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The Occupation, Chapter 6 by Andrew Smith


The Occupation
(This chapter is part of a series titled "The Occupation". Please read the earlier chapters for proper context and background. However, this chapter can be read independently as well.)

CHAPTER 6

(This is a work of historical fiction. It is not meant to hurt anyone's feelings or support any agenda. Please view it as a haircut story with a different background.)

Robert eyed Marcel playfully and spanked him. "Alright, Marcel! Get to work. Those towels are not going to wash themselves. The razor needs to be honed. The combs need to be washed. And hey, before that, my boots need to be polished well. Get going!" Marcel was surprised with Robert's instructions. Before he could comprehend what was happening, Robert barked, "NOW!"

"Umm, okay!"

"That should be a 'Yes, Sir!' Get it?" ordered Robert. "Yes, Sir!" was Marcel's quick response.

"Good. I see that you are a quick-learner."

Marcel picked up Robert's boots and started shining them. 'What was up with Robert!' he wondered. Suddenly, Robert had become very aggressive. Marcel liked that. Robert " with his perfect 'flattop', chiseled and strong muscles and a warm smile - commanded authority. And this man would be his lover. He finished shining Robert's shoes and returned them to Robert to his satisfaction.

Just then, the barbershop door opened. Three young soldiers, about Marcel's age, in their early- to mid-20s walked in behind an older Nazi commanding officer in a single file. The officer was impeccably dressed and had a towering personality. His uniform shone with many medals and the silver epaulette he wore on his shoulders spoke, "I am an officer in the Wehrmacht." He wore a hat out of which peeped what seemed to be a regular businessman's haircut. He was clean-shaven, in contrast with the three young soldiers who wore overgrown beards. The first soldier's mustache was more unruly. It seemed that he had gone a whole week without grooming his facial hair.

"These lazy asses reported to my regiment with such sloppy unshaved beards. I, personally, want to see them disciplined for such careless behavior. Serving in the military is a privilege that is earned. I never entertain such civilian attitudes."

The young soldier, first in line, tried to protest, "But Sir, with due respect, we were summoned immediately from our vacations. I know that I did not have time to groom myself..."

Hearing this, the officer's face shone red with anger. He interrupted the soldier, "Excuses! Excuses! Do you think that our Wehrmacht was able to conquer all this territory and emerge victorious with excuses? Dedication and hard work; that's what we run on."

The young officer realized it was in his best interests to not protest any further. He spoke with a clear, calm voice, "Jawohl! Entschuldigen Sie. Sorry. I would accept any punishment that you deem fit for my behavior. And so would the others. Danke!"

"Sehr gut! Bitte." The officer turned his attention to Robert. "Good that there's two of you barbers in this shop. These men badly need a shave. Clean them up!"

The first soldier dashed to the first chair in the barbershop. The soldier behind him followed and seated himself in the only other barber chair.

Robert gave his warm smile and spoke, "Yes, sir! But Marcel here is an assistant. He can't do proper shaves, but will certainly help me serve you and your men. When you said you wanted me to 'clean' them, did you mean you want me to just shave off their beards? Because that is what they were supposed to do before showing up to your regiment. It won't be a punishment then."

The officer raised an eyebrow. He nodded in appreciation. "This one here is a smart one!" he said pointing at Robert. Robert gave a full smile. "So, barber, as you pointed out, just shaving them would not be disciplining them. Since you are the smart man who noticed this, what do you suggest we do with them?"

Robert was loving this. He decided to fake some humility. He said, "Sir, thank you for your kind words. However, I am a mere barber here to serve you. But since you asked for my suggestion, I would suggest that in addition to shaving their faces, please allow me to shave their heads as well. That would remind them to never report sloppily in your regiment. Until their hair grows back, every day when they look in the mirror, they will realize they need to shave."

