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The Barber and the Lawyer - Part 1 by Gator

The Barber and the Lawyer
by Gator
This is a complete work of fiction. This story will be 3 installments " it got longer than originally planned.

I own a barbershop in a medium size type college town. I have my usual clients that come either every week or every other week for their cuts. Some of the clients are older and some younger. I have quite a few college guys who frequent the shop. My prices are the usual prices around town - $12.00 per cut. If you are a college guy and show me your college ID, your cut is only $10.00; if you are a regular weekly college guy, the cut is $8.00. My weekly clients are charged $10.00 per cut. My shop is somewhat busy; I know most of my clients by name. I also have several guys who stop by just to chat. My shop is very traditional; the old Koken barber chair, the old wooden waiting chairs, and I have the traditional black-pinstriped cotton capes. Yes, I wear a white barber tunic every day.

The shop’s name is "Peter and Son Barber Shop". I am the "son" in the name. My grandfather started the shop and my dad was the second generation, and now I am the third-generation barber.

It was your typical Thursday afternoon in the shop. Thursdays are pretty slow for me. I generally have a guy in my chair and one waiting. When I finish the guy in the chair, another walks in. Slow is misleading; steady is a better word with no one having to wait a long time. Today, I had a first-time college guy, Jeff, in the chair. He was getting a low fade from me. He had dark hair and losing a lot of hair. He told me that it had been three months since his last cut. I could tell. With his fade, I was going to razor shave about halfway up his sides and back. While Jeff called this a medium fade, I referred to it as medium reg. I also was going to clip down his beard. Since Jeff was a first-time customer, I wouldn’t lean him back in the chair to shave off his beard even though I wanted to do so.

I had Corey waiting. Corey was a regular customer and had been since he started college. He had now graduated and so had his haircut. Corey had started out with a medium fade also. I didn’t razor shave him this time, but he had said that he was thinking of going shorter but wanted to try me out as a barber. I made sure to give him the cut that I wanted. I knew he’d eventually see things my way " a nice high and tight crew. Finally, I conned him into a razor-shaved high and tight after graduation. He hesitated. I didn’t. The clippers started and off came the hair. He asked for a #3 on top; I gave him a #2. He was initially shocked, but he was right back in the chair the following week getting cleaned up.

The three of us were talking in our usual barbershop banter. I was about half-way through Jeff’s cut and in walked a newbie. He was dressed pretty casually with chinos, a plaid shirt, loafers, and light brown hair which definitely needed to be cut. Definitely, he was out of college. We all spoke and he sat down. He intently watched as I was cutting Jeff’s hair. Corey was trying convince Jeff to get a shorter cut, but Jeff was adamant not this time. The newbie just sat there quietly taking it all in.

Finally, Jeff was finished. I wiped off his cut hair and dumped the hair from his lap in the cape onto the floor. I used the boar’s hair brush to clean him up. Jeff paid and said he’d be back in a couple of weeks. I told him that Thursdays were great days to come as I could spend more time giving him the cut he wanted. Corey chimed in, "Yep. In other words, he’ll give you a razor shaved high and tight like mine!" Jeff smiled and replied, "We shall see." Really? Well that didn’t rule out the possibility of a high and tight for him.

Corey looked over at the newbie and asked he wanted to jump ahead of him. The guy said no that he wasn’t in a hurry. Corey walked to the chair, climbed in, and was soon caped up. "So, will it be the usual, Corey?" "Yep. Just a trim." "Ok, a razor shaved high and tight with a number 3 on top." Corey laughed. "You don’t change ever, Pete." I laughed. "I could change and give you a flattop!" "Uh, that’s a big fat NO Pete!" Well, that doesn’t surprise me at all. But someone needs to keep you on your toes!" I was watching the newbie and when I said a razor shaved sides, he kind of last a little bit of color in his face. Although, when I mentioned a flattop, he eyes did look up with a twinkle.

I moved the chair around so that Corey was facing the newbie. I fired up the Oster clippers with my 5-aught blade and started on Corey’s cut. One day, I would give Corey a flattop. Flattops were listed as one of my specialties on the shop’s window.

Our banter continued. We pulled in the newbie into part of the conversation. His cell phone rang when I had finished Corey’s sides. The newbie pulled out his phone, got up, and left the building. He said that he’d be back. Hmmm. I wonder what that was about. I finished Corey’s haircut. I purposely gave him a #2 on top just to be aggravating. I would let the top grow back in longer over the next couple of weeks. I dusted off Corey, pulled off the cape, and he got up. He looked at his cut and said, "This is a #2 blade isn’t it?" I smiled and said, "Hmm. Let me check." "You’re an ass, Pete," he said with a smile on his face. "So, I need to push the limits on your cut, Corey. You look good with a 2 on top." "I know, I know. You tell me that all the time. So if I ask for a #4, will you give a #3 next time?" I smiled and said, "I may. But then again, I may go shorter and give you a #1 on top." I only charged Corey $8 for this cut even though I knew he’d be back next week and that he wasn’t mad. Corey was a good sport about his cuts. I knew he liked the shorter cuts and he never complained.

