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Russell's Haircut Adventures: Part IV by Just_Me
This is part four of an autobiographical story. It starts with Dad and me sitting in the barbershop, waiting for the barber to come in.
RUSSELL’S HAIRCUT ADVENTURES: PART IV
"Operation Look Like Dad" Chapter 2
The anticipation of finally getting a "real" haircut was overwhelming. Two thoughts were circling in my head. "Sarge, hurry and get your ass in here. I wanna get this done!" and "Russell, calm down. You don’t wanna die from an overdose of adrenaline before you get your haircut!" My cock had been in a constant state of excitement all morning. I had jacked off the night before, and again before we left the house that morning. I was still sexually charged.
Finally, Mr. Callahan came into the shop…and my fantasy got better. He was smoking a cigar, which wasn’t unusual, but it just fit into my scenario perfectly.
The exchange was familiar. It was almost verbatim to what they’d said when Dad made Sarge shave my head a few years before. Mr. Callahan said, "God-d**n it, Al, get over here. I can’t cut your god-d**ned hair when it’s over there."
Dad said, "Wrong person, Ralph. This hippy sitting by me is gonna get his hair cut first."
He looked at Dad, as if to see if Dad was joking. He said, "Al, who the hell is this god-d**ned hippy? It almost looks like Russell under all that god-d**ned hair, but I know that can’t be right. You wouldn’t let him grow a god-d**ned mop on his head again!"
Dad laughed and said, "It’s Russell all right. He grew that s**t with me bitching the whole time. It would’ve never happened if Hazel hadn’t worn me down. You know what they say, ‘happy wife, happy life.’ See if you can find his ears, but be careful and don’t cut them off."
"God-d**n it, Russel, I’m very disappointed in ya. Don’t worry though. I’m gonna fix you up now. My god-d**ned clippers know how to find your ears again. Get your ass over here, and let’s get this god-d**ned show on the road."
When I got up to get in the barber’s chair, Dad got up and moved to a chair right in front of it. He moved his pipe from the right side of his mouth the left, but his eyes never left me. I thought he looked a little tense. He probably thought I’d back out.
I walked to the chair with my pipe still in my mouth, and hoped it looked natural. Mr. Callahan didn’t seem to mind. He just said, "Since you’re smoking, I reckon you won’t mind if I finish my god-d**ned stogie while I’m giving you a haircut that you need very god-d**ned badly."
Mind?! I was thrilled, but I tried to sound calm. "I don’t mind, Mr. Callahan. Go right on ahead."
Once I sat down, I realized I had forgotten a barber’s chair felt as great as they look. The leather in Mr. Callahan’s chair was worn to perfection, it wasn’t too hard or too soft and the foot rest made it comfortable. I wished I had one in the den.
Mr. Callahan put the strip of paper around my neck, and with a practiced flourish, threw the cape around my neck. Once he had the cape on me, I thought, "Oh, s**t! What have I got myself into?" My mouth went dry, and my heart started pounding.
I swear Dad grinned like a possum when he saw me with that cape on.
Mr. Callahan asked, "What the hell can I do for you today?"
For just a second I forgot how to talk, much less that I a speech I wanted to give him. I thought about asking for just a trim—knowing he’d skin me. I thought about the flattop with fenders again. I’m not sure why I didn’t just say I wanted a flattop, but I didn’t wanna say that. Finally, I thought, "Russell, you’ve dreamed about this for a long time. Don’t f**k it up now."
My mouth was so dry, I couldn’t speak. I swallowed hard, and then was able to deliver my fantasy speech. I said, "Mr. Callahan, I want a real man’s haircut. Don’t waste my time and money if you’re not going to give me a real haircut. I don’t care how you cut it, I just want it SHORT. If you’re not gonna give me a real man’s haircut, tell me, and I’ll go find a real barber."
He bristled like a dog about to get in a fight. "God-d**n it boy, I was giving real f**king haircuts long before your sorry ass was born. Don’t you be challenging me like that, or you’ll walk out of here with your god-d**ned head shaved as bare as a god-d**ned baby’s ass!"
The look Dad gave me said, "What the hell?" but he didn’t say anything to me. "Hold on, Sarge. He don’t mean no disrespect." He ran his hand over his flattop and continued, "This boy’s gone and decided his old man’s haircut isn’t as goofy as he used to think it was. He wants a flattop--a horseshoe flattop. Shave the sides down like mine, and cut the top as short as you can get it and still call it a flattop." Dazed like, he said, "Just like mine."
I swallowed again and found my voice. "Yes sir, I want a flattop just like Dad’s, please."
I was watching Mr. Callahan in the mirror, and I promise, his jaw dropped and his nub of a cigar fell out of his mouth. He stood there with his mouth hanging open. He bent down and picked up his cigar and then turned to Dad with a questioning look on his face.
Dad said, "If the boy wants a god-d**ned flattop, give him a god-d**ned flattop."
Mr. Callahan replied, "What the hell? Are you s**tting me?"
Dad said, "Nope, I ain’t s**tting you. Cut that s**t off. There’s gonna be one less hippy in the world when we walk out of this shop—as long as you do as Russell said, and give him a real man’s haircut."
I was disappointed. I had thought Mr. Callahan would have the clippers in my hair before I’d finished telling him what I wanted. I didn’t like having to convince him I knew what I wanted. Mr. Callahan picked up a comb, and started combing my hair. Then he said, almost as if he was talking to himself, "Hell, it’s been at least ten years since I gave a boy your age a god-d**ned flattop." He seemed to pull himself together, and looked at me. "Are you f**king sure? Once these clippers of mine get in your god-d**ned hair there ain’t gonna be no turning back, and I don’t wanna hear no god-d**ned s**t from you!"
