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Copyright ? 2002 by JC Ramsey, all rights reserved.

This story is dedicated to Steve, who gave me the original idea of a haircut in a pawn shop.

When I pulled up into the parking lot, I saw that my partner was already at the store. Good, he could fill me in on all the transactions he had made during my vacation. I was just hoping he hadn?t taken something in that we could not sell.

After going over the major items that we now had for sale, he paused and looked at me with a very unusual expression on his face.

?One last item. A lady came in with a professional video camera outfit, tripod and power supply, you know, rechargeable batteries. I looked up the value, gave her a quote, which was decent, and she took it. Said her husband had been killed in a traffic accident and she had no use for the stuff. I said fine, sorry about your loss, and all that. She left very happy with the money. I checked out the camera gear and it?s very good equipment in excellent condition. But as I was looking through the stuff she left, I found a couple of boxes that were not camera gear.? He raised his eyebrows.

?So, what was in the boxes? You going to keep me in suspense??

?Come back with me, and take a look.?

I followed him back to a spare office we kept that had a computer system for our bookkeeping and to access the internet. Beside the desk there were two large boxes. He picked one up and placed it on the desk, and opened it. He pulled out two large tackle boxes, and opened one. On the top tray was a collection of combs, hair clips and elastic bands, and a couple of safety razors. I looked at him and shrugged. He removed the tray, and inside the box was a collection of scissors, clippers, guides for the clippers, a couple of hairbrushes, and containers of shampoo and conditioner, a can of disinfectant, a small bottle of clipper oil, and a can of shaving cream.

?So, the guy was a barber or something. What?s the big deal??

?The other tackle box is just about the same, all the same stuff.?

I nodded for him to continue. He replaced the tackle box in the larger box, put it back on the floor, and then lifted the other box onto the desk. He opened it and pulled out a CD-ROM storage container, and a box of video cassettes. There were also several file folders.

?From what I can gather, there is a group of people in the world called hair enthusiasts. They are all interested in different things, cutting hair, styling hair, coloring, shampooing, whatever, both men and women, but mostly women?s hair, obviously because you can do more stuff with women?s hair.?

?O.K., so what was this guy into??

?Well, as you might guess from the first box, he was into cutting women?s hair.?

?Are you saying this was his profession or his hobby?? I was trying to figure out how all this stuff was going to come together.

?It appears to have been a hobby. In addition to just doing stuff with hair, these hair enthusiasts also video tape what they do and then sell the videos on the market. I guess there are people out there who buy the tapes as entertainment or fantasy fulfillment.?

?So that?s the reason he had the video camera? He was video taping the haircuts he was doing? Did these women know they were being taped??

?Oh sure, they were quite aware of the situation. The file folders have all the information, prices on blank cassettes, prices he was charging for his videos, lists of customers he would contact when he had a new video, and lists of the various hair enthusiast sites on the web. Some of the sites are pretty normal, some are a little strange, some are pornographic, and some are really bad, like punishment or bondage sites.?

I was a little stunned with all of this. I looked again at all the stuff that came with the camera equipment. ?Did you look at any of the tapes or CD?s??

?Yeah, I popped a few in to get a flavor for what he was interested in. Most of the CD?s were made by others who also like to cut off women?s hair. And I mean, they do cut off their hair. Many of the women have their heads shaved at the end of the haircutting. I have no idea why they do it, except there is also a price list in the files on how much he would pay a woman to have her hair cut off, including a shave. He would offer up to $500 for a woman to have a complete haircut and a head shave, sometimes more if the hair was really long.?

?Wait a minute, he would pay a woman $500 to let him cut off her hair??

?Yep, there?s no free lunch here. From what I can figure, he made money off the videos that he sold, and also he would sell their hair.?

?What? Sell their hair? What does that mean??

?He also has a few sites listed, and phone numbers, of people who would buy hair. The price is based on how long the hair is, the color, thickness and condition. There is a reference to ?virgin? hair that gets the highest price. The longer the hair, the more it?s worth.? ?You?ve got to be kidding??

?Don?t believe me? Look at this.? He reached back into the box and pulled out a large manila envelope. Opening it, he extracted three plastic bags, and I could see the contents to be very dark in color. He opened one bag, and removed a braid of hair. He held it up, letting it fall to its full length, which seemed to be about 20 inches. It was tied off at both ends with several elastics. I reached out to touch it, and it felt soft.

?Here, take it, see how good it feels to hold it, and especially how heavy it is. I can?t believe that women walk around holding up that much hair every day. I?d get it cut off, too.?

As I ran my fingers over the bumps of the braid, he opened the second bag and a dark red ponytail spilled out on the desk. It was wavy, very thick on the end that was tied, but was much thinner on the free end. It was probably a little shorter than the braid.

?I figure these were the results of his last few haircuts before he was killed. I assume that he was going to sell this hair to his customer base. Don?t know if he sold everything or not. From his records, some of the women would keep their hair, so he paid them less to cut their hair. He also paid them less if they did not allow a video shoot. I guess that?s the nature of the business.?

Ron had now picked up the red ponytail and was stroking it, as I was while holding the braid. It was very pleasurable to feel the hair and have control of it, not having to worry about the consequences of making a woman mad.

?Rich, you ever cut a woman?s hair??

?No, can?t say that I have. Thought about it once, when I was mad a girl that dumped me in high school. She had a long ponytail, and I thought how nice it would be to cut off that ponytail and bring her down a notch or two. It was just a thought.?

