Dad Happened, Part 1 by anonymous
Bruce Williams, better known to everyone since the 6th grade as Butch, hadn't heard his dad come in the house. It was early, just 3:30 in the afternoon. Butch also hadn't heard the phone ring at about that same time, nor did he hear what his dad said on the phone. He was too engrossed in his laptop, either playing a game or talking to his girlfriend. Butch didn't see his dad come in and take one look and go back to the phone. He wasn't paying attention when his dad came back in and jerked him up by his arm, dropping the computer out of his lap. Butch did manage to gasp as the $1400 laptop hit the floor. He yelped as his dad pulled him up from the couch and headed towards the door. He tried to shake loose but it was futile against his dad's iron grip on his arm just above the elbow. He went along when he realized it was easier to go with than against that firm grip. He could see his dad was angry about something.
Outside the door his dad slammed it shut and headed down the steps, still in control. He opened the passenger side of the jeep and shoved Butch inside and shut the door firmly; ok with a bang. His father, Bruce Sr., got behind the wheel and started it up. He slammed it in reverse and wheeled backwards down the drive and into the street, then into 1st and headed into town.
"What's going on dad?" asked Butch in an almost desperate voice.
Butch was almost 19 and a freshman at college. Butch was a good looking young man with a handsome face. He was 6 ft 2 in and had the lithe but well built frame of a runner. He had played sports in highschool and had been a pretty good student. It wasn't a sports scholarship that got him into the university, but a scholarship none the less that paid his tuition and books, provided he kept his grades above 3.2 average. Butch still lived at home because there hadn't been the money for room and board elsewhere, and he did live only about 10 miles from the college. He had maintained his grade point average so the scholarship saved his parents a lot of money. But the downside of living at home was that he still lived at home and they expected him to continue helping with chores, keep his room clean, and do his own laundry. After Christmas he had gotten sloppy and with the new laptop, he couldn't stay away from the games, chat, and myspace and facebook. Even before Christmas he had begun to let his appearance go down hill like many of his college peers. His ash blond hair was down on his collar, he had taken to wearing sagging baggy pants or jeans with holes in the knees and old tee shirts. There were no tattoo's or piercings, his mother had put her foot down at the mere mention of the subject. "Not my boy." He had been planning on going on spring break starting that weekend with his friend Lyle and two other buddies.
So, his "what's going on dad?" got him some very unexpected questions back. Like: "what's going on Butch? Your mom asked you to clean your room and I had to remind you about the yard again and it's not done. All you've done is go to school and play games on that laptop. You tell me what's going on?"
"I'm sorry dad, I guess I forgot. I just get caught up in the games or chatting with my friends."
"I'm sorry too, Butch. I just told your friend Lyle that you would NOT be going on the spring break to the beach with him tomorrow. We are going to spend some quality family time together and see if we can't get a few of the kinks worked out. Your mom and I were planning on having a week together too with you gone. I guess we still will and you are now included. It seems we need to spend a little more time together as a family like we used to."
"Oh, come on dad. I'm supposed to be leaving tomorrow morning. I'm all packed and everything. You and mom can still have your week."
"No Butch. I told you. I have already told Lyle to go on without you." Butch put on a face and began to sulk.
"No point in pouting or sulking son. You have made up my mind." Of course Butch continued to sit in silence and sulk. He was thinking to himself, `I'm in college, 19 years old, and he's treating me like a kid. It's just not fair.'
"So, where are we going then?"
"Somewhere you haven't been in months, and it's about time."
Butch continued to stare out the window. `What was his dad up to?' It didn't take long before he found out as they pulled up in front of "Paul's Barbershop". `Oh crap! His dad was right. He hadn't been here since before Thanksgiving. He liked his long hair.' But, he got out of the car and slammed the door shut, which caused his father to look at him sharply, although he didn't say anything. Bruce Sr opened the barbershop door and Butch went in before him. There were no customers inside. Paul greeted them with a big smile from behind the almost antique big black leather and chrome barber chair. It was a small shop with only three chairs, but only Paul was there. He looked at Butch who had always gotten his hair cut here since he was a child. "It's been a while since I've seen you young man, you are growing up. Come on, have a seat," he said as he swiped at the chair with the blue striped white cape.