I said, "Yes sir, I’m sure it has been a long time, and yes, sir, I’m sure I want a flattop." I pointed at Dad, "Just like his. It’s like this, I’ve wanted a flattop for a few years, and finally decided to do it…no matter what the style is. Like Dad said, ‘cut that s**t off’."
He didn’t need any more convincing. He just said, "God-d**n it, son. You just made me happier than a bull in a field of god-d**ned heifers! I wish more boys would come to their god-d**ned senses and think like you are. I’m sick of all the god-d**ned hippies out there trying to put me out of business. Get ready, I’m about to mow this f**king mop down."
He started pumping the chair up. Every "ka-chunk" the chair made put a knot of fear and excitement in my stomach. I knew each pump of that chair was bringing my precious hair closer to a meeting with a pair of clippers in the hands of a determined, maybe even demented, barber. I really wondered what the hell I was doing.
This was when the reality of what I was doing really sank in. My stomach sank, and my heart started pounding. My palms got so sweaty I had to wipe them off.
Mr. Callahan said, "Russell, relax, and I’ll take good care of you. You’re gonna look like a god-d**ned Marine when I get done with you. Take a good look at yourself, and try to remember how s**tty you look right now. The next time you see yourself, you’re gonna see a god-d**ned man."
He turned the chair so that it faced away from the mirror, and I was looking directly at Dad. I thought, "What the hell? I want to see what he’s doing!" I’d never known Mr. Callahan to turn the chair that way. I was disappointed. However, I really liked the idea that the next time I saw myself I would look like a completely different person, and probably feel like one too. I didn’t like this imposter who had been pretending to be Russell. I wanted to let the real Russell out, and I thought getting this haircut would be a good start to the process.
I got over my disappointment at not being able to watch my hair being cut off.
He started mumbling to himself, "God-d**n it. Why the hell did I leave the camera at the god-d**ned house? I’d love to have a before and after picture of this god-d**ned haircut."
I guess Dad heard him. He said, "You know, Sarge, you’re right. I’ve got a camera in the truck. Can you hang on a second?"
At the door, Dad turned around, grinned at me and said, "Don’t you let that boy out of that chair. I’ve been waiting a long time for this, and I don’t want him escaping!"
I gave Dad one of my trademark goofy grins and said, "I ain’t going nowhere. My ass’ll still be sitting here when you get back, but hurry up. I wanna get this done."
Dad took forever to get back in the shop, or at least it seemed like he did. I was getting mad, thinking, "D**n it, Dad. I’ve been wanting to get this haircut for a long time and you seemed to be doing every god-d**ned thing you can to delay it. Forget the f**king camera. Let’s get this god-d**n show on the road." (I guess I was sitting too close to Mr. Callahan. It seems his way of talking was rubbing off on me.)
Dad finally came back in, and then he made Sarge take my hair out of the ponytail and spread it around so the length would show up in the pictures. It took forever for him to get all the pictures he wanted.
I didn’t want to take pictures. I just wanted to get my flattop. I guess he could sense my frustration, because he said, "Son, some day you’re gonna want these pictures. I’m sure your kids and grandkids will enjoy seeing what you looked like before you got your forever haircut. You know it’s my forever haircut, and I sure as hell hope it’ll be yours too."
That startled me. I hadn’t thought about this being a forever haircut. I didn’t even know if I was going to like it. I thought Dad was a little premature calling it a forever haircut, but I didn’t say anything.
Finally, Dad was done taking pictures, and Mr. Callahan started combing my hair, like he was going to do something. He combed it straight back, destroying the part I had placed there.
"Hey, Al, are you ready for a god-d**ned show?"
Dad’s smile got bigger.
"One horseshoe flattop coming up!" Sarge grabbed his scissors, picked up my bangs, cut them off close to the hairline. He threw them on the cape, and gave me an evil grin. "That’s where hair like yours belongs!"
I looked down, and was shocked to see how long my bangs had been. I though, "Russell, you’re not going to have to worry about them hanging in your eyes for a long time. They’re not long any more. Get ready, the party’s about to start."
The attack on my bangs startled me. I’d thought he would start by cutting the hair off the sides and back of my head, like he normally did when he cut Dad’s hair (God knows I’d seen him do it often enough. The haircut sequence for Dad was: sides and back, upper sides and back, top, landing strip and then touch up the side top). He didn’t do any of that.
After he dealt with my bangs, Mr. Callahan pulled my hair back into a ponytail, grabbed his scissors and chewed through my ponytail. He tossed it in my lap, as if to make sure I knew it was gone.
I heard a click when he put a guard on the clippers. Then he put his hand on top of my head like he was holding me down so I couldn’t disappear. I shivered when I heard the sound of clippers coming to life. I knew what was coming. For just a split second I saw the clippers as he lifted them toward my head. I thought, "Holy sheep-s**t, Batman. What have I got myself into?" After that brief glimpse of the clippers, I didn’t see anything else. I had to rely on sensation, but that was OK. My senses were on high alert, and I knew exactly what he was doing. I heard the familiar sound of clippers biting into my hair, and I felt it as he mowed a swath right down the center of my head, from front to back. I felt the emptiness on the top of my head instantly. The first pass of the clippers over my head sent more shivers up and down my spine. I thought, "Russell, I can’t believe you’re finally doing it. You’re getting a real man’s haircut! No more hippy look for you." Then disgustedly, I continued, "It took you long enough."
