Name? The name’s Carmen. Last name? Er, it’s too long a story to go there, so let’s just stick with calling me ‘Carmen’. Age? God, let’s not go there either. I’ve been through a lot in life, but I can say that I’m still of a youthful kind. What I do for a living? Well it’s easy for me to “make a living”, in a sense, but to get about doing it, I’ve chosen a civilised way, unlike many others. I run a little barbershop down in New York, but it’s not the type of barbershop you’d think it is. Almost, if not all, of my customers are all girls. Yeah, I know: it’s weird that only girls come to this barbershop right? Well, I’d say it’s the charm of the shop. I don’t know why I decided to write in this little scroll. I figured it’d be fun to document some of the things that have gone on here. Maybe even about her. But let’s start from the very beginning of my shop, then. The grand opening of “Vampber”.
Oh, and did I almost forget the most important part about myself?
I’m a vampire.
Thirst: a feeling most of my kind hate to feel. Its early stages are bearable, but once we go days or even a week without a good drink, we may as well turn savage and run the streets rampant. So there I was, sitting in the barber chair with my legs up the dresser in front, feeling this horrid feeling. I had a good supply of blood bags at the back of the shop for myself in case I couldn’t take it, but I wanted some game today.
I stared out the little window of my shop, the midday sun beaming right through. I stretched my hand out towards it slowly, inching towards that fatal light.
I chuckled, eyeing the ruby on my middle finger that reflected the sunlight into a million rays. Countless times I’ve done that trick, and I’m amused at how I still find it humorous to survive such an apparent death ray. For many of my kind, they’d burn and perish the second a sliver of light touches their skin. But this lovely red rock on my hand protects me from such a demise, at the cost of exhausting myself the longer I stay in such holiness. Only few have such a treasure, and I was blessed to rip it off an adversary’s finger before pushing him into the light of dawn.
Ring; the bell attached to my shop’s door rang as it opened. I pull my hand away and shake myself off from the daydream. I bolted out of the chair to greet my guest.
“Good afternoon,” my British accent still stuck in my greeting when I acknowledged her arrival.
“Hello,” she replied with a cute smile. She seemed quite…. young. If I had to take a rough guess, she should be a teenage girl around sixteen. She pulled off a simple get-up; black skinny jeans and Converse sneakers, along with a plain white shirt and black Ray Bans.
“Come have a seat, love,” I gestured to the chair, and she complied. There was a light skip in her step while she moved- a playful nature I was catching from her mannerisms. She took a step on the footrest and lowered herself into my comfy red barber chair. I tore off a piece of neck tissue and proceeded to wrap it around her neck snugly, which she willingly arched her neck forward to accept. I then unhooked a clean white cape from a hook. I flung it above her and let it settle on her shoulders. They draped her body nicely, with only her sneakers sticking out. With a hand, I gently pulled her hair into a ponytail to lift it up before clipping the ends of cape. I then let go, letting her hair fall nicely to about middle-back.
“My name’s Carmen, in case you were wondering,” I introduced myself as I studied her hair. It was rather lovely; smooth, straight and black, though with a bit of overgrown layers. I grabbed a comb and slowly began running it through her hair, straightening out some tangles. Needless to say, she takes care of her hair really well.
“I’m Ariel!” she exclaimed gleefully with a big smile.
I couldn’t help but adore how cheerful she seemed. For a teenager, she seemed to be quite an innocent one, and I liked that. “So, what would you like me to do for you today?” I asked.
“I wanted to cut it short, actually,” she announced with a surprisingly calm tone. The words came as a shock to me for a girl that had such beautiful hair.
“Really?” I asked with widened eyes. “Your hair’s really lovely, you know.”
“Yeah, it’s nice and all, but it’s so tiring to take care of it sometimes,” Ariel admitted with a sad tone.
I sighed. “I understand, love,” I admitted too, thinking of the almost hour-long routine I go through every day to take care of my long, red hair. “So how short were you thinking?”
“Err,” she muttered with twisted lips. “I guess to about…” she removed a hand from under the cape. “Here?” Ariel gestured to around her chin.
“That’s pretty short, but okay then. I’ll make sure you look good. You’re in good hands, Ariel,” I reassured her.
“I trust you. Make it nice and short,” she said beamingly, her feet kicking in joy.
And thus began my first duty as a barberette: to give this lovely girl a nice, short cut. I picked up the spray bottle from my dresser and began wetting Ariel’s hair while combing it. Mists of water dampen the ebon locks, making it easier for the teeth of the comb to run through. First her right, the back, then the left, and finally the front. “Let me help you get those off,” I uttered as I slowly removed her Ray Bans and set them on the dresser. Her eyes opened up a little, adjusting to her unclear vision. When I started spraying the hair on top and in front, she shut her eyes gently.
Once it was damp to my liking, I replaced the spray bottle with my trusty pair of steel scissors. I sectioned her hair simply into the back, left, and the right. I moved to the back first, and began combing down the hair. I lightly tilted her head forward, planning where the scissors will strike. I positioned the metal shears at the base of her nape, where I shall begin her makeover.
“Here we go, love” I declared as I began snipping right across. Shnick, shnick, shnick: the blades echoed as they cut through Ariel’s locks. As each snip was made, a long lock was severed and slid down the back of the chair onto the floor. Being an empowered being, a keen eye is a gift I’m given, thus I’m always precise when it comes to work like this. The hair at the back of Ariel’s head now edged around the base of her neck, a nice slight arc that led towards her left and right side.
