Manny MPB - Luke's New Look by Manny
Manny sat impatiently in the chair of his empty barbershop eager for some customers. He shifted about restlessly and occasionally examined himself in the mirror, carefully rearranging the sparse combover that marked him as an old geezer. He hated the look, but it was worth it to keep Juan as an intimate partner. Juan always had so much fun grooming Manny's MPB look and keeping him looking like an authentic grandpa grump.
With the inside scoop from his position as a bellhop, Juan had told Manny to expect a busy week. An association of lawyers was holding a regional conference in the hotel. The place would be crawling with puffed up, self-important, wealthy men
sporting carefully coiffed manes. These were precise the kind of clients Manny liked to cape up. Once he had them securely under his cape, he enjoyed brandishing his clippers and watch them cower. Those corporate executives who were used to being in control and exerting their authority were suddenly vulnerable and submissive. All their self-confidence vanished in Manny's barber chair!
Manny smiled to himself thinking that by week's end, one and possibly two of the attorneys would end up with a "shorter than requested" haircut. The full blocked napes would be turned into very short tapers and the exquisitely arranged voluminous quiffs chopped off and thinned downed to virtually nothing! Ah yes, Manny would have his day watching the emasculated clients scurrying out of his shop! The irony was that Manny frequently got very generous tips when he unleased his clippers and thinning shears on one of these normally arrogant types.
Just then Juan popped his head in the door. "Just got word that a bus load is arriving in five minutes from the airport. Get ready, Manny! I need some more of your business cards, by the way."
Juan was such a sweetie in talking up the barber shop as he delivered luggage to guests' rooms. Of course, he knew just the type of man Manny was after. As he escorted the gentleman away from the front desk, Juan would go over the
amenities at the hotel and always sing the praises of Manny's Barber Shop, which of just off the main lobby.
A half hour later Manny watched Juan already at work prepping an excellent specimen. With any luck, the tall imposing figure who was impeccably dressed would saunter into Manny's Barber Shop for "a bit of a trim."
He was tall and sported a deep navy suit cut in a perfect fit. It had to be tailor made -- not off the shelf from Macy's -- because the fit was perfect! He sported extremely stylish, but discreet, glasses. The crowning glory was his hair -- a deep walnut color. Thick and glossy with very slight waves that gave it a very full, coiffed look. It was swept back from his face -- obviously quite long on top, but tidy and full -- just off the ears. At the other end of this dreamy sight was a pair of ridiculous expensive Bruno Magli shoes.
Juan chatted amiably as the two crossed the lobby, and the lawyer glanced over to Manny's Barber Shop and nodded, like he was acknowledging something Juan was telling him.
Manny's pulse surge at just the thought of fastening the cape around the dreamboat attorney!
A few minutes later, Juan crossed the lobby quickly to snag another client but was able to flash Manny a double thumbs up.
The malaise of the earlier hours of the day had been broken now that the attorneys were all bustling in and out. All of the vying for the concierge. They were all probably trying to book the same restaurants and procure appointments in the same stores for fittings. None of them, however, was so handsome as the man that had spoken with Juan earlier. Manny watched them all. Proud, confident. Masculine. Handsome. All things Manny once was.... But ever since Robert Holdred had stormed back into his life momentarily and mowed off his thick glossy shoulder-length locks in the most humiliating way possible, Manny was a shell of his former self. The worst thing was that Robert had deputized Juan to keep the humiliation alive by ensuring Manny's imposed MPB and dull grey hair dye was touched up regularly.
As Manny watched the vain attorneys hustle about them he grew angrier at them. How dare they flaunt their full luxurious heads of hair. That one man, the most handsome of them all, in particular, agitated Manny. If he had the good fortune to cape up the dreamboat, Manny was determined to absolutely butcher his gorgeous hair. If Manny couldn't have his locks, that man would be denied his as well. How he longed to push clippers through that lush walnut mane. To see that hair fall in thick glossy sheaves. Divest the man of his pride and his confidence.
Manny wiled away the time entertaining himself by imaging just how brutally short the vain attorney's hair would end up if he ever had the good fortune to cape him up. A tight ivy? Turning the salon coif into a short barbershop taper was a given -- but Manny might very well go further. Perhaps it would be the man's first experience with the clippers! Manny let his imagination soar. He wanted the large part of that lovely, soft, walnut-colored mane at his feet! He wanted that dreamy forelock whacked off! Would he dare give Mr. Attorney an authentic crewcut?! Or better yet, a simple butch! Of course, it would all transpire as the client faced away from the mirror, reading a newspaper or jabbering in self-important conversation on his cellphone.
