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Grimm's Hairy Tales: Goldilocks by BaldSurfer
Once upon a time, there was a young man named Billy Golden. He was the star quarterback of his high school football team. And just as famous as his football skill was his beautiful long blonde hair. On the field, it hung in a long pony tail halfway down his back. Off the field, he wore it loose, his straight golden shining hair cascading over his shoulders as he walked the halls of his school. At the end of his senior year, Billy won a football scholarship to Grimm State University.
In mid-summer, Billy arrived at Grimm State for his first football practice. He was so excited that he hardly slept at all the night before, so he was already tired when he walked into the lockerroom at 7 am to meet his teammates for the first time. He walked in and it seemed like he was the last to arrive. His teammates were already all halfway into their uniforms for practice, loudly joking and laughing. When Billy walked in, they all looked up and fell silent and stared at Billy. And Billy stared back. All he saw between the rows of lockers were huge, muscular players,and every single one of them had VERY short hair. Billy saw buzz cuts from nearly bald to half an inch at best. Some had sharp flat tops with the sides shaved to the scalp. A couple of defense guys sported mohawks - but even their sole stripe of hair was less than half an inch. Billy felt like he'd walked into a strange alien world.
The team erupted in laughter and the insults flew. "Who's the new girl?" "Ladies locker room is down the hall!" And then, the one that would stick: "Is that our new QB Golden? More like 'Goldilocks' to me!". Everyone laughed and Billy knew that he would never shake that nickname - for the next 4 years, he'd be Goldilocks. But Billy loved his long hair. Even more, he loved how much girls loved his long hair. He'd learn to deal with the name.
But that first practice was brutal. In college, even football practice was harder than it had ever been in high school. The team had been split into 2 squads to face off against each other, and Billy's opposing defense made it a point to grab his long pony tail and use it to hurl him to the ground. They called it the "Goldilocks Grab" and mercilessly repeated it again and again. Billy was made a target, and he never got to even show his passing skills before his own teammates brutally grabbed his hair and used it to slam him to the dirt.
Meanwhile, in the small town that bordered the school, there was a single barber shop, called The Three Barbers, owned by Nunzio, his older son Marco and his younger son whom they all called Bambino. The whole family loved the local teams and gave all the football players free haircuts. Knowing that today was the start of practice, the barbers wanted to be prepared and called the local knife sharpener to help hone their tools.
"My scissors are too dull," Nunzio told him.
"My clippers are too clogged," added Marco.
"And my razor has no blade left," said Bambino.
The knife man told them that he would fix all their tools, and suggested that they go out to lunch and leave him to his work. With the three barbers gone, he expertly sharpened the scissors, oiled the joint that held them together and polished them until they gleamed. He cleared the tiny bits of stubble from the clipper combs, sharpened the blades, and oiled the motors until they hummed with power, with shining blades ready to tear through unruly hair. He took Bambino's antique razor, with its handle of whalebone inlaid with gold, and carefully replaced the old worn, chipped blade with a razor so sharp that it could even split a hair in half. Proudly, he left the tools for the barbers to find when they returned.
When football practice ended, Billy was exhausted. He'd never been worked so hard on the field. He'd never been so mercilessly pounded into the ground. And he'd started without a good night's sleep, so he could barely move when the coach called him into the office.
"Tough first day out there, huh?" said the coach. "College is very different from high school, but I have no doubt that you can handle it. But a QB needs to earn the trust and respect of his team or he'll never succeed. You need to fit in, and become part of the unit. And I think you know what your biggest obstacle will be. Look, I have no authority to order you to get a haircut, but I think the guys made it clear about the way they feel about you and that pony tail. The decision is yours, but if you can't win the respect of your team, you won't make it here and your career may be over before it starts. But that's your choice to make. Give it some thought..."
Billy said he would, and left the coach's office. He went back to his locker and finished dressing, putting on a clean number 7 jersey. It was team tradition to wear your number around campus and town, to show your pride. It was Billy's first day, so he wandered into town, as he considered the coach's advice. He loved his long hair, but he loved football more. Should he cut it? He couldn't imagine cutting it all off as short as the other guys. But maybe he could find a shorter style that he could live with, that would also show the team he was willing to conform. He was nervous. He hadn't had more than a slight trim of the ends since middle school. He didn't know what to ask for. He didn't even know if he wanted to do this at all. All he knew for sure is that he'd never been so tired in his life.
All this was running through his head as he noticed the spinning pole that marked The Three Barbers shop. Thinking he could still back out, he wandered in to check it out and maybe ask for some suggestions. But when he walked inside, the shop was empty. No barbers. No customers. Just shining, new looking scissors, clippers and razors. Exhausted, Billy decided to wait for a barber to show up. He sat down in Nunzio's big old antique barber chair. It was huge, old, and the cushions were hard and uncomfortable. He tried Marco's chair in the middle, but it was a more modern chair, with soft cushions and no head rest. Finally he settled into Bambino's chair, soft and comfortable, already a bit reclined. Before he knew it, Billy was fast asleep.