?I actually have cut some hair before. Just trims, never anything like this. I can?t imagine walking up to a woman with scissors in my hands and cutting off her hair like this.?

?Ron, it takes all kinds. What did you see on the tapes and CD?s??

?Just what I told you, women having their hair cut off by men. Some are clearly recorded in a studio. Apparently this guy traveled around, so he did most of his work at the home of the woman or a friend. Sometimes there are several haircuts on a video, sometimes just one or two. Depends on how they did the cuts. This guy likes to be slow and methodical. He uses scissors to cut off their hair, and then finishes with clippers. Some of the other videos, wow, the woman sits down, they throw a cape over her, turn on the clippers, and start mowing the hair off, right down the middle of her head, hair falling everywhere.?

?So, what do we do with all this stuff??

?I?m not sure. I thought you might want to look at some of the videos and CD?s. This guy has about 20 he made himself; the other recordings are from sites that are still, for the most part, operational on the web. Maybe some people would be interested in buying them if we put them in the store. The haircutting gear seems to be in great shape, so we could sell the stuff as a package deal or as individual pieces. I was going to contact some of the hair buyers on his list and see how much we could get for these two braids and the ponytail, but we could also put them in the store, maybe??

I was finding it hard to put down the long braid. I was finding myself strangely stimulated by holding on to this hair, feeling the weight, running my fingers through the free hair at each end. I thought again about that girl in high school, perhaps coming up behind her when she was dozing in class, pulling a pair of scissors out of my pocket, and deftly grabbing her hair in one hand and slicing it off at her neck with the shears.

?O.K., let me look at some of the stuff, and I?ll get a feel for what we have here, before we make any decision. Is that O.K. with you?? As I said this I handed him back the braid.

?Yeah, that?s fine. I wouldn?t mind seeing a few more of the films.? ?No porno stuff??

?None so far. All the girls have clothes on, and even when they have their hair washed, they just put waterproof capes on them. This guy liked to do sink shampoos, but I guess he had to do that working in women?s homes.?

?Very interesting. Can?t say that I would have ever known about this hair enthusiast stuff unless this poor lady had brought this stuff to us.?

We put everything back in the boxes, and prepared to open the store.

Things went along very well during the rest of the week. Ron had made some very good deals, and people seemed to be buying right now. A few people came back to pick up things they had pawned. On Thursday a man we had called stopped by to look at the braids and the ponytail, and he purchased the braid that I had held for $175.00. He gave us his view on the going rate for hair. He said the other two pieces were very good, but they were not a color he needed right now. He turned out to be a professional doll maker, and he preferred to use human hair for his dolls. He said he would put the word out that we had another couple of pieces for sale.

Thursday nights we usually did inventory and made preparations for the weekend, which was always busy. When we finished, we agreed to spend some time together looking at some of the videos and CD?s. The CD?s had a variety of cuts done on a variety of women. There were also two very good instructional CD?s that showed how to do a page-boy, a bob, a wedge, a pixie, a flattop, and a crew cut, all done on women. After watching these, both Ron and I thought we could do a basic haircut on a woman. While watching the films, we handled the scissors and combs and clippers, trying to image what it would be like to do the haircuts. We then watched a couple of the videos made by ?ED? (that?s what we decided to call our deceased hair enthusiast), and he did very good work. We watched him patiently make about a dozen braids in a woman?s shoulder length hair, and then she requested that he shave off each braid with the clippers. He started at her neck, carefully doing as he requested. He saved the crown for last, and it was neat to see the end result?she was almost totally bald. He then ran the clippers without a guard over her head several times, and she was very happy with her new ?look?.

?You know, some of these women look very good bald, others must have been crazy to get all their hair cut off,? commented Ron.

?I?d just like to know what gets into their mind to do this. Do some of these women just have a desire to be shaved? It has to be more than just the money.?

?I can see a woman with really long hair deciding to have a major change, and then be enticed to go for a crew cut with the money, but I agree, they must have a need to have this done for some reason.?

We looked at portions of two other ?ED? films, and then called it a night.

As expected, we were busy on Friday. Lots of people coming in to offer us stuff to augment their income for the weekend, or have cash for the lottery, or cash for other things, especially liquor and drugs. We were used to seeing younger people come through our doors carrying all manor of items to hock so they could pay a gambling debt or their pusher. We tried to make the best of it for them, but business was business.

Late Friday, two girls came into the store, one carrying a boom box. Ron waited on them, taking a good look at the big unit, making sure it still had serial numbers and was in proper working order. Looking it up in the retail record, he offered them $125 for it, which they discussed for a minute or so, and then they said they would take the money. As Ron was writing out their pawn ticket, he overheard them say that they were still $125 short in making their final payment to a pusher whose name Ron recognized. The one girl was obviously terrified of the consequences if they were not able to come up with the money by Monday.

?What else have we got to sell??

?Nothing, we just have our clothes and the stuff we need to keep up our place,? responded the other girl, who was shorter.

?Can we get a job tonight and for the weekend??

?Like, who is going to hire us in this area? Everyone knows us, we?ve worked everywhere, and been fired everywhere.?

?You know, we are so close to paying this guy off, and being clean for life. There has to be a way for us to make that money without selling ourselves.?

Suddenly, as he finished the ticket, a light bulb went on in Ron?s head. He took a second look at the girls. The shorter one had curly hair that was pulled back tightly from her face and held with a scrunchie at her neck. All he could see of her hair was just like a large ball, the size of a grapefruit. The taller one had thick, straight hair that hung down to her elbows on the side and was even a bit longer in back. The front was pulled back and held in place with a barrette on the crown of her head.

