3 months later
“Morning” Gabriela called as she entered the store.
“Hiya” Heather gave a slight look up from her laptop as she sat at the front reception.
It was 8:40am, and the store was about to be open for the day in just 20 minutes.
“Got a lot of appointments today?” she asked as she hung up her jacket on the coat rack.
“Nah not too many” she kept her eyes on the laptop as she looked at the schedule. “We’re getting a lot of returning customers tho so that’s always good. Building up our clientele you know?” she looked up and gave a slight smile to her cousin.
“That’s good to hear” Gabriela nodded back
“You do anything last night?” Heather asked casually
“Actually finally went to a hot yoga class”
“Oh yeah? You liked it?”
“For exercise it really wasn’t too bad actually” she gave a slight chuckle.
“Maybe I’ll have to join one day”
“How bout you?”
“Oh I just met with Ross for a couple drinks” Heather replied. “Nothing too exciting” Ross was Heathers new ‘fling’. She insisted they weren’t dating but had been meeting up most nights for the last 5 weeks.
Gabriela raised her eyebrow. “Nothing too exciting?”
“Nah just the usual you know” she replied slightly coyly. “Oh! I forgot to tell you. Vanessa called me last night.”
“She’s gonna be leaving us!”
“Yeah she just got offered a job with some advertising agency”
Gabriela remembered Vanessa saying that she had recently finished university and was looking for a ‘real job’.
“Oh that’s really too bad. How much longer is she gonna stay?”
“Only 2 more weeks. So I gotta find a new person I guess”
The day was reasonably quiet. As it was a Tuesday it was only the 2 girls who worked and there was never more than 1 or 2 people waiting. With only an hour left of the working day the store had become empty. The two girls sat in their chairs and talked softly.
While Gabriela had only worked with her cousin for a few months now she felt very close to her. She was a great boss to have, always energetic and always fair to her employees. She showed a whole lot of maturity for her age. She had also introduced Gabriela to the world of short hair. Ever since her first big chop Gabriela had kept her hair short, occasionally taking the sides down a bit shorter but for the most part keeping her new style.
Heather then went to her laptop and began writing up a post saying how they were looking for a new barber or barberette.
The door then opened and Gabriela stood back up and greeted the customer. She wasn’t a regular and Gabriela surveyed her up and down. She was probably in her late twenties and was dressed casually in jeans and a sweater. Her hair was short and styled into a pixie. It reminded Gabriela of the famous Emma Watson pixie, giving the customer an almost elvish look.
“Hiya” Gabriela turned the seat to face her. “Here for a haircut I’d assume?”
“Yes thank you” she walked towards the chair and lowered herself down.
A cape was swiftly swung over her.
“Names Gabriela by the way”
“Daniele” she smiled back
“So what are you looking for today?” she said while looking at her through the mirror.
“I actually have a picture” She reached for her phone under her cape.
“Oh perfect” She said as leaning in to see the phone. Her eyes widened as she looked at the image. It was extremely short, a style you might see in the army. The sides were just about as short as can be with a slight fade up to the top. The top was then slightly longer but still only about half an inch. ‘A high and tight’ she noted to herself.
“Oh I love it! You’re gonna look amazing”
Gabriela wasted little time and using her clippers cropped her hair down to match the photo. The #1 attachment was used for the sides, then a #2 and #3 as she faded it into the crown. The #4 was used on the top. After only 15 minutes the cut was complete.
She whipped the cape off her, sending small clumps of hair flying. Daniele thanked her, paid and left. Gabriela surveyed her new ultra short crop as she crossed the street.
“Now that was short” Heather said peeking over her laptop screen.
“Right? Puts our cuts to shame”
Danielle was the last customer for the day. After cleaning up the two girls went for drink at The Grove, a bar just around the block. Summer wasn’t far away and the evenings were becoming less and less cold by the day. After a few drinks Gabriela got the tube back home and made herself dinner. While eating her dinner she opened her phone and searched ‘women high and tight’. The 3rd image was the exact photo Danielle had showed her earlier that day. She studied it some more before taking a screenshot.
