In the suburbs of a big city, somewhere not so far away, there was a salon in a strip mall. It wasn’t a particularly large salon, nor was it upscale and fancy. It was owned and operated by a black woman named Tracy. She was well-loved by her friends and clients alike, and she had a reputation of being whatever she needed to be. She had clear, dark brown skin and a halo of curly black hair framing her face. She often wore comfortable, flattering clothes, usually a cute top and tight jeans. Tracy was a wizard with the scissors, and many clients trusted her to help them along to a drastic change.
Specifically, Tracy encouraged reticent customers to part with their long locks. Tracy had a way about her that put people at ease, that made them trust her. She knew what each person needed to take the plunge; she was kind and gentle with nervous clients, while sassy and teasing with adventurous ones.
One a clear spring day, just a couple weeks before the end of the school year, Tracy was working in her salon as usual. The day had been somewhat slow, with only a few customers. Tracy swept up a few loose clippings of hair from the floor into a corner and sat down on her chair. It was a small salon, with only four chairs, two on each side of the room. A small waiting area and a cash register dominated the front of the shop. A hair washing station stood at the end of the salon, near where Tracy sat, somewhat bored. Tracy loved cutting off long hair short, and it was always her goal to at least try to convince a long haired client to chop it all off. Tracy loved her short hair and she believed that short hair worked on practically everyone.
The phone started to ring and Tracy jumped up from her chair and walked to the phone. She was the only stylist in at the time, so she had to do everything herself today.
“Tracy’s Salon, this is Tracy.” Her voice was warm and inviting.
“Hi, I was wondering if I could make an appointment for this afternoon. My daughter wants to cut her hair.” A woman’s voice piped through the phone. Tracy smiled to herself.
“No appointment needed! It’s been a pretty slow day.”
“Perfect! She’ll be coming along soon then. She wants to go herself.”
“I’ll be here.”
Tracy hung up the phone and tidied up the shop a little. Within 10 minutes, a girl opened the door of the salon and entered. She must have been around 12 or 13, tall for her age, and simply dressed in a T-shirt and short shorts. Her dark brown hair was fairly long, reaching his lower back, a total length of about three feet. Tracy smiled warmly.
“Welcome! Your mother must have been the one talking to me earlier. I’m Tracy, what’s your name?”
“I’m Carly!” The girl said happily. She seemed excited but a little nervous at the prospect of getting a shorter haircut. Tracy knew how to help her clients, so she decided to be gentle with Carly. Tracy swiveled the nearest chair around to face Carly, who promptly sat herself down. The chair stood in front of a station with a large glass mirror. Tracy had previously laid out all her cutting implements on a towel on the station, including clips, combs, scissors, and a black pair of clippers.
“Alright Carly,” Tracy said, spinning the chair to face the mirror. Carly looked at her own reflection. “What are we doing today?”
Carly took a folded up magazine picture out of her pocket and unfolded it. Tracy saw an image of a model with an attractive a line bob. The cut was graduated shorter in the back and longer in the front. Tracy thought the style would look very good on Carly.
“I’d like my hair cut like this,” Carly said, probably more confidently than she felt. Tracy would sense that Carly was really nervous about her haircut.
“That’ll look wonderful on you, dear.” Tracy began to run her fingers through Carly’s abundant locks. Carly tensed up slightly as Tracy touched her hair, but the stylist placed a hand on Carly’s shoulder.
“It’s okay to be nervous, dear. It’s a big change. How long have you wanted to cut it like this?”
Carly swallowed and said: “For a few months now.”
“Did your mom do your hair before?” Carly nodded. Tracy played with Carly’s hair, pulling it under her hands and placing the hands at Carly’s chin.
“It would rest about here. Does that work?” Carly nodded again.
Tracy rummaged around in the drawer of her station and retrieved a black nylon cape. She shook it out and threw it around Carly, enveloping her in the black material.
“I’ll take care of you, dear. You have nothing to worry about. You’re really brave, you know.” Tracy spoke with a warm, soothing tone, which settled Carly’s mind. The girl sat back in the chair, finding a comfortable position.
“I’m going to remove some of the length first before washing it and going into the main cut.” Tracy explained the steps so that Carly would feel more at ease with the process. Carly managed a smile and nodded. Tracy took a comb and began to run it through Carly’s long, thick hair. For the abundance and thickness of the hair, the comb slid easily through the long tresses, which Tracy knew would soon be on her salon floor.
Tracy held the comb in one hand and took out a long pair of shears from the black hairstyling apron and combed through a section of hair at the back.
