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Tuckers Trim by Max Buzz
For the past 3 years I had been working on a ranch that catered for adventurous holiday makers in the back country. It was a stunning place with beautiful scenery and all the outdoor pursuits you could ever hope to enjoy right on your doorstep, fishing, hunting walking and even some biking trails that my boss had developed over the past few years. I was a host in the lodge, picking up guests from the local town a good hour and half’s drive away around the stunningly clear water of the lake the ranch wrapped around. I adored my job and it gave me plenty of down time to kayak, paddle board and horse ride when I wasn’t attending to the daily needs of guests. We had a team of guides who offered different activities and we all bunked together in a cottage set just back from the lodge. In the quiet season it was just a few of us my favourite being Tucker, a attractive guy in his mid twenties with a mop of brown hair that was his crowning glory.
I just sat down with my dinner when Tucker walked into the cottage, he had been out hiking with guests and looked like he felt every one of the 20 miles they had hiked. He dropped his pack by the door and lumped down into the chair opposite me, stretching his legs out and resting his hands on his head.
"Shattered" he sighed, "They were fit, no stopping every 10 minutes like the normal clientele who have never seen anything more than a gentle incline!"
"You look exhausted" I agreed, shovelling more food into my mouth and chewing ravenously. "Grab some stew I did enough for both of us I knew you wouldn’t be back till late!"
He smiled widely showing his perfect teeth and lighting up his brown eyes. "Thanks dad!" He replied using my nickname that everyone gave me despite the fact that I was the same age as the rest of the guides and hosts at the ranch. "Feels weird when it’s so empty doesn’t it" he said as he filled his bowl with stew, referring to the fact that during winter we had a skeleton crew.
"I know it’s odd not having to jostle about for space, I think John is back on Friday though and it’ll only be another month and we’ll be wishing we had the space again!" I watched as he had his back turned, his hair was getting really long even by Tucker standards, it hung down to his collar and flicked out at the ends. It was the same on the sides where it lapped liberally over his ears. The bangs fell over his eyebrows and did the same flick that happened around the rest of his head giving him a playful look as if he had been wearing a helmet his entire life. He turned and sat down opposite me again as I finished my stew.
"You off tomorrow too?" He questioned as he started to shovel the food into his mouth.
"Yeah, once the guests leave I’m free as a bird we haven’t got anyone in for another three nights and they drove themselves so I don’t even have to take them into town!"
"Damn, that’s a pain I was hoping to catch a lift with you!" Tucker said through mouthfuls of the stew, "I guess it’ll wait though when are you in next?"
"I’ll be picking up guests on Friday but you won’t get a chance to spend time in town until I take them back the following Monday I guess?" He nodded, "what did you need anyway?" I questioned to which he just pointed at his head with his fork.
"This" He replied with a smile dropping his spoon in his bowl and running his hands through his hair, holding it back off his forehead before letting it flop back into place and resuming eating. "I need it cut desperately" He managed to mumble through a mouthful.
"I see what you mean" I said as I stood to take my bowl to the sink, I tousled his hair with my free hand as I walked past feeling how soft it was under my hand. "Maybe we could get the farm hand to do a sheep shearing demonstration on you" I joked as I dropped my bowl in the sink.
He grumbled, "very funny" he mumbled through another mouthful. "I just need a ride to town thanks, I haven’t been in for months anyway so it’ll be nice!"
"There is one problem with your plan" I replied leaning back on the bench and looking at him, his back turned. "The hairdressers closed last week, saw the sign the other day when I went to get supplies!"
"No?" He said turning to look at me, "You’re winding me up!" His eyes scanning my face to see if I was pulling his leg.
"Afraid I’m not," I said as he turned in his seat to look at me. "You’re gonna have to wait till you’re on leave I guess and go to the city!" He looked at the floor, thinking about his options. "Hmmmm" he said thoughtfully, "I guess it can wait for a while, I haven’t got leave for another two months though and no way can I get to the city on my days off!"
