Home » Location » Barbershop » Blond, Black and Pink (Part 17)

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In Part 16 Cindi had gotten her first dramatic makeover, and Michelle was finishing hers when April Douglas, Jill’s Mother arrived to get an extremely close clipper shave of her silvery white hair. She was followed by Audra who had come in for her weekly clipper shave. Elaine and Joe had shown up before April left and was beguiled by both April and Audra. After some discussion she determined to get an identical cut with the enthusiastic support of her husband Joe.

Meanwhile the amigas are meeting at Cindi’s house for the afternoon, and Christine and the swim team members are going to Jessie’s house for homemade pizza.

Brian will pick up Tess and they will have dinner at the deli before taking in a movie.

Week Six

Saturday Afternoon

“I’m ready Kate. I admit I’m a little nervous, but I really liked the way Audra looked, and April was just astounding. I hope I look half as good,” Elaine said.

“Don’t give it another thought. You will look fabulous. Audra’s aunt is totally bald and she is absolutely stunning. You will be too. This white guy you married is going to blow a fuse probably, so try not to get him overloaded,” Kate reassured her.

“Heck, she lit my fuse a long time ago. Smartest thing I ever did was get her to marry me,” Joe laughed.

“What evidence do you have that you deserve her?” Kate joked.

“Elaine, I’m ready to start, but I always give my clients a chance to change their minds before a big change like this,” Kate told her.

“Joe, are you certain that you’re OK with this?” Elaine said obviously looking for reassurance.

“It’s a go as far as I’m concerned. You are a great looking woman. After seeing April and Audra, I’m convinced that you will be fabulous. Of course, you’re already fabulous as far as I’m concerned,” Joe said.

“He’s quite complimentary isn’t he Kate. I suppose I ought to believe him. Might as well get started,” she told Kate.

“You’ve got it,” Kate said as she turned on the big clipper with the number zero head. Elaine wore her dark brown curly hair in a simple short style brushed away from her face. It was probably about two and a half inches long at the longest.

Kate started behind her left ear and ran the clipper up high on her head. The next path was to the right and went up to the crown of her head. Kate continued going around the back of Elaine’s head until she did the right side. The right side yielded to the same treatment as Kate clipped around Elaine’s ear and up high on her head. Kate spun the chair around to the left side and repeated the process.

“It’s getting there Elaine,” Kate said as she rotated the chair so that Elaine faced the mirror. You’ll be able to see most of the rest of the cut,” Kate stood to one side, put the clipper on Elaine’s forehead and ran it back over the crown of her head. She did several more passes before she moved to the other side of the chair. In a few more passes most of Elaine’s hair had been reduced to a shadow measuring only a sixteenth of an inch. When it was done Kate gave Elaine a chance to look at herself.

“There’s a good bit more to be done Elaine, but how’s it looking,” Kate asked.

Elaine stared at the person in the mirror with no expression on her face. Finally she responded. “I think I’m going to like it Kate. Whoever it is over there in the mirror looks pretty good,” she said with a smile.

Kate laughed. “OK, but I going to do some more cutting to make it very uniform all over.”

Kate went over Elaine’s head several times, front to back, left to right and right to left. Looking at it critically she was satisfied with the result so far.

“You need to make a decision Elaine. Audra has a uniform cut with the edges outlined. She had a very defined crescent in the back too. April’s cut was different. The sides and back were half as long as the top, and were faded at the hairline on the sides and back. Which way would you like it?” she asked.

I really liked how April’s looked, but that was on almost white hair. How will that cut look with my color and hair?” Elaine asked.

“I have some pictures that show something close to that on black women. I think you will look quite good with that cut. I’ll get them so you can see. Here they are. This is as close to it as I have on a black woman. Her skin is a little darker than yours, but the cut is pretty close. And here’s Naomi Campbell. She’s gorgeous with her clipper shave. You are too for that matter,” Kate told her.

“Go ahead and do it with the fade Kate. I’m quite ready to go for the whole ball of wax. Maybe I really meant to say bald and waxed,” she said and erupted in a big laugh. “Bad joke wasn’t it, but I couldn’t help myself.”

“Who knows, maybe after a while you may come back for a balding and waxing,” Kate kidded her.

“By the way, Elaine. How are the twins doing? They’re about three months old aren’t they?” Kate inquired.

“That right. They were three months old last week. They’re doing great Kate. They’re just hungry all the time, so it’s hard for Joe and me to get out. They really keep me busy making milk so they can nurse. They told me at the hospital to use a pump and get some bottles filled. That way Joe and I can spend more than a couple of hours away from them,” Elaine explained.

“They’re right. You and Joe should spend some time together,” Kate agreed.

