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A Short Cut into Politics by Armando94


A Short Cut into Politics

Blake Derwood had been a popular kid in college, after suffering high school and before that as being seen as a wannabe or attention-seeker. And maybe he was, but what was so bad about having ambition? In college, it worked in his favor. He was highly involved and therefore many people knew him on their large state campus. He was also a few states away from where he grew up, so no one from home to call him out on his bluff and fluff. He was his own man then for those four years and made the most of it especially when it came to getting and finding work to set him up for a career later on.

Of course his ambition did not change his ego, and even at times he’d have to check on it himself. Like his high aspirations that he would be moving to a big metropolitan area and working for one of the big banks there, rather than the sub-branch he ended up interning at before his senior year and then being offered a full-time job with postgrad. He obviously accepted this offer during his senior year so he could enjoy the next two semesters and coast by. Thinking that he would only work in this branch for a year, maybe two tops. However, he’d come to find that maybe he wasn’t as up to snuff as he thought. He was good and hardworking, but that didn’t mean he was the best. And where he was working at might serve him better, and allow him to seem like the star he was always trying to be. So, he figured better to be the big fish in a little pond, than just a guppy amongst the others. And he tried laughing off to friends from home or college how crazy he would be if he wanted to foot the bill for a shoe box apartment in New York or San Francisco or Miami.

So, he stayed put after that first year under his belt of working adult life, so much so that he even found the girl of his dreams that summer, a year post grad. Annabelle had gone to his rival college, but she grew up in the town Blake worked and lived in. She was extremely sweet, but seriously smart. And not necessarily just book smart. This girl had your number, she was one tough cookie to get through. But he liked that, it was exactly the kind of person Blake thought he needed, or really deserved. What Annabelle liked was that he was not some guy she grew up with or even flirted and slept with in college. He actually went to her rival school which would definitely shake her own family who all had gone to the same college she did. She was a bit of a rebel, but as said, she had your number. Everyone knew not to mess with her.

Fast forward four or so years, the two of them are twenty-seven, their families have met at this point, and it has finally reached that time. Even Annabelle’s family has to admit they enjoy Blake’s company, even when it can be overbearing. And they are not willing to step on Annabelle’s toes. Something that Blake’s family and frineds from home immediately catch on to, and silently nod their heads, realizing this girl might just be the one to help shape up Blake. So Blake proposed and Annabelle said yes, they moved into a condominium townhouse together in town, Blake still at the banking branch and Annabelle was working in HR for a marketing firm. They married that following summer with a large crowd, just like Blake wanted, and went on to Bermuda for their honeymoon before Labor Day was upon them in a few weeks time.

About a year later, things were still good in the marriage. No talk of children yet however, but they were certain in a few years time that would change. Both were focusing on their careers since in the last year since their marriage they had both received small promotions, incentive to stay put even longer in town for Blake and not get his new wife to move somewhere else with him. He was slowly achieving what he wanted to, even if on a smaller scale. It was the Fourth of July and Annabelle’s uncle was hosting a party for all the family, since all of them practically still lived in town or the counties nearby. Blake and Annabelle obviously attended, not just because it was close proximity, but Blake was always looking for a way to flex and puff his chest, hoping someone would chew his ear off and ask about his work and life.

At this particular party, he’d had a couple of beers and were talking with Annabelle’s father, two of her uncles, her brother, and two of her boy cousins that were twins. They were standing out by the garage, all in board shorts and boat shoes, in some kind of patriotic t-shirt or a blue polo. Of course Nick went all out, thinking he had to show off, and was in a blue button-down with the sleeves rolled up. If this didn’t make him hot enough already, his hair plastered over his head like Bobby Kennedy before a trim was definitely causing him to feel like he was melting. But he said nothing and acted calm, cool and collected under his Rayban shades. The rest of the gentlemen around him all sporting summer looks, looks that they may even sport during the year. Annabelle’s father had a boxy flattop, her brother sporting a very crisp cesar cut, one uncle had his usual Ivy League buzzed down to probably a #3 or a 4, the other uncle shaved down as usual, and the twins who were usually matching with skin fades and hard-side parts had the fade still rocking but their heads buzzed down definitely to a #2, so much so their usual brown looking hair showed that they were probably very blonde babies.

