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The Barber and the Office Bet by Gator
The Barber and the Office Bet
It was spring time in the south. After a couple of weeks of cold weather (cold for the south, not the north), it had warmed up enough to be in the back yard. Charlie had invited his office crew plus a few others over for the first BBQ of the year. Along with a couple of yard games, there was a TV on the screened in back porch so folks could watch the NCAA basketball tournament. There were definite loyalties to folks’ alma maters. Charlie supported Florida State, Andy was rooting for LSU, and Corey and I just watched since our local college was not in the tournament.
To catch everyone up on the latest haircuts, hair had gotten longer. Corey was still keeping his high and tight with the crew top. Andy had let his last razor shaved high and tight grow back to his usual "very low fade with no skin showing" cut; this was Andy’s description for me since he had now become a barbershop convert. He wanted to make sure that I kept his hair as long as possible despite me, and Corey, trying to get him back into a nice ivy cut. Charlie had grown out his flat to a longer business man’s cut; basically, the cut he had when he first ventured into my shop. I still had my razor shaved high and tight horseshoe flat. I saw no reason to give up a perfectly good flattop just because it got a little chilly outside.
It seems that Charlie’s office had set up an NCAA basketball tournament bracket and had placed some friendly wagers on who would win games. The payoff was generally the person who lost had to provide lunch for the office. Charlie had also agreed to host a BBQ dinner for the last of the Sweet 16 games. It was Friday evening after a long day for everyone. The grill had been fired up and the chicken was cooking. We were getting ready to watch the LSU and Michigan State game. Charlie had been despondent since his beloved FSU had lost to Gonzaga. Andy was visibly nervous as the game was beginning. I was manning the grill and Corey was beside me. "What’s wrong with Andy and Charlie?" I asked. "Well, Charlie’s FSU lost. Andy wants LSU to win. Not sure what the big deal is," said Corey. "It doesn’t appear to be a big deal at their office. Charlie has to buy lunch for his crew. If LSU loses, Andy will have to do the same thing. I just know that Charlie hates to lose any type of wager." "Andy is the same way," said Corey.
We all got our food, moved into the porch to watch the game. As the game progressed, Andy get louder as LSU was falling behind; Charlie was getting more animated. It was halftime with LSY behind. Charlie sarcastically said, "There is the second half to play, Andy." Andy was not amused. He went into the backyard. Corey went along. "What’s up with you? You never get this worked up over a basketball game." "I don’t want to talk about it right now. Later, ok?" "Sure." Corey came back in. "I’ve never seen him act so strange over a basketball game. Charlie just sat there with a big smile on his face.
The second half started. Needless to say, LSU did not do well as they lost to Michigan State. Andy said, "I’m gong for a walk. Alone, please." He went out the front door. Charlie got up with a huge smile and started the clean-up. I helped Charlie and followed him into the kitchen. "What’s with you, Sport? You’re happy as a lark over LSU losing?" "When Andy comes back and everyone is gone, we will explain it to you." I shrugged my shoulders. After about 15 minutes, Andy came back. We were all on the back porch. The next game was on, but others were leaving and expressing to expecting a great lunch on Monday compliments of Andy. There was jovial laughter and good comradery. Now it was just Corey, Andy, Charlie, and myself. I decided to start on the conversation. "Ok. We need to have a seat. Some of us have been acting pretty bizarre tonight and it hasn’t been either Corey or me. Spill the beans."
The four of us sat. Andy and Charlie looked at each other. Charlie ran his hand through his hair. "I guess I won’t be doing this for very much longer." He laughed. "We made a side bet on these games." Corey looked puzzled. "Andy, you’re cheap. Why would you bet money on a basketball game??" "It wasn’t money, Corey," started Andy. Andy and Charlie had, unknown to everyone, bet on which of their teams would go all the way. The payoff was that whosever team did not make it to the Final Four or even the Elite 8 would decide the haircut for the other person. If they both lost and neither made it to the Final Four or even the Elite 8, then Corey and I, Pete, would decide on the cut the two would get. Andy and Charlie had both agreed that letting Corey and I decide was going to be dangerous. However, no one told either Corey or I that we would be deciding. "So, no one bothered to tell us?" I asked. "No. It was to be a surprise to you both," said Charlie. "When do we decide on the cuts?" asked Corey. Andy looked rather sheepishly. "I am hoping tonight so that we know our fate. But we are not looking forward to what you two will decide." "Why is that?" asked Corey. Charlie laughed out loud. "Look at how short you two keep your cuts! And look at us!" He had a point. Two short-haired guys versus to longer hair guys. I tapped Corey on the shoulder. "Let’s go into the kitchen and discuss this." Andy and Charlie both moaned. "Please remember how much I like my hair, Corey," sighed Andy. "Yeah, right!" replied Corey.