Kate had already retrieved her adjustable clipper and set it to one thirty second of an inch. She proceeded to clipper the side of Elaine’s head exactly as she had done April’s, going up to the curve and producing a nearly invisible tapered transition from side to top. Within a few minutes she had completed the opposite side and was clippering the back to match. A few more passes to correct some defects that only Kate could see and she was ready to finish it with a short fade. She adjusted her clipper to a sixty fourth of an inch and clipped the barely visible right side-burn and produced a taper that terminated about an inch above Elaine’s ear. Folding down her ear, she matched the first pass and proceeded to reproduce it around the back. Continuing her progress she reached the back of the left ear and clipped around it, folding it down in the process. The left side-burn was done, completing the cut. Perfectionist that she was, Kate inspected her work critically and went over it several times before she was satisfied.

“Well, Elaine, it’s done. Here, look at the new streamlined Elaine. You have a really beautifully shaped head. It was time you showed it off,” Kate
told her.

“I like it Kate. It’s terrific. It will take a while to get used to, but I really like the way I look,” Elaine said.


“Joe, you’ve been very quiet. Don’t you have something to say?” Kate asked him.

In response Joe got up walked over to the chair, put his hand on the back of Elaine’s head and kissed her on the top. “How often should she come in to keep it like this?” he asked.

“You really are nuts you know,” Elaine told him, laughing.

“I know. I’m nuts about you. And you really are beautiful. The most beautiful Mother of twins in the world.” he rejoined.

“He asked a good question Kate. How do I keep it looking like this,” she asked.

“Just come in for a $7.50 touchup every week. Joe’s right. You could not find a more flattering cut. It’s perfect for you. In four or five years you might want to let it grow out a tiny bit just for the sake of variety, but otherwise, this is as good as it gets,” Kate told her.

“I think you’re right Kate. I guess we’ll see you next week,” she agreed.

“Joe, are you getting a touchup. I think you came in a couple of weeks ago.”

“That’s right. I got a trim two weeks ago Monday. I’ll come back with Elaine next week,” he replied.

“Sound like
a plan Joe. I guess you need to get back to your job of feeding kids Elaine. And I need to have lunch so I’ll have a little energy for the mob that will show up at one thirty,” Kate told them.

“That’s for sure, Kate. Thanks for a great haircut. Pay the lady Joe, and make sure you give her a good tip.

Joe paid their bill and gave her a generous tip. Kate let them out and watched briefly as they walked toward their car hand in hand. She closed the door and went back to retrieve her lunch from the little fridge and sit down to eat. She couldn’t remember when she had had quite so much fun doing extreme makeovers. ‘Too bad I couldn’t get some pictures’ she thought as she relaxed with her glass of iced tea.
___________________

Cindi and Michelle had entered the back hall from the garage and headed toward the kitchen chatting about what snacks would be available for the amigas when they arrived. It was hot and they would probably be content to sit in the shade of the covered part of the patio and play board games and talk. James, who was in his little basement study, had heard the garage door open and close. When he opened his office door and started across the recreation room to the open stairs leading to the back hall he could hear Michelle and Cindy talking. He walked quietly up the stairs hoping to get a chance to see them before they saw him. He was lucky and their backs were to him. He recognized Cindi easily; although the short pony tail that she now sported was quite different for the one he was used. The voice he heard was certainly Michelle’s but from the back he did not recognize her. The hair that she normally wore loose so that it fell to within six inches of her waist was gone. In its place he saw someone with hair on the back of her head that was short and ended in a defined point. He stepped into the room.

“Hello. Are you the new folks that moved into the neighborhood? I think Michelle and Cindi are still gone on some errands. I don’t know when they’ll be back,” James said to the pair as they turned around to face him.

From the front he was even more surprised at the transformation of Michelle than he had been on seeing the back. Cindi’s new look was not such a radical change but still, something was quite different.

Michelle burst out in a big laugh at James’ statement, recognizing it as an expression of James’ droll humor. “Actually Mr. Michaels, we have arranged to change places with the old Michelle and Cindi. According to our agreement we’re going to be your new wife and daughter for quite a while,” Michelle answered continuing on with the little game.

“Well, well. That’s quite a surprise. I hope that I can adjust to the change, although I must admit to finding it quite intriguing,” James replied.

“My new daughter bears a strong resemblance to Cindi. Would it be appropriate to call you Cindi as well,” James asked. Perhaps you can show me the difference between you and the old Cindi,” James said to Cindi.

“And I’m going to call you Dad, just like the old Cindi. I think you can see some of the differences easily. See, I have these little bangs and she didn’t. Also I part my hair on the right side instead of in the middle, but the most important difference is that I have this neat undercut wedge in back. Of course if I take my hair out of this pony tail you won’t be able to see it. One last thing; it is a lot shorter than the old Cindi’s hair. Mine is just a little bit past shoulder length in front and is shorter in back. You should know that I intend to get a more interesting undercut in about three weeks. It will be shorter then also,” she explained.

“”My goodness new Cindi, I like that a lot. It’s very imaginative. It’s like having two haircuts at the same time. And that wedge, as you call it, feels very nice when I rub it,” James told her. “Perhaps, since I’m acting like your father, I should give you a hug and a kiss.”

Cindi ran to him to be enfolded in her arms. He kissed her cheek. She had experienced this play acting before and knew what to expect. “Thanks Dad,” she said. “It was fun getting it cut although I was a little scared.”

