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Andy by A Recruit
This happened about a year before Andy's dad split for good, for the blonde that he felt would make the perfect trophy wife. In retrospect it is surprising that he didn't leave sooner. He was a pushy type, trying to get aboard the corporate fast track. That was his entire focus. Andy, his younger brother and his wife were there to be enjoyed, and used when convenient. He was not physically abusive to the boys, but seemed to miss no opportunity to put them down or belittle their accomplishments. He never had time to go to their activities, or even to talk to them; business was everything.
Andy was 15, or thereabouts, that spring and had been letting his hair grow out, like many of the boys in his class. It wasn't really long. It would cover his ears if he didn't push it back, and was just down to his collar. The front would fall well below his eyes, and the back and sides were pretty long as well. He was careful to push the hair behind his ears and out of his face around the house, so it looked as trim as possible without actually getting it cut.
The previous night had been a bad one; soccer practice ran late and Andy was a little late for dinner. He had hurried his shower, so was pretty disheveled when he got home. His father was in the midst of telling his mother exactly how she was to fix dinner the next night. It seems that his boss's boss would be in town from the home office, and he (Andy's father) had achieved the great coup of having them accept his invitation to dinner. His mother was used to this sort of thing; she would take the day off from her job, clean the house, prepare the meal and try to be a good hostess for these people who really didn't give a damn. The boys were expected to make their appearance, spiffed up, when their father called them downstairs (the perfect family) and then make themselves scarce with sandwiches in their rooms.
His father took a look at Andy--hair over his ears, a mop on top and a long lock at the corner of his eye. And you, young man, are to get a haircut tomorrow afternoon. He yanked Andy's forelock down in front of his eyes--yanked hard! I want this out of your eyes, and your ears are to show, and get rid of this mop in the back, too! And this bird's nest up top! I can't have any son of mine looking like a hippie slob! Especially with Mr. Lane coming to dinner! All of this was said in a very nasty tone of voice, and he pulled at Andy's hair so hard that it brought tears to his eyes. But Dad, all the guys have hair like this--I'll comb it and it won't look so bad. Don't you sass me, young man!! You'll do as I say, and while you are at it, go to your room--you've missed part of supper; go miss the rest of it! He turned to Andy's brother, Brad, And you need a haircut too; are you trying to be a mop head like your brother? Brad shook his head, I just got it trimmed last week, dad. You paid good money for that? You call that a haircut? Get another, and make it a short one! This was said in such a furious voice that Brad got up from the table and ran upstairs as well.
Why do you have to pick on the boys. so? Their hair isn't that bad. You keep out of it! You have your job to do. I want those boys looking sharp to make a good impression on Mr. Lane. This may be my big chance! So mind your own business!
Brad came into Andy's room and threw himself down on the bed. At age 13, he was too old to cry, so he didn't, sort of. Why is dad so mean to us? I don't need another haircut, and your isn't really that bad if you comb it right, and all we get to do is come downstairs for 5 minutes. We don't really matter to him--he just wants to show off hil politically correct family, and then get us out of the way, Andy replied. So what are you going to do? Brad asked. Give him what he wants, I guess--hair out of my eyes, ears showing, get rid of the mess in the back, and the top. So he wins again--he always does. He told me to get another haircut, too: make it short' is what he said. I don't really want to do it. Do we have to please him all the time? What would happen if we don't? Brad answered.
Well, I'm going to find out, I guess, Said Andy. But you said you were going to give him what he wants. Brad said questioningly. Can I go with you to the barber shop? Andy grinned at him, So you're going to give him what he wants too? I'll meet you here after school. Lets go watch some TV in your room and worry about it tomorrow.
The next morning the boys' mom intercepted Andy before he left for school. I am really sorry about last night. I think you boys should be able to wear your hair however you want it, so long as it is neat and clean. I don't know what you are planning to do about what he said, but I'll support you the best I can whatever you decide. Your father is getting really impossible, and I don't know how much more I can put up with. Whatever I decide? Andy looked long and hard at his mother. That's what I said.