I nodded, the city was a good 4 hours return, our small town being the only remote outpost in the back of beyond. "I’ll sort you out" I said as he looked at me puzzled. "I have some bits, I can do it for you! You can’t go another two months surely, you won’t be able to see if it gets any longer!"
Tucker smiled nervously, "have you ever cut hair before?" He said sounding unsure.
"Sure I have, I used to do my brothers and a few friends in college so I know the basics! Nothing special though!" I added as he stood up and added his bowl to the sink.
I flopped down on the sofa as he started to wash the dishes, knowing the drill if you cook you don’t wash up! "Define nothing special?" He asked warily obviously weighing up his options.
"Well I can manage an undercut or a basic cut, I’m excellent at buzzcuts but that’s about it!" I studied him as he scrubbed the plates head bent and bangs flopping forward.
"So a trim is off the cards?" He questioned, "shorter by quite a bit?"
"I can try and trim you up if you want but my clipper work is a lot better than the scissors.."
He nodded again, pulling the plug and drying his hands off before running them through his hair and looking at himself in the window behind the sink. "This has been my style for so long I don’t know how I would look any different way!" He continued as he held his hair off his forehead. "It’s never shorter than this" he gestured letting his bangs flop down on his forehead and indicating with his fingers a pair of scissors taking off a couple of centimetres to just above the brow.
"Well I can try and trim you up a little and see what you think when I’m done!" I looked him over as he stood leaning on the doorway nervously chewing his lip as he did when he was thinking. "Worst case is it’s shorter than you’re used to and it grows back, it’s only hair!" I added lightly as he wandered over and took the couch opposite.
He turned to sit sideways on out his feet up across the rest of the couch. "True," he nodded as he instinctively ran his fingers through his hair again. "It does grow pretty quick I guess." He went on smoothing it down before running his hands through it yet again. He was really weighing up his options as he tried to gauge how much hair he had to loose.
"Why don’t we level the playing field? You give me a haircut first and I’ll fix you up when I’m done? That way we are both in the same boat!" He looked at me eyes wide, "Tucker, I have a buzzcut it’s the same length all over! You would be hard pressed to mess that up, you just keep clipping until it’s all the same length!"
He nodded and smiled, "ok cos I haven’t got any skills! I don’t know man, you sure you wanna trust me to do your hair?"
I smiled, "yup!" I said sitting upright and slapping my hands on my knees. "It’s been a while since I had a trim and it’s easier than trying to do it myself!" I went on as I rubbed my head and felt the growth since the last time I had the number 2 guard clip me down. It must be at least a number 6 by now I thought as it started to flirt with the tops of my ears and grow slowly down my forehead.
He started over at me probably thinking that by his standards I was a long way off needing a haircut! But he knew how short I usually wore my hair. "Like now?" He said sounding shocked.
"Yeah, come on!" I said standing up and putting my hands on my hips. "You’re looking like you’re gonna chicken out of giving me a free haircut!" He nodded and sat up too, "plus you need to shower anyway so if I trim you up now then we have all day tomorrow to go fishing or whatever we wanna do!"
He stood and held out his hand assertively, "deal" he said as I grasped his hand and pulled him towards me. I was much stronger than Tucker about half a foot taller and at least half his body weight again. He laughed nervously as I grabbed him around the neck in a gentle headlock, releasing his hand and playfully tousling his soft tresses as I held him under my arm in mock taunt.
He didn’t fight me, "very funny" he said as he looked up at me innocent and nervous his hair all messed up.
I smiled and released him, patting him on the back firm but friendly. "I’ll get my kit, you go and grab a chair and bring it to the bathroom."
Tucker nodded, "right you are dad!" Adding a mock salute as they all did when they joked about my bossy fatherly nature.