“And the new Michelle certainly has a remarkably different hair style than the original Michelle. I don’t recall ever seeing a style quite like that. Perhaps you can describe it to me,” James queried Michelle with a laugh.

“Indeed I can Mr. Michaels. It is called a geometric cut. It was devised by someone named Sassoon who worked in England back in the sixties. As you can see it has a nicely tapered wedge in back, much like Cindi’s, but the sides are also tapered around the ears. These little kiss curls in front are not quite correct for a strict geometric cut which would have had a simple triangle instead. They do soften the effect a little. You can see that the top comes forward from the crown and ends in wide straight bangs a little above my eyebrows which, by the way, I intend to have restyled in an interesting way not to be revealed today,” Michelle responded. “As your new wife I do hope that you are satisfied with me and approve my rather unusual style.”

“Indeed I do. I seem to detect that you are far more perky than the original. Is it possible that you are somewhat younger than she?” James asked.

“That I cannot say, but I do feel surprisingly energized and optimistic about my new situation.” she answered.

“That is an excellent attitude. I shall provide you with a show of affection that will rival any I gave to the old Michelle,” James said as he put his arms around her and kissed her heartily.

“Enough of this play acting Michelle. It is a wonderful short hairstyle that seems to suit you beautifully. You look ten years younger. I always thought that long hair would make you look younger. I was completely wrong. I don’t want to overdo the superlatives, but it appears that I’m compelled to. Stunning, gorgeous, phenomenal, sensational, and supercalafragilistic come to mind.

Michelle laughed exuberantly. “I like it very much James. I’m so glad you do to.” She put her arms around him and they kissed again.

“I need to help Cindy with a few things James. Her friends are coming over. Maybe we can ‘talk’ some more a little later,” she told him.

“By all means Michelle, we should ‘talk’ some more,” he agreed with a sly grin.

Michelle prepared a guacamole dip for the kids while Cindi made a big pitcher of lemon and limeade. Chips and crackers with some cheddar cheese cubes on tooth picks would satisfy them. There was plenty of fruit – grapes and fresh cherries along with some apricots.

Melissa was waiting down the block for the other three to get there so they could arrive together. She waved to Beth and Penny who were riding from one direct. Audra was coming from the other. They stopped and waited briefly for Audra to join them then set were off for the short ride to Cindi’s house.

Cindi was in the back yard when they rode in and parked their bikes in the area beside the garage.

Audra was the first to see Cindi. “Hi Cindi. Hey, you have bangs. You got your hair cut!” she exclaimed excitedly.

“Let me see Cindi.” Beth shouted as she and the others rushed up.

“It’s a lot shorter isn’t it? Wow, look at how the back is done. That is really cool Cindi!” Penny burst out.

“Yeah, I got it cut this morning. Kate did it. I was going to get the sides undercut too, but I got a little scared when Kate told me how much it should be done. Now I know I’m going to get the sides done in three weeks when I get it cut again,” Cindi told then enthusiastically.

Michelle had stepped out onto the steps leading to the patio where the kids were standing and talking.

“Cindi I have the chips and dip on a tray. Can you and the gang bring out everything?” she asked.

“Come on let’s go guys,” Cindi said and headed toward the kitchen.

As they
all turned they all saw Michelle. Melissa was the first to react.

“Mrs. Michaels, that is a terrific haircut. Did you just get it cut?”

“Thank you Melissa. Yes, Kate did it this morning. It is quite interesting isn’t it. I’ve never had anything quite like it, but I like it,” she said happily.

More compliments followed. Finally the snacks, drinks and board games were arranged and they began their usual banter as they enjoyed an afternoon of fun and food.
_________________

At Jessie’s house Christine had arrived before the others and was helping Jessie chop onions and peppers for the pizzas they were going to prepare. Jessie’s Mom Samantha (Sammie to her friends and family) had stopped in to see if they needed any help.

“Anything I can do to help girls?” she asked. “No thank you Mrs. Haskell. I’ve done it a lot at home. We like to make our own pizza,” Christine answered.

“Christine I heard how well you did at the meet. Jessie tells me that you set quite an example for all the kids on the swim team, even to deciding to get haircuts like yours,” Sammie laughed.

“Well, it’s Tommy who sets the example for all of us. He works harder than anyone. Everyone has improved a lot already and I think we’ll improve even more before the summer is over.” Christine responded.

“I don’t know about Tommy being the one who sets the example. Maybe Tommy is Christine’s inspiration, but she kept pushing all of us and we finally figured out what we needed to do to get better. And we all do like her haircut. It sure does make her swim fast,” Jessie joked.

“I’m sure it does, otherwise how could you and the others have put on such a performance yesterday,” Sammie said in mock seriousness.

“You’re right Mom. When I get mine shaved smooth, I think I’ll be able to give Christine the race of her life,” Jessie said.

“Shaved smooth! You’re not serious are you? It’s practically shaved as it is.” Sammie exclaimed. “Still, I’ve seen Christine so often that it has stopped seeming like something out of Star Trek.”

“I know Mom, but I want to try it. I think Christine and Tess look so good. Maybe you ought to try it too.”

