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Simon Says Short by Next in the Chair
This story is a follow-up to 'Short back & sides for a year - then two' by Thebarbered1 and uses the same characters. I hope the original author doesn't mind - please accept my apologies if you do. The story starts on the day of Tommy's second haircut ...
Later that day, Simon pulled Tommy aside and asked him about getting his hair cut again. Tommy was flustered and didn't know what to say. All he could come up with was ‘I don't know, it was starting to get a bit long so I thought I'd better get it cut again'.
‘OK, what's the real reason?' said Simon. ‘I heard you in the bathroom crying your eyes out when you got it done the first time and I've seen the funny looks you have with mum and dad whenever your hair gets mentioned, but now you've gone and done it again. I don't understand.'
Tommy was starting to panic and said ‘Y-yes, it's nothing, just leave me alone!' and tried to run away as he was on the verge of tears, but Simon grabbed hold of his arm and stopped him. ‘Tell me!' he said. Tommy was properly crying by now and shouted ‘I can't, just let me go, please!'
‘Look, Tom, whatever it is, it can't be that bad. Just tell me.' Simon loosened his grip on Tommy's arm. With that, Tommy slumped into a chair and the whole story came pouring out between sobs, the stolen sweets, the lying, the punishment, the trauma of having his hair chopped off and subsequent teasing at school and finally the missed appointment and the sentence of short hair for two years.
Simon was shocked. ‘I knew there was something going on,' he said. ‘I can't believe they punished you for lying by making you lie to me, it's not on'.
Tommy composed himself and felt better for finally spilling the whole story, but then started to worry about what Simon would do. ‘Please don't say anything to mum and dad,' he said. ‘If they know I've told you I'll probably have to have short hair for 10 years!'
‘Don't worry, I won't say a word to anybody' replied Simon. ‘Go and wash your face and when you've done that we'll go out and find the boys and play football. That'll cheer you up a bit.'
Nothing more was said until the night before the final Friday of the next month. Tommy was resigned to his next trip to Mr Morgan's but his mum wanted to make sure there was no repetition of the previous month and at dinner that night she reminded him – ‘Are you going to get your hair cut again soon, Tommy, since you like it short now?' and glared at him meaningfully, assuming Simon was still oblivious to Tommy's punishment.
‘Yeah, I think I'll go after school tomorrow actually,' Tommy replied with as much enthusiasm as he could muster.
Simon took a deep breath and chimed up ‘That's good, Tom, I've been meaning to ask you about that. I think the short hair looks good, so I've decided I'm going to get mine cut short as well. I'll come with you tomorrow.'
Tommy and his parents were all astonished. ‘I thought you liked your hair long' said dad.
‘I did, but if short hair's good enough for Tommy, it's good enough for me,' replied Simon. ‘You don't mind, do you?'
Mum and dad exchanged glances. ‘No, if that's what you want, it's fine' said dad.
Later on, Tommy tackled Simon about what he'd said. ‘Are you serious?!' he asked. ‘I'm only doing it because I had to. You don't have to. Why?'
‘Why do you think?' said Simon. ‘When you told me what happened and you were so upset I decided to give you a bit of support. That's what big brothers are for.'
Tommy didn't know what to say. ‘Well, thanks, that's really good of you. You'll get loads of stick at school though. You don't have to'.
Simon smiled. ‘Sod ‘em,' he said. ‘They'll soon forget about it and find something else to talk about. You never know, it might even suit me.'
As Simon lay in bed that night, he thought about what he was about to do and what had made him do it. Simon had never particularly thought about Tommy as anything other than his annoying little brother and the two of them had always got on well enough without being unusually close. Seeing Tommy in tears had upset him though and he'd really wanted to do something to help. Since he couldn't say anything to anyone, he knew the only thing he could really do was to keep Tommy company in the treatment Tommy was suffering and make out it was his own choice, so he had reluctantly decided he was going to do it. Now his plan was out in the open, he knew he was going to have to go through with it and act the part as Tommy had been made to do. As much as anything else, he was determined to pretend to Tommy that what he was doing was no big deal so as not to make him feel bad.
