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I'm Not Alone part 4 by Jonathan
"John, I just talked to my dad, we have to get haircuts today," said David.
"Are you sure that's what he said?" I ask.
"He told me Mr. Johnson will be coming by and picking up Danny soon to get haircuts again," says David.
"Oh man, not another haircut. I hate this!" I say.
"But John it's almost summer and look how long our hair has gotten now," David says.
"It's not even long compared to most kids," I say.
"Yeah, but now we're supposed to keep it short now, remember that's how our parents like it," David says.
"What's wrong with you David, it's 1976, not 1956! Kids now have longer hair over their ears and stuff," I say. "Don't you get why all those kids at school tease us and make jokes when we show up looking like marines?" I ask.
"Well, we need to listen to your dad," David says.
It is early June of 1976 and David and I will be done with 5th grade. We are both 12 now and ready for six grade next year. I just wish my dad would wait another three weeks til summer to force us to cut our hair again.
"ERIC, JOHN AND DAVID LET'S GET GOING WE NEED TO DO A LOT THIS MORNING!," dad yells.
"Dad are we getting haircut again, that's what David said,?" I ask.
"YES!, AND DON'T ARGUE. I'M TIRED OF THIS ARGUING. IF YOU DO I'M TAKING AWAY YOUR TV!" dad says.
"Ok," I say.
In about 15 minutes we are heading over to David's house to get Danny for haircuts. This time it will be all four boys. What hair we've managed to grow in 5 months will soon be nearly gone again. I can tell my dad is in a stressed out mood. He's smoking a cigerette and I know his moods well. It's a good idea to not make him mad this morning. He is 6'2 feet tall and 250 pounds. With that flattop, his loud voice and all, he scares people. He can be nice sometimes, but just watch out when he's mad.
We pull up in front of David's house. Out comes David's dad. He is short and skinny. He has the look like you could knock him over with a twig. He has very short black hair, with slightly bushy sideburns. I guess those sideburns are his one attempt to look hip.I just have no respect for this guy. I mean, he has two teenagers living with him and he can't handle making them get haircuts. I am kind of wondering about David now. He seems to have been turned into a haircut lover by my dad though.
Danny looks like he's not going to come with us. Mr. Clark is talking to him on the porch. Danny is now 14 and kind of rebellious. His parents are in Texas and got a divorce. David told me his mom had some kind of a nervous breakdown, or something like that. I think he may stay here in California forever now. I bet Mr. Clark will ask if he could live at our house. My dad could handle Danny.
"What the hell!" my dad yells.
"Danny, get your ass over to this car now," my dad yells.
"What the %#&%!" my dad says.
Then he flicks his cigerette into the street and heads towards the Clark's front porch. Oh, he's mad! He gets half way, then Danny starts to walk to the car.Neither say a word and get inside the crowded little Mustang. I get Danny's anger. What good looking 14 teenager in 1976 wouldn't get upset if you were about to drive him off to cut his hair like a marine. I bet only about 5 or six boys at his jr. high school have short hair. And I bet he will be the only one with it shaved zero up the back and sides.
I used to think my dad got a thrill out of taking us boys to get these crazy short haircuts. Now I don't know? I think in his mind it's more like getting you to do your homework or cleanup your room. Or maybe brush your teeth. I doubt he really wants to take David and Danny to the barbershop. He pays for them too. It's a pride thing you know when someone says, "I will pay you back." You don't accept the money and you just say, "Oh no thanks that's ok, I got it." But your still kinda mad you had to pay.
My dad is cheap. He makes good money working for the city, but drives this 10 year old Mustang. He hates spendING money.
"Hey Danny, what's up," I say.
"Nothing John, not much," says Danny.
I can tell he's trying to be nice to me, but is really unhappy on this Saturday morning. His hair has grown considerably since those last haircuts we got months ago. David, Danny and Eric are all three in the back seat of the car. My dad and I are up front. My brother is looking really upset too.
Soon we pull up to the house of torture, otherwise known as Don's Barbershop. That red and white barber poll looks like it hasn't spun or lit in years. This place is so busted up. I wonder why my dad still comes here. I guess he's known Don so long. Or maybe because it's a real barbershop, not one of those style shops like my mom used to take us to. Those were the days. I mean what parents let you grow your hair over your ears until 5th grade and get used to it. Then one day decide dad's going to start taking the boys to get crewcuts now! I mean?? And it is modern times now too, no one cuts hair with clippers anymore. They just use scissors.
As we walk up I see Don and that other real young skinny barber with longer hair in there. I notice that the place has about 3 customers too. There are four of us, we'll be here all day!
We walk in and sit down on those dreaded black vinyl waiting chairs. We all sit looking, or pretending to read some magazines. I watch the barber cut the other people's hair. Nothing to exciting though. It's gonna be a while until one of us gets in a barber chair.
"Hey look, flattops are only $5 dollars, we should gets flattops again!" shouts David.
"No way, what the heck David!" I say.
"Jake it's summer and for only $20 you can get all four boys looking nice," says Don.
"Nothing like a nice summer flattop," says the other long haired barber.
