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Part 2: Giles' Boss Bruce Gets Flattened by Manny


There are two separate endings to this story. You decide! The first ending is heart-warming and the second ending beneath it is more edgy and dark. Let me know what type of ending you prefer. I like both kinds!

Several months after Giles had started his new job, he showed up at Al's shop accompanied by a very distinguished gentleman who was wearing a conservative, power business suit. The large gold Rolex and gold cuff links were additional testaments to the status of the man. Al surveyed the elegant business coif that was swept back in very full waves of glistening chestnut colored hair.


Giles was a bit breathless as he introduced his companion to the barber, "Al, I want you to meet my boss and the company's CFO, Bruce Miller. You asked me to bring him in some day. I said I would, and so, as I'm a man of my word....here he is!"


The executive shook hands warmly with the old barber. "Giles has spoken so highly of you, Al. He credits you with his rocket-propelled start at the insurance company. I can't believe this genius was driving a package delivery truck a few months ago!"


"Ah, yes, he came in to get cleaned-up before his job interview. I remember it well." The three smiled politely at each other.


While it was nice of the exec to drop by, Al felt that perhaps there was a little more in the works than a mere social call, so he continued, "Giles tells me you admire his flattop, Mr. Miller."


"Definitely. He's the portrait of vigor and vitality....discipline and precision," replied the exec.


"Ah, yes, those are my sentiments exactly about the flattop! So, is this just a social call, or am I going to have the pleasure of offering you a seat here?" Al asked respectfully as he nodded to the large barbering chair.


Mr. Miller fidgeted, shuffling his feet a bit, before responding, "Well, it was just to say hello, really."


The trio stood in awkward silence for a bit. It was unclear who should make the next comment.


Mr. Miller sneaked a furtive glance of himself in the mirror, cleared his voice and continued, "But, since I'm here, I suppose I might take you up on your invitation, Al. I could do with a bit of a trim." A wave of relief, sprinkled with hints of excitement, swept across Mr. Miller's face.


The trio all smiled broadly as Al patted the red leather seat near them and announced, "This chair is all yours! Here, let me help you take your jacket off."


As Al assisted Mr. Miller ease out of his Canali suit coat, he studied the thick mane of wavy hair that lapped well over the collar, spilling liberally down past the mid point. The dense, shiny hair undoubtedly had not been introduced to the electric hair clippers. But if he played things right, Al might be the one to make the connection. He sensed that all Mr. Miller needed was a bit of encouragement, that deep down the desire was there to submit his coif to the clippers.....


Giles watched eagerly as his boss took a seat in the big chair. He never expected that the two of them would hit it off so well. He had been fairly shocked when Mr. Miller asked to meet the barber that sculpted such wonderful flattops. Certainly Mr Miller could not be interested in one for himself -- in the rarified air of the executive suite, no one sported the ultra-shorn look -- or could he?! Giles thought back to his first time in Al's chair, with his ginger locks flowing down past the seat and old Al crunching through them with his shears right at the nape. If he could shed his braid, certainly Mr. Miller should shed his helmet hair!


Mr. Miller eased slowly into the large chair and breathed out a relaxing sigh. "Very comfortable," he noted.


Al snapped the clean pin-stripe cape open, still uncertain of how to approach Mr. Miller. He flung it with an expert spin and the billowing white sheet floated down gently, covering the trappings of power. Now the exec looked so much more vulnerable! His power coif was within close range of a vast collection of clippers that could dessimate it in a very moments. The smile withered from Mr. Miller's face and morphed into a bit of a worried grimace.


Al brought a wide toothed comb up to the coif and pulled it back slowly through the dense mane, trailing with his other hand which enjoyed their task of smoothing down Mr. Miller's silken locks. "This is quite a thick head of hair you have here, Mr. Miller," the barber commented as his hand lingered atop the chestnut waves.


"Too much of a good thing can be a curse sometimes. It gets a little unruly and hard to manage after a certain length," the caped client noted.


Al felt encouraged. First, Mr. Miller had initiated the idea of the trim, and now this comment disparaging his thick head of hair, even terming it unruly. There was one sure way to tame unruly locks!


"Who's your current barber?" Al asked.


"Oh, I use a salon. Been going there for years. It's downtown in one of the most exclusive buildings." Al hardly needed to be told the helmet hair was a salon job!


"So you want it thinned down and shortened a bit?" the barber asked.


"Yes, a trim, if you would," Mr. Miller replied.


"No flattop today, likes Giles, then?" the barber said playfully. The three men laughed, but Mr. Miller's contained a hint of nervousness.