“Get my head shaved!” Sammie was aghast. “I don’t think so.”

“Jessie did you tell her about the Bald Girls Mothers Club meeting a week from tomorrow. Aunt Steffie may be there along with Penny, Beth and Tess’s Moms. Aunt Steffie is bald and the others all have buzz cuts,” Christine explained.

“What in the world is the Bald Girls Mothers Club Christine,” Sammie asked.

Christine began to explain and had gotten as far as saying where and when it met when Janet and Gail arrived. All four of the younger girls were expected as well.

Soon two large pizzas were in the oven and two more were on the counter ready to be baked. It would be an afternoon of fun and food for them.
____________________

Tess was changing earrings when Abby called up the stairs. “Brian’s here Tess.”

“OK. Thanks Mother. I’ll be right down. I have to put in my other earring,” Tess responded. She suddenly felt nervous about going out as a bald girl. There were going to be so many people seeing her.

Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly she walked to the top of the stairs and listened. Her Father was talking with Brian. She walked down the stairs. When she was most of the way down Brian saw her and stood up.

“HI, Brian,” she greeted him a little tentatively.

“Hi, Tess,” he responded with a big smile. “Nice outfit.”

“Thanks. I’m glad you like it,” Tess said, a little of her nervousness beginning to recede.

“I’m glad to have met you Brian,” Dan said. “Enjoy yourselves. Which theater are you going to?” he asked.

“I’m sure we will sir. It’s the big multiplex downtown. They have eight separate movies showing and a couple of them look pretty good.”

“Please drive carefully. Your Mother, Leigh, told me you were a very careful driver, but we Mothers always have to say that I think,” Abby said with a little laugh.

“I will Ma’am. Are you ready Tess?” he asked.

“Yes, I think I am. Bye Mother.” Tess answered.

Five hours later they returned. Brian parked his car in front of the house.

“I liked the movie and I enjoyed going out with you Brian,” Tess told him.

“I liked going out with you too Tess. Would you like to do something next weekend. There is a show coming to the Rialto – a Broadway revival I read somewhere,” Brian told her.

“Yes, I’d like that. Do you know the name of the show,” Tess asked.

It’s called Annie I think. I’ll check and make sure. We would have to get tickets soon. It is supposed to be very popular.

“It sounds like a lot of fun,” Tess said

“I’ll check things out and call you. If we can’t get tickets for Saturday, will Sunday be OK,” Brian asked.

“Sure. I don’t have anything planned for either day. I’d better go in now Brian.” Tess told him.

Brian got out quickly and walked around the car as Tess got out and closed the door. They walked slowly toward the front door hand in hand.

“I’ll try to get the details worked out and call you tomorrow evening. I really liked being with you Tess,” Brian said.

“Me too, I mean being with you,” Tess responded.

They were standing in front of the door. Tess looked up at him expectantly. Brian leaned over to kiss her then stopped.

“Is it all right if I touch your head,” he asked.

Tess nodded. They kissed warmly.

“Thanks for making it a great evening for me Tess.”

“It was great for me too,” Tess answered. “I have to go Brian,”

“OK.”

Tess opened the door. “Bye, Brian.”

“Bye Tess. See you next week. I talk to you tomorrow.”

“OK. I’ll be here.”

Tess closed the door and walked slowly into the family room suffused with a warm glow. Abby, who was sitting watching a TV show, turned at the sound of the front door closing and looked at Tess who was smiling at her. She smiled in return.

Week 7

Sunday – Christine and Tommy

Christine and Melissa had gotten up at their usual time. Melissa had showered and dressed when Christine stepped into her room to talk.

“You’re not shaving today are you?” she asked Melissa.

“No. I’ll shave tomorrow. I can hardly feel anything. You’re going out with Tommy today aren’t you?” Melissa responded.

“We’re going to the Regional Park. None of the movies looked very interesting. They opened a new walking trail and they’re having a flower show too. It’s been a long time since Mom took us there. I always liked the forest trail and those big trees. Anyway, I guess I’ll shave today. I like it perfectly smooth when we go out,” Christine responded.

“We shaved on Friday. If you shave today will you do it again Monday. I like it when we do each other,” Melissa said.

“I guess so. I’m going with Tommy to his Taekwondo class in the afternoon. I’m sure I won’t need to, but I want to get back in sync. I think we may be able to go to twice a week pretty soon,” Christine said.

“I think so too. I’m going down to fix breakfast. I think I’ll make waffles. Mom bought some whole grain pancake mix that I want to try. Do you want some hot chocolate?” Melissa asked.

“I don’t think so. It’s too hot for that. How about some of that apple cider in the fridge,” Christine suggested.

“Good idea. I’ll pour some for us,” Melissa told her as she headed downstairs to the kitchen.

