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Flattop John 2 (Part 2 of 4) by JB




|||||||||| Flattop John 2: ||||||||||

----------- Part 2 -----------

_||||||| Father's Day |||||||//_



"Ay,ay,ay. I have a bad feeling about this."

"Stop worrying, bro. Everything will be fine- you'll see."

Nick didn't have any customers when John and Sam walked in, which is what John was hoping
for since he wanted to discuss 'hunting' and 'trophies' with him.

Nick looked up from his magazine, "Hey guys...Surely yer not here for a haircut, are you? It's
only been a couple days...If ya like, I can take it so close it'll bleed." He smirked.

John grinned back, "Relax Nick. I've still got a few days warranty on this flattop before it needs
a tune-up. And you've already got our heads up on the wall."

Nick had a perplexed smile on his face, "What's that again? Yer heads are on the wall? I'm not
readin' ya, man."

It suddenly occurred to John that Nick didn't know yet about their euphemism for his haircut
hunting game, "Oh, right. I guess you wouldn't know about that: When me and Sam figured out
that you were 'hunting' us..."

Nick looked a little concerned, "Oh. You know about that, too?"

"Yeah. Right after you gave me this flattop, Sam and me put 2 & 2 together and figured it all
out...but it's OK. We concluded we musta wanted haircuts like this or you wouldn't have been
able to talk us into it, right?"

"OK. So where does the heads-on-the-wall fit in?"

Sam grinned, "So our haircuts are your trophies, right? After you stalk us and get your 'trophy',
our heads get mounted on a board and put up on the wall there, figuratively speaking, with the
rest of yer trophies, next to the antlers."

Nick stared up at the antlers, "Huh! I hadn't thought of that." He suddenly got a big grin, "I like
it!"

John and Sam sat down in the chairs against the wall, facing Nick in his barber chair. John
pointed up at the deer horns and grinned, "Looks like a couple more trophies have been added to
the wall, we just saw Carlos and his brother."

Nick shook his head, "Nope. Those guys still have their heads attached to their shoulders. The
buzzcuts were their idea, not mine. I had nothin' to do with it. Well actually, it was Miguel's
idea, he thought it would be a perfect Father's Day gift for their dad. He had a hard time
convincing Carlos to go along with it."

Sam looked thoughtful, "Hmm. That sort of makes sense now. We were wondering how he
ended up with a crewcut after saying he would never get one again."

John added, "We thought he would show up with one yesterday after coming here to yer
shop...guess you missed yer target."

"Oh, I tried," Nick replied, "But after a few seconds I could see Carlos wasn't going to be
swayed. So I just gave him the cut he wanted." He shrugged, "That's the way it is sometimes."

John steered the conversation in a new direction, "I've been dropping hints at work, trying to get
a few of the guys to show up here for a 'trim'. Sorta beating the bushes to flush out new prey and
send 'em running in yer direction," he grinned, "I saw one of 'em at work this morning and knew
right away that another head went up on yer wall."

Nick looked at John with renewed respect, "Which one was that?"

"Mike...Not too bright...His hair was a lot like mine, when it was long...You gave him a nice
tapercut any cop would be proud of."

"Oh...you mean Gumby."

John laughed, "Gumby?"

"Yeah...well that's how I think of him...His mind is so pliable, it's like he's made of clay...I can
form him into any shape I want. So...Gumby." Nick finished with a smile.

"Yeah, that sounds like Mike all right. Like I said, he's not the brightest guy around. I didn't have
any trouble putting the idea of coming here into his head...I was kinda surprised he didn't end up
with a shorter haircut though."

Nick shrugged, "I coulda had him beggin' for a mohawk in less than 5 minutes."

Sam looked curious, "So why didn't you? Seems like it would've been easy."

