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Jonny by A Recruit

“Well, I don’t think it’s a good idea. You’re not going.”

“C’mon dad, no kidding, me and my friends don’t do drugs, I have good grades, why don`t you trust me? Give me one good reason why I can’t.”

“Look, son, don`t lay that trust thing on me again. I could give you ten good reasons. This dance is out of town. I don’t know any parents there. I don’t want you driving after something like this, and where would you stay overnight? This is simple. You`re not doing this son. It’s not happening. Not on my watch!”

Joe`s voice was becoming increasingly bass, a sure sign of mounting unhappiness. He lowered his voice, and moved closer to his son, putting his hand on Jonny’s shoulder.

“Look, Jonny...”. He hesitated, sniffed. “Your jacket smells like cigarette smoke, son. Have you been smoking?”

Jonny peered up at his father peevishly. “C’mon dad, way to change the subject. You know I don’t smoke!”

Joe stood akimbo, sneering, arms crossed. He took a deep breath and advanced. “OK, son, no problem, stick to topic. Fine. Forget it! Not happening. This discussion is over.”

He huffed out of the room. Jonny stood there in the sun, mouth half-open, rubbing his chin.

Moments later, the chimes of his favorite song floated up out of his pocket. Jonny flipped open his phone and snarled, “Yeah, WHAT?!?” His sweat tasted like disappointment.

“Whoa, buddy, wassup? On the rag or somethin’?” It was Arch. Jonny smiled and looked up at the clouds. “I got good news, dog, so chill!”

“Yeah?” Jonny sparked up a bit.

“Yeah. My friend Allyssa is gonna be in Warrenton for that dance, dude. I showed her your picture last week, and now she’s comin’ to the dance. She wants you big time. And she’s HOT!”

“Shheeeeeeeiiiiiiit!” Jonny let out a mournful cry and ran his hands through his wavy dark hair. “My dumbass father won’t let me go, man. He’s a brick wall.”

Arch wasn’t bending, as usual. “Can’t be, dude, can’t be. You’re goin’. It’ll be chick heaven. No way I’m letting my best bud miss out on the best dance of the year and a shot at Allyssa. You’re goin’.”

“Not possible man.”

There was a pause on the other end. Silence, then, “Well, hello there Jonny. Good to hear your voice, son. It’s been a long time. Can I speak with your father, please? I’d like you to come over to our place next weekend. I’m not letting my son go to the dance either.” Archie’s father had taken the phone.

“Mister Sykes? Is that you?”

“Hehehehe, hell no, dude, it’s just me, ARCHIE! Hehehehe had ya goin’ though, didn’t I?”

Jonny sat staring at the phone, confused, but only for a moment, then he jumped out of his seat and literally danced around the room. “Arch, you are a genius, man, a genius. Let’s do this!”

At lunch the next day, the cafeteria was full of the excitement of the upcoming dance. Jonny sauntered over to where Archie was talking to Lisa Barnes. Lisa looked up briefly then stared back down at her mac and cheese. “Hey, Barker.”

“Hey Lisa, you going to the dance?”

“Yeah, I’ll be there, you?”

“My dad says I can’t go, but I’m working on it.”

She finished up her lunch and got up, grabbing her books. “I’ll bet you are. Well, guys, gotta go. Some of us have classes to go to.” She sashayed off. Archie ogled her swinging hips and shook his head.

He was his usual animated self. “Hey that worked, slick as snot just like I told ya it would, huh, bud. Your father didn’t suspect a thing! You’re goin’! How come you told Lisa you might not be there? She’s hot.”

“Lisa’s not interested in me, Arch, never has been. And besides, what kind of idiot are you? We gotta lay low on this one, dude, my father will kill me if he catches me going to this dance.”

“Aw, no worries, it’ll be fine. You watch, you just gotta have faith in me. A little faith, that’s all.”

Jonny shook his head and rushed off to his Geometry class.

**************** The night of the big dance arrived. Arch came over to get Jonny in his beat up Toyota. He smiled charmingly when Jonny’s dad met him at the front door. “Hello Mr. Barker. Nice evening.”

“Hello, Archie, how’ve you been? What do you boys have planned tonight?” “Oh, we’ll spend the evening over at my place. Dad got us some videos and we’ll probably play some X-Box or something. What about you?”

“Oh, I’m going bowling and won’t be home ‘til late. I’m on my own tonight, it’ll be great.” He smiled. `You boys be safe, have a nice time. See you tomorrow morning, Jonny.”

“Bye dad.” He gave his father a peck on the cheek and ran to the car.

Inside the car, Archie was a mass of anxiety and agitation. “We got problems dude, big problems.”

“What, what now?” Jonny was annoyed. “What happened?”

“Well, remember how I told you none of the adults at the dance would know you, so you had nothing to worry about? Well check this out! My mom and dad decided they want to chaperone. Mom volunteered this afternoon. She just told me a half hour ago.”

“Oh s**t man, this is not happening!”

“Yes it is, dude!” Archie hesitated, another rarity. “But I have an idea. Listen, my mom and dad are gone already. They went out to dinner. We’re going over to my place to work on your disguise.”

“Disguise? You gotta be kidding!”

“Nope, no kidding, this is gonna work, dude, trust me!”