I went to the bathroom and grabbed my kit from under the sink. A pair of clippers with all the guards from a 1 to a 10 and a pair of crude hairdressing scissors with a comb made of half fine and half wide teeth. I placed them artfully on the shelf above the sink in size order from smallest to largest with the scissors and comb at the end of the row all neat. The mirror hung above them lit with a basic single which stuck out from the wall above it. The bathroom was large enough with a stand up shower and a toilet completing its spartan interior. Tucker came with the chair and I took it from him and placed it in the middle of the room before plugging the clippers into the socket on the wall.
"Right!" I said as he lurked in the doorway looking nervous as he bit his lip. I laughed, "no need to worry mate!" I added, as I whipped my top off and put it neatly on top of the cistern for the toilet leaving me stood in just shorts over my underwear. "You’ll want to take your socks off Tucker or you’ll end up with them covered in hair!"
He nodded leaning against the doorway as he pulled them off and threw them behind him into the hallway. "What about my top?" He asked as he pulled at the front of his khaki T-shirt.
"You can leave it on until I do your hair if you want but it’s up to you! But you’ll wanna take it off before I do yours obviously!" I stated before dropping a tiny bit of oil onto the clippers and turning them on with a loud click and a low electric hum that filled the silent bathroom. I switched them off again and deftly fitted the number 2 guard. "Right my friend I said, lowering myself into the seat in front of the mirror. Tucked stood up from his leaning position and walked over toward me where I held up the clippers to him. Watching his reflection in the mirror.
He grabbed them from me tamely and looked them over for a second as he weighed them in his hand like he was feeling a new hammer or spanner he had picked up from a toolbox. "Where do I begin?" He asked as I chuckled and smiled at him in the mirror.
"Turn them on, but flicking this switch here!" I said as I gestured for him to show me the clippers and pointed at the black switch on the side. He did as he was told and the hum filled the room again. "Now start wherever you want and just run them all over until it’s all the same length!" I instructed as he studied the back of my head trying to decide where to start.
"Ok, here goes!" He exclaimed with a wince as he pushed the clippers up the back of my head slowly. The first pass left a smattering of hair falling down onto my shoulders and onto the floor. "This is easy enough isn’t it!" He said sounding shocked as he made more and more passes slowly and carefully up the back of my head slowly working his way around.
I shivered as a clump of hair hit my shoulder and tickled as it brushed past on its way to the floor. My left ear was now uncovered and Tucker moved around to the right side. "You’re doing great, told you it would be hard to mess up!" I added reassuringly. I leant my head to the left giving him better access to my right side as he made short work of clipping me down to an even length. "Just the top to go now." I said smiling at him in the mirror before he came to stand in front of me and looked down at me wondering how to go about the top of my head.
He steadied himself and advanced on the centre of my head with the clippers. "Straight down the middle!" He exclaimed as he drove the clippers back across my head.
I laughed, "no turning back now then?" I asked stating the obvious. "What’re you thinking for your hair then my friend?" I prodded as he made another pass along the top of my head.
"I thought you said you would just trim it up?" He said sounding unsure, "is that ok?" He continued clipping leaving just one strip of uncut hair on my head the rest a dark brown stubble.
"Yeah, that’s what we agreed I just wondered if that’s what you still wanted that’s all!" I added, hoping he had a change of heart and was ready to sacrifice the boyish mop for a good short crop. He didn’t reply but he bit his lip in thought, some doubt there about the fate of his hair I thought to myself. I looked up as he made the last pass and flicked the clippers off. "Perfect, good job I reckon!" I said as I rubbed my scalp and felt the prickly velvet that covered it. I was lucky in that I didn’t grow a lot of hair on the back of my neck so I never had to worry too much about an outline and I could easily do around my own ears and sideburns. The truth is I only had Tucker cut my hair as some kind of bonding experience hoping it would get me a bit closer to giving him a similar cut. I could easily manage doing my own hair without his help.
"I’m impressed I think I did a good job!" Tucked exclaimed before going back to biting his lip nervously. The clippers still in his hand as he stood back to the wall next to the sink looking over me.
