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The Barber and the Lawyer - Part Two by Gator

This is a complete work of fiction. You may desire to read Part 1 before reading this part.

Charlie left the shop still rubbing the back of his neck. I locked the door and cleaned up. I got the shop ready for tomorrow. After about 90 minutes, I was finished. I locked up the shop and then walked to the bar for a drink. Corey greeted me as I sat down. He had a big ol’ grin on his face. "Well, are you happy?" "What are you talking about?" He looked at me and laughed. "Your conquest today!" I was confused. "I don’t understand, Corey." "Come on, Pete. You finally got Charlie in your chair and gave him a nice spring time cut." I chuckled. "I wouldn’t say it was a ‘conquest’, just something that needed to be done." I’m surprised you left him with a longer taper cut than you did. I thought you would’ve skinned him down way shorter." Corey hand me a beer. "This one is on the house." I eyed him carefully. "You never do this. What’s wrong with you? You sick?" Corey laughed. "Nah, man. Just thought I’d be nice for a change." "I know this will cost me somehow."

Life in our small town continued on. Charlie, Corey, and I always chatted at the bar a couple of nights a week. I would catch Charlie checking out my flattop on most occasions, but especially on the night after I had freshened up my flat. I normally razor shaved the sides and back and took down my landing strip fairly tight with just stubble left. Of course, Corey being his usual self would always make a comment about my fresh flat when Charlie was sitting next to me. Corey would have that twinkle in his eye as he looked me square in the face. He could often be a s**t. I did notice that Charlie would quickly look away when Corey made his comments about my flat.

It had been about a month since Charlie had been in my chair. I usually liked my customers to be on a 2-week schedule. Except Corey. I made sure he was in my chair once a week getting his high and tight scraped smooth. Today, Corey was in my chair. I was finishing his cut blending out the line between the shave and his top. I noticed Charlie walking by the shop and peeking in. "By the way, Corey, what did you tell Charlie about getting a cut from me?" Corey blushed a little. "What do ya mean?" "Don’t give your barber any crap. I hold the clippers and the razor, remember?" He chuckled. "Well, I did tell him that you had a tendency to go shorter than asked, but then we all know that so that’s what we expect to happen. Besides, I like your surprises when you give me a cut." "You mean like today?" "Huh?" "Well, you asked for a #3 blade on top. And when I grabbed the Osters, they had a #2 blade, so I just kept it on for your top." "I knew it felt shorter. You can be a turd, Pete." I laughed and Dutch-rubbed his head. "Back to Charlie," said Corey. "You really going to give him a flat on his next trip in here?" "Why do you ask?" Corey shrugged his shoulders. "Well, to be honest, that’s the cut he really wants. He always has wanted one since he has gotten out of college and law school." "Thanks for the tip, Corey. I will have to remember that." We chatted a little longer and then Corey left to go to work. Today when Charlie walked by the shop was the first time he had done so since his cut. I needed to set a plan in place.

After the shop closed, I went to The Depot to get something to eat. It was a Thursday evening. Charlie was sitting at the bar nursing a drink. He seemed preoccupied. I grabbed the stool next to him. We spoke to each other. Dave, the bartender, brought me my beer. Charlie turned to me. "Can we grab a booth so we can talk?" It was my turn to be shocked. There were several open booths; we found one towards the back of the bar. "Do you want something to eat?" I asked. "Sure. That sounds good." We didn’t need a menu; we knew what we wanted to eat. We got the waitress over and ordered. "So, what’s up my friend?"

Charlie took a deep sigh. "I need to tell you that your suggestion of giving me a flattop kinda got me." I laughed. "I know it did." "That’s why I haven’t been back for you to clean up my cut," Charlie said. "There’s a story behind me getting a flat." I raised my eyebrows, "Oh?" "Yes. Let me tell you. When I was in junior high and high school, my mother always took me to get my haircut. I was never allowed to get anything super short. My dad never seemed to take an interest in how I wore my hair. My mother always told the lady how to cut my hair. I always prayed I never saw anyone from school while I was in that beauty chair. Every time we went to that shop, we had to pass a real barbershop " almost like yours. It had the barber pole turning outside, and an older barber cutting men’s hair with clippers. They were always short cuts. One day, my grandfather asked me if I wanted to go to town with him. I was happy to get out of the house this Saturday. I didn’t know, but he was going to the local barbershop which I always passed and really wanted to go in. My granddad turned to me and said that he had to get a haircut. I blurted out and asked, ‘Can I get one, too?’ He laughed, ruffled my hair and agreed. I was super excited knowing that I was going to get a real man’s haircut in a real barbershop. My granddad told me nothing overly short because he didn’t want his daughter to freak out. He also said that it was time that I started to go to a real man’s barber and get a nice haircut. My hair wasn’t all that long. It covered about half of my ears and just touched my collar in back. I was in much need of a haircut. Long story short, I got a regular taper cut that exposed all of my ears and was tapered off my collar. My mother was shocked; my dad said it was about time; my granddad said he’d be taking me to the barber from here on out."

