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Sylvester: The Silver Fox Gets Skinned by Manny

The first time I caught a glimpse of my new neighbor, whose house was directly behind mine across the wide field the previous tenants had used to graze horses, I thought it was an elderly lady. The wind was whipping through the silver mane as the person struggled to carry a box from the car to the house. I was glad there was finally an occupant, because without the horses, the field had become overgrown.

Several weeks later, I caught a second glimpse of my new neighbor, out on a tractor beginning to mow the field. The granny must still have some go to her, I thought to myself as I went about my business in the garage. I had just finished giving myself a haircut and was sweeping up the tufts that had collected on the garage floor. With the weather hot and sultry, I had decided to give myself my annual summer butch! From a tidy businesscut, I'd ended up with a nicely trimmed buzzcut -- a #2 all over.

As the tractor came closer and closer to my property line, I realized that it wasn't a granny after all, but a grandpa! The flowing, shoulder-length mane had thrown me off. It was clear from his size and the shape and look of his face, that the person in question was definitely a man.

What surprised me was that when the man finished the field, he continued on, mowing my backyard! Well, it was overgrown and needed it -- a neighborly thing to do!

As the tractor came closer to the garage, I waved. As the man flashed back a smile and returned the wave, I came to another surprising realization. He was no grandpa! The fellow could not be any older than 30. His face was young looking and his body very muscular. He must have gone prematurely gray, I thought to myself.

As he finished cutting my backyard, me turned off his tractor and bounded up to me in the garage, "Sylvester Cummings, you're new neighbor!"

"Welcome!" I said, as I gave him a firm handshake. "Welcome to our neck of the woods, and thanks for cutting my lawn!"

"I saw a need, had the equipment primed and took the required action. No questions asked!" he said with a laugh.

"Well, step into my garage and I'll offer you a beer or a soda. You must be hot after that marathon mowing session. It's so humid these days," I said as we stepped into the shaded garage.

"Beer, please!" he said.

As I fumbled with the bottles, he glanced at the clippers, broom and pile of hair swept in the pile. "Looks like someone just got a haircut!" he noted.

I rubbed my newly shorn clipped pelt, "That would be me. When it comes to my annual summer butch, I'm both the barber and client."

I turned my attention to his shimmering silver mane. "Funny to find out you're a young man. When I first noticed that I had a new neighbor, I thought you were a granny!"

Sylvester shook his head back slightly, sending his locks rippling behind his shoulders. "That happens to me a lot. I started going gray when I was still a teen."

"What was that like? Does premature graying run in your family?" I asked.

"Yep, so it was no big shock. And as you can see, it's very healthy, shiny hair. Not some old brittle whispy grandpa strands," he commented. "Hey, I was happy that it wasn't premature balding! I decided to embrace my silver hair instead of fighting it." Then he hesitated a bit, "Well, uh, only after a disaster when I was in college and a girlfriend of mine insisted on giving me a home dye-job. Didn't want people to think she was dating her father! It was a nightmare with a real shoe polish look. We broke up, as you can imagine," he laughed.

"And it doesn't bother you that people think you're twice as old as you because of your gray hair?" I asked, eying the clippers.

"Yes...it does," he admitted, hesitating, "but what I'm I supposed to do about it? I'm not going to dye it again!"

"There is another way," I said, focusing my gaze on the clippers, so that he understood my meaning.

He stood still and speechless, staring at the machine.

The silence heightened my expectation.

I stepped towards him boldly, and he cowered a bit. "There's no need to look like an old man," I said softly, but firmly.

He gulped nervously.

I reached for the machine.

He shifted anxiously.

His continued silence further emboldened me. I grasped him by the silver mane at the nape, where it hung plush and long. The feel was fantastic, like wonderfully soft, smooth silk. Still he was submissive and silent. I tightened my grip and forced his face to look me in the eyes. They plead, but ambiguously....was it to let him go? or was it to put an end to his shimmering, shoulder-length mane?

His desire did not matter any more. What mattered was my intention. I snapped on the machine and he winced.

I grasped his hair more firmly and brought the machine up past his wide eyes. "Yes, there is another way to get rid of the gray," I said as I slowly, but firmly, pushed the hungry teeth through the silver strands, clipping the shoulder-length locks off at a quarter inch. The first swath fell and dwarfed my pile of shorn brown tufts. Sylvester groaned under the tutelage of my clippers. "Still now!" I admonished as I came in for a second drive with my trusty machine. Waves of beautiful silver hair fell as I clipped the man down. "Good boy, I like a cooperative lad," I said as I released my grip of the nape and turned my attention to the back of his head. "Bow your head forward," I instructed. He performed his role as the recipient of a buzzcut makeover perfectly. Cowering and cooperative. Over and over I ran the machine, clipping away all vestiges of his former sleek silver foxy self. As I did, I ran my hand over the shiny pelt that remained behind, "Hmmmm, nice and tight -- it's perfect, the way I've clipped you down. To the same length, just like my summer butch," I purred. "Okay, Sylvester, let me get a good look at the new you," I said authoritatively.

He turned to face my, shyly, not making eye contact.

"Look at me!" I snapped.

His frightened eyes did as I instructed. "There, now, you don't look like an old man any more. No, not at all. In fact, you look like a sweet youngster with a nice tight summer haircut."

I held up the hand mirror. His eyes grew wider and then a smile broke out on his face. His hand touched his shorn head and his dry mouth tried to speak. "Oh, I, uh, my, uh....."

"Are you trying to tell me it's not short enough? That you can still see the silver in the quarter inch that remains? Shall I take you down another notch or two?" I asked, reaching for the plastic guards in my barbering kit.

Suddenly his voice came back in full, "No! Please, I like it like this!" Then, emboldened, he took his hands and rubbed my shorn head too. "Unless, you think we should both go shorter!" He took control of the clippers and stripped off the plastic guard leaving the bare teeth. "What do you say?"

I had never gone shorter than the #2 all over. People were already shocked to see me after I buzzed off my tidy businesscut each year. I stood in stunned silence.

Then I felt the power of Sylvester's muscular build as he manhandled me into submission. The naked metal teeth came to the top of my forehead, where hours earlier a plush floppy fringe had hung. The teeth chewed off my hair right at the scalp as he forcefully sheared me. "Down to mere stubble, that's what's in store for you!" he crowed triumphantly. I submitted to his plan for me the way he had submitted to me minutes earlier. He returned my unrequested favor in full.

At the end of it, Sylvester held up the same hand mirror and I blanched at the site of my closely clipped scull. "Oh, I look like I'm a new recruit...." I mumbled.

"I'm a man of action!" he replied with a tone of confidence.

"Yes, you certainly are," I eeked out as I felt my closely shorn head for the first time.

"Come on, stubble head, have a beer!" he laughed. "We both lost a lot of hair today, but gained a new friendship."

As he turned towards the fridge, I snatched the clippers back. "You'll enjoy your chaser just as soon as I've taken that pelt of yours down to a matching stubble."

Sylvester turned back to face me with a broad smile. "Sure! Since you've taken me down this far, you might as well take me all the way! But this time, let's use that nice cape I see in your barber kit. Here, let me take a seat on this stool here. You know, all my life I've considered shaving off the whole lot of that sleek silver mane. I tried to think of myself as another Richard Gere, but, well...." he said staring down at the pile of his shorn hair on the garage floor. "Never had the cojones to do. But you had the balls to snag this silver fox by his shimmering mane and take the clippers to me. We're cut from the same cloth, actually. You saw a need, had the equipment primed and took the required action!"

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