Oh what is wrong with David? He's the ultimate betrayer, just like Judus! A flatttop, he really does want one. This guy is supposed to be my best friend. Oh now he's gotten them all started. I would like to see that long haired barber with a flattop! I have this sickening feeling I'm walking out of here nearly bald again. My chubby, wavy ears that stick out will be fully exposed again too.
"Whose first?" Don asks.
David gets up and heads to his barber chair without a word.
"No, Danny you go first this time!" my dad shouts.
"Oh hell no," Danny mutters under his breath.
"BOY WHAT DID YOU SAY, GET THE HELL UP IN THAT CHAIR!!" yells my dad.
I haven't seen him that mad in at least a year! Wow the whole shop shook when he yelled. This poor kid tried to give it one last fight to save his hair. I couldn't blame him somehow.
"All four of you are getting flattops now!" shouts dad.
Oh man, I knew it! All because of David and Danny. Flattops!! Also I realized my dad wanted Danny to go first so he could leave and go shopping. Once Danny was secure in that shearing seat he could leave. David just walked right up easier than a lamb heading off to be sheared. Also I bet my dad is dying to have a cigerette.
"I don't want a flatttop!" yelled Danny.
"Come on son, the other kids are getting on too," says Don.
My brother and I sat glued to see how my dad was going to handle Danny. Danny stood up and didn't budge. Then he kicked one of those dreaded black vinyl waiting chairs.
"OH NO, THAT'S IT, OVER THERE NOW DANNY!" dad yelled.
I wondered what else he could threaten him with. He wasn't his parent. Even Mr. Clark wasn't Danny's real parent. He couldn't take his bike or t.v. away either.
Then I saw it, a tear. Danny started to cry. This strong kid I'd known. He slowly walked over to Don's chair and sat down ready for his flattop. He'd now been broken like the rest of us.
I had a front row seat to watch Danny get his first ever flattop. David now went in the other barber's chair, almost eager for his flattop. I sat and watched as Danny was caped and trapped waiting to be sheared. I noticed his eyes were still red from crying a bit. Now my dad left to go shopping. The first two flattops were about to begin! My brother and I were next.
Don held a firm grip onto the larger clippers as he shaved off the side of Danny's head. His golden brown locks came quickly falling off. He sat there starring down into his lap. There were no tears now. I could see bare skin on both sides of his head now. His ears fully in view now. The top of his head looked very strange now. There was so much hair there still. The back and sides had been skinned and the two extremes looked weird.
Don went to the counter and put something on the clippers and then shaved down most, but not all the hair left on the top of Danny's head. He took a black comb and sliced across and across the top of Danny's head. It was starting to look flatter and flatter, like the flattops we'd gotten in December. This was Danny's first on though. I bet thanks to David's big mouth it won't be the last flattop either. Yeah all four boys haircuts for just 20$ and some likely little tip my dad gave the barbers.
I looked over and David has just about the same looking flattop by now as Danny. They both look like some image out of one of those old Boy's Life magazines from the 1950's! I know I'm next. Then my bratty brother.
I see Don put some of that gooey butch wax in Danny's hair. It's flat, real flat on top. I could land one of my toy planes on his head. When Don is done he shows Danny in his barber mirror. Danny doesn't even look, just walks and sits down right next to me. Somehow I get an urge to giggle when I see his shorn head. No hair on his forehead and it's so flat on top. His ears too. I realized I'm being like the kids at school will be on Monday. I quickly refrain from laughing at Danny's flattop.
"All set John?" asks Don.
"Yeah, flattop," I mutter.
I noticed a lot of Danny's hair still on the floor all around the barber chair. I step through it knowing it's gotten on my shoes. I sit positioned ready for my second flattop of fifth grade. I am not nearly as horrified as the last time. I survived it then, I can handle it again. I'm none too happy though. I suddenly feel those sharp metal clippers slice away my right sideburn opening the path to continue shaving away the hair way up the side of my head and around the ear. It vibrates and tickles more this time. I flip the hair off the black cape and watch it fall to the floor. It's all mixed in with Danny's hair now. Soon those sharp clippers slice away the left sideburn and head vibrating toward my ear. David and Danny sit waiting to leave. David is reading a magazine and Danny is just sitting starring looking none too jolly. My brother surprisingly didn't through a fit this time. I think he knew my dad was really in a foul mood this morning. I haven't heard him swear this much in a while.
Don is a nervous little short man. He moves really fast and never seems relaxed. He is nearly bald except for a rim of hair around his head. It wouldn't be possible for him to have a flatttop, no.
I smell the butch wax and realize my flattop is nearly finished. I'm so eager to get this over with. Each little buzz and snip I feel means a little less hair left on my head.
"Come on, finish!" I think to myself.
I look and see my brother's flattop is done. I do giggle to myself when I see it, hehe. Why's mine taking so long?
"Feel this Danny," David says.
Danny runs a few fingers across David's flattop.
"Yeah," Danny says.
"Alright, all done John, take a look," says done.
"Yeah, ok," I say.
All four boys sit waiting for my dad to come get up. Many more people have come into the shop and stare at our flattops. The younger kids and teenagers looked a little freaked out.
"Hey Don, are flattops today's special?" asks a dad.