2 weeks later
The store was getting busier by the day as the days got longer and warmer. Today was Vanessa’s last day before she left for her new job. ‘They would really miss her’ Gabriela realised. Aaron could only work 3 days a week because of his other job, so after she left it would be just Heather and Gabriela for the other 4 days.
“So you found anyone to replace me yet?” Vanessa said before taking a sip of her cider. They were back at The Grove, a place which they had began to frequent.
“I think I might’ve finally found someone actually. Her name’s Amelia.”
“She experienced?” Gabriela enquired.
“She’s worked at her dads barbershop when she was young and then was at a salon for a year or so I think. But I called her the other day and she seems pretty cool”
The rest of night was a bit of a blur as the girls kept ordering drinks, celebrating Vanessa and looking back at the days that they worked together.
Gabriela had the next day off and was grateful of the fact since she had quite the hangover. Later that day she received a text from Heather:
new girl is gonna start tomorrow!
The next day Gabriela arrived to work. Heather was there before her again and told her that Amelia was going to come at 12. The morning was reasonably busy but Gabriela and Heather handled the queue easily. At 11:55 the door opened and a young women walked in. Heather walked over to her and shook her hand. Gabriela was busy with a customer but realised it must’ve been Amelia. She was dressed in a trendy outfit with a denim skirt showing her tanned legs and a cute cropped top and a bomber jacket. She was undoubtedly very attractive. Gabriela’s eyes were drawn to her hair. It was pulled up into a thick bun and was light brown in colour. Gabriela found herself wondering just how long it was.
When she was free she introduced herself to her new colleague and immediately took a liking to her easy going demeanour. She was only 19 and told a similar story to Gabriela’s, how she worked at a salon but soon grew tired of it and was looking for something more exciting.
Her skills impressed both Heather and Gabriela as she was clearly highly trained with both the clippers and scissors.
“So how did you find your first day?” Gabriela asked as they closed the store.
“I really enjoyed it” She replied giving a sincere smile. “Fast paced which I like and it’s fun giving all these exciting cuts and stuff.”
“Glad to hear it”
Amelia then put her hands up to her bun and began pulling out the elastic band. Her hair fell down cascading over her shoulders and down her back. Gabriela was in awe at how beautiful it was. It was light brown, golden in some places with a heavy wave to it. And it was extremely long, reaching past the middle of her back.
“You have incredible hair” Gabriela said with admiration in her voice.
“Oh thank you” she began absent mindedly running her fingers through it. “Been growing it out for a while”
“It’s really really nice” Gabriela nodded and went back to sweeping the floor.
Something was stirring around in her mind and she could feel butterflies in her stomach. She remembered her hair when she first started this job. Remembered how Heather had teased her about cutting her hair. She looked over at Heathers closely cropped hair and wondered whether Amelia felt intimidated working with 2 girls with such short hair. Suddenly Gabriela was overcome with a desire to cut Amelia’s hair, and to cut it short.
Even when she got home Gabriela could not shake the thought from her mind. How exhilarating it must’ve been for Heather when she cut off all of Gabriela’s hair. The power she must’ve felt as she submitted her hair to her. ‘Or maybe Heather didn’t feel that way’ she pondered. Was this weird infatuation shared by her cousin? She had to know. She reached for her phone and dialled her number.
“Hey” Heather answered
“Hey, how you doin?”
“Good, good. What’s up?”
“Ok this is gonna sound weird I already know.”
“Mmm go for it” she replied almost playfully
“Remember how when I started here I had long hair?”
“Yeah of course”
“And then you gave me a short haircut”
“Well… I want to do that to Amelia. Somehow…”
“Hmmmm” Heather paused
‘Hopefully she doesn’t think I’m a freak’ Gabriela thought realising just how weird this was.
“Now that would be fucking exciting” She finally said
Gabriela was overjoyed. It seemed her cousin shared this desire with her.