Mr. Callahan ran the clippers over my head again, and I felt a sudden coolness on the top of my head. I knew it was too late to do anything: I couldn’t change my mind then, even if I’d wanted to--which I didn’t.
The sound of the clippers being turned on had sent a rush of emotions running through me, and made my dick stick up even more than it already was. Even more emotions showed up when I heard the sound of the clippers biting into my thick hair. Emotion I had never felt went coursing through me, and seemed to collide with one another. The feelings intensified even more when I felt the clippers cut into my hair. I was thrilled to know I was getting my dream haircut, but surprisingly, I was a little sad to be losing my long, beautiful hair. I had been so proud of it, and had fought so hard to achieve it.
I thought, "Russell, why they hell are you getting emotional about finally getting rid of your hair. You’ve wanted it gone for a long time. Be thankful you don’t have to deal with ‘Operation Look Like Dad’ any more."
After the second swipe of the clippers, I thought, "This ain’t right. It feels like he’s giving me a crewcut, not a flattop!"
I was a little disappointed. I’d always liked a crewcut, but in my mind’s eyes, the flattop was several steps better looking. On top of that, I thought the flattop seemed to go better with the pipe that I knew was going to be my faithful companion for the rest of my life. I thought, "Oh well, a crew cut is better than what I’ve got now. At least I’m getting a ‘real’ haircut from a real, old-fashioned barber!" I decided to be happy about that, even though I was confused as to how he could get the two mixed up.
I guess Mr. Callahan could see I was confused. He turned the clippers off and said, "Don’t worry your little head. You’re gonna have the best god-d**ned flattop I’ve ever cut. Your head is the perfect shape for wearing a god-d**ned flattop. I’m just getting rid of all that god-d**ned s**t on top so I can do this right."
I was so relieved. I sat back, and decided to enjoy the feel of getting my new haircut, my pipe, and watching the hair fall off.
I looked at the hair piling up on the cape, and it didn’t seem possible all that hair had been on my head. "My god, how much hair is going to be in my lap when he’s done? He hasn’t even started on the back and sides." I wondered why Mr. Callahan had started on the top, instead of the sides, like he did when he cut Dad’s hair. Looking back, I guess he wanted to cut the top quickly so I couldn’t change my mind.
Watching the way Mr. Callahan was smoking his cigar distracted me from the sensations of my haircut for a bit. He’d raise his lip one the side that was away from his cigar to let the smoke out, and immediately take some more smoke in. He didn’t seem to mind if the smoke blew in my face. For that matter, I didn’t mind either.
He changed the guard on his clippers. He started just below where the deck of my haircut would meet the sides, and he took the clippers in a circle all the way around my head. The hair really started falling in my lap, and I thought, "D**n, Russell. I’ll bet you look like a clown now. You’ve still got hair hanging over your ears, with a shaved circle above it."
He came around to my left side, and attacked my hair like it was an enemy platoon that he had to annihilate. He kept his hand firmly on my head, moving my head where he wanted it...and not necessarily being gentle about it. I thought about saying, "Don’t worry, Mr. Callahan, you don’t have to restrain me. I’m not gonna escape. Anyway, I’m past the point of no return now. I have no choice but to go through with this."
He shoved my head forward and took the clippers from the base of my neck all the way to the top of my head. For a second I thought, "He threatened to shave my head, and now he’s doing it!" At that point, I didn’t really care.
Dad spoke up--with some steel in his voice. He said, "God-d**n it, Sarge. Do you ever listen to what people say? Most people say trim their hair, and you peel it all off. Russell said he wanted a real man’s haircut. I said shaved sides, and you’re dilly-dallying like you’re trying to get out of going to a god-d**ned church picnic with your wife. Get all that hair off the sides. We just want a little sticking up on the top."
"If you want some god-d**ned shaving going on, then some god-d**ned shaving is coming up." He turned the clippers off, and I hated it. I loved hearing the buzz of the clippers, especially when they were cutting my hair. Anyway, he either switched guards, or just took the guard off. I took the opportunity to feel my head where he had cut it. I didn’t know what Dad was talking about. It felt pretty d**ned short to me.
When he turned back around he said, "Russell, hang on. You’re about to get the shortest god-d**ned sides and back I can give you."
I could feel the difference as soon as he started cutting my hair. The sound of the clippers was much higher pitched, and they were hot as they ran against my skin. I could feel how short it was. He had meant it when he said shaved sides. After he got the sides and back peeled, he took another pair of clippers and started blending the shaved part of my sides into the deck of my flattop. At this point, it felt like my hair was getting boxy. Just the thought of it made my dick jump, and I jumped too.
Mr. Callahan said, "Russell, you’d better be real still right now. If I f**k this up, I’ll have to shave your god-d**ned head."
At that point, I wouldn’t have minded if he did shave it again. I was so excited that I felt like I couldn’t stand it, and was so nervous it felt like my mouth was filled with cotton. It seemed like every nerve in my body was in a heightened state of perception, and I was feeling everything more intensely that I normally did. My sensitive skin picked up on every movement in the air. The fabric of my shirt felt strange to me. I knew when the first drop of pre-cum fell on my leg. I hoped I didn’t have an orgasm while he was cutting my hair.
I glanced at Dad, and the look on his face made me stop and watch him a minute. He was nodding his satisfaction. His attention was focused on everything Mr. Callahan did. I don’t think he even blinked. The thought crossed my mind that he was experiencing the same heightened sense of perception that I was. He didn’t say anything, he just sat and smoked, while he watched Mr. Callahan.
