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Ticket or Change? II by Derkx

Ticket or Change? II
by Derkx

Some time ago Trooper Jim had stopped me, Matt, for speeding. I was running late for an appointment with my hair stylist. I didn’t want to miss the appointment and I didn’t want to have to pay a cancellation fee. I also didn’t want to get a speeding ticket, pay a fine, and have my insurance premiums go up. I had no defense but I hoped Trooper Jim would understand the hair thing because he had such meticulously groomed hair himself (as I couldn’t resist remarking to him) even if it was very short.

Jim didn’t understand about hair stylists and their fees and having to speed to get to appointments. He said he wouldn’t issue the ticket if I followed him and did exactly what he said.

I did follow him to his apartment in Melton (where I also lived) and I was able to give up my hair appointment to someone else.

Once he was off the clock and out of his uniform and into just running shorts, he had me help tidy up his haircut with clippers and a foil shaver. He somehow suspected that I’d be turned on by the experience and I definitely was.

"You can rub it," he said. And: "This is a man’s haircut. Wouldn’t you agree, Matt?"

He knew I was mesmerized.

"Now, if you had a haircut like this, you wouldn’t have to pay those ridiculous prices for a ‘stylist.’ You wouldn’t have to worry about missing appointments. And you wouldn’t have to break the speed limit to get there." He also suggested that I could learn to give myself a short hair. "Or have a friend do it for you."

He had me with his wink.

"You’d look great with a haircut like mine," he pressed on. "With your dark hair, you’d be irresistible."

At that point he assured me that cutting my hair was not a condition for my not being ticketed. "We’re way beyond that. Right now I’m offering you a change " a change I think you’re ready for. You want it, don’t you?"

Yes, I wanted it. I wouldn’t have believed that when I got up that morning but life can take a funny turn in just a few hours.

I let him take charge of my hair and give me fade-to-bald sides and back with enough length on top to finger-brush my hair forward. "It will draw people to your eyes," he said. "Anyway, you need a softer look than mine, my furry rabbit."

Yeah, Jim was into body hair, too. Mine and his. Whenever we went jogging (his idea), we didn’t wear shirts (his insistence).

"Were you ever really going to force me to cut my hair in exchange for not giving me a ticket?" I asked some weeks later. We were in his apartment then, only a few blocks from mine, which wasn’t half as nice.

"That wouldn’t be ethical, would it?" he responded. That wasn’t an answer but I really didn’t think he would have forced my hand that way. Anyway, once my hand had assisted with his hair-cutting, I didn’t need much coercion.

I liked the haircut and kept it that way. I didn’t get any flak at my office. "Lookin’ good, Studly," was one colleague’s evaluation." (No, he wasn’t sarcastic. Neither was the wolf-whistler in the lunchroom.) Apparently everyone preferred my new, up-to-date look over my former businessman’s cut that required too much daily attention and always seemed to be overgrown. With the new cut, it took weeks for the fade to generate a shadow and then grow out to a suggestion of shagginess. (Or it would if I let it grow that long.) The longer top was low-maintenance and still looked stylish when it was wind-blown.

Jim hadn’t changed his haircut because there was no reason to. His was much like mine, except his blond hair was shorter on top and was gelled to be upstanding. His hair, like his state police uniform, was crisp and authoritative.

Jim and I hadn’t discussed having a relationship. We had the haircut thing going, of course, because cutting each other’s hair was a turn-on. We jogged together often because of the shirtless business and afterwards showering our sweaty, hairy bodies together. We spent many evenings together, in his apartment or less frequently in mine, and slept together then. But we never really discussed whether all that meant we were in a relationship and, if so, what we should expect next.

We carried on our lives that way, not following a strict routine. Then, too, we didn’t need to vary our activities a lot to be happy. We took everything one day at a time.

Then one morning I received a call from the state police, from one of Jim’s fellow troopers. There’s been an accident on the highway. Jim was in the hospital emergency room. Melton Memorial.

I’d just got back to the office from an appointment but I rushed back out immediately. "Family emergency," I told my assistant.

"What happened?" I asked Tom when I entered the ER waiting room. That was Trooper Tom, one of Jim’s colleagues. He was one who’d phoned me. Tom . . . actually all the troopers at Jim’s station knew about me. (Jim had always been "out" at work. The only negative reaction was years ago, from another trooper who scoffed, "You’re not really queer, are you?" Jim responded, "Yes, I am. Absolutely. And you’re not my type.")

"From what Jim said and the camera in his car, he was in pursuit of another vehicle."

