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Brandon by mjhalvorson
It has been a gorgeous May, weather in the high 70s, lawns and gardens growing like mad. I had stopped by Doug’s Place to sell him some raffle tickets and just shoot the breeze. Doug has been cutting my hair for the last 20 years and we both grew up in the late 70s, as hair bands, punk rock groups, and country western music all battled for space on the airwaves.
“School’s out!” said Doug as he nodded at the group of five teenagers who were skateboarding in the parking lot,. I laughed and asked him if it brought back memories. “Hell yeah! I was one of those young punks back then, hair all punked out, black jeans, the whole nine yards! I just used to piss my Dad off to no end”, said Doug. I laughed as I ran my hand over my head, “yeah that was a head of hair and 75 pounds ago!”
We continued to chat as the door chimed, announcing another customer. It was one of the skateboarders, a tall, muscular, young fellow with dark brown, wavy hair that covered his ears and was falling in his eyes. His white tee shirt was sticking to his chest and back from sweat. He leaned his skateboard against the wall and took a seat in a waiting chair.
“Can I help you?” asked Doug as he got out of the barber chair. “Yeah, it’s getting hot out and I guess I need something shorter”, said the young fellow as he ran his finger through his mane, trying to brush it out of his eyes. “Have a seat!” said Doug. As Doug fastened the cape on the young fellow he said, “Give me something short, but real cool.”
Doug swung the chair away from the mirror, and proceeded to comb the tangled mane. “Punk rock skater”, Doug mouthed at me as I tried to focus my attention on an automotive magazine. Doug grinned as he snapped on the clippers. The clippers drove relentlessly into the thick mane of hair, and in under ten minutes, Doug cropped the young man to the bone, except for a strip of hair about two inches wide from forehead to nape of the neck. As the clippers fell silent, the young fellow gazed at the mound of hair in his lap, a look of shock on his face.
“So what are you doing for the summer?” asked Doug, as he spread lather on the skater’s head. “I’ve got a job siding houses this summer, before I start college in the fall.” was the reply.
“You have advantages that we didn’t when I was your age”, said Doug, as he used a cut throat razor to strip away the stubble. “I liked to skateboard all summer long, but snow-boards weren’t around back then, so I was always a little stiff every spring.”
“You used to skateboard?” asked the young fellow with a look of surprise on his face. “You bet!” answered Doug. “In fact I am giving you the same haircut I and some of my friends had when we were your age!”
Doug finished stripping away the stumble and returned with some wax in his hands. He worked it through the Mohawk style crest, before he returned with a scissors and trimmed the ‘hawk to about four inches.
“There you go!” said Doug as he swung the chair around to face the mirror. The look on the young guy’s face changed from shock to wonderment, as he ran his hands over his head, feeling the Mohawk crest. “Just one more thing,” said Doug as he rummaged in the drawer. He squirted some lotion in his hands and rubbed it over the freshly shaved scalp. “You’ve got to use a sun tan lotion with an SPF of 15, or better yet at least 30, otherwise you will have one hell of a burn.” said Doug.
The young guy got out of the chair and stood looking at his Mohawk in the mirror, checking it out from different angles. “What do I owe you?” he asked? “This one’s on me!” said Doug with a grin.
As the young guy turned to pick up his skateboard and leave, Doug said, “Hey, you forgot the suntan lotion,” as he flipped him the tube. The young guy caught it in mid air, grinned, and said, “Thanks!”
“Hey, what’s your name?” called out Doug as the kid prepared to leave. “Brandon”, was the reply. “See you next week, same time!” said Doug. Brandon had a slightly puzzled look on his face. “Got to keep that stubble shaved if you are going to rock a Mohawk!” said Doug.
“Cool!” said Brandon, with a grin on his face, “I’ll see you then!”
Doug and I watched Brandon re-join his skateboarding friends. He was the center of attention as they admired his Mohawk. “Well, you’ve got a new customer!” I said to Doug as he grinned out the window, watching Brandon and his friends.
“Do you want one?” Doug quipped as he turned to look at me, “no, I guess not. I can’t do much with someone who has about as much hair as a bowling ball!” I laughed and said, “Alright hippie, so are you going to buy a raffle ticket or not!”