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DAD! (Part 1 of 15) by JB
Over half of this story, including the ending, was written nearly 4 years ago, shortly after I finished "Flattop John 2". But then, as often happens when you spend a lot of time on something, I got burnt out on writing haircut stories. I wasn't feeling creative anymore. But a couple of months ago I got back into it and just now finished writing this story, adding more characters and more plotlines.
All of those additions made an already long story, even longer. Knowing how difficult it is for a reader to slog through a long story, I decided to chop the story up into 15 easy-to-chew chunks. I'll be posting one of those chunks everyday, or every few days. Bear in mind that each chunk is not a stand-alone story; but rather, part of one long continuous story. Actually, this is more like 5 or 6 stories all woven together with a common thread. Most of my stories tend to be that way.
WARNING: This story may contain flattops. If you have an adverse reaction to flattops then do not read stories with flattops. Flattops are not for everyone. Ask your barber if a flattop is right for you. Side effects of a flattop may include, but not limited to: Grinning from ear to ear, slight giddiness, mirror gazing, patting the landing strip, compliments from strangers, and looking studly. - JB
|||||| DAD! ||||||
"Aww c'mon, Dad; my hair isn't that long," Scott says for the fourth time that month. He tosses his head to flick his bangs away from his face. His dark blond hair is mixed with equal parts of red and light brown giving it a deep, honey color with spun-gold highlights. He wears it in typical high-school-guy style: a center-parted layercut about five inches long, sides feathered and swept back, ears hidden (of course), and long enough in the rear to cover most of his shirt collar. It's been two and a half months since his last trim and his dad has been badgering him again. Scott continues, "It's not like when you were in high school back in the fifties; it's 1978! All the guys at school have hair like mine; most of 'em even longer. Times have changed. That's just the way it is now. Nobody has short hair anymore... 'cept you." He points at his dad's squared-off, brownish-black tapercut. His plush clippered sides and back are beveled nearly all the way up to the top, where his hair is a little longer so that it lays down, mostly, parted loosely on the side. He doesn't bother with hair cream or other products; too much fuss and muss.
"Whaddya mean?" Scott's dad, Steve, says gruffly. Steve Kramer is the foreman of a local construction company, and he looks the part: six-foot two, square-jawed, with a seemingly permanent 5 o'clock shadow, "Lots of guys still have short haircuts! Several men on my construction team have tapered sides like mine, or shorter. One even has a crewcut!"
"Yeah, but didn't you say he just got out of the Marines?"
"[pause]... Maybe. The point is, not everyone wears their hair long these days. I've had this tapercut since 1966. Ain't no better haircut for a workin' man; no fuss, no muss... Back in '55, when I was a high school senior like you, I got the coolest flattop haircut you've ever seen; they were gettin' to be really popular at that time; all the cool guys had one. Kept it when I joined the Army in '58. Then, when you came along in '61 and were old enough to go to the barbershop with me, I had you sportin' the same flattop that I had." He looks at his son's photo sitting on the bookcase, taken when he was six years old- a towheaded kid with a squared-up flattop, "That was the last time you had a decent haircut."
"Decent!" Scott exclaims in exasperation, "I had a flattop!.. in 1967! And I had it for two more years after that! Anyway, I was just a kid then and didn't really care what kind of haircut I had." He thinks for a moment, "If you liked yer flattop so much, then how come you don't have one now, huh?"
His son's question catches him off guard, "Well I... well, because it needs a lot of upkeep. I don't wanna spend all my time fussin' with my hair in front of a mirror like you do, that's why."
"Uh-huh, thought so. You just don't wanna look like a freak any more than I do." Steve has to admit to himself that his son's accusation is at least partly true; not that he would ever tell him that.
Scott's mom enters the room, "What are you two talking about? I heard you shouting all the way down the hall; sounds serious."
"Nuthin", Scott says, wanting to drop the subject.
But Scott's dad won't let it go and unleashes one of his 'tall tales', as his wife calls them, "Whaddya mean, 'nuthin'? Scott just told me he's sick of his long hippy-hair and wants to get himself a flattop like he had in his photo there." Scott rolls his eyes. His dad often makes outlandish statements, or lies, in a half-teasing sort of way; hoping to get the result he wants by springing his ideas on people unexpectedly. Even if he fails at first, his words might set something in motion that leads to him getting what he wants, eventually. Usually nothing comes of it... but sometimes it works.
"Really?" Scott's mom smiles, "That would be wonderful! You looked so cute when you had that short haircut; your father/son flattops."
Scott sighs, "Relax, Mom. Dad's just makin' up one of his tall tales again. And I don't wanna look 'cute', I just want to look like the rest of the guys at school."
She responds somewhat crestfallen, "Oh, yes. Of course. I guess boys your age don't get flattops anymore, do they."
"Duh!" Scott replies.
The phone starts to ring in the other room and she goes to answer it, "Well, maybe not a flattop then, but I think you would look handsome with some kind of short haircut," she says as she leaves the room.
"Great," Scott thinks, "Even Mom has the 'guys-should-have-short-hair' disease."
In truth, Steve Kramer has pretty much given up on his son ever getting a 'decent' haircut. Nagging him about his long hair isn't getting anywhere. But the 'tall tale' he just told has given him an idea that just might do the trick. He launches into his scheme, "You're gettin' yer yearbook senior picture taken pretty soon, right?"
"Yeah, in a week or two. Why?" Scott asks suspiciously. He knows his dad can be wily and manipulative.
"It's been almost three months since yer last haircut- if you can call it that. You always come back from that 'salon' of yours looking the same as you went in. I can never tell the difference. The guys at work think yer my daughter."
"Okay, you made that last part up."
