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Jimmy Becomes Jim, part 3 by Alex
Thanks for the encouraging comments, guys. Makes all the difference.
I had to walk home in just my shorts and sandals. I enjoyed the cool feeling of wind on my back, on my bare neck, and on my crew-cut hair. It was a real pleasure not to have hair in my eyes as the strong beach wind blew. When I got home, my dad complimented me on the shorter cut, and he even ran his hand up the back of my head.
"Looks real good, son," is all he said. My dad was a man of few words.
I spent all that week thinking about Curt the Barber. How he'd made me feel as he'd washed, rinsed, and dried my hair, running his hands all over my scalp before shearing off so much of my hair. His hands had felt electric on my scalp. I couldn't believe he'd sheared me down all while under the cape I was only wearing a pair of shorts. All week long, just the feeling of my short-cropped hair brought back the whole experience.
The week passed slowly as I waited for my barbershop appointment. On Friday morning, I put on a fresh wifebeater, shorts, and sandals and headed back down to the beach and Curt's Barbershop. I wondered what would happen. Could I continue this charade of getting my hair cut without Curt realizing I was into him?
Stepping into the shop, I saw that both Seb and Curt were there. I didn't expect that. Seb was sweeping up hair, while Curt was cutting a customer's hair. The guy in the chair looked to be somewhere around my age, and sitting next to the entrance was an older guy, maybe his father. These were the first patrons I'd actually seen in the barbershop, besides myself.
"Hey Jim," Curt said, looking up at me with a gleaming smile. "Good to see you. Be with you in just a few. Gotta finish up Mike, here."
I nodded. "Thank you, sir." I took a seat next to the older guy. I surreptitiously watched the bald muscular hunk Seb sweep up hair. I didn't want to stare, but it was hard not to. Today Seb was wearing black shorts and a Hawaiian shirt with the top four buttons of the shirt undone, revealing much of his muscular, hairless chest. As he swept up the store, his thick arms flexed. I could barely peel my eyes from him.
"Alright, Mike," Curt said, running his hands through the sides of the customer's hair. "Now that we've got your hair thinned up a bit, what's it gonna be?"
"Military buzz," the father answered. Mike looked worried.
Curt nodded, then placed a guard on the clippers. He pushed Mike's head down and ran the clippers up the back of his head, then repeated the process on the sides and the top. Then Curt took off the guard and ran it over the back and sides of Mike's head. By the time he was done, Mike had very little hair left: the sides of his head were buzzed bald, and even the top couldn't have been much more than stubble. Then Curt pulled off the cape, Mike's hair falling to the floor, as they made their way to the register. Hunky Seb rang Mike up while Curt turned to me.
"Next!" he said, as he stood by the sink chair.
I felt a little awkward walking over to the chair. I hadn't bargained for there being other customers still in the shop. It felt a little embarrassing.
"Alright, Jim," Curt said. "Let's get you sudsed up."
I went to sit down, but he stopped me.
"Let's pop your shirt off so it doesn't get wet," he said.
We wanted me to pull my shirt off in front of other customers?
I just stood there, dumbly, until Curt reached over, grabbed the bottom of my shirt and peeled my wifebeater up over my chest and then over my head. Then he tossed it on the counter and slid his hands over my bare shoulders as he wrapped the apron around me and then guided me into the sink chair.
Curt lowered the back of the sink chair. His strong hands positioned my head in the sink for the third time. I heard the door jingle as he turned on the warm water.
Curt began shampooing my hair and scalp, massaging my head. It felt so good. When my my hair was all lathered up, he rinsed and then lathered my head once more, running his strong hands over and over through my hair, behind my ears, even a bit down my neck. I looked up at Curt's pretty-man face, and I couldn't help but let out a soft moan.
"Feels good, huh?" he said.
"Yes, sir," I said.
He continued the scalp massage as he smiled.
If you're reading this far, you know what kind of a reaction I was having under the apron.
Curt was thorough, running his fingers across my temples, then back across my head. Finally, he rinsed my hair and turned off the water. He raised the back of the chair and toweled down my wet hair.
Then he pulled off the apron and my hands moved automatically to cover up my reaction down below.
"Let's get you over to the chair, Jim," Curt said, guiding me by the shoulders over to the barber's chair. Did he see? I hoped not.
"What's it gonna be today, Jim?" Curt asked.
"I dunno. What do you suggest, sir?" I asked.
"Well, this crew cut's looking a bit long, Jim. I think we should go with something considerably shorter. Maybe what Mike just got."
"Oh, sir, that's really short," I said. "I couldn't go that short."
"Sure you could, Jim."
"No, I've never gone that short."
"Nonsense," he said, running his hand through my still-damp hair. "It's just what you need." How could I argue?
Curt began blow-drying my hair. Because it was already so short, it took only a few minutes to dry it. Then I saw him take up the Oster clippers, putting a number one guard on it.
Not for the first time, I gulped as Curt pushed my head down, running those clippers up the back of my head. The now-familiar feel of the clippers going up the back of my head was no longer alien, but the shortness of the cut was definitely a new sensation. The vibrating blades peeled off most of the hair on the back and sides, followed then by the top.
Curt turned off the clippers and I thought he was done. But then I saw him switch guards to a number zero.
A number zero!
"Shhhh. Trust me, Jim. ...Do you trust me?
I nodded. "Yes sir."
With that, he pressed my chin down onto my chest, and then ran the clippers up the back of my head again. Over and over, he ran the clippers over the back and sides of my scalp, balding them in the process. I was hard as a rock under the cape.
Finally, the haircut was finished. He turned the chair around to the mirror and said, "Alright, Jim. Looks great, huh?"
It was shockingly short. I had never had such a short haircut in my entire life. Never in a million years could I have imagined my hair cut this short. But, after the initial shock wore off, I had to admit I looked okay, maybe even good. I did look more tough. More adult. Less like Little Jimmy.
"Thank you, sir," I said. "It looks... It looks good. It looks better than ever."
"You do look good," Seb offered. I'd forgotten he was even there.
Curt pulled the cape off, and soon Seb was ringing me up on the register. This time, I finally remembered to grab my shirt from the counter.
"Jim, why don't you leave your t-shirt there. Seb and I were about to head out to the beach and go for a quick afternoon dip in the waves," Curt suggested. "You're welcome to tag along."
What?! Had Curt, my barber, actually just invited me to hang out on the beach with him? With... them? For a few moments, I thought he was joking, and then slowly realized he was serious.
How could I say no?
"Thank you, sir. I'd very much like that, to be honest."
As I walked out of the barbershop, my tightly shorn scalp tingled in the beach breeze.