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The Barber and the Colonel by Gator


The Barber and the Colonel
By Gator

It was a Saturday afternoon. Close to closing up for the weekend. Sitting in the barber chair was the Colonel for the ROTC program at the university. He was one of my regulars every two weeks. He loved his high and tight cuts. His top was a 2 blade. I have to say that for an Army Colonel, he was a guy who enjoyed life and being around folks. He had been in this command for about 2 years. He had retired from active duty and was now enjoying his time in our southern town. As usual, when he first started coming to my shop, he sported a low fade. After two cuts, he sat in my chair and said, "The usual, Pete." "Yes, sir!" I fired up my Osters and give him his first high and tight from me. His reply? "That seemed a little on the high side, Pete." "Didn’t you tell me, ‘My usual’? My usual is a high and tight, a #2 blade on top and razor shaved sides, Colonel." He laughed. "I meant, MY usual, not yours." I tried to feign that I was sorry for the misunderstanding. He looked at me and said, "I like your style. Aggressive and not afraid to use your clippers." Needless to say, two years later, the Colonel sits in my chair and I cut. No questions asked.

Today, I was brushing him off and removing the cape. "Well, Sir, you’re good to go for another 1,000 miles!" He chuckled. "Speaking of several miles, I’ve got a favor to ask of you, Pete." We had walked over the register. I always charged him $8.00 for his cut. "Ask away, Colonel." "On Monday. My ROTC camp is beginning for the new students. What I need is to find a barber who knows how to give quick induction cuts to about 20 male students. Can you do this for me?" "Well, Monday is my day off, Sir. However, for you, I will open the shop so we can get your new cadets in and out." "How long will it take you to do 20 head?" "It depends on how long their hair is and if I can get some help." "What type of help do you need?" "Well, Sir, I was thinking that perhaps one of your senior cadets would like to help with these cuts. I have a friend of mine who cuts a mean induction cut." "Is your friend good?" I laughed thinking about Corey and him giving me a couple of induction cuts over the past few summers. "Yes, Sir, he is good. I have trusted him to give me an induction cut or two." "You’ve only got 2 chairs, right?" "No, Sir. I have a third chair in the back room. I can move that out and have one of your cadets help. I will also need another cadet to keep them in line." "Ha! Don’t worry about that, Pete! I will be here for that!" I laughed as I knew he would be.

I closed up shop for the day. I called Corey. "Hey, can you get the morning off from work?" "Why?" "I have a job for you. I need to use your skills." He sounded skeptical. "Skills doing what?" "I’ve got 20 head of new ROTC cadets coming in on Monday. The Colonel wants them in and out quickly. I know that you can handle the clippers well especially giving induction cuts!" He laughed. "I’m thinking, Pete, that those induction cuts would make a great video segment for the ROTC program. We’re supposed to be developing something for the Colonel. I’ve got a guy in the department who can do the filming. Mind if I bring him along?" "Not at all, Corey. Do I know him?" "No, he is a long hair. But I bet you could con him into sitting in the chair afterwards for a cut." "Did you say ‘bet’?" There was a slight pause. "Hell no. Last time I bet you it cost me big time! I’m still paying for that with Andy and his newly found razor shaved high and tight, thanks to you!" "Who are you kidding? You love your recon!" There was laughter from both of us.

I had converted Andy to become a barbershop man. He had decided to keep his razor shaved high and tight for the summer. He was also in charge of Corey’s weekly recon cut. I have to admit it was comical seeing the huge change in Andy. Andy’s next project was working on his boss, Charlie. I was working on a plan to snag Charlie and give him a razor shaved high and tight flat. I just hadn’t figured out how to do it. Yet.

I cleaned up the shop so I could be ready on Monday. This was going to be epic. In the past, the Colonel had just told the new cadets to show up for fresh cuts and I would do the induction cuts. It usually took me a couple of days by myself. I had finished cleaning and Charlie walked in. "Hey sport!" I turned. "Oh hey, Charlie! Just who I needed! Come to the back with me." He followed. I pointed to the third barber chair and said, "I need your help moving this to the front of the shop for Monday." "What’s going on?" I filled him in on all the details. Charlie helped me with the chair. It was easily a two-person job, but we could have used a third.

