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Motivation by Moc
It was a hot July afternoon, half way through summer school, when Rob first met Dave. Rob was running laps on the college track, getting in shape for the cross country season, when he was joined by another runner. Rob was just shy of 5'10" with short curly hair and a burly chest that was a result of his football career in high school. He was always an endurance runner, but this 6' fellow with a lithe frame and long legs was barely even breaking a sweat. Rob stopped after two miles to take catch a breath, and was joined by the other runner. "I’m Dave", was his introduction with a grin and outstretched hand. "Rob" was the reply, "this asphalt track is murder, I am used to running on golf courses." "Ok, follow me." Dave’s solution was to leave campus, and after a short jaunt through a residential section, they were at the city park. Oaks, cottonwoods, elms, and ash interspersed by grassy knolls gave way to the old city golf course. Rob was in his element.
After a good run though the park and over parts of the golf course, Dave lead the way back to the campus field house. As they headed inside towards the locker room, they ran into Coach Anderson. "Ah, Johnson, I see you’ve met Volk, our newest recruit for the cross country team. I’m glad to see you boys are training for our first meet. Keep at it!" When they were in the locker room, Rob asked Dave, "Does he always call you by your last name?" With a hearty laugh Dave said, "nah, last year it was always Dammit Johnson!" After showering, they changed into their street clothes. Rob pulled on his black tank top, Levis with a visible snuff can mark on his rear pocket, buffalo moccasins, and jammed a Copenhagen Snuff cap on his head. Dave frowned a bit and said, "Coach Anderson doesn’t like anyone on the team smoking or using snuff, he lost his younger brother to throat cancer two years ago." "Oh, okay," said Rob. Dave hustled as he switched to a white t-shirt, black gym shorts, and palomino-colored moccasins. Dave perched a pair of sun glass on his head, to hold back his dark brown wavy mane, and was ready to go. They agreed to meet the next day at 4:00, as they headed home.
After five weeks of running together, Dave and Rob had become friends, hanging out together. Their birthdays were two months apart, and both were able to attend college, courtesy of cross country and track scholarships. As Dave began to increase the pace over the weeks, Rob managed to keep even with him and improve his time. "Keep at it boys, motivation is the key to success!" was the admonition of Coach Anderson.
The Friday after Coach Anderson’s pep talk Dave grinned at Rob and said, "Give up! You will never beat me with those short legs of yours!" "Ok, you’re on. If you win, I"ll do my run in just a jockstrap. But what if I beat you?" asked Rob. "Hah! It will never happen, so whatever you want!" David grinned. As Rob looked at Dave, he had an inspiration. "Ok then, you get a haircut, my choice!" Dave was taken aback, but he readily agreed. "My locks are safe buddy!" as he ran a hand through his mane. Dave set a blistering pace and as they returned to campus Rob pulled ahead. By the time they reached the field house, Rob had beaten Dave by about two yards. They were both laughing as they headed into the locker room that night.
After a Saturday afternoon run, Rob toweled off after his shower, and pulled on blue gym shorts and a gray t-shirt. He slipped on his buffalo moccasins, grabbed the keys to his car, and left his apartment. After a 15 minute drive, Rob pulled up an old hardware store downtown and ran up the stairs to the apartments.
"Come on in!" yelled Dave, to Rob’s knock at the door. Dave was sprawled on his couch, wearing black gym shorts, with a Sports Illustrated in hand as Rob entered the apartment "Put on a shirt and lets go buddy. We’ve got a couple of errands before we stop for birthday pizza!" Dave pulled on a gray muscle t-shirt and slipped into his palomino mocs. As the friends exited the building, Dave said "Ok, where are we going?" "Big Bear Store, down about three blocks," said Rob with a grin.
They entered a storefront with a large "Quitting Business" sign in the window. "What is this place?" asked Dave. "It was a western wear and sporting goods store for years and everything is over half off!" Rob hurried to the back of the store where this was a small display of Minnetonka moccasins. When the older lady came over and asked what size they were looking for, Rob said, "He needs a pair of the buffalo softsole mocs in size . . . ? 10" answered Dave as the lady disappeared in the back. "Rob, I don’t have money for new mocs!" said Dave with a frown. "No problem my friend, I’ve got it covered, this is your birthday present", replied Rob. When the sales clerk re-appeared, Dave kicked off his old mocs and slipped into the new ones. "Wow! These are awesome!" said Dave with a grin. When the lady offered to wrap them up, Dave declined with a shake of his head, "No thank you. I am wearing these from now on. You can throw the old pair."
