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CLICK CLACK CLICK by schoolday memories
This is my first attempt at writing a short story please exscuse punctuation and spelling mistakes
I was about 9 years old and had been allowed for the first time to take the 30-minute train ride to the little town where my Aunt and my two cousins lived.
I was feeling really grown up as I got off the train in the middle of the country where the air was much fresher than the city where I came from, I was looking forward to my two week holiday. My cousins met me at the station but I noticed that they were not their normal playful selves the younger one Mark was on his bike but it was obvious that the older one Matthew was in charge.
“Take Billy’s bag home, and meet me at the shop, I’ll keep your place. And remember Mark, leave your bike at home and ask Mum if it’s OK, go on now hurray”
As Mark scooted off across a field I asked Matthew “Where are we going?”
“We’ve just got something to do, don’t worry it won’t take long” and at that we started off towards the main street of the town.
About half way down the Main Street Mathew took a sharp right down a little alleyway and I saw a queue of boys all about our age waiting to go into a red door, up a few steps. Matthew nodded an acknowledgement to one of the boys and asked “How long have you been waiting?”
“About 20 mins, they’re doing 6 at a time”
“Is it old Charlie?”
“ Yip but I think Martha is helping too”
Matthew just shrugged. I was curious to what was going on but didn’t want to appear stupid so I just stood and listened to the conversation, another couple of boys joined the queue and then Mark arrived on foot.
Matthew pulled him in beside us
“What did Mum say?”
Before Mark could answer the door opened and I heard an old male voice beckon
“ Come on now boys don’t be shy let’s be having the next 6”
I noticed that the first 6 boys at the front of the queue somewhat reluctantly shuffled in through the door and the rest of us moved up. I counted that we were now numbers 4,5 & 6.
“Right Mark now what did Mum say?”
“She said it was OK”
“Ok what? Ok yes? Or OK No?”
“ She just said ‘Tell Matthew it’s OK’”
Matthew scowled at Mark “This is important did she said yes or no”
"I think she said, “Yes”
Matthew turned to me “Do you have any money?”
“Of course I do, do you want to borrow some?”
“No but you might have to spend some just now, but Mum eh Auntie Jean will give you it back”
“O.K” I said “Matthew what are we waiting for?”
Again before he could answer the door opened and a Lady in a bright pink nylon smock popped her head out
“Right let’s have the next 6 boys” as we filed in she continued
“ You first 3 go through and wait for Charlie and you other 3, I know Matthew and wee Mark but who’s this other wee one with the mad red curls?”
Matthew piped up “ That’s my wee cousin Martha, his name’s Billy, but I don’t know if he’s to..”
“Now, now Matthew you know the orders from the School, tsk tsk, such lovely curls too, never mind. Margaret put a cushion on the chair and get this wee one caped while I do little Mark first, come on Marky jump up here”
I watched as my cousin slowly climbed up on the chair and for the first time I realised that we were here for a haircut. I turned to Matthew
“ I don’t need a haircut Mum took me last week – and she paid a fortune for it”
Matthew just shrugged. meanwhile I heard behind me a noise I had never heard before a sort of CLICK CLACK CLICK sound, as I looked up I saw Mark in another chair with Martha’s hand firmly on the back of his head pushing his chin to his chest the CLICK CLACK CLICK sound was coming from a metal object that I hadn’t seen before.
Martha was pushing the handles together “Click” she released them “Clack” and then she pushed them together again “click” and a lock of Mark’s hair dropped to the floor.
Before I could see how much hair had been cut Margaret was in front of me pulling me towards the other chair
“Come on now, no use in making a fuss Martha will have to finished in no time”
“ No I don’t need a haircut!” I shouted
“You know the rules” stated Margaret firmly “Now get in the chair or it’ll be Charlie for you”
“Billy, said Matthew” just do it show them you’re not scared”
I realised that I had no option and climbed up into the chair with the cushion on it.
While all this was going on the “CLICK CLACK CLICK sound continued non-stop.