"Heavens! I'd never hear the end of it if I walked into the office looking like Giles," he explained.


"Off the collar in back and an inch off the top?" the barber asked, trying to judge just how much Mr. Miller would tolerate in his first sitting.


While that certainly was much more than 'just a trim', Mr. Miller agreed. "Yes, it is rather long. A bit more than just trimming off the tips would be nice."


Al began with comb and shears at the back. He snagged the lock that was the thickest and longest right at the nape and snipped it off. The first chink in the helmet fell to his feet! The barber scissored off another lock. The back would be nice an short, well above the collar! Lift and snip, lift and snip, lift and snip. The barber carefully, but progressively, shortened the back and began to substantially reduce the bulk. The first phase of Mr. Miller's transformation was happening hidden from his view. However, the use of just the scisscors and comb was lulling him into a relaxed feeling. Not so nervous about entrusting his coif to a traditional barber for the first time.

Watching the clumps of lovely chestnut hair fall away stoked Al's desire to become more aggressive in tackling Mr. Miller's salon coif. He would not deprive Mr. Miller of a genuine barbershop experience, resulting in a very barbered look! That meant clippers, at some point....


After the back was short and tidy, Al reached for the thinning shears. This would be the first action Mr. Miller would witness in the mirror. Al started with the forelock and tackled the mane with gusto, thinning the bulky waves down considerably. He would slash away at the dense tresses several times and then comb out the strands that the shears had selected to reduce in length. The thick forelock, which was the cornerstone of Mr. Miller's executive pomp, took the heaviest hit from old Al's thinning shears. The mighty lock was reduced to half its bulk. After vigorous thrashing over the whole head for several minutes, the might waves had been subdued significantly. Al repeated this over and over again on top and on the sides too. The mighty waves were calmed by the determined barber!


Mr. Miller watched the thinning of his coif with interest and excitement. "My stylist has never used those on me," he noted, as Al paused from his attack with the silver comb-toothed shears.


"You'll love the difference they can make on bulky hair like yours. Barbers tend you use a fuller array of hair cutting implements, I've noticed, than stylists. For instance, very rarely do I finish a haircut without using the electric clippers," he said, nodding to the large array that hung from his counter.


Mr. Miller shivered slightly. "Well, not with my trim, I gather," he interjected nervously.


"Oh, not to worry. Just to clean up the neck," he said with a laugh. "Although, I would say that your hair would taper very nicely around the ears and at the nape."


"Taper?" the exec exclaimed.


"A nice, traditional 'short back and sides' would be perfect on you, Mr. Miller," said Al enthusiastically. "With very thick hair it does well, and it's a nice solution for wavy hair too. Shall we give it a bit of a try -- a tidy taper on the sides and back? A bit longer on top?" he asked, reaching for the clippers.


Al determined that if Mr. Miller agreed to the clippers, he was definitely going to be on the receiving end of one very short haircut! There would be no doubt that his purpose in coming to meet Giles' barber was to ditch the power coif. Al would help him accept and adapt to a very barbered look.


"Tapered around the ears and up the back....?" It was a half question, half statement that rolled slowly from Mr. Miller's lips. "I'm not sure...."


It was Giles to the rescue. He jumped to his feet and came close, "Trust Barber Al's instinct, Mr. Miller. I did, and look where it got me."


Mr. Miller's eyes blazed with desire as he studied Giles' shorn head. After a labored attempt to communicate, the caped client eeked out, "Okay, a taper, but not a flattop."


Al snapped on a huge set of Oster clippers with a #3 blade. "You'll see how nice a short taper looks!" He cocked Mr. Miller's head to the side. The caped man's eyes bulged with fear. "Ready?" the barber asked.


"Ready," came his labored replied.


In a flash, Al took the clippers to the base of Mr. Miller's sideburn and began moving it tightly up the side. A third of the way up, he eased into a taper and gouged off a generous swath of shiny, chestnut hair, flicking it to the white cape. Mr. Miller gasped, but his dry throat did not produce any utterance or objection.


"How'd that feel?" the barber asked.


"Oh, my. It'll end up quite short, I see," the anxious client noted.



HAPPY ENDING (read on) EDGY ENDING (skip down)

Al folded down Mr. Miller's ear to give his clippers unhampered access. "Yes, quite short, but a cut that will suit you." Without another word the clippers gouged off another wad of shiny chestnut hair and gave the side a very pronounced taper around the ear.

"The vibration from that machine tickles, especially near the ear," Mr. Miller noted.

"You're enjoying this clipper cut, I see," Al said with a smile. Then he decided to take the taper tighter and higher up the side. He retraced to the side burns and put the machine at the base and moved it quickly up, easing into the taper 2/3 of the way up and keeping it tight.