Just as he was imaging the shorn attorney's head in his fantasy world, Manny spotted the tall, handsome fellow strutting up angrily to the front desk. There was obviously a problem because his hands gesticulated and the front desk attendant made futile attempts to mollify him. Manny watched as the front desk summonsed Juan.
Then, Manny's interest perked up considerably as Juan guided the man away from the front desk....toward the barber shop!!
Manny hopped up from the big chair. This was too good to be true, he thought to himself.
As the pair got closer, Manny was even more awe-struck by the attorney's good looks. His Roman nose was well chiseled and his jaw line square and manly. His green eyes were like to pools of jade and his hair....ah, even more exquisite up close! The carefully styled locks were graced with natural highlights, very similar to the auburn streaks that Manny naturally sported (although now obliterated by the dull gray, spray on dye job).
Juan pushed the door open. "Manny, this is Mr. Tennant, the organizer of the attorneys' meeting here this week. The A/C in his room isn't working properly. While we have it fixed, the hotel has offered a complimentary shave to Mr. Tennant. Please don't charge his room. The hotel will absorb the cost. I'm sure they'll also through in a trim, as well, if Mr. Tennant so desires," Manny noted with a wink.
"This is quite fortuitous," Mr. Tennant said in a baritone voice that rang like mellifluous music in Manny's ears. "My flight was early this morning and I was running late, so I had to forego my shave." With his hand, Mr. Tennant felt the stubble on in masculine jaw.
"Then this will be a treat for you," Manny said in an inviting tone while casting a sly wink towards Juan. "Here have a seat right here, Mr. Tennant. My name's Manny, by the way."
"And, I'm Luke. It's been ages since I've been in a traditional barbershop. But these chairs, the neon lights and line of clippers hanging from the counter...everything takes me back to my childhood. The old barber who cut my hair was a seasoned professional, and a real veteran of his trade. He had almost 50 years of experience, the old codger! One never sees young barbers in shops. Funny that, eh?"
Manny's face flushed with embarrassment and a bit of anger. What did that man think? That he was pushing 75 himself?! Manny glanced at his sparse combover and dull gray hair in the big mirror that lined the wall. Well, he did look like a geezer! Mr. Tennant was right.... Then Manny's eyes locks on the lush walnut mane....his true target!
Manny cast the cape around the dreamboat attorney. He continued inspecting the glossy locks. Luke's hair was a real treasure! Thick, perfect, not a strand of gray! As Manny reclined the chair to prepare for the shave, his nose came within an inch of the ostentatious mane. The smell of expensive shampoo was intoxicating. Manny began to strategize a way to expand his services from a shave to a haircut. He glanced at the crown jewel of Luke Tennant's hair style -- the voluminous forelock that was swept back into an elaborate executive quiff. How he longed to snip it off to the roots! To truncate it and send it to the cape!
As Manny applied warm, moist towels to Luke's face, his hand brushed against the attorney's hair. Yes, it was as soft and silken as he had imagined!!
"I want you to relax and let all the stress of the conference drain away, Luke. Enjoy your authentic barbershop experience, and refer your colleagues. In fact, I'm going to through in a free trim, if you have the time," Manny cooed as he began to apply the lather onto the handsome attorney's manly jaw.
Luke groaned softly, "I could stay reclined in this chair for hours. It's so comfortable. One of my associate's has a beautiful antique barber chair in his mane cave that he uses like a recliner. A very nice accent piece....much more interesting than a LazyBoy recliner too!"
Manny began the long and laborious shave, carefully taking away the smallest patches of lather and stubble at a time. He gently turn Luke's face to the side a bit for better access to the cheek. As he did, the voluminous forelock was dislodged and slipped down across his forehead toward the big green eyes.
Manny was quick to manipulate the lock and push it back away from Luke's face, allowing his fingers to linger in the dense silken mass as he coaxed the hair to stay back.
"It's getting a little bulky up here on top, Luke," Manny commented as he studied the coiffed mane. He imagined himself pushing the clippers right through it and watching the beautiful hair fall to the cape. Manny struggled to contain a shiver.
"Perhaps after the shave, you could give me a bit of a trim, like you offered," Luke replied, quite unexpectedly.
"Yes, of course," Manny replied, working hard to contain his glee. Immediately Manny's mind went into overdrive, scheming the best way to introduce Luke to the clippers. Would he be bold and flash the big machine in front of his face or would he launch a covert attack up through the nape?
The rest of the shave continued in silence, with Luke's eyes closed and breathing deeply, rhythmically.
To finish off the relaxing portion of Luke's visit to Manny's Barber Shop, the steaming moist towels were applied to the attorney's face and left to thoroughly cleanse the pores.