“Straight down the Middle Margaret, before he Kicks up a Fuss. no going back after that, use these, I’m almost done here just a wee touch of the razor and Markey boy’s all done, then I’ll come over and finish him off while you make a start on young Matthew here”
“Thanks” Margaret replied. she had already fastened a white cape tightly round my neck but I had still not seen what kind of a haircut Mark had but my heart was pounding as different thoughts rushed through my brain.
I felt Margaret’s soft hand across my forehead pulling my head slightly backwards “What a shame such lovely curls too” she muttered then “Sit perfectly still Billy these don’t hurt” I raised my eyes but her fingers were blocking my vision, I saw the outline of the metal things now realising they were manual hair clippers I heard a huge “CLICK” and felt my hair being tugged tight at my forehead
“CLACK” the tension released
“CLICK” it pulled again
“CLICK CLACK CLICK, “CLICK CLACK CLICK, “CLICK CLACK CLICK over and over again as the metal clippers ploughed through my curls to the crown of my head. A mass of hair tumbled passed my eyes and landed in my lap.
As Margaret released her grip everything seemed to happen at once. I looked down and saw my harvested curls, looked in the mirror passed the boy with the strange haircut saw the reflection of my Cousin Matthew rise from his seat, saw a boy with the same clothes as my cousin Mark take his place but this boy was BALD!
The boy touched his scalp and looked at me and smiled, my vision was blocked by Martha behind me I focussed on the boy with the strange haircut red and curly hair swirling each side of a 2 inch wide patch of BALD scalp straight down the middle of his head and I realised it was me! I was being sacrificed to the hair monster.
Where Margaret had been gentle but firm Martha was rough, as my chin was forced to my chest “CLICK CLACK CLICK, “CLICK CLACK CLICK, “CLICK CLACK CLICK the clippers digging into the back of my head up the middle “CLICK CLACK CLICK, “CLICK CLACK CLICK, “CLICK CLACK CLICK the back left “CLICK CLACK CLICK, “CLICK CLACK CLICK, “CLICK CLACK CLICK the back right “CLICK CLACK CLICK, “CLICK CLACK CLICK, “CLICK CLACK CLICK“CLICK CLACK CLICK, “CLICK CLACK CLICK, “CLICK CLACK CLICK all over the back. The hold was released. I looked at my reflection, it hadn’t changed curly hair swirling each side of a 2 inch wide patch of BALD scalp straight down the middle of my head. “CLICK CLACK CLICK, “CLICK CLACK CLICK, “CLICK CLACK CLICK” louder this time behind my left ear, over my left ear, appearing through my hair at my left temple a torrent of hair falling to my lap. The process repeated on the right side “CLICK CLACK CLICK, “CLICK CLACK CLICK, “CLICK CLACK CLICK. Two narrow strips of red above each eye running front to back “CLICK CLACK CLICK, “CLICK CLACK CLICK, “CLICK CLACK CLICK one gone “CLICK CLACK CLICK, “CLICK CLACK CLICK, “CLICK CLACK CLICK now a hairless scalp. “Keep very still” a strong thumb pulling the skin taught at my left ear, a scraping sound as a razor moves down my cheek, repeated on the right side. The cape loosened.
“There we are all done, see it wasn’t too bad” I looked in the mirror and saw a bald alien with my clothes on, looking back at me. I turned to face Mark who giggled and rubbed his own head.
”That was close! If you’d had Charlie you’d be bald now!”
“ I am BALD” I replied
“No, you’ve got some bristle just like me”
I sat down and watched as Martha attended to Matthew and saw at close quarters just how brutal the clippers were – but Mathew didn’t get a ‘Straight down the middle’ his was done from back to front all the way over it took less than 3 minutes including a neck shave. After we paid and left I asked Matthew
“Why did we have to get our hair cut so short?”
“Take a look around all the boys have it done there’s an outbreak of head lice in the School and only enough lotion for the girls, think yourself lucky, you could have got Charlie”
I looked across the street at three boys with scalps as smooth as eggs courtesy of Charlie.