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The third time's the charm by Manny

"Very nice," Dr. Darnell murmured as Robby ended his audition with a trumpet flourish. "Such a nice, mellow tone coming from that horn."

"So, am I officially part of the Men's Brass Ensemble now?" Robby asked, confident the audition had just been a formality.

"The skill, tone and technique of your playing is exactly what I want in the MBE -- that's how we refer to the Men's Brass Ensemble. We have a proud tradition of fine classical music here at St. Julian's College. And, our alumni have deep pockets, especially as the brass plays and the plates are passed," explained Dr. Darnell with a chuckle. "Of course, the recording you sent in with your scholarship application sounded just as melodious and majestic as your playing today. But, I prefer to hear the musician in person before signing the dotted line granting the scholarship."

Then, after a pause, Dr. Darnell added, "And see the musician, in person, as well....." His eye locked onto Robby thick, lustrous blond hair that flowed past the base of his collar. "Once your hair has been cut, I will sign the scholarship form."

Robby was stunned by the unexpected requirement! "You want my hair cut?" he stammered.

"That's right. Cut short! Quite short. It's the MBE you're playing in. Not the WBE!" Dr. Darnell snapped with a smirk on his face. "The rich alumni don't want to see a bunch of hippies up there on stage. Nor do they want to hear ragtime tunes. They want to see respectable, clean-cut young men playing Shuman and Bach."

Robby pawed at his hair. He was quite proud of his mane. He had resisted his parents for year about cutting it...and now, there was Dr. Darnell ragging him.

Robby shuffled nervously. He knew there was no way he could pay for his college education without the scholarship....and he'd already moved halfway across the country. There didn't seem to be anything that could be done. Dr. Darnell held the only card that matter -- authority to grant the scholarship.

"I understand," Robby said, reluctantly. "I'll get it cut."

"This afternoon?" Dr. Darnell pressed. "I've been asked to submit my list for the MBE tomorrow. And, if you want your name on it, then..." Dr. Darnell held up his hand like a pair of scissors. A mean sort of grin crept across his lips. "Chop, chop! Get on with it, Robert!"

"Yes, sir," Robby said, as he fled Dr. Darnell's small office.

As he hurried back to the dorm, Robby ran his fingers through his long hair. He had planned to grow it out all year, long lush hair down his back. He'd always dreamed about having waist-length hair. Now Dr. Darnell would have him looking like a nerd, like a schoolboy with a short back 'n sides.

Robby remembered seeing a sign on the bulletin board with a hand-drawn barber pole on it -- an amateur ad from one of the fellows on campus who cut hair. Ah, yes, there it was....a Larry Donaldson...in Robby's own dorm. Room 321. $10 -- a convenience and a bargain.

Robby ran up the stairs and knocked on Room 321, hoping Larry would be in and available to trim his hair.

"Come," the voice said from inside.

Robby opened the door and poked his head in. "I'm looking for Larry."

The fellow, who was organizing his books looked up, "You found him."

"Uh, I'm needing a bit of a haircut. Just a trim, really, but today," Robby said.

"What's the hurry?" Larry asked. "I'm busy, and have an evening class today."

"Dr. Darnell. He won't sign the scholarship papers until I've trimmed my hair," Robby explained.

Larry grinned. "Trimmed? I very much doubt that. I did buy a new set of clippers this summer. I'd like to try them out and see how efficiently they can mow through that thick mane of yours. You'll be needing a short length that will please your prof. Come, let's head down to the laundry room. That's my barber shop. I'll grab my stuff."

"You can leave the clippers here! I just want a bit of length taken off in back and sides, and perhaps trimmed out of the eyes. Just respectable enough for the good professor, but nothing that will make me look like a total nerd," Robby said firmly.

"Whatever....but, if it's not short enough and you come back for another 'trim' you pay a second $10. Understood?" Larry replied.

Once they were in the laundry room, Larry had Robby take off his shirt. "If this is going to be a scissors cut, I'm going to thoroughly wet your hair down in the sink."

Robby was surprised at how Larry took control in manhandling him, leaning him awkwardly over the large sink. Larry pressed close to Robby from behind.

The torrent of cold water made Robby wince, "Hey, can't you warm that up a bit?"

Larry pressed his body closer to Robby's and continued to ply the stream of cool water through his abundant locks. "It'll warm up momentarily. You have very nice hair, uh, what did you say your name was?"

"Robby. And, thanks for the compliment! Last thing I wanted to do is cut it. I was planning on growing it out....." Robby murmured from beneath the flow of now slightly warm water.