Then Manny returned the huge chair to its upright position and focused his attention on the wonderful coiffed mane of walnut-colored locks. He plied a brush through the dense tresses and smoothed Luke's hair down with his hand. Manny felt unable to stop manipulating his handsome client's hair. Over and over, Manny worked the brush through the attorney's plush mane, carefully studying the dense locks at the nape that overlapped his collar by an inch.
"Do you mind if I check my cell phone while you give me a trim?" Luke asked innocently.
Normally, Manny did not permit his clients to use personal electronic devices when they were under his cape, but in special circumstances like this, he consented. He wanted to strengthen the camaraderie, and he also felt the distraction would help him advance Luke from a salon coif to a very barbered look.
"Of course, feel free," replied Manny. "Any instructions? There's quite a bit of bulk," he noted as he brushed Luke's forelock back and smoothed it into place.
Luke's eyes riveted on the image in the mirror. He squirmed uncomfortably in his seat as he struggled to answer. "Well, uh, um, I guess, up here...." His hand slipped out from under the cape and he fondled the massive forelock. "This is quite long and bothersome."
Manny struggled to conceal his delight as he reached for a spritzer. His mind was made up. The assault would be direct, blatant, bold!
"Yes, that's quite what I thought," Manny replied as he reached for the spritzer and casually began spraying Luke's mane, turning it into a dark, almost ebony, color.
Manny combed the long forelock straight down so that the bangs veiled his deep green eyes. At their longest point, the wet strands lapped Luke's lower lip. A good 6-7 inches of wet hair dangled precariously as Manny reached for the barber shears. He primed the sharp blades repeatedly by pumping the shears open and closed.
As he raised the sharp, steel shears to the vulnerable locks, Manny noticed what a tall forehead Luke had. His plan was to reveal it in full....eventually, in stages.
Slowly, carefully, in plain view, Manny slipped the blade into the massive forelock just above the eyebrows.
SNIP!! A huge chunk of thick wet hair fell. SNIP, SNIP!! With each crunch of the shears, more of the forelock was sent to the cape.
Luke shifted nervously in the chair and glanced down at the pile of wet locks that had collected on his lap.
"There, now you won't have a problem seeing your phone screen. You did want to use it, correct?" asked Manny innocently.
"Oh, yes, thank you, I momentarily forgot," Luke stammered as he groped about under the cape trying to retrieve his phone.
Manny decided to take the opportunity to reveal more of the attorney's tall forehead and further decimated the once-massive forelock. He combed the bangs down again and quickly snipped off another inch -- taking them to near mid-point of the tal forehead.
Luke only got an instantaneous view of his decimated forelock before Manny seized the hair with his comb and brought a shears to the short bangs together with a generous portion of very long hair from the top of Luke's head.
SNIP, SNIP. Mound of long strands of wet hair cascaded down, greatly soiling the white cape. Lift and snip, lift and snip, lift and snip. The shearing continued as the top was methodically taken down to a very short length.
Luke's session with the phone was severely disturbed by Manny's quick attack on the salon coif. He could not pay attention to his business when his precious hair style was being obliterated by the hotel barber. And to think, in just a few hours, he'd be standing up in front of a ballroom full of attorneys, welcoming them to the meeting, and feeling very self-conscious with a new haircut.
Once Manny cleared away the long hair from the top of the attorney's head he returned to what were now quite short bangs. He combed them straight down. Then, very carefully, he scissored them off right near the hairline!
Luke's eyes bulged out in disbelief and shock....even horror. He stammered, but his lips would not eek a word.
Manny could see Luke was gripping the arms of the chair tightly under the cape.
Luke's eyes glanced down into his lap where the damp, severed locks had collected. There was obviously something stirring beneath the cape!
Manny used the opportunity to snip away a few stray strands that had escaped the massacre.
The tall, stark white forehead virtually shone in the relentless glare of the shop's neon lighting.
"There," the barber said casually, "that's much better, isn't it?"
The question was rhetorical. The deed had been done. The sophisticated forelock that had been heretofore swept back into an elaborate quiff was history.
Luke remained speechless. His eyes shifted back and forth nervously from the cropped hair in his lap to the denuded forehead.
Then, Manny upped the ante by reaching for the largest set of electric clippers that hung from the bottom of the counter. The determined barber brandished them so that Luke had no question what would happen next. He carefully examined the beautiful locks that still graced Luke's back and on the sides. They contrasted awkwardly with the truncated bangs.
"Now to deal with the bulk on the sides and back. These clippers are just what's needed to leave you with a nice, tidy look," Manny commented in a serene, passive tone.
Luke sat, frozen in the chair. The phone was far from his mind. The terror about the radical haircut had unexpectedly excited him. He remained silent while Manny swiveled the chair to face away from the mirror. Then, Manny clicked on the machine and forced Luke's head into a bowing position. Luke resisted momentarily before submissively allowing the barber to place him into a penitent position.
