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A Coach Connor Special - part 3 by JB


A Coach Connor Special by JB

Part 3: Father And Son- Again


Dan Connor arrives home Friday afternoon after getting his flattop haircut,
his Coach Connor Special, at the Klipper-Kut barbershop. As he enters the
house, Jeff is sprawled out across the living room sofa in front of the TV
playing Breakout on their Atari 2600 video game system. [Blip, Blop, Blip,
Blop]. Dan, "Hey, Sport." "Hey Dad", Jeff replies, oblivious to everything
except the bouncing ball on the screen. Seeing his son's intense concen-
tration on the video game, Dan conducts a little experiment:

>>> PHASE 1- LINE OF SIGHT: He walks around the sofa so that he's now
in plain view of his son, [Blip...Blop...Blip...] "Where's your mom?", he asks.
[Blop, Blip]. Jeff (eventually) replies, "I think she's out back feeding Unitas
and Maris." [BlipBlopBlipBlopBlip]

>>>PHASE 2- PROXIMITY TO THE TEST SUBJECT: Dan deliberately crosses
in front of the TV screen, bends down and examines the game cartridge box,
"Isn't that YOUR job, Sport?" Unitas and Maris are the Connor's two German
Shepherds. "Daaad. C'mon! Yer gonna make me miss." [BlopBlip...Blop]


The experiment having run its course, Dan heads for the patio door. Jeff
never noticed his dad's crisp new flattop.

As Dan steps into the backyard, Kathy is putting the (large) bag of dog
food away. Dan, "Hi, Hon." "Hi. Oh, would you put dog food on the grocery
list for me. It's getting low again." She turns and faces her husband, "Oh...".
She smiles when she Dan's flattop, "Looks like I got my old Dan back
again." She pecks him on the cheek. Dan, "I think old Dan is gonna stick
around for a while, at least till the end of football season, maybe longer."
Kathy, "I'd like that. I like my men manly", she says alluringly. "Your
men?...Just how many do you have, my dear?" "Oh, just the one...I think."
They share a laugh.

The dogs come lumbering over to greet Dan. He squats down and gives
them a vigorous head rubbing, "How're my boys doing?", he says to the
dogs. Kathy, "Speaking of boys, how did Jeff react to your new flattop?" "He
didn't even notice. I walked right in front of him and...nuthin." He continues
roughing up the dogs' ears, "There was a time when our son used to be
observant, notice things around him, but now..." Jeff pokes his head out the
back door, "Did I just see Dad with...", he sees his dad's landing strip
glowing in the late afternoon sun, "...a flattop...Geez. Every couple o' years,
it's back to the flattop. I'm sensin' a pattern here." Dan gets up from his
squatting position, "Could be." He reaches over and vigorously tousles his
son's hair like he did with the dogs, "How's my boy doin'?" "Hey, cut it out!",
Jeff laughs with a puzzled expression on his face, "You're sure actin' goofy.
Must be the flattop." "Yep. One of the side effects of havin' a flattop...It's
right there in the Flattopper's Manual: Side Effect #2- Guys with freshly cut
flattops tend to act goofy. It's right after Side Effect #1- People will often
ask to feel a guy's flattop...Wanna feel my flattop?" "Maybe later", Jeff grins
and shakes his head in disbelief, "Makes ya look like a drill sergeant." His
dad adopts a menacing tone, "That's drill sergeant SIR, to you recruit!" "Sir!
Yes, SIR!" Jeff replies, struggling to keep a straight face. Dan looks over at
his wife, "That manly enough for ya?" Kathy, "It'll do...Now, one of you
manly men go inside and peel some potatoes, it's time to start supper." Jeff,
"Sir, yes sir!" He heads for the kitchen.

Kathy, "So. I'm guessing this...", she motions at Dan's flattop with her
eyes, "has to do with that team haircut idea you talked about a while back.
You're going ahead with your little bait & switch scheme, aren't you. All the
guys ending up with flattops, like yours. I'm not really sure I like the idea. I
feel kind of sorry for them." Dan, "Look Kath, these guys are tough. They've
got character. They'll be just fine...after the initial shock." "I suppose so. I
just don't like the idea of tricking them into getting something they don't
want." "Well, I think the secret'll probably be out after the first few haircuts
anyhow. After that, I'm hoping the first few guys'll convince the rest to get
their flattops voluntarily. I'm thinking Jeff can help out in that department.
By the way, I thought Jeff would've figured this little trick of mine out by
now, after seeing the flattop. He's usually pretty good at putting 2 and 2
togeth..." "Wait, wait, wait...", Jeff comes to the back door again holding a
half-peeled potato, "This is about the team haircut idea, isn't it. The flattop,
I mean." He points the potato at his dad's head, "We talked about this last
week, about tellin' the guys they gotta get flattops. An' I said they probably
wouldn't go for it. And then today, after practice, you told us t'get our hair
cut like yours. And now you've got a flattop. So when the guys tell Hank and
Arley t'cut their hair like yours..." Slowly, a big grin spreads across Jeff's
face, "Tricky...I like it. It might just work." Dan is relieved to see his son get
on board with the idea. He wasn't sure how he would take it.

