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“You won’t do it! You haven’t got the nerve to cut it all off; besides your parents will kill you and you’ll lose that great job,” said Donna.

“Just watch me; tomorrow it will be history. I’m eighteen, and an adult, my parents may get mad, but they can’t do anything about it. And for your information, my boss knows what I want to do. He thinks it’s great for charity and will draw attention to the bank,” said Maria. She added, “Mr. Davis is a big supporter of the cancer fund raiser every year. He said that if I do it, I’ll still have my job and I would also get a raise for being so brave.”

Maria had just graduated from high school a few weeks ago and her part-time job at one of the town’s local banks turned into a full-time teller position now that she was eighteen. Mr. Davis was the president of the bank she worked at and through his family’s trust fund a millionaire several times over. Each year he led the community in the towns cancer drive. Besides being committed to the cause, he knew that each year his bank got free advertising from the local media.

Just two days ago, he had spoke with Maria about her idea and gave it a green light. He also had the special contract drawn up between the bank, Maria and the local hospital. Mr. Davis told Maria, “Young lady, this is a huge sacrifice and commitment on your part. I don’t think anything like this has ever happened in this community. Saturday morning you will be the center of attention at the charity drive. Your face will be on TV and I’m willing to bet on the front page of the newspaper.” He made sure to review the contract with Maria so she understood all of the terms and conditions. She was told, “Basically you are willing to have your waist length hair cut off and your head shaved, if the cancer drive reaches ten thousand dollars by 4:00 PM Saturday. By signing this contract you agree to have your head shaved each day for a month. At the end of each month, if the special account we set up has five thousand dollars deposited in it, you will continue shaving your head for the next month. During the time you are obligated to shave your head, you will not be permitted to wear hats, scarfs or wigs of any kind. The exception is you may wear a hat or scarf if there is an inclement weather condition. Once out of the weather you must remove your hat or scarf. If the amount deposited is less than five thousand you can opt out without penalty. If you breach this contract you will be required to pay one years worth of the minimum donation to the hospital, plus five percent of the total received to that point. You would also give up your position at the bank. This contract will not have an expiration date. You are legally committed until the minimum deposit fails to be reached or you opt out and pay the required penalties for breach of contract.”

Maria started to have second thoughts about the contract. “This could last forever or for a very long time until I could opt out and pay the penalties. I’m not sure I can go through with this. If it was for a month or two sure, maybe even a year,” said a trembling Maria.

Davis tried to calm her by saying, “Maria, these things get a lot of attention at first and then soon die down. It will be a big deal for a few months at most, then the deposits will trail off and it will miss the minimum amount. Then you can opt out. In the mean time, you will be helping a lot of people and drawing attention to yourself and your dedication. I bet that you will be the most popular citizen in this town. I doubt I’ll be able to keep you at the bank once the deposits fails to meet the minimum; you’ll have so many job offers coming in. Besides, as long as you do this you have job security. I have agreed to keep you employed at the bank while you go to school in the evenings and work on your degree. How many eighteen year olds can say that they are guaranteed a job while going to college and have long term job security?”

Maria listened to Mr. Davis, and the next day with a shaking hand signed the contract, as did the attorney’s representing the bank and the local hospital. Mr. Davis reminded her that this was Friday morning, and she could still void the contract between now and tomorrow morning. Once the drive started on Saturday morning she was legally committed to the terms and conditions that she had just agreed to.

It was now Friday evening and Maria was determined to go through with the agreement. She told Donna, “It doesn’t matter what my parents think. I’m eighteen and as an adult I can do what ever I want. Besides I haven’t told them about the contract I signed. They think that this is at the most a one-time thing. They also don’t think I have the nerve to get all of my auburn hair cut off and shaved.”

Donna said, “Maria, I don’t think you will do it, I really don’t think you’ll get to the ten thousand mark. Didn’t you tell me last week that the most that has ever been raised in one day is just over five thousand dollars?”