Finally, it was Annabelle’s father who asked, "So, Blake," or really interrupting the son-in-law about one of his stock market rants. "You’ve been part of the family for nearly a year now. And you have always been a very social able guy."

"Thank you sir," Blake tipped his beer in his father-in-law’s direction.

"Have you ever thought about getting into politics?"

This stunned Blake. But also, he wanted to scream with glee. This was the question he had been waiting for, something he never specifically asked out loud, but always at home alone with his wife would comment about how her family locally involved in politics and many other organizations. Annabelle always rolled her eyes, probably because she knew she’d be the better politician out of any of the men in her family, including her own husband who was secretly desperate to break into it without outwardly saying so.

"Well," Blake tried to gather himself. "I’m always open to anything, and never discount any opportunity."

"Spoken like a true politician," the bald uncle cracked a joke. "Yeah, he’ll be alright."

"Now son," his father-in-law started. "this doesn’t mean we are asking you to run for Senator or Governor, or even congress. We just meant on a local level, we’ve got our pulse in almost everything as I’m sure you’ve figured out. Chamber of Commerce, Parks and Recreation, you name it we’ve probably got it."

"Right down to the mayor-ship, now isn’t that right, sir?" Blake lightly joked.

"Let’s not get ahead of ourselves," he said, deflecting any talk of his potential within the next couple years that was more likely than not. "But we are looking for your help, both in that regard, and any other way. Us men actually hang out a lot on our own terms, even outside of these family gatherings. Just nights or mornings where we can get together and talk about what’s going on or what’s going to happen. I think its about time you became a part of that. What do you say?"

"As long as you aren’t asking me to be a hitman, then I’m your man."

"Not yet," Annabelle’s brother winked at his brother-in-law.

The party carried on just as fine, after eating some ribs and hot dogs, Blake dove into the pool where a bunch of little kids were splashing around. It felt so cool and refreshing, especially as he floated back up to the surface and smoothed his wet hair down across his head. His chestnut colored hair, a bit of golden now that it was summer, had definitely grown a bit. He’d need to make an appointment with his hair ASAP.

"Feeling better?" Annabelle called from the side of the pool.

He turned around, shocked she was there. That woman was like a mf’ing cat. Just appearing out of nowhere. "How’d the talk go?"

"You know about it already?" Damn, really a mf’ing cat. "How?"

"Don’t think my father didn’t warn me before today that he was going to talk to you with the rest of the mob," she rolled her eyes at that. "It why he was double checking last night on the phone if we were going to be coming today or not."

"Well," Blake swam up to the side, "they seem interested."

She shook her head. "They take interest because you take an interest in what they do. They know you want to do exactly that and will learn and take on whatever. You’ll be a good soldier to them, that’s what they need," she stood up.

"And you believe in me too?" he asked like a child, just to tease her.

She smirked a grin, "If I didn’t, you wouldn’t have daddy’s approval," and she walked off. Blake eventually got out of the pool and dried off, catching up with his wife as desserts started to get passed out and coffee was being had. They all stayed until the fireworks and then some of the families with kids started to trail off. Blake and Annabelle were hanging back, she helping clean up with her mother and aunts. Blake hung out by one of the firepits with his brother-in-law and the twin cousins. They weren’t saying anything, except Blake making small talk that had no substance. When he finally caught wind of this, he sat back in the Adirondack chair and said nothing.

Annabelle’s brother spoke, "Just do what they say. You’ve got the talent and charm to be a really good asset brother, but don’t let your pride and ego get in the way."

"Ego? What’s that supposed to mean?" he heard the twins giggle like little girls under their breath.

His brother-in-law smirked and raised his chin a little. "Look in the mirror before you come to any of our gatherings. Either take a good look and assess, or get out all your pompous praise for yourself before you hang with the big boys. Kapeesh?"

Blake nodded his head and took another swig of his beer, he wasn’t sure what number it was at this point. Thank god Annabelle was driving tonight.

