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Tony Turns the Tables by Manny
There I was, waiting on him hand and foot as he sat at the table chowing down on the food I'd spent so many hours preparing. I dreaded the pile of dirty pans in the kitchen and knew full well from repeated experience that Tony would not lift a finger to help.
Despite my irritation at the way he free-loaded off me and ran me ragged, I couldn't help feel glad that he was with me for the evening. Tony was full of charm and charisma -- the type that could make you feel grateful that he deigned to accept a gift of cash or expensive cologne.
Tony knew he was handsome. He wasn't exactly vain, but he did know how to use his looks to get his way. The only hint that he admired himself in a less than healthy manner related to his beautiful, long hair. "I'm so blessed, aren't I?" he would ask rhetorically as he tossed his dark locks back or ran his fingers through the glistening strands. Periodically, I would see him admiring his dark handsome mane in the mirror. Sometimes, he'd catch himself, and tack on, "Oh, but you have nice hair too. Those waves give your business cut a nice touch." Then, he'd stroke my shiny, soft hair a bit and ask, "Why don't you grow it out a bit longer?"
As I was getting his dessert plate ready, Tony ambled into the kitchen and informed me, "I forgot the laundry in the car that I need for you to wash for me....uh, and I was hoping I could swing by here tomorrow afternoon, around two, to pick it up. I'm running low on underpants. I'll be back with my laundry before you get that scrumptious piece of pie on the table! You're my angel," he murmured. Then he reached over and tussled my hair briefly followed by a quickie hug.
Of course, I liked the attention. But, the resentment I felt over the way he took me for granted welled up. He needed to learn a lesson, to be put in his place. To be cut down to size!
And then the light-bulb went on -- his hair! Cut down to size! Yes, that would teach him a lesson.
I had a set of clippers that I used on my mustache. Tony needed an amateur buzzcut -- a brutal end to his pretty hair -- much more than he needed clean laundry. And he would get them both!
We sat down to eat dessert and I introduced him to my plan for his makeover. "I'm busy tomorrow, but was thinking that perhaps you could clean up the kitchen while I do your laundry after we finish dinner."
He didn't respond at first. He seemed a little stunned that I was suggesting he assume some responsibility.
Then he broke out into a grin. "Ve-ry fun-ny," he chuckled. "Me, washing dishes?!"
"Yes, it will be amusing to see you finally being responsible. I've had it, being your 'angel', Tony! Because it feels more like I'm your servant! You can just take your laundry basket and leave. Period. And don't come back," I snapped.
This wasn't the first time I had treated Tony to that sort of emotional outburst. And I knew his antidote -- he'd be as sweet as could be, humor me a bit....and then all would be forgiven. And things would go back to the way they were.
Except, this time, they would not! I was determined.
"Hey, calm down. I'll do it for you. Wash the dishes. Whatever. Cool cats help out their angels from time to time," he cooed.
"The problem with you, Tony, is that you're too cool. Too cool for your own britches! At least you think you are. You are deeply in love with one person -- yourself!" I steamed.
"Hey, chill out. I said I'd do the dishes. What else do you want me to do?" he asked.
"You can get something for me that will help you develop a more healthy outlook. It's in the closet in the bathroom. Top shelf. Small box on the right. Bring it to me," I said.
"Ay, ay, sir!" he said, with a mock salute, acting humorous to make me crack a smile. I was not amused.
He scampered out of the room full of life, but wandered back a few minutes later very subdued holding the box that was clearly identified as a "barber kit". "This was the only box I could find," he muttered.
"That's the one I wanted. After you finish the dishes, I'm going to give you a much needed haircut. A new look will help you develop a new attitude," I said in a steely, cool voice.
"Why?" he gasped. "I'm fond of my hair long, like it is. You know that!"
"Yes, it's quite apparent, the way you're always sneaking looks in the mirror, admiring it. But, those locks feed your vanity. I'm going to shave off the whole lot. Clip your hair down to a nice, tidy butch and hope the self-absorbed attitude that goes with the pretty boy look gets dumped into the trash bin when we sweep up afterwards."
Now it was Tony's turn to explode. "I'm not going along with that! No way!" He threw the box down on the table defiantly and stormed from the apartment, slamming the door.
