Barber Jerry Decides for David by Manny
This story is a continuation of: Barber Jerry Saves the Lifeguard
Brad was just coming down from his lifeguard chair when he saw David entering the pool area. Decked out in a Speedo swimsuit and goggles in hand, it was evident David was there to swim laps. He struggled to get his thick, dark, shoulder-length locks to cooperate as he began to secure the goggles in place. The sun reflected brightly off David's prized mane which looked as it had just been shampooed and styled with a blow dryer. His well-sculpted chest and musclar legs left no doubt that David was very fastidious about his appearance.
As Brad walked toward him, he called out, "Hey, Dave, haven't seen you at the pool in a while. Been on vacation?"
The muscular jock looked up and momentarily seemed confused, not recognizing Brad with his newly shorn crewcut. "Brad? Is that you?!" the fellow replied in seeming disbelief.
Brad blushed and rubbed his shorn head. "Yep, It's me all right, minus about a pound or two of hair!"
While David chatted with the lifeguard, it was hard to keep from staring at his pal's buzzcut. Another longhair had bitten the dust and thrown in the towel on onerous hair care....
"No, I haven't been on vacation. A vacation from my regular exercise routine, perhaps. You see, I've put on two pounds since the beginning of summer," David noted, grasping a bit of flesh that had crept over the six pack of abs on his torso. "I almost didn't come today. I had planned to get in an early morning swim before work, but lounged in bed instead. Hated the thought of dragging my ass over here. By the time I got up and showered, it was too late. So, I decided to blow off the exercise thing again and go straight to work. But, as I was drying my hair, I just hated seeing the flab. I decided I needed to get back into the swimming routine, so I called in at work and said I was taking half day. And here I am!"
"Well, it's great to see you back -- freshly washed hair and all!" Brad laughed.
"You laugh, but the thought of having to wash and dry it all over again after the swim, almost nixed the whole thing for me at the very end. In fact, I'm still not wild about getting the hair all gunked up with chlorine and tots pee!" said David.
"Oh, we just had a major problem -- some kid pooped in his pants and the pool had to undergo a serious shock treatment. It's overloaded with chemicals right now, barely in the safe zone. We had just re-opened it when you arrived," Brad added.
"S**t. That settles it. You know how damaging that can be to hair -- makes it brittle and dull!" With that, David, pulled off the goggles that had been perched above his forehead and flicked his head so that his thick tresses danced about his shoulders. They were resplendant in their full glory. "I'm out of here. Or, maybe I'll just sun bathe a little. Gotta work on my bronze tan!"
Brad felt a twinge of jealousy. He momentarily missed his own abundant locks. The only thing that might make him feel better.....
Ah yes, just then Mr. Stimson, the cranky old barber who had taken the clippers to him, entered the pool area. Brad's eyes shift between David and Jerry Stimson. Yes, he would make the connection between the two and, with a bit of luck, David's lovely mane would succumb to Jerry's fastfeed electric clippers! But how?
"So hair trumps health? Mane is more important than muscles?" Brad chided.
David's face reddened a bit. "I suppose I could wait a bit for the chemicals to subside. I mean, I have the whole morning off." He pawed nervously at his tresses.
"That's more like it. It should be all right in about another 15 minutes. Come on inside, let me buy you a cup of coffee, Dave," Brad offered. As the two walk towards the club house, Brad ran his hand over the dense plush top that had grown out a big since Mr. Stimson had mowed him down. En route, he steered them straight towards the chair where the old geezer was leaving his shoes and towel.
"Good morning, Mr. Stimson," Brad called out. "Glad to see you're keeping up with your swims."
The grumpy geezer smiled reluctantly. "Who's going to be watching me in case I get one of those leg cramps again?"
"Jane will be your guardian angel. There she goes right now." Then Brad added, "Hey, I'm needing my crewcut tidied up a bit. Mind if I stop by when I get off my shift?"
"Sure. My chair is always there for you. And bring your friend with you! That mop is a disgrace!" he scowled, staring at David.
As the two hurried away, David was agitated, "That geezer cut your hair?! No wonder you ended up like that! What in the world possessed you?"
"You don't like my new look?" Brad asked playfully. "Best decision I ever made! When old man Stimson took the clippers to me, it was like I was being reborn. Loved the feel of all the heavy hair falling off and watching it pile up on the cape," Brad said, significantly revising how he had actually felt at the time of his surprise makeover. "It's a great, old-fashioned barbershop just a few blocks from here -- totally frozen in time!"