Christine went into the bathroom and got out towels, shaver and shaving gel. With so little growth it would be easy to shave, but a little difficult to be sure that it was perfectly smooth all over. Not that it mattered much she thought as she smoothed the gel on her head. The routine had become rote. She started in the back and ran the shaver up in short strokes with some pressure making sure what she had shaved was absolutely smooth. The right side was next followed by the left side where she had to ch
ange hands. After cleaning the shaver she did the top from front to back. At the crown she shaved it in several directions to get all the different directions that her hair grew at that spot. Exploring her head with her fingers, she searched for any hint of roughness. She went over a few spots again, then dampened a towel and cleaned off the remaining gel. Finished, she cleaned the shaver thoroughly and put it back in its charger stand. The gel went back on shelf in the cabinet at the end of the sink counter. She would put the towels in the basket in the hall closet on her way out.

Christine stepped into the shower and let the warm water flow over her head. It always felt so luxurious after she had shaved. Somehow her scalp was sensitized. Drying herself in front of the mirror, she tensed her abdominal muscles and grinned at seeing that she was beginning to have washboard abs. Her body was sculpted and her muscles showed through the little soft flesh that still covered them. When she flexed her arms her muscles were unmistakable. She knew that her back was even more impressive.

She applied the special moisturizer to her head, smoothing it on until it vanished. The next step was the shiner. She applied a little more than usual, then decided she would make it extra shiny today. When she had finished she observed it with a little grin and though ‘that’s really shiny’. She decided against any eye makeup, but she noted that her brows needed some work. There were numerous hairs beginning to show in the area where they had been removed by Ursula, and when you looked closely you could see how dark they were before they had been lightened. Maybe she should have them redone in about a week she thought.

She got dressed in her hiking shorts and a comfortable top. She had outgrown her hiking shoes, but had a pair of thick soled sneakers that would serve. She went downstairs to have breakfast and putter around until Tommy arrived. They would take the regular bus downtown and then the special bus to the park. It ran a scheduled service on weekends all summer long. She had promised to make a picnic lunch for them that they could carry in their small backpacks. As an afterthought she put a baseball cap in her pack on the chance that they might be in the sun at some point.

Breakfast eaten, the picnic lunch prepared and stowed in her backpack along with two bottles of spring water, she went outside to enjoy the morning. Paula was energetically weeding her flower garden.

“Hi Mom. You’re going to have the most beautiful flowers in the neighborhood.”

“Oh, Christine. I’m having fun with it. You’re all set for your excursion I guess.” Paula said as she looked up. “It looks like you have more shine than usual, or am I just seeing things?”

“I made it extra shiny. It’s not too weird is it?” Christine asked.

“No of course not. For a day like today, you need to stand out,” Paula said

“Just in case we get separated Tommy won’t have any problem finding me,” Christine giggled.

“Now that’s an idea I’ve never considered, but as I said you should stand out,” Paula laughed. “When are you going?”

“He said he would be here about eleven. We want to get there before all the picnic tables are taken, but we can eat on the ground. Tommy said he would bring a blanket to sit on,” Christine told her.

“I should get to the park. It’s been a while since I took the time to enjoy it and a lot of improvements have been made. Well you and Tommy enjoy yourselves,” Paula said.

“We will Mom. We should be back about six or maybe a little later,” Christine said.

“OK, that’s fine,” Paula reassured her.

It was six fifteen when they got off the bus at thirty fifth and Elm. They walked slowly from the bus stop to the path that ran behind the houses.

“That was a lot of fun Christine. I’ve never been to that park before. That was a good idea,” Tommy said.

It was fun. I hadn’t been there for several years, but I remembered enjoying it. The new walking path was really nice. All those animals at the petting zoo were cute too. Do you want to eat here? I’m sure there is something we could fix,” Christine said.

“Sure. I can do that. Maybe I can help,” Tommy volunteered.

An hour later having eaten a meal of leftovers from that night and earlier, they sat in the back porch glider and talked quietly with their lemonades in hand.

“I’d better get going Tommy,” Christine said.

“Me too. I have a few things to take care of at home,” Tommy replied.

They stood up. Tommy cupped her head and they kissed.

Christine smiled at him as they held hands. “See you tomorrow,” she said softly.

Week 7 Monday

“Melissa, I can hardly feel anything on your head and its been three days. I’m sure we can go to twice a week – Sunday and Wednesday maybe,” Christine said.

“It’s OK with me. It feels smooth for almost three days anyway. We can shave on Thursday and next Sunday, then go to Wednesday,” Melissa replied.

“That works just right Melissa. We’ll be going to the Herb Garden then anyway,” Christine agreed.

“how long have we been bald Christine. I can hardly remember having hair. I looked at that album on the coffee table and I didn’t think it looked like me at all,” Melissa said.

“It’s only been a little less than two months, but it does seem like it’s been a long time. I’m so used to it now that I think I would have a hard time going back to having hair. It’s a little strange. It just seems like that’s the way I should be. Is that the way you feel?” Christine asked.

“Yes, it is. I like the way I look and the way it feels. I’m pretty sure I’m going to stay bald like this,” Melissa said.

“Me too. You’re done. You don’t have to do me. I think it will be OK to wait until Wednesday. I’ll just put on moisturizer and the shiner. I wish my hair were light like yours. You don’t have any hint of hair and that makes it look so clean. No matter how well I’m shaved you can still see a little shadow,” Christine complained.

