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The Greaser Challenge - Chapters 3 & 4 by HairF***er

[Author's note - please read chapters 1 & 2 first so the scenario makes sense. The barbering action gets underway in Chapter 5 when the first of our unlucky [lucky?] guys gets a makeover to remember... - HF]

Chapter 3 - The Stylist

The announcer's voice filled the studio once more. "Stay tuned, folks, as our handsome contestants face off in a series of grueling challenges where only one will emerge victorious! Who will rise to the top, and who will face the ultimate makeover at the hands of our *ahem* professional hair artiste?"

After the four contestants had made their entrance, they were ushered towards the part of the set called the College Library, each guy going to stand behind one of four podiums which were placed in a line facing out towards the audience.

The announcer continued: "Welcome to the most exhilarating game show of the year where greased men put their greased hair on the line for a shot at glory and a hefty cash prize! Our four daring contestants will compete in a series of challenges that will test their wits, test their skills, and test their sheer determination! Only one will emerge victorious, while the others will face a dramatic transformation courtesy of our resident Stylist!"

The audience erupted into cheers and applause, eager to witness the high-stakes drama unfold before their eyes.

"With each challenge, tensions will rise, and immaculate haircuts will be put in the firing line! So sit back, grab your pomade and your popcorn, and get ready for a rollercoaster ride of excitement and suspense! This is 'The Greaser Challenge' where the competition is fierce, the makeovers are extreme, and only the boldest will prevail!"

The audience whooped in excitement.

"Ladies and gentlemen, direct your attention to the Forfeit Station, where we introduce to you the man of the hour: the one, the only, the Stylist!"

As the announcer's voice reverberated through the studio, all eyes turned to the Forfeit Station. There, seated in the first of the three empty barber's chairs, was the Stylist.

The Stylist lounged casually in the chair, an ironic smirk playing on his lips as he waved to the crowd. He then turned in the chair and waved across to the group of four contestants.

The Stylist was around 35 years old and dressed in a traditional white barber's smock that had been tailored to emphasize his muscular build, with broad shoulders tapering to a narrow waist. He wore white trousers with black, patent leather shoes. His face was clean-shaven apart from a perfectly-groomed, thick handlebar mustache that occupied the whole of his upper lip. The dark tips of the mustache had been waxed into sharp points adding a slightly sinister but pungently masculine aspect to his appearance. His oiled dark-brown hair was parted on the left, neatly tapered at the back and combed back across the top of his head to form a classic 'Valentino' style.

In a former life he could've been a boxer or a wrestler, and maybe he had been. He lived alone in a large condo on Washington Avenue in Santa Monica. At some point he'd received training in men's grooming but, other than that, very little was known about him beyond the obvious enjoyment he derived in altering another man's appearance, usually in an extreme and unexpected way. When it came to specializing in tonsorial torture, no one did it better.

As Luca looked across at him, a knot of dread tightened in his stomach, his mind conjuring up vivid images of his beloved pomp being mercilessly hacked away, reduced to a skinned shadow of its former glory. The mere thought sent a shiver down his spine, and his fingers instinctively reached up protectively to lightly pat the sleek mound of jellied hair piled on top of his head.

As the spotlight fell upon the Stylist, Tommy Paul's heart plummeted like a stone. He could feel a rivulet of sweat slowly trickle down the back of his neck as he beheld the man who held the power to ruin his glorious greased haircut with a single swipe of the clippers. He couldn't bear the thought of his beloved jelly roll falling victim to the Stylist's sadistic whims. He glanced across at Luca who was delicately fingering the top of his thick pomp. He imagined Luca sat in one of those red leather chairs, powerless to resist as the Stylist lay waste to all that gorgeous, greased black hair. It was something Tommy desperately wanted to see happen before the evening was out.

Tyler's heart pounded in his chest. His gaze turned nervously towards the Stylist, a feeling of apprehension tightening in the pit of his stomach at the sight of the man who might hold the fate of his golden hair in his hands. To see his prized hair destroyed by the Stylist's merciless hand would be a devastating blow to his already fragile sense of self-worth.