I interrupted. "Speeding?" That was how Jim and I originally met. Ever since, I was diligent about staying under the speed limit. (I already had my trooper. I didn’t need another.)

"Speeding. Reckless driving. DUI. Anyway, Jim pulled the vehicle over to the shoulder. Then the gentleman threw his vehicle into reverse, revved it, and smashed backwards into the police vehicle." (That would be Jim’s car.)

"What a douche bag! Did you guys . . ."

"The driver has been apprehended and is in police custody."

"And Jim? Is he all right?"

"They’re patching him up right now. Broken arm, broken hand and wrist, broken leg."



We had to wait. ER was busy and crowded, but once Jim was checked in and settled in a room, we were allowed to see him. His face was bruised and battered; no permanent damage there. Most of the injury to his body were the broken bones along his left side. There was a cast on his lower leg. (I selfishly noted that his hip area had free movement. Just some bruising.) The cast on his arm immobilized everything below his elbow to the tips of his fingers. (That would drive him crazy. He was left-handed.) He’d have to stay in hospital a day or two until the doctors were confident of the fracture reductions without resorting to surgery and metal plates.

I couldn’t visit for long. Jim was a bit drugged up and he needed lots of rest.

He smiled when I came into his room and sat by his bedside.

"My furry rabbit." He reached up and stroked my slightly exposed chest hair with the back of his free hand. His right hand.

Jim only had to stay overnight for one night but he wasn’t released until late the next day. At least it was well after evening rush hour.

We brought him to his apartment. For once, he had to use the elevator. Jim declined the hospital wheel chair, which wasn’t fitting very well into the small cab. Upstairs I settled Jim into bed and served him dinner there. Of course I was staying over.

Next morning I helped Jim wash, gave him breakfast and positioned him in a living room chair facing the television while I went off to work.

When I stopped back at lunchtime, I found Jim seated on the sofa. In the kitchen, there was an unused plate tottering on the edge of the counter. A wooden stool was on its side on the floor, blocking access to the refrigerator.

"What happened here?" I asked.

"I was going to make a sandwich," Jim said sheepishly. "I was hungry."

"You fell, didn’t you?" When he didn’t respond, I checked him out. "What’s this?" I asked when I lifted his T-shirt and saw a new injury on the right side of his chest.

"I was in a car wreck, remember?"

"Uh-huh. This isn’t a bruise. It’s a fresh welt " still red. And it’s on the wrong side for the accident."

"Okay! I tripped over the stool and fell. I was hungry."

"That’s why I’m here now." I made him a sandwich. I asked whether I could pick up anything to keep him amused " books, magazines, DVDs " so he’d have something to do.

He declined. "I thought I’d try to see if can use my equipment." That would be his resistance exerciser in the bedroom. "Just for general toning, you know. I don’t want to get out of shape."

"Uh-uh," I ruled. "You’re not to touch that until your doctor gives his approval. Be patient! What is it you always tell me?"

"‘You’re an asshole?’"

"I meant, ‘Don’t speed.’ Take your time so you heal properly."

I set out a pitcher of overly-iced iced tea and some reasonably healthy snacks by the sofa so he wouldn’t have to scrounge in the kitchen. I had to trust he’d be careful going to the bathroom on his own. I gave him a kiss and I was ready to go back to work.

"Matt? There is one thing you can do for me. If left oranges in my locker. Can you pick them up so they don’t spoil?"

Oranges? Okay.

I stopped at the state police station on my way back to work. I could spare another fifteen minutes or so and I knew his colleagues would want a progress report.

"Sounds like he’s going to be a handful," Trooper Tom said.

"Yeah. He should be using two crutches to get around but his left arm can’t handle one and he can’t put any weight on his broken leg. There are also three flights of stairs and an elevator that’s not very efficient. And I know he keeps looking at his exercise equipment and wanting to use it. I’d bring him to my place, except it’s worse. Smaller and no elevator. I think I can get time off . . . I think I’ll have to take time off to take care of him. It’ll be a challenge, though. Too many temptations around his apartment."

"You could use my cabin," Tom suggested. "My family’s cabin, I mean. It’s kind of off-season for us, so no one’s there. It’s isolated, so there are few distractions. It’s all ground-level except for the loft. It’s not very hilly around there, so it’s good for walking when he’s ready. You’ll find plenty of natural walking sticks lying around."

"Sounds great!"