Strangely, I felt good about the confrontation. And I felt good he was gone. I was finished being satisfied with the crumbs of Tony's attention and affection. If he came back to me, it would be on my terms. He would eat humble pie. His beloved locks would fall to my clippers! Yes, it was what he deserved -- to be punished by being made to submit to a brutal clip job.
Then, I spotted the basket of laundry. I ran out to the balcony with it. As I saw him approach his car, I dumped the whole thing over the side and watched the items spread far and wide. As Tony looked up to see the shower of soiled clothing raining down on him, his long hair swept across his face and he struggle to pull it aside. He looked disheveled and decomposed.
"You can leave my keys and credit card in my mailbox!" I shouted after him.
I knew the loss of the credit card was going to hit poor Tony hard. He got by with ad hoc modeling jobs, the generosity of his friends and the use of my credit card for anything else he needed when he was in a pinch. There was always the promise to re-pay, which rarely materialized. I knew it would be just a matter of time before.....
.....I heard the key opening my front door.
"Myles, it's me, Tony. Uh, can we push the restart button on that last conversation about the dishes and laundry? I screwed up....sorry," he whimpered.
He poked his head through the door leading into the den where I was sitting and made a sweet look of contrition. "Can we?" he begged.
"Come here, Tony," I said, motioning him to the couch.
He quickly snuggled up to me. "I knew you'd forgive me," he sighed.
My hand grasped a thick shank of his silken hair and I savored the feeling of the locks running through my fingers. For several minutes, I caressed his hair in silence, admiring the gloss and enjoying its softness against my cheek.
Finally, I brought him back into the real world. "You can be a real sweetie when you choose to be. And, you're going to look super sweet with your baldy cut."
His body tensed up and he sat motionless. That was not the response he wanted to hear! I felt proud of myself.
"Myles, please!" his muffled cry slipped from his quivering lips.
"I'll fasten the cape nice and snug around your neck, snap the clippers on, and bring the chattering teeth up through your beautiful hair. Well watch these treasured locks of yours fall to my feet, Tony," I whispered in his ear while caressing his hair. "You'll look so pure and innocent with your baldy."
"I'll do anything else for you," he stammered.
"All I want is this," I insisted, playing with his hair. "You'll be humble and submissive once it's been shaved off."
"I'm going to go wash the dishes," he said, breaking away.
"And I'll get the barbershop set up in the bathroom," I answered.
"I am not going to let you cut my hair!" he stated firmly as he walked out of the den.
"Then just keep on walking right out that front door," I snapped.
He took out my keys and credit card and threw them on the table and stormed from my apartment for a second time that evening, slamming the door behind him.
I thought that was the last I'd see of Tony.
But, I was wrong.
About two months later, I happened to run into Tony in the grocery store after work one day. I almost didn't recognize him. In fact, I didn't recognize him at all, at first. I was selecting bananas when I heard a familiar voice across the table from me say, "Knowing the way you like bananas, you'd better get another half dozen. The price is good."
I looked up and saw an attractive young man with a standard business cut. It was Tony! His flowing shoulder-length locks were gone -- tapered fairly short around the ears and well off the collar in back. He still was still handsome, but in a rather nondescript way instead of that playboy-type of free spirit the old Tony exuded.
"I didn't recognize you, Tony!" I gasped.
"I cut my hair," he said shyly. "A good friend of mine, well, he used to be a good friend of mine, told me it was too long." He smiled a bit. "I got a job too. Working at a store. Sales. You know, need to look tidy."
"Your barber did a good job," I noted. Tony's thick hair gave the tapered wedge at the nape a very defined, crisp form.
"I think he left it too long. See how floppy these bangs are?" he said, flipping them back. "I've been thinking about getting a butch cut. Shave all of it off....."
"I know a great barber," I said, my face suddenly flush. "I could take you there, if you'd like."
"But is he open in the evenings?" Tony asked.
"Most certainly! In the evenings, he always takes the butch cuts down an extra notch -- very tight to the scalp. He'll leave you with a thick layer of stubble!" I chirped.
