Bubba's Dessert and Destiny by Manny
Chapter 1 - Bubba Traps Theo
The preacher wrapped up his sermon on the dangers of being self-absorbed by citing the example of Absalom, the proud prince whose thick mane of luxuriant hair provoked his demise. Arrogant Absalom hanged to death when his tresses got caught in a tree branch as he rode his horse under it. "Now, if Absalom had been a regular at the barbershop, none of this would have happened. But instead of opting for a tidy 'short back and sides' he carried around with him hair that weighed six pounds. Maybe a flattop would have helped him be more level-headed!" the minister joked. "And speaking of haircuts, I want to conclude with a special mention of an upcoming event where some from this congregation, including myself, will be shedding our locks for cancer research. Admittedly, I don't have much to lose," the preacher chuckled, as he ran his hand over his shiny bald pate and smoothed down the little fringe that remained. The congregation laughed on cue. "But some of the men and teens from the football team are going to put their business cuts and moptops on the chopping block for cancer research to commemorate the life of little Jeremy Johnson who passed last week. So, if one of these fellows approaches you during coffee time, be generous. Don't be self-serving, like cocky Absalom! Let us pray...."
As Bubba bowed his head, his thick glossy brown forelock tumbled down past his hazel eyes, forming a heavy curtain of hair. As the preacher droned on, Bubba ran his fingers through his plush mane and carefully re-arranged the heavy tresses that tumbled down to the base of the collar in back. He loved the feel of his soft, silken hair. Bubba wondered if he let his hair grow out to its full length whether it would weigh as much as Absalom's. What would it be like to have such long hair?! Only the minister's thundering "Amen" brought him back into reality.
As Bubba was enjoying his coffee and cookies in the fellowship hall, he was approached by Adam Trenton, one of the church youth. Adam flicked his thick mop of blond hair back as he made his pitch, "Want to sponsor me for the cancer fundraiser? All this is coming off on the 30th," he said as he grasped his long bangs and held them up from his eyes.
"That's thoughtful of you, Adam," Bubba remarked, admiring the plush silken mane. "Will your father be joining you as a shavee in the event?" Bubba was a good friend of Adam's father and was always looking for ways to strengthen that relationship. When Theo Trenton had gone through a messy divorce, Bubba had given him a lot of support and comfort. The two had become close, but the their friendship hit a bit of a plateau, much to Bubba's dismay. "I'm sure he could raise a bundle," noted Bubba.
"Doubt it. You know how particular my father is about his looks!" laughed Adam. "Being a corporate executive, he always is talking about needing to maintain his image. Not sure an induction haircut will help him preserve his air of authority at the office."
"Well, after that sermon today, he might be a little more open to sacrificing his fussy coif for a good cause!" laughed Bubba. "Put me down for $50. That's a lot of hair you're going to shed, young man."
The lad was quick to pencil in the amount on the tablet the organizers had provided. "Never had a cueball before, but I'm kind of excited about it. Here comes my dad right now. See if you can talk him into joining the cause....hey, and you too! Your hair is as long as mine!" called the lad as he scampered off to line up his next donor.
As Theo walked up, Bubba commented, "Adam tells me the two of you are having your heads shaved to raise money for cancer."
Without missing a beat, Theo replied, "You bet. I'm just itching to feel the clippers scraping off all this hair!" Theo, like his son, was blessed with a full mane of fine but dense hair that at one time had been blond but now was a sort of ash brown. With a bit of a wave, it was full of body, and Theo wore it on the long side of what was normally accepted as a business cut. "I've been wanting to have my head shaved bald for years, and this is the perfect chance."
Bubba was a bit taken aback by the reply. Was Theo joking?! Probably so, but he seemed totally serious. "Oh, that's nice," remarked Bubba. "I suppose you're here to hit me up for a donation. Put me down for $15."
"$15?! All this hair being shed for a measly $15. Keep your money, Bubba, and I'll keep my hair, thank you very much," laughed Theo.
Just then the minister approached with a cup of coffee in his hand. "Rev. Perkins," said Bubba with a slight tinge of mischief in his voice, "You need to congratulate Theo for rising to your challenge at the end of the sermon and deciding to join the cancer fundraiser!"
"That's wonderful, Theo," said the minister who did not even notice the worried and annoyed look that completely crept across Theo's face. "I'm sure some deep pockets will be open to you at your company. It's not often that one of the corporate bosses endures a humiliating haircut for a good cause, I'd bet."
Theo stammered and hardly knew what to say. "Uh, well, I guess I didn't want to end up like a modern day Absalom, Reverend."
