At Manny's - Jerry Returns with a Secret by Manny
It was the first time Jerry returned to the shop after his whining about a ho-hum office existence that needed "shaking up" resulted in my turning his pert business cut into a boxy flattop. I well remembered the breathless stammering and nervous fidgeting that ensued the minute his long forelock was buzzed off in a quick, clipper-over-comb move and ended up his lap. He had no idea a surprise makeover was impending!
Despite his qualms about the drastic change, Jerry had looked quite manly with his deep pile, plush flattop, when he nervously left the barber shop several weeks ago. And now he was back, with a very overgrown and untidy look. He'd stayed away far too long for a high-maintenance haircut like a boxy flattop with beveled edges that long had been my signature haircut.
"Jerry, you're back! I'm anxious to hear all about reactions to your big change!" I exclaimed.
He smiled nervously and glanced in the mirror. "How long has it been? A few weeks?"
"Too many!" I patted the chair. "Take a seat. We need to clean you up. And you're either going to have to start coming in on a more regular basis or I'm going to have to take you down a lot tighter. Once a flattop starts growing out, it's hard to maintain erect."
Jerry eased into the chair. His brown hair looked soft and full. He had amazing hair.....but I was already toying around with the idea of stripping it off rather drastically and showing a lot of skin. He would get his first landing strip, for sure! The deep pile plush top was just to ease him away from the floppy business cut to a more authoritarian military look. He needed that to get a better handle on disciplining his teenage son Hunter. The impossible sone was his other favorite topic of conversation at the barbershop -- the son that wouldn't mind him, the son that he constantly complained about.
Perhaps Jerry needed a horseshoe. Wouldn't that be fun....spin him around and watch him take in his new shoe for the first time? Poor guy....perhaps it was better to allow him to keep the plush boxy top for a while. After all, he did have such nice hair....and the amount that came off at the last session was staggering. I needed to be careful because he'd been a loyal customer and an excellent tipper!
I fastened the cape nice and tight. "So, tell me about your new fan club at the office."
"I was scared to death walking into the office building the day after I got my flattop. The worst part was that it was the morning of our big division coordination meeting. We were all assembled into the large conference room. I decided that entering a little late was the best way to avoid a multitude of small conversations and individual taunts. What I didn't realize was that entering late could back fire big time. And it did! The meeting had already started when I slipped in and took my normal seat. Even before anything was said publicly, I heard the snickering and felt the critical stares. The chairman stopped what he was saying and cleared his throat. 'I think you're in the wrong place, sir. That's Jerry's chair.' At first I thought he was serious, that he didn't recognize me. But, when the room erupted in explosive laughter, he joined right in! I sat there frozen and unable to speak. He quipped 'what ever in the world possessed you to do that to your hair?' and then kept on with his meeting. You certainly were able to shake up my ho-hum office existence, Manny! I can say that much."
"So, that's the extent of it. Just a lot of laughing?" I inquired.
"No. I had lots of people drop by my office afterwards. Some were there to make fun and some were just curious. I can't tell you how many people asked me what it felt like, working up the courage to shed the uniform office dress code and go flat . A lot wanted to know if I had any regrets. A few came by specifically to express admiration, including one of my trustworthy office lieutenants, Frank Mueller. He told me I was very brave. Said that he wished he could wear his hair the way he pleased instead of being pressured into office conformity. And he told me that I looked quite manly and handsome with the flattop....." Jerry said, as his voice drifted off.
"Oh, so you did form a fan club! Tell me more about this Frank fellow," I said.
"Well, Frank closed my office door and asked me if he could touch the flattop. I felt awkward about it, at first, but his eyes looked at me so longingly, I told him he could. He began at my nape, gently stroking the stubble saying what a great job the barber had done. Then he worked his way up the back and began fondling my top, rubbing his hand across it, feeling it like he would a clothes or shoe brush. It felt intense," Jerry reminisced. "I'd like to see Frank with a flattop himself -- he's got this massive thatch of wavy blond hair that he's so fond of."
"And how did things go over on the home front? Did your new look help you establish better authority under your roof? That hippy son of yours....Hunter. I thought you'd have brought him here by now the get him tidied up. What's up?" I asked.