"Oh, that's very short!" Mr. Miller gasped, obviously concerned about the unexpected development.

"Not as short as Giles' there," the barber laughed. Then he cocked Mr. Miller's head in the other direction and tackled the other, as-of-yet uncut side. The long soft locks that swept back in a very full, fluid waves were quickly mowed off almost to the scalp. Falling away in a single shank made for a dramatic addition of shorn hair on the cape.

Mr. Miller squirmed in the chair as he gripped the arms. A second run of the clippers quickly altered his overall appearance with both sides tightly tapered. He watched his transformation with apprehension, but without vocalizing any objection. This propelled the barber on, persuading Al to take the exec's coif down even shorter.

Al nudged his client's head forward very gently, but firmly. He was determined to taper the exec's hair extremely short, almost all the way up to the crown. The first, long drive of the clippers up the back of Mr. Miller's head left a shorn swath that contasted dramatically with the long, soft, waves that framed it on either side. Repeatedly, the barber drove the clippers up the back, as he kept Mr. Miller's head in a prostrate, submissive posture. The back side of the helmet coif was quickly stripped off to mere stubble and short whisps. The only length of hair that remained was atop Mr. Miller's head.

"So, you're a fan of Giles' flattop, Bruce," Al remarked as he brought the comb and clippers to the dense thatch on top. The barber's switch from using the deferential "Mr. Miller" to "Bruce" signalled his intention to take total control of the haircut and administer it as tight and short as he please.

"On the young man, it looks quite manly," Bruce replied nervously.

"How old are you?" the barber asked.

"Forty-eight," Bruce replied.

"That's quite young compared to my seventy-four years," Al dead-panned. Then he snagged the forelock and brought the clippers quite near the hairline. "I think you want a flattop too. You had Giles bring you here today for that very purpose. Barbers have a way of knowing," Al stated as he stared directly into Bruce's terrified eyes. "What is it? Afraid of what the others will say? Nervous about making a change, even though you've wanted it for as long as you can remember?"

"Yes," Bruce eeked out as his lip quivered.


"But you want it badly. You wouldn't object if I were to carve you out a flatty of your very own, would you?" the barber pressed.


Bruce sat still and silent and submissive in the great big barber's chair.

His silence signaled tacit agreement. ZIP! In an instant Al had sliced off the forelock to just an inch in length. Five inches fell in front of Bruce's apprehensive eyes.

"There!" the barber exclaimed. "You're going to leave here looking like a real man's man!"

Bruce swallowed hard and then smiled weakly.

"But I still want you to say it! I want you to tell me what it is exactly that you want, Bruce!" the barber insisted.

Then it poured out quickly and with great excitement. "I want a boxy flat with beveled sides. A fairly deep pile. No landing strip. About 3/4 of an inch at the front. Sides clipped down to a #1 almost all the way to the crown. That's what I want!" His eyes were wild with anticipation and his body quaked with nervous excitement.

"And that's exactly what you'll get," said the barber happy to comply with the very specific instructions. "I see you've been considering your options for many years now."

"Ever since I was thirteen, I dreamed of having my long, feathered hair that everyone praised so much clipped off into a bold flattop by a barber just like you!" Bruce said, over-joyed at the transformation he was watching in the mirror.

Al went to work, following Bruce's instructions to the tee. He could feel the surge of excitement and energy growing as the thick wavy locks fell away, leaving a dense, erect pile in its place. Over and over he took the clippers, ensuring that every stray hair was brought into conformity.




After very careful, precise work, Al was very pleased with the work he'd done -- not only crafting a remarkable quality flattop, but helping a man get what he wanted after a long 35 year wait! "Your hair is so dense and has so much body, you won't required any butch wax to hold this in place. But, you'll have to come for regular trims, mind you....unless you intend to get them at your fancy salon downtown!"

"I will be here regularly, I assure you," Bruce said, beaming.


All held up a hand mirror so that Bruce could admire the back of his new haircut too.


"I love this flattop!" the client gushed.

As Al pulled away the hair-laden cape and the gold cuff links came into view, the barber quipped, "You know, down at Penney's you can buy good quality poly-cotton shirts that come with buttons on the cuffs. No ironing required. Inexpensive -- $14.99. Good old boys don't wear cuff links!" Then he took the wisk broom and put in a huge dollop of talcum powder before dusting his catatonic client. "Here, try on a pair of my thick black plastic glasses to complete the 1950's look, Bruce."


"Giles, why don't you be a good boy and get the broom and dust pan for me. You have experience in sweeping up mounds of shorn hair!"


