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At Manny's - Juan to the Rescue by Manny
I watched Juan heroically move a small mountain of luggage toward the elevators as the owner of the load casually strolled beside him checking his cell phone. Juan's muscles bulged under the task, and he looked handsome with his clipped head topping off the standard bell hop uniform. As the two of them entered the elevator, the hotel guest ran his fingers through his mane of well-coiffed silvery hair.
About 15 minutes later, Juan got off the elevator and headed straight to the barber shop. He held up a $100 bill. "Look what I just got, Manny!" he announced with a big grin on his face.
"Wow, that's quite a tip, Juan!" I exclaimed.
"Yep, an all time record. And there might be more in the pipeline. That man asked me to come back in an hour as he said he had a need he thought I could take care of," Juan said excitedly.
I was alarmed. Could Juan really not perceive what he might be getting into? "Juan! Do you know that man?!" I asked in a concerned voice.
"No, but he was very nice and solicitous of me," the bell hop replied.
"I'm sorry, Juan. But there is no way you should go back upstairs. This is not that kind of hotel! He means to take advantage of you!" I stammered. "And what about Joel? I thought you two were tight, even with him being off on research in Morocco?"
The penny dropped and Juan looked crestfallen, but relieved. "Thanks for helping me dodge that bullet, Manny! But I told him I would be back in an hour. What should I do?" Juan asked.
"Let me go upstairs and tell man know you are not available. I'll also deliver the message that this is a respectable hotel!" I said curtly.
Juan smiled with relief. "Hey, since you asked about Joel, look at this photo he texted me! He had a Moroccan barber lather shave his head! Here's one at the start -- look how primitive the shop is. Oh, and here his scalp is fully covered in lather. And.....voila! No hair! How do you like Joel's chrome-dome?"
I looked with amusement at the photos and thought about how Joel's journey from lush, long hair to smooth skin had started right here in my shop less than a month earlier. Then I glanced at my own beautiful hair in the mirror and remembered how close Joel came to taking the clippers to my treasured, chestnut-colored locks with fiery auburn highlights.
"Take a seat here Juan!" I said tapping the chair. "And give me your phone for the before snap!"
"What?!" Juan stammered.
"Come on, now! Sit! I'm going to scrape you clean -- just like Joel!" I commanded.
Juan cracked a nervous grin and meekly complied with my instruction. "Oh, Manny! Are you sure about this?"
The cape flying through the air was my response. Then I rubbed the black bristles that covered his scalp with a dense, coarse pelt. "It's time you got a full-service, barbershop head shave, Juan! You and Joel can be twins even though you're an ocean apart. Okay, smile!!" I clicked the first photo of the scared bell hop waiting for me to eliminate the sparse remnants of his once luxurious thick black hair. I reached for a handful of thick, warm lather from the machine on the counter and began massaging it into Juan's scalp.
"Relax, Juan!" I admonished, sensing the tension pulsating through his body. I continued massaging his head, hoping to help him relax.
After his scalp was covered in lather, I took a large straight-edge razor and brandished it in front of Juan's eyes. That was my way with clients -- messing with their emotions and feels. Calm them down and then stir them up!
"It'll be just a few minutes now....and you'll emerge here smooth and hairless!" I quipped.
"Manny, I'm not sure at all about this," Juan pouted.
I took the razor and pulled it firmly, but carefully, across his scalp. "I am!" I announced. "You will be clean as a whistle when you walk out of here!"
Juan suffered through the whole shave down ordeal, never fully getting on board with my little adventure for him. The "after" shot I took of him broadcast his misgivings. His face looked full of dread.
"I feel naked," Juan whined.
"It's more important what Joel thinks. Email him the photo and tell him he inspired you to go for the Telly Savalas look, Buddy!" I said. Then I slapped a handful of witch hazel on Juan's sensitive scalp, giving him a jarring shock.
As I watched Juan slowly get up from the chair, I felt a tinge of remorse that I had driven him to submit to the head shave. It brought back the humiliation Robert had inflicted on me over ten years ago when he scraped me clean in front of my clients. And, like me, Juan looked much worse without hair than with. Oh well, it would grow back again, I thought, consoling myself.
