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Change by Dave

It has been three years since Seth and I had our first wager and I lost. If you remember I had really long, black, very thick hair and I lost it all except for a big braid at the crown. See (A SURE WINNER) if you haven’t read the story. I was having a great time with my huge braid. I had kept the head shaved except for the braid itself. The braid had become a part of me. Every once in a while, Soonie would come and make me into the Mongolian worrier and Seth and I would have lots of FUN going to parties. Some times we had dates, but often we would get invited and we would jump into our disguises and take off.

Seth still had his fine, blonde, curly hair that by now had gotten really long - almost to his waist. I kept telling Seth that he should get his hair cut and he came back with, “Cory, it’s time for you to lose the braid.” Up until recently, I was really enjoying it, but now it is getting old. I wanted a change. I will always remember the day that I first got the braid and I am reminded of that day each time I go into my den and see that great picture that Seth had made of us.

As I said before, I worked out of doors. I loved the out of doors and enjoyed every minute I can spend there. I went to work one day and in my mailbox, I found a note for me to see my boss before going out on the job. I work for the Forestry Service. When I went to see the boss, he asked me to sit down. He told me that the Service was opening up a new office in the Northwest. I had been selected to be the ‘boss’ in that office. I didn’t know what to say when he told me of my selection. I knew the course work I had taken at night and weekends over the years would pay off. At first Seth thought it was foolish, but I was able to talk him into taking the courses with me. I had a reason, it was a lot more fun having someone in the class I knew and besides we could study together and that made it easier and fun as well. Did I tell you that Seth worked for the Forestry Service as well?

I thanked Mr. Burns for the job and he told me he only submitted my name. It was the bosses in Washington, D.C. who had made the final decision. I had no knowledge of any of this. Mr. Burns was about to say something when I asked about Seth. I told him he and I had worked together for so long and were great friends. Would I be allowed to take him along with me as my ‘right hand man?’ Mr. Burns smiled and said, I was about to say, that Cory was given a promotion and he will be going with you as your assistant. I had recommended that arrangement since you both seem to work well together.

I again thanked Mr. Burns and was about to leave when Mr. Burns said, “You will receive word as to the starting date well enough in advance for you to get moved at the department’s expense and get set up. I have some info for you when you receive the date. I have someone in the area who will be able to help both you and Seth with finding homes. I was about to leave when Mr. Burns said, “Cory! Lose the Braid! It won’t ‘work’ where you are going. And for goodness sake, tell Seth to lose the ‘look’ also. Oh! Yes! One more thing, don’t mention this to Seth until the orders are cut and we have them in our hands. Thanks!”

I left for work that day feeling like I was walking on cloud 9. The day went well. I kept thinking all day how I was going to try and get Seth to get rid of the long hair and how I was going to be able to get Seth to tell me to get rid of the braid. The entire evening I kept trying to come up with a solution.

I thought of an idea. I am pretty good with the ‘slight of hands’ trick. I got the idea from remembering a haircut story I had read some time ago about a son and a birthday party and how they had stacked the deck against him. I talked with Seth’s barber, Jason, and he was all for helping me. I had saved a lot of the canisters in which film comes in. I would put a slip of paper in each of them saying: LOSE IT! or KEEP IT! I put all of the canisters in a bag and took them with me. I got really excited about us going to the Northwest to work and me losing the braid. I wanted to keep the head shaved - I loved the feel of it except for the braid. I had a good tan on the head. The only thing about the loss of the braid would be that white spot on the crown. It will look strange until it tans.

One day at work, Seth said to me, “Cory! How about us going to the opening of a movie this evening after I get my hair trimmed at Jason’s? I thought it was a great idea. I suggested we go from Jason’s to a restaurant for dinner and then to the movies. Seth was agreeable to that, so now to put my plan in action. I picked up Seth and as we were driving to Jason’s, I told Seth I was in the gambling mood. He is quick to want to gamble. He said, “What do you have in mind?” I told him I had been thinking about it and had an idea. I told him of my idea and when we reached Jason’s I took the bag with me.

I knew I had Seth hooked. He can’t resist trying to outdo me. I had Jason clued in before we arrived as to my plans and he couldn’t wait to see how things would play out. When I explained the wager to Seth he was raring to go. I took out two of the film canisters and opened them and showed Seth that one contained LOSE IT and the other one contained KEEP IT! He quickly noticed that the canister that had LOSE IT in it, was red and the KEEP IT was in a black one. He mentioned about that and I told him that would be easy to solve. We would toss those two out. Seth was satisfied. So much for the ‘slight of hand trick.’