He was grinning for all he was worth. For the first time, I realized where I got my goofy grin. I had seen that same grin in the mirror. It seemed weird, that as much as I hated my goofy grin I had never noticed Dad’s.
The smile on his face told me all I needed to know. He was thrilled to see me sitting in that barber’s chair with a cape around my neck. This was the first time in a long time I had felt like I was pleasing Dad. I knew I’d done nothing but leave a frown on his face for ages, and knowing I was responsible for the huge smile on his face felt good. His joy was very evident.
I saw a bulge in his pants, and thought, "Aha! You were right, Russell. He IS turned on by a haircut! I guess that would explain why he’s still wearing an old-fashioned haircut." Whether he was turned on or not, I knew he was happy, and so was I. Getting the haircut I wanted was thrilling, but knowing I was making Dad happy made me almost delirious with joy.
The thought of his arousal was...disquieting. I decided not to think about it and to go back to enjoying my haircut.
Fulfilling multiple fantasies that had been with me a long, long time was an incredible feeling, and things were so much better than I had imagined them. I thought, "Russell, you can die happy now. You’ve got a short haircut from a real old-fashioned barber, and you’re smoking a pipe while the barber smokes a cigar. On top of that, you’re making Dad happy."
The combination of things was almost too much to bear. Once again, I thought I was going to explode in my pants. "You’d have a helluva time explaining why you shot a wad while sitting in the barber chair. Try to contain it until you get home, Russell."
It didn’t take Mr. Callahan long to get the sides of my head peeled down to nothing (I knew they were peeled, because I could feel the cold air on my head. It had been a long time since I’d had that sensation). It was freezing outside, and the cold air that came in when a customer opened the door made me shiver. I berated myself. "Russell, you’re a damned fool. You couldn’t have picked a worse time of the year to get an extremely short hair cut." I gave a mental shrug. "Oh well, there’s nothing you can do now. Your hair’s gone. You might as well enjoy the experience."
I will never know why I chose to cut my hair off when it was so cold, but I’m glad I did--and I’ve survived many winters with a horseshoe since then.
I was the hit of the hour. A few more customers came in (or more likely, old geezers there to waste the day gossiping), and every one of them commented on how good it was to see a young man getting a "real" haircut. I was vain enough to be thrilled with all the attention I was getting. I thought, "If this is the kind of attention a flattop gets me, I’m going to wear a horseshoe forever."
When the sides were done, Sarge turned off his clippers and turned around to the counter. I took the opportunity to feel the side. I whispered to myself, "D**n! That’s short. There’s nothing but a little stubble."
He put a hot towel on the sides of my head. I knew what he was doing, I just hadn’t expected him to do it so soon. He didn’t shave Dad’s sides and back until after the haircut was complete. I couldn’t explain why he’d decided to do this haircut completely different.
I heard the whirring of his shaving cream dispenser, and I felt it as he spread warm shaving cream all over the sides and back. My senses were so keyed up that I recognized the sound of him opening up his straight razor. It was a weird feeling when he started shaving my sides, but I loved the raspy sound the razor made as he shaved me. He worked for a while, making sure the sides were perfectly smooth. His hands kept rubbing all over my head as he felt for any offending stubble.
After the sides were shaved to his satisfaction, I heard a familiar sound. He screwed the lid off a can, and a smell I knew well hit my nose. It was butch wax. It was as much a part of Dad as the smell of his pipe. Mr. Callahan very carefully worked it into my hair, making certain is was evenly distributed. He combed the hair, and I could tell he was making sure each hair was standing at attention. I smirked when I thought, "Russell, your hair can’t be standing at more attention than your dick is."
It wasn’t just my dick standing up. It seemed like every part of me was standing at attention. My whole body felt super-sensitive, and my nipples were aching, and I knew they were almost as hard as my dick. Every movement seemed to create an air current my sensitive skin felt.
Eventually I heard the sound of the lid being put back on the butch wax, and then the sound of the clippers coming back to life. Mr. Callahan started cutting the top again. Somehow the butch wax made the clippers sound different. I’d see the clippers a few seconds, and then they’d disappear toward the back, making the sweet music of clippers cutting hair. They re-appeared a few seconds later. "Is it flat yet?" played over and over in my head.
I realized I could feel the vibration of the clippers, even though he wasn’t touching my head with them. I guess I was so keyed up I could feel the vibrations through the air.
I was amazed at how much work he put into making certain the top was perfectly flat. The clippers went over the top of my head again and again. Hair kept falling in my lap, but by this time every hair that fell was really short. There was no more length anywhere on my head. Like it or not, I was now the owner of a flattop.
I was so mesmerized I don’t think I could’ve moved if he’d yelled, "Fire!"
It seemed like he cut forever, but it also seemed that my time in the chair was very short. I couldn’t wait to see what it looked like.
My pipe went out. Dad came to my rescue, yet again. He said, "Son, it looks like your pipe’s gone out. Do you want another one, or are you OK?"
Sarge bellowed, "Of course he wants some more. Come get this boy’s pipe, and fill ‘er up!"
"Hang on. I’ve got another pipe in my pocket. Let me get it lit, and I’ll bring it to you."
Mr. Callahan said, "Russell, you’re gonna smoke another god-d**ned pipe, whether you want to or not. I don’t like smoking in front of my god-d**ned customers if they ain’t smoking, and I’m enjoying this god-d**ned cigar too much to put it down."
"I’ll be happy to, Mr. Callahan. Thanks."
