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Bruno by RicardoBarber

This story happened in March 2007, when I was 13 and was on the 7th grade. I sat beside a boy named Bruno. He was older than the other students (one or two years older) because he had repeated 7th grade and was a new student at school, so some boys in the class liked to tease him. Bruno was tall and had thick, black, medium-length slicked back hair (and a few curly on the top). He was a bit rude to the other students and was easily irritated, so most of the kids would prefer stay away from him.

It was a Portuguese class. That day the teacher had to leave the room for a few moments. Danilo (the boy sitting behind Bruno) called some boys to the back of the classroom to speak something in particular. I noticed they were looking at Bruno with small smiles on their faces. Then each one went back to their places. I tried to call Bruno's attention, but he didn’t care. I insisted a bit, but he started getting annoyed and said that if I continued to annoy him he would beat me up. "So don’t say that I didn’t warn you," were my words. The teacher came back and we continue the lesson. She warned that our last class teacher was not feeling well so we could go home after recess when the principal would release us.

The recess came a short time later and most of the students left the room. I stayed there to finish some exercises. Bruno had stayed, too. He came up to me and asked, "About what did you wanted to talk to me?" I shouldn’t have told him because of the way he treated me, but I decided that was not right. "Danilo and the others were talking back there and they were looking at you. I think they're going to try something new". For my surprise, he put his arm around my neck and thanked me, calling me buddy. Then he returned to his place.

Shortly thereafter, Danilo and the other boys returned to the classroom. Danilo sat down while the others stood by the door. They were still laughing. I saw Danilo take a chewing gum out of his mouth and lead it toward Bruno's hair. I shouted "Look out" to warn Bruno, but it was not possible to avoid what happened. Danilo put the gum just above Bruno's right ear and ran away of the room. Bruno was desperate for that.

"Oh my God! Take it out of my hair, take it out! "He shouted.
"Let me see", I said. The chewing gum was tightly attached but not too close to the scalp. I tried to pull it, but it didn’t work.
"Ouch! It hurts", Bruno said. "Let me try to take it."

Bruno tried to take the gum out of his hair, but only got the gum stuck in more of his hair. Danilo and the others returned, grabbed Bruno by the arms and body and placed another piece of chewing gum in his hair, this time on the top. I tried to stop them but they threatened to cut my hair if I did anything. They grabbed their backpacks and left the school. Bruno was very annoyed.

"I think there's only one way to work it out", I said.
"Cutting your hair".

Bruno froze. "I do not want to cut my hair." He tried to pull the chewing gum again to see if he could get it out. He managed to take a small piece, but also pulled some strands of hair as well. At last he gave up.

"OK, I do not think I have any choice. Do you have scissors?" He asked.
"Yes, I do. Do you want me to cut it or would you prefer do it yourself? "
"I think I'll cut myself."

I handed Bruno the scissors and watched him shed a small tear. He obviously liked his hair a lot, and he didn’t want to have it cut. He approached the scissors on the right side of his head to cut the gum stuck there. The problem was, he placed the scissors very close to the scalp and ended up with a small bald spot where the chewing gum was. I offered to cut the gum stuck on the top, ensuring it would not cut as short as he had done. Slowly I sniping some Bruno's hair to avoid cutting too much. When I took out the chewing gum, I saw that the problem had not been solved. Bruno had two bald spots in his head. At this time the recess is over. Bruno had a cap, so I advised him to put it on to prevent the other students from seeing his hair when they returned to the room. The principal appeared and dismissed everyone. Bruno was about to leave when I approached him and said:

"Look Bruno. My father and grandfather have a barbershop at home. I think they can fix your hair if I talk to them. "
"Oh really? Wow. Thanks man".
"But don’t get too excited. The spot on the right side of your head is deep. They'll need to cut shorter to fix. "
"What about the top?"
"I've managed to not cut so deep, so the top will stay a little longer."

Bruno followed me home, without speaking much. He was very upset about what happened and I didn’t want to leave him annoyed with any comments. When we got to my house I saw that the barber shop was closed. I thought my father and grandfather were at home doing anything.

"Dad? Grandpa? Are you here?" But no one answered. There was a note on the refrigerator door that read, "We're out, we'll back soon".

"I guess I can’t wait too long", Bruno said.
"But you can’t stay like this."
"Don’t you have other idea?"
"Well, maybe I can cut your hair. My father and grandfather have been teaching me for a while".
"You?" I thought Bruno was a bit hesitant with my suggestion. But that was understandable. "Well I do not think I have many options. You can cut my hair. "

I took Bruno to the barbershop and asked him to sit in one of the two chairs there. I put the cape around his neck and took a comb and clippers.

