You're Mine Now by Stillcropped
You're mine now !
I was sitting in a draughty classroom on a cold Sunday night with another 20 youths somewhere in the middle of the penine hills in rural England, having signed up , as a 17 year old , for a five year stint for what was being described as ' a new chapter' for the regiment. We were to be ' fast-tracked' to become officer material with a university of college degree sandwiched within our military training. Our commanding officer had spent the last ten minutes enthusing about this ' new approach to soldiering' and reminding us how fortunate we were to be selected for this ' unique opportunity ' and to fully embrace our specially designed initial - and he stressed INITIAL not basic - training to become ' the new face of the army'
The ritual humiliation began as soon as the Commanding Officer had left the room and was out of earshot. The massive sergeant simply stood to perfect attention and in total silence staring at us , eventually be spoke " What a load of cobblers ! You lot are now mine and I will decide on everything you say, do, look, dress and eat. Forget about being 'specially selected' as far as I'm concerned you're the same , no in fact you lot are worse - because you think you are something special - than every other group I've had the displeasure of knocking into shape. And believe me when I say 'knocking' if that's what it takes that's what it will be , isn't that right corporal? "
"YES SARGE!" the corporal standing behind him immediately responded .
The sergeant began to move among the desks and tapped three boys on the shoulder and motioned with his hand that they stand up. As soon as the third one was selected the corporal barked" You three out front, stand straight facing the back wall". The three boys immediately sprang to the front of the class and stood facing the rest of us , the corporal barked out " The rest of you pencils down eyes front listen to the sarge"
The sergeant stood behind the first boy then asked " what kind of haircut is that? " and poked his finger into the boy's scalp forcing his head forward. The boy answered " It's called a 'skinhead' si...sarge"
" Si..Sarge? Do i look like a Si ..Sarge"
"Then don't call me one .ARE YOU A SKINHEAD? A HARD MAN? IS THAT WHAT YOU ARE? " He roared in his ear.
"No Sarge . I thought it would be..."
"DID I TELL YOU TO THINK?"
The sergeant moved on to the third boy who's flowing locks were just longer than mine " Well, well Corporal, you didn't tell me Shirley Temple was joining us" The boy shuffled slightly and the sergeant roared " DID I GIVE YOU PERMISSION TO MOVE SHIRLEY? OR DID THE WIND CATCH YOUR CURLS AND BLOW YOU OVER? " As the rest of us stifled a giggle the massive man turned towards us roaring "SILENCE"
He then stood in front of the middle boy and gave a mock salute asking him " Name, rank and number ?" The boy turned bright red , even his ears glowing beneath his military short back and sides , the sergeant persisted " come on out with it you have a soldiers haircut so you must know the drill " The boy opened his mouth to speak but nothing came out and the sergeant continued " PUT THIS ONE ON A CHARGE CORPORAL , IMPERSONATING A SOLIDER, TIME 20:30 HOURS"
"YES SARGE" bellowed the corporal and continued "You three back to your seats , the rest of you carry on completing your paperwork. " We all got our heads down and filled in all our personal details on the four forms in front of us , each a different colour , as we wrote the corporal barked out the following.
" supper 2130, abulutions 2145, lights out 2200. revielle 0600, abulutions 0615, breakfast 0630, innoculations , medical and dentistry 0645 to 0730, uniform issue 0745, photographs and allegiance 0800 "
As he finished we heard a door opening behind us and a voice calling " ready when you are Sarge" then the corporal " PENS DOWN EYES FRONT"
In unison we all complied as the sergeant leant against the desk and a smile spread across his face, he spoke quietly "Thank you corporal. Now that you all know what's in store for you the brightest of you may have noticed that there is no mention of what you all joined up in the first place for ........... Your haircuts! But you'll all be happy to know that our local barber fancied a bit of overtime even though it's a Sunday night so you'll all be going to sleep tonight like shorn sheep! You all have to look the part, and the same, and you've all seen Mr Skinhead up here so he sets the standard ! " He paused as several of us automatically ran out fingers through our soon to be shorn locks myself included and his smile widened " But another of our rules is that EVERYONE gets a haircut, no exceptions , well unless your totally bald and no-one here fits that bill so Mr Skinhead off you go and when you come back all your pals here I'm sure will thank you for making sure they get their monies worth , off you go, the barbers waiting " and he pointed to a door behind him at the side of the blackboard.
We watched as he disappeared into the room and we clearly heard the buzzing of clippers and less than two minutes later he returned, rubbing the back of his head, the sergeant stood upright and asked him to stop and stand to attention. We all looked at his now closely cropped scalp bareley a quarter inch of hair had been left on the top with the sides virtually shaved bald, a few groans escaped from the class knowing we were all in for this shearing, there was a white line all around his head where his natural hairline had been heightened
' Well boys' said the sergeant ' it looks as though a few of you are going to get your full money's worth this is one of the shortest we've had in years. Thank you Mr Skinhead I'm sure some of your mates here will thank you personally later. Do you approve Corporal"
"SARGE, with respect NO SARGE!"