The rest of the day went slowly. The newbie never did return. It was 6:00 PM and closing time. I cleaned up the shop, locked the door, went back to change out of my tunic. Street clothes felt good today. I headed to the local bar. Corey was the bartender on duty tonight. I needed to give the place some of my money.

I walked in to the Depot (it had been an old railroad station). For a Thursday, it was pretty full. There was one stool left at the bar. I headed over. Much to my surprise, sitting next to the empty stool was the newbie! Well, I guess now is the time to formally introduce myself. "Anyone sitting here?" I inquired. He looked up from his cell phone, "No. Go ahead and have a seat." "Thanks, sport." Corey walked over; "Look who’s here " my almost favorite barber!" He laughed. "Hey, nice haircut you’ve got, Corey. Your barber is good!" Corey shook his head and said, "Most of the time. There are times, like today, he gets carried away with the clippers!" We both laughed. The newbie was paying attention to his phone, but I knew he heard us talking. I played dumb as I turned to him. "Hey, sport, I’m Pete from Pete and Sons Barber. Nice to meet you." I stuck out my hand. He shook it and said, "I’m Charles. Well, that’s my formal name. Call me Charlie. Nice to officially meet you." "Oh? Have we met before?" I can play real dumb at times. I guess it’s the blond hair and all! "Yep, we have. I stopped in at your shop today. I got a call and had to leave." "Ahhh. That’s right! I was wondering what happened. You said you’d be back." "The call and work took longer than I thought." "Well, Charlie, you need to come back so I can give you a cut. Thursdays are my slow days usually." Charlie kept looking at my flattop. I could tell he was intrigued by it. Perhaps, I thought, I could con him into a flat. Nothing like seeing that light brown fall into a guy’s lap. I like seeing stubble on the sides. I guess to most people with my military flat, that was obvious. I didn’t mention giving Charlie a flattop or even going military short.

"How busy are Fridays for you?" asked Charlie. "It depends on which Friday. Tomorrow could be slow as it is nearing the end of the month." "I will have to check my calendar." At this time, Corey walked over to deliver my beer to me. "Be careful of this guy and his clippers, man." "Oh?" asked Charlie. "Yep, give him an inch and you will get skinned in a heart beat. See that flat on his head? He’s been after me for years to give me a flat. I refuse." "Well, you do have a pretty severe cut," replied Charlie. I just sat there and smiled. "So, Charlie, what do you do?" "I’m a new lawyer here in town. Just moved here and set up practice about a month ago. I thought it was time to get a trim so I would look presentable." "Well, if you need a trim, then I’m your barber," I said. Corey smiled. "Be careful, Charlie! He will try to talk you into getting a flattop like his!" "And that would be bad, how?" I asked sarcastically. From the corner of my eye, I caught Charlie looking at my flat. Just maybe perhaps?

Our conversation that night wandered all over the place, mostly talking about the baseball game on the television. I was worn out; I needed to get home to bed. "Corey, let me pay my bill so I can get home. After I paid, I looked at Charlie and said, "See you tomorrow at the shop my friend. Time for you to get a haircut!" He smiled, "Yep." We shook hands and I left.

Friday mornings were generally slow. I was hoping that Charlie would show up then. I spent the time getting the shop cleaned up. Corey popped in around on his way to work. The bar was just around the corner. "You did a number on that lawyer guy, Pete." "Why do you say that, Corey?" "He was asking how good of a barber you were, what type of cuts did you give. All sorts of stuff." "Perhaps a flattop is in his future?" Corey laughed and headed out the door to go to work.

Around 3 PM, Charlie came into the shop. I had a customer in the chair and two waiting. "Hey, Charlie! Good to see you, sport." He nodded and sat down. I was putting the finishing touches of a flat on the customer in the chair. It was a standard flat, nothing too severe. He got up and paid. The next customer climbed into the chair. "What’s it going to be today?" I asked. "Just a regular businessman cut, Pete." "The boring usual Greg?" "Ha! You’re the best at trying to get me to go shorter!" I put the cape on and started the Osters. As I was cutting Greg’s hair, I watched Charlie out of the corner of my eye. He was interested. I was getting close to finishing Greg’s cut when Charlie’s cell phone rang once again. He pulled the phone out of his shirt pocket, got up, and walked out. Hmmm. This is getting to be a pattern. He didn’t say if he’d be back this time or not. Curiosity now had the best of me.