?Here?s your ticket, girls. Uh, I didn?t mean to listen in, but I couldn?t help but hear. Uh, I take it you need a little more money for something important??

They were wary and their expression and silence said so.

?Look, girls, we run a clean business here, we don?t take advantage of anyone when they?re down. But, we have a, uh, new business venture that we?re thinking about and I thought you might be interested in hearing about it.?

The tall one answered for both of them. ?O.K., we?ll listen, but if it involves sex or drugs or being bag ladies or anything illegal, we?re out of here.?

?Nope, nothing like that. This is a personal opportunity for you to make some money by selling something you have that a few people might be interested in buying.? Now the shorter one responded. ?I don?t think our clothes are worth $175, because that?s all we have left.?

Ron smiled. ?It?s not your clothes, it?s your hair.?

Both girls looked at him stone faced, like he had spoken in a foreign language. The tall one said, ?What about our hair??

?If you are interested, we can make an offer to buy your hair, and you should receive more than enough money for what you need.?

?You mean, cut off our hair??

?Well, yeah. We cut off your hair and then we sell it here at the store or to other people we know who need human hair.?

Now the shorter one spoke up. ?How much of our hair,? she asked cautiously, reaching back to touch her large wad of curls.

?The more you are able to sell us, the more money it?s worth to you.?

?How much money are we talking about?? said the taller one.

?Just looking at your hair, it could be worth $150.00 if you let us take most of it.?

?Most of it? How much would I have left?

?Oh, probably a couple of inches. We?d do a pixie cut for you, or something with longer layers on top and tapered on the sides and neck.?

?Who does the cutting?? she asked.

?Rich and I would do the cuts here at the store.?

They were at least thinking about it. Now for the bigger incentive.

?Listen, girls, I know this is a bit of a shock for you. Trust me, we had no idea there was business involved in cutting women?s hair. But, there is. And, you can make more money, too. If you let us video tape your haircuts, there is an extra $100 apiece for you. So, each one of you would get money for your hair, and also for letting us film the haircut.?

?So, you mean, we have to take our clothes off to get our hair cut??

?No, no, no. You sit in a chair, we comb and brush out your hair, maybe play with it a little for the camera, we put a cape on you, and we cut off your hair, and then we do the finished style you want. That?s it. No nudity, no weird stuff. The focus of the videos is your hair and your hair being cut and styled.?

?Jill, that?s a lot of money for us. We could pay off everything and come back and get the radio and have money left over.?

?But Sara, our hair! You want to get your hair cut off, lose your beautiful curls?? ?No, I don?t want to lose my curls, but they?ll grow back. That?s what is nice about hair, it grows back every time you cut it.?

Other customers were waiting. ?Look, Jill, Sara, take my card, think about this, and get back to us. I know you need the money soon. We could do the cuts tomorrow after we close, say about 5:30. O.K??

Jill said, ?We?ll talk and call you back.? With that, they were out the door.

I didn?t know about this conversation until Ron and I were checking out.

?Rich, by the way, I spoke to a couple of potential customers today.? I looked at him quizzically. ?Ron, I speak to potential customers every day in this store, because they walk through the door.?

?No, I mean about our new business opportunity.?

I was clueless, and he knew it. ?Please cut to the chase and tell me what you?re up to.?

?A couple of young ladies pawned a boom box today, and while I was writing up their ticket, I heard them talking about needing some money to pay off our old buddy Hector, the drug lord up the street. So I suggested a way that they could obtain some additional funds.?

It still did not connect with me. ?And, that would be???

Ron gave me a very big smile. ?I offered to buy their hair.?

It took a few seconds to sink in, but when it did, I was torn between being ecstatic and being scared to death. ?You did what?? I croaked.

?I told them that if they were agreeable to letting us cut off their hair, and perhaps allowing us to make a video, that they could earn enough money to pay off their debt and get their radio back.?

I was totally taken aback. I thought of the scenes I had viewed recently, braids being cut off, locks of hair sheared off and dropped into the laps of stone-faced women, clippers gliding back from a girl?s forehead as chunks of hair rained down over her face. The images were great, but now I?m expected to do this?

?Ron, are you totally crazy? We are not barbers. We run a pawn shop. How are we going to learn enough to do haircuts on these girls, even if they come back??

?Come on, look at the videos. It?s not that hard. You cut off most of their hair at the beginning. Then you just trim what is left, or put a guide on the clippers, and it?s all done. Shave their neck, cut a neck line, and they?re happy. Even if we really foul up, they?re ahead, their hair will grow back, and they can go to a shop to get it fixed.?

Now I was shaking my head in disbelief. ?I don?t think this is a good idea.?

?Why not? We know the market is there, the interest is there. We already sold one braid. I had a call about the ponytail today, he?s coming by tomorrow to look at it. If we add the videos to our website, we have instant customers who are looking for new haircut fantasies. We might start something in the store?put out a sign for girls with long hair to make some money.?

?I?m just afraid that I?m not going to be able to do a good job if a girl wants a makeover and not a crew cut.?

?Look, let?s make a deal. I know I can do basic haircuts, I have the confidence. I?ll do those, you stick with the crews and shaves. Deal? And when you think you can do a bob, you can do it, if we get that far.?

?I?m glad you said that, if we get that far. These girls will probably never show up again.?