Butch sat. Paul made the usual preparations with the paper tape and then swirling the cape around until it settled just right over Butch. He fastened it quite snugly over the paper tape. It had been years since his dad had come with him when he got his hair cut. In highschool he had kept his hair so that he could comb the top and sides back, not quite over his ears. He presumed he would get it cut like that again without even having to say anything since Paul had always been his barber. Paul did start to ask him how he wanted it cut, but his dad spoke up, "Just like I said, Paul. He needs it real short!"
Butch gave his dad a really quick look. `Short! How short? What did his dad mean by "real short"?' Paul turned his head back to the front and held it still for a few moments. "Just hold it still like that." First he combed Butch's hair out. He reached behind him and picked up the clippers and put on the smallest guard. Butch wasn't facing the mirror, so he didn't see the clippers. Paul combed his hair back from his forehead and held it back with the comb. Butch was unbelieving as the guard was put right at his hairline and the clippers snapped on. The well oiled clippers hummed into life. Without hesitation, Paul pushed them straight back across his crown. The long hair tumbled to the floor, slipping down the back of his head unseen, leaving behind a 2 inch wide strip of hair only ½ inch tall through which his scalp could be seen. Butch felt the vibration through his skull, buzzing with each pass as the hair on top of his head continued to pile up on the floor. When the top was finished, Paul turned off the clippers and removed the guard. They snapped back into life. Paul tilted his head to one side and beginning below his sideburns went straight up the side to the top. Clumps of hair fell to his shoulder then into his lap. Butch could feel the cool air as it found the now almost bare skin on the side of his head. The hair was barely 1/8th of an inch long. First one side then the other was skinned without mercy. Paul pushed his head forward and cleaned off the back of his neck. Now all the way around and even up onto the back of his crown there was no hair.
When the sides and back were finished, Paul brushed his head and neck free of loose hair and turned him around so he could see how it looked. "Would you like a flat top? or would you like it shaved smooth?"
Butch realized that he had just been given a choice. The haircut wasn't over. "A... a flat top, I guess." He couldn't imagine his head shaved smooth.
Paul looked over at his dad, Bruce. "Real short." he repeated.
Butch was turned back around. Paul picked up another pair of clippers. He tilted Butches head to one side again and started low, where there used to be side burns, and went all the way up over the already non-existent hair to the top. Behind these quietly humming blades there was not even stubble. These were 000000 balding clippers by Wahl. His dad spoke up again, "take that fuzz off his face too." When Paul finished the sides and back he tilted Butch's head back and went over his moustache and down along his jaw removing the attempt at growing a beard. "We'll hit that with the razor in a minute." Once more Paul positioned Butch so that his head was level, looking straight out. "Don't move." With the comb he began at the front and created a short flat top, ½ inch in front, down to skin level in back. "You've got a nice head for a flat top, not too pointed on top." There was a nice clean strip down the center on top of his head. Next Paul once more brushed the loose hair from head and neck, then undid the cape and took off the paper tape. The cape he just folded down into Butch's lap. A small towel was put around his neck and tucked into his shirt collar. A warm damp towel was used to clean any loose bits of hair from his head. Butch heard the hot lather machine run and figured he was going to get his face shaved now. He was surprised when the lather was put around the sides and back of his head and down on his neck. The straight razor was stropped to a keen edge. Paul again tilted his head to one side and began shaving it smooth. Around his ears and almost to the top then the rest of the side and down his neck. When the other side was finished, Paul shaved the back side all the way up onto the crown. He rinsed off the razor and set it aside. Again with the damp towel he wiped off any lather left. It felt good, Butch thought, that warm towel. Paul told him to relax and lean back. The chair was reclined back, almost flat, with Butch's head on the rest. A warm moist towel was placed around the face leaving only the nose clear so that Butch could breath. He could feel Paul strop the blade again, putting that keen edge back on. There was the whirr of the hot lather machine. The towel was removed, the cool air hit his face, then it was warmed with the lather, side burns, cheeks, chin and upper lip. It only took a few minutes and deft strokes until his face was as smooth as the sides of his head. The towel was used to clean off the lather and Butch was set upright again.
Paul put some crew wax in his hand and massaged it into his flat top. With his hands he pushed it up and back, then used the brush to make it stand up. Then with comb and scissors he made sure that the top was really flat and level. Paul turned him around. Removed the towel from his collar and the cape from his lap, careful not to get the cut hair all over him. "What do you think?"
