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Jon's strip by Manny

Jon jumped into his pick-up and glanced in the rear-view mirror. Yep, his flattop was looking overgrown. But, hopefully he'd be first in line when the barber shop opened. The haircut would set him back 20-30 minutes, but he'd have the rest of the morning to indulge his passion, flying his little Cessna over the beautiful mountains of Montana.

Jon threw the truck in gear and sped off. As he neared town, he got stopped at the train tracks. An unfortunate delay. Jon tapped the steering wheel nervously. If one wasn't early on Saturday morning, the line for a haircut could be long.

Jon checked the mirror again. Should he skip the haircut and go straight to the landing strip where his plane was parked? He ran his hand over his lush chestnut-colored pelt. He had great, dense hair. Quite soft and silky. But, it needed to be cut.

As Jon studied himself in the mirror, waiting for the train to pass, he started thinking. How long had he sported a deep pile flat? Years, more than a decade...probably more than a dozen years. He'd gotten the cut to connect better with his clients who later became his constituents. They liked that good-ole boy persona -- no fussy salon look or suits/ties for Jon when he was on the campaign trail! Lots of pressing the flesh in barber shops around his district too. The boxy flattop and flannel shirt fit right in with his key supporters.

But, now that he was comfortably in his position....why not change things a bit? Take the top down! SHORT!!

The idea of going very short excited Jon. Skinned sides! And, of course, the patch on top taken down close to the scalp. To feel the clippers grazing the top of his head.....

Just as he was squirming at the thought of getting a military length flattop, the train cleared the intersection. The flashing lights subsided and the barrier rose slowly.

Jon threw the pick-up in gear and sped towards the barber shop.

Despite his 300 pound frame, Jon alighted quickly from the truck. The shop was already open, but there was only one client in the chair. Fortunately, his preferred barber, Larry, was still idle.

"Morning, Larry!" Jon said cheerily as he entered the shop.

"Morning, Jon, seat's waiting for you," the barber replied.

"Glad there's no line yet. I want to get to the air strip as quickly as possible," Jon said.

"Be right with you," Larry answered.

In a flash, the cape was flying through the air and being secured in place by means of a large metal clip.

"So, your usual?" Larry asked rhetorically, expecting a confirmation.

"Nope, something different today!" Jon said with a tone of excitement.

"Don't tell me you're giving up the flattop!" Larry exclaimed. "I see you've let it grow out quite a bit. But, I'm not sure it's long enough for a standard side part. I can tidy the sides and back a bit, but it'll be another two weeks or so before you can get this top to lay down flat."

Jon let Larry carry on a bit and try to comb his chestnut-colored hair to the side. He shifted nervously beneath the cape as he summoned the courage to deliver the news.....

"No short back and sides for me, Larry. Nope, I'm ready for you to take down that top! Extra SHORT! When I walk onto the military base to greet my constituents, I want some snappy salutes from the soldiers," Jon babbled.

Larry got a big smile. "Relieved to hear that, Senator. I've long wanted to put an end to the pretty-boy flattop! Do you want to go down in stages....or one dramatic makeover. Walk out of here with a SHOE instead of all this!" Larry stroked the longish pelt.

"No shoe!" Jon gasped. "I'm not that crazy...and I still do need to related to my colleagues in DC." Jon's heart was racing. Even a landing strip now seemed risky. "Take it down gradually. Let's see how short I'm prepared to let you go with the pile."

"Landing strip?" the barber asked, sounding a bit disappointed.

Jon squirmed under the cape again. Cold feet were taking over him.

"Maybe, but not on the first go. As short as you can cut it with no strip, how's that."

"A plan!" Larry remarked, snapping on the clippers.

Larry forcefully nudged Jon's head forward. The haircut was starting out just the same. Moments later he felt the naked teeth creeping up through his nape. Still the same. Larry kept working the back. Jon's heartbeat slowed back to a normal rate. High and higher up the back the clippers went. Then through the cowlick. Finally Jon felt a bit of a change. Larry was reducing the circumference of his plush top! The erect bristles would cover a smaller part of his head.

Then Larry let Jon sit up straight. He turned to tackle the left side. Jon watched intently. The first swipe of the clippers cleared the soft pelt away, right down to the skin! AGH! The side skinned all the way up through the temple and angling in dramatically with the curve of the head! Larry gouged off a massive clump that fell right to the cape.

Jon's stomach began to churn. He had envisioned something shorter, but not the dramatic reduction of the flat area.

The barber paused. He sensed Jon was a bit agitated. "Like what you're seeing, Jon?" Larry asked a bit tentatively.

Jon settled his discomfort, "Oh yes, yes. Uh, a bit of a different footprint on top, I mean not just a shorter length."

"That's right. The military tops are quite spartan on top. A very tight circle. That's what you want, right?" the barber asked.

"Go for it," Jon said, working up some manufactured enthusiasm.

The barber turned to the other side, again skinning the sides up through the curve of the crown. The patch of longish hair remaining on top was quite small.

"Now, to start taking away the length," the barber said, explaining his next step.

More than half of Jon's hair was already gone. He had never seen so much of his hair on the cape since first adopting the flat top. And more was to come off!

Larry took the clippers and plowed it straight through Jon’s patch of hair.

"Wow!" Jon gasped, his breath taken away by the severity of the clippers.

Larry continued reducing the length of the pelt. Over and over the clippers trimmed away snippets of his chestnut-colored hair. Virtually very little was left on top.

"I think you’re looking great," the barber said. He held up a small mirror so that Jon could easily see what remained on top.

"So what do you think? Like this length? Are we finished?" the barber asked.

John shifted nervously under the cape. "Finished…?" he gulped. He had come this far, why not go all the way?

Jon gripped the arms of the chair tightly and swallowed while working up courage to blurt out, "Carve out a strip, a big wide landing strip on top!"

Larry flashed a smile. "One international airport coming up!"

The clippers grazed the top of Jon’s head lightly, and then came again for a second go, widening the strip two-fold. John gasped at his transformation. He looked like a mean drill sergeant with his menacing flat top.

"Sure I can’t talk you into a shoe?" Larry asked.

Jon toyed around with the idea of a shoe, but couldn’t make himself go that far.

"No, this is exactly what I wanted!" Jon said firmly.

He still was amazed by how different he looked with the shorter top.

The cape came off and Jon instinctively touched his strip on top. It felt exhilarating! His juices were flowing. He felt revved up.

"Here, Larry! Good job...and keep the change," Jon remarked as he handed the barber a twenty.

"Next time, a shoe?" Larry asked hopefully.

"Perhaps," replied Jon, with a twinkle in his eye, already knowing that the landing strip would be in need of an extension.

Jon raced to the air strip, full of vitality and live. Within minutes, the security checks were done and he was taxiing onto the runway. A lovely, long, long strip. Jon felt like a champ, whizzing down the runway.....and wheels up! He was soaring high.

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