?You may be right, but if they do, boy are we going to have fun. I won?t spoil it for you.?

With that, we closed the store, and each went home with thoughts about the future possibilities. What, exactly, would I do with a girl sitting in front of me, barber cape on, waist length hair hanging down her back, waiting for me to cut it off and pay her for her hair?

Saturdays were a zoo. In the busyness of the day, I again forgot about our conversation. About 11:00, Ron took a call, and as I was assisting a man looking for an acoustic guitar, I saw him get a little animated as he talked. He took another call, and it was right back to business. Twenty minutes later, as we were both writing tickets behind the counter, he nudged me.

?The girls will be here at 5:30.?

That was all he said, and he sped away to look after another customer. My jaw must have dropped because my customer asked if I was feeling all right. I told him it was just a sudden chill, and it was.

We ushered the last customer from the store at 5:01, and quickly began our checkout, praying that we would close without a mistake. By 5:25, we were all done, the deposit was ready and in the safe. We visited the computer room, bringing in two armchairs. We now each had our own haircutting kit, courtesy of ?ED?, so we placed them on the desk. We set up the video camera on the tripod, and with the fluorescent lights in this room, the film should be good. About that time, we heard a knocking on the front door.

Ron left to let them in, while I finished setting up the camera. Just as I squinted into the viewfinder and focused on the nearest chair, voices approaching told me they were coming in.

The first girl who entered was introduced to me as Jill, and I saw her sweep back a thick lock of light brown hair that ended just above her belt. The second one was Sara, and I first noticed that I could not really see any of her hair, because it was pulled back from her head very tightly. We exchanged a few pleasantries, thanking them for coming in, and they sat down in the chairs.

?So, girls,? Ron began, ?what have you decided to do??

Jill was apparently the spokesperson. ?Well, if this is it, just us and you two, and there is nothing else that is going to happen, I mean, it?s just you guys cutting our hair, then we?re ready to do it. But, we need to know exactly how much you can give us for our hair, and how much you have to cut.?

?That?s fine, we can do that right now. Can we look at your hair??

?Sure, go ahead.?

Ron jerked his head at me to move around behind them. I walked behind Sara as he moved behind Jill. With lightly trembling hands, he reached out with both hands and pulled Jill?s hair back into a loose ponytail, then let it fall back over the chair. He fingered her hair in several places to sense the thickness. He pulled a small tape measure out of his pocket, and asked me to hold the end on top of her head. He knelt down, pulling the tape out as he went down. He noted the length, then moved over to the right side, measuring there also, then the left side.

?Looks like your hair is about 36? in back, about 31? on the sides. So, if we figured an average of 28?, that would be worth, let?s say, $175.00, because it?s pretty thick. That would leave you about 3? on the side and 6? in back for your final haircut.? ?What would you give me if I got a crew cut??

I told him what I would offer. He agreed. ?$250.00.?

?Wow, that would totally cover what we owe. And, then I get another $100.00 if you film my haircut??

?That?s right, so a total of $350.00.?

?Cash, as soon as we leave??

?We have it in our safe. We won?t let you leave without paying you.?

?O.K., I?m all set. Have at it, crew cut and video.?

Ron looked at me with a huge smile. He pointed to her, as if saying, do you want to do her? I held up a finger, saying wait, let?s see what Sara wants. He pointed back at me, then to Sara, like, your turn.

So, I turned to Sara, staring at the huge mound of hair that seemed to be glued to her neck. I put my left hand on the large bun, and grabbed the scrunchie with my right. I pulled one loop off, then another, and while pulling off the scrunchie, her hair began to feel loose and heavy. I put the scrunchie in my pocket, and then let go of her hair. It fell slowly, uncoiling because of the curls. She shook her head back and forth, helping to release the mass.

?It?s pretty tangled, because I washed it this morning and just pulled it back. You might have to comb it out a bit to measure it,? said Sara, making every effort to help us.

I stepped over to my kit on the desk, selected a wide tooth comb, and went back to her. From the videos, I already knew to start combing from the ends up. I grabbed a small section of hair on the left side, and quickly began stroking through the soft hair. Wow, what a joy it would be to cut this off, like removing silk. I moved quickly from left to right, getting her hair into a semblance of order. I held the tape at her crown for Ron, and he had to measure only one place, because her hair was all one length.

?It?s almost 28?. So, we could cut off 25? and that would leave you with 3? all over your head. That would be worth,? he paused for a few seconds, ?heck, let?s say the same as Jill?s, because your hair is thick and soft, so $175.00.?

She was quiet for a moment, clearly thinking it through. ?How much for a shave??

?Sara!? Jill cried out, ?No! Don?t shave your head!?

I held up 3 fingers. I was willing to pay more to shave her head, and cut off these curls.

?$300.00,?, Ron announced.

?That?s a lot of money right for me right now. And the $100.00 for the video, too??

?Yes, for a total of $400.00.?

?Do I have to decide now??

?No, we can cut off the 25? first, and depending on whether you like it from there, you can decide. The camera will be rolling either way. But, it would be a thrill for the buyers to see such long hair totally cut off from the beginning.?

I nodded my sentiment to that.

Jill was at it again. ?Sara, you don?t have to shave your head. Is it really worth it?? ?It?s going to grow back. Besides, my hair looks so horrible when it 3? long I could cry. I might like having my hair cut really short, and if I can make extra money for us, why not??

?O.K., it?s a deal. Head shave and video for me. You can cut it off any way you want to.?

