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New Town Transformation - Part 3 by Manny
I took a seat in the barber shop waiting area, unable to stop exploring my new haircut. I'd just gotten scalped! A tight ivy! My hand felt the clipped back of my head. Nothing but prickly stubble. On top, a soft, tidy pelt. The only "length" was the small tuft in front that did not measure a full inch.
Near the wall, a massive pile of shimmering blond hair that had been cut from my head was evidence of the dramatic transformation I'd just undergone.
A bit of a lump formed in my throat as I stared at the vast golden mound of silken hair. My old life as a trendy city dude was waiting to be swept up and discarded. I had moved to the small town wanting change, but had never imagined a barber shop haircut would be part of it.
I felt the bristles for the umpteenth time, running my hand up against the grain. The stimulation was a bit exciting.
I looked again at all my hair by the trashcan. Not with regret, this time, but with sense of satisfaction and a feeling of renewal.
My new friend Tony had seemed so giddy sweeping up "to help the barber," as he put it. And, now, he was in the chair....
I watched the barber fasten the big white cape tightly around his neck.
"So, you're finally going for one?" the barber inquired, combing his traditional man's haircut to the side.
Tony squirmed a bit and then stammered, "You mean a flattop?"
"Yep, like we talked about last time you were here," the barber replied.
"To tell you the truth, I was thinking about one....but, seeing how nice Jim's tight ivy came out," Tony said nervously.
The barber did not relent. He held up the locks atop Tony's head which were a good 3-4 inches long.
"Imagine carving out a landing strip through this dense patch, the bare metal teeth grazing your scalp on top for the first time," the barber persisted.
"What do you think, Jim?" Tony asked, looking to me for support. "Matching ivies?"
I stood up and walked over to the chair. As I did, I couldn't stop examining my new ultra-short haircut in the big mirrored wall above the counter. I looked so different. Younger. More relaxed, more authentic. No more careful coif, feather on the sides and long all over. The big, puffy, blow-dried billows of hair had been shaved off. I glanced down at the marvelous array of clippers. So many sizes! To have one grazing the top of my head! I knew it would happen one day...
Then my eyes clapped on handsome Tony and his shimmering chestnut-colored hair with fiery auburn highlights. I wanted it all added to the pile of my golden locks that were prepped for the trashcan!
"Give him a flattop, with skinned sides and an exaggerated landing strip! Something a 747 could land on!" I told the barber.
The barber smiled broadly. He did not wait for any confirmation from my caped friend. My word was decisive. He simply reached for the large set of Osters and snapped them on.
Tony's eyes were wide with wonder. He squirmed under the cape and let out a bit of a giggle as the barber snagged the forelock, the longest section of Tony's hair.
He had his prey captive! The barber held up the shiny lock, away from the forehead, and quickly ran the clippers over the teeth of the plastic comb. The whole mass fell in one clump to the cape.
"There! No changing your mind," the barber chortled.
Tony gulped. The truncated tuft in front was short indeed!
"What's the congregation going to say when I appear in the pulpit on Sunday with a flattop?" he muttered, looking and feeling stunned.
"Hallelujah?!" I laughed.
Then the barber nudged Tony's head down and took the Osters straight up the back. Balding clippers, they were! Just a hint of stubbled scalp remained amid a vast swath of exposed white scalp!
"He'll look like a marine chaplain when you finish with him," I commented.
"Oh, yes," the barber replied. "No pretty boy flattop for the reverend, here. No long plush top to gell into place and admire. It'll be a bold, shorn look! Lots of skin and precious little hair!"
Tony's hand emerged from under the cape and he fondled the cut lock.
"You're the boss. I suppose it's what I've really been wanting all along," Tony said, grinning broadly.
The barber continued clipping and clipping. More and more of Tony's white scalp was exposed as the cut chestnut-colored locks gradually concealed the white cape.
"Are you going to leave anything?" Tony asked nervously.
"No, not much," the barber replied, undeterred from taking his client down even shorter.
"How am I looking?" Tony called out to me.
"Like your clerical cassock should be made of camouflage," I laughed.
"You'll love the lather shaved on the sides, Tony," the barber said. "You have the perfect head shape for a very short flattop."
With that, the barber reached for a handful of warm, foamy lather and began rubbing it in.
Tony sat still as a board as this sides and back were scraped clean. Then the barber applied a small dollop to the strip on top as gently clear the strip of stubble.
"When you bow your head to pray, the congregation will get a good view of this perfect landing strip," the barber noted.
"I hope you're in the congregation on Sunday to witness it," Tony laughed.
"Naw, I'm not the church type. I'll be fishing on Sunday," the barber said quickly.
"And, what about you, Jim?" Tony asked.
"Church, for sure. I want to see and hear all the reactions when your flock sees their shepherd shorn!" I chuckled.
As the barber began unfastening the cape, I grabbed a broom and began sweeping the cut chestnut-colored locks towards the pile of my old hairstyle that rested near the trashcan. My guess is that neither of us would ever shed that much hair again. We were converts to very short crops.
"I ought to employ you two as helpers, here," the barber noted. "Seems as if you both love sweeping!"