While eating dinner, Dan clues his son in on the various aspects of the
plan: About how the barber chairs face away from the countertop mirrors,
etc. Dan, "The only problem left to figure out is the mirrors along the waiting
area wall. When the guys see too much of their hair comin' off, they'll put a
stop to things real quick. They might end up with taper cuts, but no
flattops." Jeff, "So we need somethin' t'cover up the mirrors, right? So the
guys can't see themselves." "Yeah. I thought about movin' the coatrack in
front of one of the mirrors, but it's warm out, the guys won't be wearin'
jackets. A bare coatrack wouldn't block their view. Besides, there's 2 barber
chairs and only one coatrack." After thinking about it for a few seconds, Jeff
comes up with the answer, "Easy. I'll make a big banner, like ya see in the
hallways at school. I'll paint somethin' like 'Northridge Football' on it. Take it
to Hank's tomorrow morning and tape it up on the wall in front of the
mirrors: Problem solved." Dan grins at his son's easy solution, "Now, why
didn't I think of that?"

After dinner, Jeff gets started on the banner: He gathers together a roll of
butcher paper from the garage along with some poster paint and a brush
and lays everything out on the living room floor, "How long d'ya think it
should be? I'm thinkin' maybe 10 feet." Dan, "Sounds about right. Go for it."

Kathy enters the room wiping a sauce pan with a kitchen towel, "You
know, I'm still not comfortable about tricking the guys on the team like this.
I mean, you two seem positively giddy about it. But what if one of the
parents doesn't like the idea of their son coming home with a flattop? And
what about Hank and Arley? You said you're leaving them in the dark, too.
How are they going to feel when they find out they've given a flattop to
someone who wasn't expecting it?" Jeff, "Aw, Mom. Yer just worryin' too
much." Dan, "No, no. You're right...Arley, he's a Marine, an' well, he's Arley.
He'll probably get a big kick out of it. But Hank, I'm not so sure about. I
think I should go over to the Klipper-Kut sometime tomorrow afternoon and
apologize. As for the parents, I'll tell ya what...(heh), I sounded like Arley
there for a second, must be contagious." Jeff looks up with a grin, "I was, I
say, I was just gonna say that." They both laugh. Kathy, "This Arley sounds
like quite a character. Maybe I should go with you to the shop one of these
days and see for myself." Dan, "Yeah. Good idea. Catch the Hank & Arley
show...Only, not tomorrow, O.K?" Dan gives her a pleading look. She
smiles, "I guess you clowns are juggling too many balls in the air already,
huh." Dan smiles back. She gets Dan back on track, "You were going to say
something about the parents?" "Oh yeah...How about I call some of them,
maybe 7 or 8, there's too many t'call all of 'em, and explain the situation to
them. If even one of them objects to the flattop idea, I'll go down to the
Klipper-Kut early tomorrow morning and clue Hank and Arley in on the plan.
They'll tell the guys about the flattops before the cutting starts. Give 'em a
choice." Kathy, "Sounds good. Thank you." Dan gives her a little smooch.
She returns the favor. Jeff glances up from his work and sees his parents
little display of affection, "Hey, yer gettin', I say, yer gettin' spit on my
banner, I'll tell ya what." His parents laugh. Dan, "Maybe we should get a
room, my dear." "Or maybe I should go finish the dishes. And maybe you
should go make those phone calls." She gives him a catty grin as she heads
back into the kitchen. Dan leaves Jeff to his banner making and goes into his
office/study/den to make the phone calls.

First up is Matt Cooper's dad, Dick: "Good evening Mr. Cooper. This is Dan
Connor, Matt's coach. How are you tonight?" Dick Cooper, "Just fine, Coach.
Yerself?" "Doin' good, doin' good. Hey, has your son mentioned anything
about what I told the guys after practice this afternoon?" "You mean about
the haircuts?" "Yeah. That's right." "Yeah, he told me about that. Brought a
smile to my face. I've been tellin' him t'get that shaggy mop of his cut for
months. Says he's gotta get it cut above the ears like yours." "Yeah, well...
I'm sorta pullin' a little trick on the guys. I told 'em to tell the barbers at the
Klipper-Kut they need to cut their hair like mine, like yer son said. But the
thing is, after practice today, I went over to the Klipper-Kut and got a
haircut. Now I'm sportin' a brand new flattop that any Marine would be
proud of. So if Matt tells the barber t'cut it like mine..." Dick, "He'll end up
with a flattop like yours! (Laughs)" Dan, "So how d'ya feel about that?
Sound O.K. to you?" "You kiddin? I'd give him a flattop myself if I thought
he'd let me. Hey, ya know what? I'm gonna grab my camera an' go down to
the barbershop with him. I've gotta get pictures of this!" "Yeah well, be
careful not to give the surprise away, O.K?" "Oh yeah, sure. I wouldn't spoil
this for anything." Dan thanks Dick for his co-operation and says good-bye.
"So far, so good."