"When I got home, the little lady took one look at me and told me I looked 'ridiculous' -- asked how long would it take to grow out. The sullen son of mine was similarly dismissive. He now calls me 'jar head'. I still can't make him do anything," Jerry admitted.
I reached for the powerful balding clippers. "This is not good! Perhaps I didn't go far enough, Jerry." I looked at the deep pile flat of shimmering brown hair and spun the chair away from the mirror.
"Jerry!" I announced rather dramatically and with an air of finality, "you are getting SHOE-ed!"
Before he could react, I had his head wrenched down low so that it was very accessible to the clippers. The first swipe of the clippers set the tone. It stripped a clean swath of skin all the way up his the back of his head. But, I didn't stop there. The clippers raced up through the cowlick and straight down the center through the prime part of the boxy flattop, totally obliterating the hair in its wake. I pulled the machine away just in the nick of time to leave a thin ribbon of hair for the horseshoe flattop, a mere inch away from his forehead.
"Manny! Please, Manny....." poor Jerry gasped.
"Get ready for a big change, big fellow. 90% of your pretty hair is coming off. Most of this noggin is getting lather shaved! No pleas and no protests, understand? You're going to look mean and act like you MEAN BUSINESS when you get home. You are going to march Hunter out to the car and bring that slacker son of your's in here for a decent haircut! Once he's got a tidy 'short back and sides' he'll be much more cooperative," I snapped.
Jerry sat helpless in the chair as I worked to reduce his boxy flattop of naked scalp. I thoroughly enjoyed clipping away all but a slight remnant of his once full, lush mane. The balding clippers took him down to a 0000 length, hardly a hint of stubble on the white, white scalp. I wondered how his little office boy Frank would take to Jerry's new shoe!
"This Frank you told me about, Jerry," I began, as I clipped away at this head, "you've developed a bit of a relationship with him, I take it. I mean in addition to you being his boss in the office."
"Yes," Jerry murmured softly.
"And, when you're behind closed doors, he's there for your pleasure. I mean, you have summoned him in and he's eager to do the things you tell him," I said to try to make him understand where I was going with this conversation.
Jerry sat still and quiet. His lack of a response said it all.
Oh, my. Poor Jerry. No flattop, no shoe, no chrome dome look would toughen him into a "take control" manly man.
"Or, perhaps when the office door closes, you finding yourself wanting to do as Frank tells you.....?" I continued.
It was like Jerry was relieved he didn't have to say it himself. "Yes, Manny, that's it. As soon as the door closes, Frank calls the shots. I jump up from my chair and he sits down and puts his feet up on my desk. Then he tells me what he wants me to do...."
"Like what? Like give him a foot massage?" I inquired.
"No, it's things to make me feel embarrassed and humiliated. Like strip off my clothes and stand there in just my undies and socks. He knows that makes me a nervous wreck. 'What if someone comes in unexpectedly?' I ask him," Jerry's voice eeked out.
"And he says....."
"He tells me that would be my problem -- not his! The person will want to know why I'm standing there stripped down to just my undies. I will have to think of something to explain it. Why I'm there, practically naked," he stammered.
"What else?" I asked.
"One time he made me get on my hands and knees and used me as a foot stool. Then there was the time he made me do some push ups and laughed as he puts his foot down hard on my butt. Often he'll make me brush his hair and admire it. One time he made my shine his shoes with my flattop! It's all so demeaning....." Jerry explained.
"But, you love it. Don't you?" I stated rhetorically.
Jerry hung his head and whispered, "Yes, I do."
"So, when I spin you around and show you your new look....your lovely hair gone! Just a faint remnant left and you cringe about the office reaction, you'll acgain feel excited?" I asked.
"Show me, now! I can't wait! I'll be terrified to see my hair gone and just the shoe left to remind me about what nice hair I once had," Jerry said.
And so I did him the honors. The chair swiveled slowly to the mirror.
"Oh, Manny! My hair is gone! Almost all of it," he gasped.