-----

"Enjoy your fourth?" was all everyone could say at the office after the holiday. Blake nodded his head and smiled, but on the inside all he wanted to do was tell everyone in secret what he was about to embark on. Luckily that night when they got home from Annabelle’s uncle’s, he looked into company policies and he was good to go if he got involved in local elections. But realizing that every time someone talked to him today and that all he wanted to do was spill the guts…it made Blake realize was his brother-in-law said about him by the fire. Blake’s pride and ego. Blake wasn’t discrediting he took an incredible amount of pride in himself. But had overtime it also become an ego factor? Or was it possible he’d always have a little bit of an ego? He knew he was ambitious, that was his nickname in high school.

It didn’t matter, Blake started ignoring these thoughts as he got bogged down with work and couldn’t be bothered. Except the few times he went to the bathroom during the day, and washed his hands and then looked in the mirror. It made Blake extremely self-conscious. Was his brother-in-law trying to tease him out of being involved in the family affairs? Or just mercilessly teasing like a younger brother typically would. Blake had experience enough with that on his own, an older brother and sister and a younger brother too. Always the butt of the jokes Blake felt.

After dinner that night, which was leftovers that they had from the Fourth, Blake’s phone went off with a text. It was his father-in-law. It read:

What are you doing this Saturday?

Blake knew this wasn’t a real question. It was making sure that then Blake would clear everything out of the way for whatever was in store for him. He responded

Nothing. What’s up?

Blake paced the floor, waiting for a response, wondering if he was harsh in his retort back. If he had been, then maybe he would have received a call back instead of a follow-up text that announced:

Breakfast with the men, we’ll swing by and get you around seven.

Seven?!?! Yikes, on a Saturday?? Usually Blake enjoyed sleeping in on these particular mornings. Especially if him and Annabelle went out for drinks or dinner with friends. Then usually Annabelle would go to a yoga or pilates class with girlfriends in the morning, and then they would do something in the afternoon. Meanwhile Blake would be able to sleep in a bit, maybe go to the gym if he wanted. Considering during the week they woke up for work, and on Sundays they had to go to church with the rest of her family there waiting for them.

He simply responded, having no choice: Sounds good.

"What’s up?" Annabelle noticed him on his phone.

"Nothing, just, your dad…said the men are having breakfast this Saturday. He wants me to join in."

"Ah, that’s fun," she smiled. "Don’t look at me, I don’t know what its about."

"Well now that you put it in my head—"

"Relax babe," she put the kitchen dish towel across his chest, her arms against it too, he felt her warmth. "Its just breakfast."

"At seven in the morning?"

"Yeah…what’s so weird about that? I’m sure you’re going to one of the few diners they frequent for these breakfasts."

"So it’s a common thing the men do?"

"I’d say so," Annabelle affirmed. "if they have something during the day that they are going to, like an event, or if they are all running some kind of errands together."

"Errands?"

"Will you just relax," she laughed. "Be thankful they included you, it’s a good sign."

"Alright," he tried cooling off. "Alright I will."

"No promises there buddy," she wacked him with the towel now, and went to go clean some more plates.

Saturday was only a couple days away, he would just have to be patient and not give too much thought towards what was in store for him.

-----

When Saturday finally arrived, Blake had his alarm only set to 6:30, giving as much time as he could to sleep but also get ready. He considered 6:45 but his wife said, "No, don’t chance it. If my father said seven, he means seven."

She was not wrong. A few moments after it turned to seven on his Apple Watch, Blake looked out their front window and saw the car pull up and into their drive. He wasn’t going to wait for a text or call that they were here, he immediately went outside. His father-in-law in the passenger seat with his brother-in-law the driver. He climbed into the backseat and didn’t say anything at first. His first mistake.

"Good morning?" his father-in-law turned around, lowering his sunglasses just a tad with one hand.

"Good morning, sir," Blake mumbled out, but stared right at him.

"Ah, not a morning person. We’ll change that," he nodded his head. "Drive, Tommy."

They eventually pulled through to the downtown where stores and shops seemed to be quietly waking up as well, no one really dwelling the streets as of yet. They pulled into one of the back lots where a lot of cars could be had and left for hours or during dinner reservations. Not too many cars parked here at this particular moment either. The three of them got out of the car, and Blake turned at the sound of a few other car doors opening and closing. The two other uncles and twin cousins appeared out of another vehicle. They all nodded towards Annabelle’s father and brother and said good morning. Her father quickly turned his gaze at Blake from this gesture, but then turned back. He strided over to his son-in-law and then announced to the rest of the group, "Shall we, fellas?"