“You think we can convince her to do it?”
“It’s gonna be hard, I mean she has an absolute mane of hair. But yeah I think if we work together then it’s possible.”
“How short are you thinking?” Heather asked.
A thought came to Gabriela’s mind almost immediately.
“I’ll send a pic”
She went to the screenshot section of her camera roll. There was the cut she gave Danielle a couple weeks ago. She sent it to Heather.
“Oh my God! We need to do this”
The three girls had been all working together on a warm Friday. It had been a busy day with customers coming almost right up to closing time. Gabriela was grateful when she was able to flip the sign to closed.
The three girls began cleaning up the store, chatting between them as they did so. They agreed they should go for a drink after such a long tiring day.
“We can show you The Grove” Heather suggested. “It’s the classic after work spot”
“Sure” Amelia replied.
Her hair was up in a bun again, something that Gabriela noticed she did almost every day. ‘Shame she doesn’t show it off more’ she said to herself.
Gabriela and Heather hadn’t spoken extensively about their plan since their call a few days ago but Heather had told her that she would make it happen eventually.
20 minutes after closing the store, Heather locked the door behind her and the girls headed out into the warm June evening air. At the bar the drinks were flowing and after only an hour all 3 of them were drunk. They went from boys to embarrassing childhood stories to celebrity crushes as the conversation flowed. After another hour they decided to head out to the city centre to go to another bar and maybe a nightclub afterwards.
“Wait I left my house keys at work” Heather announced as she was looking through her handbag. “You guys don’t mind if we head back real quick?”
“No of course not” Amelia replied.
Gabriel began to have an inkling that this was maybe part of Heather’s plan.
“Yeah sure” she added
The girls walked the short walk back to the store and all three went inside as Heather went back into the staff room to find her keys.
Gabriela felt her phone vibrate. It was a text from Heather:
when i come back ask me to cut ur hair
10 seconds later Heather was back holding up her keys “Found them”
“Heather?” Gabriela began. “Do you think you could give me a quick clean up?”
“Hahahaha, actually?” she said back laughing.
Gabriela hoped her acting wasn’t obvious.
“Yeah I just want my back and sides done. I’ve never had a haircut drunk you know”
“I love it” Heather giggled back, acting like this was a quirky spur of the moment decision by Gabriela.
Gabriela sat herself in the middle chair.
“C’mon hurry up” she said playfully
“Amelia I want to see you do it actually” Heather said casually while she reclined into the adjacent chair.
Amelia looked slightly taken aback. “You sure?” directing her question to both the girls.
“Yeah please I want you to do my hair” Gabriela said enthusiastically
“Alrighty, let’s see how good I am after a few drinks” she said cheekily.
“Take the back and sides down to a 3” Gabriela instructed
Gabriela was caped and Amelia pulled out the clippers. Despite her intoxication she was able to still show her skills and expertly shaved Gabriela’s sides and nape down to the desired length.
Gabriela rubbed her hands over her freshly cropped hair. “Much better” she almost purred.
Gabriela saw an opportunity.
“Take my seat” She said to Amelia nonchalantly as she stood up.
Amelia had a quizzical look on her face but lowered herself into the seat.
“Can I comb out your hair?” Gabriela asked. She was hoping she was drunk enough to not question her odd request or that she at least would think Gabriela was simply drunk herself.
“Sure” she said without a hint of suspicion.
Gabriela reached up to her bun and pulled away the band. The luxurious waves of thick hair tumbled down the back of the chair. Gabriela reached for a comb at the counter and began pulling it down all the way to the tips of her hair. Gabriela couldn’t believe how bountiful and soft it was. She wanted nothing more in the world than to be able to shear it all off.
“I miss being able to brush my hair I gotta admit”
“You used to have long hair?” Amelia asked.
“Yep” she replied while continuing to run her comb through her hair “Not as long as yours, but almost to my bra strap.”
“Oh wow. That’s quite the change then. When did you cut it?”