The next day at school, Simon mentioned to a few of his friends that he was sick of having long hair and that it was all going to come off that night. He wanted to prepare the way as much as possible rather than simply arrive on Monday with short hair, but from the reception he got, he knew that they all thought he was mad and that he was still going to get a very hard time.
Finally the time came for the walk to Mr Morgan's. ‘You still don't have to do this, Simon,' said Tommy.
‘I know I don't,' replied Simon. ‘I'm still doing it though.'
When they walked through the door, to the sound of the tinkling bell, there were no customers waiting and Mr Morgan was sitting in the barber's chair. He rose and greeted Tommy ‘You remembered this time then, lad. Has your brother come along to watch again?'
Simon replied ‘No, I'm here for a haircut myself this time'.
Tommy walked straight to the barber's chair and sat down and Mr Morgan soon had him covered in the white pinstriped cape with a neck tissue securely in place. Mr Morgan didn't even ask Tommy what he wanted this time, he simply picked up the clippers, pushed Tommy's head forward and set to work making the already short hair on the back of Tommy's head even shorter. Simon watched and involuntarily shivered. He knew it wouldn't be long now until his brother was finished and he replaced him in the chair. The buzz of the clippers was soon replaced by the snipping sound of the scissors as Mr Morgan attacked the top again. Tommy was soon back to his original short, smart haircut, the only difference this time being that Mr Morgan parted his hair and slicked it into place. He showed Tommy the back with a hand mirror and then removed the cape and neck tissue, allowing Tommy to stand up and leave the chair.
Simon also stood up, straightened his tie, and he and Tommy looked at one another for a moment before Simon walked towards the window and sat down in the barber's chair. It was now his turn to be covered in the white pinstriped cape and feel the tissue being wrapped tightly round his neck before the cape was clipped into place. Simon stared at his reflection for a moment, looking at himself with long hair for the last time.
His thoughts were interrupted by Mr Morgan. ‘So, Tommy's brother, what's your name then?' He began combing Simon's hair, which was fairer than Tommy's and covered more than half his ears, most of his shirt collar at the back and hung down over his eyes at the front.
‘I'm Simon,' Simon replied.
‘What will it be then, Simon – just a trim is it?'
Simon knew he was now at the point of no return. ‘No thanks,' he replied. ‘Since my little brother has had short hair, I can see how it's easy to look after, so I'm going short as well. I want it dead short, like a crewcut.' As he spoke, Simon deliberately avoided catching Tommy's eye in the mirror as he sat in the waiting area behind.
‘I can't remember the last time somebody your age asked me for that,' said Mr Morgan. ‘Your brother's is a number 2 at the back and sides, do you want it that length all over then?'
Simon nodded. Mr Morgan didn't ask for any further confirmation – ‘OK, good lad. One crewcut coming up,' he said, before turning to the shelf next to him.
Simon was expecting to hear the clippers but when Mr Morgan turned round he was holding scissors and a comb. ‘I'll shift some of this bulk first,' he said, before picking up a length of Simon's hair over his right ear with the comb and sending it to the floor with a few sharp snips. Simon was used to having his hair trimmed with scissors when he visited the hairdressers, but he could tell straight away that this was completely different. Normally, the hairdresser would pick up a length of hair with the comb and then snip the end off above the comb. Mr Morgan was picking up long lengths with the comb and then cutting away underneath the comb, close to Simon's head so that the long hair was almost completely cut off. After working his way around the back and sides, he then set to work on the top. Nobody spoke and the only sound in the shop was the regular ‘snip snip snip' noise as the scissors reduced Simon's long, thick hair to around an inch all over. Finally, Mr Morgan picked up Simon's fringe with the comb and with a few more snips cut it high up towards his forehead, leaving more hair to fall down and join the thick piles already covering the cape and the floor around the chair. Simon could barely watch, but looked at his reflection again as Mr Morgan finished with the scissors and turned back round to the shelf. It was a lot easier to see than it had been a few minutes before since he was no longer peering through his fringe and it was obvious that his hair was already severely short by fashionable standards (his ears were now completely exposed and he could tell the top was already shorter than Tommy's), even though he was nowhere near finished. Behind Simon in the waiting area, Tommy watched on with a mixture of horror, guilt and admiration for what his brother was doing for him. When Mr Morgan turned back round, Simon knew what was coming next.