I stood up and brushed the hair off the chair, "yeah I’m happy!" I said as I finished and looked in the mirror inspecting the cut. "You could become my regular barber if you’re not careful" I joked as I took the clippers off him and placed them on the shelf feeling them slightly warm in my hands after having been on for a good 10 minutes at least. "Now let’s see if you want me to become your regular barber!" I joked, punching him affectionately on the shoulder before he straightened up and looked over at the chair.
"Ok!" He said, sounding like he was trying to reassure himself as he took a step towards the chair.
"Better take this off," he said as he pulled at the neck of his T-shirt and pulled it forward.
The shirt came up and his back was bent showing his toned physique as he hunched forward. As he kept pulling it got to his head and lifted his hair away from his nape. As if in slow motion the T-shirt broke free releasing his hair and it flopped back into place looking slightly disheveled as he added his T-shirt to where mine was and made his way to the chair.
He sat down feet planted and hands on his knees looking like he was braced for what was about to come trying to sure himself up.
"I’ll comb it out first and then we can work out what we’re doing yeah?" I stated more than questioned. He nodded and I reached out for the comb, I started at the back a hand steadying on top of his head feeling the soft hair beneath it. I pushed his head forward a bit allowing me better purchase to attack the thick growth at the back with the comb. It had few tangles and as I combed it I removed my hand from the top of his head and combed it through a little with my fingers. Savouring the way it felt as I did.
"I usually have it washed first when I get it cut?" Tucker questioned his head still bowed as my hand returned to the top of his head. I gently sunk my fingers into his hair grasping a fistful and used it to manipulate his head back so he was looking at me in the mirror.
"I’m afraid this isn’t a salon Tucker" I said half laughing. He looked back at me in the mirror his hair still held gently in my hand. I released it and patted it down combing through with my fingers as his eyes looked down at the floor.
"Yes, sorry I didn’t think!" He said, almost embarrassed. I felt bad.
"I can wash it over the sink for you if you want but it doesn’t really help a lot!" I said. "I prefer to cut hair dry anyway, I find it easier as it lays more naturally!" I really was hoping I could somehow manage to persuade him to let me give him a cut that didn’t have to lay any way I n particular. I had visualised cropping his thick locks down to a uniform buzz like he had given me almost as soon as I set eyes on him the first time. That was a year and a bit ago now and this was the closest I had ever been. I sometimes made a casual joke about him needing a cut but he always just shrugged it off. I couldn’t help myself occasionally and I would give his head a tousle as I walked past. It was always in a mocking way and he always laughed although I could tell it annoyed him.
"Ok, you know best!" He nodded submissively as I went back to combing out his hair working my way slowly through it. I savoured every opportunity to touch it without being too obvious. It took everything I had to not grasp the scissors and just shear off a handful right at the scalp leaving him no option but to submit to the clippers. I continued to the top of his hair slowly methodically combing, eventually I came to the bangs and scooped them up off his forehead. "They’re starting to get in my eyes!" He acknowledged as I held them in my hand still like a trophy. His gaze came to meet me as I came to stand in front of him, letting them flop down on his forehead and reinforce the case that yes they were starting to grow into his line of vision.
I lent back on the sink in front of him. "Tucker, it’s decision time!" I announced my arms folded in front of my chest head cocked to the side. He looked up at me questions running through his mind. "You said a trim but you sounded unsure?" I bluffed. Knowing exactly what he wanted and meant when I asked him earlier how he wanted his treasured hair cut.
"Did I? I thought it was just gonna be a trim?" He went on, "but I don’t know? What do you think?" I was surprised by his hesitation, I had thought it would be flat out refusal of anything other than an attempted trim.
"I think you could go shorter!" I said matter of fact, shifting anxiously on my feet as my heart rate climbed a little. I was reeling him in nicely, "your hair is a bit boyish!" I stated.
"I know, I’m just so used to it now!" He replied almost incredulously as he stood up and looked past me into the mirror. I stepped aside allowing him to get a closer look as he leaned in. "I feel like it’s been like this for as long as I can remember unless I have a scissor happy stylist who takes a bit too much off!" He lifted his bangs off his face with both hands and held them back off his forehead where he held them flat against his scalp. A sure sign of someone thinking of going shorter, trying to visualise what it would look like with no hair covering their face.