Maria said that was why her boss was willing to go along with this. Even if they don’t reach ten thousand it would draw attention and get publicity for the bank and the charity. Maria had also decided that if she didn’t have to have her auburn locks shaved off, she would get her hair cut to shoulder length and donate the hair to be made into wigs for cancer patients.

9:00 AM Saturday had arrived and Maria told her boss and the charity officials that she would go through with it. Soon, reporters from the local radio and TV stations were interviewing Maria. Some reporters had come from as far away as 500 miles to cover this story. All day people where coming into the bank to see what all of the attention was about. Many decided to make a contribution; but many more did not. They just gathered around to see if this young girl would be shaved bald in a few hours at the barbershop located next door to the bank.

By 3:30 PM, there was a huge crowd gathered in front of the bank and the barbershop. Mr. Davis had one of his tellers total up the amount placed in the charity’s account. To his dismay it had only reached just over seven thousand dollars. The hospital was never the less pleased as this was the most that they had ever collected in a day. It appeared that Maria was going to avoid spending the next several months bald. When she heard the news of the amount deposited, she silently breathed a sigh of relief as she had begun having second thoughts about what she had agreed to. She was looking forward to getting her long hair cut into a much shorter style though.

At 3:50 she had walked next door to the barbershop to have her tresses cut to a shoulder length style. All the while she was talking to the various reporters about how sad it was that the charity drive did not reach the ten thousand dollar amount. Maria knew that she was putting on an act for the public and she knew that her status at the bank would be secure. She really wouldn’t mind not getting the raise she had been promised, but knew that Mr. Davis was likely going to give her a bonus.

When 4:00 PM was showing on the clock at the barbershop, Maria sat down in the big red leather barber chair. Her petite frame almost sank into the chair. “This is so comfortable” she thought as the middle-aged barber wrapped a tissue strip around her neck and then spread a striped cotton cape around her. The barber carefully gathered the massive mane of auburn silk strands and lifted it as he secured tightly the snaps of the cape. He released the mountain of hair so that it slid on top of Maria’s shoulders. She again thought that the barber was certainly heightening the sense of drama to just end up cutting her hair to a shoulder length bob. At that moment, Mr. Davis entered the barbershop as he and the barber made eye contact. The barber watched Davis give a slight nod of his head when their eyes met.

A moment later Mr. Davis smiled and told the assembled reporters and spectators that the total for the days fund raising drive had at the last minute gone over the top and totaled just o
ver ten thousand-five hundred dollars. Before Maria could process what her boss had just said, she heard the loud click and low hum of the barber’s electric clippers. Without ceremony, the barber placed the unguarded clippers on Maria’s forehead and began to plow a path down the middle of her head.

Maria jumped and let out a loud “Oh My God” as a lump leaped to her throat and her blue eyes were blinded with the flash of numerous cameras. Mr. Davis smiled broadly and said to everyone, “We did it Maria! We went over the top with an anonymous contribution of thirty-five hundred dollars at 3:58 PM. One of our tellers opened an envelope to find a cashiers check for that amount to be placed into the fund.”

Maria was speechless as the barber plowed a second path to the left side of her head. Then another and another pass was made, leaving only the merest trace of auburn stubble in the clippers wake. With each pass of the clippers, locks of her now broken crown and glory slid to the cape, down her shoulders and came to rest in her lap. Underneath the cape her hands let go of the barber chair arm rests to move to where her hair was gathering. Maria clutched a lock of long auburn hair with each trembling hand. Bravely, she held back the desire to throw up, and placed a fake smile on her face. “Dear god, please let this be over with,” Maria said to herself. Within five minutes, the last of the massive auburn locks had been severed from Maria’s head to show only a rust colored tint of hair. The barber put the electric clippers to rest with a click as they fell silent after denuding Maria of her now treasured crown of glory.

No sooner had the clippers been silenced than the whirling sound of the lather machine came to life. A few seconds later, Maria felt the warm lather envelope her scalp. Once the barber finished covering her with the warm lather, he produced a Mach 3 razor and inserted a new triple-action blade on it.