From the back of the lot, Blake wasn’t too sure where they were going to be having breakfast. He thought of a few options, but he wasn’t sure if you could get to them from here. Blake had no choice though, he was merely being guided to wherever destiny was to be had. His brother-in-law opened a back door to somewhere, allowing all the other men to file in after him before closing it shut. Blake thought it was weird entering a restaurant through the back. But he let it be, there were weirder things after all…or he could not be entering a restaurant at all…

The latter was correct, as his father-in-law pushed open another door that led them into a barbershop. "Morning, fellas," he said.

"Morning," this caught all seven barbers’ attention. Couple even bowed their heads. The mob strides through the shop, the first customers of the day. No one was messing with them. The uncle without hair stops short by his barber and shakes his hand, getting into a seat and saying, "You know what to do, George."

"Best way to start a Saturday morning," as he capes his client.

The rest of them come up to the front, the other uncle hoping into the first barber’s chair who was ready with his clippers to fine-tune the burr. Blake turns to look at his brother-in-law and the twins, notices that their hair is in check, so they must not be getting their haircuts, considering they take seats in the waiting area.

"Good to see you sir," the second chair barber greets Annabelle’s father.

"Rob, hope you had a good Fourth with the family."

"We most certainly did," he nodded his head, and then averted his attention over to Blake. "And is this the son-in-law you’ve told me about."

"Indeed, Rob," he shook his head. "But don’t worry, I won’t have you fuss over with him, your business is with me this morning," he pointed at his flattop.

"Good for his sake I suppose," Rob’s focus narrowed. "Take it he’s gonna be like the younger generation and let Donny over here cut him?"

Donny was the barber over from this barber named Rob, his attention immediately caught at the sound of his name. He flashed a grin. "Who’s up first?" pretending not to see Blake right in front of him.

Tommy pointed and said, "My brother-in-law, Donny boy."

Donny turned and squinted at Blake. "Ah, Annabelle’s husband, a beauty she is" he reached out and touched Blake’s overgrown businessman’s look. He said softly, "have a seat, I’m Don, I’ll be your barber now."

I’ll be your barber now. That last word ringing in Blake’s head as he floated into the throne. Now. Everything was about to change, this Saturday was the first of Blake’s conversion.

"What’s your name, my friend," Donny said.

"Blake," he stated loudly and proudly, not fearing or cowering down. Wanting to make a good impression.

"Well someone is awake and ready for a sheering," Donny laughed to himself. As he went to grab the cape.

Sheering? What was this a sheep farm?

Blake’s father-in-law and his barber smirked twin grins, Tommy and the twins were chuckling from behind.

"Come on now, Blake," his father-in-law said, "its only a haircut. And about time you got your money’s worth on one," his own barber took the clippers up his side and sliced.

Blake let a deep sigh go, both physically and mentally. He really did not know what was in store for him, because as far as he was concerned, he was having no say in what he was coming out here looking like. No question or doubt about that. Blake looked in the mirror at his eager barber Donny and said, "What would you suggest?"

"You know what to do, Don," he heard his father-in-law speak again.

Donny shook his head in agreement. "Sounds good boss," he secured the cape so tight around Blake’s neck he thought he was going to choke to death. His head looked so big up above this cape, like it could topple over. But maybe that was because of the fear growing inside of him in that very moment. The first time in a while he felt like he had no control of his predicament. And of all places to be…

"Good thing its still summer," Donny laughed, "this will keep you nice and cool my man," he started to oil the most silver and shinning pair of clippers Blake ever saw. Blake refused to turn his full attention at the sight before him, just his eyes silently moving to stare. One thing was for sure now, Blake was coming out of here with a lot less hair on his head than when he first arrived only moments before.

"Let’s get to it," Donny flicked the clippers on and brought them to Blake’s right side. Instinctively, Blake closed his eyes out of pure fear, not realizing the consequence of doing so. This caused the barber to grip his free hand on the back of Blake’s head, with a, "Hey, what do you think you’re doing?"

This shocked Blake to flash his eyes open and stare before him. Donny didn’t look mad, but he didn’t look happy either. "I-I’m sorry. Didn’t mean it."

