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I'll Give You a Haircut , Come On! by Nathan
I was at a backyard party at my good friend Carlos's house. Carlos had always had money trouble of one kind of another and was now living in a cheap rooming house. It was an old Victorian house that had been divided up badly into rooms for rent. Bathrooms were down the hall and the whole place was beat up! All the residents shared one old kitchen on the first floor. There was a good size backyard people congregated in especially one weekends. Many of the people living here had just gotten out of jail or were down on their luck.
One particular Sunday evening I was visiting Carlos and there was one of these get togethers in the backyard. Several benches were filled with shady characters drinking beer and smoking cigerettes. Most of these guys were around 30, some older, a few younger. There must have been twenty people. Some lived in the rooming house, others were friends or neighbors like myself. In the crowd were three women. They looked hard and beat up.
I sat talking to Carlos and a few other guys. We enjoyed the last bit of the weekend and dreaded the arrival of Monday morning and going back to work. At the time I was 28 and Carlos as well. I had finished off three beers and sort of realized one more should have been my limit. I was walking home, yet didn't want to be hung over the next morning.
"Nathan, here's another beer," Carlos said.
It was really cold and tasted good. I had a bad habit of smoking one cig after another when I drank. As I sat there drinking, smoking, and chatting I saw someone walk out of the house I'd never seen. The guy was basically bald and was extremely good looking. As he approached Carlos I noticed he had a jail tear drop tattooed under one eye. This strange guy sat next to us and snapped the cap off his beer and started drinking.
"This is Vincent, he just moved into the house," Carlos said.
I shook his hand and said hello. Vincent had this face that girls had to love. He looked good and eluded a confidence as he spoke. I tried not to stare at the tear drop tattoo under his eye. I noticed he had several other tattoos on his arms. We talked awhile and I finished off my beer.
"How about another beer, I'm getting one for me?" asked Vincent.
"Oh no, I gotta go soon," I said.
"Come on just one more bro!" said Vincent.
"Well ok just one more I guess," I told him.
He came back with three beers, one for me, Carlos, and himself. Suddenly he seems to become focused on my hair.
"Bro, you need a haircut," Vincent said.
I had been growing my hair longer for around six months. It had gotten long over the ears. I thought it looked good. Vincent seemed to think otherwise.
"Let me give you a haircut," he says.
"Oh thanks man, but no," I said.
"You need to shave that mop bro," he says.
"Come on I'll do it for you up stairs now, I got clippers and all up in my room," Vincent tells me.
I had never shaved my head in my life and certainly had not planned on it this Sunday evening. The idea gave me the jitters. I thought Vincent would just let it go, but he kept on.
"Carlos, don't you think your friend needs a haircut?" asked Vincent.
"Well it's getting really long Nathan you should let him cut it," Carlos replied.
"See, it's true, you need a haircut bro," Vincent snapped.
I stared at his bald head and figured he'd shaved it recently with his clippers. It was likely a zero guard, I did notice a bit of peach fuzz stuble. I tried to drink my fifth beer fast and planned to get up and say I've gotta get going.
"Let's go upstairs now, bring your beer with you Nathan," Vincent said.
"Oh, I have to go man!" I said.
"Come on, who can pass up a free haircut," Carlos said.
"Let's go bro, come on," Vincent said.
"Maybe another time," I say.
"Now, let me cut your hair tonight!" said Vincent.
I'm really feeling awkward and want to just leave.
"I'm getting us some more beers and then we're going to my room for your haircut," Vincent said.
"Carlos I have to get going," I say.
Vincent headed to the cooler for the beers and I see my chance to split. I start to walk toward the back gate and then to my surprise he comes running over and blocks me from leaving. I notice he's bigger and stronger than I am.
"I gotta go," I said.
"One more beer and a haircut, then you go," Vincent said.
He gives me a look like, let's go, follow me. Somehow I wanted to run out the gate, but I realized he would follow me. Why did he want to cut my hair so bad. He was a bit of a bully I could tell. I was now feeling the effect of what now was the start of my 6th beer.I foolishly walked back toward the house. Vincent walked close behind me.
"Carlos, you coming upstairs?" asked Vincent.
"No, you guys go, I'm stayin down here," he said.
I felt even more annoyed now. The last thing I wanted was to go upstairs alone with this guy. I really felt trapped and really didn't want my head shaved. It might have been that I was a little drunk that I went along with the whole thing. We walked into the back of the old house and through the kitchen. My heart started to beat faster as I realized I was going through with this whole thing. I walked up the old wooden staircase as Vincent followed behind me.
"My room is the one on the end of the hall," he said.
This guy was forceful and I'd been had. I stood at the door as he unlocked it. He opened the door and motioned me to go into his room. It was getting dark out and the room was fairly dark. He ficked on the light switch and one dim overhead bulb lit the small room. I could see clothes all around and one suitcase. It didn't look like he had many other possessions. I imagined he'd just moved in. I realized what I had come up here for and reality set in. Here have a seat bro. Vincent pulled out one old rusty folding chair and motioned me to sit in it. I said very little at this point. I was mad at myself for falling into this entire head shaving thing.
"Take off your shirt, that way you won't get hair on it," he said.
I complied and did. He got a pair of clippers out off the dresser and tried to plug them into the old wall outlet. They didn't reach! Get up bro, move over here. I stood up as he moved the metal folding chair closer to the outlet. This made it so the chair was very close to the wall. I heard the horrible clack as the clippers clicked on. I sat helpless and knew it was really going to happen. My nice long hair I'd grown out for months was soon all coming off. I looked down toward the old hardwood floor and sat still.
"We're gonna get you looking all cool," Vincent said.
He lifted up my long bangs and made that first dreaded cut into my scalp with those loud clippers. I saw the first chunk of hair fall into my lap. I still had a beer in my hand and took a couple gulps of it. More cutting and so much hair was now around me on the wooden floor. Vincent said nothing now as he continued to shave away at my hair. I think he was getting some kind of a thrill out of this. I wondered why he hadn't talked Carlos into this earlier. Maybe his hair was not nearly as long as mine. I realized he'd likely shaved other people's heads and his own for sure before. There wasn't much that could go wrong, it was all coming off anyway.
"Your gonna like this once you get used to it. Then come back again in a few weeks and I'll shave it again," he said.
He was clippering off the hair around my ear now. I could feel the sharp blades cut up my temple and around the ear. He reached with his other hand and folded my ear down as he cut around it. I sat trapped and wanted this over. I realized I'd be walking home down the street bald. What would people think? What would they say? I hoped it would look ok. I didn't think I'd look as good as Vincent did bald. Soon I thought it was all over and started to stand up.
"Wait man, it's not done yet!" he snapped.
He felt my head with his hand and then flicked on the clippers once again. This time he pushed them down hard as he clippered across my now hairless head. I could feel the pain of the blades as they pushed down tight. I realized he was making sure I was good and bald. This went on for about three minutes. Off went the clippers and he unplugged them.
"Done dude, see you later you can go," he said.
That was it? Just like that, see you I thought. I grabbed my shirt and quickly put it back on. I just wanted to get outta there and ran down the stairs and set my beer next to the front door. I headed out the front instead of walking back through Carlos and the crowd in the back yard. The evening chill hit my ears and now bald head as I walked down the side walk. I tried to make sense of what just all had happened to me. I rubbed my shaved head over and over as I walked home. It felt pickly and strange to me. Very soft, but weird. I was bald headed! Why, had I done this, why?