It was agreed that Jason would select a canister for each of us. Seth liked that idea and then he said, “NO! I feel lucky today so I want select my own canister. I told him he couldn’t look in the bag. Seth put his hand in and mixed up the canisters and drew one out. I could see that Seth was beginning to have a little tremble in his hands as he proceeded to open the canister and take out the folded paper. Slowly he unfolded the paper and read it. His head dropped and then he read it again. I looked at Seth and said, “Something tells me by the way you look, you are going to lose that beautiful blonde hair.” He looked up at me and said, “Dam!”

He sat down in Jason’s chair and Jason put the cape on him and said, “Well Seth! What is it going to be? Trim or Razor?” Seth’s face turned a little red and he took a deep breath. He then handed Jason the slip of paper and Jason said, “Hot Dam! It’s SHAVE TIME.” Jason handed the paper back to Seth and said, “Seth! Do you really want me to shave it all off?” Seth looked up Jason and then to me and said, “Cory has been a good sport about me winning those two times, so I am going to be a good sport also. SHAVE IT!”

I sat down and said, “YES! Finally the tide has turned.” Jason asked Seth if he wanted to save the hair and Seth looked up at him and said, “Why would I want to save it? It would only remind me of this terrible day.” Jason said, “Will it be all right if I save it and send it to ‘Locks of Love?’ Seth answered, “Do what you want with it.” Jason carefully combed the hair and placed rubber bands every 6 six or so inches all the way down. Jason picked up his sharp scissors and said, “Ok! Seth! It’s time. With three big snips, the hair came free of Seth. At that point, Seth looked so strange. Jason came back after putting the hair away for shipment and took the clippers and handed them to Seth.

Seth looked up at Jason and said, “Why did you give these to me?” Jason smiled and said, “You get to do the honors of making the first cut with the clippers. Seth handed them back to Jason, and said, “NO WAY!” Jason walked behind the chair and reached up and placed the clippers on Seth’s forehead. Slowly he slid them back and you could hear the change in the hum of the clippers as the teeth began chewing away Seth’s hair. I could see that Seth had placed both of his hands on the arms of the chair and you could see the white in his knuckles. After the first pass, I could see Seth beginning to relax. Of course I had to make things more miserable for him by smiling all the time. It wasn’t long before Seth stepped from the chair with a shiny dome. He reached up and felt it and then said, “This is so strange. I sure do miss the feeling of my hair getting in my face.”

Seth paid Jason and I said, “Ok! Seth! Let’s go and get something to eat. We have plenty of time before the movie begins.” Seth looked at me and said, “Oh! No you don’t. You haven’t had your turn at the bag.” I looked at Seth and said, “I don’t remember I was the one who needed a haircut or trim!” Seth looked at me and said, “Get your paw in the bag or I will do it for you. With my luck, I will pick out a KEEP IT for you.” I grinned and said, “Ok! Let’s let Jason pick out one.” Seth loved that idea. Seth looked at Jason and said, “Pick one out just like mine.” Jason picked out a canister and opened it. He handed the folded paper to Seth and asked him to open it and read it. Seth couldn’t wait to open it and when he did, he jumped for joy. He said, “Ok! Cory my pal, my buddy, my friend. You’re luck is holding. You get to get it shaved.”

I said, “Oh! No! Let me see!” I read it out loud “Lose It!” Seth was grinning from ear to ear. I said, “I want to draw my own.” Seth said, “No Way! You had your chance and you gave it to Jason. Say Jason, do you have another good, sharp razor handy?” I pretended to walk out and Seth said, “Get your butt in the chair and lets see that braid go.” I slowly walked to the chair and sat down. Jason put the cape on me and then asked, “What will be for you today, Sir?” I said, “A light trim will do this time.” Seth got up and walked over and said, “A light trim indeed. Once that braid is gone, you will have a light trim all right - right down to the skin.”

Jason was smiling and said, “I have to hear it from my customer. I can’t take here-say evidence.” Seth looked at his watch and said, “Tell him to take it off so we can go and get something to eat before the movie.” I looked up at Jason while smiling, and said, “Ok! Jason! I lost fair and square.” Take it off….but I want to save it.” Jason said, “Gotch ya!” He put a tight rubber band around the base of my braid and slowly snipped it free. He laid the braid down and I couldn’t believe how much weight I was carrying around. Jason picked up the clippers and turned them on and handed them to me. I said the same thing that Seth had said about a half hour ago. I told Jason I couldn’t reach that area. I could see that Seth was sitting on the edge of his chair. Seth jumped up and said, “Here! Let me do it! I can reach the area.” Jason winked at me and handed the clippers to Seth. You would think he was given a new toy. He made short work on what little hair I had on my head.

