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Chapter II

Sally looked at both of them, Mike’s eyes eyeing her red-haired China Dolls cut, and Sara with a helping hand extended to the barber’s chair. Her eyes turned to the chair, how inviting it looked, how peaceful. Then she looked at herself in the mirror.

"No," she replied, "no, it just sounds too wild. I do have a career to think about, you know."

With that said, she turned and walked out the door. Her head turned so she was looking over her right shoulder, to see if they were watching her. Her breathing was rapid and shallow, her mind began to flash pictures of her BALD.

She did not remember them talking about this at the restaurant. The travel agencies did not mention anything either.

WHAT was she to do?

As she walked to her car, the five teenage girls came running by her. One stopped a few feet from her. She turned and looked at Sally. With a smile she passed her hand over her head, as if to say "how good it felt." A lump came to her throat, she tried to catch her breath. Slowly she made it to her car and sat for a while.

Had she been led to a crazy farm?

Her hand shaking, she put the key in the ignition and started the car.

Sara came out the barbershop looking around.

"Is she looking for me?" Sally thought to herself.

Just then one of the girls ran up to Sara. Sara noticed Sally’s car and gave her a wave.

Sally quickly put the car in gear and left for her cabin.

She looked at herself in the rearview mirror a number of times as she drove the dirt road to her cabin. The breeze was blowing dust into her hair, but she did not want to stop and put the top up. She wanted to be home, to be were it was safe, to compile her thoughts at what she had witnessed.

Was all this true?

As she readied her dinner for the night, her mind filled with the sights she had seen. The girls being clipped, Sara having her head shaved. All as if it was the usual thing to do, as if it was a requirement to live in High Point.

With the sun setting, she sat in her lawn chair looking out over the lake. The breeze was blowing softly, tossing her short hair freely. Her mind brought her back to when she had her hair cut this way for her last movie. How everyone thought "it was the style for her", how she should "keep it as her trade mark".

WHAT would they say if she returned with her hair clipped like the teen-age girls, even shaved like Sara?

What would her manager think of her, would he be able to find her scripts!

Would a director be willing to take the chance of a wig falling off in the middle of a shooting?

Slowly the breeze began to put her to sleep. Slowly she began to sink into a deep sleep, where her thoughts of the day began to float around. Her body turned and twisted in the chair as the images of the girls and their mothers with clipped heads and of Sara’s head shaving began fading in her mind.

Of Mike’s out reaching eyes wanting to rid her of her soft red locks.

Slowly her body and mind drifted away from the images and thoughts, letting her fall to sleep.

As the breeze grew warmer she felt the glow of the sun warming her eyelids and face. Loud giggling of teenage girls rang in her ears, the splashing of water was heard. She opened her eyes to see the five teenage girls and five or six more jumping and splashing in the lake.

She noticed the mothers she had met the day before sitting on the small sandy beach. They, too, were joined by three other mothers. Looking to her right she saw a group of young boys rowing a large boat in the lake.

They were rowing toward the little town.

Her body slowly came to life, her arms were stretching as she took a deep breath to waken herself more. Hunger came to her, so she got up to go fix some breakfast.

As she reached the cabin door she heard, "Morning, Sally." She did not recognize the voice, so she looked over her shoulder. It was Penny.

"Hi," Sally replied. "Just going in to fix some coffee. Want to join me?" She said this just to be friendly.

She noticed something about Penny as she got closer. Her eyes still sleepy and out of focus, she blinked them a few times. When Penny was a few feet from her, she realized what was different: her head was shaved.

They entered the cabin and Sally put some coffee on. Nothing was said by either as Sally put out the cups and cream and sugar. She tried not to look at Penny, not wanting to make a case out of what she was seeing.

As she poured the coffee Penny looked at her. "How do you like me with my head shaved?"

She stopped pouring, not wanting to over flow the cup, and looked at Penny. "Didn’t notice it," she said. Penny just looked at her and smiled. Did she believe her? Sally thought.

