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Mr Higgins part 2 by Stillcropped
On the Wednesday night my Dad and I had a long talk about my schooling , he agreed that the haircut was very severe but that 'it was only hair and I would grow into it' my complaints that it was an injustice fell on deaf ears although later I heard my Mother complain to him about 'that man' and how he had ignored her wishes and how could she possibly explain my appearance to her sister, and what about the wedding photo's etc......
On the Thursday I duly turned up in full uniform and slicked down hair the same as nearly all the other boys, as we in turn stood up to answer 'present sir' after our name was called in the large assembly hall we were dismissed for 45 minutes to engage with each other until certain 'irregularities' were attended to. As we filed out of the hall I noticed the few boys who were not sporting our haircuts were pulled to one side.
During the break our chat not surprisingly turned to our haircuts , some of the boys knew what to expect as their older brothers had attended previously while others ,like me , were taken by surprise at the severity of our shearing. After precisely 45 minutes a whistle blew and as we filed back into the hall seated in the front row were the boys who had not had their hair cut now sporting unmistakably a Mr Higgins Bart's special!
A full year photograph was taken , followed by individual shots and then as we were segregated into form classes a class photo was taken.
The following morning we all ate a bowl of decidedly dodgy porridge then split into our form classes to begin a 3 mile run around the village and passed Mr Higgins barber shop. After showering and changing into full uniform we were split into groups of 12 and met our prefect mentors which turned out to be another eye opener. Phillip was my mentor although we had to address him as Mister if any teachers were around they were addressed as Master and Mr Gibson the Headmaster as Headmaster, sir, and woe betide anyone who got the terminology wrong. Phillip told us all the rules and the 'must do's and don't under any circumstances' . Then he told us of the consequences of wrong doers mostly lines, detention or loss of priveledges but each demeanour had points attached to it, reach five in any week and it was six of the best with the cane which he swished through the air to emphasise his point . He assured us that within a week we would all experience the cane and if anyone wanted to volunteer now he would happily 'deliver six on account' needless to say no-one volunteered! When question time came around Sam, who I recognised as been one of the boys shorn the day before asked what subject Mr Higgins taught, after being assured that he was the official school barber but not a teacher Phillip asked why he wanted to know and Sam replied that Mr Higgins had said that he would see him today. Phillip asked if anyone else was to see Mr Higgins and reluctantly I raised my hand remembering his words as he released me from his chair. Phillip told us that he would accompany us to visit Mr Higgins while the others had a break.
So it was less than an hour later I found my self once again hearing the door bell sound in Mr Higgins barber shop, he immediately appeared and gleefully welcomed Phillip swivelling the chair towards him and congratulating him on his selection of prefect and asking him of his future career plans.
I've been accepted into the army Mr Higgins, as you know I have fully accepted Bart's 'lead by example philosophy' and it stood me in good stead during the selection process.
Higgins looked at him ' Excellent choice , meanwhile you have the responsibility of licking these reprobates into shape?'
'Yes sir , the fact that they are here suggests that they didn't comply with your requests'
Mr Higgins beamed 'An excellent deduction. The fair headed one brought his Mother who thought she could teach me how to cut hair and the dark headed one squirmed like a worm yesterday making my task all the more difficult. Both lucky not to be on report, I must be getting soft in my old age. Now is it a traditional for you today?'
' No Sir I must show leadership to those two so a 'good shearing ' is the order of the day'
Higgin's eyes widened ' an excellent and brave choice. My clippers have just been sharpened and will cut extra close' as he produced a set of bright chrome manual clippers from a drawer he turned to face us ' you boys should be honoured that your mentor is made of stern stuff there are not many that would sport the same haircut as you.' This puzzled us as everyone in our year now wore the ultra short back and sides, then we heard the order 'head down lad , soon have you cleaned up' and we watched as the clippers were placed on Phillip's hairline there was the faintest click as mr Higgins closed them and started to push them up the back of the Prefects head the clicking becoming quicker as Mr Higgins found his rhythm , then as he reached the crown he flicked his wrist and a huge clump of Phillips hair was sent over his shoulder into his lap.
I couldn't be sure but I think Mr Higgins then deliberately took a step to the side and fiddled with his combs leaving Phillip with his head bent fully forward and less than four feet from our eyes was the back of his head with a 3 inch wide strip of virtually shaved white scalp right up the back of his head. I felt Mr Higgins looking at us before he returned and in less than two minutes had cleared all the hair from the back of Phillip's head. Phillip automatically raised his chin and then tilted his head to the left as Mr Higgins attacked the right side of his head expertly reducing the hairs to mere stubble. As he attended the right side we heard Phillip ask ' it was good of you to avoid reporting but may I ask did you score those two?'
As the clippers hugged Phillip's scalp pulling and shearing any hairs in their path Mr Higgins replied ' Fair head a 5 , although his Mother merited a 10,! And dark head a 6 , bad attitude showing up first day the way he did
Phillip considered as the clippers were placed in the middle of his forehead , then as Mr Higgins pushed them back leaving clear scalp in their wake he spoke ' a 5 and 6 does seem a little harsh after all they hadn't really started with us yet' my heart leaped as I realised that Phillip was on our side , but then the bombshell landed from Mr Higgins.