Ron and I looked at each other. The die was cast, there was no turning back. I pointed to Sara, he nodded.

?O.K., girls, while Rich gets the camera rolling, which of you is going first??

They looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders. Jill said, ?Should we flip for it?? Sara nodded.

Ron quickly produced a quarter, and expertly flipped it in air, letting it fall with a loud ?clink? on the floor between their chairs. Jill called heads, and heads was staring back at her. Ron smiled, because he was really ready to do this.

The tripod was on wheels, so since we did not have barber chairs, that was a good thing. ?ED? must have planned it that way, since there would be no barber chairs in the homes where he did his work. I positioned the camera in front of her, and we had Jill stand up and turn slowly, so that her figure and hair could be clearly seen. Ron moved her chair closer to the desk, so he could reach the ?tools? he would need. This gave me room to move the camera from side to side as I needed to capture the action. Sara moved her chair nearer to the doorway so she could also watch everything.

?Jill, do you mind if I play with your hair for a little bit before I start cutting??

?Oh, no, not at all, go ahead, do whatever you want to do with it.?

Ron started by just grabbing handfuls of her long hair and pulling them up, then letting them fall back. He did this several times from side to side. The handfuls got larger and larger, until he picked all her hair up in a ponytail and drew it up from her head, exposing her ears. He enjoyed holding it up, and pulled her head slightly from side to side using her hair. He stroked the ends of her hair that extended past his hand. Finally, he released her hair to fall back behind the chair again. Now, he picked up a wide tooth comb and began a very slow combing of her hair, just as I did on Sara, from bottom to top. In a few minutes her hair was perfectly combed and shining in the office light.

Ron switch to a brush, taking a portion of her hair, lifting it up and away from her head, and stroking it several times with the brush. He followed the same pattern, left to right, then right to left. Finally, he brushed her hair from top to bottom, again leaving it shiny and full. Ron turned back to his kit and selected a silver barrette. He got the comb again, and carefully combed back a section of her hair from forehead to crown, holding it with his left hand. He repeated on the left side and then the right side. He lifted the large section up slightly, and carefully combed it through several times. Happy with it, he flipped open the barrette and secured it around the large lock of hair on a line just behind her ears. He combed the hair one more time, noting how the barrette full of hair contrasted with the rest of her length.

He looked at me. ?O.K., Rich, I?m ready to start cutting. I?m going to cut off the barrette hair first. Always wanted to do this,? he said, grinning.

?Are you ready, Jill?? he asked, as he pulled out a striped cape and opened it, then swirled it around her.

?Ready as I can be. I can seriously tell you, this will be the haircut of a lifetime for me. I?ve never had my hair cut shorter than my shoulders before.?

Ron wanted me to get a good feel of Jill?s hair before he started, so he had me grab it and pull it up while he snapped the cape around her neck. Her hair, was, indeed, very thick, with a not too unpleasant medium texture. He had a lot of work ahead of him.

?Just to confirm, Jill, we?re going for a crew cut, right??

?That?s right, about half an inch I think will be good.?

Ron had combed through her hair one last time with the cape on, and was now ready. With scissors in hand, he carefully picked up the section of hair that was being held by the barrette. He lifted it up, holding the hair just above the barrette, bringing it straight up from her head. He was standing behind her, and I was shooting from her right side. After a couple of clicks of the scissors for effect, he opened the blades, placed them around a small portion of the huge lock he was holding, about an inch above her scalp, and slowly closed the blades. The sound of hair being cut made us all wince, and Jill made a quick sob, then another as Ron cut again. He slowly cut through the lock from back to front, keeping the length that was left as close to an inch as possible. As he cut, he kept the hair he was holding taut so he could see his line. He did just what the video said to do, using small snips with the tips of the scissors, and with a few final snips, the barrette full of long brown hair was his. He displayed it for the camera, then handed it to Jill to look at for a moment. She did well, holding it, stroking it, then giving it back to Ron, who placed it on a piece of plastic that we cut for the purpose. Jill now had a center section of inch long hair that looked stark in contrast to the still very long locks that were lying against the cape.

Ron now began to take pieces of her hair that he grabbed with his fingers, lifted each one up and away from her head, and snipped them off, going from right to left. He got into a real flow cutting off her long hair. He tried to stay behind her most of the time, reaching across her head to pick up the next section of hair that he wanted to cut. He would use his fingers to separate the lock, pull it up, smooth it out with his scissors hand to make sure that other hairs were not clinging to it, then he would give it a slight twist, pull it perpendicular to her head, and slowly snip it off. As each piece of hair was released, he would turn and carefully lay it alongside the others on the desk. From my position, this was an exciting haircut, as Jill?s long hair was slowly cut off. The sound of the scissors cutting through her hair made it even better. As I watched through the camera viewfinder, I was surprised at how soon he was at her front hairline. In about fifteen minutes he was holding the last long lock of her hair, which he snipped off with a little flourish.

Jill had gotten over the sobs. I glanced at Sara, who was smiling, so her view was that the haircut didn?t look too bad. Ron snapped a half inch guard on the big clippers and turned them on. The room was filled with the heavy hum of the electric motor. He decided to begin at her neck, so I moved the camera behind her again. He softly placed his left hand on the crown of her shorn head, and pushed gently. She knew what to do, lowering her head so he could start the clippers on the bare skin of her neck. She gave a small start when she felt the guard, but as he moved up her nape, then up the back of her head, stopping at the crown, she was smiling. Small bits of hair fell all over the cape as Ron first did the right side and then finished the left side. I moved the camera to the front, and with her head high, Ron plunged the clippers into the hair at her forehead, cutting her hair down to a perfect half inch length. In five more minutes he had completely clippered her down to a beautiful crew cut. He pulled the guard from the clippers, stepped behind her, pushed her head down again, and began to clipper shave her neck. When he was all done, he turned off the clippers, placed them on the desk, and ran the brush through her hair to get rid of the loose hairs that were left.