"Had it done this morning," Penny continued. "I was going to wait until this evening, but remembered the boys and men would be in today.

"Sara was telling us you stayed and watched her get her head shaved," Penny said as she sipped her coffee. "Do you think we are crazy?"

Sally became weak, feeling for her chair with her arms shaking.

Why did she ask this question?

Taking a sip to calm her nerves, Sally looked at Penny. Penny’s eyes looked at her over the rim of the cup, as she took another sip. Sally did not know what to say, would she be able to say the right words?

Letting the sip go down, Sally held her cup in both hands.

"Well, it was a bit unusual to see women get all their hair clipped off," Sally said with her heart in her throat.

"Buzzed," Penny replied, correcting her.

"Buzzed," Sally said.

"Yes, buzzed," Penny told her. "It’s called buzzed when you have the clippers cut all your hair off at the scalp. Shaved, better yet smooth, when you have your head shaved, like Sara did yesterday and I did this morning.

"It was a good feeling having the clippers combing over my head, sexual somewhat. All that hair, it’s starting to gray a little, falling on the floor and in the cape. The gentle breeze blowing over and between the fuzz. The warmth of the hot towel being wrapped around your head, just drawing the life out of the little hairs sticking up. The soft bristles of the shaving brush stimulating your scalp, as it spreads the warm shaving cream.

"Oooooooo.

"Then, the razor. The razor effectively severing those little hairs from your head. Finally, the warmth of the sun beaming down on your smooth scalp, and the wind… The wind brushing smoothly over your nakedness.

"Sally, you are foolish if you don’t get a buzz cut," Penny told her in an excited voice. We have been doing it for the last six years," Penny spoke then took another sip of coffee. "Ever since Mike came to town and opened up shop. He likes to clip and shave us women. A sexual thing we think. He does the boys and men so they won’t think he’s weird. He has this thing about women with extremely short hair cuts and shaven heads. We get it done free and he get his fun," Penny commented.

Sally’s heart began to pound, her face began to get warm. Her mind became interested, interested in why they allowed this. Didn’t the men have some power over Mike?

How could a man have such power?

"You should consider having your hair buzzed before it turns hotter," Penny whispered.

"BUZZED?" Sally said as she choked on a sip of coffee. "I can’t afford to do such a thing. I have an acting career to think about."

"Didn’t you tell us you will be here for six months?" Penny inquired as she poured her and Sally another cup of coffee. "Six months is plenty of time for it to grow back."

"Is that fresh coffee I smell?" a voice sung out from outside the open front door.

They turned to the front door as Sara stuck her head in.

"Come join us," Sally said welcoming her in. "Cups in the white cabinet."

"See you went to the barber shop early this morning," Sara said to Penny.

"Had to," Penny replied. "The boys started coming in earlier than Mike thought. And, you know, they will be coming in all morning."

Sara shook her head in agreement.

"You must have made a visit while they were there," Penny asked of Sara.

"Naaaa," Sara cracked. "Ken got into one of those moods last night, and it carried over to this morning."

Sara sat as Sally poured coffee in her cup, "When I got out the shower he poked me in the ass and shaved my head."

"Wish Tom would poke me in the ass, once in awhile," Penny said candidly.

"Mike was wondering when Sandy would be in," Penny inquired of Sara.

"She’ll drop in when the boys are there," Sara joked. "You know how girls her age are."

Penny nodded her head "yes" as she sipped her coffee.

Sara looked at Penny and saw a look on her face. "See Penny told you about her head shaving," she inquired of Sally.

Looking a little unsure Sally said, "Yes, how could you tell?"

Penny just looked at Sara, and gave a little giggle.

They talked about the weather; neither questioned Sally about her getting a haircut. Sally asked about many things, asking as if she were planning to build a summer home here. She wanted to ask more about Mike and this strange power he had over them, their husbands, and children. Why would a community let a man like Mike come in and take over, as it seemed.

"How long has he been there?" she wondered.

