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Calvin lives up to his name by Manny
The thought jolted through Calvin like the charge from a downed hot wire as he watched the fellow from the mail room drop off the afternoon correspondence. The fellow's dense pelt of hair was clipped very close on top and shaved down to the scalp on the sides and back. It was a very manly military-style haircut, the type that base exchange barbershops throughout the country had perfected.
"Ah, Steven," Calvin called from his swank executive office, "I was hoping you would deliver a Fedex packet from our subsidiary in Atlanta. You didn't happen to see anything from them?"
"No, sir. This is all that came in for you," the fellow replied quickly and respectfully, slightly lowering his crystal blue eyes as he addressed the corporate VP, who comfortably sat behind the huge mahogany desk on a throne-like leather office chair. "If it comes in later this afternoon, I'll bring it straight up."
Calvin smiled for two reasons. One, he loved the deference his staff showed him. And, two, he amused himself by imagining himself sitting -- not in his plush office chair -- but in a tradition barber's chair sporting Steven's clipped head. In this mental portrait, Calvin's own elegant executive coif lay decimated and scattered over the great white cape. The vision of his head bared to a minimalist crop, like Steven's, excited Calvin. What would it feel like to walk into an old-fashioned barbershop with his expensive salon style -- the carefully brushed massive forelock swept back and held in place by a dab of hairspray -- and have the copious locks subjected to the hungry teeth of a fastfeed electric hair clippers? He wanted desperately to experience a radical transformation and leave the barber's with barely a hint of hair left, just like Steven's crop! How shocking for his peers and subordinates to seek him looking like a menial worker -- a gardener or loading dock worker with a clipped head -- than like a polished, sophisticated executive.
"Yes, please do that Steven. I'm anxious to get that packet," Calvin instructed. "Oh, and I have this piece of outgoing mail," he said as he lifted up an envelope.
Steven scampered over to retrieve it. Calvin examined the length of the mail clerk's hair -- that is, the small patch that covered the top -- as the fellow reached for the envelope.
"That's a mighty fine haircut, Steven," the boss noted. "Do you use a barber around here? I'm getting a bit shaggy, and my stylist is on vacation."
Steven looked at the boss with an undisguised expression of surprise. He eyed Calvin's longish, plush, stylized mane. "I'm not sure my barber would work for you. He specialized in military cuts. High 'n tights, flattops, that sort of thing," explained Steven semi-apologetically.
The mention of a flattop excited Calvin to no end, and he struggled to conceal it from Steven. He had always dreamed of sporting a flattop.....but the idea had remained a dream.
"Perhaps I could use a shorter haircut. Yours looks so practical," Calvin replied, toying with his fantasy.
Steven blushed at being the object of his boss' attention. "I can't imagine you with an ultra-short cut like mine," Steven demurred, stealing another peek at the big boss.
Calvin ran his fingers through his thick, glistening hair. "But you can understand why I want to have it cut asap. Not sure I could go another day without a good shearing."
"Well, if that's the case, I use Pete's Barber Shop. It's in that arcade between Maple and Elm -- been there for 75 years," explained Steven.
"What haircut do you ask for?" pressed Calvin.
"No need to tell them, both of the barbers know what I want -- a #2 on top and a #0 on the sides and back," he answered, "But, if I were you, I'd just ask for a regular 'short back and sides'," he said as he turned to leave.
"Thanks for the suggestion, Steven. I'll pop by there this evening, if it's still open when I get out of here."
"They close right at 5 pm. I always use my lunch break to get clipped. Perhaps you'd better go now, sir; it's noon," the mail room employee suggested. His eye lingered on Calvin's thick mane momentarily, before he instinctively lowered his gaze in a sign of deference towards such a senior figure in the corporation.
"When you get to the mail room, will you call me right away, just to let me know whether the packet has arrived while you've been on your rounds?" Calvin asked.
"Sure, and if it happens to be in, I'll run it straight back to you," he volunteered.
Less than five minutes later the phone rang, "Uh, Mr. Jones, Steven from the mail room here. Sorry but Fedex still hasn't delivered. Anything else I can do for you, sir?"
"Actually, there is. After you left, I got to thinking that perhaps you could ring Pete's and set up an appointment for me -- say at 4 p.m.?"
