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First Flattop Part 4 by htflatnc

First Flattop Part Four
I pushed open the door of Roberts Barber Shop and let my eyes adjust to the light. There were no lights on. I wondered if the electricity had gone off. And then in a flash, the lights went on. In the barbershop, there were other people but they weren't waiting for a haircut (or so I though). They were there to see me get a flattop.
Jason's uncle was there. His flattop still looked as though it had been recently cut. Last Thursday, I was guessing. Still clockwork. I knew he wouldn't miss someday for anything. I was definitely expecting to see him there.
Then there were those I wasn't expecting to see.
My uncle was there. His high school yearbook had been the first inspiration for getting a flattop back when I was a little kid. He had a flattop back then, but now his hair was thin and a comb-over.
Then there were the two guys in the study group I had been helping, Mark and Dave. That was really unexpected.
Mr. Roberts patted the back of the chair summoning me to take a seat. I took a seat as directed, smiling, but also nervous. Jason went over and sat between his uncle and the two guys from the study group.
As part of the usual routine, Mr. Roberts adjusted my collar, put a white tissue strip around my neck, and draped the white pinstripe cape over me, clipping it in back. That was the part of the haircut that was like the dozens of haircuts Mr. Roberts had given me before.
He grabbed a comb out of the blue sanitizer glass jar, washed it in the sink, and combed back my hair. "Well, what's it to be, Troy?
"Someday's here, so I guess it's a flattop.
"OK, but what kind?
What kind? I was thinking and before I could say anything, Mr. Roberts said, "You've got three flattops in the room and they're all real different. Mine is long, almost two inches on top and the back and sides are swept back into a D.A. Mike's (Jason's uncle) is about an inch in front and I use a taper up to a 1-1/2 on the back and sides. And then you have Jason's. When did you get your flattop, Jason?
"About ten days ago, Jason said.
"Did the barber use clippers on the back and sides or actually lather and shave them?
"He used the clippers, but shaved around the ears.
"Lean your head down, Jason. Jason showed the top of his head to us. "See how his flattop forms a horseshoe on top rather than closing up at the crown like mine or Mike's?
"So now I've had a flattop education. I really like all of them, but I like Jason's the best. Give me a horseshoe.
"A horseshoe it is. Do you want the back and sides lathered and shaved or just the clippers?
"Can I decide after I see what it's like just with the clippers? Then maybe I'll decide to shave.
"OK. Good plan, Mr. Roberts said. And with that I heard the red Oster 76 clippers jump to life. Mr. Roberts did something he had never done before when I got a haircut. He grabbed the top of my head and leaned it over to my left as he ran the clippers up my right sideburn to my temple. Pass after pass he made with the clippers, maneuvering my head into different positions, turning the chair as different parts of my head was clear-cut. A dirty blond hair storm was raining down fast and furious. I picked some up and looked at it. It was about an inch to an inch and a half long. So I knew nothing was left there.
Mr. Roberts turned off the clippers and I raised my hand to feel the back and sides. It was like sandpaper.
"Looking good, Troy. Short, isn't it? Jason said.
"Not as short as when I use the edgers, Mr. Rodgers said.
Mr. Rodgers grabbed the comb again and picked up the clippers again. He lifted my hair up and cut parallel, leaving about an inch behind. He did this swiftly all the way back. He turned the clippers off, put them down along with the comb. He used a spray bottle and wet my hair. I could tell it looked goofy as the hair on the wings was longer than that it in the center. Mr. Rogers could tell from the expression on my face what I was thinking and said, "That's the way it should be at this point. I'll blend the wings in a minute. And then it will look really sharp.
I looked like a damp sheep dog at this point even though I had lost over an inch off the top.
Mr. Roberts got out a hair dryer, and began brushing my hair back as it dried. This lasted three or four minutes and I was really enjoying it. Again, Mr. Roberts picked up the comb and the clippers and began leveling off my flattop taking off another quarter inch on top and this time, he held the comb perpendicular to the top and beveled in the sides. It wasn't much of a bevel, just a slight one, but it started looking great. I was going to pull off a flattop and it was going to look as sharp as the other three flattops in their own way.
Now things got serious. Mr. Rogers put down the comb and started free-handing the top of the flattop and cleaned out the back to form the perfect horseshoe. He then picked up a brush to push all hairs on top to attention. Again, this was an extremely enjoyable process as Mr. Rogers was as meticulous with my flattop as I had seen him with Jason's uncle's flattop all these years.
But all good things must come to an end. I wound up keeping it at a 0000 on the back and sides for this haircut rather than even going as short as the edgers. Mr. Roberts explained that going from 00000 to edgers would give me an extra day and having the back and sides lathered and shaved would give me one or two extra days. The way I translated that was that I could be back in the chair three days earlier enjoying the experience of getting my flattop tuned up. I'm sure that's not how Mr. Roberts meant it, but that's how I took it.
Jason wound up in the chair getting his flattop tuned up. Mr. Roberts didn't have as much work to do with Jason's flattop as he did with mine so it took about five minutes less time. Or so I thought. But then Jason said he wanted to try having the back and sides lathered and shaved. So I got to watch that take place. I asked Jason how he liked the shaving cream as Mr. Roberts was applying it. He said it was great. Nice, warm and soothing. Again, all things must come to an end and Jason's flattop was finished. Mr. Roberts asked me how I liked seeing the back and sides shaved. I stood up, walked over to Jason, rubbed my hand up the back and sides of his flattop and said, "It's great. Not someday, but next time.

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