He released the bangs and stood back a bit, "how much shorter are you thinking then?" I probed as he sat down again with a sigh. He shrugged and continued looking in the mirror craning his neck slightly to get a clearer view.
"I don’t know man, I’m torn!" He sighed again hands running through his hair which he had effectively signed notice on. "I had been thinking a bit about it lately...." he trailed off.
"Thinking about what?" I asked hopeful that this was the green light for the buzzcut.
"I have been thinking it’s a pain to have long hair, but I think it suits me! I know it suits me!" He blurted out, "but I’m curious! And I kinda want that feeling of just getting out of the shower and being ready in two minutes and not having to dry this!" He shrugged and looked down at the floor. "I just don’t know, trim me up to start with and if it doesn’t go well then we just call it a day and buzz me down!"
"Final answer?" I asked one hand on his neck fondling a lock of hair at his nape the other on his shoulder. I was elated and trying to conceal my excitement.
"Final answer!" He responded sat submissively in the chair head bowed hair falling forward.
"Ok then, if you’re sure?" I questioned making sure I had his approval for what I was going to orchestrate as a big makeover.
"Yup, I’m sure just start cutting man you’re killing me!" I said almost pleading now his mind was made up the feet were starting to get cold.
"You’re happy that if this doesn’t go well I’m going to buzz your hair like I just did with mine?" Sealing the fate of his thick brown locks. Again he nodded so I reached for the scissors.
Out of nervousness he shut his eyes and winced as I primed the scissors a few times filling the room with their metallic noise. I paused a second and wondered where to start before getting a rush of excitement and lifting a chunk of his floppy bangs up from his forehead. I went to take a decent bit off the end that would have left them sitting just above his brows about where they normally sat after a trip to the hairdressers for him. His eyes remained closed and I steeled myself as I repositioned the scissors close to his scalp. I felt a pang of guilt as I looked at his prized locks but the chance was too great. With that I closed the scissors on his hair and they let out a crunch as his hair came away in my hand. One eye opened and he looked up at me where I stood paralysed with a chunk of his bangs in my hand, the other eye opened and they almost popped out of his socket as he clocked the length of the dangling lock. Instinctively he reached up and fumbled to find a tuft if hair no longer than a couple of centimetres sticking up.
"You said you were gonna trim it?!" He exclaimed as he shot up and stared in the mirror. "That’s not a trim!"
"I know," I replied still holding the chunk of hair in one hand and the scissors in the other. "I’m sorry, I guess I could try and even it up for you?" I said innocently not admitting that I had done it on purpose although we both knew.
"F***s sake, I guess that’s it then!" He said stepping back from the mirror and sitting down heavily. "You get your wish! You’ll have to buzz it all off like you wanted!" He continued as he buried his hands in his hair feeling the length of it and the thickness.
I stood behind him feeling bad and nervously smoothed his hair down as he went back to sitting head down hands planted on knees. "You told me you wanted a buzzcut Tucker!" I said as he looked up at me in the mirror. "You weren’t sure enough to say you wanted one but you agreed to having one if the trim didn’t work out. You didn’t flat out refuse, you want one you were just scared to ask!"
"I never, well I don’t know! It doesn’t matter you’ve chosen for me now anyway!"
I nodded, picking up the clippers with the 2 guard still attached. He watched me like a hawk as I came to stand behind him and pushed his head forwards chin on chest. Without anymore hesitation and the initial theatrics over I began the transformation.
Click the clippers came to life filling the room with their deep hum. I ran my fingers up the back of his head and held his hair away from the nape. The clippers approached slowly until they sat vibrating on his neck just below the hairline. I let the hair flop down obscuring part of them from view before I started to slowly drive them upward. They buzzed deeper as they connected with the virgin locks and made a slow path up the back of his head. The hair came away smoothly at first gathering momentum as more of it came off and fell toward the floor. I caught it with my spare hand as I reached his crown and pulled the clippers away. It felt so soft in my palm, I fiddled with it a second before dropping it into his lap.