I then said, “Jason, I think you had better do the shaving. Seth seems to willing and I might end up with no skin up there.” Seth laughed and went over and sat down. It no time my little spot was shining. It really looked strange after the shaving with my well-tanned head except for the white spot about the size of a wide-mouth jar. Seth was so happy. I paid Jason and thanked him and off we went. I made sure I took my braid along. I wanted to keep it to remind me of the FUN Seth and I had. Of course I had the picture to remind me, but seeing the huge braid just brought everything home. I told Seth I couldn’t believe my bad luck held and he grinned.

We had a great dinner and the movie was really great. It was about the gold rush of the Northwest. I was busting to tell Seth, but I didn’t. As we were driving home, Seth said, “I bet you had more LOSE IT in the bag than KEEP IT, didn’t you?” I grinned and said, “You will never know will you?” Just then Seth said, “I want to go back to Jason’s and get that bag. I think I smell a rat here.” I turned back and Jason was just leaving. He always made sure his shop was clean before leaving each day. Seth jumped out of the car and ran to Jason. He wanted to know about the bag of canisters and Jason told him he threw them in the trash. He didn’t think we wanted them. Seth raced back of the building to retrieve them from the trash as the garbage truck was hoisting the dumpster up and over. Seth stood there and watched as the contents of the dumpster was falling into the truck.

He came back out front and sort of looked like he had lost his best friend. I heard the truck so I knew what had happened. I said, “Seth. Forget it. You look terrific with that hair gone. Just wait until you get a tan going up there. It is going to look even better.” Jason apologized to Seth again for tossing them.

As we were driving home, I looked over at Seth and he was rubbing his head. I said, “Are you going to keep it shaved? It sure looks great!” Seth smiled a little and said, “It really does feel cool. I will let you know tomorrow at work.”

The following morning I saw Seth arriving and he said, “Hey! Cory! Wait up!” He caught up with me and said, “I’ve been thinking! I sure do miss my hair, but this head feels so awesome, I am going to keep it shaved for the time being.” I told him he would no doubt keep it shaved once a tan took the place of the white skin. He rubbed my head and I rubbed his. Seth began to laugh and said, “That sure does feel good. You know what? I can feel the sun’s rays on my noggin. It sure does feel great.” I told him just wait until one BIG raindrop hits the bare head. He has an experience waiting for him that he won’t forget.

Work went on as usual and yes, Seth’s head did get a tan on it. He really looked great with the bald head. He is one of those who can be said to have been born to be bald. I finally got the white patch tanned as well. I really like my bald head. It sure beats the long hair I had.

The day came when I received the formal papers transferring me to the Northwest. I told Seth about it and he looked ‘down.’ He said, “You can refuse the transfer can’t you? We work so well together. I sure will miss you.” I let him stew a little and then I told him that Mr. Burns wanted to see you. I told him maybe Mr. Burns is going to put you in my old position.

I waited outside for Seth. In about 10 minutes he came out and shouted “YES!” I looked surprised and happy and said, “You got my position.” He looked at me and then hugged me. He said, “NO! Even better than that. I am going with you and I will be your assistant. I congratulated him and off we went. Yes! We moved to the Northwest and loved the area. It was much different from what we had experienced before. One day Seth said to me, “Let’s let our hair grow back out just for fun. We can always shave it off again.” I said, “OK! For how long?” Seth looked at me and said, “How about a week?” I said Deal! When I let my hair grow out, I couldn’t stand it and besides there was a lot of white creeping into the garden. Before the week was up, Seth came to me and said, “Cory! I hate this feeling. I want to go back to shaving.” I told him I guess I liked the shaved head better also. I didn’t tell him I couldn’t wait to take the razor to it. Some of the guys working with us, finally decided to try our ‘look.’ Some of them loved it and others weren’t sure. I know Seth and I are sure.

Every day I look at the picture above my new fireplace and see the picture of the time when I was transformed to a different world. I smile and then look at the braid. I have it in a box with a clear lid so I can see it. I still can’t believe I wore that thing for over two years.

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