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Rob's Regular by Ryan

Sebastian made his way up the sidewalk, going back to his apartment from work on a warm, spring afternoon. He was in no hurry, having no plans for the afternoon or evening, and it was only 4:30; he had been able to leave earlier than normal anyway. Sebastian was in his late 20s, wearing a light blue button up shirt and some lightly colored chinos. He was tall, with deep light brown eyes. But, by far, as Sebastian believed anyway, was that his hair was his best feature. It was a perfect chestnut color, thick and a nice, mild waviness to it. Left untouched, it would fall to mid-eye and touched the collar.

Sebastian was near his apartment when he looked over across the street. A small, hole-in-the-wall barbershop ‘Rob's Barbershop' caught his eye. He stopped and ran his hand through his hair. "I guess I could use a bit of a trim.” Sebastian thought, and continued to the crosswalk, and walking to front door. As he entered, Sebastian soaked in the views of the small, old barbershop. There was a few posters of different men's haircuts, two chairs for waiting and a small table with decades-old magazines to browse through, and at the far end of the small shop, a lone barber's chair and station manned by an older man.

"Hello!” Said the barber cheerfully as Sebastian entered the shop. "I'm Rob.” He greeted as Sebastian ventured further, Rob inviting him to sit in the chair.

"I'm Sebastian.” He replied as he sat, Rob quickly putting the cape around him after. Sebastian looked around more, hoping he had not made a mistake in coming here.

"So what'll it be today? You're in quite the need of a haircut, kid.” Rob said, looking at him through the mirror as he brushed Sebastian's hair down.

"Just a trim.” replied Sebastian, already hesitant to get a haircut there at all.

"A trim?” Rob asked, not very happy with that answer. "That won't do.” He said, putting his hand on Sebastian's shoulder. "How about you let me give you my regular. It isn't too short, and since it's your first time, I'll give it to you for free.” Rob offered, waiting a moment for Sebastian, who nodded reluctantly.

"As long as it's not too short, why not.” Sebastian reasoned. To Sebastian's surprised, Rob turned the chair to face the window, disabling Sebastian's view of the haircut's progress. Sebastian's uneasiness was not relieved as Rob turned on a heavy pair of clippers and immediately started up the back of his head, only stopping when it came to about the crown. He repeated this process for the rest of the back and both the sides, making quick work of it. Sebastian was stunned, he was definitely getting a much shorter cut than what he had expected, and had a grim feeling both he and Rob had very different definitions of what ‘short' meant.

The tone of clippers changed to a higher pitched one, causing Sebastian to tense slightly as Rob tapered the sides and the nape down. Sebastian's anxiety was eased slightly as the clippers turned off. "Wow, you had a lot of hair!” Rob said, rubbing the back of Sebastian's head. "We're only half finished now though.” He said, wetting Sebastian's hair and getting his comb and scissors.

Sebastian conceded defeat, knowing there was no turning back, the barber would have his way no matter what now. Rob combed down the bangs, and sliced them unceremoniously in a straight line quite a bit above the eyes. Sebastian's eyes widened as the large amount of hair fell to his lap, but Rob took no notice, continuing to cut the rest of Sebastian's hair to a short length.

"It sure feels a good deal shorter now…” Sebastian said, anxious for the cut to be over. Rob exchanged the scissors for thinning shears, out of Sebastian's view.

"Yeah, you'll look much better now. What I need to do now is get rid of these unruly waves…” Rob said, starting to thin out the hair, crushing Sebastian's last hopes for his hair. This process went on for a while, Sebastian noticing his hair feeling much lighter now.

Rob blended in the top to the sides and back, and went back to the station to get pomade. When he came back, he reshaped Sebastian's hair into a hard part, parted on the right. He turned the chair around for Sebastian's viewing.

Sebastian looked at his hair in the mirror, in disbelief. His once long, wavy mane cut down to a mere fraction of what it was on the top, and stubble on the sides. His hair was no longer thick or wavy whatsoever, now stick straight, reformed to Rob's standards and straight enough to see Sebastian's scalp at certain angles. He was without sideburns, and when Rob showed Sebastian the back, the taper ended too high.

As Rob released Sebastian from the cape, a man walked into the shop, he was in his mid 50s definitely, wearing a light blue button up shirt and light colored chinos. His haircut was near exactly like Sebastian's. As Sebastian stood up, Rob greeted the man. " Hey Paul, back for your phone I suppose, you forgot it here earlier today.” Rob chuckled, observing both Sebastian and Paul. "You guys look like twins, exactly the same.”

"Why thank you, Rob.” Paul said, grinning at Sebastian and taking his phone back. "Stay sharp.” Paul told Sebastian as he left. Sebastian stood for a second, defeated. He looked like a man three decades older than he was. To Sebastian, not in a good way.

"Well, Sebastian, you look much better now that you've gotten rid of all that unruly hair.” Rob said, as Sebastian managed a smile, giving Rob a tip for the free haircut. "Here is some pomade for your hair. Be sure to come by every other week.” Rob said, and Sebastian left the store.

It was going to be a long week.

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