Our conversation never stopped Mr. Callahan. He just kept cutting my hair. After a while, I thought he was through cutting my hair on top, and I rubbed my hands over it. It felt perfect. It felt sculptured. It felt bristly. It felt just like I thought a flattop should. I loved the stubbly feel in the center, and the softness of the longer part on the sides and front (I laughed at myself when I thought "longer". There was nothing long about this.)
Mr. Callahan took a comb, and made a few more swipes through what was left of my hair as he looked critically at his work. I was very happy when I heard him say, "Russell, I cut it as short as I could and not have a god-d**ned bald spot showing."
I thought, "Who is this man? Maybe an alien had replaced him. Mr. Callahan has never left hair on a head if he could help it."
I was so caught up in my thoughts that I almost missed it when he said, "I hope you’re as god-d**ned happy with it as I am. You look like a real man now, not the piss-ant hippy boy that had enough god-d**ned balls to walk into my barber with a s**tload of hair on his god-d**ned head."
Evidently Dad wasn’t happy to hear this. He growled when he spoke up. "Come on, Sarge. You can do better than that. I said give him a god-d**ned haircut like mine. I want to see a god-d**ned landing strip, and that front could be at least a half inch shorter."
I got a little concerned. I didn’t want Dad to piss off Mr. Callahan. I knew Mr. Callahan would make good on his threat to shave my head if he decided to.
After Dad’s little speech, the whole process started all over again. Mr. Callahan put more butch wax in, and started taking the clippers from the front to the back. I kept looking at the hair on the floor and the cape, and wondering how I could have any hair left to cut. He laid his clippers down and I took the chance to feel the top of my head. It felt just like I thought it would. It felt right.
Dad saw me, and smiled. He rubbed the top of his hand, and said, "Son, after thirty years of wearing a flattop, I still love the thrill of feeling it right after it’s been cut."
I heard the whirring of his lather machine again, and this time Mr. Callahan lathered up the top of my head. My hyper-sensitive ears could hear it when he opened the straight razor. He started shaving the center of my head, and it felt like a very wide landing strip. Somehow the baldness of the landing strip left me feeling exposed to the world in a way that shaving the sides hadn’t.
After shaving my landing strip, he lathered the sides up again, mumbling, "Wanna make sure I didn’t leave any god-d**ned stray hairs around here."
Finally, he finished up—I thought. He took the cape off me, and shook it out. I started to get up, desperately anxious to see what I looked like. Mr. Callahan said, "Hold on just a god-d**ned minute. Where the hell do you think you’re going? I ain’t done with your ass yet. That god-d**ned grubby-assed mustache on your face is an insult to my perfect haircut. Sit your god-d**ned ass back down. I’m gonna deal with that god-d**ned s**t."
What? Cut off my mustache? I almost said, "Ain’t no way in hell," but decided to go with it. After all, I could grow it back if I wanted to.
He started grumbling, "I don’t know what the hell is wrong with this god-d**ned generation. They don’t know a f**king thing about life, or how to look like a god-d**ned human being. What the hell was he thinking? Did he really think I’m gonna let him get out of my god-d**ned barber shop looking like a barbarian? There ain’t no way in all of hell. I’ll teach him."
I reached up and felt my mustache, and decided he was right. My bushy horseshoe mustache just wouldn’t look right with a flattop. I didn’t want to mix the Seventies and the Fifties. I was going vintage, all the way. I wondered why I hadn’t thought about it.
Mr. Callahan grabbed his clippers, and walked around in front of me. Then he said, "What the hell are you waiting for? How am I supposed to cut that awful god-d**ned mustache off with that god-d**ned pipe sticking out of your mouth."
He reached over and took the pipe out of my mouth and said, "Here, Al. Fill this god-d**ned thing up again. He’s gonna wanna re-light the god-d**ned thing when I’m done dealing with this god-d**ned, ridiculous-looking mustache."
Mr. Callahan started buzzing my mustache with his clippers. It wasn’t long before he leaned the chair back without warning me, and it scared the bejesus out of me. He just laughed. The feel of the headrest against my head drove all other thoughts out of my head. I was nothing but a ball of sensations. I do remember thinking, "Russell, you’ve forgotten how different a shaved head feels!" I moved my head back and forth a bit, just so I could relish the sensation.
Then he wrapped a hot towel around my face, and said, ‘I’ve gotta soften your stupid-assed looking mustache up enough for me to deal with the god-d**ned stupid-looking s**t properly."
I thought, "Gee, Mr. Callahan. Why don’t you tell me what you really think about it?"
I laid there a minute, and then felt movement in my shirt pocket. Mr. Callahan said, "Boy, you don’t need all those god-d**ned cigars you’ve got in your pocket. They’ll stunt your growth. I’m gonna relieve you of one of the god-d**ned things. They’re a helluva lot nicer than the d**ned things I smoke."
I really didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say anything. I was kinda pissed that he was taking one of my cigars. Dad just said, "Sarge, bring your thieving ass over here, and I’ll clip the end for you. I’m sure you’re too cheap to have a cutter."
I heard it as Dad clipped the cigar, and then I heard a match strike. It wasn’t just a second before I smelled the rich, heady smell of cigar smoke. I breathed deeply, just to enjoy the smell.
I laid there waiting for Mr. Callahan to come back to finish me up, but I couldn’t keep my hands off the haircut. I loved the way the hair felt like velvet around the horseshoe, and then it turned bristly feeling before I could feel the smooth scalp of the landing strip. I marveled at how smooth the sides were. I could feel that the top was boxy, and even though I hadn’t seen it yet, I knew it was the most perfect, the most wonderful haircut I’d ever seen. I was ecstatic!