"So where does the flattop come in?" I asked. "One day, my granddad and I were in the shop. A state trooper was in the chair going from a regular businessman’s cut to a short military flat." "And?" "I kept watching the trooper cut his cut. It was an intense moment for me. My granddad leaned over and asked me if I wanted on like that. I looked at him and said that my mother would freak out. My mother hated super short hair; it reminded her of kids who had contracted lice and other types of diseases. This time, I was content with just being able to watch the trooper get his flattop. Needless to say, I was hooked."

"So, you aren’t living with your mother now. Why are you worried about getting a flat?"
"I don’t know what I will look like. I’m kinda afraid of what folks will say. Plus, I see my family often on the weekends."
"Well, you will never know what you will look like in a flat until you get one. The rest, I can’t help you with. And you know, most people won’t even notice that you’ve gotten a flattop especially if it kept as a longer flat." Charlie let out a deep sigh. "I just can’t do it right now." "Meaning, you are really worried about what you will look like sporting a flat?" "Yep." "I can tell you from experience, Charlie, that most older guys who get a first-time flat are also worried about the same thing." Our food arrived and we ate. We talked about a lot of other things besides haircuts. Charlie was big into sports " especially tennis and volleyball and golf. At the end of dinner, we decided to meet up tomorrow after work so we could go catch a movie. Charlie had not met a lot of folks in town that he felt comfortable with to hang out with. He was an easy guy to get to know. I felt like I had known him for a long time.

On my drive home, I knew that I would gradually have to ease Charlie into getting a flat. I would have to be careful so as not to spook him.

My next week rolled along with no major events. It was the normal type week for the middle of the month. It was now Thursday; spring was literally just around the corner in a couple of days. I had a college guy in my chair; Corey was waiting for his cut before he had to venture off to work at the bar. The college guy was quiet as I was giving him a nice medium bald fade which was his request. Corey and I chatted. "I’ve decided to finally try to find a job using my college major, Pete." "What? Get a legitimate job? You feeling sick, Corey?" I chuckled as I knew the Corey had applied in the past, but nothing was coming up in his communications field. "You’re an ass at times, Pete." "Only at times? I’m slipping my friend." We both laughed and the college kid chuckled. As I was finishing his cut, Charlie came into the shop. Hmmm. No usual walk-by or peering into the window. He went straight for the door and came in. "Hey, men!" he said. Corey stood up to shake hands with him. "Good to see you, Charlie." The both sat down. I uncaped the college kid, brushed off the hair on the chair, and tapped the chair for Corey. He sat there a few seconds. "What are you waiting for? Divine intervention to strike, Corey?" "Oh. Sorry. I spaced out a little looking at my phone." "Well, get your butt in the chair, bud." All three of us laughed. I was wondering how long Charlie would wait around until he had to "leave".

Corey climbed in the chair. "I was thinking, Pete." "I knew I smelled smoke…" Corey mumbled, "Asshole." Then he said, "Today’s cut is a coin flip. Heads, I get a #1 on top. Tails, I get my usual. And if it lands on the sides of the coin, I get a severe recon." I looked at him square in the face. "You serious? I don’t recall ever getting a ‘sides’ on any coin! That’s impossible." "Yup. It is! But it is a thought you know!" I remembered that I had a two-headed coin on my back bar. "Here, I’ve got the coin for us to use, Corey." "Ok. So, we can get Charlie to do the coin toss " someone who is objective." "Good point. Here you go, Charlie." He got up and walked to the chair. "So, heads, you get a #1 on top; tails you keep the same cut, right?" Charlie asked. I added, "Don’t forget the sides part!" Charlie laughed. Before Charlie tossed the coin, he looked it over carefully. "Hey, Pete. This is a two-headed coin!" Corey reached out from under the cape and grabbed the coin. "What is this, Pete???" I shrugged my shoulders and said, "It’s a way to give you a severe recon!" "Ain’t gonna happen this time old man!" I popped Corey up the side of the head. "Careful young pup!" Charlie reached into his pocket and pulled out a quarter. "Here. This is a legitimate coin." He showed both Corey and I the quarter. "You take all the fun out of stuff, Charlie." "Thanks, man. I owe you a beer on the house today!" said Corey. Charlie tossed the coin in the air. He caught it, then flipped it over onto hia arm. Corey cackled, "Tails! Same cut, Pete." "Well, s**t. Next time, Corey," I said. Charlie went to sit down.