Over the next couple of weeks, Charlie would stop by and as he was getting closer to sitting in my chair, his phone would ring and he’d be gone. This was getting to be a pattern. It was a Wednesday evening. Charlie had not been in since last Friday. I went to the bar to grab a drink and a bite to eat. Corey was my partner in crime as he made sure that there was an empty stool next to Charlie. How’d I know Charlie was there? Corey had called. During Corey’s last cut, I asked him what he knew about the newbie lawyer. Nothing much as the guy was new in town and didn’t seem to hang out with anyone in particular. He was usually in a couple of times a week and always on Friday after work. All Corey could tell me was that he liked to drink craft beer " mostly the sours and the Fat Tire beer. He wasn’t much help there.

I went to sit in the empty bar stool. "Hey Charlie! How are you doing?" He looked a little surprised to see me at the bar. "I’m doing pretty good." "Getting settled in to your office and home?" "Yep." Charlie needed some more prompting. "One day when you come in, I’m going to confiscate your cell phone so you can’t take any calls and finally get you a nice haircut!" He chuckled; I was serious. "I have been getting a lot of business lately, Pete. It’s a good thing for me." "I understand how being a business owner brings it own set of challenges." He smiled. We talked about where he was from and what type of law he practiced. He told me a lot about law school, taking the bar exam, and getting stressed out from all of that. Of course, my reply was that sitting in the barber chair feeling the clippers was a great way to relieve stress. He agreed it would be.

Over the next few weeks, I would see Charlie walk by the shop with that quick peek through the window. He always kept on walking. It seemed we always would meet at the local bar. I had a slow day at the shop and decided to close about 30 minutes early. I wanted dinner before driving home, so I walked over to the bar. Corey wasn’t working that night, but the other bartender, Dave, was. "Hey, Pete. What’s up?" "Not much, Dave. I’m hungry and want something to eat. Oh, a beer to start would be great." Dave smiled and got a beer for me. I was getting into the craft beers. As usual, there were empty seats at the bar. I was drinking my beer concentrating on watching the ball game on television. I felt a clap on my shoulder, turned to see Charlie as he sat next to me. "Hey, Pete. You closed early." "I did today. It was slow and I wanted food." Charlie smiled. "I thought today would be my haircut day." I about chocked on the swallow of beer. "You’re pulling my leg, right?" I sputtered. Charlie smiled and said, "Nope." "Well, s**t," I said. "I can go back and open up the shop for you right now." I saw Charlie’s eyes twinkle. "Nah. I want food now, sport." I looked at Charlie. "You’re a s**thead, you know?" Charlie laughed heartily. "I know. I’ve been accused of that before." All I could think of was how I had screwed that opportunity.

Two weeks later, another slow day. It was getting to be the end of the month. Payday was about a week off. This was pretty normal for our town. Since it was a nice comfortable day, I decided to sit on the bench in front of my shop. I grabbed some coffee to watch the folks in town. I love to people watch. They do some strange things. As I sat there, I saw Charlie walking towards the shop. He paused for a couple of seconds, and then kept on coming towards me. He looked a little frazzled. "Tough day in court Counselor?" Charlie raked his hand through his tousled hair. "It was. There are some days, you know." "Certainly do, my friend." I stood up, put my arm around his shoulder and began to direct him into the shop. "Come on in, my friend. It is cooler inside and I have the best stress reliever for you." Charlie looked quizzically at me. I opened the shop door and gently pushed him in. "See? An empty barber’s chair waiting just for you!"

Charlie hesitated. "I’m not sure if I….."
I cut him off quickly. "Yes, you do. Have a seat." I gently pushed him toward the empty barber chair. He sat down without saying anything. I grabbed my favorite black pin-striped cape and billowed it out as I wrapped it around Charlies neck. It wasn’t tight; I got the Saneck strip and placed it around Charlie’s neck. I then cinched the cape shut and gently stroked his neck. I thought I heard a sigh, but it was so quiet. I turned Charlie to face the mirror as I began to comb out his hair. A part on the left with the hair now covering almost all of his ears.
"So, a regular trim, Charlie?"
"How short is that?" he asked.
I took my two first fingers on my right hand and traced around his ear. "I will uncover the ears completely with a taper in the back. A slight bit of stubble down here around your nape, and I will give you a 0 around the ears," I said as I gently stroked his fuzzy neck.
Charlie closed his eyes and said, "Yes, sir. That will be good."

