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Hairnet by A Recruit (recovered)


Hairnet

By a Recruit

Will and his best friend Mark were high school Juniors. Each had just got his driver's license and were trying to come up with enough money to get their wheels. Their parents had offered to provide the car if the boys could come up with the registration and most importantly, the insurance. Their fathers golfed together and had come up with this plan to make the boys take their driving privileges seriously. Well, this meant summer jobs, and they had to be within walking or biking distance. Will's dad put them onto a good lead, also via a golf buddy, at a local fast food place near the beach that hired a lot of summer help. Anyhow, they got hired and were to report to work the Monday after school was out.

That morning, bright and early, they showed up and reported to the manager. He introduced himself as Tom and gave each of the boys a couple of the bright red shirts that all the help wore and sent them off to put them on. When they came back, Tom dug in a box and handed each of them a little package. Will looked at his and exclaimed "Hairnet!! Why are you giving us these? Aren't hairnets for girls?" Tom shook his head. "No, everyone who works in the food service has to wear one, guys or girls." "But you don't have one," Mark said, looking at Tom's neatly combed hair. "No, I don't. Not because I'm the manager, but because I don't work behind the counter usually. If I have to fill in, I do. I agree, I hate the things, but its the Board of Health ruling. We got cited last year for a guy with a crewcut. I didn't figure he would need one, but the inspector dumped on us. And once you get caught, they tend to come back looking again. I guess they don't want the customers finding hairs in their soup." "Can't we quick put one on if the inspector comes in?" "That won't work, they send in their wives or secretaries and you never know." "Is that really a rule?" Will asked. Tom grinned and reached for a book on the shelf. "Here it is, guys: 'All food service employes shall wear a hair net or other head covering that covers all hair longer than 1mm. So put the things on and lets get you started" Will's blond hair was quite long, maybe 6 inches on top and down almost to his collar in back.

He reluctantly opened the package and shook out the net and pulled it over his head. Even looking in the mirror it was hard to get it on without scrambling his hair, and when he did, it flattened his hair down. He looked like a guy wearing a hairnet on his long hair, and there wasn't anything he could do about it. He knew that lots of his classmates came there during the summer and he was sure to get a major hard time. Mark had light brown hair in a bowl cut, with the bottom of the sides and back buzzed fairly short. He looked equally silly with his bowl cut hair held tightly to his head and the border of the net down on the buzzed part. Will looked at a couple of the girls that worked there and they didn't look bad at all, but he realized that they all had braided their hair with the braids pinned up, so the nets didn't mat things down like it did for him and Mark. The morning went ok, as they learned not to burn the buns or char the burgers. At their lunch break, Will pulled off his net and shook out his hair, "Boy, I'll be glad when quitting time comes. I guess we will get used to these things." In mid-afternoon a couple of guys from school came in to get ice cream. Mark was serving them and had to put up with their jibes. "My you look pretty!" etc. That evening, after supper, Mark showed up at Will's house. "How did it go today? I think the jobs are great----except for the stupid hairnet thing. I talked to Tom about it at the end of the day. There is one way out of it, short of quitting." Will looked a bit surprised, "What's that? I thought we were stuck with them." Mark laughed,"

Remember when Tom read us the rule, 'hair longer than 1 millimeter has to be covered.' So a buzzcut will do the trick." "So what's a millimeter? I forget, about half an inch isn't it? That's awfully short" Will asked. Mark grinned, "That's the trouble with you guys that avoid all the science courses. You're thinking of a centimeter. There are 25.4 millimeters in an inch, so 1 millimeter is about 1/25 of an inch." He held up his fingers with a tiny gap between them. "But that would be practically shaved!" Mark nodded, "I read somewhere that your hair grows about 1/2 inch a month, so that's about 13 millimeters, so your hair grows about a millimeter in 2 or three days. I dug out the clippers we have at home and the instruction book says they cut to .02 inches at the shortest setting. That works out to a little less than a millimeter. So all we have to do is run the clippers over our heads every couple of days. Or, if you rather, shave our heads a couple of times a week. Will instinctively reached up and ran his fingers through his hair, "Shave our heads! You got to be kidding! No way!" Mark shrugged, "Then wear your hairnet and quit your complaining. Maybe you can do it up in braids like the girls, or how about cornrows? Anyhow, I brought the clippers along in case.

You can do what you like, but you can use them on me anyhow. I'm a little tired of this mop anyhow." Will looked at Mark, "Are you serious? Right now? I don't know how to cut hair." "Come on, you don't have to know anything to clip it all off. We can do it out in the garage so it's easy to sweep up afterwards." Mark was sure of himself now, but he had spent a long time in front of the mirror with the clippers in his hand trying to decide if he really wanted to, and what he would look like without his hair. He had had buzzcuts when he was younger, and even went and looked at the latest picture. He put the hairnet on again and that decided him. The hair was coming off, but someone else was going to have to do it, so he had stuffed the clippers in his backpack and biked off to Will's house. Mark picked up a stool from the ktchen counter and led the way to the garage.