"Don't forget to go upstairs and tell that pervy off, Manny. He's in room 418," Juan said as he left the shop.
On my way to Room 418, half hour later, I passed near the bell hop stand and overheard poor Juan getting razzed by his colleague Jason and the others. "First he clipped your mane down to a butch, then he took you down to a burr, then it was just stubble, now you have zip left on top. What next, Juancito? Your pubes?!" The boys all laughed, except poor Juan who had a sick look on his face.
The sneer on Jason's face was partially hidden by the thick forelock of wavy brown hair he sported. Jason reached over and stroked Juan's scalp to further humiliate him. One day, Jason would learn a lesson from me! But for the time being, there was the silvery haired man in Room 418 who needed "help"!
I rapped firmly on the door of Room 418. The door opened and the silver fox opened the door. I was surprised to see a much younger individual than I had expected. And quite handsome too. It was a case of a 40something being prematurely gray. The thick hair that was worn in a shaggy business cut complemented his steely blue eyes.
"Yes?" he said, looking me up and down with a critical, but interested look.
"The bell hop said you needed help," I replied briskly.
"What are you, a male nurse?" he said, referring to my all white tunic and matching pants.
"No, I'm the barber whose shop is in the lobby. The bell hop thought you might need a haircut as that mane of yours is on the shaggy side. I brought my travel kit," I added, holding up my satchel.
"Come on in. I don't need a haircut, but you do!" the man said without missing a beat. He was obviously used to being in charge.
He closed the door and instantly grabbed me by my hair. "I think you know what I need," he said, hissing in my ear. "Although, I'm a bit disappointed that the muscular Hispanic fellow didn't return." He began wrestling me into submission. I remembered well the same moves Robert had used on me. In just a few moments I was pinned to the floor face down with the man straddling my back. Then he started fondling my long, thick, chestnut-colored hair. "Before I get what I need, let's give you what you need," he said, reaching for my barber kit.
I watched him reach for the barbering kit out of the corner of my eye and panicked! "No, not my hair!" I gasped.
He let out a shriek of laughter and then pulled out the clippers from my satchel. "The barber will get barbered!"
Fortunately, we were't near an electrical outlet! I struggled to break free.
"Feisty little fellow, aren't you!" he sneered, yanking my hair until it hurt.
Then he reached for the shears. I felt him grasp a huge shank of my hair at the nape and saw him bringing the scissors to it.
I squirmed but could not avoid the dreaded moment. I felt the cold blades of the barber shears at my nape. And then it happened. CRUNCH!! The sound of the shears slicing through my precious hair was unmistakable.
I went limp at the thought of my pampered hair being forcefully shorn. He grabbed another lock of my hair and snapped the scissors a few times.
At that moment, a rap came on the door. "Manny, are you all right?!" It was Juan, calling from in the hall.
My tormentor was momentarily distracted; I used the situation to try to break free, but my tormentor pinned me down with even greater force.
"Help me, Juan!" I shouted out.
Juan burst through the door, using a hotel master key to open it. The man scrambled to his feet, but Juan could tell from how I was prostrate on the floor -- so totally disheveled and rattled -- that things had been ugly. "Manny! What was he trying to do to you....?" Juan asked. "I told the security personnel what had happened to me and they'll be here shortly."
I got to my feet and glanced to the floor. There was a huge clump of my hair lying on the carpet next to the shears. It was several inches long! I quickly felt the nape area. My stomach lurched. Instead of the lush locks dangling to the base of my collar, I felt a tuft from where the lifeless clump was cut. It was well above my collar! While just a small part was gone, I knew that my flowing locks would have to be pruned dramatically once the ordeal in Room 418 was over.
Just then, two armed hotel security men came to the door. "What's going on here?" one snapped.