I fired up the Osters. I put a #2 blade on and started to peel Corey’s sides and back off. I gently and slowly made my way to his crown. With each pass I made, I purposely landed the cut hair into his lap. Even after 2 weeks, there was a lot of hair coming off. I palmed his head to put it where I had the best access to get the hair down to the skin. When I had finished the sides and back, I straightened up his head. "Don’t move, son." I put the Osters at Corey’s forehead. I put my right head on the back of his head to hold it in place. I slowly peeled off his top. I made two passes, then took my fingers to rub the stubble left behind. "You really do need a recon." I saw Corey close his eyes. Usually this is the point where he moans softly. I continued peeling off his top. Once I finished, I took my right hand and rubbed the top of his head. I brushed off a lot of lose hair as I felt the stubble. I then change the blade on the Osters to a triple 0 so I could skin his sides and back down before I shaved him smooth.

Charlie was still here. No cell phone calls or any attempt to leave. That was a plus for him. Or was that a plus for me? Anyway, it was an improvement. I did notice that he was watching Corey’s cut intently. I returned my attention to Corey’s head. I had cleared off the stubble on his sides and back. I turned to the sink, soaked a towel in warm water and wrapped it around his head. "Man, that clears out my sinuses," said Corey. I pressed the towel a little tighter to his head so that the warmth would make the stubble softer. I left the towel on, turned to the hot lather machine to get some on my right hand. I took off the towel and began rubbing the lather around Corey’s head. His eyes were closed; Charlie’s eyes were wide open as he watched me get Corey ready for his shave. I’m not sure was breathing the hardest " Corey or Charlie. I chuckled quietly to myself.

I tilted Corey’s head to the left so I could begin the shave on his right side. I always shaved Corey against his growth so I could get him smooth. I palmed his head and placed it where I wanted so I could shave him. He knew to keep his head pliable for me. After the majority of the lather was gone, I got my right hand wet so that I could rub Corey’s head in order to find any missed spots. With his light-colored hair, I had to be make sure that I got him smooth. "I could sit here everyday to let you shave me, Pete." "I know. So, why don’t you come back tomorrow?" Corey laughed. Charlie, I noticed, was speechless. He watched me shaving Corey and then blending out the line between the shaved line and the top of his hair. I finished the blending and dusted him off. I took off the cape so that Corey could get up. As he stood, he rubbed his head. "I believe that you got me even smoother than normal. This should last me a few days." "Don’t worry, Corey. You’ll be back in this chair next week, same day." We both laughed knowing there was a lot of truth behind our conversation. Corey looked at his watch. "Almost time for me to be at work." I looked at the clock. It was 5:30; I had 30 minutes until I closed up the shop. Corey paid, turned to Charlie, and said, "Stop by for your beer when you finish here." Charlie nodded a ‘thanks’ to him.

I brushed off the chair with the cape as Corey went out the front door. Charlie stood up and walked slowly to the chair as if he were doomed. "Loosen up, my favorite barrister! You’re just getting a haircut today!" Charlie sat down; he reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out his cell phone. "Here, I don’t want to get interrupted today." He smiled broadly showing his dimples. "I’ve got a favor to ask, Pete." I threw the cape around him. "Sure. What’s that?" "Do you mind locking up the shop? I’d like you to take your time giving me this cut and not get bothered by anyone else coming in." I was a little surprised. I walked to the door, locked it, and let the blinds down. "You know, we’re breaking local code, Mr. Lawyer." He smiled. "I won’t tell if you don’t." We laughed. "So, how do you want it cut today?" I cinched the cape tight around his neck.

"I was thinking I wanted something shorter than my last cut. But not short like you just gave Corey!" "Ahh, man! You sure about that?" Charlie looked at me and seriously said, "No." I put my hand on his shoulder. "Relax, Charlie. I’m just kidding you. Tell me what you’re thinking."
"I’d like it tighter around my ears?"
"Just use the scissors. Nothing major to be taken off."
"That may work, Charlie. When you say tighter around the ears, you thinking of a 0 blade?"
"How tight is that?"
"Skin with very little stubble. A sandpaper feeling."
"How high would you take it?"
"How high do you want to go? I can take it as high as what I gave Corey before shaving him smooth."
"Way to high, Pete."
I took my forefingers of my right hand placing them in front of his right ear and slowly stroked up. "Hmm. Like about this high?" I asked. I went almost up to his temple. Charlie looked in the mirror. "Too high, I think."
"Let’s just start and see where we go."
"Nothing to extreme to start, please, Pete."
"So, no flattop right now?" Charlie chuckled softly. "Nope."
"How short on the upper sides?"
"A little closer than last time."
"I’m thinking then a #2 perhaps?"
"Ok. We can take it shorter, right, Pete?"
I laughed. "Yep, as close as the razor will shave you!"
"Aww, s**t!" Charlie mumbled.

