Deal Breaker part 4 by VSBaldy
Joel left "Lords n Ladies" with the slightest of trims but a devastating realization: he was officially going bald.
Piper pointed out to him how thin it was on top, and even a bald patch at the crown. How did he ever not notice? She suggested trying something shorter, but he declared he wasn’t ready and got just the ends trimmed. But now, as he caught his reflection in the window, he suddenly looked different. "Is this how others see me?" He thought.
A few days later he was at the hardware store when he ran into chrome dome Steve.
"Hey Joel! Long time no see. Where have you been?"
"I’ve been around."
"The girls told me how you flaked about getting a haircut."
"Wow. That was nice of them."
"Ha! They can be catty!"
"So, you’re still dating Rory?"
"Oh yeah. We may move in together in September. And, since Nicole opened her shop up, I see her once a week for my head shave."
"Nicole opened a shop?" Joel asked pretending not to have known.
"Oh ya. She took over Town Barber from Anna. Next cut you should pop by! I think she’s still single."
"Ya maybe. Hey let me ask you something. How thin was your hair when you made the leap to bald?"
"I don’t really recall. The barber noticed and made the suggestion. I didn’t think much about it. Why?"
"I guess my hair is thinner than I realized. I just found out and ..."
"Joel, let me have a look." Steve asked as he started to examine Joel’s hair. "Oh dude, you’re hair is a lot thinner than mine was. You’re actually bald right at the top."
"Is it really noticeable?"
"Well, I think long hair looks ridiculous anyway, but, ya, you kinda look like a hillbilly or something."
"Oh man, that’s bad."
"Hey, let me see if Nicole has any openings today. You should do something." Steve said as he took out his phone. Joel tried to discourage him but Steve just hushed him. "Hey Nicole, it’s Steve. You have any openings this afternoon? No, not for me. But our old friend Joel would like to come by ... ya, that’s right. Cool. Hey Joel, Nicole says you can come by at three o’clock, even if you want just a consultation. That cool?"
Joel, feeling the pressure of the moment, nodded yes.
"Alright Nicole, Steve will be there at 3 o’clock. I’ll see you later this week. Bye. Ok man. Maybe next time I’ll see you you’ll be a new man!"
A little before three Joel did a walk by of Nicole’s. To his surprise he saw Anna working. Was he at the right place? Suddenly Nicole appeared behind him.
"Just doing some window shopping?" she asked as she lit up a cigarette.
"Oh hey! I thought this was your place?"
"It is. Anna works here 2 days a week. Come on in." She beckoned as she put the cig in her mouth and opened the door. Inside Anna’s client was sobbing as he was getting his hair ruthlessly peeled off. The boy was about 13 and his mother was at her wits end.
"Anna, go ahead and bald Timmy. If he can’t handle a whiffle he’s gonna need to man up quick."
"You got it Cheryl." Anna said as she replaced the guard on the clippers. "Ok Timmy, since you didn’t want the whiffle I now have to bald you. Head down!"
As the shearing commenced Nicole led Joel to her chair. "So Steve told me you were having a hair crisis." as she took another drag from her cigarette.
"Well, uhm, looks like I’m thinning on top and I might need some help with a new look."
As Nicole started examining his hair, Anna finished up her shearing. "Cheryl, just have Timmy come by every Wednesday after school for his clean up. The discipline will keep him from turning out effeminate like some people." Anna said, clearly referring to Joel in the next chair. "Thanks Anna for the help. Timmy will be here every Wednesday." Cheryl then paid and she and a buzzed bald Timmy left the shop.
After examining Joel’s hair Nicole took another drag of her cigarette then put it out. "Look Joel, it’s pretty bad. You look ridiculous with this hair as it is. I don’t think you want to do the combover thing."
"I just don’t know if I’m ready for a chrome dome" he said.
Anna who had her coat on and was about to leave, piped in: "Shoe him."
"Shoe?" Joel asked
"Ok Nicole, see you next week. Hopefully this boy doesn’t have another melt down." Said Anna as she walked out the door.
Nicole walked to the mirror and put her long black hair up in a high pony tail. Her thick, short, blunt bangs had been recently trimmed to almost the top of her forehead. She then pulled out another Virginia Slim 120 from her cigarette case and lit it up.
"Horse shoe flat top. You’re getting a horse shoe flat top with a super wide landing strip. It lets you keep some hair but it tackles the balding issue perfectly. Don’t even think about chickening out." She then put the cig in the corner of her mouth and wrapped the tissue around his neck. Exhaling smoke through her nose she caped him in snugly. Reaching for the oster 64 clippers she put the 000 guard on.
Joel started to speak "I - I - "
Nicole, cig still in the corner of her mouth "No, no, no. Sit quiet now" a long ash fell on Joel’s cheek. She then took another drag and blew on his face."Head down!". A bit scared, Joel followed order. Cig back in her mouth, Nicole peeled off Joel’s long hair from his nape up to his crown. Bottom to top multiple times leaving piles of long hair on the floor. Then she went to his left side, mercilessly peeling off the hair around his ear to the roll of his head. Sideburns, or what used to be sideburns, were essentially balded. Over to the right side she repeated the procedure. Peel after peel revealing skin with just a hint of stubble. Joel looked truly ridiculous now. Basically bald back and sides with this long stringy mess cascading from the top. He was too stunned to cry ...
Nicole put out her cig and lit another, keeping it dangling in the corner of her mouth.
"Time to flat the stuff on top." She said as she placed the large flat top comb on top of his head. "Now Joel be nice and straight for me, I like this flat an’ nice." Placing the comb flat against his bangs she then ran the clippers over the comb, peeling off a large chunk of 13 inches off hair. Peel, peel, peel, the hair buzzed off to the floor. As she reached the crown there was less hair to fell - as it was mostly bald there naturally.
Nicole continued refining the flat top til as perfect as can be. Joel was utterly transformed. "Joel, we gonna make this super nice now". Nicole then lathered up his sides and back then razor shaved them smooth and bald.
Joel’s eyes were now welling up. "Are we done now?"
"Oh no baby, let’s get this landing strip nice, wide and shiny" Nicole said as she lathered up the top of his head.
Five minutes later Joel was shaved completely smooth, shiny and bald except for a nearly undetectable horseshoe of hair at the top front of his head.
Although his eyes welled, he did not cry. In fact he liked what he saw: a real man.
"Joel, why not come by every Saturday at 3pm. You can be my last client of the day and we’ll keep you lookin’ sharp. Maybe we can join Steve and Rory in the bowling league too!"
"It’s a deal!"