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Edward's campaign takes a turn by Manny
"Edward, EDWARD! Get out here, now!" the campaign manager bellowed.
Edward quickly pulled the brush one more time through his wavy, raven locks before prying himself away from the admiring gaze that kept him tethered to the bathroom vanity.
"Sorry," Edward said as he emerged from the bathroom. "Just had to make sure I looked my best before our walk-about on Main Street. You've arranged for some sympathetic folk to be there, right, Curry?"
"Your campaign is in free fall, Edward!" Curry gasped. "Read this!"
He tossed over the morning papers.
HAIR SNARE the main daily trumpeted.
PRETTY BOY, UGLY PRICE another announced.
Edward's face turned a bright read as he scanned the articles. But nothing written could possibly have been more damaging that the huge photo of him holding a woman's compact and carefully arranging his lush locks as he smiled approvingly at his reflection.
"I knew your $400 trim on Sunset Boulevard would come back to haunt us! And where did that photo come from?" Curry demanded.
"I think from the segment I filmed for Good Morning USA. The hair and make-up people hadn't got my part exactly right, and I was trying to fix it before the cameras rolled," Edward explained sheepishly.
"If you don't have a convincing win here in Georgia, that's it! Your campaign to become the next president of the USA is over! You'll become a footnote in the history books -- an 'also ran' minor poliical player. Understood?!" Curry snapped. "And there's only one way I can think of to reverse the damage...."
He stared directly at Edward's crowning glory -- his thick, lustrous locks. So full, so perfectly groomed -- liberally covering the collar in back with feathered wings on the sides. So cutting edge! Edward was a 1990s poster boy when it came to men's hair...at least West and East Coast hair styles.
"What does my campaign manager suggest?" Edward asked nervously, with an inkling of where the conversation might go.
"It's not a suggestion. It's an ultimatum. We'll be walking around Main Street and when we reach the twirling red, white and blue pole, you head right on in. And, you tell the barber to give you a true Georgia haircut -- what the locals get. Understood? Here's $15 in cash -- $13 for the cut and a two-dollar tip," Curry stated.
"No, I'm sorry....I can’t. It’s just that….." Edward stammered.
"It's that, or you get a new campaign manager. I'm not going to stay aboard this sinking ship!" Curry snapped. "We're already late. I see the photographers walking around anxiously outside. Got the cash for the haircut, Edward?" Curry asked.
"Right here in my pocket," he gulped, his eyes pleading unsuccessfully for a reprieve from the awful course Curry had plotted.
As soon as Edward stepped outside, he was mobbed by the reporters. "Any reaction to Hair-Gate?" one asked.
"You're out of touch with common folk. Do you agree, Senator Johns?" another questioned. "The 99% can't afford a $400 trim on Sunset Boulevard!"
"That was California. This is Georgia! I saw a quaint little barber shop on Main Street. And I will ask for my money's worth!" Edward Johns whipped the $15 dollars out of his pocket and flashed it to the crowd.
He ran his fingers through his plush, lengthy mane. "I'll be better off without this as I cross Georgia and talk to people, town-to-town, listening to their concerns and suggestions. I'm going to be president of the 99%, not the 1%!"
Curry admired the way Edward stepped up to the plate and tackled the conundrum head-on. Despite his deep-seated vanity, there was something quite charming about Edward. His smile, his dimple, his flashing eyes....his hair!
Oh, to see it brutally whacked off by a barber! Curry knew Edward would feel vulnerable after his power helmet had been pared down or taken totally off. He would need a lot of emotional comfort and support later on in the evening, after lights went out in the hotel suite....the pretty boy, whimpering in his arms, needing to be consoled.
The entourage moved slowly down the sidewalk with cameras snapping and the crowd growing. Edward shook hands and chatted amiably. His stomach was in knots, but his face did not betray his anxiety.
Suddenly, the twirling red, white and blue pole loomed large. Edward was standing right in front of Chuck's Barber Shop. The cameras clicked incessantly. An old geezer, clad in a fairly dingy white barber jacket, ambled over to watch the scene in front of his shop. Edward's mind raced back to the hot tart in the tight mini-skirt who had led him by the hand back to the hair washing booth. What was her name? Rielle? But that was Sunset Boulevard. This was Main Street!
Edward placed his hand on the metal bar that divided the glass door in half and steeled his nerves. He pushed it open and walked in.
"I'm here for a haircut!" Edward announced so that the reporters could hear it plainly. "I want a cut that will show my deep-rooted southern soul!"
"Take a seat there," the geezer ordered without a lot of drama or emotion as he reached for the cape.
Despite the comfortable upholstery, Edward shifted nervously in the chair. He hoped the cape would soon cover his obvious unease.
The geezer barber pulled the cloth tight and secured it with a large metal clip. There was no fawning or sucking up like Edward had received a week ago on Sunset Blvd. No Rielle cooing in his ear about his super sexy hair.
"Now, how do you want this cut?" the barber asked, yanking a comb through the dense thatch of hair.
"Turn the chair this way," one of the reporters urged.
The geezer spun it around. Edward did his best to disguise his 'dear in the headlights' look.
"The last fellow that you had in the chair," Curry piped up from the sideline. "How about the very same cut?"
A look of panic flashed momentarily in Edward's eyes. What a gamble! He gripped the arms of the chair beneath the cape. It was like rolling the dice when he agreed, "Great idea! Whatever your previous client got, cut mine just the same."
The barber reached for the clippers. Then he snagged the bulky forelock with a comb. "If you're sure about this...."
"I'm sure," Edward croaked as the chattering metal teeth approach.
The geezer cleared his throat momentarily. "Hey, Chuck! Come on out here for a minute," he called toward the back room. "I just tidied up my buddy, Chuck. He owns this shop."
