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What's up with Frank by P.J.
What's up with Frank
This story builds off of 'Kyle saves the day'
With Kyle taken care of and on his way, Frank turned and took in the sight of the mop haired young teenager sitting in the big red barber chair.
Now that Kyle had paid and left, I took a moment to digest what had happened here. I realized that at the same time I was being chastened by him, Kyle was helping me understand that I needn't be so harsh on these younger guys. By playing to the parents, I'd been alienating the boys. This time of year was always particularly stressful for me. So many parents wanting their little darlings shaved up for the summer. So many anxious boys. Fearful of Frank with his huge clippers and quick hands. No discussion with the boy, just a quick consultation with mom or dad, and off came the hair, sometimes a full years worth in one sitting. Yes, granted, as a barber there was something rewarding in seeing a young lad transformed from a shaggy sheep into a sharp looking young man. However, I never got to see them smile and enjoy a haircut as the relaxing experience it was meant to be though. They were always crying, sometimes silent tears sometimes not so silent. They always left dejected and giving me a hateful stare. It should be the parent incurring the wrath, not me. Starting today I'm going to try a different tack, one that might lessen the stress level in general, and change the popular opinion of 'ol Frank the butcher barber. Lets just see.
I turned and walked to greet my next customer politely. Pausing to take in the sight. Kevin had an incredible mane of thick honey blonde hair, expertly styled into the popular side swoop Emo look. His was particularly long, the thick side bangs swooping from the crown of his head, then attempting to cross his forehead, in true Emo fashion, they had to be almost a foot long. Between his fringe and side bangs, you couldn't see anything of his face above the bridge of his nose. His head was almost constantly doing the Bieber swoop, or a hand was pushing the huge heavy bangs off to the side.
I gave a nod to his dad, Mike, who I'm sure was none to pleased with me at the moment, having embarrassed him, and manipulated him away from what I'm sure would have been my first tearful confrontation of the day, forcing a #1 butch on young master Kevin here. I remembered Kevin from last year, similar mop, left the shop in tears, with a severe crew cut, and a chuckling dad.
This year, instead, Kevin was now going to be getting a trim for summer, for the first time being able to tell me what he had in mind. Quite likely having input for the first time in his life, in this shop anyways. I was determined to have a satisfied Kevin leave the shop today, not a sulking crying one. I was pretty sure I could talk him into parting with at least a significant part of this lush mane too. Not as satisfying as a clipper shave, but he'd look much better and be happy about it too if I played this right. I might even be able to persuade him to come back before school started for a trim up, hmm. "Good morning young master Kevin. I don't believe I've seen you here since possibly Thanksgiving time if memory serves. We gave you a bit of a trim on these lush Emo locks. I understand that your dad has given you permission to get your hair cut as you would like it today, do I have that right? No summer butch. Is that correct?" I was looking from Kevin to Mike to see if things had changed in the few minutes I'd been gone.
I had done as bidden, and climbed into the big chrome and red leather chair "the electric chair" as most of us guys called it, and was awaiting my fate. I know I heard dad say I could just get a trim, however I wanted to get it cut, a few minutes ago when the cool guy and his grandfather were here. Now I was going to find out if that was just lip service from dad to keep things quiet, or if was really true.
I couldn't help but squirm a bit as Frank walked back over to me. As he greeted me, he took out a clean cape and draped it around me, quickly producing a sterri strip too, and wrapping it all around my neck and fastening it tightly. He pulled my thick wavy locks back up through the neck opening. Yikes, I was well and truly trapped now. "Good morning sir" I replied, gulping, and looking tentatively at my dad. I knew he wasn't happy with Frank, but he wasn't mad at me, for now. I desperately wanted to know if he'd change his mind now that the cool kid with the long hair was gone. Would I be able to get my hair just trimmed up, just as I wanted?
I knew that dad had brought me here mainly because I'd screwed up on one of my first driving lessons. Admitting I hadn't seen the car coming. Dad had barked "STOP! Don't you see that car passing behind us" as I was backing out of the driveway. When I'd said "no, I couldn't see it" and reflexively running my hand through my heavy bangs to move them off my face, I knew I'd slipped up, bad. He'd grabbed a handful of my hair and said that Saturday we'd be eliminating my vision problem with a trip to Franks for a nice short summer butch now that school was out. He also indicated that we wouldn't be letting things get this out of hand again, we'd be keeping it short for the foreseeable future. I desperately wanted my driver's license so I didn't want to challenge him at the time. All the same, I was truly panicked at the thought of losing my lush Emo locks. Really though, I was 16, couldn't I at least have some input and actually get a somewhat decently styled teenage haircut instead of a freaks and geeks butch?