"And what about you, Bubba? Seems like a free haircut might appeal to you too. Heavens knows you need a haircut," remarked the minister.
"I'm doing my part by shelling out money instead of hair. I've just pledged $50 to young Adam, plus $15 to his father here. Put me down for $15 towards your goal, Reverend," Bubba said quickly.
"God bless you, Bubba. As the Good Book says, 'it is more blessed to give then to receive'. I see you've taken that wonderful verse to heart." Then the minister turned his attention back to Theo, "I dare say it will be a fun night. Let's start with a group pose unshorn and then take another at the end all shorn. We'll put it in the church news letter. Theo, I'd like to do the honors of wielding the clippers on that nice business style of yours. How about it?" the minister asked.
Theo felt trapped, and after a bit of hesitation blurted out, "Sure, Rev. Perkins. You can be my barber and take me down tight. Never had a tight butch cut before, but I'm happy to be a good example to my son and show what that verse means, 'to whom much has been given, much will be required.'" And with that he ran his fingers through his plush mane of stylized hair. Then he reached over to his friend playfully and tussled his hair, "What do you say, Bubba? A bit of a haircut won't be the end of the world. I'm not sure why shedding that mop makes you feel so afraid. Maybe the minister can pray with you about it and you'll join us under the cape on the big night."
"Oh, I just lost track of the time. I need to pick my parents up at the nursing home today for our monthly lunch and ride in the park. Excuse me folks," Bubba said nervously as he headed out of the fellowship hall.
Bubba hadn't made it out of the church parking lot when a text flashed up on his phone from Theo, "You rat! I can't believe you got me into this."
Bubba texted back, "LOL, you'll look sweet with the baldy cut."
"We'd look twice as sweet with twin baldy cuts," came a quick reply.
"Can't wait to stroke your stubble!" Bubba texted. Then, he waited a bit for a reply. He loved the repartee with Theo. After a few stop lights and no additional messages came through from Theo, Bubba texted him again, "Dinner Sat evening chez moi after the big event? I'll want a full account of what it was like to be under the cape watching your own lovely locks tumble."
"You're on. Marking you down on my donation sheet for $150. Hugz!" replied Theo quickly.
Chapter 2 - Theo Locks Himself into His Commitment
The next Sunday in church, Bubba spotted a seat right behind Theo and his son. It would give him a great opportunity to carefully observe their manes during the service. The son had a luxuriant overgrowth, but it was Theo's well coiffed helmet of hair that most engaged his attention. As he took a seat during the prelude he noticed that Theo was fiddling with his smart phone.
Bubba sent a quick text, "This time, next week, I'll be sitting right behind two eggheads!"
Theo replied, "Rub it in...."
"What I want to rub is your stubble!" texted Bubba.
The next message from Theo was a bit in coming since it took longer to type, "I raised over $5000 this week for cancer research. How about you?"
Bubba felt a bit of a stinging rebuke and was relieved that the service started and he didn't have to answer the text. But, throughout the liturgy he could not stop thinking about the situation. What he felt most strongly was that nothing -- no sermon, no emotional plea, no guilt trip -- was going to get him to shave his head. He loved his hair too much and it was a part of his persona. And he didn't feel bad about roping Theo into the event....well, maybe a little bit, but not a whole lot. And it had led to some good, exciting interactions and even a date!
During the announcement period, the pastor asked all the men who were participating in the fundraiser to stand so that everyone could take note of who might need donations. "There's one person in here, however, who has already raised over $5000, so you needn't contribute any more to Theo Trenton's cup. What's you secret, Theo?" the pastor asked.
"Well, Reverend, I guess there are a lot of people at my office who truly like me -- or don't like me! -- and want to see me shorn down like a marine recruit!" he quipped. "And it's a worthy cause. I'd like to see more men from the congregation participating," he said as he turned around and stared at Bubba, whose face turned red at being singled out like that.
Bubba wanted to disappear on the spot, but had to settle for high-tailing it out as soon as he could. Before he could leave the foyer, Bubba got intercepted by the chief organizer, Nathan Richmond. "Say, Bubba, do you have a minute?"
Bubba knew a hard press was coming, but felt like he had to stop and chat, "Just a minute, I'm in a bit of a hurry."
"I wanted to give you the literature and instructions for the fund raiser. There's only a week left, but I'm sure you could raise enough money for the cause to make it worthwhile. My experience is that guys with long hair usually get the most and highest donors."
"Well, yours is pretty long," remarked Bubba, eyeing the shoulder-length mane of dark black hair Nathan sported.
