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Ama walked nervously pass the barber shop for three hours. Each time looking the big window.

She was trying hard to get up the nerves to walk into the shop and wait her turn for the lady barber.

Her hair, passed her shoulder blades, was a mess. The ends were badly split and frizzy from the days she spent in the sun this past summer. Not even the hair conditioner she used did any thing.

She had decided it was time to just cut her hair short. But, the question was how short!

The barber shop, crudely named "Ladies last cut", was located in the center of the local shopping center. It faced the food court and three shops that had large front windows. It was owned by Jack Trip, and was occupied by him and a lady barber named Sara Pod.

Jack was in his early sixties, mid-built, with graying black hair, which he had cut in a Regular man’s hair cut almost slicked back off his face.

Sara, nicknamed "CLIPPERS" because she was great when it came to doing clippers cuts for men and woman, was in her early fifties, about five feet six inches in her bare feet, short ear length Wedge Cut, with a shaved upside down "V" in the back, and was one of the better looking women who worked in the shopping center.

The name of the barber shop came from something a former customer, Bill Meyer, of Jack’s, when he opened the shop some thirty years earlier. It seems Jack could not think of a good name and would ask his customers what they thought would be a good name. Of course, he got the usual ones ….. ‘name the shop after you’ ….. ‘name it after the shopping center’ ….. ‘anything will do — just name the shop’.

But, Jack wanted something that was unusual, something that would not only draw customers but have them asking about the name.

Bill got tired of telling his wife he was ‘going to the barber shop in the shopping center’. She would always ask him the name, to which he could not give her. One day when he told her he was going to get his hair cut, she asked him how he was going to get his hair cut, which he changed with the seasons. He told her "Ladies last cut". Meaning it was up to her ….. he came home with a Flat-Top.

When he entered the shop Jack was asking his latest customer if he could come up with a name. But, like all the others he told him the same names. That is when Bill chimed in, "You know Jack, when I left home my wife asked me how I was going to get my hair cut. And, I told her "Ladies last call" ….. meaning she should tell me".

Jack leaned back onto the shelf, behind his big barber chair, as Bill sat in it, "Hmmmmm, ….. odd but catchie".

When he was finished cutting Bill’s Flat-Top, Bill went to pay him.

"NO, this one is on me", Jack told him, "it’s for naming the shop …… Ladies last call".

Jack hired Sara a few years later when he started getting more customers than he could handle, which included a growing number of women and girls. He knew her from another shop, he also knew the type of shop it was, too. Not one where the customers were coming out the wall like his, not located where it was visible like his, and she was ready to move on to a shop where her customers could follow her and she could add to her clientele.

When Jack approached her, all he had to say was, "I need another barber ……".

She gave him a big hug and kissed him on the cheek, and said "she could start the next day ….. if he had a chair for her".

The next day she entered the shop a few minutes after he arrived and opened up. The chair was there, like it always was. A few minutes later customers begin coming in.

Two of them were Jack’s regulars and three new customers. Jack took his time cutting the hair of his two regular’s so the three new customers were all Sara’s.

Ama had heard about Sara but what she was told she only cut men’s hair. But, she was really good doing clipper cuts, which is what she was looking for.

Back in October, before the weather stated turning cold, she had decided she was going to cut her hair really short. Among the cuts she was considering were a Pixie, short Bob, Wedge Cut, Bowl Cut, Brush Cut, anything that was short.

But, four days before Christmas she was walking passed the "Ladies last cut" when she saw a woman, in her fifties, come walking out the shop and she had a Flat-Top.

Ama followed her around, going into each shop she did just to see how she looked with the Flat-Top. A few times she even stood next to the woman looking over the same clothing rack. Then, when they were in "The Limited" Ama got brave …..

"Excuse me", she said to the lady, Mrs. Vera Griffin, "but I have to complement you on how lovely you look with the Flat-Top".

"Thank you", Mrs. Griffin told her. "I have notice you ….. shell we say we ended up in the same shops at the same time. I was wondering how other women would see me with a manly hair cut as this one".

"Well, I must say it fits you very well", Ama told her. "I see you are married ….. Did you tell your husband before hand"?

"Well, to tell you the truth …..", Mrs. Griffin replied, then paused as she took Ama by the hand, "why don’t I treat you to a soft drink".

Off they went chatting about the clothes that were on sale, but not about Mrs. Griffin’s Flat-Top. Not until she had brought them each a soft drink and they had taken a seat at one of the tables, in the open area of the Food Court.

"How where was I", she asked Ama. "Yes, my husband …..

"Well, you see he is ex-military, Navy, for twenty years, and he had a Flat-Top the whole time. Not even when the let the men grow their hair out a little, back in the late sixties and early seventies. I always like how he looked and how it felt, specially after he just got his hair cut.

"I use to brush my finger tips over his head when we ….. well I am sure you know what I mean ….. in bed.

