The Pine Ridge Barber-Part 3 by Kaleb McKinley
Brunhilda liberally applied Clubman talcum powder to the duster as she looked up at the men coming toward the shop. As they pulled open the door, she had just begun ferociously brushing away the clipped hair from Billy’s neck, moving to his forehead, cheeks and then the cape. A small, white cloud of the fragant powder floated around the vicinity of the barber chair. She acknowledged the workers, giving both of them a quick look from head to toe and the three stood talking with Brunhilda gesturing toward the window in front of the chairs in the waiting area while using her neck duster as a pointer. The men looked in the direction of the window and nodded and everyone seemed to be in agreement. I assumed they were there to install a new sign for the shop. Continuing to converse with the sign installers, Brunhilda made a hand motion toward Billy’s neck with her right hand while signaling with her left for the men to take a seat. It was clear to me that she wanted them to sit and wait while she finished up with Billy. As the workmen turned to head to their seats, I noticed the barber locked onto one of the guys. "Oh, boy", I thought. "He’s in trouble." The shorter of the two men had hair protruding out from under his baseball cap. His blondish-brown hair was coarse and had begun to flip and curl on the sides and back due to his failure to get a haircut for what appeared to be at least four or five months. With their backs turned, they never realized that she gave his hair a disapproving look. The barber’s protégé, the girl, wasn’t oblivious, however, and I saw a quick flash of a smile cross her face. It went away as quickly as it came. She watched him intently and I believed she might have been attracted to him. He was in her age range. I guesstimate him to be about twenty years old, plus or minus a year, while his counterpart was closer to twenty-five and only slightly taller at about 5‘11". Attracted to him or not, it was apparent to me that she definitely wanted to see him in the barber chair. No worries, young lady. If anyone can wrestle him into the chair, it’s your friend, the Demon Barber of Main Street.
My mind was racing, desperately thinking of reasons to walk across the street. I didn’t have much time. Soon, she would be shaving his neck along with the back and sides of his head. I didn’t really need a haircut, so that was not a great possibility, plus I couldn’t be assured that I wouldn’t meet the same fate as Billy. I wasn’t ready for a cut that radical. Now was not the time to just stroll over and introduce myself. I needed a real reason. I had to have a plan, but what?
As I continued to grapple with just how to accomplish my goal to get to the shop before Billy was released. I watched as the old battleaxe barber turned her back to her audience, pushed the silver button on the lather machine, dispensing a hot, thick mound of shaving cream into her cupped hand that was waiting beneath the spout. I could hearing the whirring sound in my mind. Brunhilda took her place behind the chair and began to spread the steamy lather across the back of Billy’s neck, but his face did not react until her big hand moved up and began to cover the right side of his head above the ear. She paused only briefly to transfer some foam from one hand to the other and then lathered Billy’s left side. The workmen were watching intently and the girl was now sitting straight up, more toward the edge of her seat. Billy, meanwhile, tried to avoid all eye contact while everyone else’s eyes were on him. He was the star of this show, but he didn’t want to be, especially given the fact that the leading lady was about to brandish a sharp razor against his head and neck. Brunhilda was once again turned to the backbar. She pulled out one of the towels that her assistant had recently put in the cabinet. Leaving it folded lengthwise, she tossed it on to Billy’s right shoulder. He didn’t dare move. He just continued to keep his eyes downward looking at the toes of his scuffed up work boots. By now, he had resigned himself to the fact that the fate of his hair was not really in his hands. The sentence had been imposed and carried out by this old woman. What could he do? Nothing. He had done nothing and that irritated him. The truth was he was a little scared of her and he didn’t want to rile her. I suppose when this is over he could call the cops and report it as assault, but what man, especially a masculine man like Billy, wants to call attention to the fact that he was dominated by a woman? Not to mention that it’s highly likely that the cop would be a man himself. That would be very humiliating. No, the deal was sealed. Billy was walking out of that barber shop with a razor shaved horseshoe flattop. He would have to tell his family, friends and co-workers that he wanted this cut.
