There was one thing you had to understand about Jessica and it was that she loved her hair. She loved brushing it. She loved straightening it. She loved curling it. She loved styling it. She loved everything about her hair. Her thick natural blonde hair came to rest a couple of inches above her waist. In another few months Jessica was certain that it would rest completely against her waist and once she achieved that target who knows? Maybe it would reach her knees. Then maybe it would reach her feet. Then maybe it would trail along behind her everywhere she went like a glorious golden cape. She was seventeen. It was a year and a half before she went to university. Surely her hair would be past her knees by then. She would be the envy of everyone she met.
Jessica knew the only way to achieve these dreams was to take care of her hair properly. She shampooed and conditioned her hair twice a week during term time and three times a week during the school holidays. She always made sure to use special creams and sprays to protect and rejuvenate her hair from any potential heat and every six weeks she went to a local salon for a trim to prevent any split ends.
She really did love her hair. The favourite part of Jessica’s day was when she got up on a morning, sat in front of her vanity mirror, brushed out her hair and decided what style to wear that day. But because Jessica’s hair was so long it took up a lot of her time and attention…which meant she was often late…most nearly all of the time.
“Jessica if you don’t get down here this instant we are going to be late!” her father shouted up the stairs.
“I’m nearly ready.”
“Now Jessica or I’ll drag you out of this house by your precious hair!”
“I said I’m almost ready! God! You’re always having a go at me.” Jessica scowled as she finished pinning her coiled braid to the top of her head. Satisfied she grabbed her school bag and headed downstairs.
Her father and twin brother Adrian stood on the doorstep waiting for her. “Finally! Come on we only got ten minutes before school starts.” He clapped his hands and shooed his children out of the house and towards the car. Along the way Adrian bumped into Jessica, causing her to almost trip.
“Watch it idiot!”
“Don’t call your brother an idiot when it’s your fault we’re running late.”
“I’m sorry Jess,” Adrian mumbled, “I couldn’t see properly.” Jessica rolled her eyes. At the start of the school year Adrian had decided to grow his hair out. He was blonde just like his twin sister, but unlike Jessica he didn’t bother to take care of it. He washed his hair when it needed to be and that was it. Jessica wasn’t even sure if he brushed it. She hadn’t spotted a hair brush or comb on the rare times she went into his room. The result was a messy mop of hair and a too long fringe that constantly got into his eyes.
“Give me strength, they’re both as bad as each other,” Jessica and Adrian’s father muttered under his breath as they all got into the car.
Thomas paced angrily around the kitchen. His wife Sandra was leaning against the counter, watching him anxiously.
“We have to do something about Jessica and Adrian. It’s getting ridiculous; the whole thing is getting completely ridiculous!”
“Tom you have to calm down. They’re teenagers. They’re experimenting, finding out who they are. There’s every chance they’ll grown out of this long hair obsession.”
Thomas stopped pacing and stared at his wife. “I’m done waiting. We’ve been too soft on them for too long. We never should have let their hair get out of control like this. Adrian is constantly tripping over his feet and bumping into things and don’t get me started on the amount of time and money Jessica wastes on washing her hair.”
“I have to admit that I am getting annoyed at Jessica constantly making us late whenever we want to go out,” said Sandra with a sigh.
“We were late for school again yesterday. I told their form teachers that it was due to bad traffic and they told me I should have set off sooner. They said the school had noticed that Jessica and Adrian were often late. They said if it kept happening then we’d receive a written warning!” Thomas slammed his palm against the kitchen counter in anger. “How can I explain to these people that my family life is being controlled by my daughter’s hair? I’m telling you Sandra enough is enough. It’s time we dealt with this, do you agree?”
Sandra nodded sadly. “Yes. Adrian will come round soon enough but I fear Jessica will hate us forever for doing this. But yes, something needs to be done.”
Jessica bounced downstairs thinking about breakfast. She had already been up for half an hour brushing her hair and styling it into a fishtail plait which started at the top of the right side of her head, moved diagonally across the back of her head, before ending up draped across her left shoulder and down the left side of her body.
“Hi Mum. What’s for breakfast?”
The kitchen and dining room were combined into one large room. Jessica sat herself down at the table and looked expectantly across at her mother who stood in the kitchen portion of the room.
“Ah good Jess you’re up. I thought I might make omelettes once your brother came downstairs. Firstly though your father and I need to talk to you.”