Larry turned off the water and began to wring the excess moisture from the drenched locks.

"Thanks to Dr. Darnell, we should become good friends with me tidying you up every time you need to perform for the alumni," Larry chuckled. "You'll earn every penny of that scholarship. All your weekends taken up with boring banquets and other type fundraisers. Travelling all over the place, sleeping in people's basements. When I was a freshman, my roommate was in the MBE. That's why I know so much about it, including Dr. Darnell's limit when it comes to hair length!"

Larry had Robby stand. He examined the hair. "I'd say about a good 5-6 inches is coming off all over."

Robby's stomach lurched! He was going to get scalped!

Larry began towel drying Robby's wet mane. There was very little body space between them. Robby felt a bit well, enamored, with his new barber friend. Larry seemed warm and charismatic, as well as the type of take-charge guy that Robby favored.

"Haircut time!" Larry chirped gleefully. He grabbed a folding chair that was in the corner and opened it up. "Afraid it's not a proper barber chair. Now sit here, my friend. But, I do have proper, professional barber shears to chop that mane down to a respectable length."

Robby complied, and Larry began combing out the long, wet tresses. "So thick, so nice! What's your final verdict....just a trim?"

Robby squirmed in the chair. "Uh, well, given that you have first-hand experience, I'll leave it with you. But, please, please. As long as possible!"

Larry smiled. Then his hand seized Robby's chin and he turned his new client's face directly toward him. Larry came in super close. Their lips were less than an inch apart. "You'll look swell when I'm finished with you. Promise! Super handsome with a nice, short haircut. Conservative in length, but not geeky."

Larry combed through the long locks once more. Then Robby felt the blades of the shears just below his nape. SNIP, SNIP, SNIP.

Robby's eyes darted to the floor. Wet clumps of cut hair began to collect at Larry's feet. SNIP, SNIP, SNIP. More came off the back. Robby was resigned to much shorter hair. Strangely, he felt glad that Dr. Darnell's insistence had led him straight to Larry. The lack of body space, an almost sense of intimacy...was quickly developing between them.

"Now for these bangs," Larry announced. "No good brass player needs lip-length bangs!" The shears went right above Robby's eyebrow.

"Please!" Robby stammered. "Not so short!"

"I thought you were going to leave the length to me," Larry retorted. Larry firmly snipped off the long strands. Snip, snip, snip. Straight across the forehead, just above the eyebrow. Then, the amateur barber continued snipping at an angle down the side. Finally, he took the length off just lapping a bit over the top of the ear -- a half inch over to avoid geeky-looking "arches" around the ears.

After the basic length was established at the back, sides and front, Larry seized a shank of hair from the left side, imprisoned it between his fingers and lopped most of it off. A large wad of cut, wet hair fell to Robby's lap. Seize, section, snip. Seize, section, snip. Seize, section, snip. Larry was like a machine, taking off most of the length from all over. The locks on top went from eight inches in length down to two or three.

"A lot is coming off," Robby whined.

"That's because you have so much hair -- it's so thick and dense. I'm going to have to use the thinning shears on you before this is over, to get it to lay down nice and tidy," Larry warned.

Then the amateur barber tackled the hair at the nape, cutting it short to reduce the bulk and even shorter with regard to length. "I left a bit over the ears, but Dr. Darnell is fastidious about off the collar in back. No hair touching the collar! I do wish I had my new clippers to give you a crisp, short taper."

Larry combed through Robby's short hair. "I've given you a center part so that it doesn't look as geeky." Then he snipped the bangs a little shorter, to mid-forehead.

Robby semi-swooned as he felt the metal blades of the shears cutting his bangs so short. To think they had hung down to his lip just moments earlier!

The final session was with the thinning shears. Every lock, it seemed, as thinned out. A lot of thrashing away and bulk reduction. At last, Larry seemed satisfied with his work.

When the haircut was finally over, Robby had been transformed significantly. Larry held up a small mirror. His hair was still full, but very tidy looking. And short!

Robby cracked a bit of a smile. For an amateur, Larry had done a good job. Robby's main issue with the haircut were his bangs -- so very, very short.... It was like his security blanket had been snatched away. He felt exposed and vulnerable without the hair cascading over his eyes.

"Look at all the hair on the floor!" Larry exclaimed. "Like a carpet of gold!" Then his hand stroked Robby's tidy mane. His fingers lingered. Larry made no effort to disguise a very tender caress which Robby enjoyed.

