A Whole New Look - part four by Titan
I just stared for what seemed ages before reacting. There I was, not a hair to be seen on the top of my head. Just a dark ring of hair on the sides and I assume the back.
I wanted to scream at the barber, to get up and punch his lights out but I seemed to freeze and time suddenly stopped. I couldn't speak but why? All I could think of was what everyone was going to say now that I was shaved like a old man's balding head?
Suddenly I was aware I was lying down in the dark. S**t, I was in my own bed, soaking in sweat. As my eyes tried to focus in the darkness I noticed my digital alarm clock. It displayed 4.40 am.
I then quickly touched my hairline relieved when I found thick growing hair still there.
It had all been a dream! Well more like a nightmare but thank god it was only a dream.
And brought on by my impending interview for an important, managers position I'd been selected for interview.
Fully awake I decided to get up and make myself a coffee. Passing the hall mirror I noticed my full, dark brown goatee. A shiver went down my spine when I thought of loosing it for a porn star mustache.
As my third coffee finally worked at waking me fully I thought I'd better start preparing for my interview latter that day.
I still hadn't got my haircut but there was time before the interview which was scheduled at 10.30am.
And right on cue my cell phone rang and looking at the display I didn't recognize the caller.
"Hello? Eric speaking."
"Yes good morning, Mr Sievers? It's Alice Harwood at First National. I'm Mr Danvers personal assistant."
"Ah, yes Miss Harwood, good morning."
"Unfortunately Mr Danvers has an important appointment at 10.00 this morning and we were wondering if you could come in earlier for your interview.
"Sure....ah....yes." I stammered realizing I now wouldn't be able to get that haircut I really needed.
"Is 9.15am okay?"
As I hung up I was very conscious of my appearance. My hair was neat but bordering on hipster.
Well I thought, I'd just have to do my best to convince the boss I was management material even if I didn't look like head of accounts.
I found myself one of ten applicants in the outer office of the First National Bank. The Branch Manager of the downtown branch, Mr Danvers unusually insisted on interviewing potential executives.
I looked the youngest by years, some guys even looked like they were in their 50's however unlike my dream none of them were balding only a bit of receding at the temples. Who said a banker had to have a horseshoe ring of hair and a mustache I thought as I gazed around the group.
As I patiently waited for my turn, Mr Danvers secretary came out. "I'm sorry gentleman, Mr Danvers has to leave for his meeting earlier than expected. We will of course reschedule you all as soon as possible."
Disheartened by the cancellation as well as all the competition I just sat in my chair for a moment while the others started to leave muttering amongst themselves. They left quickly while I walked slowly to the door.
Suddenly a short, overweight man emerged from the office. He looked flustered wiping his brow with a silk handkerchief, beneath a glistening bald head and a trim mustache.
S**t, my dream was coming back to me. A bank manager with male pattern baldness and a lone mustache.
He wore a three piece suit that made him look the part and obviously tailored for him.
"Miss Harwood, have you got my car ready?"
"Yes sir, your driver will meet you out front."
"Good, I should be back at two."
And as he picked up his coat and briefcase he briefly looked at me then smiled before he left.
I was amazed at his dark eyes gazing directly in mine. He was probably late 40's or so, it was hard to tell as he wore a black mustache carefully trimmed above the lip that made it harder to tell his age and there was no sign of gray. Despite my dislike of lone, lip hair I had to admit it suited him, it almost looked like it was painted on. But there was something about him that made me stare. He reminded me of someone but I couldn't think who?
His secretary turned to me as I passed her desk. "He must like you, he never smiles at anyone let alone even me."
"Surely not?" Was all I could say.
"Let's just say I'm not his type." A smile spread across her face.
Was she saying he was gay?
I approached closer and decided to test her. "And I am?"
"Well, he hides it well but he does like the pretty young boys. In fact, she stared a little longer and added, "no wonder he liked you, a change of hair color and just the mustache and you could be a double for his previous partner." She said with a quizzical look. "Maybe Mr D saw that too."
Blushing a little, I started to ask her for some advice to secure the job.