Next up- Scott McAllister's dad. Joe McAllister answers his phone, "Y'ello."
"Hi, this is Dan Connor, Scott's football coach. Is this Scott's dad?" "Yeah,
Joe McAllister. What can I do for ya, Coach?" "Hi, Joe. I don't know if your
son has talked to you about this yet, but after practice today I sprung a little
surprise on the guys. I've been thinking of a way to bring the team together,
give them a morale boost. The idea I came up with was t'have the guys get
team haircuts, everybody gets the same haircut. Has Scott mentioned this?"
"Naw, he hasn't said a thing. Startin' t'sound interesting though. Haircuts,
huh?" "Yeah. Told 'em they had t'get it cut like mine, above the ears, off the
collar, a regular medium haircut." "Oh boy. Bet that went over good." "Yeah,
there was a lot of groaning and grumbling. Thing is- After practice today, I
went over to Hank's barbershop, he's my regular barber..." "You mean
Hank's Klipper-Kut? Yeah, I know Hank." "Oh, good. Well, I had Hank give
me a flattop haircut..." "No kiddin? Yer a braver man than I am, Dan."
"(Heh) Well, I'm still gettin' used to it. I made arrangements with Hank to
give the guys their team haircuts for free tomorrow, this being my idea and
all. I told the guys to tell Hank and Arley...Do you know Arley, Joe?" "Oh
yeah. Keeps me in stitches." "Yep. That's Arley...Anyhow, I told the guys to
say they wanted their hair cut like mine. D'ya see where I'm goin' with this?
Instead of gettin' a regular medium cut, they'll end up with a flattop like I
have now." "Oh, man. Gonna be a lot of stunned faces tomorrow! But hell,
it'll be good for 'em, build character." "Yeah. That's how I see it. So it's O.K.
with you then if Scott comes home tomorrow sportin' a flattop?" "Oh yeah,
sure. Lord knows he NEEDS a haircut, bad." "O.K. then. Nice talkin' to ya,
Joe. Say hello to Scott for me." "You bet. Thanks for callin."

As Joe McAllister hangs up the phone, his son Scott passes by the archway
leading to the room, "Who was that?" "Yer football coach. So ya gotta get
yer ears lowered tomorrow?" "Yeahhh. Totally bogus. But I guess it won't be
THAT bad. I mean, all the other guys on the team'll be gettin' their haircut
too, right? And it's not like we're gettin' butched or somethin."

As Dan continues making more calls, the response is basically the same.
Not only are there no objections, the parents are, for the most part,
overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Much to Dan's relief.

Dan heads back to the living room. Jeff's mom is spreading newspapers on
the floor as Jeff places the banner on top. Jeff, "I was doin' just fine without
the papers, Mom. Look: No spills or drops anywhere." "All I'm saying is,
accidents happen. I don't want a big paint stain on my shag carpet." She
looks up and sees Dan, "So. How did the phone calls go?" "Really well. Most
of the parents were even more supportive of the idea than I'd expected. Erik
Forslund's mom had some reservations, but eventually she came around.
Looks like Operation: Coach Connor Special is clear for take-off."


The next morning, Saturday, Jeff is up and about around 8:00 AM. After
showering, he slips on a pair of Levis and a Northridge High '78 T-shirt he
bought at the school store a few months earlier. He downs a bowl of cereal
and heads for the living room to roll up the banner. His dad walks in slurping
a cup of coffee, "Hey, Sport." "Hey" "You headin' over to Hank's with the
banner?" "Yep. Figured I'd better get there pretty early, before any of the
guys show up for their flatto...I mean, their team haircuts." He gives his dad
a mischievous grin. Dan, "Their Coach Connor Special." Jeff laughs, "Who
came up with that name anyway?" "Not sure. Probably Arley." Jeff, "Sounds
like him." Dan, "Yer gonna need some masking tape t'put that up." "Right
here." Jeff brandishes the roll of tape, "Y'know, this banner probably won't
do much good. I mean, the guys'll figure it out pretty quick." Dan, "Yeah, I
think so too. I'm countin' on enough guys gettin' their flattops before the
cat's outa the bag, maybe half a dozen or so. That way they can apply a
little pressure to get the others to go ahead with it. I'm thinkin' you can play
a part in that, Sport. What d'ya think?" "Sure. I can hang out at Hank's and
give pep talks to the guys. So can you, right? After the secret's out, I
mean." Dan, "You bet. If this little scheme of mine does a big ol' belly flop
I'm not sure what would happen. I could even lose my job." Jeff hadn't
really thought about the consequences of his dad's plan failing. Up to now, it
was just a wild and crazy thing to have some fun with. But now he realizes
the risk involved; the weight his dad must've been carrying around since he
came up with this plan. Jeff, "We'll make it work." Dan gives him a smile.
Jeff tucks the banner under his arm and heads out the door.