I started the clippers after I placed the #2 blade on my Osters. I started my clipping behind Charlie’s right ear. I slowly took the clippers up and around his right ear. I made sure to aim the cut hair towards his lap. I loved that move. I then moved to his right side and placed the clippers at the bottom of his sideburns and took them straight up just past his temple area. I kept repeating this around his right side, to his back, and then onto his left side. His hair took a natural taper quite easily. I switched to a #1.5 blade and repeated the cutting of his sides and back. I continued down to a #1 and then got to the 0 for around the ears and his lower nape. I turned off the clippers and rubbed my two forefingers against the stubble around his ears and nape. Charlie moaned softly. "That feels so good," he whispered. I turned him towards the mirror. "How does that look so far, sport?" He opened his eyes and slowly turned his head to see both sides. "Can I see the back please?" "Sure." I picked up my hand mirror to show him the back. He was silent for a while. I again rubbed my forefingers up his sideburns. "I’m thinking a little tighter and higher?" "How much higher?" Charlie asked. As I stroked his sideburn, I said, "Up to here" as I stopped midway to his temple. "You mean the 0 that high?" he asked. "Yep, I am." "I don’t know…" "I do. Trust me." I clicked the Osters back on and placed the 0 on his right side and clipped almost to his temple area. "Aww, man," he said. "I think it’s too short." "Too late, Charlie." I continued this length around his right side and onto his back and eventually to his left side. I grabbed the duster to brush the loose hair off and into his lap. Since he was facing the mirror already, I turned off the Osters and placed them on my back bar. "I will blend this wedge look out for you with scissors over comb, or maybe with the clippers. Not sure. But I will take it down closer to your head." "Can I feel it?" asked Charlie. "Not yet. You’re allowed to watch which is more than my other customers." I smiled. "And, if you move your head after I place it where I need it, think flattop today." "I promise, I won’t move," added Charlie quickly. "You know, you can be an ass, Pete." "Yep, I certainly can be!" I picked up the comb and scissors to blend his sides. More hair came off and landed in Charlie’s lap. By this time, there was a lot of hair landing in his lap. More than his last cut. Charlie pulled out his hand from under the cape and picked up a couple of locks of his light brown hair. "This is a lot of hair coming off my head." "Not really. Just sit back and relax." I placed my hand on his shoulder to move him further back in the chair. I took that moment to rub the stubble around his ears and his nape. "Feels perfect." Charlie closed his eyes. "hmmm." I had him where I knew I he wanted to be.

I finished blending his sides and back. I kept his part on his left side. No hard part for him. After combing his top, I took my comb and lifted his top hair. "Hmm. How short to go?" I said out loud. Charlie just looked at me in the mirror. I kept combing the top and placing my fingers at various lengths to leave on top. I grabbed the scissors. I combed up his forelock between my two fingers and lopped of about 2 inches. This left a good 3 inches behind. Charlie gasped. "Relax, Charlie. This will balance your cut." I continued to lop off 2 inches all over his head. This cut looked good on him. I parted and combed his top. I grabbed some matte hair finished, rubbed it in his hair to make it hold. I recombed it again and gave him a slight quiff in front. "Well, what do you think Charlie?" He looked at his reflection for quite some time. "I like it. It’s shorter than I was thinking, but that’s good. Can I touch it now?" I smiled at him and said, "Go ahead. You’ve been a good boy." He smiled. I rubbed his nape again as I took the lather and spread it around his ears and neck. "I need to clean up this mess," I said. I sharpened the straight razor on the leather strap and gently cleaned the arches and his neck. The stubble looked great with a lot of skin showing. I took a warm towel and placed it around his ears and neck to clean up what lather was left behind. Charlie looked at his reflection while still being caped. "Is this short enough or do I need to take you shorter?" Charlie slowly shook his head. "No, no. It’s short enough. Thank you. It’s shorter than I was thinking." "You know I want to take you higher and tighter." I smiled at him. He looked me in my eyes and said, "Corey warned me about this part." He laughed. "Ok, ok. I give on this one." I took off the cape. He sat there for a few minutes exploring the cut. "I like it, Pete. It’s a great cut." "And no flattop, Charlie!"

He stood up. Turned to me and shook my hand. "Thanks for understanding this part of my journey." "So does that mean that…." "Don’t ask me that, Pete." I was thinking if this is part of a journey for him, a flattop would follow soon. Again, another hand was played, but this time by Charlie himself.

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