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From Soprano to Bass: a Haircut Story by barberof seville
Type your story here From Soprano to Bass:
a Haircut Story
Milo Prentice was very proud of his soprano voice. It had won a number of voice competitions and he was the envy of his peers. His voice was a golden one that seemingly could do anything: plead with emotion or soar to the heavens. People came to St. Mark's just to hear him sing on Sunday mornings so Mr. Blaine, the choirmaster, always made sure Mile had an elaborate solo to sing. He'd even been offered vocal scholarships, something for which his father was extremely grateful.
Mr. Prentice was a decent, hardworking man who enjoyed the compliments on his son's singing, but the not the sneers at his son's long, flowing blonde curls that fell to his shoulders. There were many times when he came close to asserting his fatherly authority and taking his son to Chuck's barbershop, a one room, one-chair shop frequented by many of his own peers. Chuck specialized in military cuts and more than once had offered to give Milo a free much-needed haircut. But Mr. Prentice had restrained himself. After all, he had promised his late wife that Milo's "beautiful, golden hair" wouldn't be cut until his voice dropped. So when Milo's voice didn't change at 13,14,15 or even 16 Mr. Prentice began to think seriously about taking him to the doctor. Milo was healthy in all other respects and Dr. Weatherby had told him that Milo's voice would change when it was ready. "Until that time," he sighed, "Let us enjoy Milo's beautiful soprano - it won't last forever!"
Milo, on the other hand, had convinced himself that he would have his sweet soprano forever. He's heard about grown men who had trained themselves to sing alto and soprano, but he was determined to keep his voice for as long as he could. All the same, he couldn't ignore the hair that had recently started to appear in his armpits (and elsewhere).
But all good things must end and Milo's comeuppance was nearer than he thought.
Fridays were always rehearsal nights at St. Mark's and Milo always got to practice his solos for Sunday. This particular solo was a high one and called for a crowning top C, a note that Milo had always produced immaculately. Mr. Blaine gave the downbeat, the pianist began playing, and after several bars Milo began singing, his tones as beautiful as always. The climax approached, Milo went for the C - and squawked. The note refused to come out and even when Milo tried it again all he could muster was the pitch two octaves lower. The other boys in the choir giggled, but were admonished by Mr. Blaine's stern look.
"Choir, we will take our 15 minute break now," said Mr. Blaine evenly. To Milo, he said "Come with me, young man." Milo's heart thumped in terror. So he had blown one high note. So what? Wasn't the rest of it as good as always?
Milo was lead into Mr. Blaine's office that contained a baby grand piano in it. He had Milo stand next to the piano and begin to vocalize. Milo started out on middle C and began to go up the scale. His voice wouldn't cooperate. It refused to go any higher than G. He began to protest, but Mr. Blaine merely said, "Milo, it's all right. Let's go down the other way." Mr. Blaine began to vocalize Milo downwards and Milo's voice caught the resonance it had lost when attempting to go higher, expanding as it went further down the scale. Milo was turned away from the piano and couldn't see that Mr. Blaine had vocalized him down all the way to a resonant low E. Milo flicked his long curls back and laughed, "I guess I'm just tired tonight."
Mr. Blaine smiled and said, "No, Milo, your soprano days are over." From Milo's hands he took the folder of soprano music and laid it on his desk. From a shelf he selected a new folder and handed it to Milo. Milo almost cried when he read what was on the cover: Choral Parts for Bass II.
"Your father will be glad to hear your voice has finally changed. He was getting worried. Now time to get back to rehearsal. Please go sit with the basses, Milo. We need more of them and you'll be a good addition to their numbers!"
When Milo walked into the house after rehearsal, his dad was sitting on the couch waiting for him. "So," he said, "it finally happened. Your voice has dropped. Mr. Blaine called me after rehearsal. "That darn Mr. Blaine," Milo thought. "Why couldn't he mind his own business?"
Mr. Prentice reached up and tugged Milo's curly locks. Enjoy these tonight, " he said. "You've got an appointment at the barbershop tomorrow morning at 9AM. Milo's heart sank. "But, dad, " he whined, "can't I just - "
Mr. Prentice cut his son off with one look. "No, Milo. You're had that curly, blonde mop for too long. It's being cut tomorrow - military style." Milo knew better than to argue when his dad used that tone of voice.