"Mhm," Donny said, eyeing his client up through the mirror, slinking to stand behind him now so they were staring at each other’s reflections. Then he said in a speak-level pitch, "Now you’re gonna sit there, pretty boy, and watch. I want you to take this all in, savor these last moments," Donny’s hands started to sift through the waves on dirty-blonde hair on top of Blake’s head, massaging the scalp both tender and hard, "take a good look, pretty boy. Its time we make you into a real man. Isn’t that what you want? To be one of the guys? Not this brand-name clip joint fake job," he tugged at one shank of hair, making Blake grind down on his teeth and grunt, but refusing to shutter his eyes, "or overpaying some fancy salons?" this time holding onto the grip of the hair and pulling Blake’s head back. "No more, time we cleaned you up real good. So good you’ll be saying you ain’t never had it like this before, and so will Annabelle tonight," Donny laughed to himself. Blake wasn’t so keen on this stranger talking about his wife that way, but what did he expect? Then Donny whistled a bit before starting again, "I think you’re gonna like it, man. In fact, I think you secretly really want this, a big change, is that so?" Donny fussed Blake’s hair up some more, "Such a change you’re gonna be required to maintain it, be in my chair nearly every other week, is that it?"

Blake didn’t know what Donny was doing, but his words were luring him. At one point they were demeaning and rude, trying to call Blake out. But there was also this other half of the barber trying to hypnotize the client as they stared at each other through the mirror, no work having been done on Blake’s head yet. Donny was trying to convince Blake of something that was not true…or was it? Was there some burgeoning feeling inside him? Perhaps not in the sense of a haircut fetish, but someone really telling him "No!" or knock him down a few pegs? Really toughen and roughen Blake up a bit? Not chide him off to the side and just say, "Well that’s Blake"? Was submitting to the fate of clippers over comb the final act needed in order to break Blake of some of his worst and oldest habbits? Be free and liberated from all he had once been?

At the thought of all this, it began to weirdly arouse Blake. But yes, the change was needed. In fact, it was evident if he was ever going to be involved now in the local politics he had been promised about. He needed to shed (literally and figuratively) the boyhood he clung to in order to take charge of the manhood that was just one haircut away. One swipe of the clipper or closing of the scissor, and it would be the beginning of everything. All Blake needed to do was submit to his position and place, and take it like a man!

He said nothing, he just nodded his head once, then twice, which brought a slight grin to the barber as he massaged Blake’s head one last time and said, "Good, good my man," in almost a whisper. Without saying anything else, he turned the clipper back on, one hand holding the head and the other holding the machine, and began to peel off the right side of Blake’s head. One clear swipe up the side of his head, the blondes and browns of dead hair floating onto the cape and floor as Donny said, "There’s no turning back now."

There really wasn’t Blake would soon learn and see.

Donny took the clippers up again to the right side, swiped through another patch of hair, more tufts floating downward. Again, and again, very slowly so Blake could experience the whole thing. The sight of his hair being cut, the rumble and murmur of the vibrating clippers against the side of his head. Blake having no idea how short the barber was technically going, but realizing it must be tight! The hair coming off in mounds as the barber guided the clippers from the bottom all the way up to the top before curving outwards and away. Then going over same area he had just cleared off, just for double checking. Blake could feel nothing at this point except the wet clipper blades that also felt both cold and hot against his head. From these extra few swipes, he knew there could not have been much left there.

Donny slowly turned the chair to the side before positioning himself to clear off the back of Blake’s head. Just enough of an adjustment and Blake got a clear look at what Donny had left in the wake of his former haircut: shaved down to the wood! There was no denying that the barber used no guard, but did he use a 000 or even more than that? Could he have?? Blake’s mind was blown at the sight of his right side, he didn’t think there was anything left, but it also looked like there had to of been. He wanted to reach his hand out from under the cape and feel the cut.

But his mind got sidetracked the moment Donny took his clippers again to his hair, this time in the back right up the center, clearing through the occipital bone. This swipe of the clipper went at the speed of light that Blake instantly looked up in the mirror at the sensation he just felt. Donny grinned back and winked and mouthed an "oops" before he continued on, plowing through the back. "I knew you’d come around to this, man."

