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Jo’s Barbershop #4 No More Tangles by Mr. Nice Guy
Hello my name is Ricky Castle, and I am 10 years old. I live alone with my mother, never knew my father nor do we have any family that lives in the area that can help us out. My mother is unemployed & money has always been tight in our house. We tend to get a lot of free stuff from the Yahoo FreeCycle groups & the other community groups.
My hair is brown, very curly & hangs well below my ears when dry & much lower when wet.
I really do not like washing my hair, combing it, or getting a haircut, so most of the time it’s a tangled mess. Between our lack of money & my insistence on not getting haircuts I normally go many months between cuts.
Unknown to me my mother had been putting a little money aside so I could get a haircut & about 3 weeks ago my mother "surprised" me during one of our monthly shopping trips to Wal-Mart and dragged me into the haircut place called SmartStyle. I managed to negotiate to only getting between a quarter and a half of an inch taken off. The problem is they really butchered my hair bad and it looked worst after the haircut then it did before. (according to my mother) but to the dismay of my mother and to my relief due to our lack of money my mother could not afford to take me someplace else to get it fixed.
Today my mother saw a post labeled "FREE BOYS BACK TO SCHOOL HAIRCUTS" on the yahoo groups, my mother was ecstatic on finding the post & I knew another haircut was in my near future despite my protests that I did not need one again so soon.
My mother replied to the post explaining our money situation, the condition of my hair, and the way I do not like to take care of it. I prayed that she wouldn’t get a reply and she would soon forget about the entire thing. To my horror an hour later my mother gets a reply from Jo saying, "It would be my pleasure to help you & your son Ricky out with a haircut" and offered to meet us later this afternoon for the haircut at 4pm if we were available. Of course we were since my mother is unemployed & I was out of school on summer vacation. Since we do not own a car I was hoping the place would be too far for us to travel to but to my despair the shop ended up being only about a ½ mile away from our house, within easy biking/walking distance. My mother promised me "it would only be a trim to clean up the mess" I reluctantly agreed even though I really didn`t want a cut.
at 405pm we arrived at Bill`s Barbershop & met Jo outside. He introduced himself by shaking both of our hands; he seemed friendly enough like most people we meet through the yahoo community groups. He then started playing with my hair making comments like "wow his hair is long" / "I see what you were talking about" / "so we are going to cut it like we talked about over e-mail?" my mother just nodded while avoiding my eyes.
She then turned to me and said I should behave myself while she was going to go down the block to do some shopping and she would be back soon. (I wondered where she got the cash from; I thought we were out of cash until the 1st of the month) She left me alone with Jo. I had a bad feeling in my gut that this would be more then the small trim I had gotten 3 weeks ago. Maybe I’ll end up losing an inch or an inch & a half.
Jo replied I`m sure he`ll be ok referring to me then put a firm hand on my shoulder guided me inside the shop and to the waiting chairs. He greeted the haircutter with a warm hello like they were close friends, and then started making small talk with me about how my summer vacation had been and the upcoming school year. Then started asking me about how long do I normally go between haircuts, were I get it cut at & if I`ve had long hair all my life. I really wasn`t paying him to much attention with my mind more on the pending haircut and hoping I wouldn’t lose too much. But muttered that I don`t get cuts very often, and never remember ever getting 2 haircuts in less than 3 months apart but most times its much longer like 6 months or more between cuts, I get my haircut at Great Clips, Fantastic Sams, Boricks or some other chain place like that. And even though I’ve seen pictures when I was a toddler with short hair, I always remember my hair touching my ears at least.
This shop looked nothing like any shop I`ve gotten my haircut at before. From the outside, it looked like an old wood stand alone white building a little bigger than a 2-car garage. On the inside against one wall there was a single row of mismatch waiting chairs facing 3 very big matching chairs in front of a mirror running the full length of the wall & 3 sinks. I assume these was the haircutting chairs, but the one in the middle looked like it was broke because its back was leaning back & almost touching one of the sinks. I didn`t see any other sinks or a place to wash hair at. I did not like the look of the place. The only good thing I saw was there was a female working (Pam). She was using scissors on someone who looked much older than my mom and to my relief there wasn`t that much hair littering the floor around him.
After Pam was done with her client, he paid and left, Pam locked the door behind him and placed a closed sign in the window. Jo stands up and turns to me asking me if I’m ready? I think to myself "no but I know I don’t have a choice" I slowly start to hesitantly walk towards the chair, Jo sensing my reluctance places his hand on my shoulder guiding me into the chair. After I sit down he then pulled out a camera and took a few pictures from different angles.