"This haircut was on me. I had fun doing that. I hope Dr. Darnell approves. But, be advised, it's pushing the envelope with him as to length. If you want, I can still run upstairs and get my clippers. A short taper around the ears and up the back will seal your place in the MBE, for sure," Larry offered.

Robby stood up and shook off the cut hair. He pawed at his tidy locks. Then he realized how short it had been cut in back! Robby stared at the floor in amazement. "Wow, hard to imagine all that came off of me. Thanks, Larry! I owe you big time. I'm sure Dr. Darnell will give his seal of approval when he sees your handiwork."

Robby stuck out his hand for a shake. Larry took it and pulled him into a friendly embrace. "How about a little hug for your new barber?" he suggested.

Robby felt a definite bulge from his new barber friend and instantly got hard. Then, without thinking, he gave Larry a quick peck on the lips. Larry held him close, almost possessively.

Robby felt torn. He wanted to savor his treat for being good in the barber's chair (why no a lollipop to suck?), but he was pressed to pass Dr. Darnell's haircut inspection.

"I wish I weren't in such a rush," Robby stammered as he pulled away. But, Dr. Darnell...."

"Go!" Larry commanded playfully, giving Robby a quick swat on his tight, shapely rear end.

Robby was in for a very unwelcome surprise when he reported to the music professor.

The cranky geezer prof leaned back in his desk chair and pursed his lips. "Turn around," he instructed.

Robby knew from the facial expressions that Dr. Darnell was far from happy over the length.

"Your idea and mine of what constitutes 'clean-cut' are at odds. The barber shop must have been dealing with a power shortage when you visited, Robert. I mean, I expected a nice crisp taper administered by an efficient set of fast-feed electric hair clippers. Tapered to zero," Dr. Darnell specified.

Then, the prof stood and motioned to the door. "Shall we?" he asked.

"Shall we what?" Robby stammered.

"I am taking you to the barber shop myself, to ensure no communication failure this time. Or shall I offer the scholarship to the nice fellow from Kansas City? His father is a professional army musician. And the nice lad's hair is cut to regulation!" exclaimed Dr. Darnell. Most of the alumni are tone deaf -- one trumpet player will sound as good as the next. But, they are not blind!

Robby reluctantly slinked out the door in Dr. Darnell's footsteps. He felt like such an idiot -- like a ten-year old, being taken to the barber shop by his disapproving, hard-to-please grandfather! Robby hung his head and avoided eye contact with any of the other college students they passed on their way to the parking lot.

On the drive into town, Dr. Darnell chatted amiably, with Robby occasionally answering "yes, sir" or "no, sir".

Then they arrived at Al's Barber Shop. Dr. Darnell strode in purposefully, with a spring in his step. "Al, this fellow here wants to be in my music group...."

The barber smirked. He already was familiar with the routine, "Hop up into the chair, lad! The sooner I get you caped up and clipped down, the better."

Robby looked in dread on the line of big clippers hanging from the counter. His hair was already so short.

"Does this little miss play the clarinet or the piccolo?" the barber asked as he fastened the big white cape into place. The geezer chuckled at his own line of taunting.

"Give me my money's worth when you take the clippers to him," Dr. Darnell said from the waiting area. "I have an inkling Robert will be one prone to dragging out visits to the barber shop for as long as possible between clips. A nice short crop will give him a little leeway."

"White walls or arches?" the barber asked the professor.

"Arches! Generous ones. And an aggressive taper up to the crown in back. Oh, plus, make sure he has a side part, for Heaven's sake!" Dr. Darnell exclaimed.

"Yes, sir!" the barber chirped. "Such thick hair is best mowed down into an extra tight taper."

The first thing the barber did was snip the bangs off short and angled up to the top corner of the forehead!

Robby was aghast. What a way to start! Then came the clippers. He felt like he was in some sort of boot camp as the barber began reducing the length. The cowed college kid gripped the arms of the chair under the cape. He felt woozy, the worst nightmare.

Robby closed his eyes and began fantasizing about his new romantic interest, Larry, to take his mind of the carnage being done to his pampered locks. To think, he had wanted to grow his hair out this year -- down to his shoulder blades. Then that dreadful Dr. Darnell reversed course. Why hadn't he let Larry take the clippers to him instead of the geezer barber?

The clipping seemed to go on and on, with the barber thrusting Robby's head this way and that! Robby kept his eyes shut throughout his ordeal, pretending he was somewhere else.

