Dad Happened, Part 2 by anonymous
When his friends came back they were in awe of the change in Butch.
Lyle who was his best friend asked where he had gotten the haircut. Butch told him "at Paul's", where he had always gone. "What happened?" "Dad happened." Lyle's hair was shoulder length and a dark auburn.
That Tuesday afternoon after class, Butch was taking Lyle to his apartment as he sometimes did. They were definitely headed in the wrong direction. "Where are we headed?" Lyle asked. "As my dad told me, `you'll see when we get there,' Butch said with a mischievous grin." Fifteen minutes later they pulled up in front of Paul's Barbershop. "Out," Butch said as he turned off the car and got out himself. Lyle gave him a curious look, but he got out. Butch opened the door to the barbershop. "Inside my good man. Paul is waiting to see you sit in his chair." "I don't know if I'm ready for this Butch." "Of course you are. Now come on, be a good sport." Lyle went inside. "This your friend Butch?" asked Paul. "Sure thing Mr. Paul. This is my best friend Lyle." Paul shook his hand. "Well, have a seat Lyle. It doesn't take long." Lyle looked at Butch. "Go on. Sit. It won't hurt a bit." Lyle sat in the chair. "You're gonna pay for this you know." "Sure. I came prepared."
Paul got Lyle settled, put the tape around his neck and the cape buttoned on top of that. "Paul. Everything, make it just like mine." Paul asked Lyle if that was ok. "Whatever Butch says Mr. Paul. He's buying." Paul got his tools laid out. Two pair of clippers, the straight razor, and the crew wax.
He combed Lyle's hair out. Then combed the top back. The big black clippers with the ½ inch guard were snapped on and pushed from front to back down the center of Lyle's head. The long hair poured down Lyle's back onto the floor. The top was reduced in seven good strokes. Lyle had never in his life had his hair cut this short. It already felt different, lighter on top of his head. Paul took the guard off and quickly reduced the sides and back all the way up to the crown, leaving less than 1/8th of an inch. Lyle could feel the coolness on the sides. Paul brushed off any loose strands from his head and shoulders. Then he got out the 000000 clippers and went over the sides, neck and back, taking off what little stubble was left. Using his thin black comb, Paul flattened the top, leaving a bald strip right down the middle. Lyle was really surprised when Paul tilted his head back and told him to keep it still. His straggly beard and moustache were mowed off. His head, neck and shoulders were once more brushed off. Then Paul took the warm moist towel and went over his whole head removing even more of the stray cut hair. The cape was unpinned and folded down into his lap. The paper tape removed. A towel was put around his neck and tucked into his collar. Paul held a steamy warm towel around his head for a couple of minutes. Then lathered the sides, back and down his neck. With the straight razor he made it all smooth. After he had gone over the freshly shaved sides, Paul told Lyle to lean back and relax. He reclined the back of the chair. A new steamy towel was placed on his face. The hot lather machine whirred, the towel was removed and his face was lathered. Under Paul's expert hand, the razor made Lyle's face as smooth as the sides of his head. Using the towel he wiped off any residual lather then sat the chair up straight. What remained of Lyle's hair was massaged with crew wax and brushed to stand up straight. The scissors made a few minor adjustments, making sure that the flat top was really flat. The cape was removed and Paul turned him around so that he could see his new look. Lyle stared in disbelief, he had never seen his bare scalp before. He thought it looked good. Butch said it was "awesome". Paul turned him back around. "Lyle, if you come in regular it will be easy to keep up. I suggest you use sunscreen for a while until it tans up. After that it will really look great. You have a nicely shaped head for this style. If you come every week, I'll charge you just $8.00. You will have to shave your own face from now on. Don't do much of that any more." He gave Lyle the jar of crew wax. Said he did that for all the first time flat tops. Butch paid for the haircut and thanked Paul for the good job. He would be in Friday to get his touched up.
Outside, Lyle rubbed his head. "You could have given me some warning, man. That's some spot you put me in." "No. You would have made excuses if I'd told you where we were going. As it is, you handled yourself quite well and didn't embarrass me or you. Your girl is gonna flip when she see's your head." "Probably. But just wait until my folks see it. Do you really think it looks good? or are you just saying that?" "What do you think?" "I like it, although Paul is probably right, it will look a lot better when my skin isn't so white. Wish I had gotten it cut before we went to the beach. It would have a nice tan by now." In the car they were again headed in a different direction from Lyle's place. "Now where are you taking me?" "To my house. You can have supper with us, my mom will be glad to see you and it will give my dad a chuckle to see your almost shaved head. He had his buzzed completely down and his moustache shaved off as well." "You are kidding me! Are you sure it will be ok by your mom for me to add another mouth to the table?" "It'll be fine, you are almost like family now. I called her earlier and she said there would be plenty."
Bruce would have nothing but that he take Lyle and Butch's picture. Butch downloaded it to his computer and Lyle asked if he could email it to his folks. "Although, they probably won't believe it until they actually see me in person."
Butch had been right. Lyle's girlfriend flipped out. She said he looked like a damn Marine. Lyle took that as a compliment. He hadn't even told his parents that he was planning to join the Marine Corps when he finished college. He had told Butch, but had sworn him to secrecy. Butch said he would join if Lyle did. Two days later they stopped in the Marine Liaison Office for the ROTC program. They both signed up and would start that summer when college let out for the summer, if they passed their physicals and background checks. Their grades were good and they were already in school which had made it easy.
That weekend they made the two hour trip out to Lyle's family. The first thing his dad said, after he gave his son a bear hug and shook Butch's hand, "Did you boy's go and join the Marines?" . Lyle grinned. "I was gonna tell you dad, but you didn't give me a chance." His dad had joined the Marines right out of highschool and made it to Sergeant. He had gotten out after four years and gone back to the family farm. He was really pleased with Lyle, yet glad that he was waiting to finish college first, and go in as an officer. Nothing would do, but he pulled out his old photo albums of him and his buddies when he was in the Corps. He retold his war stories about how he had let his hair grow out just a little too long after basic training and going home on his two week leave. When he got back to his base, the duty Sergeant had checked him in and immediately taken him to the barracks barber who buzzed his hair down with unguarded clippers and had given him a high and tight. He had kept it cut that way because it was free, the barracks barber wasn't a "real" barber but one of the guys that had a good pair of clippers. He told them how sometimes after they had been drinking at the club they would go back to the barracks and buzz each others heads without the guard on, then shave the sides down smooth. Those were the days, he said.
Back home, Butch's folks weren't as thrilled when he told them of his and Lyle's decision. His dad just shook his head but put a good face on it. The kid was over 18 and it was his life. His mom cried a little out of sight, but wiped her eyes and freshened her face and came back with a smile. It would be three more years before he really left, and he would have to go sometime. Summers would be spent away from home for the most part. But it would help him mature. In the end she supposed it was really a good thing.