gather the strength to begin cutting. Â One of my tears falls, warm and wet onto my hand. Â I open the blades and place them around her hair.
I start to squeeze them closed. Â The hair begins to sever with a heart wrenching crunch. Â I let out an unsteady breath. Â I start at her neck, and cut upwards towards her ear. Â My hand squeezes and releases over and over, almost like sawing as I hack my way through the hair. Â Â The cut ends fall down over my hand, swallowing it up. Â I have to twist the hair as the scissors continue to bite Â through it. Â The sound of crunching is loud enough to drown out Lindaâ€™s quiet sobbing. Â Finally the scissors close with a snap.
Iâ€™m holding a third of Lindaâ€™s lovely hair. Â She looks up into the mirror. Â The hair is still long on one side, but on the other it falls jaggedly about her face in short layers. Â She lets out a pained whimper, then sets her head back down to have her legs take the weight of it, hiding her face.
I drop Lindaâ€™s fiery hair down to the floor, where it mixes with my brown and gray.
I take another handful of her long tresses and pull it just taut enough to start cutting. Â I raise the blades to the back of her neck. Â The flash of silver-gray steel looks dark against her ivory skin which has just the smallest dusting of freckles. Â The long hair has protected the skin back here from sun for all of Lindaâ€™s life. Â This summer, her pale neck will be exposed.
As the cold blade touches the skin near her spine, she shudders. Â I cut upward as close as I can to the back of her head. Â I listen to the scissors strain against the mass of hair, as the handles press almost painfully into my hand. Â The crunching and twisting go on and on. Â When I finish with a snap, the 5 or so inches of hair left on the top and front of Lindaâ€™s head fall forward over her knees. Â A particularly deep sob escapes from her.
I grab the last long section still hanging from the side of her head. Â I just want to try and get this over with as soon as possible. Â I place the scissors around it and start crunching my way through. Â There are limits to how fast I can go though. Â The sound of shearing goes on for what seems like forever. Â My hand is tired, but Iâ€™m almost done with this part. Â Finally, the scissors close with a snap.
There is still plenty of hair on Lindaâ€™s head though. Â Especially in the front. Â I lift up a hand full of the shortened locks and start cutting them closer to her head. Â Iâ€™m just shearing off the longish bits, anything I can grab. Â Iâ€™m not going to try getting it almost completely done with the scissors before I switch over to the clippers like I did on myself. Â It means Iâ€™ll probably spend more time with clippers, but I figure that, overall it will be faster for Linda than if I try to be too methodical with the scissors.
I put down the scissors and pick up the clippers. Â I slide the lever to its longest setting so it will leave Linda slightly more stubble than I left myself. Â Itâ€™s the only compromise I can give her. Â I turn on the machine and it comes to life with a clunk.
I place the clippers at the nape of Lindaâ€™s hair and begin pushing them toward her crown. Â My hand is covered in short clippings. Â I canâ€™t reach past her crown since she is still hunched over her knees. Â The hair spills over the top of her head and rains down onto her feet and legs. Â I go back to her nape and cut another path to her crown. Â The next path is more to the side, and the cut hair falls into the arms she has wrapped around her legs. Â I do the entire back of her head and much of the sides.
â€œHoney, I need you to sit up a bit so I can finish the front,â€ I say as I move around in front of her.
Slowly Linda raises her head. Â Her red eyes look sadly out at me from her wet face, the tears glistening between her abundant freckles.
I cradle her cheek with my free hand, she leans her weight of her head onto my hand. Â With my other hand, I raise the clippers to her forehead and start pushing the vibrating teeth back into her hair. Â The uneven tufts of hair fall away to her shoulders. Â Some tumble into her cleavage where the warm freckles gradually give way to pale skin. Â I maneuver the clippers up her sideburn and around her ear, carefully. Â More hair tumbles around her.
I move my hand down to her chin so I can turn her head from side to side to check that everything looks even. Â I go back over a few rough patches, then over her whole head once again to even it out. Â I turn off the clippers.