After hearing of my credentials she was impressed but stressed it was experience that counted but she added the man was very easily impressed and anything that Eric could do to appeal to his vanity might work. Why not play on the ex-partner angle, Michael I think that was his name," she'd only met him when Danvers first came to the branch. He tried to keep his relationship very secret but I was on to it as soon as I saw them together.
I thought about this for a moment then cast it away. "I don't think I could ever do that!"
"It's a tough business, why not make it easier on yourself besides, you look like you could do with a new look for a rising bank executive so why not give Mr D's barber ago. He's used the same guy for years I think, probably knew Michael too."
She turned to her desk drawer, "Ah here is the address. Not the best part of town but obviously he is good." She winked.
Walking back down the office corridor I was pondering what Miss Harwood had said. She'd even given him the address of the barber that Danvers had been using for many years. She told him she was always making appointments and that Danvers spent more time at the Barbers than she did at her beauty salon. As he looked at the business card it was situated in a run-down part of town. 'Michel's Barbary' it read. Could he be bothered going all that way to a barber he thought?
Then he noticed various photos of managers over the years adorning both walls.
He stopped at one black and white portrait photo. The young man in the dark suit looked like a much younger Danvers except he had a fuller head of hair and no mustache.
As he read a small plaque he saw it read Sidney Danvers, Accounts Manager,July 1998.
The very position Eric was applying for. Wow he thought to himself, he didnt look any older than Eric did now. He was a good looking guy back then Eric thought, especially without the mustache.
His dark hair was thicker and much more luxuriant too and he'd definitely only put on the extra weight after the photo. Then another photo caught his eye, it was Danvers as Assistant Manager.
Suddenly he recognized the current look on a photo that stated he was assistant branch manager. It was dated 2002 and there was the same mustache and much fuller face. His hair was thinning in this photo, no where as thick and luxuriant as the year before but receding considerably. It was such a big change in only a few years I thought.
As I went to open an outer office door I noticed a colored photo in a gold frame on its own. Yes it was Sidney Danvers, Branch Manager, dated March, 2004. In this photograph it showed him looking the same as he did now, the hairline was non-existent on top and the weight gain was obvious.
"Yes, he went bald very quickly." Miss Harewood surprised him from behind. "He left the bank for a few months so he could be closer to his sick mother. When he came back he got the assistant managers position straight away from old man Caruthers. Said the stress led to the hair loss and weight-gain but my predecessor reckons he wore a wig before that. Anyway, Caruthers the manager then gave him the Managers job on his early retirement. They kind of looked like twins at the time. Some say Mr D took on the same appearance as Caruthers to rise up the ranks faster, appeal to his vanity and it seemed to work. See, here's a picture of Caruthers in 2001."
Studying the photo she'd pointed to on the opposite wall it showed an older man that could be the father of Mr Danvers smoking a pipe. He had severe male pattern baldness and a trim grey mustache. He was dressed in a similar suit to Danvers photo.
Looking at the photo then back at her she added, "You know, copying....best form of flattery and all that. But of course I hadn't started as his Assistant then."
"How...how old is Mr Danvers?" I felt compelled to ask.
"Hmm, 41 year though I know he looks older."
"So when he became Branch Manager he was only what...only 29?" I asked in shock.
"Yes youngest head branch manager ever." she said with a smile.
"So when he became Accounts Manager he was only....." I tried to do the maths, "23 or 24?"
"Yes, why?" She asked wanting to end the conversation.
"That's my age now and Head of Accounts is the position I'm going for."
"How about that? Well, as I said maybe you should appeal to Mr Ds vanity. Show him you want to emulate his fast rise."
As I left the bank I was full of questions. This latest revelation gave me some renewed hope. When I got home I decided to do some research into the banker.
Most of the online stuff was pretty uninteresting though there were a few photos of the man and at different events.
Searching further on different search engines I discovered the boyfriend.
It was a branch fundraiser and there was a younger Danvers with some of the banks staff and partners. It was 2001 when he still was only 26 and standing next to him was a blonde, young man with a thick blonde mustache and a perfect flattop. As he looked at the eyes he could see himself. There was no names mentioned in the article but by their apparent proximity to each other, it had to be Michael.
He copied the photo and enlarged it. Staring back at him was like looking in a mirror.
'Hmm!'He wondered out loud. Should he follow Miss Havers suggestion. How much did he want this job?