Doug Nelson arrives at the Klipper-Kut for his team haircut just before
9:00 AM. Doug figures he'll get the dreaded task done early so he won't
have to stew over it the rest of the day. As he enters the shop, the two
barbers are reading the morning paper. Arley is sitting in his barber chair,
while Hank is sitting in one of the waiting area chairs sipping a cup of coffee.
Hank starts to get up but Arley beats him to it. Jumping out of the barber
chair, Arley greets the first customer of the day, "Howdy. Here for a cut?"
Doug, "Yeah. I'm on the football team an'..." "Oh. Here for yer team haircut,
huh? Well, get yerself seated here an' I'll go ta town on ya." Doug steps into
the chair as Arley gives the cape a snap and drapes it loosely around his
shoulders. In the mirror above the chairs where Hank is sitting, Doug sees
Arley lift his dark blond hair off his collar, place the paper strip around his
neck, and fasten the cape in back. Arley, "So, ya want it cut like the coach,
huh?" "Yeah. He said you'd know what that meant." "Gotcha. One Coach
Connor Special comin' right up." As Arley reaches for the rotary clippers with
the #8 blade attachment, Jeff enters the shop with the rolled up banner. He
sees Doug Nelson about to get his flattop, "Hey, Arley." "Hey yerself, Sport."
Jeff, "Hey, Doug. Looks like ya beat me here." Doug, "Yeah. Thought I'd get
it over with, y'know?" Jeff sees Hank sitting in the chair against the wall,
drinking his coffee, "Hi, Hank." "Hello, Jeff. Whatcha got there?" "Oh, just a
poster I made last night. Thought it would get the ol' team spirit goin',
y'know? Also to let the guys know they're in the right place when they come
in for their team haircuts...Is it O.K. if I put it up on the wall here?" Hank,
"Sure. Go ahead."

As Jeff tapes the upper left corner of the banner to the wall he hears
Arley's clippers switch on. He quickly, but casually, unfurls the banner and
tapes up the right hand corner, covering the mirrors just as Arley takes the
first swipe across the top of Doug's head, mowing a 1" high path from front
to back. Hank takes his cup of coffee over to his barber chair to get a better
look at Jeff's banner, which reads:

R A N G E R S R O C K !!

in big bold letters. Near the left edge, a football is seen flying through the
air. On the right, a goal post. Around the entire perimeter of the banner are
red, white, and blue hash marks, like you would see on a barber pole.
"Cool poster", Doug says, as Arley makes the final pass with the clippers,
leaving the top of his head with a 1" butch. Jeff takes a seat under the
banner and grins at Doug's 50/50 haircut: long on the sides, butched on top.
The mirror-covering banner trick seems to be working.

Hank, "Nice lookin' banner, Jeff. And like ya said, it adds a touch of school
spirit to the ol' shop." Arley begins pushing the clippers up the sides and
back of Doug's head to complete the boxing-in stage of the flattop. Up to
now, all of Doug's hair has been falling onto the floor behind him as Arley
moved the clippers from his forehead to the back. But now, quite a lot of
hair is piling up in his lap. Doug, seeing the mounds of hair on the cape,
"Yer not gettin' it TOO short, are ya?" Arley, "Well, it's nowhere near as
short as yer coach's, isn't that right, Jeff?" "Not even close. Got a long ways
t'go yet." Arley, "I can leave it a little longer if ya like." Doug, "Yeah, O.K. I
don't think the coach would mind it bein' an extra inch or so." Arley looks at
Doug's inch-long brush cut, "Well, I don't know 'bout an inch, half inch
maybe." Doug, "Yeah. That sounds O.K." Arley, "All righty then." Arley
switches to a different pair of clippers and squares up Doug's sides and
back. Doug, "Feels weird not havin' hair coverin' my ears." Arley, "Guess
this is gonna be quite the transformation for you guys, huh? After havin'
long hair for so many years." Jeff starts feeling a little uneasy about where
this conversation is headed. Thankfully, Hank changes the subject, "How
about you, Jeff. You here for your team haircut?" "Not just yet. I've got
something ta take care of first. I'm just here for the Hank & Arley show right
now." "Arley & Hank", Arley replies as he grabs a spray bottle and wets
Doug's hair down. He then uses a blow dryer and brush to get Doug's hair to
stand up, ready to be flattened. Hearing the blow dryer come on, Doug
thinks his haircut is complete, but then he hears another set of clippers start
to hum. Arley decides to forego the flattopper comb and just eyeball the
flattening of the top. A few careful swipes and Doug's brush cut becomes a
flattop: 1" high in front, 5/8" down the middle with just a slight landing
strip. Jeff grins and gives Doug a thumbs up. Doug returns the gesture.

