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The Mistaken Army Contractor by hairvamp
I'm a software contractor that does a lot of work for the Army. I spend
a lot of time traveling to various Army bases around the country. I'm
definitely your typical geeky software guy and somewhat of a hippie.
I've had long hair for over 15 years now. My hair is a nice brown color
is about the same length all over and falls to the middle of my back.
I really love my long hair and take care of it the best I can. My hair
has never been an issue while doing my work for the Army until now.
On this particular trip I had to go to Fort Jackson in Columbia, South
Carolina to do some upgrades on some of their software. It was winter
and I was wearing my typical attire, a pair of skinny jeans, a black
stretch turtleneck and a maroon Billabong hoodie. I had on a pair of
teal Nike Tempo shorts as underwear as they are really comfortable in
the humidity. I realize they are "women's" shorts but they fit well
and have known other guys to wear them. Plus it allows me to quickly
get ready for a run after work.
I was doing my software updates in one of the office buildings. All
of a sudden the MP's showed up in chemical suits and said there had
been a white powder found in the lobby of the building that we had
all entered through. Since they didn't know when it showed up there
everyone in the building was going to have to go through
decontamination. They said we were going to have to strip and then
shower. Our clothes would be destroyed. I immediately protested.
The MP's tried to persuade me, but I wasn't going to change my mind,
as I felt it was a violation of my privacy and my rights. They
weren't going to have any of that. Two of them forcible grabbed me
and started dragging me outside. I resisted as much as I could but
they overpowered me. Once outside I was forced into a gurney and then
strapped to it. I was going to be decontaminated whether I wanted to
be or not.
I was rolled into a large tent, there were 4 people standing over
me in olive green chemical suits. They had these orange square plastic
tools in their hands that had a diagonal slit about 3/4 of the way
down the center with a razor blade on one side of the slit.
The first person grabbed the center of my hoodie at the neck and lifted
up placing the tool at the top of the neck. They then pulled down.
The razor sliced through the center front of my hoodie all the way down
through the pocket and the bottom band. Then one person on either side
of my placed their tool on either side of the cut at my neck and proceeded
to pull down the sleeves to both cuffs. This effectively cut off my hoodie.
While this was going on a third person had placed their razor tool at the
waistband of my jeans. They had sliced down one leg of my jeans. Within
moment of doing that they proceeded to do the same on the other leg.
At this point I was left with my turtleneck and shorts on. Quickly
someone had lifted the center of my turtleneck off my neck and placed
their razor tool on it and cut down the front of my turtleneck all the
way to my waist. I pleaded with them to not destroy my shorts as they
were my favorites. This fell on deaf ears. The person that had cut off
my jeans had now performed the same procedure on my shorts. I was
practically naked. Seconds later I was as the sleeves were cut on both
sides of my turtleneck.
After this was complete I was hosed down and scrubbed. This part of the
procedure lasted about 5 minutes. This included them scrubbing my hair,
which bothered me intensely. After the scrubbing was done I was released
and given a set of Army PT gear. This consisted of the black shorts that
had Army on one side. A grey Adidas t-shirt with Army on the front. A
heavy black pair of wind pants and a grey front zip wind jacket that had
Army on one side and a reflective chevron on the front and back.
I hurriedly got dressed as I didn't want to spend any more time naked than
I had to. I was really pissed off it this point, but felt it wasn't going
to do me any good to bitch and folks. So I went for a walk around the
base. I had been walking around for about and hour so my hair had dried.
All of a sudden a drill instructor was yelling at me asking why I wasn't
with the rest of my platoon. I looked at him puzzled and tried to explain
that I was a civilian and I didn't know what he was talking about. He
wouldn't have any of that.
After my previous experience I let him escort me to where he wanted
to take me without an argument. However once we got there I seriously
reconsidered my position. We were walking fairly briskly and entered
a non-descript brick building. Once inside we proceeded down a hallway.
We reached a point in the hall where a bunch of guys were lined up
against a wall in a line going into a room. They were all dressed
like I was at this point. I was wondering what was going on. The drill
instructor led me past he doorway that the line was entering. That is
when I saw the sign "Barbershop".