?O.K., Jill that?s all I can do right now. See what you think.?

Ron unsnapped the cape and carefully took it off, watching as the small chunks of hair hit the floor. Jill stood up and ran her hands through her hair, then quickly left to look in the mirror of our bathroom. We heard a squeal of delight and also of disbelief.

?I can?t believe I?ve done this, and I can?t believe how good it feels and how good I look.?

Sara was smiling and telling her that she really did look good. We all admired her new look for a couple of minutes to close out Jill?s haircut on the tape. Now, it was my turn with Sara. And I had no idea what I was going to do. I enjoyed seeing the scissors cut off Jill?s long hair. I relished the view of the clippers gliding over her head and the sound they made cutting through her thick hair. Which way to go from here? She has asked for a head shave. That means I can cut off as much as I want to the first time around. There will never be another first time to shave a woman?s head. I had better make this a memorable one.

Ron had cleaned up his area and had vacated the desk, except for leaving Jill?s long hair on the plastic. He moved it over and placed another length of plastic on the desk to receive Sara?s hair.

?Time for me?? Sara asked.

?It?s time,? I said in reply. She got up from her chair and took the ?cutting chair? that had been occupied by Jill for the past 45 minutes. She settled in quietly, ready for what was to come. Her hair was long and loose now, mostly combed through. As I took my place behind her, I gazed down on the crown of her head, noting the way that her hair waved almost immediately from her scalp, continuing in waves down the length of her hair, and ending in either curls or ringlets.

?Sara, do you mind if I play with your hair for a little while??

?I love to have people play with my hair, but just be gentle because I really feel it when my hair is yanked hard.?

I started by just touching gently the top of her head, and letting my fingers slowly fill up with the hair at her scalp. I drew them down gently on either side of her head, and then I lifted up my hands, raising the hair between my fingers, letting me feel all the soft hair I held, and seeing the length of the locks as I lifted them up a foot or so above her head. Glorious hair, just like a silk carpet attached to her head. I released her hair, and dived further into the head full of waves, grabbing more hair this time. From the expression on Jill?s face, who was still running her hands over her crew cut, Sara was enjoying what I was doing.

I released her hair, then I used my hands as rakes to pull as much hair back from her forehead as I could, then I made a ponytail and held it on top of her head with one hand and raked her curls with the other hand. After a few strokes, I would pick up more hair and add it to my hand, then rake again. I did this for about five minutes until I was holding all of her hair in one hand, using the other to rake, slide, and twist her hair as much as I could stand. What great hair she had!

?Sara, are you sure you want to cut off your hair? It is so beautiful and so soft and so much fun to play with.?

?I really don?t have much choice. We?re out of things to hock, and we have to pay this dude off by Monday or we will be in big trouble with him. We?ve seen some of the girls who couldn?t pay him, and he did really bad things to them. I?ll sacrifice my hair to keep him from hurting Jill and me.?

As I released her hair and let it fall behind the chair, I knew that it was time to comb out her lovely tresses and make a decision about how I was going to cut them. I picked up the wide tooth comb, then thought better of it and got a pic. Kneeling down behind her, I grabbed a section of hair on the right side and began to run the pic through the ends.

?Can?t you go to the cops??

?With what? The drugs we bought are gone, there?s no paper trail, and he will just deny that he knows us. He keeps track of his sales in a place the police cannot find. So, he knows what everyone is due him, and he doesn?t stop until it?s all paid.?

?How do you know that he?ll let you off if you pay him all the money??

?We ask for a receipt. It just says, ?Paid In Full? and he signs his name. There is no reference to what we bought, how much, or anything else. We have something we can use to prevent him from asking us for more money. This works for us, because if he was going to try to extort more money from us, others would get the picture real quick and his business would dry up. What?s the old saying, there is some honor among thieves??

As I slowly combed through the center of her hair, I grinned. ?Yeah, we know that saying, don?t we Ron??

Ron was standing behind the camera nodding his head. ?That we do, partner.?

?I just want to be sure that you two are going to be safe and not in this guy?s clutches ever again, since you are making quite a sacrifice.?

?Maybe we could tell him that we got in trouble with a couple of narcs who wanted his name, but we wouldn?t give it to them so they cut off all our hair. That might cause him to keep his distance from us, if he knows narcs have I.D.?d us.?

?Sara, that?s a great idea. I mean, we?re living proof that something happened to us, right? He doesn?t have to ever know that we sold our hair, unless he sees this video.?

?We can just say that the narcs operate a hair cutting place and that?s how they get us to talk. The video doesn?t indicate that we got money for our hair.?

I finished combing through her hair, and in light of the conversation, I decided to use the clippers to cut off her hair. Perhaps I could make it look a little better for them if I took off her hair in pieces, like I was trying to get her to talk but since she remained silent I kept on cutting. There had been little conversation during Jill?s cut. We could bleep out the sound during this part, saying the narcs did not want to be indicted for intimidation. If we make other videos, then we could have the sound. Technical failure on the first one due to our ignorance. I took one last, long and fond look at her beautiful hair, which now hung down with waves and long curls. What a sight for any man to see and to be able to bury his hands in, and I had just done that.