I glared at the man with the silken, silver mane. "It's okay," I said calmly. "Our hotel guest here very much admired Juan's new haircut -- or should I say, hair-less cut! I was going to shave him down myself here in the room, but now we've decided it would be better to go to the shop where I have access to nice, hot lather. Isn't that right?" I said to my tormentor.
Looking at the security guards with their guns and muscular Juan with his mean chrome-dome, he knew he had no option. "Yes, that's right. I don't have all day, so can we get on with it?" he snapped ruefully.
It turned into quite an entourage, escorting the bully down to my shop to be on the receiving end of a very firm lesson. As we moved across the lobby, I whispered to Juan, "Boy, you saved my scalp -- or at least most of it!" I touched the back part that had been cut short. A feeling of excitement overtook me, thinking about the cropping I would need. My hair hadn't been cut off my collar in years! Then I whispered again to my favorite bell hop, "Stay with me, won't you Juan, through that bully's head shave? I need my guardian angel near me!"
"Happy to, friend," he said as he clutched my arm and drew me close to him in a protective manner. "You were so brave to go up there, by yourself, in my place! I was such a fool!" Then he looked back where I was feeling the missing clump of my hair. "Yikes -- that's quite a chunk he cut. Maybe you ought to let me take you down with the clippers to a nice tight butch, Manny!"
My knees felt wobbly. I wanted to say yes. Perhaps this was the time to say good-bye to all of it -- my cherished long hair. Surrender it to sweet Juan.
"Maybe, Juan. But first, I have my work cut out for me -- pun intended -- with him!" We both laughed.
"So, what's your name?" I demanded of my tormentor as I pointed to the chair where he would sit.
"Roy," he replied humorlessly. "Let's just get this over."
"Juan, cape him up!" I instructed. "I've got to change the blade on this straight edge razor. One lather head shave is all the blade can handle. Are you getting used to your chrome-dome?" I asked.
Juan looked at himself in the mirror and caressed the sensitive, skinned pate. "Kind of," he answered noncommittally.
When I came back into the shop from the back room, I saw Roy cape and cooperative. He seemed so vulnerable with his thick, floppy silvery mane waiting for the clippers and razor.
I grabbed the heavy forelock that flopped about like a caught fish in a canoe. Then, with a pair of shears, I crunched it off right at the root! "There!" I declared. "First lock down, many more to go." I dropped the clump of silver hair in the young man's lap. "Ever been skinned hairless before like Juan here?"
"He looked much better with the stubble he sported when he carried my stuff up," Roy sneered.
His comment really angered me, and I snatched the balding clippers. "No more lip from you, Buster!" I shoved his head down so that his chin smashed against his puffed up chest. In a flash the naked steel teeth clipped away the thick silvery locks. As I watched the shorn swath appear up the back of his head, an image flashed into my mind. What if bully Roy had succeeded in pushing a clippers up through my locks when he had me pinned to the floor? The thought of my near-miss caused me to bulge beneath the tunic.
I wrenched Roy's head to the side and mowed away the salon coif. Once he'd been clipped down to the wood, his cocky, domineering attitude withered.
"I think you've made your point now, Manny," he said, looking at his shorn head in the mirror. Roy actually looked handsome and youthful with his closely clipped pelt.
"Lather him up, Juan!" I snapped.
The muscular bell hop had fun prepping him for the shave down. And I enjoyed scraping him clean! The man looked deservingly miserable as I dragged the razor across his head. His scalp was a shiny pink when the lather was finally wiped away with a cold towel.
"That'll be $30," I said, removing the cape.
Roy handed me a $100. "Keep the change -- for any inconvenience I caused you," he said with a mean chuckle, referring to the missing chunk of hair at my nape.
"No, here's your receipt and change. And you'll be hearing from my attorney about what I might accept in lieu of filing assault and battery charges. Juan and the security guards will make fine witnesses about what happened up there in Room 418," I said.
Roy scurried away without another word.
Finally, I had a chance to see for myself the damage Roy had inflicted on my beloved mane of thick, glistening chestnut colored hair with fiery auburn highlights. My hand trembled as I picked up the hand mirror and surveyed the damage. It was worse than I expected! The missing chunk from the nape was cut off right at the hairline level for about a two-inch width.