"Uh....." the fellow stammered, "It's a barbershop, sir. They just do walk-ins." Steven paused a bit before adding, "But, perhaps, I could call and ask old Petey for a favor...."
"Excellent! Oh, and while you're at it, won't you explain to him how I want it cut? I can't remember that term you used or those numbers."
"Numbers? Oh, you mean like #2 on top? Oh, no, sir! That's my haircut -- way too short for you. Shall I tell him a 'short back and sides'? It's like a short, standard business cut."
"Yes, but do emphasize the short! I want it be taken down rather close," Calvin insisted.
There was a bit of silence on the phone, like a mental dilemma. Obviously, Steven didn't want to be blamed for a too-short haircut on his boss. Reluctantly, however, he agreed to the task Calvin had laid out for him, "Will do, sir."
Calvin's level of excitement surged as he hung up the phone. His initiative in engaging Steven was the most he had ever done to advance his longstanding plan against his pretty-boy locks. Today would certainly be the day to surrender his salon tresses to a no-nonsense, old geezer barber! Having ensnared a reluctant Steven into his dramatic (and possibly traumatic!) makeover also enhanced his feeling of pleasure.
Calvin was imagining himself having his head pushed down and feeling the clippers at his nape when the phone rang again. It was Steven's extension again. "Good news, sir. Pete said if you're there precisely at 4 pm, he'll make sure the chair is free for you. I explained that you're an important man and very busy."
"Thanks loads, Steven! I really owe you one. And you told him about the numbers?" Calvin asked.
"I just said you were needing a good, crisp haircut; told him to taper it around the ears, to shorten and thin the top too. Explained that since you're a very important businessman not to get too carried away. At times, old Pete uses a rather heavy hand! If your hair is cut too short, there'll be nothing to do about it but wait for it to grow out. On the other hand, if it's not short enough, you can always go back again for some extra work."
"You're a good man! So thoughtful and resourceful. I'm wondering why you're still in the mail room. I'm needing some good initiative and follow-up action like that on my staff up here!"
"Thank you, sir. I hope you get a good haircut at Pete's!" Steven said before signing off.
Calvin felt extremely agitated as he watched the clock progress steadily past the 3:00 o'clock mark. His chat with Steven and subsequent appointment at Pete's for that same afternoon transpired within a 20 minute segment. He had very little time to eagerly anticipate his surrender of his pampered salon mane -- or to get cold feet and chicken out. Calvin pulled out a little mirror he kept in his desk and eyed his pretty boy hair. The lovely thick mane, glimmering in the ample sunlight of his corner office, was soon to be on the floor of Pete's Barber Shop getting stepped on and discarded into a dustbin. He toyed a bit with his copious forelock that was his crown jewel. Soon old Pete would be shearing it off at a pathetic angle and thinning the life out of it! Calvin hoped for a very barbered look -- wide ribbons of white skin around the ears, little boy bangs -- the works! And, he looked forward to calling Steven up to his office to see the haircut after he'd been shorn by old Pete.
At precisely 3:40, Calvin got up from his desk and notified his assistant that he was going out for a bit, to get a haircut. He stopped by the men's room as he left and got another good look at his coif. It was full and quite elegant -- a perfect complement to his expensive Canali suit. Calvin brushed his mane and smoothed it down with his hand. The silken feel was so pleasurable. He told himself the next time he looked in the mirror he would see something quite different.
Once on the sidewalk heading toward the arcade, Calvin's legs started feeling wobbly. Dreaming about a severe barbered looked and actually getting one were two different things! What had Steven told him about the instructions to old Pete? To taper it short around the ears and thin the top out? What if Steven had communicated his own haircut, a #2 on top and a #0 on the sides, to the barber?! Calvin tried to image himself with Steven's military look. Again, he pictured himself sitting in a barber's chair with his elegant executive coif decimated and scattered over the great white cape, his head bared to a minimalist crop. Could he push the envelope and turn his dramatic makeover into a traumatic one?! To emerge from the chair and leave the shop shorn down to the wood....the mere idea caused his wobbly legs to keep moving toward their destination.
Calvin hesitated as he came to the glass door of the old arcade. He could see that barber's pole whirling halfway down to the other street. He pushed the door open and stepped in, then glanced at his watch -- 3:55 p.m. He ambled about by the decorative fountain before heading towards the barber pole at 3:58. He would arrive precisely on time.
