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With the short working hours, due to the electricity workers’ strike, Leslie and Vicky were spreading themselves around different shops that Dorothy owned. This particular week they were working in a small shop in the suburbs. On entering the shop the first thing that struck Leslie was the length of Jill’s and her stylists’ hair. It was obviously far too long and Leslie quietly commented on the fact to Vicky, who nodded in agreement. Something would have to be done. Leslie was the senior stylist in the group and was about to change the image of the shop! Jill, the leading hand, was in her early twenties, Elizabeth was an apprentice just left school and Fran was a second-year improver, about 19 or so.

Leslie introduced herself and Vicky to the girls and wasted no time in telling them that that there would have to be a few changes to their general appearance in the near future. On hearing this Jill jumped right in and asked what exactly did she mean. Leslie told her that they looked like over-pampered French poodles and all needed to have their hair trimmed for a start. The three girls stood silently fondling their long locks. Once again wasting no time, Leslie told Liz to get into the chair. Liz, dumfounded, did as she was told. Vicky quickly caped her and unbraided her bum-length hair. Next Vicky combed the wavy blonde hair until it shined, and commented on how beautiful it was.

Liz told Vicky that she had never had more than an inch cut before and didn’t think that it was a good idea to have it cut. Vicky told her that when she first became a hairdresser she also had long hair but soon found out that it was better to have shorter hair as it promoted the salon and was easier to care for. Liz couldn’t help but notice Vicky’s collar-length hair and told her that her hair was rather short. Vicky, who hadn’t had hers cut for a few months, just smiled and assured her it was going to look great.

"Right, here we go then," said Leslie gently pulling a section of Liz’s hair.

"Stop! I don’t want my hair cut," cried Liz.

"Dorothy has given me strict instructions to see that you all smarten yourselves up or face the consequences. Your choice, as they say." Leslie poised the scissors at Liz’s shoulder blades.

"Well, how short are you going to cut it?"

"As short as I think it will suit you," said Leslie. "Look I’m not going to cut it into a style that won’t suit you am I? I’ve been doing this for a while now and I pride myself in knowing what style will be just right for the customer." Leslie knew that with Liz’s elfin features that the shortest crop would be just right for her.

"I’ll cover the mirror up so that you can’t see what I’m doing, and surprise you. How about that, it’ll be fun."

"I’m not sure, what do you think Jill?" Liz looked over to Jill, who just nodded.

"Please, not too short though." Liz nodded to Leslie.

Vicky quickly covered the mirror so that Liz would not be able to see what was going on, and Leslie told the others to get on with their work.

"So you agree to have your hair cut to what style I think will suit you?"

"Yes, ok, but…"

"No buts. You do or you don’t – your choice."

"Yes, ok, my choice."

"Sure?"

"Yes, sure."

"Right then, here we go. Ready?

"Ready."

Quickly Leslie started to cut a rough bob shape into Liz’s hair. Great swathes of hair fell purposely into the waiting cape. Long blonde hair, 30-inch lengths at a time, fell into the waiting cape. Tears formed in Liz’s eyes as more and more hair fell. With a very rough bob formed to about shoulder length Leslie reached for the clippers. To prolong the moment she fitted a no. 8 guard and started on the right hand side. Liz, who could not see but only feel, began to get very uncomfortable, she knew that it was going to be short – very short. Leslie took her time, purposely prolonging the agony.

"Oh, this is really looking great. You’ll love it."

Liz wasn’t so sure, she just sat quietly. Leslie moved to the left hand side and started to bare the next ear. Hair fell into Liz’s lap – a continuous rain of blonde locks. Next the nape was clippered nice and short. Several passes later Liz’s neckline was hair-free. Leslie smiled to herself: this was good.

Leslie moved around to the front and held the clippers to Liz’s forehead. She gently pushed them back to the already cropped crown hair. The hair fell down Liz’s face and landed in her overflowing lap. Half a dozen passes later the hair was reduced all over to approximately 1 inch. Next the no. 4 guard was fitted and she quickly got to work, running the clippers all over the head. Liz now sported a half-inch crew-cut. Fine hair covered Liz’s face and shoulders. Leslie ran her fingers through the freshly-cropped hair admiring her work. Then she gently brushed the loose splinters of hair from Liz’s face with a soft brush.

Liz was mesmerized. It felt strange. She ran her own shaking hand up and across her own head as if discovering it for the very first time. The buzz of the clippers made her jump again. Leslie had changed the guard to a no. 2 and was tapering the back and sides nice and short, trying to give it a fade look. She soon changed the guard for a no. 1 and tapered more hair. Eventually she did away with the guard altogether and picked up a fine toothed comb and continued to take even more hair away by using the clipper over comb.

Leslie stood back and realized she must take the top down to a shorter length. Fitting the no. 3 guard she quickly finished the job in hand so the top was now reduced to 3/8 of an inch. Then the area just down from the crown was also taken down to 3/8" just to be on the safe side! The fringe was then attacked with the no. 2 so that it was ultra short. She brushed her hands gently over the finished cut. It was absolutely incredible. In fact, it was probably her best haircut ever.