“Maybe if you keep using the moisturizer it will make it not noticeable,” Melissa said.

“Maybe, but I doubt it. I guess I’ll just have to live with it,” Christine acknowledged. “I’m going with Tommy to his Taekwondo class today, right after we have lunch. I’m taking the day off from our free swimming practice. We’ll come back to the rec center, but if we’re not back by four thirty don’t wait for us. OK.”

“OK. Mom knows you’re going,” Melissa asked.

“I told her yesterday. She said it was OK,” Christine answered. “I’m done. It’s my turn to fix breakfast. It’s going to be cold cereal and an orange.”

“I’m fine with that. Go ahead,” Melissa responded.

Christine saw that the newspaper was open on the table. She glanced at it and the headline jumped out at her. “Crown Point teams vanquish Wasena in Summer Sports League”. There was a second heading following the main headline. “Bald girls provide the fireworks for big wins in soccer and swimming. Below there was a story with pictures, one of which was Audra making a kill for the volleyball team, and another of Christine and Tess.

“Melissa, we’re in the newspaper again,” she yelled excitedly.

“I’m coming,” Melissa yelled back.

They read the story together. The reporter had noted that the Wasena volleyball team had won, but the much smaller Crown Point players had given them all they could handle. She then described the decisive victory that the soccer team had achieved and the outstanding play of Beth, Cindi and Melissa. She even described Penny’s steals and Audra’s saves and mentioned that the same group had been important in making the volleyball team nearly the equal of the Wasena team. But most of the article was about the completely unexpected domination of the Crown Point swim team, noting that except for Christine’s initial case of nerves, the Bulldogs probably would have had a sweep of every event.

“That is really awesome Christine, but I wish
she had used the picture of the whole soccer team that she took,” Melissa said.

“Well, they always put in the most dramatic picture and that one of Audra spiking the ball is amazing. She really gets up high doesn’t she?” Christine said.

Finishing breakfast and cleanup they headed for the rec center.

The eight girls talked excitedly about the newspaper story during their workout, much to Tommy’s amusement as he tried to guide the four younger girls through their routines. Somehow they all seemed to manage to complete their routines successfully and remember what they were supposed to do. Two hours later the swim team members had completed their workouts and were sitting around a picnic table having lunch.

“I’m going to Tommy’s gym this afternoon, so I won’t be practicing at the pool,” Melissa announced.

“I’d like to see what it’s like. Will you and some other guys do another demonstration this year, Tommy?” Janet asked.

“I doubt it. We’ll be at Forest High, and they have a lot of other stuff going on,” Tommy answered.

“I’ll want to hear all about it Christine,” Jessie said.

“I’ll tell you about it when we have a chance. We have to go. I’ll see you all tomorrow,” Christine said.

“I guess it’s up to you to practice for the rest of us Janet,” Jessie said.

“Are you and Gail going back to Kate’s?” Janet asked.

“We are. The more I thought about it the more I wanted to do it,” Gail responded.”

“I even remembered to bring my bike,” Jessie laughed.

“Well, I want to work on my turns in the free. I keep losing my rhythm half way through. Christine showed me what she does and I want to be able to do it like that. She gains on me at every turn,” Janet said.

“She does the same thing to me in the backstroke. I don’t know what it is that she does, but she sure gets around and off the wall fast,” Jessie agreed. “I’m going to ask her to show me how she does it. She’s always helping the other kids too.”

“That’s right. I’ve noticed that. She likes to teach I think. Maybe she’ll be a coach some day,” Gail added. “Come on Jessie, Let’s get going.”

“OK. See you guys tomorrow,” Jessie said as she and Gail headed toward the bike rack.

“We should be there just about one I think, Gail,” Jessie said. Maybe we’ll be the first customers and can get back for half of the practice.”

“Could be. I wouldn’t mind half a practice,” Gail said. “After winning the meets with Cloverdale and Wasena, I’m pretty pumped. I think I can do even better. I would like to see how much better I do after I get my head shaved,” she said in mock seriousness.

They peddled briskly the five blocks over to Elm Street where they took the bike lane toward Twenty fifth Street. Fifteen minutes later they had their bikes locked to the street light pole a little way from Kate’s shop on Melrose Street.

“This is going to be fun,” Jessie giggled.

“I know and it gives me goose bumps when I think about it.” Gail said giggling in turn.

“I talked to my Mom and I think she wants to get her hair cut too. She said she would go with me to that club meeting at the Herb Garden on Sunday. Are you going? I think Janet is,” Jessie said as they approached Kate’s shop.

“I don’t know. Mom wasn’t very interested. Look, she’s open,” Gail indicated the little sign hanging inside the door. The bell tingled brightly as they entered and Kate turned to see who had arrived.

“Goodness, you’re back so soon. Let me see. I certainly remember you Gail and this must be Jessie, right?” Kate said.

“Hi Kate. That’s us all right. We liked Janet’s and Christine’s cuts so much we decided we had to follow their example, Jessie said.