I held my breath as dad answered Frank. "Well Frank, you were correct, Kevin was getting a #1 butch when we came in here. You've also made a good point about him being afraid of this place, largely because of what I make you inflict on him. He's 16, going to be a Junior this fall. Maybe it's time we see if he can start making some of these choices on his own. Let him tell you what he wants, you cut it, and we'll see how it turns out. It's got to be significantly shorter of he expects to see well when he's behind the wheel of a car. I'm not mandating that you get it clipper shaved though son. You tell frank how you want it cut. If I don't like what you and Frank do, you'll have a chance to defend your choice, and we'll negotiate, I promise not to strong arm. Sound fair?" With that he walked over to the waiting area chairs and picked up the morning paper.
I couldn't hide my shock.(well I could , I was pretty sure no one could see my eyes under my mop) I also knew dad well enough that he was testing me, giving me enough rope to hang myself with, if my choice left it too long, I was pretty sure we were headed back into short butch territory.
"Yes dad" I replied quietly. I felt Frank turning the chair to face the big mirror. "Well alright then" Frank replied as he turned the big chair. Hmm, I thought, that had never happened before, I usually faced out, and didn't get to witness the destruction while it happened. I usually only got to see the resulting convict look at the end of the cut. "What is it that you'd like me to do with this impressive mane today then, master Kevin?" Frank said. as he ran his hand through the thick shank in back. This was all happening so fast I hadn't had time to really think about what I might actually want for a haircut. I knew my mop was way too long. Truth be told it was the reason I hadn't seen that car, I'd just never admitted it out loud. I grabbed my thick fringe, pushing it and holding it off to the side , studying the face that was usually covered in heavy thick honey blonde locks, looking back at me in the mirror. My precious locks. The same locks that were the envy of half the guys in my class, and more than a few girls too. There'd been a lot of discussion amongst my friends as to how long I'd have em after school let out, knowing my dad's reputation. I also knew that before too much longer there was a good chance I'd be seeing a classmate or two moping through the door here too. Yikes. My stomach was churning. I was thinking frantically. Suddenly I knew what I wanted to try for.
"Well sir, I have an idea, I'm not sure if I can describe it very good, but I'll try." I replied. Frank interjected with "how about if you break it down into what you want the sides, back, and your fringe, or bangs to look like, will that help?" Hmm, thinking fast I asked "Can I show you a picture sir?" I asked, thinking quickly. I reached into my pocket, grabbing my ever present cell phone, and pulled it out from under the cape. Searching frantically through pictures on the phone, I found the ones I wanted. Blowing it up as big as I could on the screen I showed it to Frank. We conversed for several minutes, Frank picking up locks of my hair, and through the reflection in the big mirror, indicating how much would be cut from the various areas.
If this worked, I would be ecstatic. I'd been fixated on the haircut my best mate Rob had gotten several weeks ago. We had similar hair types, and he'd had the same Emo style as me, only nowhere near as long, before getting it cut. I'd be happy if I could get something close to his cut, and I was pretty sure dad wouldn't have too much of an issue with it either. I was also shocked to know that Frank could and would in fact cut it like that, it wasn't a clipper type haircut. I'd only ever seen him with the huge clippers in his hands, mowing off all the hair in their path. What's up with Frank anyway.
Frank asked if I would leave the phone out so he could refer to it as needed. I nodded yes. He also asked that I pay close attention to him, as he would be asking for my confirmation before and during the cutting . I happily replied "Absolutely sir". Wow, I thought to myself, taking a last look at my lush thick locks in the mirror, this wasn't the Frank I knew. This was like I was dreaming. I knew this was the end of my long cool Emo look, I couldn't imagine leaving here with hair cut like Robs instead of a butch though. I couldn't remember ever getting a quasi normal haircut from Frank for summer.