"There you go, all done, blonde and absolutely beautiful," she told Liz.

Liz ran her hands nervously over her head as Leslie uncovered the mirror. Liz could not believe it was herself in the mirror. The reflection she saw, must be somebody else. Of course it wasn’t. As she sat quietly she fingered her new look and of coarse she loved it. Liz reached out and kissed Leslie on the cheek, thanking her.

The other two girls, Jill and Fran, looked on in shock.

"Who’s next?" snapped Leslie as she brushed off her first victim.

Leslie called Fran over to her station. Fran slowly walked over to where Vicky and Leslie were. Hair was strewn around the floor like thick carpeting. Leslie pointed to the waiting chair.

"Come on, don’t be shy." As the words left her mouth she smiled cruelly. "That’s right, up you get." Leslie helped Fran into the plush chair.

Fran gripped the armrests in fear and Leslie quickly caped her. Leslie turned to Vicky and told her that she would have the honor of doing Fran’s makeover as she had a 10:30 appointment with another unwilling victim. Leslie took Vicky to one side and told her to cut Fran’s hair very close to the head, one length all over, no. 2 if she thought she could get away with it. Just as she finished giving instructions to Vicky her next appointment was being ushered through the doorway.

A young girl with waist-length wavy hair was pushed through the door by her mother. The young girl was protesting.

"I don’t want my hair cut, mum." She was quite adamant but was ignored by her mother.

Mrs. Brown had her hair cut into a neat crop cut, all one length, approximately 1/2 an inch all over.

"Right, that’s it, I’ve had enough. You’re having it cut even if I have to do it myself," her mother scolded her.

She walked over to Leslie and asked who was cutting her daughter’s hair, to which Leslie told her she was.

"I want it all cut off as short as mine and as soon as possible please."

"Come this way and I’ll sort it out for you." Once again Leslie smiled and turned towards a vacant station.

"There you go, that’s right, you sit there and I’ll get the cape."

Leslie returned with a nice fresh cape and asked the girl’s mother to lift all the hair out of the way so she could fit it round her young client’s neck. This done Leslie picked up her scissors from the shelf and proceeded to cut an irregular bob shape to about the shoulders. The girl’s mother gasped as a pile of hair hit the floor. This done the clippers were plugged in and a no. 4 guard fitted. Skillfully Leslie wasted no time just in case the mother had a change of heart, she plunged the clippers into the shoulder length locks from the nape of the neck, running them up to the crown. The girl’s mother was shocked to see this happen so quickly, and before she could think about changing her daughter’s fate a second pass was made upwards in double quick time. The once long hair was quickly disappearing, years of growth gone in two minutes. The sides followed the same way and then the top. The clippers were held and paused for a second at the forehead and then were pulled slowly backwards through the remaining hair. The once long hair spewed everywhere.

"God that is short I don’t think…."

Leslie interrupted her. "Don’t worry, it’s going to look fine. There you go, it’s nearly done now anyway, you did say all one length didn’t you?"

"Yes, but…"

"I must say I think you’ve made the right decision. It looks really great, don’t you think so, there that’s it all done." Leslie laid the clippers down and started to brush the by now red-eyed young girl off. Hair covered the floor all around.

Meantime back at Vicky’s station things weren’t quite so frantic. Fran told Vicky that she wasn’t prepared to go as short as Liz had done. Vicky was brushing Fran’s poker-straight dark hair through for the umpteenth time trying to convince her that short hair would look superb on her. The hair reached way down the back of the chair and was by now gleaming.

"Look, Leslie told me it’s got to be cut or else."

"Or else what?"

"Or else she’s going to do it herself," Vicky lied.

Fran looked at herself in the mirror, secretly she had always wondered what it would be like to have her hair cut short, but was too scared to admit it to Vicky.

"If you don’t Leslie will not be happy, and she carries a lot of weight with Dorothy, you know. If I were you I would just have it done to keep the peace."

"I’m not sure. I’ve thought about having my hair cut before, but I don’t know. It’s a big step, I’ve had long hair since I was a teenager." Fran stared at herself, frowning into the mirror.

Vicky snapped the scissor blades open and closed, they snikked loudly in Fran’s ear.

"Go on, you may as well. It’ll grow back, you know, it’s only hair," Vicky said temptingly. "A nice short cut will really suit you and you won’t have to do all that drying and brushing. Go on, go for it." Vicky once again snapped the scissors close to Fran’s ear. "I’ll cut it really short and you’ll love it, I promise," Vicky gently caressed Fran’s hair.

Fran shivered with excitement. "Ok, but you will let me watch, won’t you?"

The decision made, Vicky assured her she would take her time cutting it so she could watch every step of the cut. Vicky picked up the Osters with the quarter-inch blades fitted. When they were turned on they hummed loudly in Fran’s ear. Vicky turned them off and laid them down on the side, then she put an elastic band round Fran’s hair about a foot down from her shoulders.