It was around 10am when Penny and Sara left. But they did not question Sally …..

Around 1pm Sally took a walk into the small city to see if she could order some of the materials she wanted. And to get a newspaper or magazine.

The tall trees held back the bright day’s sun, with only flickering through the branches. There was a cool breeze coming from the lake, carrying the sounds of children playing and swimming in the water and the splashing of the gentle waves against the rocks and boats along the shoreline.

She could see small boats in the middle of the lake, with people fishing from them.

The path was a winding one, over fallen trees, rocks. This was the kind of place one could fall in love with after so many years in the big city. No cars blowing their horns, no people shouting at each other, no sirens of emergency vehicles rushing to the aid of someone. Just the sounds of quietness all around. A place to think about for retirement years, not just one for a little vacation.

As she approached the small city she saw young boys walking to the lake, their heads buzzed or shaved. Young girls, some with buzzed or shaven heads, talking and watching the boys pass by. Each group glancing at each other as they passed. Mothers walking around talking or going shopping. Some of the men, some shaved, others clipped, sitting on the porch of the general store reading and talking. There were a few women and girls with long hair still to be clipped or shaved, she wondered.

As she entered the general store she walked around looking for some things. Candi, the owner’s daughter came up to her.

"You must be Sally," she said offering her hand in greeting to her. "I’m Candi. My dad owns this little wonder," she said a little disheartened. "Dad tells me you are an actress."

Sally shook her head and said softly, "Yes."

"Can you order me something?" Sally inquired.

"Sure. Follow me to the counter and I’ll write it up," Candi said as she turned and walked to the counter.

Sally gave her order, which Candi said would take about three or four days to get. "We only get deliveries twice a week, except for holidays and this week every year."

"Oh?" Sally inquired. "Why this week?"

Candi looked up from the order book. "It’s called "Mike’s week", can’t you see? This is the week everyone bounces over to his barber shop and gets buzzed or shaved," she explained. "Have you ever seen a community do anything like it?"

"I take it you don’t like this week to come around?" Sally asked.

"Naaaa," Candi smirked. "I see you’re not interested in it either. I can take it for another two years," Candi said cattily. "Then, I’ll be eighteen and I’m out of here. Thinking about maybe Hollywood or New York. Any place where I don’t have to follow everyone, and get buzzed or shaved."

"What make you think you have to follow everyone else?" Sally jested.

"Just wait and see…" Candi said as she placed Sally’s order in an envelope.

Sally looked at Candi, trying to think about what she was saying. What did she mean?

"Turn around," Candi commanded as she twirled her hand in a small circle. "Come on, turn around."

Sally looked behind her, to see if someone was behind her.

"Turn around," Candi commanded again. Slowly Sally turned around. "I give you a week. Two weeks," Candi offered as she looked over Sally’s hair. "Naaaa, on second thought I give you till Friday. Yaaaa, Friday and you’ll be walking around like the rest of us."

"If you don’t need any more help," Candi asked of Sally, "I have to get over to the barber shop and get my head shaved."

"Sounds like you don’t like doing it," Sally questioned Candi. They looked at each other. "So, why do you do it?"

Candi looked at herself in the dressing mirror, brushing her fingers through her dark brown hair with sun blonde fading. "I can’t really say, it’s just… Just so usual to do it this time of the year."

They walked out the store, Candi asking Sally about her career. About her movies, and if it was true what they say about Hollywood and New York. If it was hard for her to become an actress, and would it be hard for her to become one, too.

Before Sally had finished telling of her career and life on the big screen, they were walking into the barbershop. There was a young boy, about Candi’s age, getting his head shaved; he looked at them as they entered.

"A little late, hey Candi?" the boy questioned.

She looked at him, his hair all around the chair on the floor, his head half shaved and half shaving cream. "Say another word to me, and I’ll take that razor from Mr. Mike and finish the job for him," she told him in a fit of anger.