Arley loosens the cape around Doug's neck and does the edging. He
finishes up with the duster brush and swings the chair around to face the
mirror, "There y'go. One Coach Connor Special. 'Course yers is a bit longer
than the coach's, like ya said." Doug sits in stunned silence for a second as
he processes what he's seeing in the mirror, "Oh, man..." Arley, " Quite a
change, huh?" Doug, "It's...a flattop!" Arley, "And a pretty good one if I do
say so myself, (and I do)." Jeff, "Heard that one before, Arley." "Well hell.
Guess, I say, I guess I better get me some new material then, I'll tell ya
what." He grins at Jeff. Doug reaches up and touches the soft blond bristles
on top of his head. Arley, "Yer team's gonna look real sharp. Intimidate the
hell outa the guys on the other teams. Like a platoon of Marines chargin' at
'em." Doug, "We were supposed t'get our haircut like the coach's..." Jeff cuts
him off, "Well, like ya said, yers is longer than my dad's, almost twice as
long. But it's standin' up. And I can see sort of a landing strip down the
center, so it's probably O.K." Doug steps out of the chair and runs his hand
up the back of his head. Jeff, "Don't worry, Doug. You might be the first
t'get yer Coach Connor Special, but you won't be the last. Before the day's
out, all us guys'll be sportin' flattops...C'mon." Jeff motions at the door and
the two of them head out. "I'll be back later", Jeff yells over his shoulder.

Outside the shop, Jeff looks at Doug's haircut and grins, "So. How d'ya like
yer flattop?" "You knew this was gonna happen all along, didn't you?" "Naw.
Not until last night when my dad came home with his flattop. He stopped
here after practice yesterday and got it cut. So when you come in here an'
say ya want it cut like his, well..." "Geez..." Doug pushes both of his hands
through his hair, "I look like a dork." "Maybe. Or, it makes ya look like a
tough dude, or a Marine like Arley said." "I guess...So all the other guys are
gettin' flattops too, huh?" "That's the plan." "You too?" "Oh, yeah. I'm kinda
lookin' forward to it." Doug thinks for a second and starts to warm up to the
idea, "Maybe I'll go back inside and watch some of the other guys get their
flattops." "Not a good idea, Doug. If you knew you were gonna end up with
a flattop, would you even have come here?" "Heck no." "Well there ya go.
That's why I haven't got my haircut yet. I didn't wanna give away the secret
when I brought the banner here just now." Doug, "That banner covering up
the mirrors thing was a dirty trick, Connor." "Thank you. So if you go back
in there now lookin' like a Marine, none of the other guys'll be gettin'
flattopped. You'll be the only one. And then you WILL look like a dork", Jeff
grins, "Wait a couple of hours, then come back. By then, everybody'll know
what's goin' on. The guys who already have their haircuts can joke around
and convince the other guys t'go ahead an' get their flattops. Me an' my
dad'll be here then, too." Doug, "Man, bet I'm the only guy in town our age
with a flattop, huh." He pats the top of his head, "Gnarly. Feels weird. Sorta
crunchy, y'know?" [Click] Derek Miller, the photographer for the yearbook
and the school paper snaps a picture just as Doug pats his flattop. Derek,
"Geez, is that the team haircut Coach Connor talked about? A flattop? Man,
this is gonna be even better than I thought."

Jeff, "Hey, Miller. You here ta take pictures?" "Yeah. Yer dad called me up
an' told me about this team haircut thing. Sounded like a good yearbook
feature so, here I am." Derek looks at Doug's hair, "Dang. Should'a got here
sooner. Then I'd have a 'before' picture, too...What's it feel like, anyway? He
reaches over and touches the top of Doug's flattop, "Weird. Sorta crisp an
springy-like." Doug, "Yeah, I know. That's just what I told Jeff." Derek, "So
all you guys are gettin' flattops? Good thing I brought plenty of film." Jeff,
"Yeah well, take all the pictures ya want, just don't spoil the surprise O.K?"
Derek, "What's the surprise?" Jeff, "Well, the guys..." "The surprise", Doug
butts in, "is that we don't know we're gettin' flattopped when we come here
for our team haircuts. I thought I was gettin' a medium haircut, y'know, just
above the ears an' stuff. Then, when the barber turned the chair around, I
saw this Marine starin' back at me in the mirror." Derek, "So you guys don't
know yer gettin' flattopped till it's all over? Sweet! This is gettin' better all
the time! This'll be a 5 page spread in the yearbook fer sure."