This had gone smoothly so far. Mike had been kind of cool in his discussion, I hoped he'd calm down completely before his next appointment anyway. I was pretty sure I was only cutting Kevin's hair today.
The pictures Kevin had shown me we actually quite a simple style, albeit much, much shorter than his current mop. He was certainly going to sacrifice a lot of his mane, even without the clippers ever touching his head. I was reasonably sure Mike wouldn't object, we'd have to see though. Since this wouldn't be a clipper cut it would take a few minutes longer too, oh, well. At least I hopefully wouldn't be trying to calm a sobbing victim at the end. This could be a pleasant experience for all. I was actually looking forward to getting my hands into that lush mane. I loved cutting a nice healthy head of hair. Prior to cutting Kyle's a few minutes ago, it had been a long time since I'd done anything more than slide the clippers up under a lush mane and shave it off.
I fished a clean comb from the blue goo jar as the boys referred to it. Drying it on my ever present towel.
I began the sizable task of combing out master Kevin's lush mane. I have to admit, I did appreciate that his hair was clean and soft, extremely well taken care of. I loved the feel as the long locks slipped through my fingers as I made my way around his head. Completely combed down, it was impressive indeed. Thick, heavy , lots of body, nice soft waves to it. Come to think of it , this was a nice change. It was usually just clippers on!, hair off. I remarked "well Kevin, by the time we're done today, you won't need to spend but a minute or two on your hair after a shower, compared to the massive amount of time this must take to style now". Kevin laughed "well sir, believe it or not, I don't do much outside of towel drying this, putting a bit of heat protectant in it, and hitting it with a warm blow dryer for a few minutes. This new cut will probably take just as much time, especially if I have to start putting some type of product in it. I'm kind of excited to see if I need to or not actually. I'm kind of sad to see this go too sir, everybody as school thinks it's so cool."
While Kevin had been talking, I'd been sectioning off the top and huge bang mop. I asked if he thought this was sectioned as he wanted it. He stared critically into the mirror for a bit, turning his head slightly from side to side, I indicated where the back line was by touching his head. "I guess so sir, I'm kind of relying on you to know how to do it sir" he replied. "I've never really had the opportunity to have anything but buzzed type cuts sir."
"O.K. then son, here we go" This was going to be a layered cut. I'd been spraying down the dense bulk as we talked. I picked up the first vertical section on his left side, in front of his ear, all the way up to the parting. Holding it at the correct angle for the style he was wanting, Looking at him in the big mirror I said "here" indicating where I would be cutting, "not to short is it?" "No sir" Kevin replied, gulping audibly. I slid my fingers out a bit more so it would be left slightly longer. I could always cut more off later. SNIP! The first long locks, part of his luscious side bangs, roughly 6 inches or so, slid into his lap. I'd cut on an angle, leaving a bit more than an inch at the bottom, and two inches at the top. This would leave him with roughly the top third of his ear covered. I'd leave a bit more at the bottom as I worked my way along the side over the top of his ear. I caught Kevin sighing again, eyes darting from the mirror to his lap, as I sectioned off for the next cut. "Are you O.K. son" I asked quietly. I didn't want to embarrass him in front of his dad. He nodded, saying "This'll be quite a change sir. That's a lot of hair off. I hope it looks good." I worked steadily along the side, copious quantities of thick locks falling into his lap. The cut was coming along nicely though. Kevin never took his eyes off the mirror, watching my every move. I realized that even though clipper cutting was fast and easy, shear cutting was a very calming experience. I could still feel the tension in Kevin's neck, but there was calm quiet, no crying and carrying on. How pleasant , I thought.
I decided to do the opposite side next, instead of working my way around his head as I customarily do when I clipper cut. I wanted to see if I could have some fun with him, or torture him a bit, depending on his state of mind. He'd still feel the thick shag in back, while seeing the short sides.
I soon had the right side cut short too. Adding a sizable pile of locks to those already in his lap. I'd asked several times to consult the pics on his phone, trying to duplicate the lads cut in the pic as closely as possible.
Kevin fondled the soft thick locks laying in his lap. I heard a soft "wow, oh man" emanate from his lips.