Wow! It looked really good. Butch had been afraid he would look stupid. Instead it gave him a quite sharp appearance, the boy was gone, here was a man. He told Paul he liked it. Paul turned the chair back around and Butch got out. His dad got up and said, "have a seat son, as long as I'm here I might as well get a haircut too."
Bruce Sr had a nice head of hair. Unlike Butch, his hair was a dark brown with just a few grey hairs starting to show. Butch sat down right in front of the barber chair. His dad sat. Paul did the tape and the cape. "A short haircut like Butch?" Paul asked. Paul and Bruce looked at Butch. "What do you say dad? You going to get one like mine?" Butch gave his dad that `I dare you' look. "Alright, Paul, one just like his." "Bruce, I think you would look better with a really short crew cut." "Is that ok with you Butch?" Young whippersnapper thinks I'm chicken. Just look at him grin.
Paul combed out his hair. For a business man's style it was a little long, almost on his ears. He combed it back.
Taking the black clippers without any guard he started at the front and just like he had on Butch, he pushed it back over the top. Hair fell in clumps as he made pass after pass until the top of his head down to 1/8th of an inch. Then he did the sides and back, all the way up onto the top. When all the hair was down to that 1/8th inch, he changed to the 000000 clippers and did the sides and back. Then without warning, he tilted Bruce's head back and took off his full moustache. "Jill won't recognize you tonight. Hope you have a key to the house. She might not let you in." Paul said with a laugh. He brushed him off and turned him around so that he could see.
Butch was just staring at his dad with hi
s mouth open. He didn't think that his dad would go through with it.
Paul turned him back around and put the warm damp towel around his head. "Get the face when we finish the top." The edge was put back on the razor and the lather went around his ears and neck. Paul shaved it up to the top of his ears all the way around. After cleaning that off, the chair was reclined his face was shaved. Paul trimmed up his eyebrows.
When it was all done, Bruce looked years younger. "I can't wait to see mom's face." said Butch as they went out to the car. "I don't know what she'll say about the head, but she's been after me to do something about the moustache for a couple of years now. So we'll see."
In the jeep Bruce headed towards the mall. "What now?" Butch asked.
"I'm not finished with you yet Butch. We'll see how your mom reacts when she see's the new you." Butch gave him a puzzled look.
At the mall they went to the shoe department first. A new pair of black and a pair of brown loafers along with some socks to go with them. In the men's department, Bruce made Butch try on a couple of pair of Khaki's and some dress pants. Then some white crew tee shirts, and four button up, button down collar sport shirts. He had Butch put on the navy dress slacks and a blue and white patterned sport shirt. Bruce asked the salesman if Butch could wear them out of the store. That was ok, just take the tags off. Everything was paid for. Bruce told the salesman to just throw the old clothes away. Butch of course, objected. His dad just looked at him. Butch quieted down and carried his new clothes out to the jeep. On the way home he told Butch that from now on he expected him to dress better, no more baggy sagging pants and tee shirts or jeans with holes in them. Further, he expected him to keep his hair cut. No, he didn't have to keep it cut like that. Butch, after thinking about it, said, "ok dad. I'll even keep my hair cut like this, as long as you keep your hair cut like that. Deal?" His dad looked at him. "Deal. But, you're gonna have that flat top for a long time. I think your mom will like this. I'm already likin' it. And, you do look sharp with that flat top and dressed up a little. You can go with Lyle tomorrow if you like. Just remember to use sun screen or you'll have one burnt head." "I think I'll stay with you and mom this week, if you don't mind. I've got a lot of things to do." "Are you sure, or are you afraid he will make fun of your haircut?" "No, really dad. Lyle will see it when he gets back. If I were worried about anyone seeing it, it would be Rita. She was always running her fingers through my hair. And she isn't going on spring break. And when I go to church with you on Sunday, she will see it then." "Ok, son. Tomorrow, we'll go down early and get you a suit. I'd like to see you going back to church with us on Sunday. And I think you will be surprised when Rita continues to rub your head."
The week went by quickly. His dad bought him the suit and he wore it to church. Rita almost didn't recognize him all dressed up. But she also couldn't keep her eyes off his haircut or her hands off his head. She dragged him around the corner into an empty hallway and kissed him. "You look gorgeous. I think I like this you."
To be continued