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What Goes Around by Deke Cutter


I never realized just how much my neighbor Ben hated my jokes. Ben was in the Marine Reserves. The guy he reported to was a real stickler for rules and regs and made the guys keep their hair extremely short. It seemed Ben would get one scalping after another and I always made sure to tease him about it. I thought it was all in good fun, but it was annoying and insulting to Ben. So, when my girl Katie was on a temporary assignment out of town for a month, Ben watched with some distaste as I brought home this cute young attorney from our firm. I thought it was just some innocent fun, getting it out of my system so to speak. But, after the second weekend, I came home from work and found a note from Ben pinned to the door: "Mike, stop by when you get in." I went into my apartment, took a shower, got out and dried my hair. As always, a quick towelling and my hair fell into place perfectly. It framed my face,just about an inch below my ears and brushing my collar nicely. I looked at the mirror and thought how lucky I was to have such a good looking head of hair.

I knocked on Ben's door. He invited me in and directed me to sit down. Unusual for Ben, there was now offer of a beer or even a glass of water. Ben stood over me and said, "Mike, we have a problem."

I replied "What's up big guy?"

Ben said, "You are cheating on Katie and that is not on." You know I have great respect for Katie and Judy (that's Ben's girl) and Katie have become good friends too. What the heck are you doing and why are you doing it right here and now?"

I kind of smiled...wrong move. "MIKE, Ben yelled, this is not funny." What do you think Katie will do if I tell her about this? I begged Ben not ottell. I promised I would never do it again. In that moment I realized how much Katie meant to me. Ben finally sat down and said, "well, I think there is a way out that will get you through this and hopefully, give you cause to remember what you did and the consdquences of your actions." As he said this I noticed he was rubbing his hands up and down that back of his shorn neck.

"OK, Ben, whatever you say, just please, do not tell Katie. She is the best thing in my life and I don't want to lose her. Ben then told me exactly what I was to do.

The next night after work, I found myself sitting in a barber shop that Ben frequented. As directed, I took the first barber available and got into the chair. I told the barber that I wanted a very short tapered haircut, just long enough to comb over on top. He went right to work. I jumped when the clippers were turned on. He started on the right side, pushing the clippers from the bottom of my sideburn up high on the side of my head. Big chunks of brown hair started to fall onto my shoulder and then into the cape in front of me. He quickly cleaned off each side, and went to work on the back. I could not believe all the hair falling and how I could feel a breeze on the back of my neck. Then he put down the clippers and picked up the scissors and started hacking away at the top. My hair was shorter than it ever had been. He took the bangs down to barely an inch.Then he took the thinning shears and started thrashing away at what was left. I thought, "on man, I am gonna be skinned." Finally, he put down the shears, cleaned up the sides and back with a straight razor and then combed what was left on top. When he turned me around to face the mirror, I thought I was going to cry. He had left a shadow of my sideburns showing, and as directed by Ben, I asked him if he could please take them up to the top of my ears. When that was done, he took off the cape, I paid him and left. When I go home, I went to see Ben. He opened the door and started making every crack about my haircut that I had ever made about his. I slunk inside. He told me to sit down.

"Mike," he said,"this is the first of the monthly haircuts that you will be getting for the next two years, until my time in the reserves is over. This is how you look now." With this he handed me a mirror. I no longer looked like me, I had a very simple, very short haircut. Ben reminded me that I had to tell people that I decided I needed a change and that I would have to deal with the comments now, that he dealt with all the time. And he reminded me that when it came time for his annual summer training, he and I would be getting our "short summer haircuts" together.

I rubbed the denuded back of my head and just said, "I deserve this, I just hope Katie doesn't dump me when she gets back. She really loved my long hair."

Ben just smiled as if he knew more than he was telling. To be continued?





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