"Yep, I go through two-year cycles with the fundraiser. Have the lot shaved off and then let it grow out for the next to years until harvest time again. I can't wait to get clipped on Saturday! This will be my fifth time, and I've already broken my fundraising record," Nathan said cheerfully.
Bubba reluctantly accepted the info packet. "I may need to be going out of town this weekend, so I can't participate," he explained tersely.
"Oh, there's no need to have your head shaved at the actual finale. We can have it done elsewhere and post your photo to the website," Nathan explained. "The donors will pay up."
Bubba hadn't noticed Theo drifting up very close and listening in while Nathan was trying to recruit him.
"That's right," Theo chimed it. "And I can take the clippers to you myself. I have a set somewhere in the house from when Adam was a boy and got summer butch cuts by my own hand in the garage. I'm an experienced amateur barber and will be happy to turn you from a moptop into a baldy, Bubba."
"Return your form to me by email or snail mail!" Nathan said as he hustled away.
Theo was grinning ear-to-ear. "What's this about being out of town for the weekend? You've invited me for dinner! Remember? And, by the way, I've gone vegan and everything has to be organically grown. Will that he too much of an inconvenience?"
"Really?!" exclaimed Bubba. "Since when? I was going to throw some burgers on the grill."
"I'm just joking!" laughed Theo. "You never seem to be able to tell. Like when I told you I couldn't wait to get my head scraped bald...and then you told the minister I was going to be a shavee. I was joking! But now the die has been cast and the days of my expensive coif are numbered."
"You're not mad at me, I hope," said Bubba.
"Well, you did throw me for a bit of a loop. But, now I'm sort of looking forward to it. I guess I've always had a bit of a fantasy about have my head shaved totally bald. Like what it would be like to sit in a chair with a pampered mane of nicely styled hair and then have it clipped down brutally short. In a few seconds, total change. Standing up from the same chair a few minutes later, totally different. Just never had the nerve to go through with it before...." said Theo.
"The thought of that makes my blood run cold," replied Bubba. Then he held up the literature Nathan had left him, "No one, nothing, not even you....is going to pressure me into this. I like my hair long and thick and sexy -- the way it is."
"Well, that's too bad. I had sort of hope the three of us could sit together next Sunday on the pew -- total egg heads. The truth is, I'm scared s**tless. That's why I went into overdrive fundraising. Now there are so many people invested in seeing that my snappy business cut get the unkindest cut, that I can't back out."
"It's like being up on the high dive for the first time with a line of kids all the way up the ladder. There's no turning back. No matter how scared you are looking down, you really only have one option -- jump and try to enjoy it!" Bubba said.
"We could be up on that high dive together, Bubba. How about it?" Theo asked as he gave his buddy a hug and caressed the silken locks that Bubba was intent on protecting. "Need help filling out your entry forms and uploading a 'before' picture of yourself to the website? Adam and I had a lot of fun doing that last night. That kid is really excited about getting a head shave! I might have to revive my own homespun barbershop and keep him regularly clipped once this is over."
"He may freak out when he sees the result!" warned Bubba.
"And I might too," said Theo wistfully. "But you got me into this and now you're going to watch me squirm."
Bubba didn't know how to respond, so he abruptly changed the subject, "Burgers on the grill are okay, then?"
"Sure. You'll have fun watching the baldy bite his burger....." said Theo, hamming up his cold feet syndrome a bit.
Chapter 3 - An Anonymous Donor Puts a Bounty on Bubba's Locks
That night Bubba couldn't sleep. He tossed in bed with very disturbing images that appealed to him in a strange way. There was one of him and Theo midair off the high dive holding hand with their luxuriant manes swept up in the wind followed by one of Theo and him bald as babies' butts sitting together on the pew in church. Then there was one of him under a barber's cape in his apartment with Theo grasping his forelock straight up, sadistically poised with the clippers to shave him down. The one that he hated most was all of the men of the church standing at one side of the sanctuary with shorn heads pointing at him hanging from one of the chandeliers on the other side, caught by his hair. It was all too much!
Bubba got out of bed and logged onto the fund raiser website and looked up Theodore Trenton. He had used the same portrait that was on the company website -- in an immaculate, expensive suit with perfectly styled hair. The lovely waves, brushed and glossy. Under the 'before' photo flashed a sign, 'amount raised - $6,235' and another 'days left with hair - 6'. There were two buttons: make a donation and send an encouraging message.
Bubba quickly typed a note to Theo, "I'm so proud of you. I admire your bravery and grit to go through with this. You've inspired me to sign up too."