With the back done, I moved to her right side and began combing the hair there. Ariel kept her eyes shut the entire time, peacefully relaxing in the chair while I was at work. I aimed my scissors at the edge of her jawline, where the short hair on the back ends, resting it slightly on her face. The cold steel must’ve shocked her a little as she opened her eyes to witness the cutting of her own hair. I took a deep breath, and then began cutting across. Shnick, shnick, shnick, the scissors opened and closed to about halfway across the jawline. About ten inches of her hair was lopped off and cascaded down the cape into her lap. “Ooh wow, that’s a lot of hair,” Ariel commented while gazing at the hair that was on her lap now.
“Don’t get too comfy, yet. There’s gonna be more coming off,” I teased her before continuing snipping across towards her chin. Tresses of Ariel’s black hair rained onto the cape, joining the others that were cut off. She chuckled at the sight of this, looking intently at the severed hair. She tapped the cape from under, causing a few locks to slide down onto her shoes the rested on the footrest.
It was satisfying to see her being so playful, enjoying the haircut I was giving her. I eventually moved over to the last section, her left side. I repeated the same procedure as per the right; combing the hair down, followed by positioning the scissors at the tip of the jawline. Without further ado, I went on to cut right across. Shnick, shnick, shnick, reaching the middle of the jawline. More hair joined the growing pile of hair in Ariel’s draped lap, with the black on white contrast starkly showing the difference. I repositioned the scissors, then finished the job with a few quick snips of her hair towards the chin.
With the last snip, I took a step back and admired my work. Her hair went from mid-back length to a blunt chin-length bob that really seemed to suit her. When she realised I was just about done, she began turning her head from left to right to examine the new ‘do. She jerked her head a little to the side, flicking her hair elegantly which amused her. She violently shook it from left to right, smiling at how delightful it was to feel her hair swinging from side to side.
Moments like these were always my favourite; when the customer was exploring their new haircut and was enjoying every bit of it. Ariel looked really cute with this shorter style, I had to admit. Although…
“Wait, something’s missing,” I told her, which made her freeze in curiosity. I step in front of the chair and face her, examining the cut from the front. I planted my comb at the crown of her head and combed the hair all the way down. The ends of her hair reached her chin, and I could see Ariel shutting her eyes. I set my scissors half an inch above her right eyebrow and envision it. With a smile, I dove in.
Shnick, shnick, shnick, shnick, shnick, shnick.
This time I went on continuously without stopping for the effect. With each snip I made, shorter locks of Ariel’s hair slid down her face and onto the cape. The scissors soon reached the other side of her forehead, and a perfect line was left in its wake. “There we go. Now we can see those beautiful eyes much more clearly” I remarked as I stepped back and moved aside. Ariel slowly opened her eyes, and I put on her Ray Bans for her so she could look into the mirror to see herself clearly.
Her mouth went agape at the newer sight of her. Blunt bangs went across her forehead, which were a little above her eyebrows. And now she had a nice blunt bob with bangs that framed her face perfectly. Ariel shook her head again, and this time her bangs swung across her forehead, tickling the skin and making her smile even bigger. “I love it!” she exclaimed.
“I knew you would,” I said while running a quick hand through her hair. I put down my scissors and comb on the dresser and picked up a neck brush. I undid the clip at the back of her neck and dusted her now exposed neck, which caused her to let out a giggle. With a whisk, I removed the cape before dusting it. Tresses of Ariel’s long lost hair plunged onto the floor with a ‘plop’.
“Wow,” she said as she looked down. “Can’t believe that used to be on my head!”
“Well, you’d better believe it,” I said as I went behind the barber chair. “It’s the new Ariel. And to be honest, I think she’s a lot cuter with short hair than she was with long hair.” I winked at her in the mirror.
“Aww, thank you, Carmen,” she acknowledged. “How much do I have to-“
“Oh, no, dear. No need to get your wallet out,” I told her as I moved towards her front. I placed a finger at the bottom of her chin and tilted it up lightly to face me. I looked straight into her luscious eyes and caught her gaze. “Now, you will not remember what is about to happen, and you shall only remember that we bid farewell, and you will only start to register things when you leave that door,” I ordered, and I saw her iris change slightly in colour, and then reverting back to the original brown, indicating that it worked.
Ariel sat obediently in the chair without moving as I tilted her chin up higher, exposing her neck. I moved my mouth towards it, the beige and fleshy neck of hers. I slowly lowered my jaw and let my fangs emerge. With grace and care, I bit. I gave her a peaceful bite- the type of bite that won’t inflict pain on its recipients, but rather, pleasure. I could feel her pulse slow down despite the blood pouring from the bite wound into my mouth. I drank a good fill- roughly five gulps, and then I retracted. Gosh, I felt so refreshed. I felt life and vigour running through my veins. There’s literally no better feeling than that of having a good drink like that.
She was smiling. Ariel looked pretty with that hair and such a beautiful smile. I bit hard on my palm, and then placed the bite wound between her lips. My blood flowed into her mouth, and she gulped down a few sips. As each swallow happened, the bite wounds on her neck closed slowly, and eventually the skin looked as good as new. I took a cloth from my dresser and wiped away any excess blood on her neck and mouth. And that, was the only payment I needed.
“Thank you for coming, Ariel. I really enjoyed doing your hair,” I said my last words.
“Thank you too, Carmen,” Ariel’s compelled sub-conscious self took over. She got up gracefully, patted any excess hair off her body, and then left the shop. I saw her shiver a little the moment she was outside, and I knew the compulsion wore off. She stroked her hair and smiled. I could tell she loved her new ‘do, a great first customer to the start of my new life here.