Maria wanted to scream and run out of the barbershop, as the reality of having her head shaved was about to begin. She again mustered the inner-strength to maintain her composure as the barber made the first rasping stroke with the razor. One more time she thought to herself, “Please let this be over with,” as there was a blinding flash of lights from the camera’s recording the event. The rasping continued for several more minutes as stroke by stroke removed the auburn stubble to leave only pale white skin. The barber shaved each area of Maria’s head to smooth perfection. After the front top was completed, he moved to each side of her head, around each of her small ears, and then to the back of her head where he began at her long and narrow neck. Through the fear of what was happening, Maria felt a not unpleasant shudder move through her body as the Mach 3 started to shave her neck.

While the barber was finishing the shaving, Mr. Davis said, “Maria you look stunning. You are more beautiful than you were before. You have great features.” All Maria could do was smile at her boss when she wanted to burst out in tears over the loss of her now beloved auburn tresses. After the barber was satisfied that the last remnants of stubble had been removed, he applied a talc to her now bald head and then rubbed an oil into the bare scalp until it shined. Before the barber removed the cape, Mr. Davis gathered the now severed hair into a massive ponytail and told the reporters and spectators, that the ponytail would be put on display in the banks lobby and remain there until the donations failed to reach the minimum amount.

After having the cape removed, Maria stood up on wobbly legs to the applause of all that witnessed her charitable sacrifice. The above the knee white skirt did not hide the fact that her knees and legs were trembling. Mr. Davis held out his hand to help her from the barber chair. Her friend Donna was standing at the chair and told her, “Maria, I never thought you would go through with it. I must say you are still beautiful.” Donna leaned over and gave her best friend a kiss on the cheek. Mr. Davis followed Donna’s example and did the same.

Mr. Davis and Maria left the barbershop and went next door, back to the now closed bank. Davis reassured her that she was stunning, even more so now. He also gave Maria an envelope that contained a check for ten thousand dollars with the instructions that it can only be used to pay school expenses when she starts college in a couple of months. Maria took the envelope and started crying. She told Mr. Davis, that she made a huge mistake and wanted out of the contract. She begged him to let her out of the agreement and offered the expense check back to him and offered to resign from the bank. He gently patted her on the back and said that the contact was binding and that the only way she could get out of the contract was to pay the penalty of sixty thousand dollars for one years worth of donations. Knowing that neither she nor her family could pay that kind of money, Maria resigned herself to her fate. She understood that for at least the next month she would have her head shaved on a daily basis. Then she said, “I’ll be okay. Like you said Mr. Davis, after a month or two, the donations will slow down and then I can grow my hair back. In the mean time I’ve learned a lesson.” As she prepared to walk to her car and go home to her furious parents, Mr. Davis said, “Maria I know this is of little consolation, but since you have to have your head shaved everyday, I have agreed with the barber next door to pay for your daily shaving. I’m sure you will get used to this look very soon.”

Maria thanked Mr. Davis for his offer and she went home with tears streaming from her eyes. As soon as she left his office, Davis picked up the phone and called the attorney managing his share of the family trust fund. To the attorney he said, “Thank you for cutting that check for three thousand five hundred dollars on such short notice this afternoon. It took the drive over the top. What I now need from you is to monitor the account for the charity drive. For each month that appears to fall short of the minimum, I want an anonymous cashier’s check issued to take it over the top and add ten percent. With my millions, we should be able to meet the fund each month from now on, with just a fraction of the interest the trust generates.

Mr. Davis before leaving the bank to go to his mansion took a thick lock of Maria’s auburn hair to keep at home. As he drove home he smiled at the reality that Maria would be forever more shaved bald daily as she worked for him.

Author: Juan Butini Copyright protected c 2005 JDG Enterprise’s Legally Registered r 2005. This story is for personal use only. This story is not to be downloaded or uploaded to any other site without the permission of the author.

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