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Martha’s Barbershop by Daniel Armstrong

Jack is a 23 year old man living with his girlfriend in a small town in Maryland. He was known for his long, wavy hair. It reached just below his earlobes and covered the back of his neck down to below the collar. His hair was so thick it almost looked like an Afro. Although he generally liked his hair and preferred it long, today was different.
It was a hot summer day in July. The weather was over 95 degrees, very humid, and the sun was beating hot. He had just walked out of an air conditioned building when that hot summer weather hit him like a freight train. Immediately his hair started sticking to his ears and neck and he was sweating all over. When he got to the air conditioned car he felt a slight relief yet he was still very uncomfortable. RING! Just before Jack had started driving he got a call from the company he had just interviewed for. "Hello?" said Jack. "Hi Jack, how are you doing?" "Can’t complain, yourself?" "I am doing fine. I am just calling to let you know, you got the job!" "I’m so glad to hear that thank you!" "Now, there’s only one thing we forgot to mention at the interview. I know this sounds odd but corporate has a strict code when it comes to appearance. Before you show up on your first day, make sure you get a shorter and more professional haircut. They are very picky so we wanted to let you know in advance," he said. Jack was shocked and a little upset, he had never thought about that. "Okay, thanks for letting me know," Jack said. "No problem, we looking forward to seeing you here on your first day." CLICK. He hung up. He thought, ‘maybe it is time to do this!’ Jack’s girlfriend Jessica had also been begging him to get a short haircut for over a year now.