The officer raised his chin and considered the barber's words. Robert liked how easy it was to reel in the officer. He wanted to give them what he considered was the ultimate insult. A forced barbershop headshave for these criminals who occupied his country would be his silent attack. The officer looked at his soldiers one by one and remarked, "Sehr gut! Very well then! Rasiere sie kahl. Shave them bald."

The soldiers in the barber chairs gulped in unison but continued staring straight at the mirror. The third soldier, who was standing behind the officer, looked at his reflection in the mirror and instinctively ran his hand through his shaggy, dirty blonde hair.

Robert turned to Marcel. It was clear to him that Marcel was trying hard to control his excitement. He spoke softly to Marcel, "Please start with the left chair. Cape him up, while I cape the other soldier. Then, take these clippers and clip his beard and head bald. Meanwhile, I will hone the razor and prepare some hot lather for shaving all three men. After you are done with him, I will take over and shave him with a razor. You move on to the second chair. And then back to the first for the third soldier." He asked with a wink, "Got it?"

Marcel picked up the barber cape and tied it snugly around the soldier's neck with a flourish. The soldier was visibly uncomfortable. Marcel proceeded to pick up the manual clippers from the barber station. He had used them before to annihilate another Nazi officer's sideburns. But this would be more exciting " a full buzzcut.

He pushed the soldier's head down causing the chin to touch his chest. Before there could be any protest, Marcel placed the clippers at the base of the nape and with a quick motion, ran them all the way up to the crown and flicked the dark brown hair which fell immediately to the floor. The soldier seated in the other chair looked at the pile of hair on the floor and then stared at the stripe of clean white skin in the forest of dark brown on his fellow soldier's head contemplating the fate of the black locks on his own head.

The young soldier in the first chair couldn't see the exposed skin but knew pretty well what was happening to his hair. He fondly thought of the memories from his vacation the week before where he had met his mother after months and how she had remarked how her young boy had all grown up now and was sporting a "Schnurrbart", a mustache, even. He remembered how the young Erika living next door with whom he had grown up had playfully messed with his hair upon his return and said, "You look smart and dapper, Hans. You have grown into a handsome man." When he had reported to duty this morning, he never expected to go to bed with a shaved head and without the mustache he had sported for about half a year now. But now, it was happening and there was nothing he could do. Would Erika still think of her Hans as a handsome man without his hair and mustache, he wondered.

Marcel had already cleared all the hair in the back and proceeded to remove the hair on the sides. He was amazed how easy it was to take off all the hair. Only the hair on the top of the head remained. Marcel allowed Hans a quick glance in the mirror before proceeding to place the clippers at the hairline and plowing them through the thick hair. Large swaths of hair fell down onto Hans' shoulders and the floor. Within a few minutes, the damage was done; he was buzzed down with clippers, like a Nazi prisoner. And he knew that this wasn't the end of it; the main barber would shave him bald with a razor. There was no hope. Marcel reclined the barber chair to get a good view of Hans' bearded face. With the clippers, he proceeded from the chin and went up both cheeks and down his throat. "Can you please leave my mustache and not shave it?" pleaded Hans. There was a pause. Marcel admired the mustache in its full glory; no beard hair, no hair on his head, just the mustache. He himself had hopes of growing one like Hans. Marcel looked at the officer and then at Robert. No one spoke. To his surprise, Robert replied a moment later, "No!" Hans let out a deep sigh. He had learned that his protests were all futile. With a chuckle, Marcel proceeded to clip off Hans' beautiful glorious mustache. Gone were the months of growing it and grooming it. Never before had clippers moved over his upper lip. Marcel ran his fingers over Hans' denuded face, pretending to check for missed spots. He let his fingers trail slowly over Hans' upper lip where the mustache had once been. Pleased with his work, he raised the chair upright.

Hans was clearly dejected looking at his reflection in the mirror. No more mustache. No more hair. As if to make it evident, Marcel continued to stroke Hans' buzzed head. Marcel was getting excited by this whole transformation and had to restrain the excitement in his pants. "Alles gut!" he remarked in German.

