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Uncle Ernest by Snipped Sam
I walked into the barbers with great trepidation, he sat on one of the waiting chairs reading a newspaper, he looked up from his newspaper and looked at me, I felt that I was being sized up.
“Here to have your haircut?”
“My Uncle, Mr Battle sent me to you”
“oh yes, I know him very well, knowing Mr Battle the way I do, it’s of no surprise that he has sent you to me for your hair to be cut”
“He said that I must have my hair cut short”
He folded the newspaper and stood up, he was a lot taller than he looked sitting down, a thin man in his early fifties, receding dark hair, smartly dressed and he wore a longish grey barber’s coat.
“Well I certainly won’t have any problem cutting your hair short, I know that your Uncle likes me to cut his hair at the back very short and he likes his hair very short above his ears with no sideburns or in your case they would be called sideboards”
“He said to say that once you have seen my hair, you should interpret short however you saw fit”
“And so I will boy “he said as he clicked his fingers and pointed to the barber’s chair,
I sat in the barber’s chair and he soon had the navy blue nylon caped installed around me and tucked in very tightly. To explain the situation regarding my Uncle, I had fallen behind in my work at school and my end of year exam results had been terrible, the next year I would be taking my o levels. My Aunt Jane had recently remarried and this man was now my Uncle Ernest. The next month would be spent being tutored by Uncle Ernest, him having been kind enough as he reminded me to give the necessary assistance to progress in my studies rather than me waste the summer holidays.
I had my chestnut brown hair cut before I went to stay with Aunt Jane and Uncle Ernest who lived to two hundred or so miles from where I lived. Unfortunately for me, Uncle Ernest did not consider that having my hair just above my collar and one and half inch sideboards and a longish fringe suitable for a fifteen year old and I had been sent to the barbers the next day. Uncle Ernest had made it very clear that during my stay I must do exactly as I was told and work very hard. He had told me that with obedience and industriousness, my time there would pass quickly and smoothly, if they were missing in my performance, he would take care of it with either a slipper or his cane.
As this man who was about to cut my hair was also the barber of Uncle Ernest I knew that it was very important to keep on the right side of him, do as he said and show him respect. I knew that if Uncle Ernest was to hear that I had been a problem in any way he would not hesitate to discipline me severely.
The barber combed my hair and began cutting it with his scissors having first bent my head forward, so I was looking down. He combed the hair ,held it tightly pulling it a little and then cut it very determinedly with his scissors. During the several minutes of cutting there was no conversation, silence apart from scissors cutting hair. Eventually he put the scissors down and took a pair of electric clippers, he appeared to be stripping the hair above my hairline as the clippers were moving down, he then worked his way around my ears shaping and removing my sideboards, although as my head was still bent down and I could not see very much I knew that those clippers were going rather high. After a brisk brush down, he selected a different pair of clippers, and then began to lift my hair with a comb and the clip the hair off, it felt very close to my scalp. I heard the door open and someone came in, the one thing I had appreciated was that no one was watching me have this haircut.
“Mr. Battle, good morning to you”
“Good morning, my meeting finished early so I came by to collect the boy “
“Just finishing off tapering his hair, then I just want to do a bit more snipping and you can take him away”
“I must say you have down the back of his head perfectly”
“I know how you like the back of the head to be short Sir, so I just did his that little bit more severe”
“It’s just what he needed to bring him into line, he’s been a very lazy boy at school and has fallen behind and I have the job of getting him back on track”
“Always a good idea to start with a nice short haircut sir”
“Exactly what I thought, how have you found him?”
“Not bad at all sir, polite and done as he has been told, a little bit of trouble keeping his head still but that not unusual”
“As long as he done as he is told”
“Oh defiantly sir, as I said a little trouble keeping his head still, but I have had his head bent down all the time to save him getting distracted or worrying about what I am doing”
He then put the clippers back, another brush down and then several scissor snips, my head was then lifted up and I could see the extent of the barbering, I had never seen my hair so short”
“if you see his hair start to get a bit fluffy at the back in the next few days’ just use a razor to tidy it up, or I’ll be happy to just tidy him up if necessary”
“Well I certainly will be bringing him back here before he returns home, for another one of these splendid haircuts”
I was taken from the chair
“Well young Simon that’s what a boys hair should look like “
“Yes sir” I replied as I wiped my neck with the tissue I had been given by the barber.
“Hurry up now boy; we have mathematics for the rest of the day”
“If you don’t do well in your maths test I will be setting you later today, I think you will be very sorry”
“Yes Sir “I replied
“Is that pile of hair on the floor just from Simon’s haircut? “
“Yes Mr Battle it is”
“Not very good is it Simon?”
“You should be ashamed of yourself”
“anyway maths first, the slippering can be done later”