One bad boy transformed by Snipped Sam
Joan Beadle, smiled at Adam Davidson, she felt so sorry for him, his wife had left him three years before, turning her back on him and their two children. He had recently been made redundant from his work and had been having great difficulty finding work. Joan had been great friends with his late mother, although Joan now sixty and a widow had been a little younger. Without work Adam faced having his house repossessed and facing problems finding work a two-year contract to work in the Middle East seemed the answer to his problems.
Joan had offered to have his daughter Amy aged sixteen and his son Chris aged fourteen live with her for the two years. Adam would rent out his house, the children would be able to remain at their school and continue their education. Since her children had grown up and left home Joan had plenty of room and would also enjoy the company.
Six weeks later the children had said goodbye to their father and were now installed at Joan’s house. Adam had explained the reasons why it all had to happen and Amy and Chris fully understood the reasons. They had only lived around the corner and had known her nearly all their life.
Once they had gone to bed Joan contemplated her charges, Amy was a lovely girl and she foresaw few problems with her. Chris in her opinion would be much more of a challenge. She felt that Adam had been far too easy going with him, it was 1977 and she felt things were not improving by the abandonment of good old-fashioned values. She had insisted that Adam give her a free reign where Amy and especially Chris were concerned, and he had readily agreed and made that very clear to them, especially Chris. She decided that she would give Chris a few days to settle in and then she would assert her authority with him.
She would address his wardrobe and confiscate any clothes she considered unsuitable. Joan considered his hair to be a totally unsuitable length, especially as it fell well below his collar. It was only two weeks to the summer holidays however she had plans for his hair. Chris was very happy when she told him that he would be allowed to grow his hair a bit longer during the summer holiday. He was a bit puzzled when she told him that he could not have it cut without her permission, and was surprised as he suspected that she did not approve of it the length it was.
What Chris did not know was that Mrs Beadle had a friend called Miss Fairchild who made speciality dolls, Mrs Beadle wanted one made especially for her granddaughter, a doll made with human hair. The two women had earmarked Chris’s blond hair to be used for the doll. Miss Fairchild had seen Chris that afternoon, and she had whispered to Mrs Beadle to let it grow a bit longer. When the time was right she would visit the house, and cut Chris’s hair. She was not in any sense a hairdresser, but she would cut off the hair she wanted. Once this had been done Mrs Beadle would take him straight to the barbers, had it not been for the doll, she would have had Chris in the barber’s chair much sooner.
Four weeks later Miss Fairchild arrived at the house, Joan was expecting her at the appointed time, and introduced her to Chris. A plan had already been devised and she was shown into the dining room whilst Chris was sent to make her a cup of coffee. Chris thought she was a very strange woman, her clothes were so old fashioned, especially because she was wearing a hairnet and very odd-looking spectacles. When he arrived with the coffee, she had started to unpack her shopping bag. On the dining table was a cardboard box with about four compartments. She was now wearing a blue overall, and Chris had a very uneasy feeling about what was going on.
"Thank you for bringing me the coffee Chris or perhaps you prefer Christopher?"
"I like to be called Chris, Miss Fairchild"
"Then I shall call you Chris"
Chris was now very puzzled, why was this woman here and why was she talking to him like this.
"I am making a very special doll with Mrs Beadle’s granddaughter and we are going to use real hair for it, and the hair we are going to use, is your hair Chris"
"My hair, no you can’t use my hair"
"Now, now Chris calm down, your hair is going to be cut anyway, and Miss Fairchild is going to make good use of your hair"
"Look Chris, I have this nice box here, once I cut your hair I will place it in the box, Mrs Beadle isn’t going to let you have your hair this length anymore anyway. If you go to the barbers it will be on the floor with everyone else’s hair, but this way your hair will be used for something special"
Chris stood there in disbelief, Miss Fairchild moved out one of the dining chairs, clearly intended for him to sit on.
"Miss Fairchild has come here especially Chris, perhaps you need to fetch me the slipper, is that what you want?"
"No, Mrs Beadle"
Chris looked at Miss Fairchild and meekly nodded, she pointed to the chair and he sat down, she took some scissors from her bag and a comb and started to comb his hair, then started to cut his hair placing each piece in the box.
"Don’t be shy Gertrude, as long as he has some hair left on the top, when he goes to the barbers later I shall be having the back and sides, shaved very short anyway"
"Thanks, Joan, it’s good that you have already planned his haircut"
"Yes, when I spoke to Adam his father, it has been years since he took him to have his haircut. I always took my boys to the barbers, right until they left school, and I will take Chris"
"Well, your boys certainly turned out well"
"A firm hand, that’s all is needed, Chris didn’t think I was serious the first time he had to fetch me the slipper. He soon found out that I meant business, we even had a few tears the first time he got it"
Chris was so embarrassed, it was bad enough that this woman was removing his hair for a doll, but she was being told about him having the slipper from Mrs Beadle. Yes, he did cry, because he missed his dad and he wasn’t used to a slipper being used on him. Why was this old dragon going to take him to the barbers? He was used to going to Hairmania, a really fashionable unisex place, which his dad had always been happy to pay for. Eventually Miss Fairchild had finished, Chris was now standing watching her pack up her bag.