And indeed Blake may have. That shearing in the back ignited something in Blake. Like he was really getting his haircut now. Blake felt himself ease into the chair unlike the first five minutes he was seated. His hands stretched out at the arms, no tension, his shoulders relaxed and not cramped. He grinned back in the mirror and said, "Make sure you get every last bit back there, don’t leave me with some rattail, Donny boy."

Donny laughed at that comment, "Man, you’ll be lucky you leave here with almost anything," he laughed some more and Blake found himself giggling too. No one else was really paying attention to them. It was just the two of them, a barber and his client, enjoying their appointed time together on a Saturday. Blake could see this really becoming a true-tradition, so long as the haircut turned out to be alright. Donny continued with shaving off the back, the same vibrations except a little quicker now. When he moved onto the left side, the two of them finally struck up a conversation. Donny asked Blake about his work, what he did, then they bridged over into other topics like what sports they watched or teams they followed. For once Blake didn’t feel like he had to prove himself. He was just allowing himself to be. Not like he had much choice anyways, he wasn’t the one wielding the clippers!

After the sides and back had been cleared, and they were carrying on these conversations, Donny had switched over to blending out the sides to a bit of the top, but not too much just a little bit here and there. Then he took a set of clippers (Blake thought that’s what they must have been) that sounded like a hive of bees when turned on, and went up and down the sides and back again. God that vibration was even better than the first sets! It was like sandpaper being scraped all across Blake’s sides and back, and that’s what it was basically doing. Leaving his head like sandpaper around the sides and back. Now for sure there hardly was any hair there now right? Just the big flops left on top. The hair that had not been touched as of yet.

Donny got a spray bottle out, the first time not using clippers, and began to wet down Blake’s head a tad, and combing it back some. Then he got a bit of product out, and began massaging it all through the hair on top, pushing it through to the back and making it stand a bit. Then Donny grabbed a blow dryer and a brush and began to make the hair stand up from the head. The more he did this, the more Blake realized how much hair he had on top, how thick and long it really looked.

"Wow," Blake said over the sound of the dryer, "I never realized how long and thick my hair was up there."

"You didn’t know it was long?" Donny joked. "Not for long…and actually, its pretty good you have thick hair, that’ll work in our benefit."

Blake’s hair was basically set all the way up in what seemed like a pompadour. Almost on the Johnny Bravo level of how high it seemed. But he knew it wouldn’t be like this forever. After all, Donny did say this was going to be a summer cut. The barber returned from his station with a different comb this time and a pair of clippers. Starting from the back, he put the comb into place, so much so Blake couldn’t tell where it had even gone. But then, the clippers ran themselves across that comb

There was that comb! And there went a bunch of hair. Blake was mesmerized at the sight of how much flew off in that one swipe. And there was still much more to go! Donny guided the comb further and further up, taking his sweet time. The closer he got to the center of Blake’s head, the more he felt it, until he finally reached the front of the hairline, positioning the comb one last, and then cranked one last clip across it to reveal that he had cut Blake a flattop.

"Maybe in the fall and winter we’ll leave it this tall and thick," Donny said at the inch and a half atop Blake’s head. "But I think you’re gonna look real nice with it clipped even closer." He didn’t even wait to ask Blake if that’s what he wanted, the barber just went to the back again and did the same maneuvers as before, except this time taking it down even shorter, probably to about half an inch if Blake had to guess. And actually, Blake couldn’t wait to see what the barber carved off for him in the end. He was really starting to enjoy the experience of a new look. A new him, truly.

Donny kept guiding it all the way across and back up to the front, where he did one last swipe to reveal just how short the cut was looking now. Blake wanted to smile from ear to ear, and so he did. He didn’t think the barber noticed, but that was okay. There were plenty of compliments coming Donny’s way. Then Donny began to sort out the rest of the sides, evening them out but not making it overly boxy like how Blake’s father-in-law wore his flattop. And this was nothing like his, it really was Blake’s own look. Not a total copy-cat or carbon clone. There was little bits of hair coming off here and there now, from the sides and back up top as the barber continued to fine-tune the cut.