After what seemed like an eternity (I was wanting to get this over, so I could see myself), Mr. Callahan took the towel off my face, and I saw his face with my cigar sticking out of his mouth. He put shaving cream all over my face and grabbed his razor. He attacked with a vengeance, I thought, "He looks like a dragon, all attack and smoke billowing from his nose!"
He quickly removed any remaining trace of the long sideburns I had so carefully cultivated, and then shaved my cheeks and chin (as if I hadn’t shaved that morning).
Then he started on my mustache.
Once again, he didn’t do what I had anticipated. I had assumed he’d shave it. He didn’t. He cut off the long part that went down beside my mouth, and then he started taking tiny little bits off the top of my mustache.
I didn’t think I could get any harder, but I did. I knew what he was doing. I had expected him to shave my mustache off. I hadn’t thought about him giving me a pencil-thin mustache—even though that was a style I secretly admired, while making fun of those who had one.
I began to wonder what style he was going to give me. There were several different styles of pencil-thin moustaches. I wondered if he might leave me a little bit of a handlebar on the end. "Nope! No handlebars, even though that would’ve been cool. The clippers cut too much for there to be a handlebar left."
"Russell, why didn’t you think about having him do this? After all, you fussed about your moustache ruining your look when you had on one of Dad’s suits."
I started trying to guess which style he had in mind, and just couldn’t quite figure it out.
I could feel the evidence of my anticipation. I’d had a hard-on all day, and it hadn’t gone anywhere. I got scared. "Oh, s**t! I’m laying out here with a hard-on, and I’ll bet every man out there can see it! S**t! What are they thinking? You’d better hope like hell the cape is hiding it!" I didn’t know how much the cape would hide. I tried to will my stiff dick to relax, but it had a mind of its own. "There’s no need to worry about it at this point. The damage is already done. If they’ve seen my hard-in, they’ve seen it, and I can’t change it. Anyway, they’re men. They’ve had hard-ons before."
It took a lot longer for him to deal with my mustache than I’d ever dreamed. After he finished with the straight razor, he picked up his clippers and trimmed the hair off my mouth—and it seemed like he trimmed it really high. Evidently, using the clippers wasn’t good enough. He attacked my mustache with a pair of scissors. It felt like he spent an hour clipping each hair, making sure it everything was perfect. He looked me over, and said, "Maybe just a little more off the top." The straight razor came out again and shaved just a little bit more below my nose.
One thing you could say about Mr. Callahan. He might cut your hair a helluva lot shorter than you wanted it, but it was perfectly done when he got through.
One of his customers spoke up and said, "Come on, Ralph. It’s just a d**n mustache. What the hell’s taking you so long? I ain’t got all day!"
"You just hold your god-d**ned horses, Charles Wayne, the f**king third. If I’ll rush this young man’s haircut, I’ll rush yours, and I might f**k yours up. You ain’t got a whole lot of hair to deal with anyway."
That brought a round of laughter from everyone sitting in the shop.
Finally he was done with the mustache, and he put some tonic on my face, and the familiar smell made me smile. It was the perfect finish to what I knew was a perfect haircut. Then he started checking my haircut again. I thought he was never going to finish. Once everything was to his satisfaction, he put some powder on a little brush, and started brushing all the stray hairs off. When he was done, he bellowed over his shoulder, "Al, what the hell are you waiting on? Bring that god-d**ned pipe over here so he can see what a real man’s supposed to look like!"
Dad walked over to me like he was in a dream, and he shook his head the whole way. I didn’t know what to think. He handed me my pipe. I breathed a sigh of relief when he said, "I can’t get over how handsome you look, son." He walked all the way around me, staring the whole time. It got pretty uncomfortable after a while. He finally said, "My God. Russell, I never dreamed there was a man this handsome hiding under all that hair. You look like a god-d**ned Greek god. How the hell did something this good-looking come from me? I think I’m gonna go home and give your mom hell for sleeping with someone else." (I liked what Dad was saying, but wished he’d shut up. I wanted to see what I looked like.)
Mr. Callahan piped in, "Al, you’re an idiot. That boy, excuse me, that young man, looks just like you did about thirty years ago. He is a chip off the god-d**ned block. There ain’t no doubt who his god-d**ned father is. Now, go sit your ass down. I’ve got to have a discussion with Russell."
"Now, young man, what you’ve got today is a god-d**ned work of art, and I don’t want you f**king it up, do you hear me? I’ll admit, this type of mustache is a pain in the ass, but you’re gonna have to commit yourself to working your ass off to keep it looking good. I don’t ever wanna see you walking down the street with a single hair on your d**ned face longer than it is now. You’re gonna have to get up every god-d**ned morning, and take the scissors to get all the god-d**ned stragglers. You’ve got a heavy beard, and this type of mustache will get away from you in a helluva a hurry if you don’t maintain it every god-d**ned day. Will you do that for me?" (Mr. Callahan was right. Shaving the next morning was an adventure. I was scared I was going to fuc—um—mess up Mr. Callahan’s perfect mustache. Somehow I made it through without screwing it up though, and I still have the same style of moustache. That’s not to say I haven’t messed up a few times, and had to shave it and start over again, but that’s a different story.)
After I agreed to what he said, Mr. Callahan said, "Russell, are you ready to see a god-d**ned miracle? Do you remember what you looked like the last time you saw your ugly self? Well, have a look at the new and improved Russell." (I had made a game out of counting the number of profanities Sarge used, and I think that was the first time I’d ever heard him get through one sentence without using profanity, much less two.)
I wanted to punch him. I wanted to yell, "Shut the hell up and let me see."
