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DAD! (Part 5 of 15) by JB

He gives the chair a shove and it rotates slowly towards the shop entrance; out of sight of the mirrors again, "Now then," he continues thinking to himself, "I'm gonna need to keep him distracted as I square-up his sides."

Jack decides to continue Scott's haircut using the buzzer clippers. Its soft humming draws less attention to itself than the raucous whirring chatter of the rotary clippers. He flips the switch and they begin to hum, "So, Scott. I'm just gonna remove some of the heavy bulk on yer sides here, like I did in back." He slides the flattop comb up into the taper on Scott's right side and lifts his long hair above the taper. Quickly and efficiently, Jack swipes the clippers across the comb, increasing the height of the taper by another inch.

Jack thinks to himself, "Guess it's time for a little distraction." Then he says, "So, how are things goin' with you and yer dad, Scott? Gettin' along okay?" He takes the taper up another inch, which is now almost all the way up to the top. He's being careful to keep the long clumps of falling hair from landing on the cape where Scott would see it.

"Yeah, I guess... But he's really been on my case lately about my hair bein' too long."

Jack takes the taper up to the crown and starts going over it again, making the side hair shorter and squaring it up, flattop-style, "Yer hair wasn't all that long when ya came in. Yer friend Dave left here with his hair longer than yours, and that was after he had it cut."

"I know! That's what I've been tellin' my dad. Lots of guys have their hair longer than mine! But you know how he is; he's a construction guy, a hardhat... and he's around other hardhats all day. He thinks we should all look like that; with our hair buzzed short."

Jack works on the corner where Scott's boxy side-hair meets the back, "Well, it's not such a bad look, is it?" He is trying to get Scott to admit that he likes the look of short haircuts.

"I s'pose... if yer a hardhat I guess..." His train of thought is interrupted as...

The shop door opens and Scott's best friend, Kevin Krause enters. They're the same age and have known each other since they were in second grade when Kevin's family moved into Scott's neighborhood. He wears his dark brown hair in a long, unparted shag cut. Kevin briefly looks toward the barber chair to see how much time he has to wait for his haircut. He thinks, "Wow, some poor nerd's really gettin' butched. I kinda feel sorry for h..." he does a double take, "Whoa! Scott? Is that you, man? Geez!"

Scott grins at his friend's reaction to his shorter hair, not knowing himself just how short it really is, and how much shorter it soon will be, "Hey, Kevin. Surprised?"

"Totally! What the heck, man? Yer dad makin' you get butched like that?" To a high school guy in 1978, any haircut above the ears is 'butched', even a long tapercut like Scott thinks he's getting.

"Nah. I'm doin' this on my own. My dad's birthday is comin' up and he's been hintin' that he wants me to get a shorter haircut for his birthday present. So I thought 'what the hell'. At least he won't be raggin' on me to get it cut for a while."

"Yeah. Like, for about a year!" Kevin takes a seat in the waiting area and stares at the plush pelt on the side of Scott's head, "Man, I would'a just gotten yer dad some aftershave or somethin'. Geez."

Scott shrugs, "This is what he wants. Saves me the trouble of tryin' to figure out what to give him."

Kevin still can't believe that Scott would get his hair buzzed so short for something trivial like a birthday present, "Sooo, this is a father/son haircut thing yer doin? Gettin' a tapercut like yer dad? For his birthday?"

"Well yeah, I'm doin' it for his birthday... but it's not all that short; not like his, anyway."

Kevin frowns as he studies Scott's sharply tapered sides sticking straight out and squared off like his dad's, "If you say so, man."

Jack isn't sure what to make of this new development. On the one hand, Kevin's presence can help distract Scott from the flattop he doesn't know he's getting. On the other hand, just one use of the 'f-word' from Kevin and the game will be over. Jack swings the chair around so he can start on Scott's left side, "So, I guess you two know each other, huh?"

"Yeah. We practically grew up together," Scott says. As he relates his and Kevin's history, Jack is busy squaring up the hair on the other side of Scott's head.

Kevin watches with a puzzled smirk. He is transfixed by the sight of his friend's shearing. He subconsciously reaches up and feels the hair on the side of his own head as he stares at Scott's bristle-brush sides.

Jack is doing the finishing touches on the sides of Scott's flattop: he presses the clippers up his cheeks, removing what is left of the sideburns, then around the arches above his ears leaving bare skin behind, giving him a pair of whitewalls just like in his photo. He also uses the clippers at the base of Scott's neck again so that the whitewalls continue all the way around. "So far, so good," he thinks to himself, "Now all's that's left is to take his deck down nice and flat and give him that big ol' landing strip that he likes so well... he's already felt the comb and clippers on top of his head, so he'll think it's just more of the same, but I'm still gonna need a good distraction to keep him from focusing on his top being taken down."

He runs the flattop comb across the top of Scott's head a few times, "Hmm," he says, "Looks like I need to shorten yer top and bangs a little more so's it matches yer sides and then I think we'll be done. Sound okay?"