“Sure what abo—what the hell are you doing!” Jessica shrieked as her father appeared behind her. He threw a belt over her arms and body and fastened it behind her back, pinning her to the chair. Jessica kicked and struggled but her father quickly tied her legs to the chair legs with a couple of her mother’s scarves. “What the fuck? You can’t fucking do this to me!”
Her parents merely shook their heads at their daughter. “Dear me I did not raise my daughter to use bad language.” Her mother shook her head in disappointment. “I think we should removed another few inches for that little outburst, don’t you Thomas?” She placed a pair of large black kitchen scissors on the table in front of Jessica.
Jessica’s eyes widened in realisation. “Mum, Dad, please you can’t do this! Please! I’ll be good, I’ll do anything but please don’t cut my hair!”
“What’s going on? Why are you shouting?” Still in his pyjamas, Adrian stood in the doorway yawning.
“We’ve decided that you and your sister are going to have a hair cut today,” said his father sternly. “Have a seat son.”
“But Dad come on, I’m growing my hair. Loads of boys in our year are doing it,” Adrian protested. He blinked. “Why is Jess tied to the chair?”
“Adrian it’s not open for debate. Now you can either sit down nicely and calmly or you can be tied up like your sister.” Adrian stared at his father through strands of blonde hair for a few seconds before conceding and silently taking a seat at the table.
Thomas picked up the kitchen scissors and moved to stand behind Adrian. “My father always maintained that myself and my brothers should wear our hair short and neat. Your mother and I have had a discussion and we’ve decided that we have been lenient with you two for far too long. While you are both in education you will keep your hair short. Now I was in favour of shaving you both bald to teach you a lesson however your mother argued that that was too harsh a punishment – for now. So this is the compromise we’ve agreed on.” Thomas raised the scissors and with no further warning placed them just above Adrian’s ears and cut.
Adrian closed his eyes and gripped the underside of the chair tightly.
Shnick, shnick, shnick.
Every time the scissors closed Adrian jumped as his father began to create a relatively straight line from one side of his head to the other.
Momentarily forgetting her own predicament, Jessica started open-mouthed as her father transformed Adrian’s messy shoulder length hair into a rough bowl cut. Jessica traced the path of each fallen lock. They must have been five or six inches long. Some strands became stuck on Adrian’s shoulder only for the hair to become dislodged by its own weight a few seconds later and slide down Adrian’s body onto his lap. Other locks floated to the wooden dining room floor in slow motion. While other locks Thomas deliberately threw into Adrian’s lap. In less than a minute Thomas had cut an imperfect line around the circumference of Adrian’s head.
The ordeal was not over yet. Jessica didn’t even see where the red clippers had appeared from but there they were in her father’s hand, peeling the hair from the back of Adrian’s head. She watched, unable to look away, as the clippers quickly revealed Adrian’s pale scalp. Thomas stopped the clippers at the line he had cut around his son’s head until at last the finished bowl cut was revealed.
The clippers were switched off and silence filled the kitchen.
Slowly Adrian raised a hand and felt the damage that had been done to his hair. He shuddered and swept the hair that was on his lap onto the floor.
Sandra tutted at her son’s untidiness and produced a plastic dustpan and brush to sweep the hair up. Once all of Adrian’s severed hair had been transferred to the bin Thomas once again picked up the thick black handled kitchen scissors.
“No…no…please!” Jessica begged as her father moved to stand behind her. “I’ll be good. I’ll be good forever, I swear. I’ll go to the salon, I’ll cut my hair shorter but please don’t give me a bowl cut. Please don’t shave my head. No! Please! No!” Jessica half screamed, half sobbed as her father picked up her braid – her beautiful fishtail plait which she had spent all morning styling – and sliced through it.
Scrunch, scrunch, scrunch, shniiiiiiiiiiiick.
The plait was thick. It took a few passes with the scissors but then…no, this wasn’t happening! There was her beautiful, waist-length, golden hair being held in front of her face. When Thomas laid the braid carefully across his daughter’s lap she burst into tears.
“Why are you doing this to me? I hate you! I hate both of you!” Jessica managed to choke through her tears.
“But darling think how much extra time you’ll have now you don’t have all that hair to take care of,” said Sandra in a soothing voice. Her tone did nothing to calm Jessica’s hysterics.
Jessica screamed and wailed and struggled against her bonds to no avail as her father placed the scissors just above her right ear. The metal blades were cold against Jessica’s skin.
Shnick. A pause. Shnick, shnick.
She could feel the scissors as they moved quickly around her head. She could feel tufts of her hair – oh my god that really was her own beautiful ruined hair – as they fell softly down her cheek and down her neck and down beneath of collar of her t-shirt.