But, before he hit the submit button, Bubba quickly erased the last line. Then he sent the message. He felt like such a coward.
Over the next few days, Bubba checked Theo's fundraiser page regularly and watched the amount climb past $7,000. Then he received a text from Theo, "Thanks for your message. 2 more days with hair, but I'm pretty calm."
"You may be even more handsome bald," Bubba texted back.
"LOL. Bring your camera on Saturday. I want this to be well-documented," Theo responded.
That same day, he received a phone call from Nathan. "Bubba, Nathan here. I'm still hoping you'll sign up. An anonymous donor pledged $1000 for your hair on the condition that he shave you himself. Can I give him the green light? Maybe you mailed your forms in and they've been delayed by the Post Office...."
Bubba's throat felt as parched as the desert in summer, and he had difficulty speaking, "Why is it anonymous?"
"Listen, that doesn't matter. Can I just tell you a bit about my experience? Maybe that'll help you to come to 'yes' on this request. I was in college -- had a modeling job on the side. Some good pocket money generated mainly because of my hair. Long, sexy -- looked really hip. Then I was approached by a charity. Would I be their poster boy for a media campaign to raise money for lymphoma? They wanted me precisely because my hair was so iconic. I was nervous. With a shaved head I didn't expect any other modeling jobs. But, I figured I needed to be a risk taker and do the right thing. Sure, I was scared s**tless as I sat there under the cape. But from the first moment the long hair fell, I was at peace. Totally unexpected. And what else was unexpected was that my shorn head led to numerous other modeling gigs. Products and events that I could not have been competitive for as a longhair. Now I'm in a neat rhythm....enjoying the long hair and the shaved head throughout a regular cycle -- and the phases in between. Plus, there's the feel-good factor that these fundraisers generate. And I'm not modeling at all any more. Would rather raise money for others than for myself," explained the caller.
"Nathan, I appreciate your call and persistence. You're passionate about it. Let me think about it and get back to you," Bubba said. "I just don't do well with pressure."
"Oh, I'm sorry about that," said Nathan, feeling a bit chastised. "Tell you what. No pressure and I'm totally fine with you not participating. Hey, I understand from Theo that you are responsible for his participation, and that's already netted us a huge amount. So, you've done your part! And, to show you my gratitude, I'd like you to be my barber at the event. Will you take the clippers to me?" asked Nathan earnestly. "No strings -- or hair! -- attached."
"Sure, Nathan. But please don't expect me to suddenly at the last minute say yes, caught up in the moment. I don't want you to put me on the spot at the event. I just don't see that happening," replied Bubba.
"Agreed, you have my word. And I'm looking forward to you being my barber," Nathan said before the conversation ended.
Chapter 4 - Theo's Public Humiliation
The night of the event, the shavees were schedule to be shorn in order of the totals raised, meaning that both Theo and Nathan were in the line up simultaneously for the last go-around with four chairs and heads being clipped at once. Their costly locks hitting the capes would be the event's grand finale.
Bubba realized he could not be both barber and photographer at the same time. But, those were two tasks that he was very anxious to perform and he didn't want to pass by either. As Bubba was examining the schedule on the big chart near the barber chairs, Theo approached him and asked, "Do you have your camera? I want you to get some good 'before' photos of Adam and me together."
"How are you feeling?" Bubba asked.
"Psyched! I wish I were going first, though. Don't want to suddenly get cold feet as the event drags on. Right now, I'm desperate to feel the clippers taking this off right at the scalp. There's a whole group of employees and colleagues from work here and I think they're a bit antsy to see me shorn. Unfortunately, I'm coming up at the end," explained Theo.
"Switch places with Adam!" Bubba suggested. "I see the name 'Trenton' on the roster twice. Your son's in the very first round. That'll help me too, because Nathan's asked me to be his barber and I wouldn't be able to take photos of your transformation if I'm busy taking the clippers to his mane."
"Nathan asked you?! Why such an honor? You didn't even have the nerve to put your hair online for the event," commented Theo a bit indignantly. "Did you made a big contribution to his funding drive?"
"No. The reason is, well, it's a bit complicated," said Bubba, trying to fend off the inquiry.
"Tell me!" demanded Theo. "I think Nathan's got the most hair that's going to fall from anyone's head, and he asked you to wield the clippers?!"
"Oh, some anonymous person offer $1000 to shave my head, and Nathan tried to pressure me. But, then he felt bad about it and asked me to be his barber to try to patch things up," explained Bubba.