Although we intended to sell both heads of hair, I just had to have a personal remembrance, this first time cutting off a woman?s hair. The video was going to be great, letting me see what I was able to do. But a nice lock of her hair to go along with the video, that would be cool. I picked up a medium elastic band, edged closer to her, and using the little finger on my right hand, inserted my fingertip into her hair at the crown. I did a slow circle, making it a little over in inch in diameter. I lift my finger, and quickly grabbed the hair I had separated with my right hand, and lifted it up higher, using my left to smooth away the hair clinging to this fine trophy lock. I used to think that Indians took off all a victim?s hair, but it was usually just a trophy lock like this. It was the later white soldiers and settlers who corrupted the practice of ?scalping?. When the political leaders offered a bounty for both Indian and settler scalps, in order to incite the brewing conflict, the white raiders would often take multiple scalps from a victim to get more bounty money.

I pulled the now totally separated long, curly tress straight up from her head, and smoothed it through my hands, then I lowered it and quickly placed the elastic on it about an inch away from her scalp. It was a fine piece of hair. Just to make sure that it would always stay in place, I slipped on another elastic.

?Well, Sara, are you ready??

?I?m ready, but if you want to play some more, you can,? she said. I didn?t know if she meant that she liked what I had done with her hair, or that she was anxious to delay the inevitable of losing all her hair. Probably some of both, I decided.

?We don?t want to keep you girls here all night, plus we can?t make the tape too long. The folks who like to watch the tapes really like to get into the haircut pretty quickly, so I?ll move it along for them.?

?That?s fine, just tell me what you want me to do.?

?Ron, can you help me with the cape??

While Ron grabbed the cutting cape, I pulled Sara?s hair back into a ponytail and lifted it up. What a great mass of curly hair! What a shame to cut it all off! But, if it had to be done, I was just thanking the Lord that I was going to do it, and for a pretty good cause, keeping these girls out of trouble, and perhaps giving them something to think about that they would never forget. As I held up her hair, Ron flipped out the cape, then draped it around her, pulling the pieces together at her neck and closing the snap. With that, I let her hair fall back into place. Ron retreated to the camera to make sure that all was ready for the filming of the next cut. I ran the pic through a couple of locks that looked frizzy, and turned to the table to put down the pic and pick up the clippers. I had already oiled them, and there was no guard. I had set the adjustment lever for a close cut but not a total shave.

I turned back to Sara, and stepped over to her right side. I had already given her a side part on the right. Ron had positioned the camera for an initial shot of the front of her face. He could see the curls dangling over her left eyebrow as I used my fingers to make a horizontal separation of her hair just above her ear, moving my fingers toward her face. I ran my fingers into the hair I had separated and lifted it up and away from the section that was left. I whispered to Sara to smile as I turned on the clippers. The room filled with the buzzing sound and Sara gave a small start, but then relaxed. I placed the teeth of the clippers on her skin, a fraction of an inch away from her hair, took a deep breathe to control my nerves, and slowly moved the clippers into her hairline. We could hear her hair being cut by the fast moving blades. As I took the clippers back toward her ear, being careful to keep the teeth against her scalp, nothing seemed to happen. I followed the horizontal part I had made until I reached the hairline at her ear, and then I picked the clippers up. Immediately, a few strands of hair separated and began to slip slowly away from the row I had created, followed by more strands, until it was an avalanche of curly locks, sliding down the cape and coming to rest in her lap. She was prepared for this, having made a little cup with the cape. Her hands grasped the shorn locks and guided them into the ?basin? she had made. I saw a tear escape from the edge of her right eye.

For me, the first pass was exhilarating! What a feeling to be holding a handful of hair that was soon going to join the rest in her lap, and watching the sharp blades of the powerful clippers slicing through her hair like a knife through soft butter. I moved the clippers down and made another row of what would soon be a head of pale scalp covered with a tiny bit of brown hair. The next section of hair fell quickly, and I moved the clippers to a 45 degree angle to take off the hair that remained in front of her ear. I released the section I was holding, and then I used my left index finger to separate a section about two inches back from her hairline, moving downward to the shorn area. I used my hand to separate this section, and then held it straight up, exposing her hairline. I made a fist around the hair with my left hand, and then pulled the hair taut. With the clippers chattering, I placed them against her forehead, and following the line of the part I had made, I pushed them back slowly through the hair I was holding, stopping where the taut hair ended. I made three passes to clip off this thick section, and when it was all in my hand, I lifted it up over her head, letting the camera take in the shorn ends and the entire length that now I allowed to swing forward, almost covering Sara?s face. I let the section fall into her lap, where she began to place the locks side by side for a future ponytail that we would sell.

So this was my plan, to hold up the hair on top while I clippered off the hair around her ears, then the back of her head. After I had the lower part clipped off, then I would clip off sections of the top and crown. When I had worked my way around the long lock on the crown that I had placed elastics on, I turned off the clippers for a quick break. I put them on the table, and picked up a small pair of scissors. Making sure she was in the right position for the video, I picked up the thick lock a few inches above the elastics, and again pulled up, making it tight. Using the tips of the scissors, I slowly began cutting it off, watching as the blades of the shears also sliced through her hair with no difficulty. I was leaving a little more hair at this location, even though I had the scissors flat against her scalp. The sound of the hair being cut by the scissors was so different from that of the clippers, because it was now so quiet. All we could hear was the ?rip, rip, rip, rip,click? as I eased the scissors through that lock. It took a good minute, and I was rewarded with a gorgeous curly tress of hair that I would forever remember and prize. I placed it carefully on the table, put down the scissors, picked up the clippers, and resumed the removal of her hair.