Shnick, shnick, shnick.
Jessica finally stopped struggling as her father stood in front of her and cut a line of uneven bangs across her forehead. Her head felt cold and itchy with what felt like nothing but tiny severed hairs covering it. But of course her torment was not over yet.
Thomas set the kitchen scissors down and once again picked up the red clippers. “That’s better,” he said. “No more screaming and shouting. Now hold still or I might accidentally nick you with the blades.”
Accepting defeat, Jessica cried quietly and breathed ragged breaths that shook her chest. The clippers roared to life. The unguarded blades were pressed to Jessica’s nape and slowly dragged upwards. Jessica hadn’t realised how much hair she still had left to lose until it was casually deposited into her lap by a deliberate flick her of father’s wrist. Again and again the clippers slid through Jessica’s hair until a ring of golden locks encircled her chair. When the clippers were finally silent Jessica clung tightly to the thick severed braid that lay heavily on her lap. Her whole body shook.
“There,” said Thomas. “That’s much better.” He released Jessica from the chair as Sandra started cleaning up the mound of golden locks.
“Oooh you’ll both look so neat and smart at school tomorrow,” cooed Sandra.
Jessica and Adrian both gapped at each other. The dilemma of their current situation had caused both twins to forget that there was a far worse ordeal awaiting them.
“There is no way I’m going to school tomorrow!” said Jessica angrily. She shrieked loudly as her fingers explored what remained of her hair. Her precious hair! It just…stopped! It just reached her ears and then nothing! Jessica moaned with fear as she felt the baldness of her nape and the side of her head for the very first time. “I can’t go to school looking like this! I’ll…I’ll die if I go to school like this! Oh my god no one is going to be my friend looking like this!”
“Don’t be ridiculous Jessica,” said Sandra firmly. “Why would anyone stop being your friend because of the way your hair looks?”
“She’s right Mum. Everyone will laugh at us if we go to school tomorrow looking like this!” Adrian protested.
“Well if you don’t like your haircuts we can always go shorter,” said Thomas holding up the clippers. “No? Well hopefully this will teach you both that there are far more important things in life to focus on than your hair.”
The twins exchanged helpless looks.
ONE WEEK LATER
It had been the worst week of Jessica’s life. From the second she had entered her form class on Monday morning the loud whispers of people not trying to be quiet had followed her. This had been followed by the pointing in the corridors and the laughing in classes and the endless, endless comments about her new haircut. Of course it didn’t help that she and Adrian now had matching terrible haircuts. Many people, including those who were supposed to be her friends, had found it hilarious that the twins had twin haircuts. The worst part was that annoying little voice in the back of her head that asked if she would behave any differently if it had been another girl who had walking into school suddenly sporting an obviously uneven bowl cut.
Jessica was stomping upstairs to her bedroom praying the ground would open up beneath her and swallow her whole, when she heard a strange noise.
Bzzz. Bzzz. Jessica paused. The noise was coming from her brother’s room. Bzzz. What on earth was he doing? Curiously she cracked open his door intending to briefly peer inside. Instead, when she saw the scene playing out in front of her, Jessica threw the door open and strode into the room.
Adrian was sat at his desk using the camera on his laptop to function as a mirror. He was holding the red clippers to his forehead and had already carved a reverse mohawk down the centre of his head.
“What the hell are you doing?” whispered Jessica, closing the door behind her.
Adrian gritted his teeth and plunged the clippers into his hair revealing more of his pale scalp.
“I can’t handle another week like this one. I actually nicked these from Dad yesterday but it took me until now to build up the nerve to do it.” Adrian’s face was determined as he raised the clippers to the side of his head. His bedroom floor was already covered in blonde hair.
“Again, what the hell are you doing?” Jessica hissed. “My week’s sucked too but being bald isn’t going to stop everyone laughing at us.”
“Maybe, maybe not.” Adrian grimaced at his own image on the laptop. Half his head was now completely void of hair. “You know my friend Carl? Do you remember when he shaved his head last year?”
“Yeah he looked stupid. Didn’t he do it to try and impress Rachel because she said she had a thing for boys with short hair? The teachers told Carl off right? And they put him in…isolation.” Jessica said the last word slowly, savouring it and the possibility that had just opened in her mind.
For the first time Adrian grinned at her. “Exactly! The teachers said that being bald was not a ‘school regulation haircut’ so Carl had to go into isolation and do all his work in a room by himself until his hair grew back. And that’s what I’m going to do!” More cheerfully now, Adrian resumed the clipper attack on his hair.