We planned the details. I picked up the oranges. I returned to my office and requested a several weeks’ leave of absence. (I knew I wouldn’t be paid beyond any vacation time I’d accrued. I expected that. I always objected to spending money on frivolous things like speeding tickets, cancelled appointments, and, from recent months, hair stylists, but I wasn’t in financial straits.)

"Personal leave?" my boss asked.

"Yes. I need to play nurse. Car accident." She raised her eyebrows in concern. I added, "Just broken bones. But still . . ."

"You’re entitled to personal leave," she confirmed. "This isn’t the best time for it, but it isn’t the worse time either. We’ll have your assistant cover and the other managers will be on hard."

"Thanks," I said. "This’ll really help."

"By the way," she said, "we don’t intrude into employees’ private lives, but we do like to make a gesture of support when appropriate. Would you like us to send flowers or candy or something? Maybe balloons."

"Not candy. Flowers might be fun. Would yellow roses be possible?"

"Done. Where should they be sent?"

"I wrote down the information and handed it to her."

"‘Jim . . .’ Brother?"

"No. Jim is . . . Jim’s my man."

"That’s really what you said, Matt? ‘Jim’s my man.’" Jim asked again. We were settled now in Trooper Tom’s family’s rustic cabin. A vase on the table contained a dozen beautiful yellow roses " which I’d suddenly been inspired to associate with my Trooper Jim " with a very nice get-well card from my office.

"That is exactly what I said. It wasn’t planned or I would have come up with something better " like, ‘mate’ or ‘partner.’ ‘Lover’ or ‘fFriend with privileges’ probably would have been inappropriate."

"Her reaction?"

"Nothing note-worthy. A blink maybe. If they want to, the office can work it all out while we’re away." I hadn’t hidden my sexual orientation at work. It never came up. I didn’t "date" in any formal sense of the word. I never talked about going out with women or men. In fact, I didn’t go out much at all, except to group functions. I never thought anyone would care, one way or another.

The cabin was great. Wireless reception was very spotty, so Jim wasn’t able to undertake the challenge of text-messaging using only the wrong hand. No exercise equipment (except a row boat on the lake nearby, which I oared. There was a basketball that Jim could spin and dribble and shoot with one hand. And, thank god, a dart board.

There was something missing that Jim noticed as soon as we unpacked.

"Where are the clippers? I’m desperate for a good haircut!"

"Back at your place," I said.

"What? You forgot to pack them?"

"No. I deliberately left them behind. The clippers, the foil shaver, all that."

"But . . . but why? Don’t you like your haircut anymore? Have you gone off it?"

"And off you? Never. I promise you your usual haircut when we get home. And I’ll be very disappointed if you don’t give me mine."

"Then why . . .?"

"Look at you," I said. "For the next few weeks you’ve only got one usable hand. Use of only half your limbs, in fact. Do you know how frustrated you’d be having your haircutting equipment right here and not being able to use it properly? I could buzz you down, of course, but you couldn’t have the pleasure of doing me." I couldn’t help expressing a related concern. "It’s going to be hard enough doing each other in other ways."

"Yeah," he had to agree. "It’s going to be very hard." (He was so disappointed, he didn’t even catch the double meanings.)

"Look at it this way. It’s a funny kind of situation we never would have planned. Instead of wondering what we’d look like with shorter hair and worrying about what other people would think or say, we’ll be in a situation where we can see what we look like with longer hair than usual and without any concern about other people. Unless, of course, we decide to hold off and put ourselves on display with longer hair."

"Never!" he protested.

"And think about the fun we’ll have when we get back to the clippers. Remember our first night together?"

I was finally rewarded with a broad grin.

"All right, my woodland rabbit. We’ll see who’s the shaggier at the end of this outing. Now, what’s for dinner? Or are we going totally primitive and have to hunt for your food?"

The break from our urban lives seemed to help the healing process. I discovered that the wireless reception was much better down by the lake, so I was able to call into the office a few times to check the goings-on in my department and give my input.

Jim wanted to go down to the lake as well, but I wouldn’t give in to his trying to walk there, not during his first days of recovery.

"Not unless I drive you there."

"Drive me? There’s no road."

I smiled. "There’s a wheelbarrow."

In the end, we decided against the wheelbarrow. Its balance was too precarious and I didn’t want to accidentally dump Jim on any of his broken limbs. I looked around and found an old pony cart I could use as a push cart, with Jim seated on cushions and blankets.

"I feel like a pig being taken to market," he said.

We did have to drive my car to nearby markets for food and a quick trip back to Melton Memorial Hospital where Jim was finally given a walking cast for his broken leg and a crutch he could use under his good arm.