Once in the kitchen, both Corey and I laughed heartedly. "Can you believe those two?" giggled Corey. "Mister Long Hair and Mister Don’t Cut It Too Short!" We continued to laugh. Outside on the porch, Charlie turned to Andy and said, "You know they’re laughing at us over this." Andy smiled. "I know." Back inside, I told Corey, "They both get the same cut. Nothing goofy like a Mohawk or a shaved head. They both need to be somewhat presentable for work." Corey was thinking. "I say give them both a cut of what they admire, but are so afraid to get." "What’s that?" "A flattop. A horseshoe flat. Razor shaved on the sides and back and some of the landing strip!" I stood up straight. "Are you serious?" "I am, Pete. The last time Andy got a trim from you, he asked my what I thought about your flat. He said he wondered what he’d look like sporting one." "And we know that Charlie loves flattops, but has never had the balls to go all the way with it being shaved. Let’s do it." "Can we have some fun with them first?" Yep!" I said. We went onto the back porch.
Corey had both Andy and Charlie move to the wicker couch. "You know, Andy and I heard you two laughing in there. This isn’t funny, Pete." I looked at Charlie and said, "Yes, it is funny! Who would’ve thought that you two, of all people, would bet on haircuts over a basketball game??" Corey piped in with, "That would be something Pete and I would do for sure." "Truth, brother!" We laughed. Andy and Charlie cringed even more. Corey went over to Andy and ran his hand through his hair. "We did agree that both of you would get the same cut. It has to be short." I was next to Charlie. I felt his auburn brown hair. "We were thinking of giving you two an induction cut. Use a 5-aught blade. Right down to the wood." Charlie jumped up. "Oh, hell no!" I pushed him back onto the couch. "Relax counselor." Corey took over. "That cut was ruled out. Not a good look for the office. So, we thought, Mohawks!" Andy cried out, "Oh no way!" Corey laughed and continued. "We both agreed bad look. So, a number 1 butch. Same length all over." Charlie shook his head. I laughed and took over. "We wanted some style for you two. Something which you’d never ask for on your own." "We decided to give you both matching flattops!" said Corey. "Identical horseshoe flats with razor shaved sides, back, and landing strip," I said as I ran my hand through Charlie’s long hair. Andy about fainted. "You serious, Pete?" Andy asked. "He is, Andy. Get used to it," said Corey. "But razor shaved?" asked Charlie. "Yes, Charlie. You both want a short cut like this and going razor shaved is something that neither one of you would ask for on your own." "Name the day, boys!" said Corey. "I think, Corey, we should just tell them what day to show up at the shop. It’s Friday evening now. I say, let’s get it over with. Tomorrow afternoon at 2 PM when the shop closes." "I agree," said Corey. "I will bring Andy by then. Charlie will show up then." "Actually, no. I will close at 1 PM and go get him so he doesn’t chicken out." Both Andy and Charlie were shaking their heads. "We are SO screwed," said Charlie.
We finished cleaning up. Corey and Andy left. It was just me and Charlie. "You’re going to enjoy this, aren’t you, Pete?" "Well, to be honest, yes, I am." Charlie walked over to me and rubbed my head. "Does this mean after our cuts, I get to shave your sides and back?" "Depends on how good you are in the chair." I laughed.
On the way to their house, Andy did not say a thing to Corey. Corey didn’t push the issue; he would do that once they got home. Inside their house, Corey asked Andy, "Why are you so upset?" Andy flopped on the couch and turned on the television. "I can’t believe you did this, Corey!" "Did what?" "Ordered that haircut. I am going to be bald!" Corey laughed. "You will not be bald. It’s one exceptionally short cut, Andy." "I can’t believe it!" Corey sat down next to Andy. "Look man, whose idea was the office bet to begin with?" Andy started to speak but stopped. "It started as a friendly bet, Corey. I had no idea it would go this far!" "How far is that?" "A horseshoe flat! And razor shaved at that! Shoot!" "Hey look, Andy, I had nothing to do with this at all. Neither did Pete! You and your boss, Charlie, put all this in motion!" Andy let out a deep sigh. "I could handle a regular flat like Charlie had been getting. I halfway expected that to be my cut if LSU lost. But shoot! It’s a horseshoe!" Corey started laughing again. "Let me remind you who asked, ‘How do you think I’d look in a flat?’ Remember that conversation?" Andy looked at Corey and sighed once again. His shoulders sagged. "Yes, I do. And it figures that you wouldn’t forget it. I am doomed." "If it’s any consolation, Charlie will have a matching cut!" Andy gave Corey that eat sh** and die look. "I can’t believe you let Pete talk you into agreeing to a horseshoe flat! Oh man!" Corey turned to Andy on the couch. "Actually, it wasn’t Pete. It was my idea." Corey had that big ol’ grin on his face. Andy sat straight up. "You? You decide this?" "Yup. And Pete agreed." Andy flopped back in the couch and closed his eyes and shook his head. "I’m doomed! I’ll be bald tomorrow!"