"I turned on the hot water to warm up and soak the white towels to prepare Jerry for the lather. The shoe would be history in a few minutes; there would be something that would suit him better than the shoe, now that I understood him better. I would take every single strand from his head!
I draped the moist, hot towels on his scalp and prepared him to emerge completely clean. After a few minutes, I foamed up the whole scalp.
"How is Frankie going to react when he sees you shiny and smooth as silk tomorrow?" I asked casually.
"He'll mock me and flaunt his long hair in front of me. He'll make me brush and style it and tell me to admire the texture and waves," Jerry said.
"And the others in the office, what will you tell them?" I asked.
"That I got tired of hair care. I won't make a big deal of it. They'll say the obvious like, 'wow, you shaved it all off' and I'll say 'yep, I sure did' and keep on walking," Jerry said placidly.
After a few minutes of the foam softening up the stubble, I took my straight edge razor and began scraping Jerry clean. He was so submissive, it gave me another idea for a post-haircut treat. My paddle! I would introduce Jerry to my paddle. I warmed up the towels and cleaned off the whole scalp. The shimmering white, virgin skin was on full display.
Jerry's lip quavered when he saw himself hairless. "I had just gotten used to the flattop, Manny," he pouted.
"Okay, up! And head on back there. I've got a real treat for you, Jerry!" I chirped. Once we were in the back room, I said, "That's far enough, and reach down and touch your toes. And don't move!"
The paddle was swift. THWACK! THWACK!! THWACK!!!
Jerry looked up at me grinning with delight. "Is that all?" he asked playfully.
"Next time I'll have you drop your drawers, just like Frankie!" I said with the chuckle.
"I'd love that Manny! You're really my kind of barber." Then he looked at me curiously. "But who is your barber, Manny? He's been neglecting you, I fear!" Jerry reached up and grasped my thick long chestnut-colored hair with fiery auburn highlights. "Oh, this is so much softer and longer than Frankie's hair," he said.
That gave me an idea. "Jerry, my hair needs a good brushing. Let's go back in the shop. It's time for you to treat my pampered hair to a bit of 'oh-ing' and 'ah-ing'. It would be nice to have you gush over it as you brush it -- you know, the way Frank has you fawn over his."
"Sure, Manny! I have lots of practice doing just that to Frankie. He requires a very sincere tone. But, perhaps you would let me put the cape on you. Keep any stray hairs that fall off your nice white tunic."
Jerry was quite adept with the cape and secured it into place. There I was caped, in my own barbershop, staring in the mirror. A line full of powerful clippers and super sharp shears were within arms-reach. What if I ordered Jerry to take the balding clippers....to snap them on....to bring the chattering teeth to my thick, long hair....and watch it fall?!
Jerry began working the brush through my hair and cooing a stream of pleasantries about my prized locks. "So soft, so much brilliance...."
I squirmed in the chair under the cape and my mouth felt dry. I cleared my throat nervously. "Jerry? Jerry, I want you to take those clippers there...."
He reached over and picked up the balding clippers. "These, Manny?"
I stared at his bare head. Would I order him to take me down all the way?! I had always feared a chrome dome most of all....not a trace of my beautiful hair left. That's what that bully Robert had done to me....in front of my own regular clients!
"Yes, precisely," I told Jerry.
He sensed what I wanted and brought them toward me.
I froze in the chair.
He leaned my head forward with his hand. Silence enveloped the shop. All that one could hear was my nervous breathing. Then I heard the machine snap on and the teeth begin to chatter.
I cringed and my body stiffened.
And, as I did so, I came to my senses and yelped, "What do you think you're doing?! I want you to unplug those clippers and put them away in that left drawer!"
"Oh, sorry, Manny! I don't know what in the world came over me!" he said apologetically.
"Now take off this cape! My hair looks so nice the way you brushed it, Jerry!" I said, regaining my composure.
I quickly stood and made Jerry pay for his haircut. It was the most generous tip ever. He handed me a $100 and told me to keep the change. "The extra is for the bonus session in the backroom. I can't wait to see what will happen to me next time. Two weeks from now?"
"Sure, Jerry. See you then!" I watched him leave the shop, feeling his naked scalp as he crossed the hotel lobby.