"What are your plans for the rest of the day?" asked Charlie. "I was going to the house to take a good hot shower and go jump in the pool. Want to join me?" "Sure. I always enjoy the pool." I laughed. We had arrived at my house, changed into our swimming shorts and jumped in the pool. We were stretched out on the chaise lounges by the pool drinking some beer. Charlie turned to me. "I have a question to ask." I gave him a strange look. "I want to grow out my flat for the fall and winter then go back to the flat for the spring and summer. What do you think?" I smiled; I knew this was coming as sometime from him. "That would be fine as long as I say when we start moving you away from the flat. And I want to be in charge of your cuts still." Charlie laughed. "That’s a given, Pete!" I smiled. "So, on Monday after I finish with all the ROTC cuts for the Colonel, you’ll climb in my chair, Charlie?" "Under one condition my friend." "Are you playing lawyer with me?" I asked. "Sure am." "What’s the condition?" "After you give me my cut, I give you one as well." "Deal with MY condition." Charlie grimaced. "What’s that?" "We both get razor shaved high and tight flats." "Say what?" Charlie sat straight up in the chair. "Look counselor, you have put off Andy long enough. I have been patient. And if you’re going longer, then you have to start skinned on the side." Charlie looked at me. "Deal. Damn, you drive a hard bargain." All I could do was smile.

Monday rolled around. Corey and Andy met me at the shop. "I brought some help, Pete." We both looked at Andy. "It wasn’t my idea," Andy replied. "That’s okay, Andy. I will treat you right." I unlocked the door and the three of us entered. I had a tunic for Corey and one for Andy. The clippers had all been set up and ready for the cadets to come. "We’ve got about an hour before the Colonel brings everybody here. We’re only cutting the males; the females have gone somewhere else." "What do you want me to do, Pete?" asked Andy. I thought for a few minutes. "Well, let me see. Since you’ve been keeping Corey cleaned up, I will teach you quickly how to do an induction cut. It’s easy." "I’m not so sure, Pete." "Posh, Andy. Trust me!" I grabbed Andy by the arm and put him in my chair. "Hey! What is this?" "I’m going to show you how to do an induction cut." "On me??" Andy started to move. "You either sit there or I break out the restraints for the bad boys." Andy sighed and sat back. "I faced the chair towards the mirror. I showed him how to change the blades. "These cuts will have a #1 on top and a 5-aught on the sides. Start on the top at the front." I turned on the clippers, placed them at his forehead and went straight back. I had my hand on Andy’s head in the back. I kept repeating the passes on his top. I was done and then showed him how to change the blades. "This is the 5-aught blade. Start on either side as the sideburn and go straight up to meet where you cut the top. As you reach the top, slightly pull the clippers away from the head. Like this." I again demonstrated on Andy. "Oh my! This is short! I can’t believe it! I’ve never gone this short!" "Don’t worry, it grows back in two weeks. I will give you free cuts until I get the top longer on you."

Corey piped up. "I’m not so sure about that, Pete. He looks great with an induction cut! " Andy cut is eyes to Corey. "Don’t even think about keeping me this short!" I laughed. I finished Andy’s cut and brushed him off. "We aren’t shaving around their ears or their neck. I am doing yours though." I shaved Andy and then released him from the cape. He stood up and looked in the mirror. "I don’t know, Pete. This is damned short!" Corey walked up behind him and rubbed his head. "It feels and looks great, Andy!" He turned to Corey and then pushed him in the chair. "Hey! What is this?" "I need to practice on you, Corey. Pete will watch and help me." "I just got a cut!" "Not short like him, sport!" Andy caped up Corey. I watched. Corey looked at me and said, "You’ll pay for this one, Peter!" I laughed. Andy fired up the clippers and change to the #1 blade. He held Corey’s head in the back, stood to Corey’s right side and plowed the clippers straight back. "Oh, I forgot to ask. How’d you want this cut today, sir?" Andy laughed. Corey closed his eyes. "Finish the cut, please." Andy did a great job giving Corey his induction cut. Corey looked at me and asked, "Do I get to practice on you, Pete?" "Hell, no. Don’t even think about it. You’ve given me an induction cut before.!" We all laughed. What we didn’t know was that the videographer has gotten both cuts all taped. "This is great footage!" he claimed. "Awesome!"