Ryan's mind raced with a mix of conflicting emotions. The prospect of his brilliantined executive contour falling victim to the Stylist's razor-sharp shears filled him with a creeping sense of visceral dread. In his imagination, he couldn't help but foresee the humiliating spectacle that awaited him, his once-proud haircut reduced to ruin, damaged beyond all recognition. His stomach roiled with the horror of it.

And yet, for Ryan, amidst the fear and uncertainty, there was a perverse allure, an undeniable thrill. The adrenaline pulsed through his veins like a drug. What if he did lose? What if he did find himself in one of those chairs facing the inevitable destruction of his hair? The line between terror and excitement blurred into a dizzying whirlwind of sensation, each conflicting emotion vying for dominance.

"Ladies and gentlemen, make no mistake," the announcer declared, his voice carrying a grave tone that echoed through the studio. "The Stylist isn't just here to trim a few split ends. Oh no, he's the master of mayhem, the architect of agony!"

The Stylist's grin widened at the announcer's words, relishing the anticipation that hung in the air.

"With free rein to wield his shears and clippers anyway he sees fit," the announcer continued, "he's a force to be reckoned with. He can turn a classic pompadour into a travesty, a slicked-back style into a catastrophe! You name it, he can do it! And he will!"

The Stylist nodded in agreement, his lips turning up into a cocky grin as he turned to survey the array of barbering implements laid out on the counter behind him, implements that promised to wreak havoc on even the most carefully-coiffed and prized hairdo.

"But his reign of terror doesn't stop there," the announcer proclaimed, his voice rising with excitement. There was a dramatic pause. "No, dear audience, he's been known to target even the most unsuspecting of victims: the manly mustaches! the glorious sideburns! the thickest of eyebrows! - You name it, nothing is off-limits!"

The audience clapped in delight, energized by the prospect of seeing some serious transformations take place. This was a novelty for them, and they were determined to enjoy every moment of it.

As the announcer's words hung in the air, a palpable sense of unease settled over the contestants stood behind their podiums as they contemplated the Stylist's formidable arsenal of accessories and the terrifying damage they could inflict.

For in the world of 'The Greaser Challenge,' no hair, or ego, was safe from the Stylist's touch. With a sardonic chuckle, the Stylist cracked his knuckles, a promise of the chaos and carnage to come.

Chapter 4 - Greasers Grilled

The first challenge was called 'Greasers Grilled'. The format was simple even if the stakes were high. The announcer was going to ask a total of 25 trivia questions. Each contestant would have the opportunity of buzzing in with an answer using the buzzers set into the top of their podium. There was one point for a correct answer but a wrong answer meant an automatic deduction of a point.

So it wasn't just a question of being quick. The contestants would have to be right too.

"After all 25 questions have been asked and answered," the announcer said, "we'll tally up the scores. The contestant with the least number of points will be eliminated from the competition and will face their destiny in one of the barber chairs of doom!"

Luca, Tommy, Tyler, and Ryan stood poised behind their podiums, finger on the buzzers, their eyes fixed ahead with expressions of intense concentration as the announcer prepared to kick off the quiz.

"Question one: What is the capital of France?"

Luca pressed his buzzer. "Paris!". This was easy, he thought, relieved to have got his first point. If the questions stayed like this then his hair would be safe, at least until the next challenge.

"Question two: Who wrote the famous play 'Romeo and Juliet'?"

Ryan buzzed in this time. "William Shakespeare." he declared. He'd done it at school, and hated every word, but at least now it had finally come in useful.

The crowd murmured in approval as the announcer confirmed Ryan's correct answer. Ryan thought of his slick, lavender-scented executive contour, how it must look to the audience, to the people watching at home, and how Shakespeare had brought him one point closer to saving it.

The quiz progressed rapidly, question after question after question. 25 questions had seemed a lot to Tyler before the quiz started but with each passing question there were fewer and fewer opportunities to buzz in and save his blond Brylcreem'd locks.

Soon all four contestants found themselves in a whirlwind of questions and answers. Although the questions had started off easily, they quickly escalated to more challenging topics.

Luca's quick reflexes and basic general knowledge had dominated the early part of the quiz. He buzzed in often and correctly and had secured a comfortable lead. Ryan, determined to keep up with Luca's pace, was a close second.