"Ever since the barber first took the clippers to my nape when I got my 'short back and sides' I've been wondering what it would feel like to have someone plow them right down the top of my head. I wonder what I'd look like clipped bald," Tony mused.
"Sweet and innocent and cute!" I laughed.
"I'm ready! Let's check-out. We need to get to your barber before he closes!" Tony said with a broad grin.
"I'm going to swing through the liquor aisle and pick up a bottle of wine -- a Merlot, your favorite, Tony -- and then we can head over to my place!" I said.
On the way back to my apartment Tony told me the whole story of what had happened since he'd stormed out of my apartment over his refusal to submit to the butch.
"The whole way back to my place that night I was fuming. Mad at the way you had treated me. Telling myself you were no friend -- that's not the way friends treated friends. The idea of cutting my hair was totally a non-starter. I was still in a bit of a rage when I entered my apartment and flipped on the light. Entering the foyer, I suddenly saw myself in the mirror. It was like the penny dropped! I hadn't started admiring the way I looked for half a second when I had the epiphany. You were right! I was in love with myself. How many times had I stared in that very mirror, admiring myself and preening over my sexy, long hair? I rushed into the bathroom and got a hand mirror out. I took a long look at the flowing locks that hung down past my shoulders -- heavy, gleaming.....and in need of the big chop! They testified to my vanity. I desperately wanted to call you up or head back to your place and submit to your clippers. But, I was too proud. As I lay in bed that evening, unable to sleep, I made a decision. In the morning, I would find a barber and have my locks whacked off, short. Very, very short. Very unsexy. I would get a very barbered look, a traditional 'short back and sides' -- total geek. I thought of the janitor in the building and the awful barbershop haircut he had -- huge arches carved around his ears and a severe taper that started high up the back of his head, above his collar. I would ask him for a reference for a no-nonsense barber!"
"Oh, Tony! I wish you would have called me," I said, thinking of him, lying in bed alone, feeling tormented.
"In the morning, I spent extra time washing, drying and styling my hair. It looked so perfect in the mirror. I felt very shaky as I left the apartment with a pit-feeling in my stomach. I was determined to cut my hair short, but was wavering between the butcher barber who I'd favored the night before and an expensive salon where the stylist could easily talk me out of it or leave me with a sexy-sassy shorter style. When the elevator doors opened, who was there in the lobby mopping the floor? None other than the janitor! He smiled and greeted me. And I found myself asking him, 'Where do you get your haircut? I'm looking for a new barber. Someone that will give me a proper haircut like yours.' At least my mind was made up. I was going to get barbered! My vanity would fall in the wake of a set of fast-feed clippers. The idea was nerve-wrecking and exciting. On the way to the barbershop, I almost drove by your apartment. But, I was both too angry and too embarrassed."
Tony felt his short bristled taper as he continued talking as we drove to my place.
"The barbershop was empty when I arrived, I mean, devoid of clients. The old man looked at me and directed me to the chair. 'We don't do fancy salon cuts here,' he warned. I told him I was there for a 'short back and sides' and he smiled a bit. He asked me if I wanted a medium taper or a short one, and I told him to cut it quite short. He smiled again and caped me up. I looked so out of place with my long hair resting on the white barber's cape. Then he swiveled the chair away from the mirror and nudged my head forward. I felt him begin slicing off my long hair with a shears at my nape. My body stiffened and I gripped the arms of the chair hard. The sound of the scissors cutting through my thick hair was loud! I could almost feeling the clumps fall away. The cool air from the a/c sent a chill through my newly exposed neck. As the barber snipped around my ears, I watched large clumps of my hair fall onto the cape. The barber worked in silence.....and I thought about you. You had been right about what I needed. When he picked up the clippers, I felt proud that I had taken myself to the barbershop. 'A very short taper,' I reminded the barber. He smiled as if to say 'don't you worry' in response. The barber was quite forceful with his grip and he was very careful to ensure my hair was cut very short. I was a little horrified as I felt the first drive of the clippers up through my temple. It was going to be an aggressively short taper. The clipping went on for an eternity. Shorter and shorter he sheared my hair using the clipper over comb. I felt like I was getting scalped. Then he tackled the top and bangs with a thinning shears. For an old man, his hands moved very quickly. He thoroughly barbered me! When he turned me around to see the new me in the mirror, I almost swooned. I was unrecognizable. But, inside I felt glad. All the hair on the cape and very little left on my head! Then he held up the hand mirror to show me the back, I was astounded to see the taper beginning a third of the way up the back -- the rest down to the nape had been shaved to the scalp. When I got up out of the chair, I saw the floor virtually covered with my long, lifeless locks. I paid and gave the old geezer a good tip....and then stumbled out of the shop. I desperately wanted to show you my haircut, but I felt too ashamed to contact you. So I threw my energy into finding a job. And now, I'm grinding away on an 8 - 5 schedule. My hair's finally grown out enough to look like a normal haircut business cut."