As they sat down Candi whispered to Sally, "He’s a smart ass. He tried to shave his girlfriend’s head two years ago, while they were in gym class. Got expelled for a week. She’s from Jovan, about ten miles north."

"How you doing Sally?" Mike inquired. "You get things straightened out at the cabin?"

Sally looked up, "Yes."

Candi looked at the boy and Mike. "How much longer you going to be with the ass?"

Mike looked at her, as he held the boy’s head still, "About five. Why, are you in a rush?"

"Yes," Candi said. "Dad and mom went to Aunt Fran’s yesterday, and I have to watch the store. Got a special delivery coming at eleven."

"You’ll be finished before then," Mike commented as he began wiping the boy’s head with the hot towel.

As they sat Sally would look at Candi, as if to ask her "Why, if you don’t want to?"

Candi somehow knew what Sally was saying with her eyes, and she just patted Sally’s leg as if she herself did not know why.

"O.K., sweet ass," the boy said as he stepped out the chair. "It’s your turn."

Candi looked at him with daggers shooting from her eyes. Quickly jumping from her chair she darted for the boy with hands reaching out as if to strangle him. The boy eyes popped wide as Mike told him to get lost. He backed to the door, turned and ran as if his life was in question.

"Calm down young lady," Mike told her as she walked to the chair. "I think you two have something going."

"Me and that, that…" Candi replied harshly with her face boiling red in anger.

As she sat in the chair her body came under some kind of spell. Her face became un-red, her anger went as if it had not happened.

"What the hell is going on," Sally wondered to herself. How could a chair change a person so fast?

The cape was tossed across Candi and brought up and around her neck. Mike clipped it in place as Candi shook her head, wildly sending her hair flowing in the air.

"CLICK, hummmmmm," came the sound of the clippers as Mike turned them on. He turned to Candi, her eyes closed, her body pushing up from the chair to meet the singing clippers. Mike brought them over the top of her head and began a slow pass down the center of her head. A pile of golden brown hair was pushed back, falling to the floor. As the clippers were brought forward Candi took a deep breath; again her head rose a little to meet the clippers’ sound.

Slowly another pile of hair was pushed back over her head, falling to the floor behind the chair. As the clippers came forward the third time, she opened her eyes and smiled at Sally. A smile that Sally could not understand, because of what Candi had said earlier to her.

"Do you want the hair?" Mike asked Candi.

Candi looked at Sally, with her inquiring eyes and look. "Yes, I have another picture in the making. I am looking for some red hair, if you get any, let me know."

Sally’s mind went wild as she heard Candi’s inquiry. She had not seen anyone with red hair, no one but her.

Candi was not thinking of hers?

Sally watched, as she had when Sara was given her haircut, as Candi’s golden brown hair came off with ease. The clippers seemed to cut it off as if there were no hair to clip off. As if Mike was just passing it over her head for fun, just to give her a "sexual" buzz.

"Don’t know of many people with red hair around here," Mike told Candi as he too looked at Sally. "But I’ll keep an eye open for some."

Sally’s right hand slowly rose to the ends of her hair. Her eyes glanced as if they were hoping to find another color hair. Her fingers rose brushing into her China Doll cut, pushing the hanging strands up and out. Up and out as if to show she still had her hair.

The cape was undone and slowly slid down into Candi’s lap. Candi brought her hands up and wiped hair from her face, the cape folded sending some long strands of golden brown hair onto her legs. As her face appeared from her hands she smiled at Sally.

"Friday," she said looking and smiling at Sally.

"What?" Mike asked.

Candi turned and looked at him. "Nothing."

He saw a strange smile on Candi, and looked at Sally.

Candi’s head was wrapped in the warm towel, her eyes glowing with the thought of seeing Sally’s red hair in the picture she was doing. Mike spread the shaving cream over Candi’s light skin; it looked as if her head had already been shaved. Candi sat looking, staring, at Sally and her red hair. Sally became uneasy, but could not move or say anything.