"He was forty-eight when he retired and we moved here. Of course, he found a barber shop, the "Ladies last cut", and Jack. I use to go with him ever so often for his hair cut, quickly brushing my finger tips over his head as he got out the chair. Then, on day he told me, "Vera, if you like my Flat-Top so much why don’t you sit in the chair and let Jack give you one.

"Will, I almost did ….. but we were running late, as it was, for dinner and the theater. But, I told him I would consider it and maybe the next time ….. just do as he said — "sit in the chair and let Jack give me one". But, that time never came until last summer.

"I went with him for the first time in almost two years. When we entered the shop Sara was there, which I quickly told him he never told me of her. He laughed and said, "Jack was his barber, not Sara". He then introduced me to her and we talked a little while Jack begin cutting his Flat-Top.

"Then, out of the ‘blue’ he tells Sara, "You know, Sara, my wife has always loved my Flat-Top and every chance she gets loves to run her finger over it. I told her awhile back she should get one since she like mine.

"To my surprise Sara looked at me and said, "I think she would look great with one".

Then, she looked at me as if she was challenging me as she shook her cape out. It felt strange but I found the challenge more of an adventure ….. So, I put down the magazine I was reading and walked to her chair.

"While I was stepping into the seat I looked at my husband, "Eric ….. you better not give me a hard ….. will you better not say anything bad.

"Just as I sat back in the chair Sara was caping me.

"Then, before I could turn back at my husband she tilted my head downward and was pushing the clippers up the back of my head. All I saw next was sections of foot long hair falling into my lap. And, did it grow, I did not think I had that much hair until she was finished with the first passes of the clippers over my head and it was too late to say "no" ……

"A few minutes later I was stepping out her chair with a Flat-Top. I have not let my hair grow any longer and my husband and I usually go together. But, today he came early and I had something to do".

"Very interesting", Ama commented as she looked Mrs. Griffin’s Flat-Top over. "So, you like it"!

"Yes", Vera replied, "I do not think I would let my hair grow back even an inch longer than it is now. Then, I would be making a quick visit to Sara".

"So, if a woman, who wanted to get her hair cut really short, you would recommend Sara", Ama asked.

"Yes", Vera replied. "I would even go to the shop with her and introduce you ….. her to Sara. Might even tell her what you ….. she was interested in ….. !

"Which I am sure is a Flat-Top"?

Ama smiled as she took a sip of her soft drink. Vera took a sip and leaned by in her chair, "IT would suit you fine".

Ama kind of blushed and looked down in a submissive way.

"Shell we", Vera asked as she stood up and pointing her right hand toward the barber shop. "I am sure Sara is not that busy now".

Ama felt her throat go dry, her body become nervous, but she stook up as Vera begin walking toward the "Ladies last cut" barber shop.

Vera pushed the door open, Sara looked up from her chair.

"Sara, my dear", she commented as Ama walked passed her, "this is Ama …..".

Sara stepped from her chair, took hold of the cape and shook it a few times, as Ama slowly, nervously, stepped into the seat of the barber chair. Sara looked towards the door, as she pulled the cape around Ama’s neck, and smiled to Mrs. Vera Griffin as she slowly moved her right hand over her Flat-Top.

As Mrs. Griffin turned and walked away Sara begin pumping the chair up into position.

"So, you want a Flat-Top", Sara commented as the chair came to a halt. "Do you want a long one or a short one"?

Their eyes met in the large mirrored wall behind the waiting chairs. Ama’s eyes looked with a question mark in them. She did not know there were different kinds of Flat-Top.

Anyway, who said she wanted a Flat-Top ….. Not her. All she wanted was to have her hair cut shorter that it was. But, here Sara asking her about a "Flat-Top".

She watched as Sara placed her left hand on the top her head head and gently push it downward so she was looking at her cape cover lap. She felt her hair part in the back and fall downward passed the sides of her eyes. She felt Sara’s fingers push more of hair to one side or the other.

Then, she hear a loud "CLICKING" sound followed by a steady humming sound. She felt her heart jump to her throat, her body became ridged as her hand grabbed the arms of the barber chair. The humming sound was close and grew louder approached her neck just below her hair line.

She felt the cold metal head touch her skin ….. she took a deep breath as her body rose. Slowly she felt the cold metal move up into her hair ….. the humming sound changed to a chewing sound. Her eyes closed as the clippers moved up a little higher.

She felt hair falling from her neck on the right side as the sound of the clippers changed back to a humming sound. It touch her skin below her hair line again, then slowly climbed up her neck. This time she felt hair fall off her shoulders as her eyes caught site of the bundle of hair, over a foot long, slowly make it’s way into her caped lap.

She felt Sara’s fingers push more of her hair forward, then the clippers slowly moved up sending a bundle into her lap.