This time Mr Morgan was holding the clippers with an attachment on. He switched them on with a click and they came to life with the same buzzing noise that Simon had heard when Tommy was being clipped earlier. Simon remembered having his hair trimmed with clippers around the back and sides as a young boy many years ago before he and Tommy had grown their hair, but he had never had the top shaved before. Mr Morgan placed the clippers in the middle of Simon's forehead and pushed them back through the remnants of his fringe, mowing a path all the way back to the crown of his head. Simon felt a tingling sensation on his scalp as the clippers moves backwards and revealed the first closely shorn stripe on the top of his head. Mr Morgan continued to make pass after pass with the clippers, front to back, until all of the hair on the top of Simon's head was the same uniform short length. As Mr Morgan moved to the side of him, Simon looked at himself in the mirror again and was fully aware for the first time of exactly how short his hair was going to be. Mr Morgan moved the clippers up the side and over the top of Simon's head several times until that too was shorn before moving round the back of the chair. Mr Morgan then placed his hand on the top of Simon's head and gently but firmly pushed it forward until his chin was almost resting on the cape and held it there until the clippers had passed several times up the back of his head and removed the remaining hair. Tommy continued to look on silently as Simon, head bowed for the clippers, had the last of his longer hair taken away. Finally, Mr Morgan shaved the other side and up over the top until the boy in the mirror staring back at Simon had a number 2 all over short crewcut. Mr Morgan continued to clip away making various passes with the clippers until he was satisfied that any remaining stray hairs had all been caught. He then clipped around the edges to leave a sharp outline, released the cape at the back and removed the tissue from around Simon's neck.
Mr Morgan picked up a hand mirror and showed Simon the back of his head. ‘There you go, son. What do you think?' he said.
Simon didn't know what to think. He had been in the chair for less than 15 minutes, but looked like a completely different person with all his hair shaved off. To his surprise, he found that he did not immediately hate the way the new cut looked, although he didn't know whether he actually liked it either. Simon knew he would have to say something and replied ‘that's great, thanks. Just like I wanted it.'
Mr Morgan brushed Simon's head and around his shirt collar and neck with talcum powder before removing the cape. Simon stood up before turning round to face Tommy for the first time since the two had shared a look before Simon sat in the barber's chair. The pair looked at each other again, and no words were exchanged as they moved towards the till to pay Mr Morgan.
As they were leaving the shop, Simon said to Mr Morgan ‘I'll be here every month now on the same day as Tommy for as long as he comes, so can you put my name down with his please?'
‘It'll be a pleasure,' replied Mr Morgan. ‘It's nice to be able to do a couple of short haircuts for a change these days!'
As Simon and Tommy walked home together afterwards, they finally talked about what Simon had done. ‘Thanks so much, Si,' said Tommy. ‘I thought you were just going to get it like mine. I didn't know you were going to get a crewcut.'
‘Don't worry about it,' said Simon. ‘It's nothing. It's just something me and you do now and that's it. That's what we say to anybody who starts taking the mickey and we can tell them long hair is for losers. They'll pack it in eventually.'
‘What do you think of it?' asked Tommy.
Simon ran his hand through the bristly hair on the top of his head and found he enjoyed the sensation. ‘I don't know yet,' he replied. ‘It's a lot different, but I think it might be OK. I suppose I'll get used to it anyway.' He punched Tommy playfully on the shoulder. ‘With a haircut like this, it's a good job I'm a lot better looking than you anyway!' he said. Both burst out laughing and carried on the walk home to face their parents and enjoy the weekend before facing the music with their schoolmates on Monday.