"Thank you, Chris, for your hair, I am sure you will see the doll once I have finished it"
Once Mrs Beadle had shown her out, she went upstairs and came down with a school cap.
"This was my son’s Chris, you need to put it and keep it on until you see the barber"
Chris reluctantly put it on, he felt the back of his head, just as he thought, the hair had gone, but it felt strangely fluffy. They then left for the barbers, they were going in Mrs Beadle’s car, as always, she made Chris sit in the back, his sister was allowed to sit in the front but never Chris. His heart sank when they pulled up and parked on Northgate Street near a barber called J. Browning, Gentleman’s Hairdressers. This was a place Chris had never been but had heard about from boys at school.
"You must be on your very best behaviour Christopher, cooperate fully and remember to call him Mr Browning or sir. My advice to you is to accept the situation and make a good impression. He will be your barber from now on, and you will be coming here regularly"
They walked to the door, and Joan stood back to let Chris go in first, if Chris thought Gertrude Fairchild old fashioned this was something even worse. The barber was elderly, and the customer in the chair and the customer waiting were both old men. Joan pointed to a chair for Chris to sit on and she sat beside him. She read a newspaper whilst he said there awaiting his fate, eventually the chair was free and it was his turn. Mrs Beadle reacquainted herself with the barber who remembered her from when she brought her sons. She introduced him to Chris and then told the barber about the earlier cutting of his hair, he seemed rather amused by this.
"Alright Chris, take of your cap and then come and join me over here"
Chris did as he said, as he then sat in the barber’s chair, looking in the mirror in front of him, he saw for the first time the destruction. His hair looked a complete mess, uneven bits of hair all over his head. The barber soon had draped the white nylon cape around him and then had it all snugly tucked in, and he was prepared for his haircut.
"Don’t worry Chris, I will soon have you looking very smart"
In the mirror, he could see the Beadle watching, although she had the newspaper open. Chris thought it best to be really polite to him, as much as he hated calling him sir.
"So how would you like him done Mrs Beadle?"
"Short on top, with just enough for a side parting, the back of his head and the sides clipped very short, and a tickle with the razor"
"Of course, I remember how clear your instructions were"
He selected a pair of scissors and started to cut Chris’s hair, he thought this is the second time that old dragon has watched him have his hair cut.
"Seeing Chris wearing my son James cap today, reminded me of the time he was with me when I brought his brother to have his haircut. I had only had James hair cut the week before, but he had been teasing his brother about going to the barbers, so I had his hair cut too. When he wore his school cap you couldn’t see any hair at all"
"Does Chris have any brothers?"
"No, he has a sister, I would have preferred for her to go to Madam Sylvia same as me, but she likes the place on Worthington Street, I think it’s called Hairmania and although it’s expensive, I said yes, and of course their father pays. She’s a good girl, and of course Chris will be coming here a lot so it will be about even"
"I would think, he could get quite a lot of haircuts here, compared to what you’d spend there"
Chris was beginning to get used to Mrs Beadle talking about him in this way, he felt that she was completely power crazed. After a few minutes cutting, Mr Browning put down his scissors, and gave Chris’s face a light dusting down with a soft brush.
"Right Young Chris, you must now bend your head down as far as you can"
Chris did as he said, and the barber selected his clippers which he was going to use on Chris.
"Can you just go down a bit further?..... yes, that’s better, now you have to keep your head very still for me, there’s no point in worrying about what I am doing or trying to see what’s happening"
He began taking the clippers up the back of his head, Chris remembered this being done when he was very young once or twice. But why a lad of his age? He tried to tell himself that at that moment lots of lads his age must be sitting in the barber’s chair having the same. But his barber was taking the clippers really high up the back of his head, soon he was dealing with the hair above his ears as well. After what seemed several minutes of anguish for Chris, the clippers were back on the hook and another brush down.
He was allowed to lift his head, whilst the barber wet some cotton wool and applied it the back of Chris’s head and above his ears. Then he took his razor and shaved downwards an inch above his hairline, and then shaved an inch above the top of his ears. So, this is what the old dragon meant by a tickle with the razor, it was a horrible scratching sensation. He then took some brilliantine and rubbed it into Chris’s hair and combed it into a precise parting.
"How’s that Mrs Beadle"
"Perfect job, one bad boy transformed"
As the barber brushed down Chris’s shoulders he whispered to him "well done". Although he absolutely hated the haircut he thought the barber wasn’t too bad. They said their good byes and walked back to Mrs Beadles car. Mrs Beadle was very happy with the results of Chris’s visit to his new barber, he had done well she thought, polite and had fully co-operated. In truth, she had expected some resistance or insolence from him, his slippering is cancelled she thought, no make that postponed.