Scott again tosses his head to one side to get his bangs out of his eyes; more out of habit than necessity.
"And another thing," his dad continues, "If you had short hair you wouldn't need to toss yer bangs out of yer eyes like that; it bugs the crap outa me." He can see from his son's frown that Scott is losing patience, "You should at least get your regular trim before you get yer pictures taken. That way you won't look like a shaggy stray dog that wandered in from the street."
"Yeah, I was planning on it," Scott says. He has learned to ignore his dad's frequent putdowns; it just goes with the territory. He knows that his dad isn't as angry as he sounds; this back-and-forth is just sort of a blustery game he plays; it's how he gets things done.
"That's good to hear, Son. At least you care about your appearance... Say, why don't you go to Jack's to get yer haircut."
"What, you mean that old-timey barbershop you go to? I haven't been there since I was... about twelve years old... yeah, I was in seventh grade; musta been in '73. I'd been growing my hair out like a regular kid; it was just starting to cover my ears. And then you had Jack taper my sides all the way up, like yours, with just enough left on top to lay down... you told him I liked it that way!" he says accusingly.
"Huh. I forgot about that tapercut you had, what... five years ago? You looked good with that cut... I guess THAT was the last time you had a decent haircut," he points at Scott's old photo, "Not as good as yer flattop there, but pert near close."
Scott rolls his eyes again and glances at his old photo, "I hate that picture. When my friends come over they point at it and laugh... that stripe down the center where you can see my skin showin' through is the worst part; makes me look like a doofus."
"That's the landing strip."
"It's called a landing strip. That flat area on top where yer hair is so short that yer scalp shows through like a long, airport runway; a landing strip.
"Whatever. I look like I just came from Dork City."
"I always thought that was the best part of a flattop, but like you said, times have changed. Jack does all kinds of haircuts now. Lots of long-haired guys like yerself go to his shop and come out lookin' just fine... And besides, Jack charges a lot less than that salon of yours does. Aren't you savin' up for new tires? I think you should go back there again."
Scott thinks about the money he'll save by getting his haircut at Jack's barbershop, "Well, I dunno... maybe."
His dad grins, knowing that he's won the battle for the first part of his scheme, "That's the spirit, Son. Jack will be glad to see you in his shop again. I'm sure he'll fix you up real good."
Scott grows even more suspicious seeing his dad's friendly attitude; that isn't like him, "What's with all the short haircut talk, anyway? I hope you don't think I'm gonna get a tapercut again like I had in seventh grade?... Or like you have now?"
His dad continues to be uncharacteristically upbeat, "Nope. I know you won't be gettin' yer hair cut like that again... although... you do know my birthday's comin' up, right?"
"Yeah, I guess... What does that have to do with me gettin' a haircut?"
"Just somethin' to think about when yer sittin' in Jack's barber chair," he says with a sly grin.
Scott didn't like the sound of that but let it go for the time being, "So, I guess I'll get my haircut tomorrow morning; no school. That'll give it a week or so to grow out a little and look more natural for the yearbook picture. It won't have that I-just-came-from-the-barbershop look anymore."
His dad smirks, "Yeah, you wouldn't want that, would you."
- The next morning -
As Scott finishes showering, his dad carries out the next part of his plan: He cautiously enters the living room- no sign of Scott. Then he hears the blow dryer begin to whir from the bathroom down the hall, and thinks, "The kid'll be in there dryin' his hair for at least half an hour. I got plenty of time." He walks over to the bookcase and removes Scott's old photo from its frame.
"And just what are YOU doing?" his wife asks.
Startled, Steve reacts with a guilty jump, "Oh, uh, hi Hon. I didn't know you were standin' there."
He decides to tell the truth, for once, and clue his wife in on his little scheme- or at least as much as she needs to know, "About last night, you really think Scott would look good in a flattop haircut?"
"Well, yes. But he made it clear that it's not going to happen. Why?"
"Well, I think I have a way to make it happen." He proceeds to tell her his plan.
"Oh, I don't know, Steve," she says worriedly, after hearing her husband's scheme, "That seems awfully sneaky. And Scott obviously doesn't want a short haircut, especially a flattop."
"It'll be good for him; make a man out of him... you'll see. It's just hair, after all. What's the big deal? Anyway, the plan probably won't work and he'll end up just gettin' his usual trim."
"Well, okay then," she agrees reluctantly, "Go ahead with your plan... he really would look handsome with a flattop, just like you when you were his age," she smiles.
As the blow dryer kicks into high gear, Steve goes to the coat rack next to the front door and tucks Scott's old photo into the inside pocket of his son's down-filled vest, which he always wears when he goes out. "Careful, dear," his wife says, "Don't damage the photo. It's my favorite picture of Scott."
With the photo tucked snuggly away, Scott's mom goes to load the dishwasher and his dad plops down on the couch to begin reading the morning paper. Soon, the blow dryer ceases its whirring and Steve smiles to himself, "I'm guessin' that hair dryer of his won't be seein' much action for quite a while if this works out the way I think it will."
A few minutes later, Scott walks into the living room dressed and ready to go; his ring-necked T-shirt tucked into his flare-legged jeans with his long-handled comb sticking out of the back pocket. His golden hair is perfectly styled and combed and looking its best, "I guess I'm leaving to get a haircut now." He says to his dad.
"You still remember where Jack's Barbershop is, don't you?" Steve asks, wanting to make sure his son hasn't changed his mind about going there instead of his usual salon.
Scott grabs his down-filled vest from the coat rack, "Duh! It's only about a mile down the road. I go by it all the time," he says as he puts his vest on.
"Remember, I have a birthday comin' up."
"Yeah... you already said that," Scott replies. He has a puzzled frown as he goes out the door.
(To Be Continued)