With the sides cut down, master Kevin had a thick hank of top and bangs clipped audaciously up on top of his head. He also had this lush damp mane hanging from the back, well onto his shoulders. It was so full and thick, I almost hated to cut into it. Almost. I did want to get my hands into it and get started removing it though. "Now's your chance Kevin, how about a mullet" I quipped, grabbing a handful of the thick locks in back and tugging gently. He gave me a curious smile, and said "Uh, no thanks sir, not this time anyway". Wow, I actually got a smile out of him, that's a first, I thought to myself.
I consulted the pics again. Kevin must have been infatuated with this guys hair, because he'd captured it from several angles, giving me a very good idea as to the cut lengths all around the head. The lad in the pics was very handsome indeed. The haircut he had looked expertly executed too.
Addressing Kevin, I said "Now son, before I cut the back, I want to make sure I understand where you want it, lengthwise, at your nape. I picked up a long thick lock near his nape on the right side. I indicated just where his actual nape started."YOU want to have about this much hanging below your nape if I understand correctly , right?" I indicated about an inch and a half below his nape. He checked the pic and nodded, sighing, I would be cutting at least 4 inches off at the bottom, not to mention all the bulk that the layering would be removing as I moved up the back of his head. "We can start longer if you want Kevin" I said smiling at him through the mirror. "I can always take more off, I can't put it back on for you. I fully understand this is all new for you. We are removing quite a lot of hair too, this time at your request. Usually your dad dictates what's going to happen and you just sit stoically. I patted his shoulder softly, it'll be fine son, don't worry. You'll still have quite a head of hair left, and be quite handsome too, I might add."
" Oh, I know sir. This is a big change for me, definitely. It's not as bad as a butch, but it's a much, much shorter cut than I have now sir. I only hope when you're done I look half as good as Rob with it sir."
I looked down into my lap, I couldn't resist the urge, and picked up a handful, a Handful mind you, of the hair that had already been cut off. Good God that was a lot of hair. This almost felt like the days of getting a butch, all this hair in my lap. And Frank was just starting to cut the back. Starting to panic, I looked in the big mirror, I breathed a sigh of relief, I still had hair on the sides of my head, granted it was a lot shorter than when I came in here, but it wasn't shaved either. My ear wasn't even fully exposed. Whew.
I could feel Frank comb a section right through the middle of the back of my head, top to bottom. He had me bend my head down a bit, not like when he used the clippers but still down. I heard the snap snap of the shears, then saw the thick locks slide from my shoulder into my lap. Followed by another quick snip, then lots more long locks cascading down. I couldn't help it, I heaved a big sigh again. Oh, man, this was going to be sooo short. I heard Frank say "not to worry master Kevin, still lots of hair back here son." He proceeded to work his way from the center, around to each side, handfuls of my precious locks streaming into my lap as he snipped away. I could definitely feel less weight on my head now too.
This was such a different sensory experience than the awful butch cuts with the clippers though. Franks hands were constantly running through my hair, back and forth, up and down, it felt like a gentle scalp massage. It was great. Not like the teeth rattling, skull vibrating clippers mowing off everything in their path.
After a few minutes, The avalanche of hair slowed significantly. Frank was doing more combing than snipping now. " Well master Kevin, the worst is over back here I'd say. Do you want a look now before I tackle this mop?" Frank reached up and gave the huge clipped knot of bulk on top of my head a gentle tug. I was morbidly curious now, how bad did it look. I realized too that this was completely self inflicted, not dad s doing. "Yes please sir" I said quietly. I also realized that because I was facing the mirror , and Frank was behind me, dad had likely only been able to catch a glimpse or two of what was going on. I was also pretty sure that Frank was deliberately making sure all my thick locks were landing in my lap and not on the floor behind me. God that was a lot of hair in my lap. How could there still be any left on my head I wondered. The cape was littered with my thick locks , from my shoulders to my lap.
Frank picked up a big hand mirror, and held it behind my head. Holy S**t. My mane was gone. it had been replaced by a much shorter plush taper. Franks hand disappeared into it as he ran it up through the plush shaggy taper. I was relieved to feel hair slipping through his fingers, not that rough bristly sandpaper feeling of the shaved butch. He held up a section so I could see how long it was. "Wow sir, you cut off a ton of hair sir. I am relieved that I still have a bit back there though, sir. It does look a lot like Robs cut too sir." Frank smiled at me.(he actually smiled at me, wow) " Yes", he said, " I think it's about the right length, I'd suggest we leave it as is for now and tackle your fringe, O.K.?" I nodded, checking Robs pic on my phone. I'd noticed that my shorter hair was a bit darker in color too, oh, well, all the longer lighter stuff was getting chopped so it would at least all be the same, I thought to myself. Hmm. I usually didn't even notice a color change, there was so little left on my head when I'd been butched, you could see right thru to skin.