As the large barber chairs came into sight through the plate glass windows, Calvin could see that the shop was empty, except for the old barber. His heart beat rapidly. He would not put off his shearing, no matter how nervous he felt.
"Good afternoon. You must be Mr. Jones, who Steven called about this afternoon," the man clad in white from head to toe said as the door swung open.
"Yes, sir, I am," he replied as he caught a glance of himself in the mirror. "So glad you agreed to an appointment for me. As you can see, I'm quite overdue for a haircut."
"Yes, I can see that. You can take a seat there in the first chair by the window," the barber instructed as he reached into a small cabinet and pulled out a folded white cloth cape.
Calvin sank into the comfortable over-sized chair which was facing away from the mirror, like its twin right beside.
Pete snapped the cape open and cast it about Calvin's torso like a toreador. Then he arranged a strip of tissue around Calvin's neck before the cape was fastened snuggly into place. Without ceremony, he tried to work a comb through the dense mane.
The chair remained turned away from the mirror.
Calvin cleared his throat a bit, "Steven told me you're a pro when it comes to military haircuts."
"That's right. But I can do a business cut too, just fine," Pete replied. "Much better than what you've got up here -- this is a whole lot of hair. So thick I can hardly get a comb through it."
"That's why I'm here. Steven assures me you can make short work of my mop. You been a barber a long time?" Calvin asked.
"As long as I can remember. This was my father's shop before it became mine -- he passed down his name, profession and shop to me. Lots of heads shorn over the decades in this very chair," the barber commented. "So, what'll it be for you today, sir?"
"Oh, I thought Steven had explained to you how I wanted it cut," Calvin said. "I can't remember the numbers he told me about; a #2, I think, he mentioned," said Calvin.
"Tapered to a #2 around the ears?" the barber asked. "That will be significantly shorter than it is now," he said, reaching for the clippers.
"Well, it's time I got my money's worth from a skilled barber. I'm wanting it cut very, very short. Actually, I was admiring Steven's crop when we started talking haircuts this morning. It looks so practical, and manly. One thing led to another and here I am -- ready for a very crisp, short haircut."
The barber nudged Calvin's head forward and he snapped on the clippers.
Calvin's heart beat rapidly.
Then the clippers hit the dense hair at Calvin's nape. The shriek from the teeth and the vibration on the sensitive nape caused the caped client to stifle a lunge. The barber worked in silence for a bit, repeating the motions with the clippers, clearing off Calvin's plush mane at the nape. "Do you want it tapered gradually up the back, a medium taper, perhaps?" the barber asked.
"Like I said, please cut it quite short," Calvin instructed.
"So, a short taper. It will be quite a change," Pete warned and then proceeded with his work, ratcheting up the clipper action.
Calvin closed his eyes and drank in the sensation of Pete's clippers moving rapidly, scooping off clumps of his hair.
There was no doubt he would emerge from the shop with an extremely short haircut he thought to himself as he gripped the arm rests of the chair under the cape.
Through the nervous excitement came a gnawing urge to press the envelope; this was his chance to return to work completely transformed -- his head sticking up from his business suit like a naked light bulb instead of a frilly lamp shade.
Calvin cleared his throat a bit. "Uh, would you mind showing me how it's coming along back there. I have a feeling it's not quite as short as I'd like it to be."
Pete obliged and held up a mirror. Calvin's stomach lurched -- a broad band of newly exposed skin made the nape white; the short taper contrasted with the still long and uncut top. He felt determined to pull out the stops. "Actually, I prefer it cut much shorter than this. In fact, I wanted it tapered very, very tight all the way up to the crown."
"Take the top down very short too?" the barber asked, just to confirm that his client was wanting a big change.
"Yes, and thinned out quite a bit," Calvin instructed the barber.
The barber silently resumed his work taking the clippers all the way up! Calvin could not contain himself. There was no turning back! The barber swiveled the chair a bit and began taking down the left side. Then Calvin saw the first clump of his pampered hair sliding down the cape onto his lap -- it was glossy and looked to be several inches in length.
Spontaneously, Calvin felt emboldened to keeping pressing his transformation on further. "In your professional opinion, would a flattop suit me?"