"Well that's just it...It woulda been TOO easy. Where's the sport in that? I wasn't gettin' that
thrill-of-the-hunt feeling with him. So I just gave him the cut I thought would look best on him."
Nick got a sheepish grin, "I was gettin' kinda bored actually...so I told him his hair would grow
faster if he got it cut more often; it doesn't. But he seemed excited by that, don't really know
why. Not sure why I told him that...musta been feelin' a little devilish I guess." Nick looked up at
the antlers, "Not much of a trophy either...more like a third place ribbon at the county fair."

John got a mischievous look, "Well, if I played my cards right, you'll be gettin' another guy in
here soon- Kyle, a tall blond guy with a lot of attitude. I think you'll have more fun with him."

Nick studied John thoughtfully for a second and grinned, "Y'know what, my man? You can take
yer head down off that wall and put it back on yer shoulders where it belongs- Yer no longer one
of the hunted, yer a hunter, like me."

John looked a little surprised, then broke out in a big grin, "Wow. Maybe yer right. It is kinda
fun gettin' the guys to come here. But that's the easy part, right? It takes a lot more skill to collect
the trophy."

Sam had a troubled look on his face, "What about me? Is my head still up on the wall? It was me
and John who figured out that you were hunting us."

"Hmmm," Nick thought for a sec, "Not sure. I was still able to talk you into that high 'n' tight
butch even after you knew what my game was." Sam blushed a bit. Nick continued, "I'll tell ya
what, I'll take yer head down for now but I'm leavin' it sittin' on the floor there next to the wall. If
it's still there after a few months, then it's yours. How's that?"

Sam wasn't entirely pleased with the proposition, "...I guess. So it's up to me then, right?...And
you, of course...I'm starting to think I'm a lot like this Gumby guy you talked about."

Nick laughed, "Well, not THAT bad. You did figure out my huntin' game after all, so you've still
got some kinda head on yer shoulders, right? Time will tell, my man. Time will tell."

Sam watched a mom and her 2 boys walk by the shop window, "What about kids? Do you 'hunt'
them too?"

"Naw. Wouldn't be right, they're still too gullible at that age- wouldn't be any sport in it. And
there'd be heck to pay if the parents didn't like the haircut I gave their kid. Lots of kids leave the
shop with short haircuts all right, but that's up to the parents, not me...High schoolers, now that's
a different story- they're fair game...There was one kid though, a few months ago, 7 or 8 years
old; a little brat if there ever was one; hair like a yak. He ran around in the shop tippin' over
displays and stuff. After a few well-placed suggestions to his dad, that little hell-hound went
home with a shiny new high 'n' tight flattop." Nick grinned.

The shop door opened and a long-haired college-aged guy walked in. He saw the two flattops
and the whitewalled butch looking back at him, "Geez."
Nick acted quickly, "Come on in, sport. Take a seat. I'll cut yer hair any way you want."
As John and Sam got up to leave, John caught a wink from Nick. He smirked back at him.
__________

- Sunday morning (Father's Day)

5:36 AM - Nick woke up an hour late and chastised himself for sleeping half the day away. After
feeding the chickens and gathering their eggs, he took his dog Jake up into the hills behind his
property for a 2 hour hike. Upon returning, he settled in for a manly breakfast of fried elk liver
and onions. Jake got a meaty bone to chew on.

8:00 AM - As Nick was chowing down on his liver and onions, John woke up to "Y.M.C.A."
playing on his clock radio. Weekends are a busy time at the lot; folks out-and-about looking at
cars on their day off. He showered and shaved, put on a lightweight flannel shirt with the sleeves
rolled up to the elbows, a pair of jeans and hiking boots; his 'Nick clothes', as requested by his
boss earlier in the week.

10:00 AM - Carlos dragged himself out of bed after staying up till 3 AM playing video games
the night before. He was looking forward to a nice, slow day off, then remembered Miguel
would be by to pick him up and go to their parents house- to surprise their dad with their new
haircuts, "Ay,ay,ay," he muttered to himself.
__________

"It's locked," Carlos said. He and Miguel were on the front porch of their parents' house.

"Well ring the bell."

[ding-dong]

On the other side of the door, they could hear the barking of Chico, their parents' Toy Poodle:
[arf,arf,arf,arf,arf].