With that I felt him unclip the thick hank on top of my head. He gave it a tug, and mounds of lush damp locks fell across my face, completely obscuring my vision. I huffed and wiggled my head, the thick bulk was tickling my nose and lips. Frank asked to see the pics once again.
Well, now that I've finished the back, we can move onto that luscious mane he has for bangs. I was pleasantly relieved that Kevin had remained quiet whilst huge quantities of his lush locks cascaded down into his lap as I reduced the Emo bulk on the back of his head to a fraction of its original length. This was shaping up to be a good looking cut, not clipper tight to be sure, but I was satisfied with it. I'd removed copious quantities of his mane, he would still look freshly cut when he stepped out of the shop, hopefully with a smile this time though. A very handsome young man was emerging from under that amazing mane.
If I can get him to part with as much bang bulk as I removed from the back, without a fight, this will have been my second pleasant cut of the day, not bad, I thought. And look at all the hair we've removed, quite a transformation actually, I observed.
Unclipping the huge hank on top of his head, and giving it a tug, it all feel away, cascading down to his chin. No wonder the lad had trouble seeing. I studied the pics again, the boy in the pics had fringe longer than I'd like to cut Kevin's, not by much, but it still hung low over his brow.
I pulled the thick heavy fringe to one side for a moment so Kevin could see in the big mirror. "Master Kevin, it would appear that your friends fringe is cut about here" I said, indicating Kevin's nose bridge. "I'd suggest with yours, that we go just a bit shorter to start" I indicated a small measure below the bottom of his eyes. It wasn't much shorter but with his hair texture it would lay better across his forehead. I wanted to see too how open minded he would be to suggestions from me. " Um, well, could you leave it longer for now sir, and we can see. It might need to be a bit shorter, but as you said, you can't put it back on right" he said, giving me a small hopeful smile. "Yes, of course son, we can try that" I replied, returning his smile. The lad did love long hair, I'll give him that.
Combing the thick curtain of hair straight sown again, I slowly snipped my way across his face, long thick locks falling away, adding a crowning layer to the bulk in his lap. This would be the last of the long hair removed. I felt him sag a bit as the last long locks slid down into his lap. Studying the pics again for reference, I did a bit of texturizing on the longish thick top , and along the edge of the fringe, softening the edge. I was basically done with the cut now, except for shaving his neck, and cleaning up the young adult fuzz that was developing in front of his ears. Not too much older and he'll need to start shaving I thought to myself.
I picked up the peanut clippers, he was still too young for the straight razor, and lifted the thickly tapered hair up on the back of his neck, at his nape. As I turned the clippers on, Kevin jumped, "Wait sir, what are you doing", he barked. "Please don't clip that off short sir, it's not too long, really" He got a panicked look on his face, brow furrowed with worry. "Relax son, I'm only cleaning up the neck fuzzies back here with these. I'll have to use them in front of your ears to I said" indicating the short stubble of adult side burns he was sprouting. "You aren't used to this because when I give you a butch, the clippers remove all of it at once, and I don't have to come back and do this. See." I quickly stroked the clippers, holding them upside down, and removed the heavy fuzz below his nape, leaving a crisp defined hairline below the taper. I made short work of the sideburns too. he relaxed after recognizing that his now short locks back there weren't in jeopardy of being completely removed.
Picking up a brush, and the blow dryer, good heavens I hardly ever used these, I thought. I finished drying Kevin's short plush hair. Consulting the pics once more, I asked " does your friend use any type of styling product on his hair Kevin?" "I don't actually know sir," Kevin replied. " I can try texting him and asking. " "Sure son" I said. "Meanwhile how about we consult your father and see if this will be an acceptable cut for him 'eh." "Um, hmm, well, I guess sir" Kevin said, I could hear the trepidation in his voice now. "I think we'll be fine son, let's see." I said patting his shoulder reassuringly. Kevin set about texting his friend whilst I turned the chair to face his father.