"A classic crewcut would be a very practical haircut for you, Luke. Or would you prefer something shorter?"
"A crewcut?" Luke stammered almost inaudibly, in disbelief.
"So, a crewcut it will be!" Manny exclaimed as he pushed the clippers up through the plush nape and very tightly up the back of Luke's head. The dry padding of soft, walnut-colored hair peeled away like a sheep's woolly coat being harvested.
Manny watched the tufts fall to his feet. The dreamy attorney would leave with a brutally shorn, military look!
Now Manny decided to more firmly assert his control by gripping the attorney's head and forcefully wrenching it to the side. His clippers had much better access to strip the sides clean and to intensify the sense of vulnerability he knew the attorney was feeling at the moment.
"I'd say you were getting your money's worth, Luke, but this haircut is on the house!" Manny chirped as he mowed off the soft hair down almost to the wood. As he did so, the attorney's ear that protruded awkwardly became much more noticeable. Manny snickered to himself. "That barber you went to as a kid, did he give you summer butch cuts?"
"Actually," Luke stammered, "I sported butch cuts year round. A #2 all over, that's what my fathered decided I needed after one day he found me trying to roll my longish hair with my mother's curlers."
Manny paused from his work momentarily and made Luke sit up straight. Now the flip attorney would pay for that comment about no young barbers!
"Oh, a #2 butch year-round! I'm sure that was a very sweet look for you back then. And, it would certainly suit you now, as well." Manny stared authoritatively at Luke, putting him on notice that the decision had already been made.
"I haven't had a butch in years...." the nervous attorney stammered.
In a flash, the clippers sliced through the very short bangs and zipped quickly through the plush pelt across the top of Luke's head. Manny's work was efficient and determined. The clipped strip was very short!
Manny set to work, expanding the stubble across the entire head. The attorney's butch was finished off in less than three minutes. The barber used a firm grip to expedite the transformation.
Oh, how different lucky Luke looked with his butch! Manny cracked a huge smile as he observed the extremely nervous attorney shifting beneath the cape.
"You're squirming, Luke! Excited? Don't you want to feel it before I show it to you?" Manny asked.
Luke reached his hand out from under the cape and gingerly touched his head. "It's a #2 all right," he said with a sheepish grin.
Manny swiveled the chair to face the mirror. "It sure is! And a good, boyish look for you too!"
Luke's smile dissolved into a grimace of contained shock. "Oh, my!" was all he could manage.
Then he upped the reaction to, "Oh, my damn! First butch since I was 13!"
Manny rubbed in the new reality by giving the attorney a bit of a vigorous Dutch rub. "You look like a sweet, compliant adolescent boy, Luke! Look at all that hair you shed!" the barber said pointing to the laden cape.
"My forehead seems gigantic!" Luke murmured.
"And your ears are now quite prominent too!" laughed Manny as he took a duster to the stunned attorney.
As Manny withdrew the cape, he examined the beautiful walnut-colored hair before shaking it so that it joined the rest of the shorn mane on the floor. It reminded him of his beautiful hair....as it once was. Not the dull gray that the sprayed dye created, but the lustrous carmel-color with fiery chestnut highlights he had sported. He wanted his beautiful hair back. Instead he was made to look like a geezer. Manny arranged the sparse combover as best he could.
"I know the haircut and shave are on the house, but I want to give you a tip for your services," Luke said as he pulled out a $20 bill.
"Keep it. I enjoyed helping you reclaim your youth. Your colleagues out there will want to know where you got your nice, tidy new look. Send them to Manny's!" the barber beamed.
Luke looked again in the mirror and rubbed his bristles, smiling nervously. "Just like when I was 13," he murmured. "I have a young assistant helping me with the conference. Larry is his name. Shaggy is his look. Curls that are out of control."
"Send him over asap. And what will he get?" Manny asked. "A #2 butch?"
"Make it a #1!" laughed Luke as he headed to the door. "And this should cover his expenses and tip," Luke said, handing Manny a crisp $100 bill.
Manny pocketed the bill. "Thank you, Luke. I'll see to it that young Larry's curls join that mass of hair in the dust bin," he said, reaching for the broom.
Luke stared wistfully at the huge collection of his cut hair around the base of the chair. Then he examined himself in the mirror one last time. "Well, here I go. I know there will be a lot of explaining to do about this...." he said adjusting his tie, and feeling his butch. "Ah, there's Larry," he said, pointing to a young man whose dark suit contrasted to the huge mop of dark curls that formed an almost afro-style mane. Manny watched Luke head off towards his young protege.....