That afternoon when Brad came in, Andy was waiting for him in his room, since the high school let out earlier than Brad's middle school. Are we going to the barber shop? I guess I am ready. Andy replied, You can go, but I'm not.But you said you were going to give dad what he wanted. I am, but I don't need the barber for it. He turned to his desk and picked up a shiny red pair of hair clippers. I did a little shopping on my way home. He flipped the switch and the clippers came to life with a quiet hum. He wants the front out of my eyes, so here goes!. He grabbed a handful of his forelock and raised the clippers. No, Andy, don't!! The clippers moved up through the lock of hair and it came free in his hand. There you are dad! Its not in my eyes anymore! No more hippie slob!! Here, little brother, earn your keep! No hair over my ears, get rid of the mess in the back and the top! Shave me bald!! That'll show the SOB! He sat down in his desk chair and pushed the clippers into Brads hand. Andy, you can't do it-he will kill you! No he won't, I'll call 911 if he tries anything. so clip me, or do I have to do it myself?
Brad gingerly put the clippers against Andy's forehead, where the stubbly patch was. He hesitated for a moment, and Andy thrust his head forward, making the clippers bite in. Okay, here goes! Brad pushed the clippers back along the top of his brother's head, leaving a streak of white stubble behind. Great hunks of Andy's blonde hair fell on the rug. Soon Brad was having fun, not thinking of the possible consequences. He moved to the side and clipped the hair in front of, behind and above Andy's right ear. No hair on that ear! And the mess in the back! The clippers ran from the nape of Andy's neck all the way to the crown. Soon the back and sides of his brother's head were stubble, and a few more passes removed the rest of the mop on the top. Andy really looked bald with the overhead room light. He got up and looked at himself in the mirror, more than a little shocked at what he had done. There were a few little tufts of hair where the clippers hadn't mowed cleanly, but mostly a sandpapery stubble showing a dusting of blonde hair. Well, he had come this far, now finish the job! Andy went to his dresser and got the electric shaver he had got for his last birthday. It had handled the peach fuzz on his chin; now find out what it could do on his head. He lifted it from its charger and gave it to Brad. Here, use the trimmer blade first and then the screen. Brad found that the trimmer reduced Andy's stubble even further and the screen quickly removed the rest, leaving a smooth scalp behind. Soon Brad pronounced his brother to be totally bald and switched off the shaver.
Andy ran his hands over his head as he looked in the mirror. Well, it's going to be fun at school--if I live that long. Just what you ordered Dad! Hope you like it! Hope Mr. Bigwig likes your all American son! Come on, Brad, lets get you down to the barber shop. One of us, at least, should live to tell the tale. Brad looked at his brother for a moment and then at his reflection in the mirror. He ran his hand through his hair and then shook his head. Why pay for a haircut when you have a perfectly good pair of clippers right here? Dad said make it short, so get to work. He handed Andy the clippers and sat down. I never would have had the guts to stand up to Dad by myself, but i'm not going to let you do it all alone. You don't have to do this Brad, I'll be all right. Mom said she would back us up. I don't have to, I know, but I want to , so do it! The clippers came to life. Brad closed his eyes as they approached his forehead and he felt them slide back along his part line. Andy wasted no time reducing Brad's light brown mop to bristly stubble. C'mon, use the shaver too. Hope the batteries last. Soon Andy pronounced Brad finished. He got up and looked at himself in the mirror, WOW! was all he said, as he ran his fingers over his smooth scalp.
OK, we'll get dressed like we usually do, but lets wear our baseball caps, on backwards when we go to meet the guests. That always get's dad's goat, so he will tell us to get those hats off in the house'. And then the fur will fly!! I think it already did, Brad answered a little ruefully, as he used the hand mirror to look at his profile. Brad, I have made up my mind that I'm not going to take it any more from dad. This was all I could think of to do. I will probably wish I hadn't when the guys get a load of it, but I think it will be worth it. For you to shave your head, too, means a hell of a lot to me. We have had our squabbles, but you are one great little brother! Andy gave his younger brother a big hug and rubbed his bald head. Brad laughed and reached up to do likewise to Andy, If it really bugs him, maybe we will have to stay bald all summer. Don't push your luck, Brad. We still have tonight to get through. Cross your fingers and hope a lot, but at least we are in this together.