I closed my eyes for just a second as Mr. Callahan started turning the chair around. Dad said, "Russell, open your god-d**ned eyes. You’re gonna love what you see."
When I opened my eyes, Mr. Callahan was holding up a hand-mirror up for me to see the results (I wasn’t sure why he did that. The whole wall in front of me was mirror.) One look at myself made me want to grab the mirror and just stare. I honestly didn’t recognize myself. What a change! I looked more mature and masculine. The shape of my face looked different, and my green eyes really showed up.
A huge smile spread across my face. My mind raced. "Wow! It’s perfect! The deck’s flat as a board. I’m glad my hair thick. He cut it perfectly: it’s boxy and bristly, with a perfect horseshoe shape to it. I love the bald strip down the middle. I love how the shaved sides reflect the light and make my head look glossy." Once again I put my hand on the top of my head, "Oh, my god. I love the feel of it. Damn Russell, you look good with a flattop and a pipe. You look even better than you had thought it would…and you had thought it was going to look pretty d**ned amazing. Wow!"
The only downside to the haircut was how pale my skin was where the hair had been. My scalp hadn’t seen sun in years, and my skin was about as white as lard.
So many emotions went through that I couldn’t process any of them. I kept looking as random thoughts went pinging through my head. "I look a lot older. This haircut and mustache put at least ten years on me." "I can’t believe I did it." "What the hell did I just do?" "What will I do with all the time I used to spend washing, drying and combing my hair?" "It’s funny that I had a horseshoe flattop and a horseshoe mustache for just a short time." Then I really looked at the mustache Mr. Callahan had carved out for me, and I had to admit that Mr. Callahan had been right. My new mustache looked perfect with my new, perfectly-sheared haircut.
He had given me a perfect pencil mustache. It was really thin on the sides, and slightly pyramid-shaped, but not a whole lot. I saw some skin between my nose and the top of my mustache. He had shaved a slight gap in the center that just seemed to draw attention to the whole mustache. I was instantly enamored.
I was so engrossed in how I looked that I barely heard Mr. Callahan when he said, "Boy, that there is a god-d**ned work of art. I’ll beat your god-d**ned ass black and blue if you don’t wear it proudly. I doubt there’s ever been a god-d**ned man on this god-d**ned planet who looked better with a flattop than you do." He beamed with pride, and I thought he was fully justified in his pride. There was no doubt in my mind that Mr. Callahan had fulfilled his promise to deliver a perfect flattop.
Mr. Callahan took the cape off me, and then said, "Stop sitting there grinning like a god-d**ned idiot. You know you look perfect. Try to tear yourself away from the god-d**ned mirror, and get your sorry ass out of my chair."
I stood up, and looked at the pile of hair on the floor, and thought, "Holy s**t! Had all that hair really been on my head? WOW!"
Dad stood up, rubbed my head, and grinned at me. He said, "I like it. Now move out of my way, and let’s see if Sarge can make me look as good as you do!"
"Al, I’m an artist, not a god-d**ned miracle worker. Mother Nature’s done made sure you ain’t ever gonna look that god-d**ned good again, but I’ll see what I can do to make you look a little god-d**ned better."
I was dazed as I sat there waiting for Dad to get his haircut…A late-arriving customer said, "D**n it, I’ve gotta say, I’m disappointed I missed seeing the start of this haircut. I wish I could’ve seen it when Ralph started shearing you. Let me tell you, I’ve seen a few sheep sheared in my day, and I don’t think any of them had as much hair on them as there is on the floor over there."
Once Dad had his hair cut, he pulled his wallet out. Mr. Callahan said, "Al, put your god-d**ned wallet back in your pocket. Hell, I’ve had more god-d**ned fun today than I’ve had in years. I oughta pay Russell for the god-d**ned pleasure of making him look like he looks."
One of the customers piped up and said, "D**n it, Ralph. I’ve been coming into your crappy shop twenty-five years, and you’ve never gave me so much as a lollipop. I deserve a free haircut too."
"God-d**n it, Robert, don’t you be giving me no s**t. I should’ve been charging your sorry ass twice as much all these years, just to compensate for the fact that you’re a god-d**ned asshole. Sit your ass down, and I’ll deal with you in a god-d**ned minute."
Dad went over to the hat rack to get our hats, while Mr. Callahan and I shook hands. He said, "Russell, I’ve gotta say thank you. You just gave me some hope that not every god-d**ned young person in the whole god-d**ned world has lost their senses. Why don’t you see if you drag some of your friends’ sorry asses in here, and let’s see if we can make them look decent."
I said, "I’ll do what I can Mr. Callahan, but I don’t know. I think you’re right. To quote you, ‘I think every god-d**ned young person in the world has lost their senses’, and I don’t know why. This is so much nicer. Thanks for finding my ears for me."
Dad handed me my hat. I said, "I’m sorry Dad. I can’t put a hat on, and hide the beautiful haircut I just got." I headed to the door with my hat in my hand. I thanked Sarge again.
"I imagine we’ll both see you again next week, Ralph."
I nodded in agreement, and Mr. Callahan said, "You’d better, or I’ll come looking for your sorry ass and drag it back in here."
Then he turned to Dad and said, "I ain’t gonna let this boy, I mean young man, turn himself into a god-d**ned hippy again. I’m gonna see him every god-d**ned week for a long time, even if I have to track his ass down, and drag him kicking and screaming into this god-d**ned shop. Hell, who knows, my sorry ass might still be around and he can bring his son in here, and I can make your grandson look as good as I just made your son look. Now, if I could only find a way to make you look that god-d**ned good again."