After a few seconds (and endless barking), their mom, Rosa, opened the door, "Chico, be quiet!
It's just the boys...Come in, come in...I told your father to unlock the door before you came, but
he never listens to me."

"Where is Dad?"

"Oh, he is out in the back yard getting the barbecue ready...Let me look at you." She gazed upon
her sons and smiled, "How handsome you both look with your haircuts!" Then a slight frown
mixed with her smile, "Oh, but they are not the same...Carlos, your hair is longer than
Miguelitos." The frown quickly left, "But it looks very good on you...I'm sure your father will be
very happy."

They went into the kitchen where Rosa continued to flatten hamburger patties for the grill.
Carlos popped a potato chip in his mouth, "So what's on the menu?"

"We have hamburgers, potato salad, baked beans... plus other things, like olives and cheese."

Carlos was a bit disappointed, "I thought we'd be having one of your authentic meals...like the
armadillo stew we had last time."

Rosa corrected him, "Oh, that wasn't armadillo."

Miguel chuckled, "I told you, bro. It was rattlesnake."

Rosa shook her head in disagreement, "No, no, no. You are both wrong. Carlos, I told you last
time, it was SUPPOSED to be armadillo, but you can't find those kinds of meats here. It was
pork. I got it from the Safeway down the street."

Carlos was a bit crestfallen, "Aww, I thought I was eating something special...I had it again for
breakfast this morning."

His mom looked horrified, "Ay,ay,ay! That was almost 2 weeks ago, you are going to be sick.
Throw it out!"

"That was the last of it...It still tasted OK to me."

Rosa shook her head in disbelief, "Dios mio."

Hector Martinez, Carlos and Miguel's dad came in through the back door to the kitchen, "I heard
Chico barking, are the boys here?..." He stopped in his tracks as he saw his sons with their
buzzcuts. A big grin exploded on his face, "Ay! Look at you...Your long hair is gone! You have
macho butch haircuts, just like I used to give you!"

"Happy Father's day, Dad." Miguel grinned.

"You did this for me? For Father's day?"

Miguel shrugged, "Seemed like a good idea."

Carlos added, "You don't need another necktie or wallet, right? So we got you these haircuts
instead."

Hector grinned again, "You make me very proud...and happy."

Miguel muttered to Carlos, "See? Told you, bro."

Hector studied his sons' haircuts more closely, "Miguelito, your haircut looks the same- like the
one's I used to give you...but Carlos...your haircut is different, longer...Maybe the electricity
went out in the barbershop before your haircut was finished, no?...Come! I will fix it...Go outside
to the patio, I will fix your haircut, just like the old days, yes?"

Carlos groaned, "No,no,no. My haircut is supposed to look like this! It doesn't need cutting...You
just said you liked it!" he pleaded.

Hector was hearing none of Carlos' explanation. He grabbed a kitchen stool, "Come. We will go
out on the patio and you will sit while I go and get the haircutting set."

Rosa looked upset, "Hector, no! You're ruining the day...We were all so happy! Ay,ay,ay."

Miguel wasn't much help, "I tried to warn you, bro. Back at the barbershop, I reminded you how
Dad likes things to be a certain way."

Hector placed the stool on the patio while Carlos reluctantly followed him out the door,
"Ay,ay,ay,ay,ay." He plopped down onto the stool.

Hector ran his hand across his son's inch-long crewcut, "Your hair is too long standing up like
that. You look like a porcupine! I will give you a nice butch haircut, like I used to...Wait while I
get the clipper set." He disappeared into the house.

Carlos started to get up, Miguel caught him by the shoulder, "Where you goin', bro?"

"Home."

"C'mon, Carlos. Just go through with it...I think what Dad REALLY wants for Father's Day is to
give us, well, give you, a haircut himself- like he used to. I guess he misses those days, y'know?"

"Si, Carlos," his mom pleaded, "Just go along with it. I don't want the day to be ruined...It will
make him happy."