He added a little more product to the hair to make it stand up, then some heat to verify. Clippers again over the top to catch any strays on his client. And then one last check on the backs and sides, making sure it was all clear there. Then Donny came around with a handheld mirror as he said, "Alright my man, there you go," he placed it behind Blake’s head. "So? Did I do good?"

Blake was startled by the sight of the bareness of his back. His hand finally moved itself out from under the cape to feel all around his head. Feeling the bristles up top and the clipped off sides and back. Oh that rub against the occipital bone felt glorious. Why, he could sit here all day and just keep stroking it. Blake flashed a signature grin of his, now with new meaning and purpose and exclaimed, "Good? I say great, man."

"I knew you’d be a convert, you ain’t never going back to how you used to look," he playfully slapped the back of Blake’s head and then put the mirror down. He then released the cape from around his client, the locks of hair still on it sent flying to the ground to be with the rest. Blake stood up with more purpose and authority than he had when he first walked in here with. But then he realized he needed to cool off a bit, he was not the star of some show or movement. It was only a haircut, the first of many.

Donny and Blake shook hands firmly before he turned around to see Tommy and the twins. They looked up from their phones in shock at how short Blake’s hair was now. But then they closed their mouths and looked at each other, nodding in agreement. Tommy stood up and slapped his brother-in-law on the back and said. "Now you look the part."

Eventually the rest of the crew was all done with their cuts and touch-ups, and they were off to breakfast as planned. All seven men sitting around the table with their cups of coffee and plates of food, Blake getting to listen in on the conversation, the real conversation, for the first time. Discussions of things going on and what was to come, Blake was getting a taste of how he would be involved in the rest of it. They all ran a few errands, to the hardware store and liquor store in town before finally bidding their goodbyes, and they’d all see each other in mass the next day.

It wasn’t until the three of them were in the car that Blake’s father-in-law said from the front seat, "By the way, Don did good on you Blake."

"Thank you, sir," Blake replied, rubbing the back of his head for the millionth time.

"I hope you consider keeping it, son."

"Even through winter I’m thinking," Blake joked, but maybe he was serious.

They dropped Blake off at home, where he found a note from Annabelle saying she had gone out to the grocery store and would be back soon. He had not sent her a picture of the cut, leaving her in total suspense of what happened today. He wondered if she was even aware of what kind of haircut they were making him get, if she even knew that was part of their men’s day plans. When she came through the condo with a few bags in hand, she didn’t pay attention to Nick watching the game right over in the living room over from the kitchen. Just quick hey’s to each other. She asked how the day went with the guys, and so Blake took this as an opportunity to move up from the couch and saunter over to her.

He rubbed the back of his head as he said to her, "I don’t know, you tell me babe," as he grinned too.

Annabelle stopped dead in her tracks, surprised at the stranger before her. She jolted her head back a bit before saying, "Oh my god, you’re really one of them now."

"Is that a problem?" he started moving towards

"No," she said, "no I don’t think so."

"Good," he kissed her on the lips, fully. Moving his body closer to hers. "Cuz I’m thinking I’m keeping it."

"Are you?" she sounded surprised.

Blake grabbed her hand and slowly brought it up to the side of his head, so she could feel his shorn sides. "You tell me," he whispered as he went in for another kiss, and let go of her hand as she continued to stroke his clipped head by her own motions.

They thankfully made it to the bed, but they all of a sudden got hungry around eight, realizing they hadn’t ate, so they made a quick breakfast for dinner of eggs and toast before lounging on the couch to watch the next game on. That didn’t last long, they found themselves on top of each other once again. Annabelle couldn’t keep her hands off her husband’s head. She was surprised she liked his new haircut. She always found the men in her family and their short haircuts as dorky. Not anymore. And Blake couldn’t get enough of the sensation and vibration he felt as his wife felt up his head. They were back in the bed again, Blake giving it to her like he never had before or even thought he could. Maybe Donny knew something he didn’t. They were lucky to have woken up at a reasonable hour the next morning, enough time to get ready for church, now Blake needing more time to do his hair. And they were even more lucky when nine months later they were blessed with twin boys. Not anticipating on having kids only two years into the marriage, but that’s okay. Because now all Blake couldn’t wait for was when his boys got older and he could take them for haircuts too. But he wouldn’t be so harsh on them…so long as they liked it short.




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