"You poor little dear," snapped Theo with disdain. "Not even a $1000 donation for cancer research would make you give up your treasured locks! Don't you feel ashamed? I'd like to grab you by your hair right now, strap you into one of those chairs and take every strand of it off to the skin!" exclaimed Theo.
The thought of that strangely excited Bubba. He wanted to yield to Theo and and surrender his locks, but he remained frozen with fear.
The microphone crackled and the announcer called the first group of four shavees to the chairs. Theo got a hold of Adam and told him to switch places. Within minutes, the cape was being fastened about poor Theo Trenton's nervous neck! His subordinates from work surged forward and called out to him, poking fun at him, "He's known for having every hair in place, but soon it'll be NO HAIR in place!" one guy laughed.
The minister decided to rile up the cheering crowd a bit. "Here, Theo, let me arrange your pretty style a bit for the last of the 'before' pictures your friends might want to take." Then he took is hands and sent the helmet of hair into complete mess. His office employees cheered. "Isn't he a great boss?" the minister asked.
To everyone's shock, a few employees shouted out, "No, he's a tyrant!" "Arrogant!" "Self important!" "Shave him bald!!"
Theo's face turned red -- part shame, part anger.
Rev. Perkins was left in an awkward situation. He was a bit dumbfounded that one of the pillars of his church had such a poor reputation in the workplace. So, without another word, he held up the clipper, snapped it on, and grasped Theo by his fussy forelock -- all of which delighted the crowd. Flashbulbs popped as the clippers plunged into the dense mane of fine, silken, wavy hair. The minister gouged off the first liberal tuft of hair and held it up to the delight of the cheering section. "I just noticed a bit of male baldness pattern developing up on top, Mr. Trenton!" Then he moved the clippers quickly back through the plush waves and left a white strip of scalp exposed.
"He looks like a skunk!" one women clucked.
"And stinks like one too," came a muffled add-on from the back of the room.
The minister decided to give Theo a severe MBP look by shaving the entire top of his head and leaving the fringe on the sides. "How about a combover?" Rev. Perkins asked as he pulled a few unclipped strands and placed them awkwardly over the shave white patch on top. Bubba laughed out loud as he zoomed in close on Theo's old man look. The scowl on Theo's face told the whole story. The entire experience was shockingly humiliating to him and he hated every second.
Adam came up to his father and laughed, "Hey, you look just like Grandpa Trenton!" Then he shook his lush moptop in his fathers face to taunt him.
"The mop of yours isn't going to be around much longer either, son. Pretty soon those locks you fawn over each morning are going to be on the floor atop my hair," the father snapped.
"And you'll be able to ditch the hair spray you use when you come home bald as a cueball!" the son retorted.
"He uses hairspray?!" asked someone incredulously.
"How else do you think he keeps each hair in place in such a stiff, unnatural way?" another replied.
The minister quickly put an end to the rest of Theo's fussy business cut. The corporate executive was happy to have his head shoved forward into a bowing posture so that he didn't have to look at all his tormentors and see how much fun they were having at his expense. The liberal waves that plunged to mid-collar length were stripped off mercilessly.
When the cape came off with a flourish, Theo looked at the scattered tufts of his once proud power helmet of hair. "How do you feel, Theo?" asked Rev. Perkins.
"Naked!" he said as he touched his bald head for the first time. Then Theo rushed from the area to find a mirror and survey the damage.
When Bubba caught up with Theo in the bathroom, he found him staring blankly in the mirror at his bald head. "How you doing, Buddy?" Bubba asked tenderly.
"Like I want to crawl in a hole and never come out," muttered Theo.
"It doesn't look so bad. I mean, I can hardly recognize you....but, it'll grow out quickly enough," said Bubba with a sound of strained encouragement.
"It's not just the haircut. I mean, that's dreadful enough. But the true humiliation was the way the employees badmouthed me in front of everyone. I'm so embarrassed," said Theo, struggling to contain his emotions.
Bubba put his arm around Theo to comfort him. "They were just having fun...they didn't really mean it."
"No, they were telling the truth. I'm an asshole of a boss. Cocky and arrogant and a mini-dictator," confessed Theo.
"I think you're the best," Bubba whispered as he pulled Theo into a tight embrace and gently caressed his shorn scalp.
After re-gaining composure, Theo looked up at Bubba. "Your hair is so beautiful and long," Theo purred as he ran his fingers through Bubba's plush mane of dark, glimmering hair.
Just then the bathroom door swung open and the two men quickly came apart and walked awkwardly from the bathroom.