She watched as Mike stropped the straight razor over the leather strap. The sound guided her eyes and ears to its soft sweeping. Her eyes watched as the blade began to gleam to a shiny sharpness. Sharp to smooth Candi’s scalp, like it had done the others before her. Having done to them all over the last six years: women and men alike.

Sally tried to look away but she could not. Her deep mind began to bring the images she had seen her first night. The images of her bald.

Images of her hair being clipped from her head, falling to the floor or into the cape. Those before her watching from the wire-rimmed chairs, the door and the windows. Her head being wrapped in the hot towel, enjoying the pleasure they had felt. Her head being lathered, the long soft brush brushing the shaving cream over her head.

The straight razor being oiled and stropped to a shinning sharpness, to shave her head smooth as the others.

The soft feeling of the breeze and sun, as she walked out the shop like the others.

"Hi, Candi, Miss Sally," came a happy voice. "Lookin’ good, Candi."

It was Tish, Jean’s oldest daughter. She walked in and sat next to Sally. "Are you next?" she asked Sally.

"No, nooo," Sally replied nervously as her right hand rose quickly to her hair.

"Too bad," Tish said. "You’d look great with your head free of all that hair."

"Friday," Candi said again.

Sally became more nervous, again she tried to get up and walk out. Again something strange kept her there watching as Mike began shaving Candi’s head. Each stroke of the razor was short, leaving behind soft white skin. Each stroke was wiped in his free hand, as if he was piling it there for some reason.

As she watched Candi’s transformation to a lovely bald young lady, her deep mind began to wonder to Friday. The day Candi had given her to join them. Again her mind’s images were taken to her being clipped and shaved.

She tried to think why…

Each time something would bring her back to watch Candi’s head shaving. This lovely young lady who, just earlier, told her she had only two more years.

This time it was the giggling of Candi and Tish as they talked about, what else do teenage girls talk about, boys. Tish was telling Candi how her boyfriend wanted to shave her. "Well, you know, down below," she told Candi in an embarrassed way.

Mike was holding back as if to say he did not hear what they were talking about.

"Well, Tish," Mike asked of her, "what are you getting today? Buzzed or shaved?"

Sally could not believe he had asked her so openly, as if she were older than she was.

"Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzz," she sounded.

"Shsssssssssssssss," Candi answered.

They looked at each other.

"Yesssss," Candi barked, "shave your head. Don’t do like you did last year."

Tish looked at herself in the mirror, her hand combing through her hair. "Will you stay and watch?" she asked Candi.

Candi’s eyes lit up in sexual satisfaction, a wicked smile on her face. "Yessss, my dear," she toned in a high-class male’s voice. "I wouldn’t miss your shaving. Your head or your…"

They giggled and Tish again sat next to Sally. They smiled as Tish told Sally, "Really, you would look great with your head shaved."

Again Candi spurred, "Friday…"

Mike was now shaving Candi’s head with a safety razor. Her head was becoming smoother, like the others. Her eyes grew large, her smile brighter. As the shaving cream was removed Sally could see how nice Candi looked. The large loop and jade earrings showed off her facial features. Her head was just the shape for a shaven head.

Her mind began to imagine herself in the same manner.

"Mmmmmmm, that smells great," Candi said as Mike began powdering her head.

The cape was removed and the chair lowered. Candi tossed her arms out, "GREAT!" she announced as her hands rose to her shaven head.

Tish rushed to the chair. "Let me feel," she cried.

"Naaaaa," Candi said warding off Tish’s eager fingers. "You’ll get a feel after your shaving."

Was Sally really seeing this?

Was this really happening?

"Not in a rush?" Candi asked Sally as she sat next to her.

Sally looked at her, wondering why she asked her a question like that. Again she wanted to get up and leave; again she could not as her eyes caught sight of the cape floating across Tish’s lap. Slowly it was drawn up and around her neck.

Before Mike turned on the clippers, her mind went "CLICK, Hummmm." Her eyes saw not Tish in the chair, but herself, as Mike pushed the clippers up the right side of Tish’s head. She felt a strange sexual "shiver" rush up and down her body.