Soon, the 3 barbers returned to their shop. Bambino laughed and said "Look who's sleeping in my chair!" They saw Billy's number 7 jersey and knew that this was their team's new quarterback. "Today was first practice. The poor boy is exhausted. But look at that hair," said Nunzio. "He must have come her after practice to get a better haircut. I'm the father and chief barber. I'll fix up our new star!"
Grabbing his newly sharpened scissors, Nunzio grabbed a chunk of Billy's hair and effortlessly sliced off more than 8 inches. Slowly, gently, he worked his way around the sleeping boy, and his long hair yielded easily to the chopping blades. Nunzio cut the back to just above the shoulders, carefully cut the sides above the ears, and cut straight bangs across Billy's forehead. Billy never even stirred from his sleep.
"His hair is still too long!" declared Marco. "Grimm State players are real men and like very short hair! Let me show you how to cut a football player's hair!" With that, Marco grabbed his cleaned and sharpened clippers, snapped on a #1 blade and started the powerful motor. The hum of the motor combined with a slight grinding sound as Marco pushed the clippers down the center of Billy's head. The 4 inches of remaining hair rained down, leaving only blonde stubble in its wake. With the top sheared down, Marco attacked the exposed side of Billy's head, while the exhausted boy still peacefully slept. Then Marco gently pushed Billy's head forward, giving him room to run the hungry clippers over the back of his head. A gentle push to the side exposed the last of Billy's golden hair as the clippers sheared away the last of it, leaving a head covered only in pale stubble. Billy snored loudly, but remained asleep.
"Look at what you did!" yelled Bambino. "You cut his hair too short! That would be ok if he had thick black hair. But this poor boy has fine thin hair. That stubble makes him look sick. I'll show you how to make him just right!"
With that, Bambino gently covered the sleeping boy's head with warm lather. He picked up his fine antique razor with it's gleaming new sharp blade. The barbers all heard the soft "skritch skritch" sound as Bambino's new blade carefully scraped away the last remnants of Billy's blonde mane, which now surrounded the chair in a soft golden pile. When Bambino finished scraping away all the lather and hair, he put another coat of warm lather over Billy's head, and gently scraped against the grain, using his free hand to detect any rough patches that would need to be shaved again. Finally, Bambino was done. Billy's pale white scalp, so noticeably whiter than his face shone as beams of afternoon sunlight reflected off of it.
Bambino went in the back and returned with an icy cold towel, to close the pores and complete the shave. The sudden jolt of cold roused Billy from his sleep, startled and confused. He looked in the mirror and saw himself surrounded by the 3 smiling barbers, a blue towel wrapped around his head. Then he noticed clumps of long golden hair on the cape they'd draped around him. And then he glanced at the floor, and saw the huge pile of blonde hair that surrounded him.
"What did you do?!?!" he shrieked as he ripped the cold towel off his head. He barely recognized his own reflection in the mirror. He was BALD! His scalp was a sickly white color. His beautiful hair was gone - reduced to a sad pile on the floor. He was shaking. He wasn't sure if he would vomit or cry, but he didn't want to embarrass himself by doing either. He could beat these butchers to a pulp, but that would mean an arrest and probably the end of his football career. Billy's QB training taught him that at the craziest, high-pressure moments, you need to take a second, assess the situation and find your best move, So he stopped himself, set the rage aside and caught his breath. He looked at his bald reflection. Billy always knew he was handsome - and while he loved his long hair, he could see that without it, his handsome face was even more pronounced, without having to compete against "the hair". And as he looked at himself and saw someone new. Someone who could fit in with his team, exude the confidence to lead them. Girls? No problem. He was still handsome, and he was the team QB! He didn't need hair for girls! Slowly, his hand found its way out from under the cape and he ran it over his incredibly smooth scalp. He felt a tingle as he touched his head. Suddenly, not only could he no longer imagine himself with long hair, he knew he'd shave as often as he had to so that his bald scalp always felt this smooth.
The next morning Billy awoke early, showered and carefully re-shaved his head as smoothly as he could. Intentionally, he walked into the lcokerroom, all his teammates already there. Again the room went silent as he entered. But this time, instead of insults, it was applause that broke the silence, as his teammates all stood and applauded him. Jim, the team's best receiver shouted out "Look at that! THAT'S our new QB ONE! Let's hear t for Baldy-locks!"
The room exploded in laughter and cheers. Billy's new teammates crowded around him, taking turns rubbing his smooth shaved head. Within a week, nearly half the team was completely bald and by the end of the season, the whole team had followed Billy's lead. They went on to win the conference championship for the first time in 30 years.
4 years later, Billy was drafted into the NFL and lived baldly ever after....