“No,” said Jessica. She could feel her heart pounding inside her chest. “It’s what we are going to do.”
“You’re not serious?” said Adrian incredulously. “The princess with the golden hair shave her head?”
“Oh shut up!” Jessica snapped. “You’re not the only one dreading going back to school on Monday. And being bald has got to be better than this mess.” She indicated her hair. At the start of the week Jessica had tried to cut her new bowl cut into a straighter line than her father had. It had been going alright until she reached the back of her head. Now the line at the back of her head was definitely higher than her bangs.
“There what do you think?” asked Adrian, examining his newly bald head in his laptop’s camera.
“Give me those. You’ve missed a bit at the back.” Jessica took the clippers from her brother and gently removed the last tuft of hair from the back of his head. “All done,” she told him. Almost in a trance, Jessica examined the clippers curiously as they vibrated in her hand. She raised them to her forehead and pushed the blades into her bangs.
A three inch long clump of hair fell to the floor.
“Oh shit! Fuck! What have I done?” Jessica wailed in panic. She pushed Adrian aside so she could better see the small rectangular section of bare scalp she had just created. “Oh god I’m actually doing this!” Her hands shook and not just from the power of the clippers.
“I don’t know,” Adrian smirked. “I think it looks better like this. You know a more edgy haircut.”
“Shut up idiot.”
Adrian laughed for a moment then suddenly his face changed. He gripped Jessica’s wrists to steady her hands and he stared at her with more intensity than Jessica had ever witnessed in her life.
“You can do this,” he told her. “This is to stay in isolation and to stay away from everyone at school. No more laughing and pointing. No more mocking”
Jessica nodded and allowed Adrian to guide her into his chair in front of the laptop. His pale head gleamed in the light. “Will you help me?” she asked.
He nodded. Adrian stood behind the chair and placed his hand over his sister’s so they were both holding the red clippers. The twins raised the clippers to the section Jessica had already started.
“Ready?” Adrian asked.
In response Jessica moved the blades into her hair. Bzzzzzzz. It really was so easy, Jessica thought. The last remnants of her beautiful golden hair fell effortlessly from her head to the floor as the clippers roared their way through her locks. Bzzzzzz. Bzzzz. Adrian bent Jessica’s ear down as he guided the clippers around her head. Pieces of hair three inches long began to cover Jessica’s body. The back of her neck itched. Bzzz. Bzzzzzzzzzzz. The tears came when more than half her scalp was visible. Still the clippers were removing more and more of her hair. A week ago it had been at her waist. Jessica could still feel the phantom weight of her final fishtail plait on the back of her head and across her shoulders. Bzzzz. Now it was all gone. Bzzzz. Jessica reached out, her fingers shaking, and stroked the last lock of hair still attached to the side of her head. Bzzz.
Jessica let the final piece of her hair fall through her fingers. She watched it land softly on the floor until she could not longer distinguish it from amidst the small mound of her and Adrian’s hair.
Adrian turned off the clippers and placed them on the desk. The room suddenly felt stiflingly quiet. The twins examined their new appearances on the monitor.
“Who knew I had cute ears,” said Jessica, half laughing, half crying. She touched her bald head with both hands. She shuddered. “God this is so weird! I look weird!” Despite her outburst Jessica’s hand continued to explore her head, gently rubbing her scalp and feeling the tiny bristles left there. “Is it possible to hate something and like it at the same time?” she asked.
“Maybe,” said Adrian. “Haha, this is so much better than that bowl cut. You know I might keep my hair like this for the rest of the year. I’ll get to work in a classroom by myself for the next few months and then grown my hair out over the summer holidays.” He too was exploring the feeling of his newly bare scalp.
“Not me. I’m growing my hair out starting right now.”
Below them the twins heard the front door open and close. “Jessica, Adrian, I’m home,” called their mother.
Jessica and Adrian exchanged a look. “Do you think she’ll freak out or be proud of us?” asked Jessica uneasily.
Adrian made a non-committal noise in his throat. “Well…Dad will definitely be proud of us. Come on, no more tears. Let’s give Mum the shock of her life.”
Jessica took one last look at herself on the laptop’s screen. “I’m not sure I’ve recovered from the shock.” She wiped her eyes and gave her reflection a half-smile before the twins left the room.
*This is a story I started ages ago and finally got around to finishing. I hope you enjoy*