Brunhilda reached toward the jar of barbicide. From it, she pulled out a straight razor. As she opened it, I realized that this was not some modern straight razor with a disposable blade. This was a traditional straight razor, one that needed to be sharpened between uses. That strop on the side of her chair wasn’t for decoration, boys. She used it. As she turned and reached for the strop, the men’s eyes widened. Billy felt a chill run down his spine. The two sign company workers glanced at each other and immediately re-focused on the barber. With fast, precise and repetitive motion, Brunhilda began pulling the razor across the taut strop, first on the canvas side and then, with a flip of her wrist, she rubbed the blade across the leather side several times. Billy’s worry deepened. He could feel the vibrations on his ass though the seat of the chair. Without warning, she let the strop fall from her hand. It hit the side of the chair and swung for several seconds. The suddenness of it caused Billy to twitch and a sadistic grin quickly appeared and, in the same moment, faded from Brunhilda’s lips. Next, she seemed to test the blade’s sharpness by holding it up and tapping her thumb against it. The men and the barber’s assistant watched intently as she held Billy’s head down firmly and began at the back, skillfully pulling the razor from the crown to the neck. I imagined the beautiful music that the razor was making as it scraped away the bristles that were clinging desperately to Billy’s head. I knew that every person in that shop was hearing the shaving sounds that come along with a man’s head being skinned. After the first successful swipe of the sharp steel blade, Brunhilda wiped the razor on the towel that was resting on Billy’s shoulder. As she returned the blade to action, I could clearly see the brown stubble mixed with the shaving foam on the towel. The freshly denuded strip was clearly visible, his skin now two distinctly different shades. There was the skin of his face and neck that was obviously slightly darker as a result of his outside labor and the white skin of the back of his head that, until only minutes ago, had been covered with brown hair, shielded from the sun. She paused her assault to answer the phone. The conversation lasted about ten seconds, but, in that time, as I looked at Billy who had not moved his head from its assigned position, I thought about what he must be thinking. Only forty minutes earlier, he had parked his bucket truck and assessed whatever situation his company had assigned him to fix. He came across to my office and told me that I might experience a power outage. He was pleasant and professional. He did the same at other businesses, including Brunhilda’s barber shop. He had no idea that within twenty minutes of meeting her, he would be in her barber chair being sheared like a helpless sheep.
Just then, as she hung up the phone, it hit me! I have a reason to walk across the street! I have a new business. I need sign work. That was my answer. My heart seemed to flutter and I began to head to my front door and walk across the street. Time seemed to stand still. I was nervous, but I had to remind myself that no one else really knew of this fetish. Billy didn’t know. The sign company guys didn’t know. Maybe Brunhilda had an inkling if she had caught me staring at any point, but I had done a pretty good job of being covert and she‘s so wrapped up in her work, honestly, I‘m not sure that she notices the outside world.
I stood, almost trembling on the right shoulder of Main Street in front of a jacked up pick up truck. Man, this town is full of trucks! That’s blue collar America for you…and, I love it! I impatiently waited for four cars to zoom through the intersection. Finally, the traffic light changed to red and I was able to cross. I tried to compose myself. "Don’t do or say something stupid and embarrass yourself", I thought silently as I stepped up on to the sidewalk directly in front of that big, beautiful spinning barber pole. I was mere feet away from handsome Billy. Just as I walked up to the door, she spun the chair quickly, the razor strop swinging freely away from the side of the chair. Billy was facing me now as I walked in. He made eye contact briefly and then diverted his look back down to the footrest. He was embarrassed and he was cute. What a beautiful combination.
Then, it happened. She looked directly at me for the first time, her straight razor poised, mid-air and her left hand gripping the top of Billy’s head. "Good afternoon", she said. "Take a seat." My blood ran cold. Take a seat? "Oh, I’m, I’m, I’m not here for a h-h-haircut", I stammered. Way to go. Start stuttering. "I’m the new tenant across the street. I noticed the sign guys here and I need a sign. I was wondering if I could have a few seconds."
"Be my guest", she stated plainly. "You’re the computer guy that just came to town. I saw you move in." She still had not resumed shaving the right side of Billy’s head, but she hadn’t released him from her vise-like grip. "Yes, ma’am", I answered. The fact was it was more business networking and security systems and not home computer repair, but who was I to correct her? She turned and pumped the lather machine one time very quickly, extracting just a small amount of hot foam. I could tell she wasn’t quite done with our conversation, so I just stood there looking at her. I could see why men sat still and accepted her authority. She had a commanding presence behind that chair. Anyone in that shop knew, without a doubt, she was the boss. As she rubbed the lather onto the prickly hair right above Billy’s ear, I waited for her to continue. Her voice came again in that same unembellished intonation that sounded almost like that of a lifelong smoker, although I don’t believe she smoked. "My neice, there", she pointed to the young lady. "She’s having a problem with those, whaddya call ‘em? Viruses. Can you help her?" Her niece, that’s who the girl is. First small piece of the puzzle in place. "Oh, yes, ma’am", I responded. So, what if I didn’t usually do home computer repair? This was my chance to possibly be up close to the action. "I can look at it for her."
She was satisfied with this answer. "Have a seat", she commanded. When I’m done with this gentleman, I’ll show these guys what I want from them", she stated, pointing to the two sign guys, "and, then, I’ll get the computer for you." I found it odd that she didn’t just have her niece get it, but, hey, at least I got a front row seat. She didn’t seem to care that I might have a business to run. She ordered me to sit and I sat.