“When I started here about 3 months ago”
“Don’t worry you’ll get your short cut soon enough” Heather added from her chair.
Amelia’s face started turning red
“I’m joking,” Heather said in an unconvincing manner.
“Mmm you would look so good with something shorter” Gabriela added and began pulling her hair behind her, mimicking a shorter cut.
“I… I don’t think I’d like it short” she said defensively
“I thought the same before I did it” Gabriela said. “We could give you something nice and short right now”
“No, no thanks” she grabbed her hair and held it in front of her “I’m not cutting it.”
“It’s kinda a requirement for working here” Heather said, making it hard to tell whether she was joking or not.
“We could at least bring it up to your shoulders or something?” Gabriela suggested.
Amelia squirmed around, clearly uncomfortable.
“No seriously I’m okay I don’t want to cut it”
“You sure? It would look amazing trust me” Gabriela tried.
“I’m sure” she looked up at Gabriela thru the mirror giving her a pleading look.
“Your hair doesn’t fit our store as a barbershop” Heather said very matter of factly. “We specialise in short haircuts so our employees should match that. One day you’re gonna get a shorter haircut okay?”
Gabriela was shocked at how brutal Heather was being but she was secretly loving it.
Somehow Amelia nodded in reply, her face looking solemn.
“You agree?” Heather pressed.
“Yes” she said back so softly it was almost inaudible.
Gabriela was in heaven. Somehow Amelia had agreed to one day cut her hair, she hoped that day came sooner rather than later.
“Good, good” Heather replied before winking at Gabriela.
They didn’t end up going out again after the store, instead they all went back to their respective homes, already having had plenty to drink that night. Gabriela fell asleep fantasising about the day she would cut Amelia’s hair.
Amelia wasn’t working that weekend so Gabriela didn’t see her until Monday when it was just the two of them on shift. The day was quiet, even for a Monday and in between customers the two were chatting casually. Nothing from Friday night was mentioned.
Suddenly as they were relaxing just before closing Amelia asked “How short do you think Heather would want me to cut my hair?”
Gabriela’s ears perked up. Finally she had mentioned that conversation. Gabriela was almost worried she had been too drunk to even remember it.
Gabriela tried to remain cool. “Mmm pretty short. Something like one of us I guess”
She could see the fear shoot across Amelia’s face.
“That short?” she eyed Gabriela’s shaved sides and shuddered.
“I mean that’s mostly what we do here. It’s a barbershop after all.”
“I know, I know” her hands went back to her hair which she was wearing down today. “I just really don’t want short hair”
“You’ll love it once you have it, trust me”
“I really don’t think I would. Would she fire me if I don’t cut it?”
Gabriela was grinning on the inside. Heather would never fire someone for such an arbitrary reason but the fact that Amelia thought she might could definitely be used to her advantage.
“Look it’s more of a symbolic thing you know. Like when you start working here you’re showing your commitment to this place by having something short. I did it, the last few people before me did too.” That last part was a lie but Amelia would have no way to know so.
“Obviously if you really really have something against cutting your hair she won’t force you.”
“I know, I… just.”
“Are you scared?”
“Yeah” she admitted.
“So was I. But trust me afterwards I couldn’t believe I had waited so long. After all, it’s only hair.”
Gabriela hoped she was doing a good job convincing her. The thought of her caped in the chair was exhilarating. She felt like she was close to tipping her over the edge.
“I know, I know.”
“Look I seriously couldn’t recommend it more. You know you gotta practice what you preach, you can’t be giving short haircuts without having one yourself. A barber with hair like rapunzel is a bit odd right?”
She could see Amelia swallow hard as she tried to think of a reply.
“Look we’re closing in 20 minutes anyways, I can give you a haircut right now and we can get this over with.”
Panic exploded across Amelia’s face. “No!” she blurted out. “At least not today please”
Gabriela could feel her beginning to break. She decided to keep pressing.
“Why not today?”