Jo then pulled the barber to the side and started talking to her in a low voice I could not hear, she just started nodding. When the 2 of them returned Jo again starts finger combing my hair getting his hand stuck a few times and pointing out how much of a tangled mess my hair was, how it needed a good washing, and making comments like "I was thinking an inch up here while messing with the top & 2 here while messing with the sides"
I`m thinking to myself "oh s**t 2 inches off the sides, that’s way shorter then I wanted but oh well it still will be pretty long afterwards maybe this haircut won`t be as bad as I thought it would be a few min. ago"
Pam then walks me over to the `broken chair` throws a booster seat on the bottom cushion then tells me to sit down then lean all the way back until my head is resting in the sink, now I understand what this chair was meant for.
Pam washes & conditions my hair and while she does this I enjoy the view of her breasts and the smell of her perfume. In the mean time Jo takes a few more pictures.
After the hair washing is over with I`m guided back to the Barberchair by Jo and Pam excuses herself into the back room. Meanwhile Jo drapes a large plain white cloth cape is over me that completely cover my feet (instead of a plastic cape with writing like the places I normally go to use). He also grabs what looks like a large white paper towel and tucks into my shirt and wraps it around my neck, explaining it will help keep hair from getting hair down my back, I’ve never had paper wrapped around my neck at the other haircut places never had an issue with hair down my back with past haircuts. When he goes to snap the cloth cape in the back some of my hair gets caught under the cape, muttering under his breath Jo tugs the hair away causing me to involuntarily grimace slightly. Jo apologizes and finishes fastening the cape then turns the chair is turned away from the mirror (something also different then what I`m used to)
I hear rattling behind me, but when I try to turn my head to see what the noise is Jo tells me to keep my head straight until otherwise instructed. I then feel someone combing my hair out and surprised to not feel the comb pull too much. When my hair is fully combed out it reaches way below my shoulder blades and my bangs hang down to my chin. I cannot see anymore because my bangs are blocking my view. Jo then stops and snaps more pictures, me thinking he is waiting on Pam to return from the back room I slump in the chair a little & use my hand to brush away the hair blocking my eyes. Jo then walks behind me again, and orders me to sit all the way back with my back striate. But apparently it wasn’t good enough for him because Jo walks to the front of the chair, helps me hop down by lifting me by placing his hands under my arm pits and grabs the booster seat from the middle chair, the cape is too long dragging on the floor and I almost trip over it. Jo then lifted me up into the barber chair again instructing me to sit all the way back.
the cape must of came loose somewhat because Jo unhooks it and snugs it up around my neck, but it feels too tight to me. When I voice my concern, Jo tells me it’s at the right tightness. My bangs are recombed to include the part covering my eyes, I tried to take me hand out from under the cape to brush the hair away from my eyes but Jo instructs me to leave them alone and keep my hands in my lap. The rest of my hair starts to be lifted & I hear scissors crunching through it cutting hair off. I’m surprised that its Jo cutting my hair, I haven’t seen Pam return I wonder if she left. For some reason Jo seems to be very careful not to drop any hair onto my lap. After what seems like forever I start to get restless. It seems to me it should be near the end of the haircut, and I can’t tell too big of a change from my vantage point with my hair (to my relief) Jo pauses walks around me again finger combing my hair checking his work, this time not getting his figures stuck mumbling to himself while snapping more pictures and ends up behind the chair. I take this opportunity to look down to try and gage how much hair was cut off but can’t see anything, and also try to take my hand out from under the cape to feel my head, but Jo gives me a firm reminder to keep my hands on my lap under the cape. I again hear rattling in a drawer & tools being moved around or something. When I try to turn my head to see what Jo is up to, he grabs the top of my head and tells me again in a little more forceful voice to keep my head straight & still until otherwise instructed. (now I’m getting a little worried) after hearing a little more rattling behind me it gets quite. Jo grabs the top of my head pushes my head forward, tells me to put my chin into my chest, look down and don`t move. I then hear a loud click. That startles me & I hear a buzzing sound. This can`t be good, the only time I ever heard that sound before some poor kid was getting shaved bald but I never heard that sound before so close to my head. Knowing my hair is doomed I start to cry & try to get up from the chair, begging Jo not to cut it that short.
Jo rotates the chair around so it faces the mirror & for the 1st time I see what my haircut looks like so far, in my opinion it’s already way shorter than I expected, but doesn’t look that bad. Jo squats down in front of me so we are eye to eye & replies with "your mother and me agreed that since you don`t like taking very good care of your hair, that it would be best if you get a short haircut" I have no reason not to believe him.
he continues "now you have 2 choices you can behave yourself, sit still & not fight it and I can guarantee you will still have some hair to comb or you can put up a fight, continue to complain & end up with a very short buzz cut. It doesn`t matter to me what route we go but you are going to lose this tangled mess on top of your head. And yes, your mother knows you might end up with a total head buzz, in fact she was about ready to go out and buy a pair of clippers from the store and buzz your head herself and wanted me to buzz your head. I convinced her to let you keep some hair. At that time the phone rings and a minute later Pam calls from the back room for Jo to come get the phone. He then turns back to me, hands me some tissues and instruct me to blow my noise, dry my eyes and take a few moments to compose myself while he takes the phone call in the back room. I ask for permission to take the cape off and go to the bathroom. Jo gives his permission but tells me to keep the door open and don’t try to escape.