“Are you ready?” Tracy asked as she positioned the scissors at the nape level, poised to begin cutting. Carly nodded, and Tracy promptly opened the scissors and closed them swiftly. An incredibly long brown lock of hair floated lazily to the floor. It curled as it rested on the ground. Tracy continued eagerly, snipping off the section in the back. Sometimes, Tracy would drop the severed hair into the client’s lap, but Tracy knew that Carly was still a little nervous. The skilled stylist knew exactly what to do for each client, whether to put them at ease or to playfully pump them up.
Tracy pulled another section and hair back and snipped the length off in seconds.
“How are you feeling, Carly?” Tracy asked as another section of hair slid to the salon floor.
“I’m doing okay,” Carly responded, her voice shaking slightly.
“You’ve got nothing to worry about, dear.” Tracy assured her. Her tone was calm, even while she sheared off another massive lock of hair, which drifted down to the floor, joining the rest of the growing pile.
“Do you have any friends who have cut their hair short?” Tracy asked.
“A few,” Carly said, “my friend Tara got the same bob a few months ago. Her hair was even longer than mine.”
“Is that why you wanted to go short?” Tracy inquired, cutting off another section and tossing it aside.
“Yes,” Carly admitted, “it was definitely part of it. And I wanted to do something different.”
“Well, this is certainly different!” Tracy smirked. By now, she had cut almost every section except the very front. There was no way around it, Tracy had to cut the front sections. She pulled down the section on the left side so that it coiled in Carly’s lap. Tracy carefully combed the section taught, then snipped it off at jaw length. The lock of hair fell onto the cape and lay there motionless. Carly smiled at the sight of the hair, a difference from her previous nervousness. Tracy smiled to herself as she combed down the last section on the right side and cut it off as well. Carly’s length was finally taken off.
Tracy began trimming the bob into its a line shape. Tracy casually snipped and snipped as clippings of hair fell onto the black cape and the salon floor.
After several minutes of cutting, Tracy put the finishing touches on Carly’s a line bob before taking a black brush and dusting off loose hairs.
“There you go, dear,” Tracy said, unsnapping the cape and throwing it off Carly. Locks of shorn hair floated to the floor from the cape. Carly began to run her hands through her new haircut with delight. She loved the way the long front sections framed her cute face. She looked down at the huge pile of hair and smiled.
“Thank you so much!” Carly seemed genuinely pleased with her cut. She jumped off the chair and admired the new look in the mirror.
“My pleasure, dear.”
Carly paid the amount due, plus a generous tip. She almost skipped out of the salon, a spring in her step. The style suited her very well, and Tracy was glad that Carly had the courage to go for it, despite being so nervous. Tracy thought about the haircut as she swept up the remnants of Carly’s hair from the floor and gathered it off to the side of the chair. It was a surprisingly large and thick pile of hair. Tracy put the broom against the wall and walked back to the front of the salon.
She watched some people walk by and a few others go to and from their cars in the parking lot. Then, off to the right, she saw something that caught her eye. A woman in a tank top and short athletic shorts was jogging on the sidewalk on the far side of the parking lot. Her light brown, almost blond, ponytail swung with every stride, swaying across her toned butt. If let loose, Tracy estimated the hair would fall to least her upper thighs. Tracy popped her hip and stroked her chin, thinking.
The woman slowed her pace and finally came to a stop in the parking lot a few yards from the salon. Tracy cocked one eyebrow, then made a decision. She opened the door of her salon and stepped outside into the warm air. The woman was checking her pulse and timing it on a smart watch. Tracy admired the excellent shape the woman was in. Her eyes observed the long beauty of the thick, silky ponytail.
“Hot today?” Tracy called out. The woman turned her head, looked at Tracy puzzled, then smiled.
“Yeah,” she said wearily, wiping some sweat from her forehead.
“That’s some long hair for this kind of weather.”
“I know,” the woman replied knowingly. Her breathing began to slow as she rested from her run. Tracy decided to make her intentions clear.
“Hey, if you want, I could give you a haircut.” Tracy offered. She chose her words carefully, expecting how the conversation would go. “It’s really hot, and I bet a shorter haircut would be easier to take care of.”
The woman thought about it for a moment, clearly considering it. Tracy knew not to press the initial offer too much, as it could dissuade the woman.
“I don’t know…” The woman seemed intrigued but unsure. Tracy smiled to herself.
“It would be so much easier to take care of, and it would look super cute on you. I’m Tracy, by the way.”
“Annika.” The woman said, examining the length of her ponytail with interest.
“Well Annika, I have AC in my shop. It would be a lot cooler to rest for a while.”