“I guess we had better get started then. I have an appointment at two, but I think I can get both of you in before than. If it goes over a little that won’t matter. Who’s first?” Kate said.

“Me. I get jelly legs thinking about it, so I had better sit down soon,” Gail said with a little nervous laugh.

“What do you have in mind Gail. If it’s going to do that to you maybe you shouldn’t do it.” Kate advised seriously.

“Oh no, it’s not that,” Gail said as she stepped into the chair. “It’s just that I always get tingles all over when I’m waiting to do something exciting. I almost passed out when I got my ears pierced the second time. I had wanted to do it for years. When I went in to do it I was so excited they had to wait until I got settled down again. It’s just the excitement and anticipation I guess.” Gail reassured her.

“I think I know what you’re going through. I remember the first time I got my hair cut really short I had a feeling like that. I had wanted a short tousled little boy cut for a long time, but my parents wouldn’t let me get it cut like that. Finally when I was about thirteen they gave in and took me to the barbershop where my friend Daryl got his hair cut. I told the barber to cut it just like Daryl’s. I was so thrilled I had tingles up and down my spine.” Kate related her story as she caped Gail. “Now what is it than I’m going to do?”

“It’s simple. I want everything behind my front fringe shaved smooth, just leave the little bit in front of my ears” Gail told her indicating the wispy fringe along her temple and in front of her ears.

“You want the fringe in the back and around the top of your ears all shaved off leaving just the ear to ear feathers. A feathery frame for you face. Is that right?” Kate asked to verify what Gail had requested.

“That’s it Kate, I think the fringe around my face looks really cute and I like the contrast with the rest shaved smooth like Janet.” Gail confirmed. “And I want to get that shaver too, if I can pay for it over a couple of months.”

“That’s a good choice Gail. It does have a nice look from the front and softens the shaved part. I’ll just clip off the fringe on the back and sides, buzz the rest close, and I’ll be able to give you a smooth shave. No problem with the shaver either,” Kate reassured her.

Kate picked up her favorite clipper, set the blades for as close as possible and proceeded to buzz off the fringe around the back and behind the ears of Gail’s head. When she placed the clippers on Gail’s neck and went up slowly, Gail gave a little shudder.

“That gave me goose bumps Kate. More than the last time,” Gail laughed.

“Your neck and nape are the most sensitive spots Gail,” Kate told her. “Now that’s done and I’ll go over all of it with my edging clipper.”

Kate picked up the small black battery operated clipper and began. She started at the back and ran the clipper slowly up to the crown. A second and third pass followed as Kate reduced the hair on the back of Gail’s head to a bare whisper. More runs followed. Soon the left side was equally bare, followed quickly by the right side. Kate was careful as she did the sides, getting as close as possible to the fringe without touching it. On the top she went from right to left just behind the fringe. That allowed her to start just back of the fringe and clipper the top of Gail’s head to almost bare skin. In a few minutes she was ready to run the little black clipper up against the fringe getting as close as possible.

“There, that part’s done Gail. Are you OK,” Kate asked.

“Oh, I’m fine Kate. I like the feel. It was better than last time,” Gail answered.

“To make it nice and smooth I’m going to give you a special hot lather shave. It’ll be the best shave you’ve ever had. You have had your head shaved before haven’t you?” Kate kidded her.

“Yeah, right,” Gail answered. “Just watch out in case I get light headed.”

“I’ll keep an eye out for you. This should warm you up and keep you from slipping into la la land.” Kate said as she wrapped a hot towel around her head.

Kate sharpened her razor on the strop, and put a dry towel across Gail’s shoulder.

Gail heard the sound of the hot lather dispenser and the hot towel was removed. That was followed immediately by the feel of h
ot lather being applied to her warm scalp.

Kate massaged the lather briefly noting Gail’s obvious pleasure at the feeling.

“One extra smooth head coming right up,” Kate announced as she took the first stroke at the back of Gail’s head.

Gail grinned from ear to ear at the feel of the razor slowly caressing her scalp. She had an almost overpowering urge to reach up and feel it, even though she knew that only a small section had been shaved, so far. She relaxed visibly as Kate continued her progress around her head.

“That feels so good Kate,” Gail said.

Kate had finished the back and sides except for the quarter of an inch back of the fringe which she would do last. Now she began on the top working her way forward. Finishing the top she did the delicate job of shaving right to the back edge of the fringe. She felt the result and was not satisfied.

“Gail, I’m going over it again. That almost always happens for the first shave,” Kate explained.

She dispensed another mound of hot lather and applied it to Gail’s head, massaging it a little more vigorously this time.

She put a clean towel on Gail’s shoulder and began. This time she was a little more methodical, careful to achieve the best possible result. Finally she was finished and satisfied with the result.

“Now it’s done Gail. I’m going to apply the special moisture that all the baldies are using,” Kate told her putting her words into action.

“Now a little bronzer to add a bit of color and you’ll be done. You look terrific Gail.” Kate told her.

“It’s awesome Gail. You look really good with that style,” Jessie agreed.