Carlos fumed, "Ay Caramba! Everyone keeps saying that- 'It will make him happy'...What about
me? It won't make ME happy!"

"No. But in your heart, you know it is the right thing to do, yes?" His mom asked.

Carlos groaned loudly and sat down again, which Miguel took to mean that he had accepted his
fate.

Hector came back out to the patio with the home haircut kit: a flat cardboard box with red, white,
and blue barber-pole stripes around the outside. On the front was a picture of a smiling boy
sporting a short butch haircut. He lifted the lid. All the pieces- the clippers, the 'butch comb'
attachments, the shears, barber comb, cape, instruction booklet, even the small tube of clipper
oil; all had their own slot or compartment; a place for everything and everything in its place.

Hector lifted the clippers from the box and plugged them into the patio outlet. He returned to the
box to get the butch comb. After rummaging around for a few seconds he became perplexed,
"Where is the attachment I always use? The 3/8'' butch comb? It is not in its slot."

"Maybe it fell out of the box, in the cupboard." Rosa suggested.

Hector called over to Miguel, "Miguelito, you put the cape on your brother. Get him ready while
I search for the attachment." He went back into the house. A few seconds later they could hear
drawers banging and cupboard doors slamming. Rosa became agitated, "Ay,ay,ay. What is he
doing in there? I should go and help him look." She disappeared through the kitchen.

"Ohhhhhh," Carlos moaned.

"What is it now, bro?" Miguel got the cape from the box and shook it out. A few clumps of hair
from 7 years ago fell onto the patio.

"They won't find the attachment...I threw it out."

"What? Why did you do that!"

"Years ago, when we started growing our hair out, I never wanted to see that thing again. So I
threw it away. Ay,ay,ay."

Miguel shook his head, "Carlos, mi hermano, you always manage to set yourself up for these
sorts of things." He snapped the cape around his brother's neck.

Carlos looked over at the home haircut set, "I hate that box...Why is that kid smiling?...He
should be frowning or crying after getting a haircut like that."

"I don't think they'd sell very many sets with a crying kid on the front of the box." Miguel
observed.

"Good."

Hector returned to the patio with Rosa close behind. "The attachment is nowhere to be found, I
will have to use a different one."

Miguel took pity on his brother and made a suggestion, "You could use the 1/2'' butch comb."

"No,no,no,no. That would be too long...I will use the 1/4'' attachment instead." He removed the
butch comb from the box and snapped it onto the clippers. When he switched it on, it made a
loud chattering BLAT sound. He turned the adjustment screw until the noise lessened to the
expected hum, but still louder than normal, "I will give you a proper butch haircut, not that
porcupine cut you have now." Carlos squirmed but kept quiet, for his mom's sake.

Hector placed the clippers at the front of Carlos' hairline and shoved them up through his inch-
long crewcut, mowing a path down the middle. The overly loud humming from the clippers only
added to Carlos' dread. Hector took another swipe, and another, making rapid work of his son's
butch haircut.
Finally, the clippers went deafeningly silent. Phase one of Carlos' butch cut was complete- his
hair was a uniform 1/4 inch long. Miguel looked on the bright side, "It doesn't look much
different than mine, bro."

Hector removed the attachment from the clippers, "Now I must shorten it around the ears and
neck to make it look like a proper haircut." Carlos whimpered. This was the part he dreaded the
most.
The clippers CLACKED and began to growl again. Hector pressed them up through Carlos'
sideburns leaving nothing in their wake. He repositioned the clippers and cut a high swath
around his ears. It took several swipes before Hector was satisfied with the results. Moving to
the back, he plowed the clippers upward an inch here, a couple of inches there, pressing them
cross-wise in some places.

Hector switched the clippers off for the final time, "Now, that is a good haircut for you- a nice
butch, just like the old times." He removed the cape from Carlos, shook it out and packed
everything in its proper place, "I will put this away and then we will have a nice barbecue
together." He carried the haircut set back into the house.

