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Cousin Don or Uncle Don by shant

Everything in this story is true right up to the point where the guy walks into the barbershop. From that point on my imagination kicks in...

When my cousin Don turned 35 his world turned upside down. One summer, at our yearly family reunion, he discovered that the people he thought were his mother and father were actually his aunt and uncle. All the years he had gone to the reunion, the woman he had thought of as his aunt, he now discovered was his birth mother.

When he was born, the parties involved decided never to tell him who his parents really were. He grew up as an only child, but at the reunion discovered he had one brother and four sisters. My mother, one of his sisters, resulted in him not being my first cousin any more, but my uncle.

Everyone on our side of the family had always known about "the secret" except Don. He never would have found out if one of my aunt's had not gotten drunk and decided that he should really know the truth and she told him the entire story. Talk about tension at a family reunion! People get together for one weekend a year and can't behave.

Fortunately, Don's parents were totally unaware of what was going on. He decided never to tell them that he knew they were not his biological parents because he did not want to hurt their feelings. He had been brought up in a wonderful home and knew he was lucky to have had them as his parents.

I had always heard that my grandmother, Louise, was pregnant when her husband suddenly died due to a burst appendix. Not yet 30, she was left with five children under the age of 10 to raise by herself. She had not finished high school and life was definitely hard for her. A sixth child would have made the situation even more difficult. Louise's sister, Ruth, was not able to have children, so Louise gave the baby to her sister and brother-in-law to raise as their own.

You would think learning about all this would be enough drama in one person's entire life, but the following summer the other shoe dropped. I found out that my grandmother had actually gotten pregnant after her husband had died. Don's real father was a man named Brian that lived in the same town that I did. All of us grew up in small towns about 20 miles apart.

In our town, if there had ever been a vote for most unpopular father, Brian would have won by a landslide. He was so arrogant and vain, rarely spoke to anyone and considered himself superior to everyone. None of us growing up liked him. I was however friends with some of his children. He had four sons and one daughter. Don ended up going from being an only child to having five half brothers and five half sisters.

One of Brian's sons, Alex, was actually one of my best friends. I secretly had a crush on him and was really envious of his hair. It was beautiful, just like Uncle Don's. Sandy brown with blonde highlights, it was extremely thick and had great body. He had the sides brushed back and was able to comb the top up and then comb it out over his forehead, and then brush the remaining length towards the back. His hair had so much body that the hair he combed out over his forehead stayed in place and never moved, never touching his forehead. He was especially proud of that.

Alex never saw a mirror that he didn't like. He was always brushing his hair, running his hands through it, and telling everyone how great it was. He was a good guy but was extremely vain about his hair, just like his father. He also had an older brother, Roger, who also was very vain about his hair. Great hair definitely ran in the family. Uncle Don's hair was very much like theirs only even better.

For several years Don tried to get in touch with Brian, but the man refused to acknowledge him. Don never confronted him directly, but continued for several years to write him a letter every year on his birthday, hoping to establish a relationship with him. His purpose was not to expose Brian or even tell Brian's children about himself, he just wanted to know what kind of man his father was.

As the years passed, Brian continued to refuse any acknowledgement of Don. Eventually Don realized there was no point in trying any longer and this resulted in him becoming angry. He never spoke to anyone about it. He never confronted Brian or any of his siblings. It really hurt him to be rejected by his own father who lived only 20 miles away.

Don went to barber college right out of high school. He started cutting all his friend's hair when he was only 14 or 15. That's all he ever wanted to be was a barber. I think a major reason was because he had such wonderful hair. This was the time when the pompadour was the "in" style.

I still remember the first time I saw Don's senior picture. His hair was so beautiful. I had never seen anything like it. It was sandy brown with blonde highlights - just like Alex's. It too was very thick and slightly wavy. He had it combed into the most elaborate pompadour I had ever seen. It defied gravity. I couldn't believe how tall it stood up. The sides and back were very full and were brushed back into a ducktail. Elvis Pressley, John Travolta in Grease, neither had anything on Don when it came to who had the best hair.

