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The bell chimed as it closed behind me, bring attention to everyone in the barber shop that someone was entering.

"Hi, Roger", Mike, my barber, said to me, and returned to cutting the hair of the young boy in his chair. Looking over the people waiting he said to me, "One ahead of you".

"OK", I replied taking a seat.

"Evening Roger", Mary, one of the other barbers and only female barber, "how’s you doing"?

"Fine", I replied as the other barbers, Ron and Ted, waived. I returned their waive with the same.

"Hardly ever see you come in this late ….. specially on a Thursday night", Mike inquired. "Something special going on’?

"Not really", I said looking up from the evening paper I had picked from the seat next to the one I sat in. "But, the wife did mention this morning that we were going out to eat tomorrow night. You never know what to expect when they tell you something like that ….. Right Mary"!

Mary looked up at me and smiled.

Ted’s customer was paying and Ron’s was just finishing his customer, as Mary called out, "Number 30".

A young girl, about eight got up and walked to her hair. "Hi, Cathy", Mary said as she shook her cape.

"Here let me put the booster in first", she told her as the young girl step on the foot brace and waited.

"OK", Mary told her as she patted the back of her barber chair. The young girl climbed up and sat on the booster seat.

"Mom said I could get a short wedge this time ….. for summer", she mentioned as Mary pulled the cape around her neck and pinned it in place.

"She called earlier", Mary replied as she begin combing her hair out from it’s center part.

"Shell we say here", Mary inquired as she held the comb right below her left ear. The young girl smiled and shook her head "yes". Mary patted her on the shoulder and walked to the shelf behind her. She picked up her scissors and opened and closed them a few times.

"Ready", she asked the young girl who again just shook her head "yes".

Mary begin cutting three or four inches of hair in a straight line, working slowly cutting, combing, cutting …. Until she had cut the length the same from the right side to the left side. She combed her hair out back around to the right side checking for uneven lengths, nipping them when they showed up.

The bell rang again telling everyone another customer had entered the barber shop. Those who were waiting, of which I was one, looked up to see who it was. Mike welcomed the lady as she walked in and told her to take a number, which she did.

She was a lovely woman about thirty-five. She stood around five feet six inches, with five inch high heels. Her make-up was well done, as if applied by a professional. She was wearing a lovely dark beige dress which showed off her short dark brown hair, which reached the top of the collar of the dress.

She walked pass me with the style of a model on the runway during a fashion show. And, as she sat, a chair away from me and in front of Mary’s barber chair, she crossed her legs in slow motion.

I felt a lump come to my throat as I looked away from her.

By this time Rod and Ted had finished their customer and had called out the next numbers. Mary was looking over the length she had cut the young girl’s hair too.

"So, how high do you want the back", she asked the young girl. She moved her right hand from under the cape …..

"HERE", she told Mary as their eyes met. Mary looked to where she was pointing.

"Kind of high, don’t you think", she replied as she placed the comb there.

The young girl shook her head, "But, it’s summer and mom said I could".

Mary patted her on the right should as she walked behind the chair. Mary tilted her head down so she was looking at her lap, which was almost filled with hair that had been cut off. Mary made a part that angled upward from behind her right ear, then made another on on the left side. She combed and pinned the hair she combed forward, to keep it out of the way.

"You sure you want it this high", Mary inquired. The young girl shook her head "yes". "OK", Mary replied and begin combing a section then cutting as much as she could. After a few combing and snippings she reached on the shelf and picked up her small edging clippers.

The young boy was paying Mike, as he called out, "NUMBER 31". A man around fifty stood up and walked to his chair, "How’s it going Ken", Mike inquired as the man sat in the chair.

"OK", Mary told the young girl, "don’t move your head. I’ going to clipper this section". The young girl shook her head indicating "OK". "CLICK" the little clippers came to life.

Ted and Ron begin sweeping the hair from around their chairs, neither of them cut women’s hair. And, I was the only other customer, beside the woman, waiting.

I looked up from the newspaper to see Mary carefully clippering the "V" in the back of the young girl’s head. Slowly she edged the clippers from the part until it was clear. Working upward to the highest point, where the young girl had indicated.

I glanced over to the woman who had taken a book out her purse and was reading it, not paying attention, as I was, to what was going on in the barber shop. "CLICK", the clippers were turned off by Mary and she placed it back on the shelf.

She undid the clip on the right side and let the hair it held fall down and she begin combing it. She combed a small section and cut it at the same angle she had clipped the "V". First the right side then the left side. Doing this until she was sure each and every hair was cut to the right angle and length.

I noticed Mike extend the his chair in a prone position, which meant his customer was going to get a shave, too.

Ted and Ron were now sitting in their chair read magazines. It was six PM, another hour and they would closing the shop and going home for the night. At this point Ted and Ron really didn’t want another customer, not even one of their regulars, to come walking in to the barber shop this late.

Mary had undid the cape and let it fall down so it was stretched across the young girl’s lap. She then tucked a small white towel into her collar and the young girl begin shaking her legs up and down a little.

Mary applied some shaving lather in the "V" she had edge out. The little girl tilted her head downward without Mary telling her and bit her lower lip. Mary picked up her straight razor and begin shaving the buzzed hairs from out the "V". This took only a few minutes and she was finished. She shook some powder on her hair duster and dusted across her neck, then around the sides of her head. Stepping to the right side of the chair she dusted across her face as she reached over and pulled the cape away.

She pushed on the handle forward lowering the chair. As the young girl started to slid from the booster seat Mary stopped her. She handed her a large hand mirror, and she held another one behind the young girls head.

