Jake and His Accidental Haircut by AJ (recovered)
Jake and his accidental buzzcut
Jake pushed on the heavy door to the Center Street Barber Shop. The door seemed to push back on him and he had to lean on the door with his limited body weight to open the door. He looked around the barber shop and saw that most of the customers had turned to watch him battle with the door.
“Piece of s**t door,” he thought.
With his headphones on, blasting music into his head, he walked over to one of the wooden chairs lined up one along one wall of the long, narrow shop. He sat and looked down at the floor, not paying much notice to anything or anyone else in the shop.
He yawned once or twice as he waited. It wasn`t even 10am yet -- it was Saturday morning and he would still be asleep if his mom hadn`t woken him an hour earlier. He looked like he should still be asleep ... he had a serious case of bed hair. “You've got your class photos next week,” she reminded him. “You need to get to the barber today and get something done with your hair.”
“Yeah, later Mom,” he had groaned from under the covers.
“Now!” she said firmly. “You know how crowded the barber shop gets on Saturdays. You need to get yourself down there now. We`re going to Uncle Bill`s house this afternoon.”
“Aw, do I have to go to Uncle Bill`s, Mom?” Jake whined. He knew that his cousin Robert would be there. He liked his Uncle Bill, but hated his cousin. Robert was a big-time smart-ass. Most of the time, Robert had his parents fooled into thinking he was a perfect little angel. Jake knew better.
“Yes you do. And if you`re not up in ten minutes, I`ll take you to the barber myself.”
Jake didn`t want that. Being dragged into the barber shop by Mom wasn`t something any 15 year old wanted. He didn`t know whether his mother would really do it, but it wasn`t something he wanted to find out. He didn`t care about getting his hair cut -- it`s just hair -- but right now all he wanted to do was sleep.
After about ten minutes, Jake`s mother shouted from downstairs, “Jake, don`t make me come up there.”
Groaning, Jake rolled out of bed. Sluggishly, he pulled on a t-shirt, and jeans, and then summoned enough energy to put on his shoes. With little energy, he stumbled downstairs and went into the kitchen.
“You`re not going out looking like that?” his mother said, almost instinctively. She knew that she was unlikely to get him to tidy himself up, but she felt it was her motherly duty to make the comment anyway.
“Aw Mom,” Jake said, rolling his eyes.
“Your hair is such a mess, the barber will have to shave it all off.”
‘Shut up,’ Jake thought sullenly.
Jake ate a pop-tart and went back upstairs to clean his teeth. He looked at himself in the mirror and noticed the bird`s nest of hair on his head. It was a mess. Several months ago, he had thought that it was a cool look, but now he wasn`t so sure. He hadn`t really given any thought to how he was going to get his hair cut today, but now looking at the mess, he decided to get it cut shorter. “Maybe I can spike it up with some gel, or something,” he thought. Without bothering to comb his hair, he placed on his headphones, put a CD into his Walkman, and went back downstairs.
His mother watched him go out the front door, and rolled her eyes at the state of her son`s appearance.
Now Jake waited in the busy barber shop, looking down at his feet, listening to his loud music, oblivious to his surroundings. After a while, the customer sitting next to him in the waiting area tapped Jake on the shoulder.
Jake looked up and realized that the barber in the middle chair was waiting for him. Jake figured that the barber had probably been calling him, but he hadn`t heard. He stood up and removed his headphones. Music blasted out of them. He switched off the Walkman and shuffled his feet as he moved towards the barber chair.
“Morning,” said the barber.
Jake grunted in reply. The barber fitted the cape around Jake`s neck.
“Now, what can we do for you today?” the barber asked, with his customer facing the mirror.
Jake hadn`t really thought about what he was going to ask for. He was still wishing that he was home in bed.
“Um. Kinda short all over,” Jake mumbled.
Trying to get some getter guidance about what his customer wanted the barber asked, “You mean like a buzzcut?”
“Yeah,” Jake replied, thinking about his friend Ty who had recently forsaken a 70`s-style afro for a curl-free cut, about an inch all over. He had joked with Ty about having gotten his head buzzed, and he had made a buzzing sound the first time Ty walked into class with his new haircut. Even though he had given Ty some crap about his new haircut, Jake thought Ty`s new cut looked OK, and he figured it would suit him too. Ty had told Jake how cool it had been when the barber used the clippers with a comb to shear off his large curls.
“Do you want it long enough to comb?” the barber asked.
“No.” Jake replied, thinking how Ty`s hair seemed to lie flat against his head and didn`t look combed or groomed.
“Do you want me to leave it a little longer in front?”
Jake was getting tired of all the questions. “No. Same length all over. Short.”
“OK,” said the barber knowing that he wasn`t going to get much more guidance from his young customer. “One buzzcut coming up. You`re sure now?”
‘F***, yes,’ Jake thought, although he just mumbled, “Yeah,” out loud.
The barber pumped up the height of the chair -- his last customer had been significantly taller than Jake -- and swung the chair around so that Jake was facing the row of waiting chairs instead of the mirror.