â€œItâ€™s over honey,â€ I say to her.
I start dusting her off. Â I hold out my hand to help her up. Â There is a ton of hair stuck in her bra, so I start to unfasten it. Â Her arms are clutched around herself tightly and I have to gently loosen them so Â I can slip the bra down her arms and off. Â I start plucking off the loose hair when she suddenly guides my hand under her full breast to cup it. Â Itâ€™s soft and heavy and I squeeze it slightly. Â She looks into my eyes and next thing I know sheâ€™s kissing me.
Iâ€™m a bit confused but start kissing her back. Â My mouth is filled with the salty tears from her face. Â Itâ€™s an oddly comforting taste.
I feel myself pushed back from kissing her as she rushes to pull off the sweater I had thrown on over my bra. Â Then her hands undo the clasp of my itchy bra, which is almost as full of hair clippings as hers had been.
As soon as my bra is off I resume kissing her. Â I have my hands on the back of her head. Â It is covered in the most wonderful velvet. Â Thick and not quite prickly. Â She starts guiding me towards our bed.
We lay down, me on my back with her on top of me. Her mouth is over my breast, sucking the flesh up into her mouth then releasing it, over and over. Â Then her tongue swirls around my nipple. Â She starts moving her mouth down along my torso as her hands unfasten the fly of my blue jeans and she desperately pulls them down. Â My hands are still rubbing her clipped scalp.
Linda has my pants off now and has placed her thigh between my legs to apply pressure as she returns to kissing my face. Â Her hands are on either side of my head rubbing my stubble.
I cup one of her breasts in my hand, teasing her nipple with my thumb. Â My other hand goes down to her panties to begin rubbing her mound. Â She is so wet that it has soaked into her panties making them damp.
A moment later, she is tearing herself out of those panties.
We roll ourselves over and I move down her body, kissing and sucking as I go. Â My tongue finds her swollen clitoris and starts pressing it. Â My hands hold her waist and I feel the shudder as her first orgasm ripples through her.
I feel desperate myself now so I lift myself back upward and she starts pulling off my panties, which are as damp as hers.
Her head is turned sideways and I start kissing along her collarbone then up her neck. Â Her hand starts exploring me, flicking over my own clitoris and spreading me open.
As I continue up her neck, I get to her short velveteen covering. Â I run my tongue along her hairline. Â I had thought it felt amazing in my hands, but it was a million times more amazing to my sensitive tongue. Â I feel my body start to contract as the ecstasy of an organsm spasms in me.
We are both panting. Â I lower my body next to hers and rest my cheek against her head. Â My hands are exploring her more slowly now as the urgency has passed with the orgasm. Â I slowly find my way to her bellybutton which drives her to the edge again.
She writhes upward, arching her back in urgency. Â I tease her by nibbling her ear instead of relieving her need. Â She grabs my butt and starts kneading the fat and muscles, her hands working hard.
A moment later comes the slap. Â I take in a sharp breath and roll to my back, my butt still stinging slightly. Â Linda moves to kneading my breasts. Â My nipples are hard and sensitive as her hands go over them.
We bring each other to orgasm again more slowly before we fall asleep.
I wake up itchy as hell to Linda stroking my head. Â Tears are running down her cheek again.
â€œWhen I first woke up, for a blissful moment I thought last night was a dream,â€ she starts quietly. Â â€œI just looked out the window for ages trying not to do anything to confirm that it was reality. Â Eventually I had to know for sure though, whether it was dream or reality, so I touched my head. Â Itâ€™s gone, itâ€™s really gone.â€
I sit up and gather her into my arms again, making a shushing sound. Â Itâ€™s ironic that Iâ€™m both the one to comfort her and the one who inflicted her with this. Â As I sit, I pet her soft clippered hair. Â The different shades of red and occasionally white make a beautiful copper, gold, and silver tapestry as it catches the light. Â I wonder if she will resent me forever for this.