When I had come to the last section, it was a special time for the film. I carefully grasped the thick lock, and positioned it so that it hung over the left side of her face. Instead of picking it up, I placed my left hand on her crown, and gently pushed her head down just a bit. Going from back to front, I moved the clippers through her hair, hoping that the hair would stay together until near the end, and it cooperated nicely. A few strands slid away, but as I made the last pass, going down the center right of her head, the entire lock began to sag and fall toward her lap, until finally the clipper teeth appeared on her forehead and the remaining hair fell, to expose the beautiful face and head of a now clippered young lady. Ron gave me a thumbs up that this last lock falling looked really good in the viewfinder. Sara took the last lock and placed it on top of the pile that lay across her lap. I marveled that I had just cut off all her hair so easily and quickly.

I adjusted the clippers to give the closest cut possible, and began to carefully go over every square inch of her head. I really enjoyed this more than I though I would. It was fun keeping a hand on her head, and she was quite compliment in moving in the direction I wanted her to go. Little bits of hair would occasionally fall from her head, but for the most part, all her hair was gone. Running my hands over her head, it felt as smooth as I could cut it with the clippers. I shut them off, and asked her how she felt.

?My head feels cold. I?m not used to a naked head. I?m going to have to invest in some stocking caps for warmth.?

Jill had watched the entire process and seemed to be a bit dazed. Sara gave her a questioning look, and Jill smiled and nodded that she thought Sara look O.K. with a shaved head. As they chatted for a minute, and Jill got up to run her hands over Sara?s naked pate, I prepared a hot, wet towel and got the razors and shaving cream ready for the final shave.

After a few minutes under the hot towel, I took the towel off and quickly applied the gel shave cream, working it into her scalp. Then, I starting the shaving process, using small, short strokes, starting from the center of her forehead and working my way back. I was constantly checking to make sure that I had every hair removed, and continued to re-apply dabs of gel as needed. After I had shaved about half of her head, I turned it over to Ron, who was very excited to get the chance to finish the shaving. Jill kidded him that he was upset at not getting to shave her.

This whole process about put Sara to sleep. Once her hair was gone, she was pretty relaxed, and the hot towel and the ?massage? she was getting from our hands was about all she could take. Jill kept talking to her.

?Jill, do you want to try shaving Sara?? Ron asked.

Jill looked at Sara, who nodded and said, ?Sure, why not? If I like this look I?m going to need somebody to help me shave the parts I can?t reach.?

Jill moved to Sara?s left side and took up the razor. At first, she was hesitant to really apply a lot of pressure. But with Ron helping, she got into it quickly, and it was Jill who completed the last strokes needed to complete Sara?s shaved head. Another warm, damp towel was used to wipe away the remaining shaving cream. I removed the cape and invited her to head for the bathroom and take at look at the ?new? Sara. As soon as she saw her reflection, she let out a blood curdling scream, but as she ran her hands over her smooth scalp, she quieted down, and after a few minutes returned to the chair.

The girls hammed it up for the camera for a few minutes, and then we shut off the camera. We had them sign a release form for the video, which for this first one offered no percentage back to them, because we had no idea how they would sell, or even if we would make money, although we thought we would. We paid them in cash what we had agreed upon, thanked them over and over again for letting us cut off their hair and do the video, and they in turn thanked us for getting them out of a very serious jam. They left and we went back to finish up. We cleaned up our own equipment and put everything back into the cases. Ron organized Jill?s hair into a nice ponytail and tied the end off with several elastics. I did the same with Sara?s hair, although it took me a little longer because of the volume of her hair. We placed the ponytails, wrapped in plastic, into oversize envelopes and locked them in our storage cabinet, along with our equipment and camera stuff. I put my souvenir lock in a plastic bag, which then went into my briefcase. Ron did the same with his barrette full of hair. The video had been rewound and Ron was taking it home for a first look and critique.

As we walked to the door, we looked at each other.

?Well, what do you think? Could you do this again??

I looked at Ron. ?I don?t think I could ever imagine a better ?hobby? to have at this time in my life. I can?t imagine a better head of hair to cut off than I had tonight. But, I?m willing to do more, regardless of the length or whatever.?

?Hoped you would say that. I?m looking forward to doing what you did tonight, clipping off a head of hair. I want to do some different things for our videos. Some of the ones we have seen are pretty boring. Clippers down the middle, clippers up the sides and back, shave. I really want to think about different ways to cut off a girl?s long hair.?

?I?m with you on that. I?m ready to do a scissor cut now. But, I really enjoyed playing with her hair, too.? ?You know, I did, too. It was, uh, stimulating, in a way that I have never experienced before. It was sort of disappointing to cut off her hair and know that I would never be able to play with again like it was before I cut it off.?

?Well, maybe we can get some girls in here who just want a trim or something, and start doing some hairstyling.?

?Maybe. We?ll just see where it goes.?

As we left the shop and walked to our cars, we were already thinking about how to market our tapes, hair and services. And, we were both going to be on the lookout for future ?customers?. Thanks to the widow of a hair enthusiast, we were now moving forward with the work that he had started.

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