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What A Pickle Part III by Deke Cutter

After getting my first flattop from Andy and having my first date with Rose, I looked different and I felt like a different man. I knew that I had fond my soulmate. Because there were Nicky’s feelings to consider, Rose and I knew we would have to move forward slowly, as we got to know each other, and I got to decide whether I could become a flattop guy.

Rose and Nicky were busy on Saturday, so I decided to get together with Derrick and Ronnie, who I mentioned in part two of this tale, and Bill and Greg, two more of my senior staff. We have played in a 5 a side soccer league together for years and often meet to watch the British Premier League matches on Saturday mornings. I also wanted to give these four the chance to bust my chops about my flattop before Monday. I was the last to arrive at Greg’s. I knocked even though the door was open. Greg’s wife Heather called "is that you Vince? The guys are all downstairs in Greg’s man cave. Close the door will ya." The guys were all engrossed in the pregame show and it took a minute before Greg turned around.

"Holy crap Vinnie (a nickname reserved for only my closest friends-never used in the office) you look like a marine!"

"GI Joe, GI Joe, fighting man from head to toe," sang Ronnie and Derrick remembering the old commercial jingle for the action figure.

Bill, the quietest and most thoughtful of the group, looked at me and said, "you gonna tell us what’s up. In all the years I’ve known you, one thing you have not been is impulsive." And, now that you are, you get two extreme haircuts in two weeks and you look good in both of them."

"And I got the girl." I then explained how I ended up asking for my flattop, how I preferred having some hair on my noggin, and how I am going to be keeping the flattop, at least for a while and real friends would take pity on me and get flattops too. This I said as I ruffled Greg’s dark blond main that he held in place with a sweat band or of those plastic hoops like David Beckham used to use. Everybody laughed, knowing that I was just joking, but there was a look on Bill’s face that made me think he was going to say something.

Manchester City was playing Arsenal. I guess my surprise haircut had the guys thinking because as soon as Kevin De Bruyne came on the field, Derrick noted that his brush cut was "way longer" than my flat top and he obviously needed a visit to ‘Barber Andy.’ Ronnie then chimed in when De Bruyne’s team mate David Silva came onto the field with his shining shaved head that Silva’s hair had been as long as mine before he decided to emulate their manager and go for the baldy. He wondered if "that will be Vincent’s next look." We all laughed at my expense, but I did notice how many of the footballers did have tight fades and other short haircuts.

What happened during half time was a complete surprise. Bill said "I have a crazy idea, the five on five season lasts about 4 months. Our first match is Tuesday, why don’t we all wear flattops for the season. That way, Vincent won’t feel so alone at work or "play." And by then, he’ll have time to decide on whether he likes being a ‘blockhead’ (just kidding Vin).’

Bill’s very wavy reddish-brown hair had always been the same medium kind of length as-long-as I’d known him. He was Mr. Steady. This suggestion coming from him really surprised me. At this point, Heather came downstairs with a tray of sandwiches that Greg had made earlier. She took one look t my haircut and literally swooned. "My gawd, Vincent, if you’ve become a cop, arrest me now! If I wasn’t married to that gorgeous man, I’d be throwing myself at your feet. Looking at Greg, she said, "hun, its time for a haircut." With that, she went back upstairs.

"Well, it looks like I’m in." We all must have looked stunned. Greg explained that Heather had been urging him to try short hair for some time. This was as good a time as any. Derrick and Ronnie looked at each and said, "oh what the heck."

"Hello Andy, yeah, are you busy this afternoon? Four flattops, just like mine. One long, one medium and wavy, two short. Yeah, makes sense. OK, see you then."

After the match, we all went to the shop where Andy worked, knowing how long first flattops take and how much he trusted the three young barbers, he had asked them to stay after closing. He would take on Greg and the other three would clip the shorter haired guys, with him there to help. When it came down to it, I really thought Greg was going to change his mind. He was tearing up. Andy was great, but said, to him, look at your friends, its not worth tears, and before he cold reply, the Osters were zipping up the side of his head. I could tell when Andy started on the top that Greg was going to end up with a thick pile flattie, unlike my military one, but one that would soothe his ego and he would look great. Derrick and Ronnie, their hair already short, returned to the chairs of their original barbers who were happy to use me as their model and I couldn’t help but laugh at the looks on their faces as the landing strips were carved directly onto their scalps.

Bill surprised me again. Getting confidently into the chair, he said, "I will probably never do this again, so I am going to do it right for the next several months. Make mine a high and tight Marine style flattop. Do you know what I mean? The barber indicated that he did and went to work stripping away every hint of those well controlled thick waves from the sides and back of Bill’s head. The top was cut so that there was barely a half inch at the front tapering back to almost nothing surrounding a wide long landing strip. Bill looked like a gunnery sergeant when he got out of the chair. I insisted on paying for all four haircuts and the guys all pledged to Andy to return every two weeks for the whole season. We went out to celebrate our flattops and got some strange looks, but I have to say, we all really bonded together that night.

On Monday, the office was abuzz (pun intended) about the five flattops. Monday, also, happened to be the monthly office birthday party, so nearly everybody would be in to get piece of cake, a don’t, or a bagel…whatever was on offer. At 10:00, we gathered everybody for the birthday celebration and I said that there was obviously a hairy situation to be discussed, but first I wanted to honor the birthday celebrants. After the singing was done and everybody had their coffee or tea and something to eat, I called up my four team mates. I explained that, maybe it was an early middle-aged crisis (everybody laughed) but I had asked my new barber to give me a flat top. Then my four 5 on 5 soccer team mates had decided to take the plunge with me and make it our team haircut for the season. Unfortunately, if you want to be a sub for us, you’ll have cut your hair too. Then I reiterated that there was no new office hair style code. Ronnie piped up with the name of the shop and what great barbers they were.

Within a month, several of the guys in the office came in with flattops. We came in second in the 5 on 5 championships. People said they couldn’t get over our teamwork and team spirit. Josie, Andy, Rose, and Nickie were often at our games. Nickie loved being our flattop mascot. As for me and Rose, when the time was right, I found out just how erotic her playing with my freshly flattened head could be. Luckily, Nicky was with his Nonno for the whole weekend because my flattop wasn’t the only thing standing at attention most of that weekend.

All of us but Greg eventually let our flattops grow out. But now that Rose and I are married and Nicky has a sister and brother, sometimes she’ll get that twinkle in her eye and tell me that we’re taking the kids to spend the weekend with Pop and Nonna Josie (yep, they tied the knot too) and that its time for me to get in Pop’s chair and get flattened up. I never argue. The end.

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