Meanwhile, Tommy and Tyler struggled to keep up with the other two. Tommy's general knowledge wasn't great anyway so a lot of the time he was just left floundering. Tyler knew the answers but only after he'd heard them, and then he mentally kicked himself for failing under the pressure.

With two-thirds of the questions asked, both Tommy and Tyler were far behind, their incorrect answers resulting in deductions from their scores that they could ill afford.

Tommy's frustration mounted as he watched Luca and Ryan pull ahead, while Tyler started to feel increasingly nervous about his pathetically low score. The looming threat of elimination weighed heavily on both their minds, each question carrying the potential to either secure their place in the competition or secure their place in one of the barber's chairs.

For Tommy and Tyler, the pressure was relentless. With each missed answer their chances of survival grew slimmer.

Tommy thought of his greased jelly roll being casually degraded into something unrecognizable and he knew he was in big trouble. By his calculation, he'd only got three points but Tyler had four! His mind was filled with visions of sharp scissors indiscriminately hacking away at his magnificent hair, clumps of his greased locks being thrown into the air only to rain down onto his shoulders, into his lap, onto the floor.

He thought of cruel laughter, of the audience applauding and demanding "more! more! more!", encouraging the Stylist to ever greater depths of humiliation.

The announcer read out the final question. Tommy had to get this one right if he was going to have any chance of avoiding the Stylist and getting his revenge on Luca.

"Question twenty-five: Monticello, the house of former President Jefferson is in which st..."

With a quick flick of the finger, Tommy managed to buzz in just milliseconds before Tyler. "Virginia!" he said. "It's in Virginia!" As a kid he'd had a pen-pal in Charlottesville and one year he'd received a Christmas card showing Monticello in the snow.

The quiz was over.

The announcer dramatically declared the results: "In first place we have Luca with an impressive 9 points! Right on his heels, we have Ryan with 8 points!"

There was clapping and cheering from the audience, acknowledging the top performers of the quiz.

"However," the announcer continued, "we have a tie for third place between Tommy and Tyler, both with 4 points each!"

Gasps of shock and delight filled the studio. The spectators were hoping for some drama and this more than met their needs, for now. Tommy and Tyler exchanged nervous glances, knowing that the fate of their hair hung in the balance.

"This means we're heading into a sudden death round to determine who will advance and who will face the Stylist's shears!"

The audience held its breath, their eyes fixed on the two contestants.

The announcer clarified the rules: "One more question will be asked and only Tommy and Tyler will have the opportunity to answer. The first contestant to buzz in with the correct answer will secure their place in the next round. But be warned: a wrong answer will result in immediate elimination!"

Tyler unconsciously lifted up one hand and ran it down the back of his head, slowly stroking the blond Brylcreem'd locks from his crown to his finely-tapered neck. As they braced themselves for the sudden death question, Tyler and Tommy knew that the outcome would determine more than just their fate in the competition. It would determine whether they would still even recognize themselves when they left the studio.

The announcer asked the sudden-death question: "What is the main ingredient in Murray's Superior Pomade?"

Silence filled the studio.

Tommy used it all the time but he wasn't confident enough to risk buzzing in with a wrong answer so he just stood there, in an agony of hesitation. And then to his utter dismay, almost in slow motion, he saw Tyler's hand moving, his index finger aiming for the buzzer on his podium!

And then the sound of Tyler's buzzer filled the studio!

'This was it,' thought Tommy. His hair was about to be trashed in the most humiliating way... and Lisa would watch and Luca would've won.

And Tyler gave his answer, the words tumbling over themselves in his eagerness to get them out of his mouth.

But as the words formed on Tyler's lips, the realization dawned upon him that his answer was wrong.

"Murray's Superior is made from uh... uh... it's beeswax..." Tyler said, his voice filled with uncertainty. Another long silence filled the studio, and then the announcer delivered the crushing blow that would turn Tyler's life upside-down. "I'm sorry, Tyler, but that answer is incorrect. You've lost and now it's time for your appointment with the Stylist."

In that moment, Tommy's heart soared with relief. He knew that the big cash prize was still within reach, that Luca was still there to be humiliated, and that his own hair was still firmly rooted to his head. With a triumphant smile, he watched as Tyler's shoulders slumped in defeat.

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