When I climb down from the chair I’m shocked to see a large pile of my hair much larger then I originally realized was cut and now know why Jo was being so careful about dropping the cut hair into my lap not to shock me.
The thought about trying to make a run for it never crosses my mind, knowing if I’m not here when my mother returns I will be in big trouble and really will end up totally bald. When I get into the bathroom I’m able to get a better look at my haircut so far. I begin to cry harder, my hair is the shortest It has been for the past few years with only about 3 inches all over and I know Jo plans on scalping me. I don’t know if I should be madder at Jo or my Mother for agreeing to this haircut. While in the bathroom I hear low murmurs of Jo and Pam talking, and then hear the back door open and close.
Jo pokes his head into the bathroom and asks if I’m ready to continue? In a low murmur, I reply "yes sir" while internally screaming NO! Jo walks back by the chair and beckons me into it. I try to compose myself while slowly walking back with my head hung low. After I climb back into the chair, the cape along with a fresh piece of paper towel is refastened slightly to tight around my neck. Jo grabs another tissue and dries the remaining tears away from my eyes. I’m again turned away from the mirror. Jo once again grabs the top of my head pushes my head forward, tells me to put my chin into my chest, look down and don`t move. I hear the loud click again; feel cold metal on my neck, slowly being pushed up the back of my head and long pieces of my hair start falling heavily on my shoulders to gather on my lap. I can’t be sure but I think Jo is forcing the hair to fall into my lap this time and really enjoying the process of devastating my hair. This process is repeated several times on the back of my head, and I’m afraid to move my head thinking Jo just might scalp me like he threatened he would do more then he already is, Jo then positions my head so my head is tilted to the left, the clippers are even louder now that they are near my ear and I flinch a little not meaning to. Jo just repositions my head back the way he wants and gently asks me to try not to move, this process with the clippers is repeated on the left side of my head. To my relief the clippers are turned off and I hear the clippers being placed on the counter. I ask meekly if I can see my haircut so far and I’m surprised Jo humors my request by turning the chair to face the mirror. I can see almost no hair on the sides of my head, but still see a lot of hair on top of my head, and Jo allows me to feel my own head for a second. He then orders me to put my hand back under the cape. My head is again sprayed down with water and combed out. I beg Jo to not cut too much more off, but reassures me he knows what he is doing and remember our agreement about not whining or complaining. He quickly lifts sections of my hair on top of my head and lops off another 2 inches with each cut leaving about an inch behind.
My hair is so short now there is no curls and only a slight wave I’m pretty sure I won’t need another haircut for a year! After combing and recombing, making small snips here and there Jo puts the scissors down and pick up the clippers, at this point I start to cry begging Jo not to use the clippers again and lean forward, jo grabs my shoulders and pulls me back. Jo promises me he doesn’t plan on cutting off any more length and just blending the sides into the top, as long as I don’t move my head. I really don’t believe him but know I have no choice but to let Jo finish. True to Jo’s word even though he spends a lot of time running the clippers over the side and back of my head I only see small hairs falling now. When he is finally satisfied he puts the clippers down.
At this point I see Ryan a kid that’s in my class at school pull up on his bike in front of the barbershop and tries the door. Ryan has bright straight red hair and I know he hates haircuts almost as much as I do so I’m wondering why he is here. When Ryan sees the door is locked he starts to get on his bike and move away, but Jo is at the door, calls for him back by name and instructs him to bring his bike into the shop with him.
As Ryan walks into the shop he sees me and his eyes get big on recognizing me, he starts to ask why did I cut my hair so short, but Jo interrupts before I can answer and tells Tim his mother called ahead and he’ll be with him in a few minutes.
Jo returns and loosens up the cape, I ask him if I’m done and can I get out of the chair now. He says no and grabs a smaller set of clippers and put my chin back on chest. He runs these clippers near the bottom and up and down my neck, were I didn’t think I had any hair.
he also uses the clippers around my ears and sideburns. After all this he finally releases me out of the chair. He hands me a broom and tells me to sweep up my hair and place it into a Ziploc Quart sized bag. All my hair barely fits into the bag.
Just then my Mother returns, she is overjoyed at how my haircut turned out and can’s stop thanking Jo.
To my horror my mother asks Jo if he minds cutting my hair again in 7 weeks right before Thanksgiving and he says it would be his pleasure to help again.