If you can keep them in line and then count heads as we go so I know how much to charge the Colonel for the cuts. I give him a special deal - $5 per cut. They are all induction cuts. A #1 on the top " all one length and a 5-aught on the sides. Blend it with a 0.5 blade." "Got it," said Corey. "Easy cut." I looked at Andy. "Around lunchtime, keep an eye out for your boss, please. He’s stopping by." "Aw, shoot. What’s he gonna say about my cut?" "I’ll take care of it, Andy. He can’t say anything especially after he sees Corey." Corey blushed. We got ourselves ready and waited on the University bus to pull up.

The bus arrived. I saw the Colonel hop out first. He lined up the cadets as they came off the bus and he marched them into the shop. There were about 20 cadets waiting for their induction cuts. He turned to the group. "You two at the head of the line, get in the chair!" he barked. The two boys almost jumped in the chair. Corey and I caped them up. "This is Mr. Pete, the barber, and his assistants. They all know what type of cuts to give all of you. No whining allowed. Got it?" All the cadets replied loudly, "Sir, yes, sir!" The sound was almost deafening. Corey and I fired up the clippers and began the cutting. I kept an eye on Corey to make sure he was giving the cadet a good cut. I did not want any sloppy cuts leaving the shop. Although, I knew Corey better than that. We each had a dark-haired guy in the chair and each of us were making sure the hair was landing in the cadet’s lap. Corey had learned well! We finished up about the same time. We brushed the cadets off and removed the cape. Andy had grabbed a bigger duster to brush off the hair on the boys’ tunics. Each turned to us and said I unison, "Sir! Thank you, sir!" They then went to stand by the wall of the shop to wait. The next two guys climbed into our chairs. The guy in Corey’s chair had long ginger hair covering his ears and almost creeping over his collar. "Hey, Pete!" "Yeah, Corey?" "I thought the girls went elsewhere for their cuts!" This brought a lot of laughter from the cadets. The guy blushed. "Nah, Corey, they’re all males. Besides, we’ve got a couple of other girly cuts to give!" I looked at the cadets. About 5 of them blushed and looked at the ground. I then heard Corey ask, "You want a mohawk, bud?" The ginger guy looked at Corey and barked out, "Sir, no, Sir! I need an induction cut, Sir!" Corey laughed and gently slapped the guy on the back of his head. He fired up his clippers, took them straight to the buy’s forehead and made a clear smooth pass all the way back to his crown. Ginger hair fell all over the place. Corey said, "This is pretty cool! A reverse mohawk!" I looked at Andy and said, "Can you get all the girly guys in a line in front of Corey’s chair?" "Sure thing, Pete!" As Andy was picking out the 5 guys with the longest hair, I told Andy, "Corey is having way too much fun taking these guys down to a real man’s haircut!" Andy smiled and winked at me understanding my comment about a real man’s cut.