"Oh, my!" I exclaimed.
Then I saw Juan holding up the set of clippers and motioning me toward the chair. "It's your turn, Manny. Time for me to take it all off."
My legs trembled and my knees began to buckle. How I wanted to submit to Juan! I swooned briefly and supported myself by grabbing the arm of the chair. And then I slipped into the seat and told myself to consent.....to let Juan shave it all off.
"OK, Juan, cape me up," I eeked out through a constrained voice.
Juan took a brush and began working it through my lovely hair. "I've wanted to do this for so long, Manny," he whispered in my ear. "Are you sure? I know how vain you are about your hair."
I sat numb and silent.
Then Juan put the cape on me. He'd watched me so many times, he knew just what to do. "Ready to look like a macho man?" he asked, reaching for the clippers. They sprang to life. Juan nudge my head forward. I felt the teeth low on my neck.
I could almost hear my heart beating wildly.
"Stop!" I suddenly blurted out, hoping my last appeal would be in vain.
Juan's hand froze. The teeth vibrated furiously against my sensitive skin, but did not move up into the hair.
After a lengthy pause, he asked, "Change of heart?" His voice oozed kindness. "I understand, my friend." He stroked my long hair, caressing it tenderly. "Maybe today's not the right time -- you've already been through so much!"
I agreed, gratefully. "Maybe you could just even out the back for me. Get me that hand mirror. I'll direct you. Just take it off to a single length, leaving it as long as possible in back," I instructed nervously.
Juan was very cooperative. "I'll leave it as long as I can, Manny, but quite a bit is going to come off -- a good 3-4 inches."
The sound and sight of Juan shearing off the length of my pampered mane was exhilarating. The shears gingerly, but forcefully crunching through long, soft hair sent my crotch into overdrive. Clumps of the shimmering chestnut-colored hair with fiery auburn highlights fell in the wake of the unforgiving blades.
"What about on the sides?" Juan asked as he finished cutting a straight, blunt length across the back.
"Just keep it at a uniform length all the way around -- like chin length," I instructed. He complied and clumps of my beautiful hair fell to the cape. I reached out and grasped a tantalizingly long lock.
When I looked up in the mirror, I perceived something totally unexpected which threw me into confusing.
I realized that Juan had given me a bob! A ladies' bobbed haircut!
I gasped in a sort of horror. I looked so unmanly with a bobbed haircut.
"Is that what you wanted?" Juan asked incredulously.
"Yes," was all I could eek out, captivated by the unexpected look.
He began to remove the cape. I desperately wanted to make him stop and continue the haircut -- get the clippers, take me down to a butch! But, I didn't.....
Juan left the barber shop shaking his head in a sort of disbelief.
I surveyed the huge piles of silvery shorn hair topped off by a generous amount of my own prized tresses. I tucked my hair behind my ears to try to minimize the appearance of a bob. It was no use. I would have to apply the thinning shears to my own hair, to try to reduce the bulk that was giving my hair such a feminine look.
I went into the back room and stripped off my tunic. Then I unleashed the thinning shears on myself, removing quite a bit of bulk from the sides and a bit from the back too. I finished off by snipping the hair to mid-ear on the sides, giving me a sort of retro-70's look. While a lot of hair had been shed, a lot remained.....and it would grow again. As I stared at the new, shorter style in the mirror, I sort of liked it. It recalled my youth with the nice feathered hair of the 70's.
I had just finished changing into street clothes and was getting ready to close the shop early, when Juan burst in again.
"Manny, I just got an email back from Joel. He loves my chrome-dome! Thank you ever so much!!"
Unexpectedly, Juan clapped a huge bear hug on my and delivered a gentle peck on my check. Then he held me back and looked curiously at my hair. "Hey, you don't look bad yourself. The haircut I gave you turned out okay, Manny. Maybe I should become a barber.....!"
"I'd love to teach you a thing or two, Juan," I said, delivering a smart love smack to his shapely rear.