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The Bet by Claude


Part I
Steve, Will, James and Bill have been best friends since the first grade. Now 30 years later they are just as close as they were in grade school. They all live in the same town and see each other all the time, but have not been able to do any weekend trips or just hang out since covid-19 has taken over their lives in different ways.

Steve, the smartest one out of the bunch and an ER Doctor. He has not stopped since covid-19 hit, I am not sure if he actually has had a full day off in the last year. Steve grew up in a strict single dad household headed up by his Marine Sargent father. Although he never served in the marines he acts like he is a marine lifer. I think, he feels he disappointed his dad by not going into the marines after college, so he has adopted this
marine life style matching his father’s strict style. He works out every day and runs miles every week and with his 6’5’ frame and chiseled body he looks more like an action hero than a doctor. Then there is the haircut, since he was a kid he has had a high and tight and since college he has had a military mustache to go with the marine look, he is a carbon copy of his dad. Steve’s famous saying to this day is "that is not the marine way".

Will, owns the local insurance agency and is the hustler of the group. Growing up he was always looking for a way to make money, but nothing that would entail actual manual work. So, he finally decided to become an insurance agent because everyone has to have insurance, so no way he would not make lots of money. He is always talking insurance to whoever will listen, from you need more, you need better coverage or just need insurance from him, he just doesn’t stop. Will is also tall and thin with hair that is over his ears and always flopping down in his eyes. He hardly ever gets a haircut because it is a waste of money and time, so he gets one every 4 months or so. He also has a large goatee that is in a tailback style with ear length sideburns that are all jet black.

James, is a mortgage lender and always the one running behind and about as scattered brain as they come. He is lucky to have great employees around him that make him look good and he makes a ton of money. He is also a junk food junkie. Never eats anything healthy and is in the worst shape of all of us. Steve is always asking him to come and work out with us, but he always has excuses on how not to work out. James has a head full of curly hair that is all over the place he has ringlets hanging down everywhere. Which fits his scattered brain personality. He is always asking Steve to look at his head because he knew his hair was falling out and what was best stuff to use on his hair to keep it. Everyone just laughed at him because nothing was falling out and none of his family was bald.

I am Bill, I was able to go to college on a baseball scholarship and had dreams of being the next major league star. But it was not in the cards to be in the big leagues. But luckily, I was not a slacker like some of my teammates coasting through school. I did get a degree in accounting and have my CPA. But things changed, when my dad got sick and passed away. I took over my dad’s diner, and supported my mom. This was not my first choice but after being in the business world for a while, running the diner is what I truly enjoyed, so I never left, even after my mom passed away. I work out with Will in his home gym about 3 times a week, not as dedicated as him but do look good in my opinion. I have a medium length-tapered haircut but my hair is completely white. I started greying in high school and in college they called me the old man. It’s has only gotten lighter over the years and now my hair and beard are snow white, but I still have all of it, so not complaining.

Life was great for all of us then Covid-19 hit! It struck Will the worst, as he has not really had any time off since all this started, double shifts and he even had to quarantine for several months as afraid of bring the virus home to his family. James did well with all the refi business and low rates and could do everything online and Will, well everyone needs insurance. My diner was crazy with no in person dining and all takeout orders, it was tough on all my employees. But my servers had it the worst as people did not think they needed to tip since they were not eating in the dinner. I was lucky and my business held its own and with help from the small business relief act, I was able to keep all my employees and able to pay them a little more to make up for the lower tips.

Since covid-19 had slowed down and we were all vaccinated our monthly poker games were finally back on. It was so great getting back together and catching up. We started talking about the year we have all had and then Will said, that we all needed to get away for a few days and do something just for us. Because after the last year, we were all burned out and just tired of not doing anything fun. So, we started talking about getting away for a guy’s weekend in the NC mountains. Then all of a sudden it blossomed into atwo-week trip. It was not as easy as just guys taking off, we had jobs and wives that had to approve this so it could happen, which was surprisingly easy, but I know our wives would make us pay for this later. Then, come to find out, one of Will’s doctor fiends had at a hug mountain house with plenty of hiking trails and fishing available that we could have it for two weeks free!! All we had to do is cleanup before we left. The excitement of getting away with my 3 best fiends was incredible. Finally, the time had arrived we loaded up the Tahoe and off we were to our long-awaited adventure.