"Well, you look like you just stepped out of the 1950's, friend! Bet you must have been a little nervous about your date with that codger's clippers," David said, coaxing more of the story out of Brad.
"Totally! I had long hair for as long as I can remember. Proud of it too! People always telling me how great it look and how lucky I was. Fed my vanity..... You must know what I'm talking about, Dave," he said, looking in admiration at the shimmering locks that graced his buff buddy's head.
"Yeah, sure do. But then there's that whole other group of people always badgering me to cut it. Like that grumpy barber. What did he say....'your mop looks like s**t'?"
"I think he called it a disgrace! But, he'd probably go along with s**t! I confess, I would love to see you caped up in his shop. All that nice, long dark hair resting on the snowy white cape, waiting for the clippers!" said Brad with a twinkle in his eye.
"Spoken like a true convert! Don't you miss your locks, Buddy? I mean you looked so cool with that forelock falling past your eyes and that shag, shimmering in the sun up there on the tall chair. Total surfer dude. Casual, relaxed, chilling out....."
"When I was supposed to be alert and attentive to my job...." laughed Brad. "Well, I could tell you that I just got tired of all the hair care, enduring the heat out there day after day.... I mean, think of the situation you're in right now. Dreading another long washing/drying session. You're a slave to your hair, instead of a master over it. When I told the old man to take it all off, like it was independence day! Surely you must periodically......"
"Want to have it all cut off?! You bet! I mean, looking right now at your shorn head....." David sighed longingly.
"For years I fantasized about giving the order to get a brutal makeover....." Brad began.
"And I've been dreaming about the same thing for over a decade now! I've photo-shopped pictures of me in so many short styles. And the one that always sends chills down my spine is the flattop!" David confessed. "How many times have I practiced outloud, 'I'd like a traditional flattop please. Shaved sides and landing strip.'?! Shoot, I could no more go through with that than jump off a cliff. I mean, what would I tell people if I showed up at work with a flattop?!"
"That it's a haircut you've admired for many years and you finally found the right barber to give you one? Duh!" replied Brad. "Actually, I think I saw a sign at Jerry's Barber Shop that the old geezer in the pool out there specializes in flattops! Hey, it's an omen, pal! That mane of yours is going to fall today! This morning! In fact, as soon as the old man gets out of the pool and opens up the shop, the both of us are going to be there!" Brad insisted.
"You're funny!" David commented nervously with a constricted laugh. "Do you think the chemicals have subsided enough for the laps yet?" he asked, in hopes of changing the subject.
"By the time you've had your haircut, it'll be just perfect!" continued Brad, relentlessly.
David pawed his hair nervously. "I'm almost feeling a bit tempted....." he stammered, reluctantly.
He looked at Brad's crewcut. Brad playfully ran his hand right up the back and then all over the fuzzy top. "Yum, feels awesome! Some people refer to this as a brush cut! A nice soft brush up here. You'll see....and feel for yourself! When he pulls that cape, full of shorn hair, off you, you'll be totally transformed!"
"Maybe I should go have it gradually cut shorter.... Like, cut above the collar and off the ears first. That would be totally shocking! That's another line I've rehearsed to myself....'I'd like it tapered short around the ears and up the back, please.' Good grief! Sounds super scary," muttered the longhair.
Brad just shook his head "no". "If you're going to do it, go for it! Flattop! 'I'd like a traditional flattop please. Shaved sides and landing strip.' Remember?"
David pulled his hair back nervously into an impromptu ponytail and fondled the thick, silken bundle momentarily. "I'm a gambler, you know. Here's what I propose. Let's take our time with the coffees here. When the geezer comes out....if he walks over here and tells me directly, to my face, that I need a haircut. I'll agree and ask to come straight over with him to the barbershop. Both of us will go, that is. And we'll both get flattops!"
Brad blanched. "Wait a minute! That's your fantasy, not mine! Flattops make me shudder. They're just for old men...."
"And macho military men.....and for you too, Bradley! That is, if you want to see my hair fall as much as I think you do! Shaved sides and landing strips, remember! Would you give up a few tufts of hair to see all this glorious mane fall to a set of barbershop clippers?!"
"And if he doesn't? If the old man just leaves without so much as seeing us here?" asked Brad.