The drill instructor escorted me the the end of the line then went
inside the barbershop. I wasn't sure what to do. I knew that arguing
wasn't going to do me any good. I looked around and decided to try
and sneak off. I was at the end of the line and everyone else was
looking forward. I made it about half way down the hall before
another DI grabbed me. I began to protest, but he started yelling
that I was sorry excuse for a recruit. He started forcing me
back toward the line. That's when the first DI that had brought
me here came back out after hearing the commotion. All I heard was
"Ok recruit since you couldn't wait it's your turn". I began to
Struggling was no use as both the DI's grabbed me, one by each
arm and proceeded to drag me into the barbershop. I was forced
into a special chair they had, which had straps for the legs,
arms and chest. Now I got really scared. Once in the chair
I was strapped in tight, there was no chance of escape. So
I pleaded with them that I was an contractor not a recruit.
Those pleads were met with more yelling.
Next thing I knew an older black barber with graying hair and
a graying beard was placing a black nylon cape around my neck.
The closing of the snaps of the cape behind my head sent a
chill down my spine. He adjusted the cape so it laid flat
on the back. Then I heard him rummaging behind me. The next
thing I heard was a loud click and then a whirring buzz sound
behind me that I hadn't heard since I was a little kid. This time
the chill down my spine was even more intense. I attempted to
struggle against the bonds that held me but it was no use, I
was strapped to the chair too tightly..
The barber walked up behind me and lifted the hair off the back
of my neck. I tried to move my head to the side, but he held on.
The barber had a puzzled look on his face trying to decide how
to attack the mass of hair on my head. Then the cold steel of
the clippers touch the back of my head. I thought I was going
to jump out of my skin or worse yet start to cry.
The barber made three quick passes about half way up the back of
my neck. He then release my hair obviously realizing that his
approach wasn't going to work. A few tufts of my long hair slid
down the back of the cape onto the floor. He then moved slightly
to my right side. I could see his hand come toward the front of
my head and sweep the front of my hair back. With his other hand
I saw the rather large white clippers coming to where his hand had
pulled the hair back. This time I realized that the sound of the
clippers changed as they met the front of my hair. I was going to
lose all of my hair and there was nothing I could do about it.
The barber proceeded to run the clippers down the right side of my
head about half way between my center part and my ear. He ran the
clippers all the way from the front to just where my skull started
to curve down in the back. The first pass took about a second. I was
horrified. He adjusted his grasp on my head and move the clippers
back to the front a couple of inches closer to the center of my head.
At this point masses of my hair were sliding down the back of the
cape to the floor. He repeated this procedure a number of times,
each time adjusting my head position and his grasp on my head. And
each time moving the clippers a little bit closer to the center of
my head. More and more 16 inch tufts of hair were quickly sliding
down the cape to the floor.
Once he had run the clippers down the center of my head he changed
his focus to the area around my right ear. I could really hear the
buzzing of the clippers at this point. He was really moving my
head around at this point, and within seconds the long hair around
my right ear was gone. Some of the clipped long hair from here made
it's way down the front of the cape onto my lap. I couldn't believe
my eyes. Looking at that hair gave me a horrible feeling in my stomach.
He continued on the right side from just behind my ear, making passes
up from my neck to the area he had already clipped on top, all the
way around to a point a few inches behind my left ear.
Staring at the few tufts of hair on my lap I could only imagine the
mass of hair on the floor behind the chair since that was where most
of it was falling. He then proceeded to repeat the same procedure on
my left side that he had done on the right. He moved the clippers back
to the top of my head and peeled off the remaining hair there. And
lastly he worked the clippers quickly around my left ear, removing
what little hair I had left in a matter of seconds.
The whole experience of the clippers on my head only lasted about a
minute and a half. And by Army barber standards that was probably
slow. Either the mass of hair had slowed him down or he was just
enjoying torturing me a little too much.
After the barber finished I still hadn't seen myself in the mirror.
My head felt lighter and I could feel the breeze from the fan behind
me on my freshly shorn scalp. The barber proceeded to unsnap the
cape from the back of my neck. The DIs then approached grinning and
unfastened the straps from the legs, then chest, then arms. They told
me to get up. I did so slowly, and as I did I also slowly turned around
to face the mirror and the chair I had been bound to. I looked like
I had seen a ghost when I got a view of my head. I was even more
horrified when I looked at all of the hair on the floor.
About that time the Army folks that I had been working with walked in.
Through the grapevine they had heard that someone over at inprocessing
was complaining that he was a contractor and shouldn't be there. Since I
had been gone for a couple of hours they decided to come see if it was
me. The contractor representative explained to the DIs what had happened
and they let me go.
As I was walking out of the barbershop no one said a word or apologized,
instead the DIs and barbers were just grinning.
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