"Yeah. Sounds good," Scott replies. He glances up at the photo-filled wall in front of him to see how his disco/tapercut is coming along when he realizes for the first time that there are no mirrors there. On some level, he's known that all along, but he never really noticed it before. He thinks, "Huh. Oh well," and shrugs it off. He continues reminiscing about his and Kevin's past, "Then, in sixth grade we were on the same Little League team. We were sponsored by that gas station on the corner. Remember?"

"Yeah. We were the 'Arco All-Stars'," Kevin replies, "Only, there weren't too many 'all-stars' on our team, I think we only won two games, but we had fun."

As the friends discuss old times, Jack begins the final phase of Scott's transformation- taking his top down flat, "Hmm," he thinks, "With the shape of Scott's head, it'd be best to angle the top down towards the front. That'll give him a bigger and bolder landing strip... Good thing his dad called when he did or Scott would never have the flattop he's always wanted." He grabs a spray bottle and wets the top of Scott's two-inch 'disco' hair, then uses the comb and a blow dryer to stand it up.

Seeing his friend's squared-off boxy sides and longer top hair sticking straight up, Kevin spontaneously blurts out a small laugh, "[Heh!] Yer crazy, man."

Jack pumps the chair up a ways [ker-klunk, ker-klunk] to get the top of Scott's head at eye-level.

Scott continues his conversation with Kevin, "And the year after Little League we were at summer camp together, remember? Camp Hock-a-loogie."

Kevin laughs, "On the shores of Lake Wanna-up-chuck." The two of them laugh, "I almost forgot about that."

Jack thinks to himself, "These guys are creating their own distraction well enough... better than anything I could come up with." He stands slightly to the right of Scott and, holding the flattop comb flat against the top of his head, runs it through his thick, upright bangs a few times, stopping on the last run-through. Jack slides the clippers across the top of the comb, cutting off all but half an inch in front. He flicks the loose clump of hair off to the side to keep it from falling into Scott's lap.

Kevin continues about their Camp Hock-a-loogie days, "That was the summer you had yer hair buzzed up way above yer ears, like ya do now," he laughs.

"Camp Hock-a-loogie?!" Jack quickly interrupts. He senses that the conversation is about two seconds away from Scott discovering the true nature of his haircut.

"Yeah," Scott says, "Well, that wasn't the real name. Kevin and me came up with those names because, well because we were twelve-year-old kids, I guess."

"Lake Wanna-up-chuck was my idea," Kevin proudly states. "Hey, remember that Girl Scout camp on the other side of the lake?"

"Of course. We were always making plans to sneak over there and take a peek at, well, whatever we could take a peek at," Scott says, grinning.

As the guys continue talking, Jack positions the comb atop Scott's head and cuts another swath behind the first. And even though the second cut is level with the first, the remaining hair is much shorter in the center due to the shape of Scott's head.

Scott feels the comb lay flat against his head, like before, when Jack gave him his shortened disco-style top. Only this time, Jack doesn't lift the comb away before cutting. The clippers buzz across the comb leaving just an eighth of an inch of hair on top. Scott is still talking and doesn't notice the slight change in procedure.

Until now, Kevin assumes Scott is getting a tapercut, like his dad. But as the top of his hair gets shorter and his landing strip gets bigger, Kevin finally realizes that his long-time friend and buddy is getting himself a flattop. Something he would never have guessed in a million years, "No way!" Kevin says in wide-eyed amazement. "Dude! That is one gnarly haircut... Yer dad's gonna be stoked!" He grins and shakes his head in disbelief.

"He better be, after gettin' my hair cut this short."

As Scott continues talking, Jack runs the clippers over the comb a couple more times, removing the last trace of longer hair on Scott's head. He sets the comb aside and begins going over the top one more time, freehand, with the clippers. "... I wasn't even planning on gettin' it cut short when I came in here," Scott says, "But then I remembered what my dad said about his birthday comin' up."

"Yeah but, dude," Kevin says, "Couldn't ya think of a different haircut? One that wasn't so short on top? Yer hair is like, all standin' up!"

Scott thinks Kevin is talking about his disco-style top which, he doesn't realize, is now on the floor, "It's the latest thing, man. I've seen other guys at school with their hair like this."

Kevin looks on in disbelief as Jack skims the clippers over Scott's top, taking the landing strip even shorter; down to one-sixteenth of an inch, "Yer dreamin', man," Kevin says, "No one at school has a haircut like that... No one in the WHOLE TOWN has a haircut like that! 'Cept maybe a few cops and Marines."

The clippers stop humming and Jack loosens the cape around Scott's neck, discarding the paper strip. He switches to a pair of edger clippers and removes any short hairs at the base of Scott's neck and collar. Finally, he takes the clippers around the top edge one more time, nipping any hairs that dare to stand up higher than the rest. The clippers are switched off one last time and are returned to the rack. He grabs the spray bottle and, as he wets down Scott's hair, he thinks, "No need for Butch Wax or brilliantine; his hair's got enough spring to it that it wants to stand up all on its own." Jack picks up a bristle brush in one hand and the blow dryer in the other, "Now to get Scott's flattop lookin' its best for his first look in the mirror. He's sure gonna be surprised!"

(To Be Continued)

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