I finished off the blond in my chair. With this cut, he looked almost bald. He got up, thanked me and then couldn’t take his hands off his head. I called the next cadet to my chair. Andy and Corey were doing a great job giving the cadets their induction cuts. After Andy’s first cadet’s cut, the kid smiled weakly and chuckled. Andy looked at him and said, "It’ll grow on you!" He called the next cadet to his chair. The next cadet climbed in the chair. He was caped him up. I turned to my cadet and turned on my clippers and started on his top. His dark hair started falling into his lap. He didn’t have long hair, but just long enough to give him a nice induction cut. "I guess this is shorter than your last cut, huh sport?" "Sir, yes, Sir!" I zipped off his dark hair and started on his sides. He looked at me as I stood to his side. "I guess it’s too late to ask for just a trim, huh, Sir?" I stopped for a second and looked at his face. He had a big smile on his face. I laughed. "A comedian here!" I tapped the back of his head. "So, you want a 5-aught on your top, son? It’ll match your sides!" "That’s a negative, Sir!" I continued with the required cut. This kid had a great sense of humor. As I continued his cut, I told him to make sure he was back in my chair after camp was over. I’d clean him up and get him squared away. He smiled as he got out of the chair. He thanked me and said he’d be back to get cuts from me throughout the school year. Yep, life was good doing this camp cuts. I was sure I’d get business from these guys.

The Colonel was walking around the shop talking with the cadets after they had gotten skinned. He wasn’t as gruff as he made himself out to be. I noticed that the cadets were all rubbing their heads feeling the new cuts. I heard the Colonel say often, "Son, it will grow back!" Corey, Andy, and I laughed as the Colonel reassured them they looked way better with an induction cut over the girly mops they once had. Corey had thoroughly enjoyed taking the "girls" down to a man’s haircut. I noticed he would catch Andy’s attention and then point to the head of one of the long-haired guys and smile. As I continued to cut, I was getting hair stubble all over my tunic. Corey also had hair on his tunic except that the hair was way longer than mine.

We were coming to the end of line with 3 cadets left. We had a huge amount of hair on the floor. It had taken us a little longer than 2 hours to cut the heads that we had. We each had a cadet in the chair and each of us had one cadet waiting which would take about 15 minutes tops. I got another dark-haired guy in my chair. I caped him tightly. I noticed that he adjusted himself under the cape. Hmm. Was this guy into haircuts? Possibly. I took a different approach with this guy. I stood behind him, roughly pushed his head into his chin and took the clippers straight up the middle of his back. He stopped breathing for a few seconds. I continued stripping off his side hair making sure that most of it was landing in his lap. I moved to his side and took the clippers to his top. I didn’t change the blade which meant that he was getting a true induction cut " a 5-aught all over. As I was cutting his top, I turned the chair so he could see the last of his cut in the mirror. I lifted his chin up and made him look. He was in shock as I stripped down his top. I finished and brushed him off. I removed the cape. He sat there for several seconds. I rubbed his stubble. "This will last you a long time my friend!" Corey turned and his mouth dropped open. The Colonel walked up. "Good choice lad! Now, that’s what I call an induction cut!" The Colonel gave him a dutch rub on his head. I noticed the slight tent in the cadet’s shorts. Yep, he liked the cut!

Corey uncapped his cadet. As the next kid climbed into Corey’s chair, he asked, "Can I get a cut like his?" Corey asked, "You want it that short?" "Sir, yes, Sir!" replied the cadet. Corey switched out the blade to his 5-aught. He went straight to the cadet’s forehead and made his first moved down the middle. The kid was all smiles. I noticed that Corey had grabbed the back of the cadet’s head in case he tried to avoid the clippers which he did not. I got the next kid into my chair. He also asked for same cut. "Sir, I want a true induction cut, Sir!" "You’ve got it, son." I turned to Corey and said loudly, "All of the guys who are left are getting the true induction cut. No excused, no whining, no negotiations!" "You’ve got it, boss!" Corey smiled. By this time, we had a few of the previous cadets start to circle around the chairs. I heard a few mumbled "Damn, that is short!" A few others said, "I wish mine was cut that short!"

Corey, Andy, and I finished up the last three cadets with a true induction cut. I then hear the Colonel call out, "Back on the bus boys!" I made sure that Andy was passing out my business cards to each cadet. The Colonel told a few, "When you get the pass this weekend, you can hustle your butt to the shop and get a cut!" I replied back, "Any that come back this weekend, Colonel, will get the true induction cut!" "You’re on, Pete!" he replied.




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