Chapter 5 - Bubba Begins to Waiver
When they returned to the area where the clippers were mowing down another set of men, the tormentors from Theo's office were gone. Some women from the church rushed up to him and gushed over how much money he had raised. Another told him how handsome he looked with his shaved head. Theo blushed and thanked them for their kind words.
"See," Bubba said encouragingly, "no one was paying attention to those taunts. It was just for fun."
Theo turned to Bubba and briefly tussled his hair. "You're such a wonderful friend. I'm glad you got me roped into doing this fundraiser." Then he felt his own shorn pate, "I'm even glad my head's been shaved bald as a cueball! I want a fresh start -- try to be a better person, a better Christian even."
Bubba swallowed hard. For a moment, he too wished he'd been shorn of all his hair, that he and Theo were united in facing the world together without their safety blankets.
As Bubba tried to think about something other than allowing his hair to be shorn off, Nathan came up to him. "Looking forward to putting on the barber's tunic and unleashing the clippers on this?" he asked as he pawed as he heavy mane of dark hair that cascaded past his shoulders. "After two years of waiting, I can't believe it's time to feel the clippers on my scalp once again!" He tossed his head to the side so that his tresses dangled about his shoulders.
"Were you nervous the first time you went bald?" asked Theo.
"Sure thing," the organizer responded. "I was telling Bubba the other day how I was a modeling at the time; I was very sought after by companies needing a man with sexy long hair. Then to agree to have it all taken off down the scalp was scary. Right before the clippers hit, I felt a tremendous urge to jump up and run away. But, I didn't -- and the experience changed my life. What was your experience like, Theo?"
"I was really eager right before it started, but when the cape was on and Rev. Perkins picked up the clippers, I felt exactly the same way -- an immense desire to escape," Theo replied.
"But now, he's really happy he did it," added Bubba, who gulped a bit, as if he wished to continue speaking. The two men waited for him to express his next thought, "I was even thinking," he paused awkwardly, "that, uh, that, uh," before quickly changed tact and blurted out, "that Theo might stay bald. Give up his executive power hairstyle for a good while."
"Well, if you do a good job shaving Nathan and earn a reputation as a no nonsense barber who takes a man down tight, tight, tight, I might just let you be my barber for a while, Bubba. Might be good for my reputation at work to sport a shorn head," Theo said. Then he stroked Bubba's tresses a bit, "No one asked me to be a barber at the event. I'm feeling a bit left out just now."
"And my hair is so......in need of a good barber," Bubba gulped.
"A no nonsense barber who takes a man down tight, tight, tight...." purred Theo.
"No!" snapped Nathan, "I promised Bubba we would not pester him about cutting his hair. Besides, the roster is already complete and he's not on it. Hey, looks like the third set of baldies is just emerging from the chair. Bubba, we're up next. Get your barber's tunic on!" instructed Nathan.
"Lend me your camera so I can get some good shots of Adam getting stripped clean and of you wielding the clippers, Bubba!" Theo said.
Chapter 6 - Bubba Enjoys His Stint as a Barber
Bubba felt a surge of energy as he slipped into the barber tunic that matched the capes being used. "Okay, Nathan. Time for a haircut!" he called out to the organizer who was chatting with some of the newly shorn participants.
Adam Trenton was already under the cape and his plush mane of big hair was being photographed for the last time. Bubba watched the bald father snap photos of the shaggy son. "This is what's in store for you, Adam!" his father said out as he pointed to his bare noggin.
Bubba was glad Theo's spirit seemed lighter than when he'd first emerged from the barber's chair without hair. Bubba briefly felt his own glossy locks. Yep, they were still there, still safe and silken and sexy. He glanced down at the clippers he would shortly take to Nathan's locks and imagined the rolls reversed....Nathan caping him up and tackling his prized possession with the relentless metal teeth of the fastfeed clippers. Bubba's thick forelock dangled precariously in front of his eye and he pushed it back away from his face.
Just then, Nathan approach Bubba's barber chair. "Got the clippers primed to tackle this?" he asked eagerly as he held out the dense tresses that gave him an almost Jesus-like appearance.
"The barbershop is open. And, you're next!" Bubba announced as he snapped the cape with a flourish. "How many of you want to see this longhair shorn down to the scalp?" he called out to the crowd. Bubba drew the cape over Nathan's shoulders as the onlookers cheered, but struggled to fasten it shut. The dense collection of locks flowing past Nathan's shoulders struggled to stay out of the line of fire. Finally, the cape was secured in place by means of a big metal clip and Nathan's hair was carefully exhibited on the chopping block.