Finally, when Robby felt the barber applying the duster to his nape and ears, he worked up the courage to open his eyes. He looked like a geek! Like a 6th grade boy in 1965. The sides were extremely short....and the awful exaggerated arches gleamed with creamy white scalp. To make matters worse, the barber plied his hair with foul smelling cream and plastered it down with a severe side part. The barber was most proud that the forelock had been thinned and snipped off to a mere remnant of its former bulky presence.

Then, the barber held up a mirror to show off the back of his shorn head. Robby had no recourse but to nod and murmur, "Yes, that's fine."

"The MEN's Brass Ensemble has gained a fine, talented trumpet player," Dr. Darnell proclaimed, nodding his emphatic approval.

He led poor Robby out of the barber shop like a kindergarten teacher leading students from the playground.

"It's a bit short, but it will grow out just fine," Dr. Darnell crowed as he took one final look at his new ensemble player before dropping him off at his dorm.

Robby raced up the steps to Larry's room and burst in without knocking.

Larry looked up from the book he was reading and burst out laughing! "Don't tell me!! You've been taken to Al's Barber Shop by Dr. Darnell himself!"

Robby rushed to the mirror and stared at himself. "This is awful!" He touched the greasy pomade. "And it stinks....it's giving me a headache."

Larry came up behind Robby. "Wow, look at the back. Bare skin almost half way up the back. You got scalped!"

Robby felt a lump developing in his throat. 'Don't cry!' he told himself. But his eyes began to well with tears.

Then he felt Larry kiss his tender, sensitive nape. Robby's emotions took a roller coaster turn. From depths to heights!

Larry kissed his nape again, with more passion. Then, he murmured, "This haircut from Al brought you running back to me. I've been thinking about you non-stop since we first met!"

"Really?" Robby stammered. "I can believe that, because it's been the same for me. In fact, when I couldn't bear to watch the way Al was mutilating my hair, I closed my eyes and pictured us together....."

"And, what were we doing together?" Larry asked coyly.

"This!" Robby stated, as he pivoted around, and the two locked lips.

Finally, the pair broke apart.

"I've got an idea for your hair," Larry said.

"A tonic to promote rapid growth?" Robby joked.

"No, a crewcut!" Larry grinned.

"What?!" Robby gasped.

"You've got to ditch this little schoolboy haircut....and go shorter!" Larry continued. "Crewcuts are the rage with the football team -- the big men on campus. I shear most of them down myself. Those manly men don't want to be fussing with girly hair."

"A crewcut?" Robby stammered, unsure of the path Larry was charting for him.

"And, I can't wait to snip these pathetic angled bangs off, right at the top of your forehead. Leave you with a small tuft in front, barely long enough to grasp between your fingers!" Larry's fingers formed a pair of imaginary shears to snip the angled bangs off near the roots.

"I need to trust you, Larry," Robby said, with a tinge of doubt in his voice. "I should have listened to you from the beginning when you wanted to taper my hair with the clippers."

"What do you say you and I jump in the shower together to get this awful pomade out, and to...." Larry's voice trailed.

The interlude was like heaven. Larry lathered up Robby's short locks. All the snipping, clipping and thinning that had been administered to him so far could not hide the fact that he had wonderful, healthy, glimmering blond hair.

As they showered together, Robby chortled, "To think I had come here determined to grow my hair out. I thought the first year I could get it down to my shoulder blades....and by graduation I hoped it would be down to my rear end. I wanted to pull it up into a huge, wonderful bun that poked out like a wasps' nest from my graduation cap! But that's not to be....."

"Not as long as you need that music scholarship," Larry confirmed.

Then, Larry added in a bit of melancholic tone, "My fantasy probably won't become reality either...."

"What is it?" Robby asked, saddened by the statement.

"I've longed to receive a blow job by a handsome young man sporting nothing but virgin scalp. His first ever total head shave, cueball, scraped clean...on his knees to please me as I stimulate his sensitive scalp," Larry explained.

The two visions were so opposite. A large bun of wonderful shimmering locks versus a naked dome of freshly exposed, gleaming skin.

Robby gulped. He looked at Larry and worked up the courage to say, "Your fantasy will come true. I will make sure of that!"

Larry smiled broadly. He tussled Robby's wet locks. "That's wonderful! But it will not happen today. Dr. Darnell would never approve of a cueball. Today, it's a classic crewcut for you...."

They stepped out of the shower and Larry handed Robby a towel.

"But, on the last day of the school year, right before summer break begins, I will be on my knees feeling you stimulate my virgin, bare scalp...." Robby purred as he psyched himself up to be caped and in the chair for the third time that day.

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