********************** “C’mon, we don’t have much time!” In Archie’s basement a chair sat in front of a full length mirror. On the table, Arch had set up a comb, scissors and a large set of black hair clippers. Jonny stood aghast, glared at Arch, and turned to leave. “Man, you got the wrong guy. You think I’m gonna let you cut my hair? I’ve had my hair like this since grade school.”

Archie was non-stop now. “That’s the whole point, man! Think about it. No one will recognize you if you wear different clothes, sunglasses, and a fresh buzzcut. I got this all figured out. Trust me, this will work. Hey, dude, sit down! You know you wanna go. Sometimes, you just gotta make a sacrifice if ya want something bad enough.”

Jonny hesitated. That was his first mistake. “Buzzcut? Buzzcut! But I like my hair like this.”

“Oh, man, c’mon, it’s only hair, it’ll grow back. I bet you`re gonna like it short!”

Jonny ran his hands nervously through his curls and frowned. “You sure you know what you’re doing with those clippers?”

“Dude, you think I pay to have someone buzz my head? You crazy? Of course I know what I’m doing.” He pointed rubbed the bristles of his crewcut. “C’mon, let’s get going.”

Jonny reluctantly sat down. “Just do it and get it over with.” Archie proceeded to wrap a sheet around his neck.

Click. Snap. The clippers came to life. Archie took the first pass right, up the middle, and pointedly dropped the clippings in Jonny’s lap. `No turning back now, dude, you’re gettin’ buzzed.”

Jonny was mesmerized. He reached up and touched his scalp. Where moments before he could tousle thick brown curls, now there were only sandpapery nubbins. “I gotta be crazy to even hang with you, Arch, really this is outrageous.”

“You’re gonna look great, man, just watch.” Jonny did watch. He watched huge clumps and hunks of his hair fall in his lap as Arch made pass after pass with the clippers. With each trek, the clippers made quick work of his hair. It quietly fell away, swath by swath, as the powerful buzzing continued. He felt his former identity was being stripped from him. But he liked it. By the time his hair was all gone, Jonny had dissolved into hysterical laughter.

“Man, Arch, you are something else.”

“Like it? I think you look great!”

A stranger stared at him, wide-eyed, in the mirror. “Well, it’ll take some getting used to, that’s for sure, but it looks okay.` He nodded. `Yup, better than I thought; I guess I can pull this off after all. I’ll just pretend it’s Halloween.”

With the sunglasses, leather pants and muscle tee shirt, Jonny, unbelievably enough, felt and looked like a different person. He shook his head and they left for the dance.

In the car, Archie resumed his familiar banter. “You’ll love Allyssa. She’s the best. I’ll introduce you but first you try to pick her up.”

“Yeah, I can do that. Sure thing.” Jonny felt surprisingly confident in his new identity. He had heard so much about this Allyssa by now that he was horny just thinking about her. She had been his steady diet for days. Archie had spoon fed him, and he had lapped it up.

******************* The boys had regrouped at the back of the gym after making their first pass through the place. “This is great! The band rocks, the decorations suck less than usual, and the chicks are hot!” Archie was crowing, but Jonny looked down. “Whatsa matter, Jonny my man, not havin’ any luck? You should go talk to Allyssa.”

“Man I did. She’s hot, but she wouldn’t even look at me.”

“Aw man, I’ll take care of that.” They walked confidently over to where she stood with a bunch of other kids from Warrenton.

“Hey Allyssa!”

“Archie!” She ran over and gave Arch a big hug.

“That’s my buddy. Jonny. I told you all about him. Remember I showed you his picture?”

“Oh, err, yeah, right. I remember.” Allyssa gave Arch a puzzled look and eyed Jonny, who was talking with her friends. “Hey, Archie, can I get you some punch?”

Arch got Jonny`s eye, pointed towards the drinks and mopped his brow. Jonny nodded and waved Archie away.

Allyssa spoke up once they got out of hearing range. “Hey Arch, your friend is cute, honest, but he’s totally changed from the picture you showed me. That kinda guy just doesn’t do anything for me. I hate to be superficial but jeez, Arch, he’s wearing leather pants! Next you’ll be telling me his tongue is pierced. I’m not into it. No offense.”

“No, no prob Allyssa. I’ll talk to you later.”

Arch was bummed. What was he going to do now? He had dragged his friend here, and Jonny had taken a big risk--he even gave up his hair--all for a girl who wasn’t even vaguely interested.

Studying the gym, Arch nervously tapped his foot. When he spotted Jonny, he sprang toward that part of the room, but hesitated, wondering how he`d work this scene out. He raised an eyebrow and smiled broadly when he realized that Jonny was with Lisa. Archie drew closer and overheard her animated chatter. “I can’t believe that’s actually you. Jonny Barker! You’re amazing.” She fingered his leather pants and giggled. “And a buzzcut, I didn’t think you had it in you, Jonny. Can I touch it? I love buzzcuts. So cool. You look great!” She couldn’t keep her hands off him. When he nodded, she ran her hands over and over across his cropped head. Then she kissed him. Archie was sweating just watching her.

Jonny caught Archie’s eye and winked, grinning, as Lisa literally dragged him onto the dance floor.

“Great, dude!” Arch laughed aloud and got back to business of his own.

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