Once the flattopped carrot-top left the shop, Al leaned down and whispered into Bruce's ear. "It's what you always fantasized about, right?"


Bruce nodded solemnly in the affirmative.


"And now you feel a little sick to your stomach?" the barber continued.


Bruce nodded 'yes' again.


"And that's what you wanted too -- feeling vulnerable and like the situation was outside of your control. Not like the big exec who bosses Giles and the other lackies around!"


Bruce continued agreeing. Then he spoke, "When I was a high school junior, I looked like David Cassidy, but I really wanted to look like my chemistry teacher, Mr. Majewski -- a former marine who still wore a flattop in the early 80s. I fantasized about asking him to take me with him to the barber and practiced repeatedly my instructions outloud. 'Yes, sir, that is correct. I want a flattop just like Mr. Majewski's.' The thought of appearing at school the next day, shorn and skinned, enduring ridicule and taunts only stoked my desire. The girls would shriek, 'But you had such lovely hair....' and the boys would howl, 'He's a Majewski Junior Jarhead!' I would sit alone and vulnerable i the cafeteria where kids could come from all grades to look and laugh at me."


Al smile. He had been right again! "You never went through it back then, but tomorrow, you'll have your chance at corporate HQ. Now, the real fun is going to begin -- no doubt about it. But, it'll be part of the experience that escaped you in high school. Imagine the taunts and laughs you would have been subjected to as a young teen sporting a flattop when all the other boys brushed through their feathered blow dry hair jobs! That would have taken all the courage and character you had to exhibit, my friend!"


Bruce got out of his chair and pulled a $100 bill from his wallet. "Giles was right. You have a real instinct for what the client wants and needs." Then he looked at himself in the mirror and touched his shorn head for the first time, "Oh my stars! I look like I just stepped out of a diner and the year is 1954." Then Bruce felt the sharp stubble up the back of his head and the wonderful feel of deep pile velvet on top. "And, you know what, I wouldn't want it any other way! But, what the hell, am I going to say to everyone who asks why I did it?!"



"Tell them you found a new barber who knew just what you wanted!" chirped Al. "And keep your money. I performed a service that was priceless!"


EDGY ENDING



Al decided to push the envelope and take more complete control of the haircut. "I think a very, very short taper is the way to go with you, Bruce," he said curtly. Al was primed -- the pussyfooting around with the coif was over!


The barber swapped clippers -- a more powerful machine with a short #1 blade. Aggressively, he zipped the clippers farther up the side of the head sending an additional chunky of shiny hair to the cape. The balance of power had shifted. Bruce Miller was increasingly on the receiving end of an extremely short clipper haircut! The only thing Al didn't know yet was whether or not he would flatten out the top. But the sides and back would be clippered to stubble 2/3 up and then tapered severely, regardless! Perhaps a tight, tight ivy....


Al slowly swiveled the chair so that Bruce faced away from the mirror to elevate his sense of vulnerability. Then Al resumed with his clippers stripping away the power hair helmet. The old barber tackled the wavy mass with a vengeance, pulling off swath after swath of Bruce's shiny chestnut hair. The pin-striped cape quickly covered with the remnants of Bruce's once proud, executive pomp.


But it was at the nape that barber Al delivered his most punishing swipe. In one, extremely tight run, he stripped the whole mass of lovely, wavy hair off from nape to crown in a single, determined drive. The stripe of stubble contrasted dramatically with the soft, falling waves of longish locks on either side!


Barber Al noticed young Giles enjoying the impromptu makeover his boss was receiving. "He's admired your flattop since day one, hasn't he, Giles?" the barber asked as he had poor Bruce's head pushed so that the chin hit his chest.


"Every time we talk, he can't keep his eyes off it!" answered Giles.


"Would you say, he would like one just like yours himself?" the barber asked.


"Without a doubt! He's just afraid of his colleagues' opinions and wise cracks!" chirped Giles.


Al let Bruce sit up straight. Then he swiveled the chair towards the mirror again. The back of Bruce's head had been shorn to stubble, but in the mirror all he could she is the full swept back waves on one side and the tidy taper on the other. "And why is that, mister? That a powerful exec shouldn't sport the haircut he wants? Does he need permission to go flat?! Is he really such a pansy -- controlled by that pathetic 'what will others think?' trash?! No, you will get your flattop. I will make sure of that!" the barber exclaimed as he snagged the long forelock with a comb and ran the clippers over the plastic teeth. The massive lock fell to the cape, leaving little more than a tuft of hair in front. "There, that's a start!"


Bruce smiled weakly and swallowed hard. "You'll need to finish what you started, then. Go to it," he murmured.