Carlos' mom looked worried, with her hand up to her mouth, "I still have some things to do in
the kitchen." She shook her head and went inside, talking to herself, ("Dios mio.")

For once, Miguel could find nothing to be optimistic about, "Ay,ay,ay." He muttered.

Carlos shot his attention toward his brother, "What!...Why did you go 'ay,ay,ay'? You NEVER
go 'ay,ay,ay' unless something is really, REALLY bad..."

"Ay,ay,ay." Miguel repeated.

Carlos let out a long, loud groan and leapt from the stool. He ran toward the bathroom to survey
the carnage. Chico became excited by the commotion and chased after him [afr,arf,arf]. Miguel
sighed and took off after them. As he neared the bathroom door, he heard Carlos exclaim, "Ay
Car-r-r-amba!" He knew how upset his brother was because of how long he trilled the "r"s. He
came up behind him and looked at him in the mirror.

"Look what that old man did to me!" Carlos fumed, "Even Chico could do a better job than that!"
Chico heard his name and put in his 2 cents worth, [arf,arf]. Carlos groaned, "Ay,ay,ay,ay,AY!"
Miguel had nothing to add to that assessment, so he kept quiet while his brother groaned and
whimpered.

The upper half of Carlos' haircut looked fine, about the same as Miguel's butch. The lower half
however, looked like an off-road vehicle track; clipper-shaped paths of bare skin going every-
which-way, abruptly coming to a halt at odd angles. The sideburns were gone of course, except
for one disconnected piece.

Miguel finally thought of something helpful, "You can go to Nick's shop. He can fix it, even it
out."

Carlos simmered down as he thought about that, "...Yes. Nick is a good barber. He can make it
look better..." He groaned again, "Ay chihuahua. He is not open on Sunday", his eyes got bigger,
"or Monday! Ay,ay,ay. I will have to wait until Tuesday to get it fixed! Ohhhh." He groaned
again.

Miguel brightened up, "You don't work tomorrow either, bro. So it'll work out fine...just don't go
anywhere until then," he added quietly. "C'mon, bro. Let's go and enjoy the barbecue, things'll
work out OK."

Carlos sighed, "...OK...But next year he's getting a pair of socks."
__________

- Monday

Nick spent his day off bowhunting in the hills behind his cabin. He and Jake had rabbit stew for
supper that night.

Carlos spent the day at home, with the curtains pulled shut.
__________

- Tuesday morning, 8:00 AM

Nick was outside his shop having his morning cigarette when Carlos pulled up. Carlos yawned
as he got out of his car. By coming to Nick's shop this early, he was hoping no one else would be
there- he was right.

Nick was somewhat amused and somewhat upset when he spotted what was left of Carlos'
haircut, "Geez Carlos, what'd ya do to my crewcut?" Nick felt that the haircuts he gave his
customers were 'his', in much the same way as an artist thinks of his paintings as his.

Carlos looked pained as he walked toward the door, "Ay caramba. It wasn't ME! It was my dad-
my crazy, loco dad!"

They entered the shop and Carlos wasted no time climbing into the barber chair, "Can you fix it?
Make it look better?"

Nick assessed the damage, "Well yeah. I can fix it...What happened anyway? Didn't yer dad like
the haircuts you and yer brother got?"

"He did at first. Everyone was happy. Then he saw that my crewcut wasn't the same as Miguel's
butch. It was too long, he said." Carlos hesitated, "...He said I looked like a porcupine."

"That's too bad. I thought the crewcut looked good on you."

"So did I!" Carlos was a little surprised to hear himself say that. He had grown to like his
crewcut over the last few days despite his aversion to short haircuts, "Well, I was sort of getting
used to it, anyway."

Nick started to get Carlos caped up, "So yer dad just took the clippers and went to town on ya,
huh?"

"Yeah...Miguel thinks he did it because he misses the old days when we were kids...or maybe
he's just crazy...maybe some of both."

Nick finished with the cape and reached for a pair of clippers with no guard, "Now, you know
I'm gonna have'ta cut more off to even it up, right? Take it to the skin as high as these clipper
tracks go?" He used his finger to trace the outline of one of the higher gouges.