Billy’s back was turned to us, but he could feel one more set of eyes witnessing his predicament. She twisted Billy’s head to the left exposing the right side. Her gripped tightened and her brutal razor wasted no time resuming its task of stripping this man of more hair. As the blade slid down the side of head and began to remove the hint of sideburn that remained in the wake of the clippers, it finally reached the tougher stubble of his upper cheek. It was an area that hadn’t been lathered properly yet and I noticed Billy’s body tense up and his head tried desperately to pull away from the razor. Brunhilda’s grip was no match and with almost no effort, she efficiently pulled his head back where she needed it. "Quit yer squirmin’", the old lady’s voice cut through the otherwise silent barber shop. You could tell by looking at Brunhilda’s niece, she was all too familiar with this scene. She didn’t look surprised like the sign company guys. She was soaking it up. Billy stopped resisting, but as she spun the chair around 180 degrees, I could clearly see his face and the beautifully shaved right side. His flattop made him absolutely adorable. As soon as she began giving equal treatment to his left side, he involuntarily flinched again, provoking Brunhilda’s discipline. "One more time and I’ll have to put ya in headlock, boy. One way or another, I’m gonna finish shaving ya. Isn’t that right, Ava?", she said with a hoarse chuckle.
"Yes ma’am", the girl piped up for the first time. With a few more swipes of the blade, Billy was done. She pivoted the big, old barber chair so that he was facing the mirror directly behind the backbar which provided him with his first close up view of her handiwork. She stood behind him, not smiling, but looking proud. "There you are", she exclaimed. "A perfect haircut for a man with your head shape and facial features. And, nice and cool for your work out there during this hot weather." She continued, "Of course, I’m not quite done with you yet." Billy stared at his captor. The two other men shared a couple of glances. Ava restrained a smile. She knew what was coming. Brunhilda ran her index finger along Billy’s right cheek. "I’m going to have to shave you. A clean shaven face, free of any hint of stubble, will accent this nice haircut." A complete look of panic covered Billy’s face as he was rotated toward the window with the great view of Main Street. Two ladies walked by and peered at Billy while they headed to their destination.
The old barber woman bent down and pulled out the headrest that was stowed away beneath the seat of the chair. She installed it and the ratcheting sound it made as it clicked into position grabbed the attention of each male in the room. She had done this so many times, she knew instinctively, based on Billy’s height, how far to insert it so that when reclined, his neck would fall squarely onto the worn, black leather-covered headrest allowing her to have ideal access to his chin, neck and square, manly jaw line.
Brunhilda loosely refastened the cape and that’s when I noticed that the owner of the dry cleaning shop next door to my office stopped the sidewalk conversation he was having with a customer and was looking into the barber shop. I think he probably recognized Billy as the electric company worker that had walked into his store earlier. Brunhilda leaned in behind Billy, placing her left hand on his shoulder and pumping the chair’s lever with her right. She pumped it until I heard the hydraulic cylinder reach its capacity and it made a sputtering sound. The chair could not be elevated any higher. Billy looked helpless sitting at a height that would have required him to actually stretch his legs slightly in order for his feet to touch the floor. Just as the barber reached for a towel, Billy spoke for the first time since I entered the shop. "I probably should get back to work. Maybe I could get a shave next time", he said hoping that he could convince her to forego the plans she had for him. I knew his effort was futile and I was delighted! I couldn’t believe what was happening. I had stepped into the movie. I was no longer watching on the screen. I was a part of it. I can’t adequately describe the feelings that were running through my body. It was safe to say I didn’t want to stand up at that moment.
"Nonsense!" Brunhilda barked. "It’s time for a shave." As she bent toward the footrest, she instructed him, "Lift your feet." He raised his booted feet and Brunhilda swiftly flipped the footrest. The chrome side disappeared giving way to the scuffed, dull black leather side. Any minimal cushioning that might have been there in the chair’s younger days had long since been flattened by the weight of so many mens’ feet and legs over the years. As Billy lowered his boots back onto the footrest, he really looked powerless now with his feet sticking out. Brunhilda wasted no time. She draped a white barber’s towel with a blue stripe across Billy’s chest, tucking it firmly into the cape. As another beautiful young lady walked down the sidewalk, she took note of Billy and smiled at him. He instantly blushed. The dry cleaner was still looking in the direction of the barber shop, but when Brunhilda waved at him, he gave a quick nod and a half-hearted wave and returned to his store. "Ready?" she asked almost mockingly as she twisted the chair’s lever. She was applying pressure to the back of the chair as she tugged on the lever, so the subsequent popping sound of the disengaged mechanism and the swiftness with which Billy was reclined startled each of us, including Billy. The handsome electric company worker was completely horizontal. It was a thing of beauty for guy like me with a barber shop fetish. Everything about this scene was breathtaking. Billy’s perfectly skinned horseshoe flattop accentuated his manly features. He didn’t want this haircut, but he may not have fully realized yet that this substantially increased his hotness and, if he didn’t already have a girlfriend, he could sure find one now who would be turned on by his new look. Of course, if he wanted a boyfriend, I could sure help him out. The sad fact for me was that Billy was most likely straight. His current position in the barber chair gave me a great opportunity to fully admire the tremendous job that the barber had done.
"Boys!" Brunhilda announced, looking at the two sign guys. They hopped up instantly as though a fire had been lit under their seats. "Let me show you exactly what I want with this new sign." As they headed outside, she turned her attention to the girl. "Ava, get your laptop computer for this guy." Turning to Billy, she chuckled and said, "You, don’t go anywhere. I’ll be right back to tend your stubble." Billy stared up at the ceiling and I, of course, stared at Billy.