Saturday morning was busy for Chuck the barber. Milo and his dad arrived at 8:45. There were already two guys in front of them. However, when Chuck saw Milo, he stopped working on the flattop he was giving a middle-aged fat man and laughed. "Well, it's about time." Milo's face reddened as the other man in the shop laughed. He sat next to his dad, wearing a black tank top and gym shorts.
Chuck finished up the fat man's haircut, accepted payment, and spun the chair towards Milo. "You're next, son," he said. "It's nine o'clock."
Milo froze, unwilling to move to the red seated chair that loomed before him. Mr. Prentice grabbed his son by the back of the next and said, "Move, boy!" Milo slowly got into the chair and Chuck pulled his long curls back. He lifted Milo's chin to place the a white strip of paper around his neck and guffawed. "Boy, you've got a huge Adam's apple. You know that?" He pulled Milo's head back to show the other men. They all laughed and went back to their newspapers. Milo heard the whip of the black and white striped cape as Chuck covered his shoulders with it. "Now how do you want his hair cut?" Chuck said addressing Mr. Prentice.
"Give him the shortest marine high and tight you can," he answered. Milo closed his eyes. This couldn't be happening.
"Yes, sir," said Chuck.
"Give him your comb, Milo," Mr. Prentice ordered. "You won't be needing it once he's finished cutting your hair." Milo reached inside his pocket and handed it to Chuck.
"Thank you, son," said Chuck. And lifting up the top of his curls with the comb, Chuck flicked on his clippers and plunged them into Milo's hair. The thick blonde curls were no match for the clippers and all the hair came spiraling down into Milo's lap, collecting into a shiny pile of blonde hair. Chuck buzzed the top of Milo's head several time, checking for evenness. Milo's head now looked buzzed on top, but with very long curls hanging down on the sides. The barber switched off the clippers and came back with a smaller pair and slowly, carefully, began to peel off all of Milo's long curls. They slipped nonchalantly to the ground that had started to become covered with thick blonde hair. The white skin that had been hiding under all the hair began to gleam as Chuck shaved every piece of stubble off. Milo was frozen. It wouldn't have done any good to fight it, first because the barber's hands were very firm and second because MR. Prentice would have whooped his son's rear end without a second thought. He had already made that clear to Milo that morning.
After about eight minutes, Chuck had finished cutting and was lather shaving Milo's head, leaving only a tight, extremely short patch of hair on top of his head. When he wiped the foam away, he applied some lotion to smooth every thing out. When satisfied, he said to Milo, "Well, sport, you want to see your new look?" Milo held his breath as the barber slowly turned him toward the mirror.
He could see Chuck, his dad, and the other guys in the shop watching his reaction. His mouth fell open in disbelief. He was almost completely bald except for the little bit of hair on top of his head. "Send him off to the Marines!" said one man. "He's ready!" Chuck removed the cape and white paper from his throat. With his newly shorn head, his Adam's apple stuck out prominently. He swallowed and his entire throat seemed to bob.
"Great job, Chuck!" said Mr. Prentice, handing the barber a ten dollar bill. "That looks fantastic!"
"This one's on the house, "said the barber. "Big improvement if I do say so myself!"
Milo got up from the chair and went home with his dad. For the rest of the day his dad had him mowing the lawn and cleaning the garage. He dreaded Sunday, but knew he couldn't get out of that either.
When he showed up for choir the next morning Mr. Blaine hardly recognized him. "Milo," he stammered, "what a new look!" Some the boys giggled. Some made buzzing noises and laughed behind their hands. The congregation was disappointed that Milo would not be singing soprano anymore, but they were consoled by a new boy, Alfred Persichetti, who also had a beautiful voice. He had been Milo's chief rival and he and his parents were thanking God that morning that Milo's voice had finally changed. Milo moved to the back row and sang with the basses. His voice was still beautiful, just down two octaves. He began to enjoy himself again, especially when Megan Hollander told him she liked his new haircut.
Maybe this new haircut wouldn't be so bad after all.