Carlos sighed, "Yes, I know. I'm going to look like a skinned rabbit...or like Sam with his
Marine haircut."

Nick grinned, "Well, not quite that short; yer hair on top is still longer than Sam's. And you'll
still have some hair on yer sides...just not on the lower half."

"Ay,ay,ay...But still better than it is now."

"I think anything would be better than it is now, amigo."

Nick looked carefully at the sides and back of Carlos' head, locating the highest gouge marks.
The clippers came on and Nick carved a horizontal path around Carlos' head just high enough to
include all the clipper tracks. Then he quickly and systematically removed all the hair below that
line, "Lookin' better already, eh Carlos?"

Carlos looked at his half 'n' half haircut with its abrupt line of demarcation. He made a small
whimpering sound.

Nick spent considerably more time shaping a gradual taper around Carlos' head- eliminating the
abrupt edge. Several times he swiveled the chair around to check for evenness, taking off a
minuscule amount here and there. At last he switched the clippers off, "All right amigo, all done.
Does it look OK to ya?"

Carlos had more skin showing than he did before the repair but he had to admit it was well cut
and even. He sighed, "...Yes...but I look like a skinned rabbit- just like I thought."

Nick chuckled, "I skinned a rabbit yesterday for my supper and yer haircut doesn't even come
close, my friend...well, maybe a little," he added with a grin.
__________

Later that afternoon, John stopped at the 7-Eleven to talk with Sam as usual, "Yer right, these
frosted cookies taste better...and no crumbs."

Carlos came in through the side door and made his way to the checkout counter feeling down-in-
the-dumps about his 'skinned rabbit' haircut, "Hey", he said.

Sam frowned without looking up, "What do you mean- 'Hey'? You always say 'Hola amig...," he
turned and saw Carlos' whitewalled haircut, "oh."

"Geez Carlos", John sputtered sending crumbs flying, "Sorry...you said these didn't have
crumbs."

"They don't," Sam said as he wiped off the counter, "unless you fire 'em out like machine gun
bullets...Geez."

John ignored Sam's reproach, "So what's with the new haircut, Carlos?...I seem to recall
someone saying to Sam: 'you're going backwards, man!', not too long ago."

Carlos looked at the floor and sighed, "Ay,ay,ay...ask Nick...he knows all about it."

John was wondering if Carlos' head had finally gone up on Nick's wall. He glanced inquiringly at
Sam, who picked up on the unasked question and made a shrugging expression with his face.
John focused his attention back to Carlos, "Did Nick, uhh...talk you into getting that haircut?"

"What? No. Why would he do that?...How could he talk someone into getting a haircut he didn't
want?" Carlos saw John and Sam blush a little, "Ay caramba, you two gringos are acting even
crazier than usual."

John looked at Sam again. Sam understood and nodded his head a little to give his consent. John
began slowly, "...Nick...has this..little game he plays...He sorta talks guys, long-haired guys, into
getting short haircuts. He puts the idea into their head...well, our heads, and makes us think it's
our idea. That's how Sam and me ended up with these haircuts."

Carlos listened to this with a frown and a furrowed brow, "...That's stupid."

John nodded his head, "That's what I said too when Sam and me figured out what was going on;
it's stupid. Why would he do that, right?" John looked at Sam, "And you said:"

Sam took over, "I said he does it for the thrill-of-the-hunt. He's a hunter, right? You saw all those
grody deer antlers on the wall?" Carlos nodded. Sam continued, "Hunting is his thing, it's what
he likes to do, only he can't get out and hunt all that often. So he sharpens his hunting skills on
us; he stalks us. And if we get the haircut he wants us to have- always some sort of short haircut-
then the hunt was successful and he collects his trophy."

Carlos looked dubious, "What kind of trophy?"

"Our heads," John said, "or our haircuts. Figuratively speaking, our heads get mounted and put
up on Nick's wall with the antlers...figuratively speaking," he repeated, trailing off sheepishly at
the end.