Hair fell down Tish’s caped shoulder into her waiting covered lap. Her eyes followed the first strands as they came to rest. Her breathing became shallow, her throat dry. Her mind saw red hair fall to the floor.

Again Sally wanted to get up and leave.

Mike was making fuzz of Tish’s short wedge cut. Her dark black hair fell under the teeth of the clippers, leaving behind tan skin with a dark five o’clock shadow. She had only seen this on a man’s face, now her eyes were seeing it on a different place.

The cape fell from around Tish’s neck, into her lap causing some strands of hair to tumble down her legs. Tish shook them off as they tried to rest there.

Her head was wrapped in the warm towel, as Mike began working a lather in the shaving mug. She and Candi exchanged winks and smiles.

Sally’s attention was brought back to herself, as she felt fingers combing through her hair. With a strange feeling in her she looked at Candi.

"Maybe Thursday," Candi whispered.

Sally became more nervous than before, it was if Candi was becoming aroused. Her eyes were glowing as she combed her fingers up the back of Sally’s head.

Sally’s body became strangely stiff, unable to move. Just a gentle rocking motion in fear.

"Don’t be afraid," came Tish’s voice with her head tilted downward, as Mike was shaving up her neck. "She’s just playing with you."

Sally heard a soft, but strange giggle from Candi. As she turned to look at her she was smiling like a little angel. Sally tried to watch Tish’s head shaving, but now she felt strange sitting next to Candi.

Mike just went about shaving, making the shadow disappear somewhat. "The sun will darken her scalp," Sally thought to herself.

But, why did she care if Tish’s head was tanned darker?

Tish’s head was tilted to the right as the straight razor began shaving the left side of her head. Short strokes were taken coming over the top of her left ear. A few more strokes and Tish would be bald like Candi and the others.

Mike re-wrapped her head with the warm towel, then re-lathered her head for a second shaving as he had done to all the others. Was this a sexual turn-on for him, always shaving the women’s head twice? But she had never seen him completely shave a man’s head, so she did not know for sure if he did shave them twice, also.

Tish was enjoying the lathering, her head softly rocking like a joystick of a video game.

He began shaving the top of her head, unlike the others. Stroke after stroke made her scalp smoother, shining in the light of the shop. Her head began to look like a man who had no hair on the top of his head. When Candi saw this, she even made a comment about it. They laughed as Mike looked in the mirror to see for himself. Tish began to clown around and talk in a high man’s voice.

Soon, Mike had her head tilted to the left as he began shaving the right side. Sally looked around to see if anyone had walked in while her mind was bringing out those strange images of herself. But there was no one but them. Her eyes caught sight of children playing a few feet from the shop, she heard the voices of men and women as they walked by.

But none of them came in.

Tish stretched her neck to the right, as if in discomfort.

"Just a few more," Mike told her.

She smiled as he began shaving the back left side of her head. Five, six more strokes and he was finished. Tish’s head was wrapped in the warm towel again, her head wiped clean of any shaving cream. He gently rubbed her scalp with some skin cream, then dusted her shaven head and face with the sweet powder.

Tish’s hand rose to her head, "Aaaaaaaaa," she let out. "Feels great. Too bad I can only shave my head this time of the year."

Candi stood up and rushed to the chair. She and Tish rubbed each other’s shaven head. Both looked great, as they would say. For some reason Sally was beginning to see why they buzzed or shaved their heads.

But, she still had her career to think about.

Candi and Tish walked out the shop, as if she were not there. Mike began sweeping the hair on the floor, again as if she were not there. She got up and walked to the door.

"See you tomorrow," Mike told her.

"Tomorrow," she thought to herself. Tomorrow was Wednesday, not Friday or Thursday as Candi had said. But why was she worried about it, or any other days, she was not going to get shaved or even buzzed for that matter.

She just smiled at him and walked out the door. "At last," she said to herself. "I can walk out the shop."

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