Annika looked in the direction of the salon, and nodded gratefully. She approached the salon and entered, basking in the cool of the air conditioned interior. Tracy eyed Annika carefully, already selecting the style for her. Tracy sat on one of the salon chairs and motioned for Annika to do so as well.
“Rest for a moment? You’ve cooled down enough, I would think.”
“Thank you,” Annika said gratefully as she seated herself in the salon chair and spun herself slightly.
“Have you ever had short hair before, Annika?” Tracy asked after a moment of silence.
“When I was in middle school,” Annika admitted with a groan. Tracy understood; middle school was a tough time for everyone, and hair made a significant impact on self-image.
“Did you like it?” Tracy asked carefully.
“Oh yeah, I did, but I didn’t like middle school.
“Well,” Tracy pressed, applying the right amount of pressure, “do you think you would go short again?”
“Probably.” Annika mused.
“Why not now?” Tracy went in for the final push. “You’re here in a salon, and I have no other customers. I would love to give you a haircut!”
“Really?” Annika seemed somewhat taken aback by the suggestion, but not opposed to the idea.
“Of course! I have PayPal and Venmo if you don’t have your wallet. Does that sound good?”
Tracy smiled kindly, trying to suppress her excitement. She could sense that she had convinced Annika, who now struggled to find the right words. After a brief moment, Annika made up her mind.
“Okay, why not?” Annika said, and Tracy patted her thigh and jumped up from the chair.
“Perfect! Let’s begin.”
Tracy spun Annika’s chair slightly so it faced the mirror. In her case, Tracy decided to have Annika watch every moment of the shearing and relish it. The stylist grabbed a black cape and swung it over Annika’s body. Her tanned legs, in full view, were partially covered as Tracy secured the cape. The hair tie was removed from the ponytail and Annika’s abundant golden brown locks spilled over the black cape and reached toward the floor. The hair was well over 3 feet in length, and it would soon be on the floor.
“Alright, Annika, let’s get started!” Tracy took a comb from her station and ran it through Annika’s gorgeous hair. It shone as it caught the light.
Without wasting any time, Tracy replaced her comb and handed herself a large pair of shears, ideal for scissoring off whole sections of hair. She grabbed a large lock of Annika’s golden brown hair and, without any ceremony, sliced it off above the shoulders. Annika grinned at the sight of the hair, held in Tracy’s hand. The stylist held it high in the air, then dropped it on the floor. The hair came apart as it fell, landing on the salon floor and splaying. Over two feet of gorgeous hair, gone. Annika laughed at the sight of her hair being shorn.
“Wow!” was all Annika could manage. Tracy smiled too as she took another section of hair and cut it off at the neck level, throwing it on the ground. Tracy continued to chop into Annika’s abundant tresses, taking a section on the far side of her head, snipping it off, and dropping it into Annika’s lap. The pile of hair made a depression in the cape, and Annika laughed again. With a final chop, Tracy cut the last section of long hair and threw it to the floor. A small mountain of hair was formed around the chair.
“It feels so much cooler!” Annika said, as Tracy plugged in a pair of clippers and switched them on.
“It’s about to get a lot cooler, dear.” Tracy responded with delight.
With several clean passes, inches of hair tumbled to the floor. The bottom and back was shaved with a sharp graduation up the occipital bone. After doing the clipper work, Tracy snipped the remaining hair into layers, forming a cute pixie that had bangs that were long enough for style but short enough to not get in the way. After 20 minutes of cutting, Tracy set down her shears and whipped the cape off her client.
The pile of hair in Annika’s lap flew into the hair and landed on the ground with a soft thud. Annika shook her head vigorously, feeling the way the hair laid against her scalp. Tracy took a blowdryer and shook the loose bits of hair from Annika’s neck and shoulders.
“Well, dear, here you go.” Tracy said proudly. Annika beamed into the mirror. She looked cute and sexy with her tanned legs and her fresh chop. Perfect for running with getting hair in her face or straining her neck from a long ponytail. Annika hopped up and grabbed her phone. She snapped a pic of the huge pile of shorn tresses on the floor. It was then that Annika noticed Carly’s hair on the floor, swept up into a pile.
“Did someone else come in for a chop?” Annika asked.
“Yep, right before you dear.” Tracy grabbed a broom and swept Annika’s hair into a pile and put it next to Carly’s
“Well, I hope she enjoyed it.”
Annika paid through her phone and, after thanking Tracy, stepped out of the salon and began to run. Her new pixie bounced slightly as she jogged, but it stayed in place. Tracy smiled with pleasure as she watched Annika go. With her broom and a dustpan, she swept up the severed hair and, with some effort, dumped the feet of silky tresses into the trash. Tracy was pleased with how the day went, If she played her cards right, she could do this every day.