David smiled broadly and laughed. "Well, now that I know how much you don't want a flattop.....if he doesn't tell me to get a haircut, then just you will get a flattop! I heard you tell him you were coming for a haircut after work. You'll go and you'll say, 'I'd like a traditional flattop please. Shaved sides and landing strip.' You might mention you saw the sign saying that he specializes them and were curious about his signature haircut! Do we have a deal?" David asked, extending his hand for a shake.
Brad's stomach churned. The only thing certain about this bet was that he would end up with a dreaded flattop either way -- if he won or lost! His mouth was dry and he couldn't speak.
David, sensing the upper hand, taunted him by running his fingers through his long hair. "Just think of it, Buddy! All this falling off in the wake of the old geezer's clippers! You, and only you, might make it happen." It was like he wanted Brad to accept the bet.
"Deal!" Brad said grasping David's hand and shaking it firmly. "I can't wait!" Then he watched the remorse display itself all over David's face as he began the nervous wait. The longhair was in total agony, thinking about the old fashioned barbershop and the clippers.
The two fellows spent the next few minutes discussing what they liked and disliked about being longhairs. Strangely, they both talked at length about how vain and superior their hair made them feel, but how they subconsciously longed for it to be forcibly shorn from their heads. To be humbled, humiliated and made to feel vulnerable and insignificant....
The conversation was disrupted by the old geezer entering from the pool looking totally irritated and muttering to himself. He shuffled toward the dressing room without even looking up.
David beamed triumphantly! "I hope you enjoy the flattop, Buddy!" he gloated.
Brad's stomach churned. What had he done? It had all happened so quickly. "You weren't serious about the bet, were you? I'm sure you had no intention of getting having all your prized hair cut off...." he said desperately.
"The hell I wasn't! I would have gone through with if even if I was paralyzed in fear. You bet I would have!" David said, running his fingers through his dense mane.
Watching the action behind David, Brad suddenly began smiling. The old man had stopped short of the changing room and had turned to head right to the snack area! "Hold that thought, Buddy! Here comes Mr. Stimson!"
David cringed in fear. "What?!" He sneaked a look. Brad was right! The old barber was heading straight to them. David sat still and tried to come across as invisible.
The old man scowled at David again, but didn't address him. "Oh, Brad, you mentioned getting a haircut today. I just wanted you to know that I close at noon on Wednesdays. But you can come tomorrow if that doesn't suit you."
"Thanks, Mr. Stimson, but I'm actually getting off in a few minutes. I just do opening and early morning duties at the pool today."
"OK, then I'll see you in a few minutes," Mr. Stimson said. Then his eyes locked on David's dark brown mane. He opened his mouth to speak, but just sighed and shuffled away.
David tried feebly to surpress a laugh. "Skinned sides and a landing strip on top," he whispered. "You might find out that a flattop is just the right cut for you!"
The taunt angered Brad, "Oh, Mr. Stimson!" he called out.
"Hey, that's no fair," hissed David. "He's gone and you lost the bet!"
Brad gave up trying to reverse his loss, "I'll be there in 15 minutes!" he called out mournfully.
"Ha!" laughed David. Then he tacked on, almost casually, "You mean, we'll be there in 15 minutes. I'm going along to watch! I want to make sure that the geezer carves out a nice big landing strip on the top of your precious head!"
"Oh, so you're coming along?! Fantastic! I see you're still angling for some more inspiration to go through with the big chop! Let's double or nothing our bet!" proposed Brad. "When we get to the shop, I'm going to ask Mr. Stimson directly what kind of a haircut would suit you best. If he proposes a flatop, then you head straight to the chair."
"And if not?" David asked curiously.
"Then you decline and tell him how much you love your long hair," replied Brad. "And you'll enjoy watching me getting flattened out.
"That's it? What's the jeopardy for you? I'm putting this treasure of mine on the for the second time in one morning line!" exclaimed David, feigning hurt. "If there's no jeopardy for you, then I'm not shaking on your double-or-nothing."
Brad shrugged, "I don't know. What do you suggest?"
David's eye gleamed. "If you lose, when you take a seat and say, 'Shoe me!' Does he have a machine on his counter that makes warm foam?! I want that whole head of yours covered in warm foam and a front seat to watch you get peeled like a grape!"
"No way!" exclaimed Brad. "A horseshoe! That's the most wretched cut of all!"
David pulled his locks into a ponytail again and fondled it. "Well, then, I guess it's straight to the pool for me.... Enjoy your flattop, Bradley!" he quipped as he stood to make an exit.