When Jeff returns home, his dad is anxious to hear how things went, "So
how'd it go? Were any of the guys there yet? Did you get the banner up?"
Jeff smiles at his dad's onslaught of questions, "Nervous?" "...A little", he
says sheepishly, "C'mon, Sport! How'd it go?" Jeff, "When I got there, Doug
Nelson was already in the chair, caped up an' ready t'go. I got the banner up
just as Arley started to butch him." "Butch? It's supposed t'be a flattop. I
thought Arley understo..." "Relax, Dad. They're usin' a long clipper
attachment, maybe an inch, t'do the pre-cut. Only took about 30 seconds for
Doug t'go from his long layer cut to an all-over inch long butch. From there,
Arley squared up the sides an' stuff and flattened the top. Only took about 6
minutes from start to finish. I don't think Doug had much time ta think
about what was happenin' till it was already done. And yes, the banner trick
worked. He couldn't see a thing in the mirror till Arley swung the chair
around at the end." Dan, "(Whew) O.K. then. That's good...How'd he take it?
Doug, I mean." Jeff grins, "He just sat there kinda stunned for a while. I'm
not sure he recognized the flattopped guy looking back at him. It was like:
Who's that poor dude with the flattop? Maybe he's a Marine. And then it hits
him: I'M the dude with the flattop! I'M the Marine!" Jeff laughs. Dan gets a
bit worried, "Sounds like he took it pretty hard." "No, it's cool. I talked him
through it. He's O.K. with it now. He's gonna come back to the shop in a
couple o' hours an' show some support." "That's good. Glad to hear he
finally got over the initial shock. What about Hank and Arley? They must
think somethin' fishy's goin' on." "Naw. The way it worked out, I don't think
they suspect a thing." Dan, "Well, I'm sure they'll figure it out soon enough.
I'll have'ta set things straight with them when I go there later today." He
looks at his son, "I expected t'see you back here with a freshly cut flattop,
Sport", he grins, "You chicken out?" Jeff grins back, "Time for a haircut!" His
dad laughs, "Yeah right." "No. Seriously." Jeff goes into the kitchen and
comes back carrying one of the old bar stools, "Go get the clippers out of
the laundry room. I'll meet ya on the back patio." Dan, "Yer not just jokin'
around?" "No. C'mon, it'll be fun. For both of us. Just like old times." "I
dunno, Jeff. It's been years since I've used the old Butchmaster clippers on
you. I'm a little rusty." Jeff grins mischievously, "You chickenin' out, Old
Man?" Dan accepts the challenge, "Old Man? Who you callin' an old man,
boy? Now get out there an' don't move a muscle till I get back, ya hear?
That mop of yours is comin' off, boy." Jeff laughs, "Aww, Daaad."

Dan returns, carrying the Butchmaster Home Haircut Kit (Cadet model).
Jeff is waiting dutifully on the stool, playing with the dogs, "Better put Maris
and Unitas in the house. They're kinda excited an' jumpin' up all over me."
Dan sets the Butchmaster box down and gives a short whistle. As the patio
door slides open, the dogs zip inside.

Dan removes the clippers from the box and plugs them into the patio
outlet, "So, what'll it be, Sport?" "A flattop!" "You sure, Jeff? Remember
what happened the first time I tried t'give you a flattop." "How could I
forget. Mom has all those photos of me plastered all along the stairway wall.
I see 'em every time I go up or down the stairs. Anyway, you got pretty
good at givin' me flattops after that." "Well, I did have plenty of times to
practice. That was your favorite haircut back then." Jeff, "Besides, even if ya
screw it up, it won't matter...I'll be goin' back to the Klipper-Kut so Hank or
Arley can take it even shorter. I figure it'll be good for morale if the guys see
me gettin' my haircut shorter than theirs. And like ya said, there's a lot at
stake here." Dan feels his eyes begin to moisten up as he hears his son
speak of setting an example and making sacrifices for the greater good,
"Sounds like yer giving this scheme of mine your complete, 100% effort.
That means a lot to me, Jeff...Thanks Son." His voice breaks up a bit at the
end. Jeff hears the quaver and decides to lighten the mood again, "Don't go
gettin' all teary eyed on me, Old Man. Gettin' scalped is no big deal for me,
remember? You know I've always liked messin' with my hair. I've been
wantin' t'go back to a flattop for a while now. This team haircut idea is just
the ticket I've been waitin' for. So let 'er rip. (Unless yer still chicken)." Dan
recovers nicely, "You sassin' me again, boy? I'm gonna press these clippers
down so hard, it'll be years before you'll be needin' a haircut again, you hear
me?" Jeff laughs, "Well, as nice and fatherly as that sounds, I was hopin'
you'd leave it kinda long, longer than yours anyhow. That way, when I go
back to the shop, Arley and Hank will have somethin' t'work with, y'know? I
think the guys'll get a big kick watchin' me get a big ol' landing strip down
the middle, don'tcha think?" "Hey. I like that idea. Good thinkin', Sport."