"Not for long," I said, as I pulled into the garage of my building.
Tony ran his fingers through his hair nervously and felt his tapered nape again. He had a bit of a sick look on his face and I felt sorry for him.
"Are you sure you're up for this? I don't care if you change your mind. All I care is that we're friends again," I said softly, as I reached for his hand.
Tony looked me in the eyes, "What I'd really like....." He looked down and his voice drifted off.
"What is it, Tony? Tell me. Don't be afraid. I'm your friend," I insisted.
His hand tussled my hair and then he smoothed it down tenderly. "I'd like to give you a baldy, Miles," he confessed softly. "Strip off this fussy business cut of yours. Down to stubble!"
I was totally taken aback -- the request came from left field.
"But I'm a bank manager!" I gasped. "I can't show up to work tomorrow with a baldy."
"Yes you can, Miles. You're the boss," Tony reminded me sweetly. "You can do whatever you want! I'll fasten the cape nice and snug around your neck, snap the clippers on, and bring the chattering teeth up through your power hair helmet. We'll watch these coiffed locks of yours fall to my feet, Miles," he whispered in my ear while smoothing my hair. "You'll look so pure and innocent with your baldy."
"I'll feel vulnerable and powerless," I whimpered.
"Yes, of course you will!" Tony chuckled. "It'll be good for you. To be pulled off your high horse. To be stripped of your trappings of power. Come on, now. I know where the clippers are kept." Tony got out of the car and headed toward the elevator. I quickly followed him. Strangely, I wanted to feel vulnerable....I wanted to submit to him!
"If we go through this together, it'll be a bonding experience....." I reasoned.
Tony led me into my apartment. He shut the door and broke into a huge grin. "First, let's take off your tie." I stood still while he pulled it off. "Now, off with your suit coat." He helped me out of my expensive threads. "Oh, your pants too!" he instructed. I complied meekly. "There, you don't look like a bank manager any more! Strip down to you briefs. Just those cotton undies. Come on now!" he snapped. I felt very vulnerable. Then Tony made me sit in a chair in the kitchen while he retrieved the clippers from the bathroom. I complied in silence. He caped me and caressed my wavy hair, as if bidding it goodbye.
His hand was strong and firm as he brought the clippers up through my power helmet starting at the nape. I squirmed and he chastised me. "Sit still!" I froze into submission. Then he brought the clippers up through my bangs and I watched them fall to my lap in front of me! I was being stripped.....watching silently and submissively. The clippers were efficient as they obliterated my business coif. Tony looked like he thoroughly enjoyed playing barber. I began to suspect that this would not be the last butch cut he administered in my kitchen.
Once he had clipped my head bald, he began stroking the stubble. "You look so pure and innocent with your baldy."
Then he led me into the bathroom where I saw my shorn head for the first time.
"Oh, Tony! I look...." My stomach churned.
"Sweet! Very sweet!" he said, smacking me lightly on my rear. "Now, scamper into the kitchen and rustle me up my favorite meal."
"But, what about your haircut?" I asked. "I thought you were getting a baldy too."
"I changed my mind. I miss my long hair," he said as he picked up my brush and began working it through the long, thick bangs that he styled back into an elegant, sophisticated pomp. "This is quite stylish, isn't it, Miles?"
"Yes, Tony," I said meekly. "You look very distinguished," I added as I hung my head and scurried into the kitchen to begin his meal.
"Bring me a glass of wine before you get started," he ordered.
I felt it my place to comply without murmuring or complaining. My Tony was back!