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Donny cleans up his act by Manny

"Donny!" the barber snapped. "I don't have all day. Now, take a seat. Or should I call your...."

Donny felt flustered and upset. He moved toward the big barber chair simply to head off the unwanted phone call.

"It's just that I've been growing it out a bit. I'm in a band and we have a big gig this Friday," Donny explained in a pleading tone as he neared the large metal footrest.

"I'm sure the length of your hair will not affect your ability to play and sing. Once I’m finished with your haircut, you’ll fit right into a barbershop quartet," the barber laughed.

"It's not that kind of band," Donny whimpered as he mounted the footrest towards his impending date with all the instruments at the barber's disposal -- clippers, thinning shears, straight razors!

"I told your father I was going to clip you down to a nice respectable length," the barber noted with a smug tone.

Donny's stomach churned. The barber confirmed his worst nightmare. He looked at himself in the mirror. Oh, his lovely hair! Raven black, parted in the middle, feathered on the sides, lapping over the ears and all the way to the base of his collar in back. He looked like a cool cat....with dreamy, to-die-for locks. But not for long. He was resigned to his fate.

The barber smirked with delight as Donny eased himself into the comfortable red leather upholstery.

"Please, not too short," came Donny’s last plea, as he smoothed down his groovy feathered look.

The barber snapped open the cape with a firm resolve. The next thing Donny knew, he was gasping for breath as the large metal clip fastened the cloth tightly about his neck.

Then, the barber attacked Donny’s thick, bushy hair with a comb. He gave a few yanks that caused Donny to grip the arm of the chair and hold on for dear life.

"Such thick hair. We'll need a prolonged session with the thinning shears so that it lays down nice flat with a standard side part. But, first, these will take care of the overgrown bush," the barber said, reaching for the clippers. He brandished a huge Oster Progienic Model 10 clipper in front of Donny’s wide eyes.

Donny gulped.

"Your father suggested whitewalls, Donny," the barber chirped gleefully.

Then the eager barber clamped his large hand down on the top of Donny’s head and cocked it to the side. The machine sprang to life. Without ceremony the barber drove the Progienic clippers up the side, pressing closely to the scalp, through the incipient sideburn and through the temple. Then, the first chunk of Donny’s thick, coarse hair hit the cape. The skinning of the side, the dreaded whitewall, had begun to take shape!

"Whitewalls on the side and the top plastered down and slicked to the side! You’ll look so much better with a cleancut look, Donny," the barber said cheerfully.

With that, he peeled off another wad of Donny’s feathered look and totally exposed his left ear. How the boys in the band would mock him when he showed up with his shorn head!!

"I wouldn’t have to take off so much if you would visit me more regularly, Donny," the barber scolded. "How long has it been?"

Donny sat, feeling numb and totally silent. His stomach churned as more of more of his luxuriant hair hit the cape.

"Boys with long hair tend to get in trouble," the barber pontificated.

He shoved Donny's head forward so that his chin nearly touched his chest. The Progienics tackled the back.

"Several of my best clients are policemen," the barber continued. "This week, one told me that they target longhairs for surveillance. Any whiff of drugs and the moptops are hauled into the station. Even if the lads are just being held overnight for questioning, the first step after booking is shaving their heads. Off with their girlish locks! Most of them are released the next day with their naked heads looking like cue balls. The police get their kicks shaving them bald, I imagine."

Donny shuddered at the thought of a totally bald head. At least he would escape with a patch of pelt on top.

"I shared that bit with your father when he was in here earlier this week for a trim. It's what led to your little visit here today, Donny." The barber grinned with a look of satisfaction as he moved to administer a whitewall on the opposite side.

"'I'll be sending my boy, Don, in for a proper crop,' he said. 'Make sure you clip that thatch he's sprout off nice and short.' Oh yes, he was quite determined that his son not end up with a police record or any hint of juvenile delinquency," the barber chatted on. "How old are you, Donny?"

"Seventeen," Donny replied.

"That would be, 'Seventeen, sir!'" the barber chided.

With that, the barber took the Progienics to the front, lifted the long, feathered bangs with a comb, and tackled Donny's prime forelock. Into the thatch the teeth pushed, chewing the dreamy locks off just and inch from the scalp. The barber kept clearing off most of the length from the top before employing the thinning shears. He was like a machine, with the thinning shears reducing the bulky locks to mere wisps. Dark hair almost completely covered the cape.

"My wife says you've stopped attending youth group at church on Friday evenings, Donny," the barber continued. "They'll be hosting a party for the boys at the orphanage tomorrow. Shall I tell your father you've offered to help? I could even suggest we let your hair grow out a tad longer than this. I mean, whitewalls are more for boys 13 and under," the barber suggested.

Donny's head was spinning. He could not recognize himself without his feathered hair style. "Yes, I suppose so," he murmured incoherently.

The barber applied a gooey pomade to the wispy dark hair that remained on top and slicked it down flat against the scalp with a rigid side part. Donny was totally aghast at his transformation.

With that, the cape came off and hair flew all over. "The nice boy, cleancut kid, Donny is back!" the barber announced.

Donny felt so relieved to have the haircut behind him. He fondled the clipped back in disbelief. Nothing more than sandpaper-like stubble where his dreamy layered locks once flowed.

"Looks great. Feels great too, I imagine," the barber said as he handed Donny his jacket. "Your father has paid for the haircut already."

As Donny stepped out into the early evening, two of the guys from his band emerged from the shadows. They were laughing so hard, doubling over and pointing at Donny's shorn head.

"A complete dorky look!" one with hair down to his shoulders taunted.

"Dumbo ears too," mocked the other. "We'll need to put my mother's wig on you for tomorrow night. We can't have a goofy boy sporting a vintage 1950s look on stage with us.

Just then a voice blared from a cop car that pulled up in front of the barber shop. "What's going on there?!"

There was a moment of panic. One of the boys started to flee, but the cop jumped out of the car and was fast in apprehending him and leading him back to the squad car.

"The three of you, cooperate! We're going to examine your pockets," the cop ordered.

The fellow with the longest hair got a sick look on his face. "They're prescription, for my mother's bad back," he started to explain.

"Peddling drugs illegally, I see! We'll take a statement down at the station. Now the three of you, into the cruiser," the cop ordered.

Just then, the barber who had been observing from the shop, came out to the sidewalk. "I can vouch for Don Osmand, the cleancut fellow there. He has nothing to do with those two hippy ne'er-do-wells, I can assure you completely. He's a sweet kid. Will be serving cool aid to the orphans tomorrow night at the church hall," the barber explained.

"If you say so, Rex," the cop replied. "These two were probably trying to sell him drugs."

"Mind that you don't pal around with his fast set, son," the other cop admonished him.

"Yes, sir," Donny replied earnestly.

"Make sure you use a 0000 blade on those two when you process them in at the police station, fellows," the barber called. "The last thing you want in the jail is a case of lice! Look at what a rats nest that one delinquent is sporting!"

"If these pills are actually drugs, you can assure we'll be scraping them clean with lather and a razor! Can't be too careful in dealing with hooligans," the cop replied with a cheery grin.

"Now, into the cruiser, longhairs! You're coming with us to the police station!"

Donny looked up at the barber and mouthed a heartfelt "thanks!" for interceding on his behalf.

"So, tomorrow, you'll be serving cool aid to the orphans at church?" the barber asked.

"You bet, Rex!" Donny said, smiling. "And, thanks for the great haircut."

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