Jim couldn’t return to work yet. I was still on my leave of absence and was needed to assist Jim with things like cracking open eggs, buttoning buttons, and reaching everywhere to wash, and . . . other things. And there was the hair-growing competition. Since it was still off-season for Trooper Tom’s family, we stayed on at the cabin. . . . Oh, there was a related offshoot competition: beard-growing.

We were both into body hair, at least each other’s, so the beards added to that pleasure. The itchy phase was annoying but we quickly got past it. I was surprised that my dark beard had a bit of a curl. His grew straight with a tinge of red. We compared lengths (the same) and textures (similar) and grabbability (painful).

Our beards induced a sensual thrill brushing against each other’s body. Cuddling had new dimensions. And kissing was a unique experience, with joined lips and joined beards.

The head hair wasn’t nearly as sensual since it wasn’t really a novelty. But it was nice to bury our fingers in each other’s new-growth hair and claim possession. We bonded ever closer.

Our little adventure couldn’t last forever. Eventually we returned from the cottage to Jim’s apartment in Melton without encountering anyone we knew. We planned it that way. It might’ve been fun to see reactions to our hairy heads but we decided not to share our experience. It was a private competition intended only for our own pleasure. Anyway, I documented our hair growth with photos along the way. It never got long, long, of course, but an inch or two was a lot for us.

The next I’d be back at work; my leave was over. Jim would return to the police station for limited desk duty. He was healing fine and the broken bones had joined up nicely without surgery.

There was one thing left to do. Haircuts!

Jim had to be first. He was frothing at the bit (so to speak) with anticipation. I tortured him a while, claiming that I had to check the condition of his clippers and make sure they were properly oiled.

"C’mon," he yelled at me. "Hurry up!"

"What did we say about speeding?"

"I’m saying I’ll have you arrested for mental cruelty if you don’t hurry up!"

"Calm down! I’m ready already." But I wasn’t going to let him rush me. I put on the longer guard I’d be using, then deftly (yes, I could claim deftness after the training I’d had with Jim) brought them up one side of his head where sideburns would be, then stopped where I needed to. "Perfect," I declared before going on.

Jim let out a sigh of relief (or was it a shiver of release?) as I continued to plow through the no-longer-wanted hair along the sides and back of his head. I followed with a shorter guard, at a lower perimeter, blending into the cropped hair above. And so on with the guards, until I reached a no-guard level, and followed with the notorious foil shaver.

"Feel better now?"

I judged by his grin that he did.

The top of his head was a pleasure. He never liked the clippers there because they were "too impersonal." He preferred scissors in hand and hands on his scalp. The hardest bit was blending the top into the sides. The top itself was relatively easy because it was relatively short and uniform. I added a bit of texture in the cut because that’s what I liked to do.

"All done," I said. "I’ll wash this out before we go to bed. No product tonight."

"Whatever you say."

I let him do me next. Do my hair. Similar bald fade on the sides and back. Same longer, thicker cut on top that could be hand-brushed forward and wouldn’t crap out in the wind.

"Beautiful," Jim assessed his work.

"As always."

"Beards next. I can’t wait to get rid of all this! Give me one final hairy-faced kiss."

I obliged with the kiss.

"We have to do the beards in stages, you know," I told me. "And we have to take photos."

"Why? I want to get rid of this now!"

"Patience, my love. You taught me that. . . . It’s a universal rule of beard-shearing. Beards are to be removed in stages, shaving down to Van Dyke beard, goatee, drooping moustache, et cetera. Each stage must be documented. Sorry. It’s not my rule."

He groaned yet he played along. It didn’t take as long as I expected until we were both entirely beardless.

It was wonderful to finally be clean-shaven again! We went to bed smoothly shaven. No facial hair to touch. Instead, Jim buried his hand in the hair on my chest.

"This is my territory, Matt. This is the patch of forest I like best."

Well, that was our episode, Jim’s and mine. Jim recovered completely. He had a limp that slowly faded away. In all that time, he failed at training his right hand to be as useful as his left.

When I got back to work, it was evident that word had spread that I was involved with a man. One particular worker, I was told by a colleague, had moaned in complaint, "The Stud’s attached!"

I haven’t mentioned, because it was like a marginal note to the other events, that at some point when we were at the cottage Jim and I discussed our living arrangements.

"You should really give up your apartment, Matt."

"All right."

"It’s not all that nice, you know."


"Besides, I’ve got lettuce and carrots in my frig."


"Rabbit food."

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