The home was huge we each had our own bedroom and bath with spectacular views of the mountains, a waterfall with a stream coming up next to the house. We settled in and started making plans on what all we can do for the time we had there. The home had lots of information on what was available near us. Our list only contained hiking, fishing, beer and poker. After a couple of days, we got into a routine. We got up ate a quick breakfast and then went for a morning hike, I would pack some sandwiches for lunch/snack for the hike and we would come back for a nap and late afternoon fishing, dinner and poker. This was most relaxed we had been since covid started.

Steve would come out of his room every morning shaved and looking perfectly groomed and this morning his high and tight had been tightened and the sides freshly shaved. I said Steve you are on vacation lighten up!!! let yourself go, just a little !! and his response as usual for everything was "that is not the Marine way" and just smiled. But you are not a marine!! he said you all know growing up with a Marine Drill Sargent dad you are a marine at heart forever. We all shook our heads and headed out for our morning hike. That afternoon we headed down to the stream and caught enough fish for a great dinner. That night after dinner of grilled fish and vegetables the poker game started. Will was pawing at his hair pushing it out of his eyes saying he wish he had gotten a haircut before we came up here. Steve jumped right in there saying I will be more than happy to give you a little trim and he ran his hand over his flattop. Will said no thanks I am good, we all laughed at the thought of him getting a short haircut. We continued to play with Steve of course being the big winner again. It was Will’s turn and he was just sitting there, James yelled Will !! it your turn, but there was no response, James shook him and like it was in slow motion he slowly leaned over and put his head on the table and started snoring. We were all laughing about him being a light weight as we threw him on the couch and finished the game as he just kept on snoring.

After the last hand James and myself started watching a game on TV. Steve got up and came back with a bag and a leather pouch. He picked Will up and placed him in one of the kitchen chairs and started securing him to the chair with a rope. We had to ask what the hell are you doing. Steve said just doing what is needed. He finished securing Will to the chair and open the leather pouch and pulled out a set of clippers and attachments. Is aid NO ! he is going to kill you, if you cut his hair. James said Will told you he did not want you to giving him a haircut just a little while ago. Steve said what I heard is that he sure wished he had gotten a haircut before the trip, so I am just helping him out.

Steve ever so slowly started on the back of Will’s head, running the clippers over and over the same spot, as we watched nothing was changing so we though he was just giving him a trim, so this was not going to be as bad as we thought. The game was going into extra endings so we turned around to see if our team was going to win, the game ended with a winning high five as we looked back at the progress on the haircut. Steve was working on the left side and we still could not see any difference in his hair. Then he moved to the right side and as we watched him take the clippers from the bottom of Will’s ear length sideburns to his crown, we were in shock. There was nothing left but white skin and stubble. We then got up to see the other side that had been shielded from us, his head was basically shaved to the crown. We stood there in shock at first and then just started laughing. Thinking what was he going to do when he saw what Steve had done to him. Steve then started on the top clipper over comb reducing the top to almost nothing. He then rubbed some hair wax into what hair was left and brushed the hair straight up. Now we knew Steve and Will was going to have matching flattops for sure. What surprised me was that Will was still just snoring away I could not believe he did not wakeup as loud as we were and the buzzing of the clippers.

Steve just kept on leveling up the flattop and even surprised us when he ran the clippers with no guard from the back of his head to about two inches from the start of his hair front hairline. This was not just a flattop but a horseshoe flattop even more extreme that Steve’s. Steve stepped back admiring his work and just said something is just not right. He left bringing back his straight razor and a shaving mug. He proceeded to lather the sides and top of Will’s head and began shaving the sides and landing stip. The difference was amazing and his white scalp almost glowed. The change in Will’s appearance was crazy he lost the boyish look and now looked older, more masculine and I know he would not want to hear it but so much better. Steve then just one more thing. He lathered up Will’s face and started shaving off his beard stubble including his prized goatee, leaving the mustache but not before giving it a nice military look, just like his. To see him and Steve together you would think they were bothers. All I could think about is what was going to happen when Will woke up. Steve laid him back on the couch still not waking up just a gentle snore and we all went to bed. Steve cleanup the mess he made smiling at his accomplishment.



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