"We added that part ourselves, the heads on the wall part." Sam said.

"Ay,ay,ay. I am stuck in a Twilight Zone episode filled with crazy gringos who have stupid
haircuts."

"Well, with that haircut of yours, yer one of the crazy guys with stupid haircuts too, Carlos."
John said.

"Yes, I have a stupid haircut, but I'm not crazy like you. Nick didn't talk me into getting this
haircut." He sighed and looked at the floor again, "It was my dad, OK?" He proceeded to tell
them the whole Father's Day fiasco.
__________

A couple of days later, John was coming out of the staff room at the car lot when he ran into
Mike "Gumby" Brewer. Last week, Nick took pity on him and let him go with just a short
tapercut, "How's it goin', Mike?"

Mike grinned, "Great! Just went to Nick's shop during my lunch break. When I went there last
week he said my hair would grow faster if I got it cut more often. I figure if I go in and get it
trimmed every week it should be growin' super fast!"

John looked at Mike's spanking new 1 inch brushcut and calculated by this time next month it'll
be down to an eighth inch butch, with whitewalls, "Lookin' good there, Mike. Just make sure you
get it cut often enough or it won't work, y'know?... I'm not sure, but I think it'll start slowin'
down if ya wait too long between cuts."

"Oh. Yeah, thanks for the info, man. I'll be sure to get it cut often, maybe twice a week!"

As they went their separate ways, John revised his estimate: "Butched by the end of next week,
for sure."

John had only gone a few yards when he came upon his boss, Big Rick, on his daily walk-
around, "How's business, boss?"

"Oh, kind of slow, John. But with July 4th just around the corner things will get buzzing real
soon...Speaking of buzzing, have you seen Mike today?"

John grinned, "You mean his haircut? Yeah, I just saw him a minute ago."

"Nice looking haircut, that brushcut...Nick's work, no doubt. Makes him look clean-cut. He
seems to have more confidence, too. I was rather partial to the tapercut he had last week though,
me having one as well. Can't go wrong with a tapercut; short enough to look well-groomed but
not too extreme." He eyed John's landing strip a little apologetically, "(hrumph) Nothing wrong
with your flattop though...hmm, looks like you could use a trim, John. It's starting to look a little
bushy around the edges there...Well, keep up the good work, my boy. Now go out and make me
some money." He grinned and went on his way.

John looked at his reflection in one of the showroom windows, "Hmm, guess it's time for Nick to
give me a tune-up."

As John walked past the high-end lot he spotted Kyle, still shaggy-haired, "Hey Kyle."

Kyle seemed perturbed. He called over to John, "Hey Kovich, are you foolin' with Mike's head?
He hardly follows me around anymore...And what's up with his hair? I was just gettin' used to
that short above-the-ears haircut he got last week and now he shows up lookin' all furry-like,
with his hair standin' up all over...You givin' him ideas?"

John shrugged, "I guess he's just startin' to think for himself...The boss likes it, he says it makes
him look sharper, more well-groomed. He has a higher opinion of Mike now."

"Mike? But he's...you know..."

"Dim?"

"Yeah, I guess that's a word for it; or slow, or dumb, or just plain stupid."

"Maybe he's not as stupid as you think. Maybe he just has a weak personality. He's startin' to get
more confident now. Like ya said, he doesn't follow you around much anymore, he's gettin' ideas
of his own."

Kyle frowned, "From a haircut?"

John grinned, "It worked for me. I went from a lot-boy to a salesman overnight." He pointed at
his head, "All because of this flattop. It gave me confidence and changed my outlook."

Kyle looked thoughtful and confused in equal amounts, "Huh. Who would'a thunk a haircut
could do all that."

As John continued on toward the pickup lot, he glanced back and saw Kyle looking in the side
mirror of a Corvette, running a hand through his golden locks. John grinned, "Won't be long
now," he thought, then chuckled as the double meaning occurred to him.


- Continues on Part 3




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