As he picked up the clippers, Bubba glanced over at Adam Trenton and saw that half his head had already been shaved. Piles of his heavy blond locks covered the cape and topped the pile of shorn hair at his barber's feet. Adam's face looked a bit stunned. Bubba thought again about Theo's invitation for the three of them to sit together as eggheads on the pew in church. There was one huge, long, shiny obstacle to that possibility...made more unsurmountable by the ocean of fear that controlled him.
"Ready?" Bubba asked as he snapped the machine to life.
"Take me down, all the way!" exclaimed Nathan.
Bubba brought the screaming teeth up under the dense forelock that hung past Nathan's chin and hit the tresses right at the hair line. "Timber!" he shouted as the first lock fell to the cape.
Nathan seized the shorn tress and held it, but his hand was soon pelted by a huge collection of 12-inch locks plummeting towards the cape as the clippers moved across the top of his head. Bubba watched in amazement as Nathan's long hair gave way to stubble and the hippy-look morphed into that of a marine recruit. As a barber, Bubba was in total control, and he enjoyed the feeling. No lock or tress could withstand his determination to take it off right at the root.
"You're doing a great job, Bubba!" Theo called out as he zoomed in to get a close shot of the shorn strip down the top of Nathan's head.
Someone else shouted out, "The barber needs a haircut too!"
Bubba looked up anxiously and Theo captured a photo of him red-faced over the taunt. As he did, his heavy forelock fell down across his eye.
"I'll be willing to lend a hand," said Theo with a laugh, "and I'd start with that bothersome forelock that's always hiding his handsome face."
Nathan thoroughly enjoyed the mow down and held handsful of his shorn hair up triumphantly. "I've waited two years for this moment!"
As Bubba meticulously clipped Nathan's head, stripping it of all growth, he wondered if Theo would characterize him as 'a no nonsense barber who takes a man down tight, tight, tight.' Bubba was definitely interested in becoming Theo's own personal barber.
Once he'd emerged from the chair, Nathan began to organize a group 'after' shot. Bubba watched enviously as all the baldies gave each other vigorous head rubs and bonded together over their new stark looks. Theo and Adam looked almost like twins, he thought.
"Let me sweep all the shorn hair into a huge pile for us to pose behind," suggested Theo, "and maybe Bubba can be our photographer."
Chapter 7 - A Special Dessert and Shared Destiny
"We're still on for dinner at your place, I hope," said Theo as he and Bubba left the event venue.
"Of course, I have a special meal planned," Bubba replied as he looked intently at the back of Theo's shorn head. "But, I need to run by the store to pick up something on the way home. If you get there before me, you can go around back to the deck.
Bubba's heart beat rapidly as he started the car. What he'd just added to his mental shopping list would certainly make Theo's day.
As expected, Theo was already out in back when Bubba got home. He quickly got the meal going and prepared for the special dessert he was going to serve Theo.
The two enjoyed the meal out on the deck and had a good long rap session, discussing a huge range of things. Mostly, Theo was still trying to work through his reputation in the office. "You must think I'm an awful guy -- first that messy divorce and all the drama, and now you see I'm a jerk in the workplace too."
"But tonight you've made a change, haven't you -- a permanent one," Bubba said as he stroked Theo's cueball gently. "You seem happier, more relaxed. And, now I'm going to get your special dessert ready. It'll just be a few minutes," Bubba said as he slipped back into the house.
A few minutes later, Theo heard Bubba call out from the house, "Theo, can you come give me a hand in here?"
"Coming...." Theo replied as he moved toward the house.
When he walked into the kitchen, Theo's mouth dropped open. There sat Bubba, barber cape in place around his neck and a set of clippers plugged in and closeby on the kitchen table.
"Is this my special dessert?" Theo asked as he moved quickly toward his friend.
"I hope you like your surprise...I stopped by the store on the way home and picked it up for your personal delight," Bubba murmured with a scared look on his face.
Theo grasped Bubba by his thick mane of dark hair and manipulated the silken strands through his fingers. "This is such lovely hair, Bubba. Nice and thick and long and full." Theo took out his brush, which he no longer had a need of, and began brushing Theo's locks. "For two weeks I've been hounding you to cut this off and you've been playing hard to get. Such a deep glowing color. You must enjoy brushing your hair each morning, Bubba," Theo purred.
"I wasn't playing hard to get. The thought of shaving my head simply petrified me," Bubba explained.
"Yet you caped yourself up and here you sit, waiting to be shorn. Quiet, still, submissive. Look at how long this forelock is! A good eight inches, I'd guess."