"You're not going to cut very short, right?"
"Don’t worry. I know what I'm doing".
"If you ruin my hair I'll shave your head".

At that moment I froze. I was a bit confused: this guy just made me a threat while all I'm doing is trying to help him? I took a deep breath, put a comb # 2 on the clippers and started to move on the right side of Bruno's head to see if a #2 was enough to hide the spot. The problem is that #2 did not work, so I changed for a # 1. I ran the clippers again and showed Bruno how his hair was going to stay.

"This is the longest I can leave on the sides. But it will be longer at the top".
"That's too short."
"Do not worry, it's going to be okay."

Bruno didn’t like it. I thought it better to turn the chair to stand back to the mirror and let Bruno see the result just at the end. After buzzing the sides and back with # 2 I changed the guard for a # 5 to buzz the top. Luckily it was enough to hide the spot. I slowed down with the clippers and tried everything to keep his hair from falling on his lap so he wouldn’t start to despair. But he was very impatient and asked constantly if it was finishing, to which I would always answer "Almost" until I finished. I turned the chair so Bruno could see the result. It was jaw-dropping.

"This is horrible", he said. "I look like a military soldier".
"Sorry" why was I apologizing? "That's the best I could do. You wanted the top to be as long as possible, right? "

Bruno started to rise from his chair. When I reached for the cape to take it out his neck, he grabbed me by the arm and threw me on the chair, took off his cape, put it on my neck and immobilized me.

"I said if I didn’t like it I would cut your hair," he said.
"Bruno, please. Don’t do this to me, "I pleaded.

He picked up the same clippers I used on him, took the guard out and placed it at the base of my neck.

"If you don’t put a guard on it I'll end up bald," I was almost crying at that point. "Please, I didn’t shave your head."

He was not listening to me. He turned on the clippers and began to run it through the back of my head, up to half the crown. Then he put the clippers on my forehead and said. "If I start here there will not back". But before he could cut my more of my hair, my father appeared at the door and shouted angrily, "WHAT'S HAPPENING HERE?" Bruno froze again. He tried to say something, but he couldn’t. I ran to my father and explained everything from the beginning.

"I just wanted to help, Daddy," I said when I finished.

He looked at Bruno with a very angry face. He told him to sit down on the unoccupied barber's chair and tell him he would take care of him when he finished with me. He turned my chair back to the mirror and I could see quickly that Bruno was very worried.

My father took the clippers to #0 and placed it at the base of my neck and began to cut the back and sides to the crown height. He said I would like the cut he was giving me. Although I didn’t know how I was going to look I was calm, since it was my father who was doing the cut. When he finished with the clippers he sprinkled water on my hair from the top and passed a brush and hairdryer, standing my hair. Then, with a comb and the clippers again, he cut the hair on top. He turned me back to the mirror and I saw that my hair was almost flat. After years I learned that the name of the cut was Flattop. I really liked the cut.

My father went to Bruno and began to speak very angry: "Then my son helps you and you thank him for trying to shave his head, right? Do you like to kid younger children than you? Well, then I'll tell you what. NOBODY pulls my son’s leg, DO YOU UNDERSTAND? "

Bruno could not answer right. With much effort he released a "Yes, Sir"

Bruno stood facing the mirror all the time. My dad pulled out his cell phone and took Bruno's picture of "before". With #0, my father ran the clippers right on Bruno's forehead, all the way to his back. "Was that the haircut you were going to give my son?" He said ironically. My father has always been a professional at cutting a customer's hair, doing every effort to make sure the customer would be satisfied with the result. Seeing him acting like that was news to me. But I understand that he just wanted to protect me. At a steady pace, Bruno's hair was falling more and more. When the whole head had been buzzed and Bruno tried to get up, my dad forced him to sit down again and spread shaving cream on his head. Realizing what was about to happen, Bruno began to shed tears. My dad ran his razor over Bruno’s head until it revealed all the white skin. He pulled the cell phone again and took a picture of "after." He handed Bruno his cell phone, told him to call his parents and told me to go to his room. I hugged him and said, "You're my hero, Dad." I don’t know what the conversation turned out to be. The next day, Bruno was a joke for much of the class, except for the boys who started the whole story. Strangely, they apologized for what they did. Their punishment would come to them so soon.

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