Meanwhile, at Charlie’s house, we were on the back porch. "I think Andy is not a happy camper, Charlie." He smiled and said, "I think you’re right. I can’t believe that you talked Corey into agreeing to us getting a horseshoe." "Who said it was me?" Charlie looked at Pete. "Certainly, it wasn’t Corey…" "Yes, it was his idea. I am the one who agreed." "I am screwed when Andy finds out." "Just remember, Charlie, that Corey and I did not have anything to do with setting up this bet. It was you and Andy." Charlie shook his head and added, "It was. The two of you were a by-product in case both teams lost. Who would’ve thought that both of our teams would lose?" I moved my chair next to Charlie’s chair. "Well, counselor, just be prepared." I put his hand in Charlie’s hair. "This will be so much fun taking all this off your head. I hope you’re ready." Charlies smiled. "Well, you will finally give me that cut that you have been lusting to give me for about a year." Charlie rubbed his hand over my flattop. "It’s going to short, Pete." I nodded in agreement. "Just remember two things, counselor." "What’s that?" "One, always trust your barber. And two, never bet your hair on a sports game. You will always lose!" Both men laughed.
It was Saturday afternoon. I had spent the night at Charlie’s since both of us had too much beer to drink and had gotten a good beer buzz. Fortunately for me, I didn’t get a hangover from drinking beer. I wasn’t so sure about Charlie though as he looked a little rough that morning grabbing a cup of coffee. It was getting close to 1:00 PM. The shop was quiet as no one was there since it was close to the end of the month. Charlie walked in the shop. "No need to close early. I found my own way here, Pete." "You’re a mess, counselor. You feeling alright?" "I’m a little fuzzy, but not bad." "I’ve got the coffee pot on in the back room. Go get some. And bring me a cup, too, please." Charlie returned with the coffee. "I can’t believe that we drank that much last night, Pete." "Correction, Charlie. You drank that much. I only had half of what you drank." "Why didn’t you stop me?" "You were having a good time. That’s why." "How’d I get into bed?" I laughed. "I put you there. You were a funny drunk last night, Charlie." He blushed. "Did we…?" "Shut up, Charlie. Don’t spoil it."
The shop door opened and in came Corey and Andy who looked nervous as all get out. "Afternoon, boys!" I shouted. "It’s a great day in the neighborhood, Pete!" added Corey. Charlie and Andy both said, "Shut up Corey!" as the same time. Corey laughed. "So, who’s going first in the chair?" I asked. Corey shoved Andy toward the chair. "He is!" "Hey! Says who?" asked Andy. "Bite the bullet man and do it." "Come on, Andy. I’m waiting." Andy shuffled forward. "At least look happy about this," I said. Andy plopped in the chair. I capped and taped him. "What can I do for you today, sir?" I asked and chuckled. "Dang! You’re a comedian, Pete," mumbled Andy. "I’m serious, Andy. Tell me what type of haircut you’re wanting today." Corey looked at Andy and said "Tell the man, Andy. Or I will." I added, "The least you can do is smile. Remember, Corey and I had nothing to do with the making of the bet," I said as I gently popped Andy in the back of the head. "Do you and Corey rehearse this stuff? You both always tell me the same thing," moaned Andy. Andy finally stated, "I want a razor shaved high and tight horseshoe flat. Please make sure to shave part of the landing strip, too." "You’ve got it, Andy."