Dave had a grin on his face and bounce in his step as they walked to Rob’s car. "One more stop, then its pizza for supper." said Rob with a grin. Rob drove towards campus, before pulling up to a strip mall. "Come on Dave", said Rob with a grin as he held open a door to Mike’s Shop. It wasn’t until Dave walked through the open door that he realized he was in a barbershop with two, old-fashioned barber chairs. "Have a seat!" boomed the barber, on old guy in his 60s.
"Dave, this is Mike, our barber," said Rob, "remember our bet? Well it is haircut time!" Dave was crestfallen as he walked to the chair, and settled in. Mike turned the chair away from the mirror, to face Rob, who was lounging in one of the waiting chairs. "Ok, what will it be?" asked Mike. "He’s getting a Mohawk. Two inches wide by three inches tall" replied Rob to Mike as he smiled and gave Dave a thumbs up gesture.
Mike put a blue and white cape on Dave before combing out his mane, "you have nice thick hair, this will be the perfect haircut for you!" Dave was startled as Mike snapped on the clippers. "Hold still son," said Mike as he grasped Dave by the back of his skull, clippers poised at the hairline. The clippers growled as they cleared a swathe along Dave’s right temple. Mike flicked the 8" locks into Dave’s lap, before he took another swipe. Rapid passes on the right and left side of Dave’s head reduced his mane to dark stubble. Mike stopped to re-assess before he began to trim the Mohawk to about a two inch strip, perfectly centered on Dave’s head from forehead to nape.
As Mike turned off the clippers, Dave looked at the mound of hair in his lap with shock. "Hair grows son," said Mike as he returned with scissors and comb and began trimming the Mohawk to a little over three inches tall. Mike worked some hair wax into the ‘hawk before combing it up and trimming it into a perfect crest. Dave reached up to find his scalp nearly denuded. "It is looking good buddy!" said Rob with an encouraging grin at his despondent friend.
Mike returned to spread warm shaving lather on Dave’s head. "Hold really still son", said Mike as he began to strip the stubble from Dave’s head with a cut-throat razor. "I’m the only one in town who will shave heads" said Mike as he plied his razor across Dave’s scalp. A warm towel removed lingering shaving lather, before Mike turned the chair to face the mirror. "Do you want any of these long locks as a souvenir?" asked Mike. Upon hearing a resigned "No" from Dave, Mike unpinned the cape and flicked Dave’s locks to the floor.
Dave got out of the chair and had a stunned look as he stopped to look at his reflection in the mirror, turning his head from side to side. "It looks great my friend!" said Rob as he clapped his hand on Dave’s back. "Ok, I’m next!" said Rob as he climbed into the chair previously occupied by Dave. As Mike put the barber’s cape on him, Rob said, "I’m getting the same haircut as my friend."
Dave settled into a waiting chair to watch his friend’s transformation. It took Mike less than ten minutes to reduce Rob’s brown curls to stubble. Hair wax tamed the unruly curls and Mike was able to trim Rob’s ‘hawk to about two inches. As the barber shaved his stubble, Rob looked over to see Dave beginning to smile as he ran his hand over his head, feeling his new Mohawk. Rob paid Mike for the ‘hawks and they headed off for a pizza.
As they sat in the pizza parlor waiting for their pie, Dave kept running a hand over his scalp and feeling his new Mohawk, "I can’t believe we did this!" Rob grinned and said, "Hey, you’re my friend and I can’t let you be the only one on campus with a cool haircut!" When they showed up at the campus field house on Monday, Coach Anderson grinned, "Now those are sharp haircuts guys! I want to see them kept ship-shape all through the cross-country and track season, motivation is the key!" Stunned, Rob and Dave could only agree. Every other night after their run, they shaved the stubble off each others scalp before they hit the showers. After an entire school year sporting Mohawks, Rob and Dave had become known for their signature haircuts. As June rolled around, Dave told Rob, "Hey buddy, we have to keep the ‘hawks! They are lucky for us, we both did well in cross-country and track this season." Dave blushed as he continue, ‘Julie, the blonde I have been seeing, likes my Mohawk and calls it a f**k handle." Rob laughed and said, "Ok buddy, have a seat on the bench I will shave off that stubble. I don’t want to mess with Julie’s handle!"