"No, you say it. I want to hear it from your own lips!" the barber insisted.


Bruce gripped the arms of his chair, as if to brace himself, and the blurted out, "Give me a flattop every bit as short as Giles. No, shorter! Shoe me! There, I said it! All my life I've wanted to be shoed. I've wanted to walk into the executive conference room sporting the tightest, meanest shoe -- lather shaved. The works! What do you say, Al?"


"Well, I say, that's quite a change from 'a bit of a trim'....'I guess, since I'm here'....." And without another word, Al carved off a large landing strip at the very top of Bruce's head that would serve as a starting point for his shoe.


Bruces shivered as he felt the vibrating metal teeth run across the top of his head. Where copious waves of thick, soft hair once reigned, now all that remained was virgin white scalp.

Al decided to manhandle Bruce to give him the full extent of his long-desired transformation from pampered businessman's pomp to a ruthlessly short horseshoe flattop. The lovely, soft, wavy hair that still clung to one side was an endangered species! The clippers punished them mercilessly as they sheared very close to the scalp.


Bruce sat in a type of transe watching his transformation. However, it wasn't until Al began massaging in the foamed lather that it hit him. He would walk out of the shop radically altered -- and have to face the taunts and ridicule of his colleagues. What story could be make up?


As Al began scraping off the lather with a straight edge razor, Giles became intrigued. "I see, I haven't been getting the full treatment from you, Al! You held back on giving me the shoe!"


"While flattops are a bit mainstream these days -- not in the executive suites, yet, mind you! -- but shoes...well, it takes a very courageous man to shed a lovely, pampered mane of well coiffed hair for a radical shoe! What'll be your strategy for tomorrow at the office, Brucie? You know they'll be coming out of the woodwork to see your shorn head!" Al laughed playfully.


Just then Al pulled off the steaming towel that had been used to wipe off the remaining bits of lather and sooth the shell-shocked scalp that had just been divested of its long-time companion. It revealed and incredibly white skin that shone in the neon and contrasted sharply from the fake bronze that Bruce had built up at the tanning salon over months of patient work. Al worked in some butch watch to give the remaining strands an erect position.


Bruce's lip wavered in shock and fear. He looked down at all his glorious hair that covered the cape. Then he looked at Giles, who by comparison, looked like a hippy with his tidy flat. "They won't recognize you, Mr. Miller! You should have heard the laughs and taunts I put up with after my waist-length hair ended up on this very floor right before I interviewed with you.


"Let's treat him with the full view, shall we?" joked the barber, holding up a hand mirror to reveal the cleanly shaven back. Zip hair. Nothing but a glistening cueball was evident in the frame. Al stroked the denude back. "Remember those heavy, thick waves that dangled back here." Then he grasped a wad of shorn hair from Bruce's lap. "Bye, bye, power coif! Short enough for you, Bruce?"


The man beneath the cape sat immobile. Al was very satisfied that he been brought down from his high and mighty perch but an ultra-short shoe. As he pulled away the hair-laden cape and the gold cuff links came into view, the barber quipped, "You know, down at Penney's you can buy good quality poly-cotton shirts that come with buttons on the cuffs. No iron. Inexpensive -- $14.99." Then he took the wisk broom and put in a huge dollop of talcum powder before dusting his catatonic client.


"Giles, why don't you be a good boy and get the broom and dust pan for me. You have experience in sweeping up mounds of shorn hair!"


Once the flattopped carrot-top left the shop, Al leaned down and whispered into Bruce's ear. "It's what you always fantasized about, right?"


Bruce nodded solemnly in the affirmative.


"And now you feel absolutely sick to your stomach?" the barber continued.


Bruce nodded yes again.


"And that's what you wanted too -- feeling vulnerable, submissive and out of control."


Bruce continued agreeing.


"But now, the real fun is going to begin -- when you walk out that door and face everyone!"


Bruce got out of his chair and pulled a $100 bill from his wallet. "Giles was right. You have a real instinct for what the client wants and needs." Then he looked at himself in the mirror and touched his shorn head for the first time, "Oh my stars! This is beyond what I ever imagined!"


"Is that all I'm getting for this priceless service I rendered?" demanded the barber, as he waved the bill in front of Bruce's confounded face. "Oh no! You sit down right there and write me out a decent check -- I'm talking in the three-four figure range! And you can leave the Rolex and cuff links behind too. My boy is going to work in in polyster floodwater pants, white socks and a Timex watch. Do you understand, Brucie?"


"Yes, sir," the emasculated exec replied meekly, as he slowly took off his watch and retrieved his check book.








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