Scalped by Stillcropped
I had decided to go for my shortest ever haircut and selected an old fashioned barbers run by two brothers. It was a no nonsense barbers a radio playing softly in the background and the main noises being the mumbling of the barbers , the clicking of the scissors and humming of the clippers.
There were two in the chairs and two in front of me and after about twenty minutes I heard the call of 'Next' , and I got up from the bench and took the few steps to the barbers chair settling into the black leather seat. The barber nodded to me and then made his way to the cash register with his just shorn client , on his return the white nylon cape was quickly secured just a shade too tightly round my neck and then the standard question asked ' What's it to be ?' I cleared my throat and thought I' ll take a chance and see where it leads , and I replied ' Short please , one length all over ' he eyed me in the mirror as he pulled his comb through my hair which had previously been tapered from about an inch and a half long on top down to almost zero on my neckline and around my ears ' when did you last get if cut ' he asked to my surprise as I expected the question to be 'what number do you want?'or a suggestion from him of the appropriate guides to use, catching me off guard I spluttered 'ehm just over two weeks ago ' . He gave a slow nod of acknowledgement while still examining my hair ,' then as he unhooked his clippers and fitted a cutting blade to them he stood behind me and pushed my chin to my chest I felt him rub his thumb from the skin on my neck up into my hair. 'Same all over you said no taper this time?'
'That's right ' I replied . I felt the clippers vibrate on my nape and then instantly he drove them up the back of my head from my neck to the centre of my crown, 4 or 5 times the clippers were run up the back of my head , then he stopped and leaned back slightly to examine his work. . He let out a 'Tsk ' of disgust stating ' I though this would do but there's still a slight taper, do you want to see?' I had worked out that with the growth since my last cut I would now be getting a no 1 or 1.5 all over to match the shortest hair which I now sported at my neckline, this was a massive change for me an I quickly had a decision to make 'ehm no it's alright thanks, just carry on as you see fit'
He gave a half smile as he again moved to the counter and rummaged about in a drawer before eventually hanging his clippers on their hook , ' sorry' he said ' but would you mind moving to the end seat the clippers I need are there?'
I was slightly taken aback but began to rise from the chair and follow him , still with my cape attached I walked towards the back of the shop, although I couldn't see any more chairs but watched as he opened an old wooden door and ushered me in. The room was no more than a box , the barbers chair was wooden and ancient ,the wood panelling which it faced had a clean rectangular outline on it where once there had been a mirror , a wooden shelf ran beneath it with 3 combs , 2 pairs of scissors and a box of cutting blades but no sign of any clippers. As I sat down he apologized ' sorry the chair's a bit uncomfortable but it won't take long' then I heard a slight squeaking sound and the sound of a cable being drawn through a pulley and as he reached into the box and selected a cutting blade I realized that the giant black clippers he held were attached to a thin metal boom which hung from the ceiling. The room filled with a loud 'Brrrrr' sound as he switched them on , once again he directed my chin to my chest and I felt the cold metal on my neck and then the tone change as the teeth connected with my hairline at the centre of my neck ' that's more like it , won't be long now ' he muttered as the clippers climbed up my skull. I got my first indication of how short I was being shorn when a clump of tiny hairs from the right , rear of my head fell from the clippers hit my right shoulder and rolled down the white nylon cape landing in a small ball in my lap. As he finished the back I felt his fingers run over my hair stating 'Perfect' . I raised my eyes as the giant clippers were poised at the hairline on my forehead , straight back he pushed them and as they reached the rounded part at the crown of my head he must have caught the shorn locks because as he aimed for a second pass he deposited a huge handful of dark hair into my lap . His pace was now furious pass after pass the clippers made first front to back then right to left and left to right across my scalp tiny bristles both floating and being brushed from the teeth of the clippers all of them adding to the rapidly growing pile of hair in my lap. The sides were next , obviously no match for the roaring clippers their noise screaming in my ears . Not knowing just how short I had been shorn had me worried I was certain that it was shorter than a no1 but with no mirror and my hands under the cape I could only guess , finally he removed the clippers from my hair and rubbed his hand all over my scalp giving a slight sigh of approval. As he switched them off I twisted round slightly and watched the cable disappear into the ceiling mounted reel and him push the supporting boom back in place behind the door. As he took a brush from his pocket he dusted me off and carefully removed the cape making sure as few hairs as possible escaped to the linoleum floor, I deliberately refused to touch my scalp wanting instead to see for the first time my new look, as never before had I had a haircut without the aid if a mirror. 'Now, he continued 'you'll see i've left the edges natural as there's no taper I think it looks better but if you want I'll line them out with the razor'
'OK ' I mumbled and rose from the seat as he opened the door I checked my watch it had been just over 5 minutes since I had heard the call of next , now I was about to see the damage inflicted. As I entered the main room I glanced into a mirror on my right and took a double take at the bald man I saw there, then the realization that the bald man was me! I stopped at my original chair and looking in the mirror touched for the first time the sandpaper which was the only way anyone could now describe the 'hair' which adorned my head. ' OK?' asked the barber 'Ye, yes I replied it's just a bit of a shock , I didn't expect it to be ,well shaved!' The barber looked at me 'one length , no taper that's what you wanted that's what you've got. You told me how you had it cut last time but this time no taper.'
I stuttered ' Yes I know I'm not complaining it's just that , I didn't make myself clear, what I meant was ehm even it up to the shortest length it was when I came in. But I can see how you thought I wanted this'
' I did ask if you wanted to see it before taking it all off but you told me to go ahead. So if you don't want it outlined can you please settle up I have other customers waiting.'
I paid and left wishing I had brought a hat, it had started to rain and the spots were bouncing off my sandpaper scalp which I continued to rub, thinking I had been scalped.