Robert took over Hans' transformation while Marcel moved on to the soldier in the second chair. With the shaving brush, Robert applied hot lather to Hans' scalp. He wasn't going to waste time giving him a proper shave with a hot towel. He opened his straight razor and placed it on Hans' forehead. With clean gentle strokes, he proceeded straight down the middle. The razor cleared out the foam from the hairline to the crown, going against the grain. Robert had placed a clean towel on Hans' shoulder and he wiped the razor on the paper. Soon, the white towel was covered with shaving foam and bits of dark brown hair. Robert continued to shave the top. He moved on to the sides and back, going against the grain. After each stroke, he would rub his fingers over the freshly plowed scalp to examine his handiwork. Hans thought the headshave was over, but Robert reapplied a thin layer of shaving foam to his head and proceeded to shave him bald going with the grain. 'How long will it take to grow his hair to a proper haircut?' Hans wondered. He was thankful for the cap that was part of his uniform; it would help cover some part of the bald head. Robert grabbed the towel on Hans' shoulder which was, by now, completely covered with the remnants of Hans' hair after the brutal clipping administered by Marcel, and placed it on the barber station.

Robert reclined the barber chair that Hans was sitting in. He glanced over at Marcel. But Marcel was fully occupied in stroking the other soldier's head that he had buzzed moments ago. The cape was covered with tufts of long hair. He beamed with pride to see his lover working so diligently. Robert craved to make love with Marcel. He wanted to grab Marcel by his soft butt and gently kiss him on his nice pink lips. They would make love tonight, he thought. But first, they had to finish their work. Robert started applying lather to Hans' face and upper lip. His quick "No!" had ensured that the Nazi's thick mustache was history. The master barber quickly shaved Hans' face and upper lip. He ran his hand over Hans' face which felt soft like a baby's. He moved Hans' chair to the upright position. Hans saw himself bald and clean-shaven in the mirror. He was not impressed with what he saw and he knew that Erika wouldn't be a huge fan of this look either. It'll take some time to grow his hair back, but the mustache would take much longer.

Just when he was thinking of his mustache, Robert applied some more hot lather to Hans' upper lip. 'What is this man doing? He has already shaved my beautiful mustache with a razor! What now?' he wondered. Robert had evil intentions. To add insult to injury, Robert wanted to shave Hans' upper lip again and he wanted Hans to watch it and that's why had kept the chair upright. "Let me just ensure there is no hair left here on the upper lip where you have your mustache. I am sorry, I mean, where you once had your mustache!" quipped Robert. Hans was enraged but he knew it was smart not to utter a word. Robert brought his face in line with Hans' and tried to look at him straight in the eye. But Hans' eyes were glued to the mirror. With short slow strokes, Robert shaved Hans' upper lip. "Bald and clean-shaven," declared Robert once he was done. "I hope I have met your instructions, Sir!" he addressed the officer. The officer nodded approvingly.

Robert yanked the cape off of Hans and looked over at the third soldier. Without delay, the third soldier sat in the seat warmed by Hans. Marcel had already finished buzzing the second soldier's face and head and was waiting to begin clipping the third soldier bald. Robert and Marcel swapped their positions. Bald Hans stood next to the beige barbershop wall, standing right next to the seat where his officer was seated.

Within a few minutes, Robert shaved the second soldier's head and face while Marcel buzzed the third soldier. After he was done, Marcel picked up a broom and started to sweep all the hair on the floor. When Robert was done with the second soldier, he moved on to shaving the third while the second soldier stood in line next to Hans, without any command. Swiftly, Robert shaved the third soldier's head and face.

"Sir, I hope my assistant and I have both worked to your satisfaction!" remarked Robert.

The officer got up from his seat and ran his hand over Hans' bald head to inspect. He was impressed and looked approvingly at his three bald soldiers. He looked at Robert and congratulated him, "Well done!"

Robert continued to fake his subservient attitude and asked the officer, "Sir, please let us know how else we can help you."

The officer took off his hat and said, "I think I would like a haircut."



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