Dan pins the cape around Jeff's neck and experimentally lifts his son's hair
up with the barber comb, seeing how long he can leave it and still have it
standing upright, "With your hair bein' so thick an' springy, I never had ta
use any Butch Wax on yer flattops t'get 'em ta stand up. It would have'ta be
at least 2" long before it would start to flop over. Jeff hears the familiar
'snap' and hum as the Butchmaster clippers are switched on. His dad starts
taking the top down a little at a time, leaving it just short enough to stand
up at full attention. Dan, "Remember when ya started growin' yer hair out?
Hank had ta use Butch Wax t'get yer hair ta lay down...Took quite a bit of
work, as I recall." "Yeah. I remember bein' really stoked havin' my hair long
enough t'lay down...You were growin' yer hair out then too, right? Guess
that's why I wanted my hair longer. I always liked havin' the same haircut
as you back then." "Back then? Seems t'me that's what yer doin' right now,
Sport...I get a flattop, you get a flattop." "(Heh) You're right. Guess some
things never change, huh." Dan finishes leveling Jeff's hair on top: 1 and 1/4
inches high down the middle, 1 3/4 inches in front and not a trace of flop-
over. He then starts clippering the sides into a long squared-off taper: 1/2
inch around the ears, 1 1/2 inches around the top.

Jeff, "Oh. I forgot to mention: Derek Miller, the photographer guy, showed
up just as Doug an' me were leavin'. Guess he's gonna be takin' a lot of
pictures of the guys gettin' their flattops, huh." "Good. Glad ta hear he made
it over there. Yeah, I called him earlier an' told him about the team haircuts.
He seemed excited about it." "I'll say. When he found out the team haircut
was a flattop he got even more excited. And when I...well, when Doug told
him that the guys don't know they're gonna be flattopped, he got really
stoked. Guess there's gonna be several pages in the yearbook about all
this." Dan starts pushing the clippers up the back of Jeff's head, forming a
long square taper just like the sides, "So Derek knows all about the tricky
part of the team haircut scheme, then?" "Yeah. I told him not t'spoil the
surprise." "That's good. Maybe the secret'll last longer than I thought. The
more of you guys who get flattopped before the cat's outa the bag, the
better."

As Dan begins to fine tune the details of Jeff's extra-long flattop, the
familiar mischievous glint comes into his eye, "You did say you wanted a
mohawk, right?" "What?..No I..." Jeff laughs, "You almost had me goin'
there for a sec." "Almost? Looked like you were about t'pee yer pants."
"(Heh) Umm...Not that I don't trust ya or anything, but...hand me that
mirror so I can take a look." "Oh, I don't think you wanna do that, Sport."
Jeff, grinning but exasperated, gets off the stool and rummages through the
Butchmaster box for the mirror, "I can't find the mirror. It's usually right
here..." "You mean this?" Dan brandishes the mirror that he's had in his
hand. Jeff grabs the mirror, "One of these days, Old Man. One of these
days..." Jeff gets his first look at his new haircut, "Geez. It sure is...bushy,
isn't it." "You said ta leave it long, Sport." "Yeah but..." He runs his fingers
through the long taper on the side of his head, "This looks like that dorky old
picture of you in yer yearbook, the one where ya have that huge flattop", he
says grinning. Dan, "Oh. I can assure you, your flattop is a lot dorkier than
that. Those wings on the side of yer head make ya look like yer about ta
head South for the winter." They both laugh. Jeff, "The guys oughta get a
laugh out of it when I show up at the shop a little later." "When WE show
up, I'm comin' too, remember?" "Oh yeah." Jeff looks at his dad's flattop
and thinks for a second. A devilish grin creeps onto his face, "Hey! You know
what? Let me cut yer hair sorta dorky-like. Then we can both get high &
tight flattops, y'know... horseshoe flattops when we go back to the shop."
Dan stops and thinks..."Y'know what? Go for it. Like ya said, the guy'll get a
good laugh, plus we'll be settin' an example by gettin' shorter haircuts than
them."