I turned to the back bar to pick up my Osters. "Did you want to face the mirror or the audience, Andy?" "Keep him facing us, Pete. I want to see his face," interjected Corey. He took out his phone and started taking pictures. "What are you doing, Corey?" he asked. "Taking pictures of you. Call it blackmail," replied Corey. Andy moaned. I had the 000 blade on the clippers, turned them on, placed my right hand on Andy’s top and tilted his head to the left. I placed the Osters in front of Andy’s left ear. I went from the bottom of his sideburn to the top of his head. The blonde hair fell in Andy’s lap. Andy got really quiet as I continued to remove the hair from his left side. I had cleared the left side and I took my right two forefingers and ran them up the side of his head. "Nice stubble, Andy, my man! Nice!" Corey walked over. "Almost as tight as your high and tight anniversary present for me!" Andy just closed his eyes. I would forcefully place Andy’s head where I needed it as I continued around the back of Andy’s head. I kept making swipes straight up watching more and more skin appear on his head. When I got to the back, I pushed Andy’s head forward to his chin. I kept my right hand on the top of his head so that he wouldn’t move it. Corey walked around to watch me remove Andy’s hair. I made several passes from Andy’s nape straight up to his crown. I cleared extra space in his crown area so that I could open up his flat for the shoed flattop look. As the hair fell, the majority of it landed in his lap. Andy started to breath hard. I asked if he was okay; "Allergies," he said. I smiled and thought allergies, like hell. I lifted Andy’s head so I could tackle his right side. I purposely aimed the cut hair into his lap. I continued the same process here. Put the clippers behind his ear and peel straight up. More blond hair kept falling. The last cut was when I put the clippers in front of Andy’s right ear and slowly peeled straight up to the top. "Wow!" was all Andy could say.
I turned to get water and some gel in order to have Andy’s hair to stand up. I used the blow-drier to force his hair to stand at attention. Once again, I grabbed my Osters and my flattop comb and then leveled Andy’s head and told him not to move so he wouldn’t end up totally shaved bald. I could tell he stiffened up. I aimed the clippers dead-center about an inch back from his front. The clippers land and went straight to Andy’s crown! "Wow! A four-point landing!" exclaimed Corey. I had to stopped because I was laughing. Even Charlie was laughing. Andy finally smiled! I continued to flatten Andy’s top. He was going to look good with this flat. I was taking this horseshoe shorter than what I normally would for a guy’s first time flat. Was it on purpose? Yep, it was. I had to in order to get Charlie’s shoe this short. I got my brush to clean off the cut stubble. I gently ran my hand over Andy’s flat. Corey did the same thing. "How does that feel, Andy?" "Short!" he replied with a big smirk on his face. I retrieved a hot towel and wrapped it around Andy’s head. After a few seconds, I removed the towel and spread the hot lather all over his sides and straight down the landing strip. Andy’s jaw dropped open. I once again started on Andy’s right side to shave him down. I initially shaved him with the grain, got my hand wet, rubbed his side and then shaved Andy against the growth. I kept checking for missed stubble on Andy’s head. I kept repeating this process as I moved around from Andy’s left side to his right side. To finish his cut, I placed the razor on Andy’s landing strip and pulled it straight back to meet the shaved crown area. I had to blend the shaved part of his landing strip with the edges of his top. I wanted this to look professional from every view.
After I completed the shaving, I grabbed my set of peanut clippers so I could blend out the line between where the shave met the edges of Andy’s flat. I loaded the duster and liberally ran it all over Andy’s head. I turned the chair toward the mirror. "Are you ready to see the new and improved Andy?" I asked. Andy took a couple of deep breaths and said, "I am." I slowly turned the chair. Corey was busy taking pictures. I told Andy to close his eyes until I stopped the chair and then told him to take a look. He opened his eyes. They got wider the longer he looked. "OMG! It’s a horseshoe flat!!" We all laughed. Andy almost got a huge smile on his face. "You know, it doesn’t look all that bad! It’s short, but I think I like it!" I uncapped Andy and he stood up in front of the mirror. He rubbed his fresh cut. Corey walked over to him and he took a selfie of them both. "Did you hate me still?" Corey asked. It was Andy’s turn to laugh. "No! No, I don’t! Thank you, Corey." He turned to me and said, "Thanks, Pete." "So, is this a keeper?" Andy shook his head. "To be honest, I don’t know. I know it’s a keeper for at least 3 months until it grows out!" Corey looked at me. "He’ll be in next week to get it freshened up when I come in, Pete!" Andy popped Corey up the side of his head.