As I turned the chair I said " Well now Mike, we think we're finished here. Will this pass inspection with you?"
I watched Mike closely. Kevin was now facing him, eyes down fingers furiously dancing across the face of his cell phone. Kevin paused, and looked up hopefully at his dad.
Mikes jaw dropped. He had a genuinely shocked expression on his face. He started looking frantically around the shop. "Frank, please tell me where my son went. Who is this guy and where did he come from?"
I saw Kevin crack a small hopeful smile. "Really dad" was all Kevin could squeak out. Mike stood up and walked over to the chair. Kevin squirmed just a bit, painfully aware of the close scrutiny he was under by his dad. I stepped back to allow Mike to see the back of Kevin's head too. "Wow, son, I'm very impressed. This isn't a cut I would have chosen for you, for sure. I will admit, its light years better than when we came in here though, for sure. I'm not sure you'll be able to hear me well enough with this thick hair half covering your ears still though, and you also have a bit of fringe that looks like it will cover your eyes any time now. hmm. I don't know....
"Dad, I can hear you loud and clear, honestly. Pleeease don't make me cut it any shorter dad, please." Kevin replied. I could see his eyes starting to get damp.
I saw Mike glance down and the huge pile of hair in Kevin's lap too. "Well son, this IS a huge improvement. I'm still a bit skeptical about this fringe though. To be fair, how about we give it a trial run for a week, and if we don't have any more driving incidents you can keep it as is?" Kevin and I both gave a sigh of relief, I hadn't realized I was also waiting for Mikes approval. "Oh, yes sir, we won't have any issues sir, I promise" Kevin said earnestly.
Kevin's phone chirped. He studied it for a minute, then did some fast finger work. It chirped again. "Sir, Rob says he uses something called Lay Rite Pomade, low shine, medium hold. Does that make sense to you sir" Kevin inquired. I chuckled, "Yes son" reaching in one of the many drawers below the big mirror. It took me a few seconds , but I came up with the appropriate tin. Taking a small dab, I showed Kevin what I was doing, I warmed it between my palms for a few seconds. then worked it thoroughly into the thick fringe, instructing him as I worked it in. I gave his whole head a final rub, and picked up the comb. I combed the fringe to the side, and back. The pomade helped hold it in place. I whispered softly to Kevin" when you're driving , and around your dad, it might be best to keep it combed like this. Then I ran the comb back through his fringe, pulling it more down across his brow. When your with your friends you can leave it this way, I believe that's how your friend has it styled, O.K.?" Kevin nodded, smiling broadly at me. I combed it back off his forehead again. I studied him for a minute. He did look quite good. Not a short cut by my standards at all, but nicely groomed. I'd have gone with a nice short back and sides I thought to myself, leave it full and thick on top . Oh, well, Kevin was happy, Mike had calmed down, and the shop had started to fill for the day, and I still wasn't stressed out. Interesting. There were a few anxious young faces as I quickly scanned the waiting area though. Hmm.
"Master Kevin, all set, I asked?" He smiled again, "yes sir, thank you sir." Now, I replied " you might consider stopping in before school starts at least for a trim. I'm sure your father will let you come on your own now if you wish, right Mike?" I said, winking at Mike.
As I unsnapped the cap, and the huge pile of shorn hair made its way to the floor, I noticed 3 young guys and parents sitting in the waiting chairs. I hadn't even greeted them when come in, I was so engrossed in Kevin's cut. The guys looked to be around Kevin's age, and all had surprised expressions on their faces, all focused on Kevin.
As I made my way up front with Kevin and Mike following, I heard one of the guys address Kevin quietly. "Wow dude, nice hair. How'd you manage to get away without a butch? What's happened to Frank?" Kevin replied" OH, Dillon, it's quite a story, call me later and we can talk. I hope you don't get scalped today either dude."
I smiled to myself. This was shaping up to be an interesting day, to be sure.
I notice Kevin running his hands thru the plush short locks ."Feel O.K. son" I asked. "A bit weird sir, if I'm honest, but fantastic compared to a butch" he replied smiling.
Mike winked at me behind his sons back and gave me a thumbs up. He handed me $25 and said keep it Frank, the tip is for my not having to try and console a distraught teenager.