' I rated all who visited, and as you know I am always fair. Six stingers and a good shearing never done you any harm. Spare the rod and ruin the child is my motto. I never knew who would be their mentor but they couldn't have got better' There was silence as Mr Higgins finished the scalping of Phillip leaving a mere shadow of hair before finally carving a sharp outline with an open razor all around his head.As he rubbed sweet smelling bay rum onto his shaved neck, Phillip finally replied ' Mr Higgins your knowledge and experience never fails, please excuse me for doubting your judgement. Rest assured I will deal with them in the appropriate manner after classes on Monday. Meanwhile I will monitor their behaviour today as you attend to them, I trust this meets with your approval?'
As the newly shaved Phillip rose from the seat and Mr Higgins indicated that either Sam or I take his place Mr Higgins spoke ' while I appreciate that you recognise the error of your initial judgement, given your chosen career path where deliberation or procrastination can result in tragedy I have no option but to put you on report. Now which of you boys is first ?' Sam and I looked at each other we both knew that we were to be shorn to the wood but neither of us wanted to be first, secretly hoping that this was all a ruse and surely no sane barber would shave a young boy in the same manner as we had just witnessed Phillip receiving. Finally Phillip spoke ' both you boys are on the verge of 'report' status which means a visit to Mr Gibson , which , believe me is NOT reccomended. You're both going to be shorn so let 's get on with it' my mind raced, facing a caning and being asked to virtually volunteering to have my head shaved this was my worst nightmare, then I saw Sam move and incredibly found myself pushing him back into his seat and me moving in slow motion towards the barber's chair.
Mr Higgins quickly secured the cape round me then to my surprise asked 'What's it to be?' Again my mind raced , did I have a choice ? Of course not I was here to be punished but then the thought of my Aunties wedding with me as a page-boy struck me and I gushed out a never ending stream of words ' PleaseMrHigginsiknowideserveashearing but it's myauntieswedding can you please leavemyshearing till nextweekandyoucanshavemebald?'
Mr Higgins let a little smile spread across his lips 'head down boy, chin to chest' I found myself complying and although I fought them back, tears welled in my eyes and I started sobbing as I waited on the clippers to shear me. But I got a surprise as I felt the strong fingers of Mr Higgins rubbing a sweet smelling liquid into my scalp then a strange rasping sound which I realised as I glanced in the mirror was him honing his razor on the long leather strop which hung at the side of my barber chair then I heard his voice ' so Phillip shall I aceeed to this young man's wishes and leave him hairless?'
'It is his request Mr Higgins and indeed he would not be the first to leave here with a smooth head' replied Phillip.
'Indeed. If I remember correctly you yourself succumbed to my razor a few years ago'
'Yes Mr Higgins there was an outbreak of head lice and you were kind enough to rid us of any possible infection for a full month'
'Chin up boy look straight into the mirror' Mr Higgins ordered ,then he turned towards Sam but with his left hand holding my head firmly in position , I watched as the open razor was brought to the right side of my head high above the temple ' you boy! Are you to be shaved also ?' And then I felt a slight tug on my scalp and a low rasping sound as the full width of the razor touched my scalp then was expertly edged down about 2 inches removing ALL my hair in it's path a leaving bright,white , smooth skin in it's place. I felt Mr Higgins rub his thumb over the shaved area then position the razor adjacent to the smooth part before it instantly added another shaved stripe on my scalp, Mr Higgins depositing the oiled shaved follicles into my lap where my tears now plopped to join the shorned locks. I heard Sam reply ' ehm No Mr Higgins....thank you'
Mr Higgins methodically continued to work his way around my head the method always the same , firm hold , skin drawn tight , a three inch downward stroke with the razor, his thumb run over the freshly shaved skin checking for any stray hairs. As he continued I was now crying uncontrollably but he carried on his conversation with Sam as if I Wasn't there ' so what's it to be for you?' I could hear the panic in Sam's voice ' ehm what ehm a good she...ehm whatever you think is best Mr Higgins but not, not shaved please'. Mr Higgins fixed my gaze in the mirror , I was shaved clean from the temple down with only a thin layer of my once golden locks now covering the top of my head, once again Mr Higgins honed his blade slowly on the leather strop 'Now boy stop the bubbling ,it has already earned you a report you will accompany young Phillip here to visit Mr Gibson next Friday morning before the both of you come back here for a tidy up. I will be very surprised if you will be squirming next week as you have been today , now dry your eyes and keep very still while I finish you off' I did as I was told and watched as the razor made short work of the little hair I had left , few clumps of it sticking to my cheeks as they were liberated from my scalp. In a few minutes it was over and I sat rubbing my smooth scalp as Sam was indeed given a 'good shearing' his second haircut in two days leaving him with no more than a five-o-clock shadow.
On our way back Phillip informed us that there was no use complaining, our parents had signed consent forms giving the school a free hand in discipline and corrective procedures now, more worrying was facing my Mother as a baldy, my 4pm appointment on Monday to see Phillip for my six stingers and worst of all the following Friday at 8am for, as Phillip put it, 'a sound thrashing' at the hands of Mr Gibson before a return to Mr Higgins where I would have to politely,formally request him to 'shave me smooth as egg'