"What you wanted", Mary asked as she moved the mirror from side to side, so the young girl could see how her hair had been cut. She moved her left hand behind her head to the "V" and smiled, "I like what you did here".

Mary smiled and took the mirror from her, "So, I take it you like the hair cut"?

The young girl shook her head "yes", then slid out the booster seat then stepped off the foot brace. She walked to where she had seat, picked up her little purse, walked back to Mary, and paid her.

As she walked out Mary told her to have her mother call her. The young girl replied, "OK" and walked out the door and got on her bicycle and rode off.

Mary shook the her cape and called out "Number 32". I looked at the card I had taken, it was Number 32. I held it up ….. but Mary knew I was Mike’s next customer.

She looked at the women seated in front of her chair. "Number 33", she asked.

She looked up, then at the card and held it up for Mary to see. Mary motioned her to her chair. She closed the book she was reading and placed it on the chair she was sitting.

She stepped in the chair and crossed her legs, as Mary tossed the cape across her. Then, she reached over both her shoulders and pulled the cape up, then the left side around the back of her neck and pinned it in place.

"Anything special", Mary inquired as she pumped the chair up a little. When she stopped they looked at each other in the large mirror. The woman smiled and shook her head "NO". Mary reached from her hair brush on the shelf, and begin brushing the woman’s hair back over her head. It reached the top of her collar, but Mary looked like she was trying to stretch it out more.

Mike was finished with his customer, "Be with you in a minute", he told me. "Let me sweep up a little".

I walked over to his chair and sat in it, while he sweep up around it.

I looked in the mirror just in time to see Mary stepping from behind the chair. In her right hand she held her big black clippers, the ones with the really close cutting head, and there was no attachment on it. I knew they cut real close because I had seen her, and the other barbers, use them to give the boys high-n-tights last summer. But, what was she going to do with them now ….. specially with a woman.

I didn’t take long for me to find out, as she raised her hand to the woman’s head and slowly pushed the clippers back over her head sending a growing pile of hair to the floor behind the chair.

Ted and Rod looked up from the magazines they were reading. "Time for us to go Ted", Rod said to him. Rod mumbled something and they got out their chair and said "Good night" to us and left shaking their heads.

By this time Mary had clipped the right side of the woman’s head and was walking around the back of the chair to the left side. When she got there she started clipping away at the woman’s hair sending a pile behind the chair..

Mike had me caped and was cutting my hair using scissors over comb as he usually does. But, because it was summer he knew I always had him cut my hair a little shorter, which he was doing. I could not keep my attention on the conversation he was trying to hold with, so he just stopped talking and I continued watching Mary as she was pushing the big black clippers up the back of the woman’s head.

It took only a few passes to finish buzzing her head so close to her scalp that the woman would have looked bald if her hair was the dark brown.

Mary took her hair duster and begin dusting all over the woman’s head, then she undid the cape pushing it from around her neck letting it slid downward. The woman brought both hand up to her head and brush them back over her head.

It was then I noticed the steam rising from the sink behind Mary’s chair, then my eyes caught her tossing a large white towel into it. She took another towel from the shelf and begin tucking it into the woman’s collar. With this done she turned, picked up the towel in the sink, rung it out, then turned back to the woman and wrapped it around her head.

I found my self taking a deep breath in disbelief as I knew what Mary was going to do. I had seen Ron do the same thing to a teenage boy, of about sixteen a few weeks ago. He shaved his head smooth, but I couldn’t believe Mary was going to shave this lovely woman’s head.

But, that was what she was going to do, as I saw her remove the towel, tossing it under the shelf, then she begin applying the steaming white lather over her head. Slowly she applied a little then working it into the peach fuzz of hair that was left behind by the big black clippers.

Mike was spread lather along my hair line, as Mary stood stropping her straight razor on the leather strap. Mike patted me on the right shoulder, "Be right back". He put his straight razor on the shelf and walked to the back of the shop, to the bathroom.

My attention turned back to Mary and the head shaving she was giving this lovely lady. She had the right side of her head shaved and was standing behind the chair as she shaved down and across the back of her head. I found my eyes searching for her eyes in the mirror, they found hers. She noticed I was staring at her and winked. I feld my self becoming red face and I got warm.

As Mike walked pass me and picked up his straight razor, he continued shaving that little thin line alone my hair ….. Mary was finishing shaving the left side of the woman’s head. With the last stroke taken she closed the blade and place the straight razor on the shelf.

I felt my head being tilted as he begin shaving across the bottom of my neck. I strained my eyes to look in the mirror to see Mary wiping the excess lather from the woman’s head. Then, she dusted the woman’s head with that sweet powder and lowered the chair.

Mike was now wiping the excess lather from around my head, then he lowered the chair. The woman stepped from Mary’s chair and walked to where she had been sitting while waiting her turn. She picked up her purse and book and started walking out the shop. But, she stopped in front of Mike’s chair and I quick became warm and begin to feel that stupid feeling come over me.

Then, just as my throat got that big lump in it, Mike stepped from behind the chair …..

She stood there as Mike walked up to her. To my disbelief she leaned over and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

"Tell mom I’ll pick her up around nine tomorrow morning", she told him and waived to Mary then she walked out the barber shop.

"Never told me why she liked shaves her head every summer", Mike said out loud as he turned and lower his chair.

I was stepping out before it had stopped ….. Why I don’t know.

I looked Mary and she was sweeping all the hair she had buzzed off Mike’s daughter.

I didn’t bother to ask any question and left the barber shop. My wife will never believe me when I tell her about the hair cut I saw Mike’s daughter get by Mary. She might not want to have Mary cut her hair any more.

The end Copyright (c) July 2003 JimB

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