"You win! Let's make it double-or-nothing," Brad said holding out his hand. "I need to keep the hopes of you getting shorn on track. And if I end up shoed, so be it!" he said grasping David's hand in another firm shake. "The thought of the old geezer lathering this up and scraping me smooth sort of appeals!" he said as he rubbed his dense, soft pelt of hair.
"Seems like we're both gamblers. But there will only be one winner!" he chucked.
"I'm not so sure," replied Brad.
David was almost giddy as the two fellows walked over to Jerry's Barber Shop. "I've never been in an old fashioned shop before! Tell me more how you chose it," David urged.
"An important part of my fantasy was always to have a grumpy old codger take to the clippers to me and thoroughly enjoy his mission to strip me of my long, precious hair. There wasn't a more crotchety oldster than Mr. Stimson, and when I found out he was a barber....well, I knew I'd found my man!"
As they approached the shop, David exclaimed, "Oh! And this is the kind of place I always imagine being shorn in too! Those huge chairs with the big chrome bases. But the barber's just in a normal shirt. No professional tunic. Too bad," sighed David.
Brad pushed the glass door open and his eyes locked on the sign announcing "Specializing in Flattops".
"Hello, Mr. Stimson," he said.
"I see your friend decided to get a haircut after all. Whoever's first, take a seat. I need to get my tunic on; I'll be right back," the barber said.
The two guys argued about what to do next. "Go ahead and sit there!" Brad instructed.
"Hell no! You lost the bet. You sit!" David retorted. He moved to the back of the shop where a chart displaying "official haircuts" was on the wall. His eyes locked on the flattop. Oh, how he wanted one!
Just then Mr. Stimson came it. "So, who's first?"
"My friend is! He's just studying the chart. Can't decide how short to go. But he definitely needs a makeover. What do you suggest for him, Mr. Stimson?!" said Brad, quickly seizing the upper hand.
"Come over here, young man!" the barber commanded. "Let me get a good look at you."
David ambled over nervously.
"Go ahead, sit! I haven't got all day now. I'm closing at noon, you know," the barber snapped.
"Oh, I'm, uh...." David stammered.
"Sit!" the barber commanded.
Spontaneously, David slipped into the chair. He was on pins and needles. "I'm not sure I want a haircut!" he protested lamely.
"Wanting and needing are two different things. You didn't come here just to watch the action. You came here to be part of the action!" In a flash the barber snapped open a cape and cast it into place.
"Oh, I'm not sure...." David stammered, looking to Brad for help.
But he got none! "So, what sort of haircut should my friend get?" He stepped forward and grasped the long mane with his hand and fondled it. "The important thing is that he leave here leaving crisp and tidy!"
Mr. Stimson took a set of shear out of his breast pocket and snapped them open. Then without say another word, he grasped a huge shank of hair at the nape. David lunged forward a bit to escape the chop, but Mr. Stimson anticipated him. The first shank of hair fell as the blades of the barber shears clamped shut.
David watched on in horror as the barber chopped all the way around his left ear, exposing it. Mounds of the glossy, silken clumps fell to the pristine white cape. "How long has it been since you've had a proper haircut?" the barber asked.
David gulped. "I've never been in a barbershop before, sir."
"That's not hard to believe...." smirked the old man. "So just relax. You're in for a treat."
The caped client gripped the arms of the chair firmly and stiffled a shudder. Then, using every ounce of courage he possessed, David said in a low, clear voice, "I'd like you to give me a traditional flattop, please. Shaved sides and landing strip."
Mr. Stimson and Brad both smiled broadly. "Yes, that's just what I was going to suggest for you, son. It's my signature haircut," the barber said, reaching for the clippers. "You have the perfect head shape for it, and we're going to show it off!" With that, Mr. Stimson took the clippers to the base of this thick, abundant sideburn and ran it straight up the side of his head all the way through the temple! The cascade of falling hair was priceless.
Brad whipped out his phone and snapped a few photos. "Remember, he wants skinned sides, Mr. Stimson!"
"See that foam machine over there?" the barber said, nodding to the counter. "I'll skin him 3/4 of the way up and then transition this to a short flattop so that the landing strip will be nice and visible!"
As the barber clipped a few more shanks of long, dangling hair from the sides off, David reached out from under the cape and gathered up an enormous handful of it. He looked up sheepishly at his friend, who was thoroughly enjoying the transformation, "I think this is about one pound worth of the weight I gained! By the time I leave here, I'll be under my normal weight!"