"Well s**t!" He said quietly as he fondled the shorn locks. "That’s a lot of hair!" He added as I made the second pass of the clippers slowly up the back of his head expanding the velvet brown stubble strip. His hair came away easily in the path of the clippers slipping down steadily to the floor where I felt it soft and lifeless beneath my toes. Two passes and already his hair was more copious than mine had been with a full heads worth.
"A lot more to come off yet!" I joked as his fingers remained tangled in the cut hair.
"Yep." He stated no emotion before flicking the hair onto the floor and steeling himself again with his hands on his knees. I continued the attack on his hair as it started to pile on his shoulders. I held his head forward gently with my palm feeling his soft springy hair under my hand. I let go and readjusted moving to the left side now that the back was a uniform peach fuzz length. I pushed my left hand back through the hair on top of his head grasping it gently in my fingers and manipulating his head to the right side. His hair felt so silky and I savoured the chance to touch it before it was shorn. My free hand made short work of the side of his head slowly. Eventually revealing his ear and leaving hair raining down into his lap where it gathered in a large pile. I finished my last drive up his left sideburn and released the fistful of hair on top.
"Wow!" He exclaimed as I paused a second, the shorn side of his head contrasting beautifully with the lapping locks on the other side and his generous bangs.
"It’s a bit different isn’t it!" I added stating the obvious!
"S**t yeah!" He said almost managing a smile, his hand reached up and rubbed the stubble on the back of his head sending a cascade of shorn hair to the floor as he moved. "Feels pretty good!" He admitted as he felt the prickly stubble.
I grabbed a fist of hair from on top again as he spoke, "good I’m glad you’re enjoying it!" I said. "I knew you were contemplating the chop!"
He smiled, "I had thought about it a couple times I’ll admit but I didn’t think today I would be getting shorn like a sheep when I got in from work! It’s a bit of a surprise for sure. I just hope I look ok!" He added looking up at me in the mirror.
"You’ll look great" I said releasing the fist of hair and readjusting gathering more between my fingers and pushing his head to the left. My clippers worked slowly removing what was a good regular mans haircut worth of hair from the right side. The floor was littered with soft brown hair and I savoured the feel of it under my toes. It gathered on his shoulder like some kind of small animal before getting too heavy under its own weight and spilling down to the floor or into Tuckers lap.
"I can see both my ears!" He exclaimed as I finished the right side.
"I don’t think I’ve ever seen your ears!" I admitted. "Or all of your forehead for more than a couple seconds!" I joked.
"Yeah cut those bangs off please they’re driving me mad now!" He said, they were the last part of the transformation.
"Ok boss!" I said grabbing his bangs and pulling his head back like a bootcamp recruit. The first pass went where the initial chunk came out leaving hair raining down towards me as he looked up at the ceiling eyes closed. "Game over mop top!" I joked as I made another pass pulling the hair away as the clippers severed it and holding it up like a trophy before dropping it to the floor. A few more passes and I caught the hair in my hand every time feeling how soft it was. The last swathe of long hair fell to the floor and tuckers metamorphosis was complete. I flicked off the clippers and placed them on the shelf and he opened his eyes looking to the mirror straining to see.
"Stand up and have a proper look!" I said, gathering the hair off his shoulders and holding it in my hands. He stood and a mass of hair fell onto the floor.
"Wow!" He said rubbing his head and smiling his perfect teeth showing. "I don’t hate it!" He said turning this way and that to get a better look.
"I’ll have to do the outline with the beard trimmer." I said, "but I think you look great!"
He nodded, "never realised I had so much hair!" He gasped as he looked at the floor and saw the mess of brown locks that covered it.
"I know, but you don’t have much anymore!" I said as I rubbed his clipped head and felt the sandpaper fuzz feel under my hands.