As the barber prepared to start the haircut, Jake looked down at the floor with a surly look on his face as he thought about having to see his cousin, Robert. “That little s**thead,” he thought. Despite being almost three years younger than Jake, Robert always managed to outsmart his cousin. Jake had been humiliated by Robert more times than he cared to remember. He thought back to his last encounter with Robert. The little prick had shown Jake a Playboy magazine. While Jake had been looking at it, Robert had snitched to his mother and grandmother, and Jake had been caught red-handed. He`d been framed by Robert and had been grounded for a month for having a porn magazine and showing it to his angelic cousin Robert. His punishment had been worse because he had insisted that it was Robert`s Playboy.
Meanwhile, the barber had switched on the clippers and was mowing down the sides of Jake`s unruly hair. The barber had wished that these kids could express what they wanted a little better, although he had squeezed as much information as he could from this young man. From the information that he Jake had given, the barber had decided that Jake wanted a #2 buzzcut. The barber repeatedly passed over the back and sides of Jake`s head with the #2 blade clippers. On Jake`s shoulder`s and behind his back, two to three inches of hair began to silently fall. The barber trimmed the hair above Jake`s ears even shorter, and then switching the #2 blade for a #0 blade, he tapered along Jake`s neck line.
Jake heard the clippers working away, but was still lost in his misery about having been woken so early and the visit to see his evil cousin -- he wasn`t paying much attention. He liked the tingling sensation as the barber moved the clippers across the crown of his head. He briefly pictured himself with the same haircut as Ty, and thought that it would look OK.
The barber turned his attention to the top of Jake`s head. With the #2 blade attached, he mowed a path from the top of Jake`s forehead to his freshly clipped crown. Jake yawned and wished he was still asleep. He saw some long clumps of his light brown hair fall into his lap, but didn`t focus on them.
He wished that he could find a way to settle the score with Robert. He was determined not to let that little prick get the better of him this time. In his surly anger, he turned his head while deep in thought. The barber moved Jake`s head so that it was facing forward again, and kept working.
Most of the people in the barber shop could see that a transformation had occurred in the middle chair. A 15 year old head of disheveled bed hair had gone through a metamorphosis into a #2 all-over crewcut with a nice taper. Nobody, except the barber was paying much attention to the transformation, but everyone except Jake had at least noticed it. Where the shape of Jake`s head had been defined by tufts of hair sticking out in all directions, the head was now skull shaped covered by a short carpet of precisely cut hair.
The barber was relieved to see that Jake had a good head for a buzzcut. Some customers looked horrible with a buzzcut. An oddly shaped skull, or a widow`s peak hairline sometimes looked better with a little more length on top, especially in a teenager like Jake. But this kid had the perfect buzzcut head with no scars or moles. ‘Just as well,’ thought the barber, ‘couldn`t do much about it now anyways.’
Jake was still half asleep and half sulking about visiting his cousin when the barber turned the chair around to face the mirror. Jake looked in the mirror for a moment, not understanding at first that he was looking at his own image. Then he realized. “S**t. Oh s**t,” Jake thought trying to comprehend what had happened. “I`m f***in` bald. S**t. F***.”
The barber noticed the expression on his customer`s face. Sometimes people who asked for buzzcut were shocked when they actually saw it. “Short enough? I used a #2 blade. If you want it shorter, I can use a #1½ or a #1 blade,” offered the barber “Although a #1 would be very short and would show a lot of scalp.”
“F*** no,” Jake almost said. “N-no. No shorter,” he stammered. He was in a state of shock ... here he was bald and the barber was talking something about a #1 and going even shorter. “S**t.” he murmured out loud. The barber had used a hand mirror to show Jake the back of his head. Jake noticed that there was a suntan line about an inch below the taper, where his longer hair had covered the skin on his neck. He noticed the same thing on his forehead. “S**t.”
The barber went about finishing up the cut, spending a few minutes looking for any stray hairs that had somehow managed to escape the full brutality of a #2 shearing. “Don`t cut it any shorter,” Jake silently pleaded.
Finally, the barber removed the cape and released his customer from the chair. “All done,” he proclaimed. Jake instinctively gave a small nod of thanks without thinking. He stood up and found that the shock of his new appearance had left his knees shaking a little. Slowly he followed the barber to the cash register and paid his twelve dollars automatically giving the barber an extra dollar bill. As he walked out the door, he wondered why he had given the barber a tip after what he had done.
“I`m bald. Ty`s going to give me s**t for this.”
He had walked to the barber shop half asleep, with his headphones beating music into his head. Now he almost ran home, with his headphones hung silently around his neck, his mind racing. He was angry at the barber who had done this to him. How could the old bastard have done this to him ... especially when he had told the barber what he wanted? He thought back on what he had told the barber, and began to see how the barber had interpreted his instructions. Still, the barber should have known better. “Bastard.”
He ran up the driveway and burst through the front door.
His mother looked up. “What the ... Jake!” she exclaimed using a tone that Jake new meant trouble. “What have you done? How dare you have your head shaved just before the class photo?”