Another barber, clad in white, emerged from the back.
A gasp ricocheted through the shop. Chuck was sporting a very sharp, very short flattop! A high and tight!
"Still sure?" the geezer asked with a smirk.
Edward struggled to control his reaction, but his look of panic could not be disguised.
"He's very sure," Curry piped from the sideline. "Has been talking about a good ole boy’s haircut all morning."
In a flash, the clippers zipped over the plastic teeth of the comb and Edward's forelock hit the cape. A massive chunk of hair left a huge hole in the helmet-like coif. Cameras clicked incessantly!
Curry enjoyed watching Edward's ordeal! He was going to get brutally shorn!
The geezer did not hesitate. Another shank of shimmering hair was buzzed off. The geezer was very fast in removing the bulky length from the top. Quickly, the cape was covered in lustrous dark hair.
Then the geezer forcefully made Edward bow his head. The old man snagged the mullet-like flow at the nape, lifting it to make way from the clippers. The drive went tight, straight up the back of his head. The geezer shaved off a massive swath of pretty-boy hair! Creamy white scalp emerged up the back of Edward’s head, like a racing stripe.
Since the geezer had a captive audience, he decided to give Senator Johns, a piece of his mind. "When you city slickers are in campaign mode, it’s all promises and showmanship. You get to Washington, then it’s all about how to beat up on the little guys, the hard working guys, like me." As he spoke, his emotion rose and the length of his client’s hair grew shorter and shorter. "Promises on the campaign trail and pathetic performance once in power!"
"What’s your name, sir?" one of the reporters asked. There was no doubt that the geezer’s homespun rhetoric was going to be featured in the next news story.
"Stan Brewster," he replied as he stripped the sides of the Senator's head clean. White scalp was now the dominant color.
"When you walk out of here, you’re going to look like a marine, like one of the boys the big shot in the White House sends off to war. How about the commander in chief march alongside them a bit?" the geezer asked rhetorically.
He plowed the clippers down the top of Edward’s head. A huge landing strip emerged.
"Write this down. It’s called a high and tight, or H ‘n T," the geezer instructed the reporters.
He made the final touches on Edward's makeover. Then, with a flourish, he swiveled the chair around.
Edward’s face churned with panic. He’s been brutally shorn! His hair was GONE! He was unrecognizable.
"Short enough?" the geezer smirked.
Edward forced a feeble smile. "If it’s good for our men in uniform, it’s good for me."
The cape came off and Edward emerged from the chair confident and emboldened. He made a big show of shaking the geezer’s hand as they posed for the photographers. One of them swooped in close to snap some shots of the huge pile of shorn hair at their feet. A vast carpet of ebony was all that was left of the $400 salon trim.
"This one seems different," the geezer suddenly announced, putting his arm around the candidate and giving him a playful hug. "He’s got my vote!".
Then the barber swirled around and pointed at Curry. "Your turn! Take a seat! Come on, no dawdling!"
Curry’s face turned beet red.
"Oh, no, not…." he stammered, shocked at the notion that his fussy little business cut would be put at the geezer's disposal. He was secretly quite vain about his chestnut-colored locks with fiery auburn highlights.
"Curry!" Edward snapped. "My whole campaign team is going to be visibly identified by H ‘n Ts and military-length haircuts!"
How Edward relished escorting Curry over to the chair!!
He playfully tussled Curry's tidy executive look and put an end to the ‘every hair in place’ look. "Prepare for the marine barber, Curry!". Then he was thrust into the big barber chair.
Curry’s heart beat rapidly. Of course, his impending transformation was foremost on his mind, but also Edward’s new, assertive attitude. The H ‘n T had given Edward a commanding presence. He sensed an impending role reversal in their relationship. From being the boss, telling Edward what to do, where to go, how to look, what to say….he would be reduced to a mere staff member. Edward giving the orders. ‘Curry! It’s been a stressful day, and I need some relief….’ he’d order as he unfastened his belt buckle.
The cape flew into place.
Curry felt small and vulnerable.
"What do you say I deliver the first swipe of the clippers?" Edward asked the barber.
"Be my guest," Stan beamed, handing him the machine. "It’s a balding clippers. You can’t go wrong right up the back."
Edward pushed Curry’s head forward in the most demeaning way possible. The cameras clicked to record the candidate-turned-barber moment.
"Curry and I are going to get our H ‘n Ts tightened as often as possible on the campaign trail. In every town, we’ll find a barber shop just like this one. Right, Curry?" Edward asked as he took off the first swath of chestnut-colored hair with fiery auburn highlight.
"You’re doing a great job, Senator," Stan said. "Have another go at it."
"I like the powerful feeling, holding these clippers," Edward said with confidence. He hammed it up for the reporters, holding the clippers up towards them in a menacing way. "Sit still Curry, or I’ll take off an ear!"
The watching crowd laughed on cue.
"Shave him bald," one reporter suggested. "Give him an induction cut! Looks like your campaign is swinging into bootcamp mode."
"You mean, continue going down the top of his head, like this?" Edward asked as he drove the clippers up through the cowlick and firmly down the top. Mounds of chestnut-colored hair fell to the cape.
"Well, that settles it, Curry’s new look!" the barber chortled. "BALD he will be!"
Curry’s humiliation was complete as Edward shaved off all his hair.
"Once you’re finished there with the clippers, I’ll take over. Lather him up and scrape him clean," Stan said.
"Yes, the cueball will be an excellent new look for Curry," Edward said as he imagined himself taking the razor to Curry's bare scalp each morning as they showered. Without his fussy businesscut, Curry wouldn't be such a cocky little boss. Edward would reduce him to the lowliest of lackeys on the campaign team.