Andy looked at Charlie who had placed the coffee mug on my back counter. "Okay, boss, climb your butt into Pete’s chair! Your turn!" Charlie stood up. "I’m not so sure I want to do this," mumbled Charlie. "Say what? You are not going to back out after I lived up to my end of the bet," cried Andy. Charlie slowly, but somewhat unwillingly climbed into my chair. I knew he was ready for this cut. He had been itching all night saying he was finally going to get his shaved flattop. He was drunk then, but now he was almost sober but with somewhat of a hangover. I put out my hand in front of Charlie’s face. "You’ve got to be kidding me?" wailed Charlie. "Nope, Counselor. Cell phone in my hand. Now." Charlie rolled his eyes and put his phone in my hand. "I can’t believe this after all this time!" "Shut up Charlie. Enjoy the adventure," I told him. I caped Charlie very tightly.
"Okay, Charlie, what type of cut do you want?" Charlie looked in my face. "Seriously?" "I want you to verbally tell what cut you want," I replied, "just like Andy did." Charlie sighed loudly. "I want a flattop." "Standard flat or?" "I want a razor shaved horseshoe flat. Shave part of the landing strip, too." "Uhh, no please?" "Please, Sir, Mr. Pete." I patted Charlie’s head. "That’s better, son!" I saw Charlie roll his eyes again. I took my free right hand and tussled Charlie’s auburn brown hair. I have to admit that I loved Charlie with this longer hair, and with his flattop. He could handle any type of cut. However, I had been looking forward to this cut since I found out about the office bet.
I combed Charlie’s hair and left a slack type of left-hand part knowing that the part was going to disappear. As with Andy, I placed the 00000 blade on my Osters, put my right hand into Charlie’s hair, and tilted his head to the right. "Don’t fight me, Counselor. This was your idea along with your partner in crime, Andy." Charlie sighed again. "I know your going to enjoy giving me this cut, Pete. You’ve been after me since last summer to do it." I did notice that Corey was taking some pictures of Charlie as his haircut had begun. As I was cleaning off the right side of Charlie’s head, I replied with, "And you’ve wanted it badly since then. Admit it." Charlie was quiet. I laughed out loud. "That’s not funny, Pete," said Charlie. I had gotten to the back of Charlie’s head, placed the Osters in the middle of his nape, and started slowly up the center. I got to his crown, and continued down the top of his head to create his landing strip. Charlie about jumped out of the chair. "Holy cats, Pete!" "Take it like a man, Charles." He knew when I said Charles that I was serious. "Yes, sir!"
I went back to his nape and continued removing the hair going straight to his crown. I knew that Charlie was enjoying this. I looked over at Corey and Andy; Corey was rubbing the sides and back and the landing strip of Andy’s new cut. I kept peeling off Charlie’s hair. I had now gotten around to his left side. I was standing close to him. I jumped slightly as Charlie slipped his hand out from under the cape and rubbed my hard on through my pants. "I believe that someone is having to much fun, Pete." "We will see how you’re doing, Counselor, later on!" Charlie smiled. I turned the chair to face Charlie to the mirror. I went around back and lifted Charlie’s head. I took the clippers to flatten his top. I free-handed Charlie’s top so that I could blend it in. I looked in the mirror; Charlie’s eyes were closed and he had a big smile on his face. I knew that Charlie was going to look great with this cut, just like Andy. I put the clippers down, grabbed a hot towel and wrapped Charlie’s head with it. I then placed the hot lather all over his sides and back and half-way down his landing strip. I used the Fusion razor to shave Charlie. I did the first shave with his growth and then relathered and reshaved against the growth. I rubbed his head checking for any missed spots. Charlie kept his eyes close during the entire shave, but still had a huge smile on his face showing his dimples.
"Open your eyes, Charlie. Take a look at the new you." He did. He slowly took his hand out from under the cape and rubbed his sides, back, and landing strip. "Wow! Oh wow! Who would’ve thought I’d look like this?" I replied, "I did, Charlie." I also rubbed his head and rested my hand on his horseshoe. "This is amazing, Pete." "What did I tell you Charlie?" I turned the chair around and released him from the cape. He stood up. "I need a picture of the two of you," said Corey. "This is for prosperity’s sake." "You better get a few, Corey. I doubt that we will ever get them to do this again," I said. "I take it, Charlie, that this is a keeper through the summer?" Charlie looked at me and said, "I shall see." He winked at me as I smiled at him and rubbed his shaved sides and flattop.
Both cuts were now done. There were 3 horseshoe flat men and one high and tight crewed man. "Let’s go to the Depot for dinner," I stated. "We can show off the newest residents of town!" Corey and I laughed. "And don’t forget, men, that this is a very high maintenance cut!" I said. "You need to be in the chair every 10 to 14 days getting this cleaned up!" Andy and Charlie just rolled their eyes.