A couple days had passed and the weather did not stop. It was still incredibly hot and humid outside. Jack grabbed the keys and drove into town to his girlfriends salon where he usually got his haircut, however, when he arrived, the was a sign posted on the door: CLOSED FOR TODAY, PLEASE WAIT FOR FURTHER NOTICE. ‘What??’ He thought. This was where he had gotten his hair cut for years. They always did a good job and kept his hair on the long side. His first day at work was tomorrow and he needed to get a haircut that day. Jack continued to drive farther into the town center looking for more hair cutting places. There was nothing else except for an old barbershop on a street corner. MARTHA’s BARBERSHOP it said with big letters on the window. Jack walked in. There were two leather barber chairs and in one of them was a little boy getting a haircut. The buzzing sound of the clippers slicing off the little boy’s hair sent a chill down Jack’s spine. "Hello! I’ll be right there with you," said the woman cutting the boy’s hair. Jack sat down. All over the walls were old photos and pictures of men with sharp haircuts from many different time periods. Jack was a little intimidated looking around noticing that all of the men in the photos had super short hair. There were photos of buzz cuts, crew cuts, high and tights, flat tops, classic side-parts, and fades.
Suddenly the humming of the clippers was gone and there was little hair left on the boy’s head except for about a half inch of fuzz on top with the sides shaved so close you could see the skin. The barber dusted him off and asked his mother, "what do you think?" The boy’s mom walked on up and observed the work. "He looks very cute! Thank you so much!!" She said enthusiastically. She paid the barber and left with her son caressing his new summer buzz cut and smiling very satisfied with his new look.
The barber quickly began sweeping up her work area. On the floor were mounds of curly hair remaining from what was recently a large mop on the little boy’s head.
After the last bit of hair had been swept and everything taken care of the Barber called for Jack, "I’m ready for you sir!" He walked up to her chair. "My name is Martha and I’ll be taking care of you." Jack could not help but notice that Martha was a very attractive woman. She had a very curvy and muscular physique, pale skin, dark brown eyes, and looked like she was in her 30s. She was wearing black skinny jeans, a white blouse buttoned tightly with a little cleavage exposed, and over that blouse was a black barber’s apron which was also very tight against her body. Martha had a very short reddish brown pixie haircut. The hair on the sides was tapered quite short, cut neatly above her little feminine ears, and the hair was buzzed to the skin at her nape which gradually tapered up to two inches on top of her head. Her short, feathered bangs were swept across the top of her forehead framing her stunningly gorgeous facial features. Jack was so captivated by her beauty that he did not notice that she had wrapped a tissue tightly around his neck and caped him. He was ready for his haircut.
"How would you like your haircut today?" asked Martha with a slight grin on her face knowing he was in for a big change. Jack was at a loss for words. He didn’t know exactly what haircut to get. He knew he didn’t want his hair cut as short as the guys on those posters he had observed earlier but at the same time he needed something that looked clean cut enough for the office tomorrow. "I know exactly what would look fantastic on you," Martha said as she combed the massive mop of hair on his head. She continued to explain how she wanted to cut it but the words were barber terms that Jack didn’t understand. He had not been to a barbershop since he was a little kid. This was a very new experience for him. "...so how about we do that, what do you think?" asked Martha. Still at a loss for words, Jack said "sounds good." Martha continued combing his long hair until all the tangles were out. She grabbed a pair of clippers from her desk. As she attached the guard to the clippers, Jack looked at himself in the mirror knowing that this would be his last look at his hair before it’s cut.
The clippers came to life.
Martha slid them up the back of his head. Jack could feel the hair being removed. It was the strangest sensation. At first he feared it but soon he began to enjoy it.
Bzzzzzzzzzz! Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!
Pass after pass locks of hair were removed. With each pass of the clippers Jack noticed that his head kept feeling lighter and cooler. The feeling was so soothing! Jack closed his eyes as this felt like a scalp message.
Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! Bzzzzzzzzzzz!
As the clippers had finished the back of his head Martha started buzzing around the right side. With each pass, more clumps of hair fell to the floor.
She continued with the left side. After little time all the hair on the back and sides of Jacks head had been reduced to very short stubble exposing his ears for the first time.
Suddenly the humming of the clippers stopped, Jack opened his eyes and was shocked to see what he looked like. The hair was still big and thick on top but the sides were reduced to almost nothing! Jack was in awe. He had not seen his ears exposed like that in years! Martha grabbed a spray bottle and began to comb and spray the top of the head until it was quite damp. She grabbed a large pair of shears held the hair on top less than two inches from his scalp.
Schnick schnick schnick!!
A long lock of hair fell onto his lap. Very quickly Martha grabbed another clump of hair and..
Schnick schnick schnick!!
It fell to the floor.
Out of the corner of Jacks eye, he could see mounds of hair on the floor with more hair falling with each snip. Very soon all of the hair on top of his head had been reduced to about an inch and a half. Martha put down his large shears and grabbed some thinning shears and continued to texturize the hair.
Snip snip snip... snip snip snip.
Martha worked with such quick professionalism and precision. Jack could tell that she really enjoyed her job.
She put the thinning shears down. "Almost done honey!" She said flirtatiously as she held a smaller trimmer with no guard.
Bzzzzzzzzzzz! She turned it on and began to clean up all of the little hairs along Jacks ears and neck.
Soon it stopped.
Martha dusted Jack off and asked him, "What do you think? Short enough??"
Jack looked at himself in the mirror. The person looking back he did not recognize as he looked so different. At first he was shocked but as he looked at himself in the mirror, he started to love the way he looked with that super short clean-cut hair! He held his hand up and touched it, the back and sides felt very crispy and prickly but to his surprise, despite how short it had been cut, the top was very soft and textured. "I really love it! Thank you," said Jack as he turned back towards Martha. "Now you look like a gentleman with that nice proper haircut!" She said to him teasingly as she lifted the cape and tissue from him. Jack laughed and got up to pay her. As Jack walked outside with his new cut, he realized the heat didn’t bother him anymore! A breeze blew by jacks head and his hair didn’t fly around or tangle, it just stayed in place! The breeze felt so nice on his head with that new haircut. He had never felt so fresh in his life.
Right as Jack was walking out the door there was another mom dragging her little boy into the barbershop. Looking back at the boy protesting, Jack noticed the large lump of hair almost going down to the boy’s shoulders and thought to himself while touching his newly shorn head: at some point in that boy’s life he will learn to love getting short haircuts just like I did.
There is nothing that can clean up a boy, a man or even a woman like a nice short haircut from a good barber.

From that point on, Jack came back to Martha every month to get his hair cut and keep it short.

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