He hadn`t even thought about the class photo. It now briefly crossed his mind that he was going to be bald in the class photo. However, his mind was mainly focused on his mother`s fury. He tried to explain. “Mom, I didn`t ask for this haircut...”
“Don`t try to tell me that the barber just cut off all your hair without you asking. You did this to spite me. You ... go to your room now!”
Jake stormed up the stairs to his bedroom and slammed the door behind him. He was now confused about whether his anger was directed to the barber or his mother. “S**t!” he screamed.
He walked into his bathroom to survey the damage. He had been in shock from the moment that the barber had turned the chair to the mirror, revealing the all new Jake, and he had not had a chance to look closely at his new haircut. As he now stood in front of the bathroom mirror, his shock began to subside. “I`m not really bald,” he said to himself. “It`s a crewcut.” He realized it did look good on him. Under the bright bathroom lamps, he liked the way that the light reflected off the quarter inch crop of hair. He thought about how angry his mother was, he looked again at his reflection, and decided that he really quite liked his new style. Deep down, he knew that his mother`s disapproval was, in part, driving his own approval. “I just need to tan this white skin and it will look OK,” he decided.
The 90 minute drive to Uncle Bill`s house was largely silent. His mother had exhausted everything she could say to him. She was convinced that Jake had had all his hair cut off just before the class photo as an act of rebellion. “One day, he`ll have teenagers of his own,” she thought to herself. “Then it will be payback time.”
Jake was appreciative of the silence in the car. He didn`t mind that his mother was mad at him, although he was doing the indignant wrongly-accused teenager act. Before they had left the house, he had showered to wash off the loose hairs down his neck. He liked the sensation of the shower on his crewcut and the bristling feeling when he rubbed it. He even half-wished he had taken up the barber on the offer of a #1 buzzcut now. He looked at his reflection in the rear-view mirror. Well, maybe not a #1. The #2 was OK for now.
Finally, they arrived at their destination and the silence ended. Uncle Bill wasn`t there when they arrived, but his other relatives, including his aunt and cousins were all there ... and the creepy Robert.
Robert kind of had a bed-head look going himself, but with a faux Mohawk, where the gelled hair is molded into a fin using both hands. Robert succeeded in embarrassing Jake with a string of ‘baldy’ and ‘cancer patient’ comments made in front of the adults. Jake spent the afternoon blushing or bracing himself for Robert`s next jibe. Jake`s hair gave Robert so much ammunition, that Robert really didn`t have to try very hard this time to embarrass his cousin.
Eventually, Uncle Bill arrived home. Jake liked his Uncle Bill and couldn`t understand how such a cool guy could have a dips**t son like Robert. When he heard his Uncle Bill`s truck pull up in the driveway, Jake went outside to greet his uncle. He was desperate to get away from Robert and he thought he might avoid at least one more embarrassing remark from the creep.
“Hey,” he called to his uncle as he walked across the lawn.
“Howdy, Jake. What happened to you?” his uncle smiled.
“I decided it was time for a change.” Jake was embarrassed to tell his uncle that he had gotten such a radical haircut by accident.
“Cool. Makes you look older. You could pass for 18 with that crewcut.”
Jake realized that this was the first positive comment he had received all day ... about the haircut, or about anything.
“Thanks,” he muttered.
They walked inside the house together. Before Robert could say anything, Uncle Bill said to Jake`s mother “Judy, your son`s starting to look like a man.”
“Don`t get me started about Jake`s shaved head,” she replied. Jake noticed Robert smiling, but he was grateful that the subject then changed.
As the adults talked, Jake overheard his uncle complaining about Robert. “He`s been getting in trouble at school and he`s developed a real attitude problem,” Bill confided to Jake`s mother.
“Welcome to the real Robert,” Jake thought.
“Jake`s just the same,” complained Jake`s mom.
“Shut-up, Mom,” Jake thought.
Uncle Bill didn`t buy his sister`s complaints about Jake. He always thought of Jake as a good kid, even when he wasn`t. “At least he doesn`t have a weird hairdo.”
“He doesn`t have any hair to do. I could kill him for shaving his head. The class photos are this week.”
“Judy, your son is becoming a man. Don`t try to keep him a little boy.” Uncle Bill often defended him to his mother. Jake began to wish that he deserved the credit for his crewcut.
“Becoming a man is one thing. Becoming a skinhead is something altogether different,” Jake`s mom retorted.
Jake walked away from the conversation, having heard more than enough.
Soon they were getting ready to leave. Uncle Bill walked with Jake out to the car. “Don`t worry about your mom,” he told his nephew. “She`s just mad because you`re growing up.”
Jake shrugged his shoulders, unsure what to say.
“You know, it`s time Robert had a haircut. It`s been a couple of months since I took him to the barber. I think I`m going to take him after school this week and get him the same haircut that you have.”
Jake smiled to himself.
“What should I ask the barber for, to get him a crewcut like yours?”
“A buzzcut,” Jake replied. A mischievous grin appeared on his face, but he quickly suppressed it. “A number 1 buzzcut all over.”