"Well, you certainly have the hair for it -- dense and full of body. I could get you a nice pile standing erect with very little butch wax to hold it in place," Peter replied. He combed the massive forelock down past Calvin's eyes, then snagged and lifted it up with a comb. "One move of the clippers will set you on path to a perfect flattop! Do you want to give it a try?"
Calvin shifted nervously, energized by the thought of the massive forelock falling in one fell swoop to the cape. The possibility of a flattop was very tempting, but he was prepared to go even farther and exclaimed, "Actually, I want you to cut my hair just like Steven's!"
Pete paused. "That short, really?"
"Yes, or even shorter," Calvin insisted. "I've made up my mind. I want minimal to no hair care for a change!"
Pete continued swiveling the chair around so that Calvin face the mirror. One side of his head was clipped close to the scalp, but the rest still resembled a fancy salon coif. The forelock dangled precariously.
"I suppose you'll want to watch this," Pete said as he cracked a large smile and brought the clippers up toward their target.
Calvin squirmed with nervous excitement under the cape. He was crazy! He should pull back from his insane scheme while he was able....
Then Pete snagged the vulnerable forelock with a comb and pulled it up so that the clippers could hit their target unobstructed. In a flash the determined barber started driving the powerful machine directly through the longest, densest portion of Calvin's coif. Sheaves of his beautiful hair tumbled to the cape in dramatic shanks. Calvin sat transfixed like a new recruit getting his boot camp induction haircut. The cleared swath of stubble contrasted starkly with the silken tresses that still clung on.
"This short enough for you, sir?" Pete asked with a bit of a chuckle in his voice.
Calvin was too caught up in the experience to reply audible. He nodded his affirmation with a slight gesture even as an awful pit feeling began developing in his stomach. He watched more hair fall away in stunned astonishment. He really was getting a military haircut!!
The barber cleared the top down to a #2 and was in the process of swapping blades to buzz the sides down to zero when the door swung open and Steven rushed in carrying a Fedex package. But the sight he encountered took him by surprise.
"Mr. Jones!!" he gasped. "Your hair! You're getting it cut just like mine!"
The cape was almost completely covered with a thick coating of cut locks. "I decided it was time I went from admiring your haircut to appropriating the same length for myself," Calvin stammered a bit nervously.
Then he could no longer contain himself. The shorn executive reached out from under the cape and felt the stubble on top. The sensation brought a smile to his lips. Stroking the nubs almost tickled.
The barber chuckled, "It's for real. No more pretty boy look, Mr. Jones. And, I hope you like it, because there's nothing I can do but finish you off nice and tight all over."
"I think I need to get used to it a bit before I decide whether I like it," Calvin replied sheepishly as he continued to explore the clipped pelt.
"Mr. Jones, I came here to show you the packet you were waiting for came in," Steven said, holding up it up, "and I knew you were anxious about it. Lucky, I knew where to find you."
"Lucky you knew where to send me for a much needed haircut, Steven!" Calvin replied. "But I'm more interested just now in what you think about my new haircut?"
"A lot better than this!" the lad said as he grasped a shorn shank of hair from the cape and held it up like a hunting trophy. Then, impulsively, Steven brushed Calvin's newly shorn head with his hand very lightly.
At first, the lad felt embarrassed that he had given into the urge. Calvin too was a bit taken aback to be handled with such a degree of familiarity.
The move emboldened Steven to say what he was truly thinking, "But, to tell you the truth, you don't look much like a big shot executive like this." With an even greater degree of familiarity, Steven rubbed his boss' head again, more forcefully and longer.
Calvin suppressed a groan of delight. "Oh, I love the way that feels."
The pleasure of having his clipped pelt stroked took some of the sting away from the comment about not looking like a big shot anymore. Nonetheless, Calvin began to worry a bit about returning to the office without his power coif. He began feeling quite vulnerable with his clipped head poking up above the mass of shorn hair on the cape.
As if sensing what his boss was thinking, Calvin noted, "What will everyone say when you return to work with no hair, looking like a new army recruit?"
The words stung! Calvin had been jerked back into reality.
Then Steven toyed with Calvin's rather prominent ear, "And these stick out so noticeably now."
Calvin sat immobile; his stomach churned with remorse. Young Steven was playing with his emotions, almost mocking him with delight!