I tapped my hand on Charlie’s shoulder and put my hand in front of his face. Charlie opened his eyes and looked at me in the mirror. "What’s that?"
"Hand over your cell phone. I don’t allow customers to talk on their cell during a haircut." I held out my hand a little further. Charlie sighed and reluctantly handed over his cell which I placed on the back bar. He smiled at me. "I guess I can’t leave now, can I?" I chuckled and patted his shoulder. "You’re mine for the next 30 minutes, sport."
I recombed Charlie’s hair. I picked up the Oster clippers and put on the number 1 blade. I turned the chair away from the mirror so Charlie was facing the front window. He could now see the street view.
I started at his right ear. I took my comb and lifted the hair covering his ear. A quick bzzzzt as that hair landed in Charlie’s lap. He let out a little gasp. I smiled to myself. I then took the clippers to the side behind the right ear. Again using my comb, I zipped off that hair as well. I turned the chair 180 degrees quickly moving Charlie past the mirror. I repeated the same cut over Charlie’s left ear. "I think this going to be too short, " he said. "Just close your mouth and enjoy the experience, Charlie. It’s your time to relax." I moved the chair around so that his back was now to the mirror. I placed my hand on top of his head and shoved his chin down to his chest. "I think you can take it lower, Charles. Touch your chin on your chest." He sighed, but did as he was told. I then placed the clippers in the middle of his nape. I slowly moved the clippers up toward the occipital bone. The clippers changed to a deeper tone as they started to take off more hair. I went a quarter of the way up before pulling out to create the taper on Charlie’s neck. I repeated the process with two swipes to the right of my first and then moved to the left for two swipes. I made sure his auburn hair was landing in his lap. He was breathing a little hard right now but did not say anything.

I lifted Charlie’s head so that it was level. "Can I have a look?" he asked.
"Uhhh. Negative, Charlie. You will need to wait." I took the neck duster and brushed off the cut hair into his lap. I could tell he wanted to say something, but he declined. I once again parted his hair on the left side. I grabbed my comb to begin taking his sides down into a gentleman’s taper cut. His auburn hair was taking this cut well. I slowly worked on the blending and at the same time, I was turning the chair around. Charlie tried to get a glance of the cut in the mirror. I turned the chair quickly so he couldn’t see.

I had finally completed the blending of Charlie’s sides and back. All that was left now was to cut the top. I combed his bangs forward. The hair covered his eyes. I decided that angled bangs would look the best and his hair would no longer cover his eyes. By this time, I noticed that Charlie was now relaxing. His breathing had slowed down as he enjoyed the clippers over comb. I raised the scissors to his bangs. I started above his right eye about mid-way up his forehead. I made the first cut; it was a nice severe angle which uncovered his right eye. Once again, Charlie let out a loud gasp. "Relax. We’re almost done." I continued cutting his bangs. Eventually his left eye was no longer hidden behind his auburn hair. Since I am not big on using the thinning shears, I grabbed the Oster clippers still with the #1 blade. I attacked his top reducing his top down to 2 inches in length. Charlie had once again started breathing naturally.

I recombed his hair. I then turned to the lather machine getting some in my right hand. I turned and placed the warm lather around Charlie’s ears and spread some on the nape of his neck. There was a small moan. I picked up the straight razor, stroped it on the leather strap, and then tilted Charlie’s head to the left. I gently shaved around his ears and behind. I moved to his left side and repeated the process. I finally moved to the back to clean up his nape.

I toweled off the rest of the lather and then recombed Charlie’s hair. I grabbed some matte finish and gently rubbed a small amount through his hair. Once again, Charlie’s eyes were closed as he was enjoying this part of the cut. After a few minutes of the massage, I combed his hair with the left part, his bangs no longer covering his forehead and with a slight quaff in front.

I unhooked the cape and brushed off the little hair which stuck to his neck. I slowly turned the chair so he could see his cut in the mirror. He smiled showing his dimples. "I thought it would be much shorter than this." "You want it shorter? I can do it." Charlie quickly shook his head. "No, no. This is excellent. Corey had told me that you always cut it shorter than requested. That’s why I made that comment." "Ahhh. Corey always wants it shorter than he says, so that’s what he gets." Charlie was still smiling. He gently took his hand to feel his cut. "I like it a lot. Thanks, Pete." "Not a problem my friend." If truth be told, I had wanted to take Charlie down way shorter than what I had, but it had taken me so long to get him into my chair. He and that damned cell phone.

I turned the chair back away from the mirror so that Charlie could stand. He reached into his back pocket to pay. As I was giving him back his change, I looked him square in his eyes and said, "Next cut will be your long-awaited flattop. No excuses and no backing out." Charlie looked a little surprised. "Flattop? Why that cut?" "Don’t think I haven’t noticed you eyeing my flat all this time. Besides, Corey also said you had asked about my flat. He told you that I gave the best ones in town. So next cut is a flattop." "But, I don’t…." "Nonsense, Charlie. It’s getting closer to summer and the cut I gave you is great for the spring. You know it gets really hot here in the summer so you will need a no nonsense cut." The cards had been laid out on the table; now just to see if Charlie will play along.

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