“I just can’t”
“Delaying it makes it worse”
“I know but…”
“Look I get your scared, but you gotta trust me” Gabriela had moved closer to her and was now only a few feet away from here. “Its a leap of faith. If I did it I know you can too.
“I know but…” Amelia couldn’t hide her feelings of distress and she began biting her bottom lip.
“Look I think the best thing you could do is to sit down right now and we can get this all over with” She looked at her intently, trying to portray a concerned friend.
Amelia looked as if she could cry. Her eyes darted side to side, as if she was plotting her escape. Gabriela was standing between her and the doorway, something that she hadn’t planned but had Amelia feel trapped.
Then without saying a word Amelia slowly walked towards and then lowered herself into the middle barber chair. Gabriela’s mind was racing. She had essentially signed away her hair with that single movement. Gabriela nodded at her when she looked back and then walked to the front door. She flipped over the sign and locked the door, not wanting any interruptions. Amelia was sitting silently facing the mirror with a stony look on her face. Gabriela walked back towards her. She first grabbed a trolley and wheeled it next to her. She then picked out a large clip from the trolley and gathered up all her hair on top of her head before clipping it up. Just touching her soft hair was unbelievably exciting for her.
With her hair now clear of her body she went to the counter on the floor to ceiling mirror and tore off a piece of neck tissue. She fit it a tad tighter than usual around Amelia’s neck.
She reached under the counter and pulled out a white cape. She flung it over her body and fixed it to her neck. She then removed the clip and let her hair fall down the back of the chair. It swished against the cape, making an almost scratchy noise.
Gabriela took a second to appreciate her hair. It was truly some sight, with it’s beautiful waves and slightly golden colour. It looked stunning against the white of the cape. ‘Soon this will all be gone’ she thought to herself.
Gabriela pumped up the chair and reached for a comb. She ran her comb from root to tip remarking at just how soft it was.
“Please don’t cut it too short,” Amelia said meekly.
“I’m sorry but it needs to be short,” she said sternly.
“Look do you trust me that it’s gonna look good?” she placed her hands on her caped shoulders.
She only nodded tamely back.
“Then don’t worry”
Gabriela went back to combing out her mane of hair. The image of the cut she had given Danielle filled her vision. Soon all this hair would be stripped away. After a few more minutes of combing she had to stop herself. She placed the comb back on the trolley and instead pulled out a hair elastic.
She began pulling her hair together into a ponytail. She tied it off at the middle of her neck. The ponytail was at least 18 inches in length. She reached onto the trolley and picked out a pair of the sharpest scissors they had. She watched Amelia through the mirror and her eyes were fixed firmly on the scissors. Gabriela moved to directly behind her and held the ponytail at the base of her neck with her left hand. She opened and closed the scissors a few times, the metallic scrape the only noise in the store.
She looked through the mirror and saw Amelia’s eyes firmly shut and her lip quivering. She gave the barest of nods.
Without further ado Gabriela placed the scissors at the base of the ponytail. She squeezed the scissors together.
Shnick Shnick Shnick Shnick
The scissors were about halfway through the ponytail.
Shnick Shnick Shnick Snip
Suddenly the ponytail was disconnected from her head. She held it up almost like a trophy, taking in its length. She saw Amelia open her eyes and an audible gasp escaped her lips. Her hair now fell to her chin, not even reaching her shoulders. Her hair that once reached well down her back now was a brief bob.
Gabriela moved towards the mirror and gently laid the pony tail down on the counter, firmly in Amelia’s view.
“Well that was the hardest part” Gabriela said as she moved back to behind Amelia. Amelia remained quiet, her eyes locked on the ponytail lying lifelessly in front of her.
Gabriela ruffled her hair before beginning to section apart her remaining hair. The top she clipped up, the rest hanging down to her chin. This top section would go down to a #3 while the rest would fade up to that length. Moving back to the counter she picked up the large cordless Wahl clippers and turned to see Amelia’s reaction, wanting to soak up all her fear.
“Clippers?” Amelia said, surprise and distress written all over her face.