Mr. Stimson gruffly scolded his caped client, "Hey, sit still!" Then he forced his head to his chest and tackled the nape with the clippers. Boldly he pushed them straight up through the densest, heaviest part of David's magnificent mane. The long hair fell away. "People won't recognize you when I'm finished," the barber laughed.
"From longhair to jarhead!" Brad squealed.
"You're much braver and calmer than your friend there was when he came in here with his mop," the barber said, as he began tackling the overgrowth atop David's head. Lift and chop, lift and chop. Huge mounds of hair fell.
"Oh, tell me all about it!" said David eagerly.
"I thought he was going to pee in his pants. A little sissy boy who was forced to come to the barbershop to get a real man's haircut because he was asleep at the wheel and I almost drowned!" Mr. Stimson relished telling the straight story. "He tried to weasle out of it, but I made sure the slacker got what he needed, didn't I, Brad? Asked for a trim! Ha! I chopped off those long bangs at the roots and put an end to that idea! Oh, and the boss, same thing. That fussy little businesscut and his pathetic request for a trim! Oh no! They both needed to accept some responsibility for their lax atmosphere at the pool. Baldies for both of them! Actually, the boss ended up more weepy than Brad there. Some pathetic excuses about needing to maintain a professional image. He runs a swimming pool, mind you! Acting like he was some high powered lawyer with a power-hair helmet! I have to say, things at the pool have improved dramatically since the two of them got shorn. And, Brad, I'm happy to see you back for a follow-up haircut so quickly. I sort of thought you'd let that mop grow back as fast as you could."
"No, sir! I'm not going down that road again. Long hair is a thing of the past!" said Brad, trying to suck up a little bit. "And my boss, John, has grown accustomed to his new look too!"
"I hope you learn a lesson from your friend here. I never thought he'd be a model client when I first saw him with that girl's mane at the pool! Be like him, Brad. You walk into the shop. You sit down. And you give the barber a clear instruction. See, I know this handsome young man wants a nice landing strip, and that's precisely what I'm going to carved out for him right now!" With that the barber squatted a bit and took the clippers carefully to David's nervous head. "Steady" he instructed.
As the clippers grazed the top of David's head, he nearly burst with excitement. He loved the sight of all his former long hair draped over his cape so widely that it looked more black than white! The white landing strip was dazzling!
"Is that wide enough for you, son?" he barber asked.
"Make it wider! And the top, take it down another notch too!" he said quickly and definitively.
"Oh, you want a real tough military look, I see!" the barber said, approvingly. The description of the 'real tough military look' made David tingle with delight.
The barber was very meticulous in clipping and shaping David's new flattop to perfection. Then he withdrew the cape carefully. "Feels like one of those heavy lead drapes they put on you when you get a chest x-ray!" he laughed as he placed a towel around David's broad shoulders. "But I'm not finished with you yet! Now comes the fun part," he said as he swiveled the chair around to face away from the mirror. Then he slowly lowered the back and helped direct David's neck into the specially notched sink that was part of the counter. "Just relax and enjoy yourself," he instructed as he began drenching David's head with tepid water. "Next comes the warm lather!"
David felt like he was in paradise as Mr. Stimson worked the heavy cream into his scalp. "Oh, that feels wonderful! I could lie here all day!"
Carefully, the barber scraped away the foam and stubble that his clippers had left behind. Meanwhile, Brad watched with wide-eyed wonder from the waiting area. He was still smarting from Mr. Stimson spilling the beans on his cowardly approach to his haircut. And David....well, he was proud of his friend for having the cuts to ask for his long-desired flattop.
When the barber held up mirror to show off his handiwork, both David and the old man beamed -- one with pride and the other with pleasure. "I love it!" David gasped. "Can't believe the person in the mirror is really me! I love the way you've shaved me high up the back! And the landing strip is perfect."
"What did you expect? I've been carving flattops for almost 50 years now!" replied Mr. Stimson.
"And, your latest work of art is your best!" David exclaimed as he stepped up from the chair. He looked down at the floor and saw all his shorn hair. "Oh my, I can't believe I hung onto that stuff for so long." Then he stared at Brad, "Okay, Buddy, your turn in the chair! This top ought to inspire you!"
Brad moved quickly to take David's place and Mr. Stimson was equally quick to cast the cape. "A little more eager today than last time you shuffled in her with all that hair in your face!" he laughed. "So, tidy you up?"
"No, sir. Shoe me!" said Brad firmly as he looked at David who flashed him the double thumbs up.