Ama sat unable to say a word. Her eyes followed sections after sections of her hair slide and tumble into her lap, on to the floor around the barber chair. Then, she felt Sara guide the singing clippers over more of her head until ……

Sara removed her hand from Ama’s head as it rose to an even level with her face in the large mirror. Her eyes looked down into her lap and saw all the hair that was once on her head. Some of the strans stuck to the cape off her shoulder, some even covered her legs.

She blinked her eyes as Sara dusted across her eyes, dusting strans that had stuck to her eyebrows and eye lips. Her eyes looked to her right and met the smile on Sara’s face.

Her hair had been clipped to a half inch all over her head. Not in steps but one big buzzing of the clippers and all that was left was a half inch. Her hair stuck up as if she had grabbed an uncovered electrical cord still plugged intot he wall socket.

"CLICK", she heard again as Sara was standing behind the chair. Her left hand, with a black comb in it, came over Ama’s left shoulder and rose to the top of her head as she combed back a little. Then, her right hand rose, over Ama’s right shoulder, to the comb and quickly moved over it — right to left.

Sara moved the comb back a little, then moved the clippers over it again.

Again ….. again ….. again ….. Sara did this until she had clipped the hair on top of Ama’s head "flat", from one side to the other side.

Ama looked, stared, at her self in the large mirror. On the top of her head her hair was less than half an inch and was flat, so flat you could put a plate on it. The sides, and the back she assured herself, was sticking out, with no shape at all.

She flet Sara pat her right shoulder and their eyes met in the large mirror, "I took it short because you face would look great with a short Flat-Top".

"FLAT-TOP", Ama thought to her self. "Who said I wanted a FLAT-TOP"?

Her head was tilted to the left, as Sara begin buzzing the right side of her head. The clippers moved up slowly, close at the hair line but just a little longer at the top. Sara continued this all around the sides and back of her head. Then, with her comb and scissors she begin blending the top of the sides and back with the flat top of her head.

Ama watched as the Flat-Top came to life. She noticed her eyes showed bigger ….. she smiled and saw it’s shape. Her ears, triple periced, was not as big as she thought. The large loop ring at the botton showed off her face.

Sara undid the cape, tossed it off each shoulder letting it fall into her lap covering all the hair that was in it.

She spread her hands over Ama’s shoulders. Turning around she reached to the shelf and took a larger white towel, which she tucked into Ama’s neck and spread it over her shoulder.

She stepped back to the shaving dispenser, allowing a small mound of warm white shaving lather to fill her left hand. She turned back to Ama, who’s eyes was watching every movement she made, and begin dabbing, spreading, the warm shaving lather at the edge of her hairline. From the bottom of the hairline of the right ear to the bottom of the hairline of the left ear, Sara spread the lather.

She reached behind the chair and wiped her fingers of the excess, on a towel hanging from the back of the chair. She turned the upper part of her body to the shelf, grabbing one of the three straight razors laying, waiting for her.

As she stepped to the right side of the chair Sara wrist flipped the straight razor open. Her left hand took hold of the leather strap hanging from the right arm of the barber chair, then she begin stropping the open blade over it a few time. Letting the strap go, she brought the open straight razor blade to the hairline in front of her right ear and with a quick movement shaved a thin line that showed whiteness.

Sara quickly begin shaving this thin line along her hairline from the right side to the left side. When she shaved across the bottom of her neck Sara shaved down a few extra inched on unlathered skin.

With the last stroke of the straight razor, she closed it and placed it next to the others. Taking a smaller towel she wet it with warm water and wiped alone Ama’s hairline wiping away the excess lather. She dampened a large hairbrush and begin brushing her hair up and back, until the top was standing straight up and "flat". She put a little cream in her hands and brushed them over her head, the the sides and back.

Finished, Sara removed the towel from her neck and blouse, dusted around her head form one side to the other, with sweet smelling powder.

Her right hand push on the metal pole, on the fight side of the barber chair, lowering it until it stopped with a "bump".

Sara reached over Ama’s lap and grabbed the other side of the cape and pulled it across her, as a few clumps of hair fell on the step of the barber chair.

Ama stepped from the barber chair, standing straight up she looked at herself in the large mirror as she walked to the waiting chair her purse was laying on. When she stood up she looked her hair cut over, turning her head from side to side. Her fingers brushing the sides, then the back. Her open hand moved over the top, the "flat" top, of her head.

She took a deep breath and turned, with a smile. She took a few steps towards Sara and handed her a ten dollar bill. Their eyes met, then she blushed ….. turned and walked out the barber shop.

"See you in two weeks", Sara called to her. Ama turned and looked at her and shook her head "YES".

As the door of the barber shop closed behind her she saw Mrs. Vera Griffin stand up from the table she was sitting at. Their eyes caught each other. Mrs. Griffin gave a "wink" and walked away.

Ama touched the top of her head, the top of her Flat-Top, and smiled. She turned her head around to see Sara smiling at her. Then, she started walking out the shopping center.

"Maybe in a week", Ama said to her self, "Maybe in a week".

The End ….. Copyright (c) All right reserved by author January 2005

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