"Well, are you going to take the clippers to me? I'm getting a bit anxious," pleaded Bubba.
"Oh, you sweet thing! I love feeling the nervous tension emanating from you," Theo said as he continued playing with Bubba's long hair. "When did you decide to put an end to it?"
"Well, it started during the pastor's sermon on Absalom -- I felt like he was preaching right at me!" said Bubba.
"So did I!" remarked Theo.
"Then, when you decided to put your hair on the line -- even though you were sort of forced into it....I started feeling more pressure and a bit of desire. But the big moment came when you asked me to join you and Adam on the same pew as a trio of eggheads. I started wanting that and dreaming about it. I want to feel -- actually, to be -- connected to you, Theo."
"So, you want to be an egghead just like me?" Theo replied with a smile as he caressed Bubba's shiny locks and picked up the clippers.
However, instead of snapping them on, Theo continued talking, "If I shave your head....would you promise me....make a promise together with me, that is...." Theo gulped and shifted nervously.
"What is it?" Bubba insisted.
"You know how you said I seemed happier and more relaxed since my head was shaved?" Theo asked. "I want us both to pledge to give this up," he said as he fondled Bubba's glossy locks, "to give it up for life! You will never feel the wind blowing through these heavy locks again. You will never see them shimmering in the sunlight or feel the caress of your forelock as it brushes your face. You will never take a brush through them like this again," Theo murmured as he continued plying his brush through Bubba's locks. "You will be shaved down to the skin, each day, by me! A total egghead -- for life. And you will razor me clean, each morning, as well. Are you willing, Bubba? If so, then after I finish with the clippers, out will come the shaving cream that I massage into your scalp and then the razor will take you down to a smooth, silken surface."
"Chromedomes for life? You and me?" Bubba gasped.
"Yes, that's what I want for us," replied Theo solemnly.
Bubba sat frozen until he finally looked into Theo's tender, pleading eye. Then he slowly bowed his head and whispered, "Take it all off."
In silence, Theo snapped on the clippers and grasped the voluminous lock that dangled from Bubba's nape. Then, slowly, firmly....he began the long, arduous process of reducing Bubba's mighty mane down to zero length. Dark shimmering hair fell in torrents onto the cape as Bubba sat frozen in fear. Theo was assertive in his role as barber. Their silence was offset by the wail of the clippers as it hit dense unshorn locks of Bubba's hair.
Periodically Theo would brush his hand over the shorn parts of Bubba's head and then fondle the remaining tresses.
Bubba felt totally numb -- like this wasn't happening to him.
Finally Theo snapped off the machine. "There, it's all gone! You're bald, Bubba!"
Then Theo grasped Bubba's bowed head by his chin and made him look up at him. He let out a howl of laughter. "Oh, Bubba! Your ears stick out so prominently. Now I know why you wore your hair so long! And you have such a long forehead, and your head is sort of a strange pointy shape!"
Bubba yanked the hair-laden cape from off his neck and ran to the bathroom to see the site that caused Theo such laughter. The image in the mirror could not be him! His mouth felt dry and his stomach was a Gordian knot.
Theo's egghead appeared in the mirror behind him as he entered the bathroom. Bubba's barber seemed confident and his shorn head made him appear authoritative. Theo bruskly reached in front of Bubba and opened the hot water faucet. Then he forced Bubba to lean over the sink while he prepared to shave him by placing a warm, wet washcloth on the stubble. "Let's get this done, Bubba," he snapped.
Bubba submitted to Theo's brusk handling and began to enjoy the sensation caused by Theo's strong fingers massaging the shaving cream into his scalp.
"I'm going to peel you like a grape, my strange-looking little pin-head," he cooed as the razor was dragged over the top of Bubba's bowed head.
Theo rinsed the virgin white scalp with warm water and then allowed Bubba to stand upright to see the new him totally hairless. "Can you get used to it?" Theo asked.
"If we're together, I can get used to anything," Bubba said sweetly. He put his hand on his head and felt the silken, white skin. "I've done this for you, my special friend," he remarked.
"And to raise $1000 for cancer awareness too," Theo remarked.
"Oh, no, that anonymous offer was made on the condition that the donor shave me himself," replied Bubba.
"I just did!" laughed Theo.
"It was you!!" gasped Bubba.
"I wanted you shaved one way or another -- I was desperate," Theo said.
"And now you have me....." murmured Bubba.
"And you have me too," Theo replied as he handed Bubba the shaving cream and leaned over the sink.