"I’ll save you a nice long pony," she told Fran.

Vicky slowly picked up the Osters again and flicked the switch, once again they came to life in Vicky’s hands. The pony was pulled upwards and the Osters were very gently pushed up through the thick hair at the back. Fran stared hard into the mirror but could see nothing as yet. The hair fell away from the neck cleanly, leaving a vertical path. As more passes were made Fran felt a coolness she had never experienced before, it sent shivers through her body. The nape was now denuded of hair. Vicky stopped for a second and ran her fingers through the bristle that was left. They were both intensely involved with each other at this moment. Vicky moved to the right hand side and once again held the pony up and away from the side. The Osters slowly ran around the top of Fran’s ear, then again but higher. By now Fran could see the hair spilling from the blades at the side of her head, leaving the bristly finish behind in their wake. Another pass took them up towards the crown area. Next the left hand side was attacked. Fran could not speak, she just watched open-mouthed at the image in the mirror.

"Right, just the top to do then," Vicky calmly stated. "Could you hold this lot above your head for me and I’ll just finish off." Vicky let Fran take the hank of hair and hold it as best she could up and away.

Vicky started from the back and pushed the clippers slowly up and over the crown area. After several passes from different angles the hair was clipped short to match the rest of the hair. Finally the pony hung around Fran’s face as the front area was taken away leaving behind a perfect shaped head. As the pony swung free Vicky turned the clippers off and put an elastic band at the end of the mass so the hair could swing freely. She quickly trimmed the hair to one length and gave it a quick brush through. The hair was then handed to Fran, who was still gaping into the mirror. She looked down and took the freshly clipped hair in her hand. Fran made a move as if to get up but Vicky gently held her back in position. The clippers were turned on again and slowly run back over the entire head to make sure of any missed ends. Fine splinters of hair were still being clipped from Fran’s head as Leslie came over to see the finished cut. Vicky turned the Osters off and concluded that she was finished.

"Well you’ve certainly done a good job here. It looks great Fran, I’m so pleased you’ve had it cut. Now that only leaves Jill. Come on Jill, it’s your turn in the chair!"

Jill walked slowly over towards them. Leslie was brushing her fingers through Fran’s hair, admiring Vicky’s work. She turned to Jill and told her to take a seat.

Vicky brushed the fine hair from Fran’s face and un-caped her, and she quickly jumped out of the chair, running her hands over her freshly cropped hair.

"I love it. It’s so cool, so sexy." Fran was pleased.

"Same again I think, don’t you Vicky?"

Jill stood up from the chair and told Leslie she would not be having her hair cut today. Fran immediately told her that they had had their hair cut so she should have hers cut.

"Come on, really you’ll love it," Fran said as she continued to run her hands through the freshly cropped hair.

"No I’m not going to have it cut short, no way."

"Look Leslie, let me and Liz take care of Jill’s hair. We’ll just trim it a bit for you if you like Jill?" Fran pushed Jill gently back into the chair and called Liz over, then the two girls caped and started to preen Jill’s waist-length curls.

Leslie decided it was a good idea and let the two of them proceed. While Liz brushed Jill’s hair out Fran covered the mirror up with a towel.

"What’s that for?"

"Don’t worry, it’s for your own good," said Fran.

"Look I’m not having my bloody hair cut."

"Shhh don’t go on." Liz put her finger to her lip.

Snick, snick, snick.

Three feet of hair glided slowly into the waiting cape. The soft curls fell silently down to the floor.

"There you see, it’s too late now, hold still and it will soon be done."

Snick! Another length fell.

Liz held down onto Jill’s shoulders while Fran finished bobbing Jill’s unruly locks.

"There you are, we’re halfway done now, nearly there." Fran reached for the clippers.

The loud buzz filled the salon. Fran started at the side and ran the clippers up and over the right ear. Hair now piled into Jill’s lap. In Fran’s hurry she had forgot to check which blade was fitted to the Ousters but soon realized it was the 1/4-inch one. No matter, if it was good enough for her, it was good enough for Jill. More passes were made until the side was shaved of most of the hair. Then the left-hand ear was denuded of hair. This was fun. By now Jill had ceased to struggle as she knew it was far too late for any action. Jill sat quietly watching the mound grow in her lap, she was starting to actually enjoy the attentions of her two barberettes.

"Now that’s better: you behave yourself and sit back and enjoy."

Fran moved round to the front of Jill and held the clippers to her forehead, then they were slowly pushed back through the chestnut curls. Four more passes were made and then the clippers were repeatedly run all over the rest of the head just to check for loose ends. The end result was perfect, the three girls now looked like sisters. Liz took the towel away from the mirror and for the first time Jill ran her hands over her cropped hair. It really did look, and feel so good. Jill thanked her two friends and kissed them both on the cheeks.

Leslie appeared and applauded the two girls on their work a job well done. 

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