He plugged the clippers in, handed them to Will, pulled off his shirt and sat down on the stool. All very businesslike to cover his very real case of nerves. He reached over and pushed the lever on the clippers to the shortest setting, "Get to work!" Will switched them on and gingerly put them against Marks cheek below his right sideburn and slid them up a little. A pile of Mark's quarter inch fuzz accumulated on the top of the blades as they moved up the side of his head. When he pulled them away they left a swath of tiny stubble behind. Mark reached up and felt of it. "Feels like a millimeter to me! Keep going!" Will ran the clippers up higher, to where the longer hair of Mark's bowl cut started, and then slowly pushed them up to the top. Hunks of brown hair, longer and longer, fell away from the buzzing clippers.

Will pushed away some disconnected hair from the clipped swath with his free hand and felt the sandpapery stubble. He was starting to enjoy this. He put the clippers above Mark's ear to widen the path, but this time went all the way up in one trip, watching the hair falling away before the blades. Next, behind his ear, a longer trip this time, up,up up all the way to the crown, spilling hair onto Marks shoulder and the garage floor. Now the whole side of his head was bare except for the uncut lengths of the top hair that fell over the bristly side. Will debated for a moment whether to go on around the sides, but then decided that the long locks of top hair hanging over the stubble had to go next. A long pass from front to back at the top of the clipped area lifted off a lot of it and extended the mostly bald region onto the top of Mark's head.

Will began to see the tufts of long hair at the edge of the clipped area as something sprouting-like weeds in a neatly tilled garden. They didn't belong there and he used the clippers to remove them. The severed hair didn't fall away from the top of Mark's head, so Will had to use his hand to brush it away, feeling the ever greater expanse of bristly scalp. Will was really enjoying this new experience and soon had the top of Mark's head bare. Then he worked his way across the back, running the clippers up through the heavy hair until the blades emerged at into the clearcut stubble at the top. All too soon, all of the long hair was gone and Will ran the clippers again over all of Mark's scalp to get the stubble as short as the clippers were capable of cutting.

Finally, reluctantly, he switched them off and stood back to see what his buddy looked like without his hair. Different, for sure, but not bad, with the dusting of light brown stubble. Mark rubbed his head, "That sure feels different! I gotta find a mirror and see what it looks like." He went into the house as Will started to sweep up the piles of hair. Mark came back witha grin on his face, "I like it! I wasn't sure at first, but it's cool! I rinsed off the loose bits and it's dry already! So, guy, gonna join me or are you going to stay with the hairnet set? Will was torn. He had never had even a crewcut, and the thought of cutting his hair, not just short, but completely off was a scary one.

But the thought of how strange Mark's remaining long hair had looked aginst the stubble and the feeling of running his hand over his bristly scalp made it terribly tempting. It was crazy, he thought, to even consider shaving his head just to avoid wearing a hairnet for a few hours a day, and the idea of losing his hair was scary. But another part of him said "What the hell, its only hair and it will grow back. Try it, you may never get another chance." Mark stood there with the clippers in his hand looking at him and grinning. Finally Will shook his head, "Not tonight, I got to think about it some more. And it's not just once, we have to keep it clipped all summer, you said." Mark shrugged, "That's the easy part. I won't have any problem keeping it clipped now that it's gone. I admit I wasn't completely sure at first until I felt you run those clippers down the top of my head. It's up to you, Will, and when you change your mind I'll fix you right up.

Will didn't sleep well that night. He kept seeing the clippers baring Mark's head and imagining them doing the same to his. In the shower, pushing his wet hair out of his face it almost seemed like a good idea. In the mirror he pushed his damp hair back as tight against his head as he could, trying, with not much success, to imagine what he would look like without it. The next day at work, Tom took one look at Mark and gave him a big grin and two thumbs up. A couple of the girls kidded him a bit and rubbed his stubble. Will put on his hairnet. That afternoon some other kids from school came in to the shop. The guys both had fresh high and tight crewcuts. Mark got a couple of compliments on his buzz, but Will got grins, even from the girls.

At the end of work, Will took off his hated hairnet and ran his comb through his tangle while Mark waited . As they rode home on their bikes Will kept glancing over at Mark, and thinking that he did really look cool. He could feel the wind blowing his own mop about and messing up the comb job he had just done. When he got home he went into the bathroom to comb his hair again. One long lock was hanging free down against his cheek. He picked it up and pulled it back, realizing just how long it was. He pulled it up away from his head and looked at the skin of his forehead running back through the roots of the hank of hair. Weeds! What the hell!! "Ok, Mark, you and the hairnet win!," he almost hollered. He roughly pushed the hair back and went to the phone. "Get out the clippers, I'll be over tonight after supper."

At the table, he figured he had better warn his family, so he told them. To his surprise, his Mom said "When Mark came in the house last night without his hair, I figured you both were going to do it. It might actually be an improvement on that mop of yours!. I notice most of the guys I see have short cuts these days." Well, he was committed now!. Will went into the bathroom and combed his hair carefully. He was about to stick the comb into his pocket, but then he grinned and tossed it into the trash. He hopped on his bike and headed for Mark's. Mark was ready for him, with a stool and the clippers all set up in the garage. Part of Will was still not at all sure about this, but he hopped off his bike, walked to the stool and sat down. "Get to work before I change my mind!" Mark snapped on the clippers, "You aren't changing your mind, man!" He plopped the blades at Will's forehead and pushed them back, right up the middle, all the way to the crown. Will gulped and reached his hand up to feel the stubbly swath.