One day Don was sitting in his barber chair reading the paper and he heard the door open. He put down his paper and was pleased to see a good looking guy with great hair walking into the shop. Don thought he looked familiar. It only took a few minutes to realize that this guy was his half brother Alex. Don knew that he would not reveal anything to Alex but he did look forward to actually meeting one of his brothers. Maybe if he were lucky, Alex would become a regular customer and Don would end up knowing one of his siblings after all.

Alex got into the chair and Don caped him up. "I don't think I've ever seen you in here before and I definitely think I would remember cutting hair as great as yours," Don said, trying to be as friendly as possible.

"I live in the next town over, about 20 miles from here. The guy that cut my hair all my life just retired and I need to find someone that does as good a job as he did. He told me that of all the men's hair he had ever cut during his entire barber career, no one had hair that compared to mine. Both my older brother and father have great hair too. I'm sure they'll also be looking for a new barber."

Alex continued going on and on about his hair. "I'm very particular about my hair and want it to keep looking this great. I've found three barbershops in the area that I've decided to try out and the one that does the best job will have the privilege of getting to cut my hair from then on. I know how much barbers like to cut great hair, so I want to be sure that I find the one that is the best."

Don thought Alex would never shut up. He went on and on talking about his wonderful hair, telling Don again and again exactly how he wanted it cut. Don thought to himself, "What a pompous ass!" He had hoped they'd hit it off and he'd get to continue to cut Alex's hair, even if Alex never knew that they were related. He now knew that his brother was a jerk and that this would definitely be the first and last time he had him in his chair. The solution was easy. All he had to do was give Alex a horrible haircut! This was going to be fun!

Alex was so conceited that Don would have loved to have taken him down a peg and buzz all his hair off, especially knowing that he was his half brother. If Alex had any sense at all, all he had to do was look at Don's hair and realize that the barber had one of the most beautiful pompadours ever, but Alex was so full of himself that he never thought about anyone else, and the thought never occurred to him that anyone coud possibly have hair nicer than his.

Finally Don began the haircut. He turned Alex away from the mirror so that he couldn't see what was going to happen to his beautiful pompadour. He really didn't care what he did to Alex's hair and he really wasn't yet quite certain how he was going to cut it. He knew that he just needed to be discreet enough so that Alex would not realize what was happening and that it would look bad enough that Alex would never come back to his shop.

Alex informed Don that he never had clippers used on his hair and said that he never would. Don started at the back using scissors, taking off little snippets of hair so that Alex would not be alarmed. After taking off about half an inch all over he decided it was time to make his move. He brushed all Alex's hair back and again told him how beautiful his hair was and how pleased he was to have the opportunity to cut it. He then combed the front straight up, which was over 6 inches long and chopped off about 4 inches making certain that the hair did not fall onto the cape. He then kept cutting off more and more hair as he worked his way to the back until it was less than 2 inches at the crown. He didn't care in the least if the hair was even or not, he was just cutting it off at random.

He then had the sides left to cut and the haircut would be over. Starting again at the back, he continued cutting off 1 to 2 inches, not caring how it looked. It was still long enough for Alex to brush back and he didn't seem aware that his hair was horribly uneven all over.

When Don finished, he turned Alex to face the mirror so that he could see his new haircut. Alex was so shocked when he saw what Don had done to his hair that Don thought he was going to hyperventilate and pass out. "What the hell have you done to my hair? It's ruined! I'm never coming back in this shop again. I should sue you for destroying my hair. It will take months for it to even look decent!" he practically screamed at Don.

Don calmly replied, "Gee, I'm sorry, I guess I misunderstood your instructions. I thought you wanted a haircut similiar to what you had only a little shorter. I'm really sorry I didn't cut your hair exactly the way you wanted it. I won't charge you for the haircut because you are so unsatisfied. I hope you have better luck with the other two barbers."

Alex stormed out all in a rage. Don sat down in his barber chair and looked at all the beautiful hair that was on the floor. What a day this had turned out to be. It had been great fun to just ruin his brother's perfect pompadour. He couldn't believe that he had totally destroyed a beautiful head of hair, but his brother was such a jerk that he didn't feel any guilt at all.

Don sat for a while longer and replayed the scene that had just happened over and over in his head, relishing every moment of the haircut. He just wished he had the chance to get Alex's brother and father in the chair too! He'd give them haircuts they would never forget!

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