“Why of course” She replied with a slightly maniacal looking smile. She couldn’t deny how much she was enjoying the power she had. It felt almost like justice she thought. When she had arrived here Heather had taken advantage of her power to give her a short cut and now it was her time with Amelia. She grabbed the #2 attachment and fit in on the clippers.
Moving back to behind Amelia she flicked the clippers on. The humming sound filled the otherwise silent shop.
“Chin in” She said as she placed a hand on the top of her head and tucked her chin against her chest. Considering just how long her hair was, there had to be no chance she’s felt clippers on her head before Gabreila reasoned. That was about to change.
Placing the clippers at her nape right under her hairline, Gabriela slowly pulled the clippers up, all the way to the top section. 5 to 6 inches of her soft golden hair slowly slid down the cape, falling to the floor. In its wake was soft dark fuzz. Amelia didn’t make a sound, but Gabriela couldn’t help wondering what thoughts were flooding her mind.
The clippers were inserted again at the nape and more hair was replaced with stubble. Gabreila moved methodologically, shearing away more and more of Amelia’s hair. When she reached her side she made sure that her hair dropped down into her lap. Any strands that fell onto her shoulders she brushed away onto her lap. After she finished the other side she reached for the #1 attachment. She then got to work running the clippers over the already short stubble. The hair that was clipper away was almost like sawdust as it too made its way to the floor.
Gabriela continued making the fade with the #1, going around Amelia’s head cropping it even shorter. After she had faded in the #1 she removed the guard. The bottom inch of the fade would be to the skin. The clippers ran across the edge of her hairline sending fine dust of hair flying. After only a few minutes the fade was done.
“There you go, the sides are looking amazing.” she said as she placed a hand on her head, moving to the side to make sure she could properly see her handiwork.
Amelia had no reply. She looked defeated as she stared at her reflection. The immensely long ponytail sitting on the counter almost mocking her now closely cropped sides.
“Now for the top” Gabriela said fully aware she was practically talking to herself.
She reached up and unclipped the top section. The hair flopped down, covering her ears and part of her shaven sides almost like an undercut.
Gabriela switched to the #3 attachment and turned the clippers back on. With one hand holding her head still the clippers were brought up to her forehead and pulled back through the hair. 5 to 6 inch long locks of hair peeled down the side of Amelia’s head, before dropping to the floor. Gabriela went for another pass, sending more of the soft hair tumbling. By the fifth pass any evidence of Amelia having long hair was gone.
Gabriela spent the next few minutes making the fade immaculate, going over any spots that needed it and blending the slightly longer top with the sides. Finally she flicked off the clippers for the last time.
“All done” Gabriela stood back surveying the new cut, and realised she was breathing heavily. Her fantasy had come true, Amelia now had the shortest haircut she had ever seen on a woman before.
Amelia sat silently, her eyes barely able to believe just how short her former flowing mane had been reduced to. Gabriela had to give her credit for at least not crying.
She reached to her neck and unclipped the cape. With a flourish she removed the cape, sending more hair to the floor.
“Well it looks amazing I gotta say. What do you think?” She liked Amelia and despite what she had just down to her, she hoped she would at least like the haircut somewhat.
Her hands went up to her head. “It’s so short.” she groaned. “Why did it have to be so short”
“Trust me Amelia, I know it’s a big shock, you just gotta give it a couple days.” Gabriela was talking from her own experience, but honestly had no idea if Amelia would experience the same.
Amelia didn’t seem too satisfied with that reply, and sat in silence, surveying herself in the mirror. The shell-shock was still all over her face.
“Why don’t you head on home Amelia, get used to your new look, I’ll close up.”
Amelia didn’t need a second invitation as she left the chair, gathered her things and pushed open the door, barely saying a word as she left.
Gabriela looked at the long ponytail laying lifelessly on the counter. She unlocked her phone, snapped a pic and sent it to Heather. She replied almost immediately.
Gabriela smiled before typing back: Just wait until u see her