Then Steven's face lightened the atmosphere with a tender smile. "We'll be able to come together at lunch for haircuts in the future, Mr. Jones," the mail clerk said with a twinkle in his eyes.
"I'm looking forward to that. And, you can call me Calvin....." the boss replied with a shy grin.
"Isn't 'calvin' the Latin word for 'bald'?" remarked the barber.
Calvin blushed a bit and confirmed it was true.
"Then let him live up to his name!" exclaimed Steven. "Bald! Shave him bald! Take everything off. Scrape him smooth as a baby's butt."
The caped client cowed and was silent. What was happening? The lowly mail boy was making decisions for him.
Steven became more forceful with his instruction to Pete. "Go on, lather him up and peel him like a grape. He will leave all his pampered hair behind."
The barber hesitated, then asked his client, "Should I?"
Calvin gulped. He felt an odd pleasure from being pressed to submit to the lowly mail clerk's authority. He felt impotent from having to helplessly accept the decisions made for him by Steven. "Whatever he says," Calvin eeked out submissively. Then he gripped the arms of the chair as he felt the barber begin to massage the warm shaving foam over his clipped scalp. As he felt the blade glide across the top of his head for the first time, Calvin sensed an impending nirvana-type experience. To be stripped of authority and control....and his thick, luscious locks. He was reverting to a more natural pristine estate.
READ ON ONLY IF YOU WANT CALVIN'S EXPERIENCE TO SPIRAL DOWN
Calvin glanced up to see Steven truly enjoying being in control of his boss. He diverted his eyes as a lowly subordinate away from Steven's smirk and saw the huge cauldron of shorn hair in his lap. Calvin's stomach churned with nervous pleasure. He would leave the shop displaying his namesake with a naked head, feeling vulnerable and submissive.
Once the pair had left the arcade and were headed back to the office, Calvin's remorse set in, slowing his gait.
"Hurry up, Cal!" Steven barked. "Stop dawdling. We need to get you back to work!"
"Yes, Steven," Calvin murmured respectfully.
The breeze on his denuded head sent shivers down his spine. The virgin scalp was sensitive and very tender. He begin to miss his plush locks, at least from a practical point of view.
"Back at the office, it'll feel a lot warmer than out here. My scalp is frigid," Calvin noted.
"I don't think so!" chirped Steven. "At least not on the loading dock where I have a little task for you to complete."
"The loading dock?" puzzled Calvin.
"Yes, I want you transferring a massive delivery of stock paper from the loading dock to the warehouse. You can use a hand dolly. I'd say if you set straight to it, you can have it done by midnight," Steven smirked.
"But, this Canali suit, I can't be doing manual labor in it," pouted Calvin.
"Oh, I have a jump suit you can change into. It's a bit ragged and a little soiled, but it'll do for you, Baldy."
Calvin was amazed at how quickly the shy, subservient Steven had developed a new, forceful, domineering persona.
The pair entered the firm through the loading dock and Calvin's jaw dropped open when he saw the massive load of boxes needing to be moved. "We'll never get this done by midnight!" Calvin gasped.
"We?" laughed Steven. "There will be no 'we' for this task of manual. It's a special assignment just for you, Baldy. Got to get those weakling muscles of yours toned up. Now step into the locker room and strip down to you undies. I'm going to bring you the overalls."
Calvin slowly undressed, shedding his last vestiges of authority. Now we was totally humbled -- no power coif, no designer suit, no office trappings of power. Just shear vulnerability as he stood shivering in his Fruit of the Looms feeling his shaved pate in the midst of a dingy locker room for the loading dock workers.
The door swung open and Steven let out a big laugh at the sight of the vulnerable Calvin standing with just his undies on feeling impotent. "Here, Baldy, put this on!"
Calvin complied quickly.
"No one, I dare say, will recognize you, Mr. Calvin Jones, VP for Product Distribution!" he chuckled as he wrenched Calvin by the ear and marched him out to the loading dock. "Not what do you say for this opportunity I'm giving you to shine in your new line of work, Baldy?"
"Thank you, Steven," murmured Calvin, as he diverted his eyes and took the dolly to begin his arduous task.
"Please address me as Mr. Sanders. Is that understood, Baldy?" snapped Steven.
"Yes, Mr. Sanders. Understood." As he took his hand to the dolly, Calvin realized he was, indeed, a new man....