It felt weird-bristles where there used to be hair, with his long hair on either side. Mark lifted off a hunk of his hair and handed it to him. Will wondered if it was the same one he had played with a little while ago. He was surprised at how much longer it seemed than when it was on his head and how heavy it was. Then the clippers made another pass and still another, and Will felt the hunks of hair tumbling down his back to the floor. He felt of his head again, and now the whole top was gone, just sandpapery bristles. Mark didn't take long, and Will sat there with his eyes closed, feeling the clippers running up the back of his head, up the sides and then again, all over to get the last little tufts of hair. When Mark switched off the clippers, Will rubbed his head with both hands. It was strange not to find the usual mop, but to feel all the contours of his stubbly scalp. "Ok, baldy, welcome to the gang! I ran the clippers on my own head before you got here to see how that went. It didn't seem like one day would make any difference, but I could feel where I had been.

Go find a mirror and have a look." Will went into the bathroom and switched on the light. Baldy was right! Witth the strong overhead light and his blond hair there was just a little glint where the stubble caught the light. This was going to tke some getting used to! He sure looked like someone else. And it was going to have to stay this way. There was no point cutting it off to avoid the hairnet if he was going to let it grow back. Wearing a hairnet on a buzzcut would be really weird! He guessed he would have to buy his own clippers; he couldn't keep going to Mark's every day all summer. The rest of the evening Will could hardly keep his hands off his stubble and kept finding excuses to look in a mirror. Depending on how the light came onto his scalp he looked either stubbly or bald . He liked it either way, though the stubble had a slight reminder of the weeds. He did have the usual after-haircut itch from all the little hairs that had landed on his shoulders and hadn't brushed off, so he decided to shower before bed.

As he headed to the bathroom he picked up his new birthday wet-or-dry electric shaver. He didn't need to use it much, yet. With his long hair, he had let his sideburns grow, not that they amounted to much, but the stubble on his cheek looked out of place now. It was strange, feeling the spray of the shower directly on his scalp, and he got a kick out of using the soapy washcloth instead of his shampoo. He picked the shaver off the ledge and felt for his sideburn stubble. He ran the shaver up his cheek and rubbed it up and down a couple of times and felt again.

The stubble was gone, of course, and his skin was smooth. On impulse he pushed the shaver a bit higher, to the top of his ear. He felt the smoothness and the abrupt start of the stubble. It was funny how the stubble that had seemed so very, very short now seemed to stick out so much. He felt of the place on the front of his head where the long lock of hair had been this afternoon-the one that had been the first to fall to the clippers. There too, the smoothness of his forehead gave way abruptly to the bristles. Almost without his willing it, the buzzing shaver moved to his forehead and slid back onto the stubble. And that patch was smoothness too.

No turning back now. He pushed the shaver farther and farther back, rubbing it firmly on his scalp, replacing the rough stubble with smoothness. It didn't take long until the stubble everywhere was gone. Will put the shaver down and ran both hands over his slippery smooth wet head--an incredible feeling. He stepped out of the shower and dried himself, realizing that one pass with the towel was all his head needed. He had thought he looked bald before, but now he realized that the stubble had made a difference. The look was really different, but he liked it more and more every time he saw his reflection. The feeling of his smooth head on the pillow was another new sensation. He woke several times in the night feeling of his newly bald head. In the morning he noticed that there was a little roughness to his scalp.

He was surprised that his hair had grown enough to notice, but he guessed it had.What had Mark said? Clippers every day or two or shave your head a couple of times a week. So in half a day you might notice it. As he headed for the shower he hesitated a moment and then laughed, "Ok, Mr. Longhair, I guess you are really hooked!" He came back and grabbed his shaver and headed down the hall. When he arrived at work he stopped out back and ceremoniously dumped his hairnet into the dumpster. Mark was a little surprised that Will had shaved his head smooth.

Will wasn't about to admit to how he had come to shave his stubble or to his feelings about being bald. "It was that or buy clippers, and I am saving for the car insurance.", he said. "You ought to try it sometime, though, it's an awesome feeling!" Mark shookhis head, "I like the stubble look and the way it feels. I'll probably shave it off one of these times though, just to see what it's like, but not all summer."

That night ,Tuesday, Will figured that his next shave job was due on Friday, but in the morning, when he woke up and felt how stubbly his head was, the shaver went down the hall with him to the shower. In the Fall, when the snack shop closed and school started, Mark let his hair grow out to a buzzcut. Will reluctantly let his hair grow a bit on top, maybe 1/4 inch, but kept the sides and back clipped to the scalp, and after each haircut he would use the shaver to get that smoothness for a day or two. Tom had offered them jobs again the coming summer with a nice raise, and this summer they would drive to work. Oh, yes, and no hairnets!!¡

The End

The End




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