Dan gets onto the kitchen stool and Jeff capes him up. "So. What'll it be,
Sport?" Jeff says with a big grin. His dad laughs, "Hmm. Not really sure...
Don't go TOO crazy with it. Still gotta be able ta turn it into a high & tight
later. How about a big ol' pair of white side-walls. Do you know what those
are, Sport?" "Yeah, I guess...That's where all the hair on yer sides is shaved
off, right? No sideburns an' stuff?" "Yep. Only don't take it all the way to the
top. Stop somewhere around the temple here." Dan motions with his hand,
"Basically, it's a really short taper cut. You don't have'ta worry about the
taper though. Just take everything off from here on down." "You got it." Jeff
removes the butch-comb attachment from the clippers that his dad had used
on his extra-long flattop, "You ready t'get skinned, boy?" "(Heh) Let 'er rip."
The clippers start to hum as Jeff positions them below his dad's sideburns
and plows up to the temple, "One mohawk comin' right up." "Yer joking,
right?...Right?" Jeff takes another swipe up the side of his dad's head, "Of
course." Dan still isn't sure if Jeff is serious or not. He swivels around and
sees a big grin on his son's face. "Pee yer pants yet, Old Man?" "Just about."
Jeff laughs and mows a wide path above his dad's ears, continuing around to
the back, "Wasn't sure if I was supposed t'skin it in back too. Oh well, too
late now." After a few more runs, Jeff shuts the clippers off, "Well that's,
that...Seems like it needs somethin' else though...How about I mow a path
down the center on top? Yer gonna get it skinned up there anyway, right?"
"Yeah. I suppose...Leave some hair in front though. I don't wanna end up
with a twin mohawk." "Oh! That'd be sooo cool!" "No." "Aw c'mon, Dad. It'd
look awesome!" "If you think it'd look so awesome then have Arley give ya
one." Jeff pictures himself walking down the school halls with his double
mohawk, "Okaaay. Maybe yer right. Just down the middle then." Dan,
"Sounds like ya got a case of clipper fever there, Sport. Sometimes, once ya
start, ya don't wanna stop. You end up doin' somethin' that you regret
later." "Guess so...Lesson learned." The clippers snap on again and Jeff
places them on top of his dad's head about an inch and a half from his
hairline. He proceeds to push the clippers across the top and down the back
leaving his dad with a half inch high 'U' shaped fringe. The clippers are shut
off again. Jeff hands the mirror to his dad, "There y'go, Sport. How's it
look?" Dan examines his haircut: kind of a half-completed horseshoe flattop,
"Looks sorta like the fur collar on my bomber jacket, doesn't it." "(Heh)
Yeah, it kinda does." Dan, "You got this side about an inch higher than the
other side." "Yeah. I coulda gotten it even but it looks dorkier this way", Jeff
says with a grin. "Can't argue with that", his dad grins back, "Just hope we
don't get any company comin' over in the next hour or so." Jeff laughs, "Me
too." He brushes his hand through his furry flattop.

The patio door slides open and Kathy pokes her head out, "What's going
on here? I come back from the grocery store and find the dogs running
around inside the house like crazy and...Oh." She sees her husband and son
standing there with big goofy grins and haircuts to match. The dogs dash
out into the backyard. Dan, "It's not what it looks like, Hon." "Well, I'm not
sure...What DOES it look like?" Dan, "Uhh..." He looks at Jeff's hair, "Like we
went clipper crazy on each other?" Kathy, "Honestly, I don't know what I'm
going to do with you two...Maybe I should hire a baby sitter." Jeff, "Me an'
Dad are goin' to Hank's after a while t'get high & tight flattops, you know,
the team haircut thing. Thought we'd have some fun first." Unitas stands up
and places his front paws on Jeff, wanting an ear rub, and gets one.
Kathy, "Looks like you and Unitas have about the same haircut", she smiles.
Jeff, "Yeah. Kinda furry, huh." Unitas jumps back down and shakes his head
rapidly, the way dogs do. Jeff mimics his dog's actions and shakes his head
from side to side, "Weird. I can feel my hair bounce back and forth all
springy-like." His dad laughs and switches to his drill sergeant voice as they
all go inside, "Recruit Connor, at approximately eleven hundred hours you
will march yourself to the base barbershop. You will report to barber Hank or
barber Arley and get that furry pelt of yours taken down to a proper United
States Marine Corps high & tight flattop. Do you hear me?" "Sir. Yes SIR!"
"You will not have to worry about springy, bouncy hair for the remainder of
your enlistment here at football boot camp. Is that CLEAR, Marine?" "Sir.
Yes Sir. SIR!" Dan, "Hey. I could get used to this, givin' orders an' people
obeying my commands." Kathy, "Well, 'Sergeant Connor', before you go off
on your power trip, go get the mop bucket and some disinfectant. One of the
dogs threw up on the kitchen floor." "Ugh." "And you, 'recruit Connor', you
can help me put away the groceries. And be careful not to step in the dog
puke or you'll track it all over the place." "Sir. Yes, Sir...I mean Ma'am."

Dan wheels the mop bucket into the kitchen, "Guess we know who the
REAL drill sergeant is in this house, huh Sport." Kathy, "And don't you forget
it." Dan and Jeff reply in unison, "Sir. Yes, SIR! (Ma'am..sir...ma'am)"




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