" NO? "queried the sergeant.
" NEW REGULATIONS FOR THIS INTAKE STATE HAIR SHOULD BE OF UNIFORM LENGTH SARGE , THIS ONES IS LONGER ON THE TOP! "
The sergeant laughed " Thank you for keeping me right Corporal, I will make this one exception for this 'Special lot ' take him back to the barber and supervise the correct haircut and then make sure they all get the same"
"SARGE! YES SARGE ! NEW RECRUIT ABOUT TURN. Quick match through the door"
I couldn't believe it , 'Mr Skinhead' had already been shorn virtually bald and now here he was being ordered back into the barbers chair . From the room we heard the clippers buzz again then the corporals voice booming " New recruit haircut has to be of uniform length, please proceed to cut his hair to meet regulations" We heard the tone of the clippers change slightly and in less than a minute they fell silent. The corporal marched out with the boy behind him and when he stood aside the rest of us let out a collective gasp, as we looked at the boy standing in front of us now sporting no more than a fine shadow of darkness on his scalp. Hands went to heads all over the classroom, the sarge nodded and the corporal indicated for the boy to return to his seat as the sarge picked up a clipboard "Anderson" he barked, my heart thumped at hearing my name but I was paralysed to react he repeated "Anderson, K" this time I raised my hand. " Well laddie don't just sit there on you go" I put my pencil down and stood up my legs feeling like jelly i took the few short steps into the barbers den, dreading my fate, I was to be The first proper victim and my years of carefully attending to my long locks were about to end.
The room was no more than a store cupboard with a simple wooden chair in front of a small mirror on the wall, on a small table to the side sat two sets of electric clippers . The barber was in his fifties with a slight stoop and a head of thick dark hair immaculately swept back with a slight sheen to it, he merely nodded at the chair as he picked up a set of the clippers.I heard them buzz to life as he said " Just relax son , I'll have it all in the floor soon enough". I glanced in the mirror and knew I was looking at my dark wavy over the collar hair which easily covered my ears for the last time.
The barber took a grip of my hair towards the back of my head and firmly pulled my head backwards so I was looking at the ceiling. As the buzzing teeth of the machine touched my forehead he simultaneously drove the clippers towards the back of my head and pushed my head into their path. Four times he repeated this rocking action before he released his grip. I managed a glance in the mirror and saw a patchy crewcut across the top of my scalp either side was a thick carpet of hair , but not for long. My head was tilted to the left then pulled to the right as he repeated his two way rocking motion while removing huge clumps of my hair.
I could now see the carnage he was creating , one second hair the next an ear sticking out from my scalp, and rolls of dark locks tumbling around and on me as they stuck to my top and jeans. In no time he had done both sides then my chin forced to my chest then my head pulled back again as the clippers climbed up the back of my head , four, five six times my head was nodded back and forth then the machine fell silent.
As he switched machines i saw the new me , ears sticking out of a seriously short crew cut then he spoke again " keep still look straight ahead" as I complied his clippers buzzed at a slightly higher tone i saw in the mirror his hand reach across my head and the bare teeth of the clippers just touch the hair at my forehead, the tone changed slightly and he smoothly guided the machine from my forehead to crown before lifting them from my head. I let out a gasp as I saw the result of their passage , I was bald! yes there was a dark shadow on the path the clippers had created but no-one could describe it as hair! Even though I knew what I was to get it didn't reduce the shock of seeing part of me being ruthlessly removed from my body. Maybe it was because my hair had been longer to start with but I was certain i had been shorn even shorter than ' Mr Skinhead ' .
He was now digging the teeth of his clippers into my hairline above my right ear and in a fraction of a second my new hairline was laser straight level with the very tip of my ear down behind my ear and at a right angle across my neck i felt the teeth scrape against my skin and knew that when he was finished i would be left with scullcap of dark pelt which looked two sizes too small.
The clippers fell silent and I felt a strong hand on each shoulder and I looked at the newly balded me in the mirror my huge ears sticking out like dumbo , i looked at my watch, I had been in the room less than two minutes , the barber spoke " 0600 Friday, keep you looking tidy. NEXT ONE CORP! " . As I re-entered the classroom the next boy approached me his eyes fixed on my scalp and his hand reaching for his own fairly short ginger hair.
A smile spread across my face as I took my seat and I reached up to try and find where my neck hair started and traced my finger up to almost the middle of my scalp to which I heard a whisper from behind " he's scalped you ! "