I said, "Mr. Callahan, I don’t know if you helped Dad look any better, but you sure made me look a helluva lot better. You can bet your sweet ass that my ass will be sitting in that chair again next week."
We started toward the door (again) and I heard Mr. Callahan, "Robert, get your sorry ass out of my chair. These folks ain’t done with it yet."
I thought, "What else can he possibly do to us?"
He yelled, "Al, Russell, where the hell do you think you’re going? We’ve still gotta take some pictures of the after."
Dad and I had forgotten about the pictures, and had almost left the camera sitting there.
Dad made me sit in the chair, and took pictures of me from every angle, and then took a few pictures of me and Mr. Callahan. We started to leave (again) and Mr. Callahan said, "Al, get your sorry ass back in here. You’re gonna regret it if you don’t get a god-d**ned picture of the two of you."
I instantly knew Mr. Callahan was right. Dad explained how to operate the camera, and Mr. Callahan took several shots of us. (There’s one of the pictures that he took that is my prize possession. It’s hanging on the wall of my study right now. I was sitting in the barber chair and Dad was standing beside me. We both had our pipes in our mouths, looking like a younger and older version of the same person. Just about the only difference between us was my pencil-thin mustache and that fact that Dad had some wrinkles around the eyes and a lot of grey in his horseshoe. The look of love on Dad’s face moves me to tears, even now.)
We started toward the door (for the third time) and Sarge yelled, "Hey Russell, come back here. I want to shake your hand again."
We shook hands, and then he surprised me. He gave me an awkward hug. I looked at him, and there were tears in his eyes. "Russelll, I ain’t real good with this emotional s**t, so I’m gonna say this and then shut up. It took a lot of god-d**ned guts to do what you did today. You let me know if anyone gives you too much s**t, and I’ll help you deal with them." He cleared his throat. "It takes a real man to stand up for what he believes is right for himself. I know I gave you a lot of s**t today, but I am proud of you. The world would be a helluva lot better place if there were more young men like you in it."
He cleared his throat again. "Oh hell, I don’t know what I’m trying to say, but I’m very god-d**n proud of you. I didn’t recognize the boy who came in and sat down." He pointed to the mirror. "I might not’ve known the boy, but I know the man in that mirror. It’s the Russell I know and love. Welcome back."
We both stood there looking awkward, neither one of us knowing what to say or how to get out of the situation. Finally, he hugged me again and said, "Get your ass out of here before I say something else stupid!"
Dad and I finally left. We stopped outside. He put his hand on my shoulder. and turned me around and looked me up and down. There were tears in his eyes, and his voice broke when he said, "Thanks again, son." He paused a little to get his emotions under control, and then said, "I couldn’t be prouder of you than I am right now. You just gave me the best d**ned belated Christmas gift you could ever give me. You gave me my son back."
We stood in a dazed stupor until the silence became awkward. At the same time we both said, "I..."
After a brief laugh, I said, "Age before beauty. Go ahead Dad."
Tears leaked from his eyes. "I don't know what to say. I had despaired of ever seeing hair above your shoulders, much less seeing your ears." He paused. "I never dreamed I'd see..." he pointed at my head, "this. I'm afraid it's a dream and I'm going to wake up and see your d**ned ponytail!"
"It is a dream, Dad, or at least the fruition of a dream I've had a long time."
"You should've told me, Russell. It sounds like you went through hell and I didn't recognize it. I'm sorry, son. I'm really sorry I wasn't there for you. I should've been. If you ever want to talk about it, I'll listen."
My gut reaction was, "There ain't no god-d**ned way I can tell you all of this!"
I didn't say that though. I did say, "You can't hold yourself responsible. It's not your fault I was too stubborn to give in and and talk to you. Well, maybe it is your fault...I got my stubbornness from you!"
"Dad come here." I hugged him and said, "Thank you... just thank you. Thank you for being so supportive. Thanks for understanding."
"You're thanking me? I don't think Shakespeare could've expressed what I'm feeling right now. I don't know how I'm ever gonna thank you."
I got so choked up I couldn’t say anything. I looked at him for a second, and then reached out and hugged him again. We hugged for a long time.
When we finally broke apart, Dad said, "Well, holy hell. You just became another ‘only kid on the planet’."
I said, "Huh?"
He said, "Not are you the only kid on the planet with a flattop and a pipe in his mouth, you’re the only kid on the planet who’ll hug his father in public."
I think I blushed, but I had sense enough to say, "Dad, I’m proud to say you’re my father. I only hope I can be as good a person as you are. Thanks for understanding about today…and I really am sorry about the way I’ve acted over the few years."
It was Dad’s turn to blush. "Don’t worry about it."
After another emotional pause, I said, "Enough with the emotional s**t, Dad. Let's get in the truck before ice forms on my head."
Once we were in the truck, Dad reached out and rubbed the sides of my hair. I was completely hairless there, and the warmth of his hand was almost hot. I had already felt the sides of my head dozens of times, but I was shocked by how different it felt for someone else to touch it. Nothing had prepared me for how strange his hand would feel, and how incredibly awesome it would be. Somehow it was different from when he’d made me shave my head.
I couldn’t keep my hands off my head. The feel of the bristles and smooth sides was almost a drug, and I was already addicted to it.
I had noticed Dad (and other men with flattops) frequently rubbed their heads, and I hadn’t understood it. I completely understood the compulsion after rubbing my head a few times. The realization that I was now one of the men with a flattop sent a jolt of sheer joy through me. I couldn’t wait to see another man with a flattop, so I could acknowledge his by touching my own.
Then I thought, "Oh, s**t! What’s Mom gonna say?"