Kate had rotated the chair so that Gail faced the mirror. She held up a hand mirror so that Gail could view the back. Gail’s smile had hardly diminished throughout the two shaves. Now it was even bigger if that was possible.

“I love it. This is so neat the way you see the front and it looks almost normal, then you see that the rest is shaved smooth. I’ll shock a few people for sure,” Gail laughed.

Like the others before her, Gail was exploring her newly exposed scalp – first with fingertips, then with both hands – savoring the delicious feeling of its satiny smooth texture.

Kate had removed the cape, but Gail was engrossed in the new feeling. Finally she realized that Jessie was waiting to take her turn in the chair.

“Oops. Sorry Jessie. I was off in la la land wasn’t I,” Gail laughed as she relinquished her comfortable seat in the chair.

“You certainly were. I’ll probably visit you there when Kate finishes with me,” Jessie chuckled as she took her seat in the chair.

“What’s it going to be, Jessie? You would look cute in a Buster Brown cut,” Kate teased.

“Never heard of that Kate, what is it?” she asked.

“It’s just a short bob with straight bangs and a tapered back – just a little shorter than a dutch boy bob – like the one you see on that brand of paint,” Kate told her.

“I remember seeing that. Thanks but no thanks Kate. I think you already know what I want, but you may be a little bit wrong. Everybody says that they want it smooth as silk or smooth as satin. What I want is to be as smooth as a baby’s bottom.” Jessie burst into laughter with Gail and Kate joining her.

“One baby’s bottom coming right up,” Kate announced. They all looked at each other trying not to say anything and holding back their laughter.

Finally Kate got control of herself. “That didn’t quite come out the way I expected,” she managed to say before they started laughing again.

Kate got back to the business of shaving Jessie. She had already caped her.

“I’ll just get you buzzed the way I did Gail and then I can give you a good clean shave. I’ll let you figure out if it compares favorably with a baby’s bottom,” she said with a little chuckle.

Kate took her little edger out of its charger cradle and turned it on. Jessie’s hair had grown out almost another eighth of an inch since her first clipper shave, just a week earlier. It was now about three sixteenths of an inch long. That would make little difference to the edger which hummed eagerly as it quickly reduced Jessie’s hair to near invisibility.

Jessie sat relaxed and serene with a little smile as Kate continued over her head. She went over a few spots to be sure it was as close as she could get it. She intended to show it to Jessie before the final smooth shave.

“My, that’s a big improvement Jessie,” Kate said as she turned the chair to face the mirror.

Jessie laughed at seeing herself without the bright red hair being her dominant feature. “I do look good don’t I? You can actually notice my face rather than looking at my red hair.”

“Well shaped head, neat ears, attractive eyes, cute nose and nice lips. What else could you ask for? Oh, right; something to get people to notice you instead of focusing on your hair. I think we’ve about solved that problem don’t you think?” Kate responded.

“Looks like it, especially after you’ve made me clean and smooth and waxed my head to a beautiful glossy shine,” Jessie agreed.

“I don’t know about the wax and shine. Maybe you had better find a good car wax and shine place for that. Of course, Christine and Melissa seem to do a pretty good job,” Kate replied as she applied a hot towel to Jessie’s head.

“I know. Christine told me what they use and I’m going to get some. Some time just for the fun of it I going to see just how shiny I can get it,” Jessie said.

“She didn’t have any on last week did she?” Kate asked.

“I don’t think so. Sometimes she does use it when we finish swimming practice. I think she just didn’t think about it after our workout, because usually we go to swimming practice in the afternoon.” Jessie said.

Kate had sharpened her razor again while they talked. Now she took a handful of hot lather from her dispenser and applied it to Jessie’s head, massaging it in just as she had done with Gail. She cleaned her hand with the still warm damp towel and dried it with the towel that she draped across Jessie’s shoulder.

“That hot shaving foam feels good on my head Kate. I wonder if I can do that at home?” Jessie asked.

“I don’t know Jessie. There used to be a type of self heating shaving foam in a can, but I haven’t seen it in a long time,” Kate said.

Kate set to work shaving Jessie. This time, because there was no fringe to worry about, she started at the front, shaving in short strokes and working her way about half way back. Jessie remained quite still, just slightly worried that Kate might cut her although she knew it was unlikely. She could feel the blade on her head and at one point a tingle traced its way down her spine. Kate had moved to the right side of her head and shaved downward, finally using small delicate strokes to go around her ear. She continued on the right side, shaving behind her ear with the razor reversed. Now the back could be done. Kate continued around Jessie’s head with firm confident strokes of her razor, wiping it on the towel after every two or three strokes, finally reaching the left side where once again she shaved around Jessie’s ear and then in front of it. She returned to the top gently tipping Jessie’s head forward so she could reach the crown area more easily. Finally she completed the top of the back shaving across the crown first right to left and them left to right.

“Well Jessie, as usual I’m going to shave it again to get it completely smooth. So just relax and enjoy it,” Kate told her.

“Oh, I’m enjoying it all right. Like Gail said, it feels wonderful, even though I did feel a little nervous about that razor going over my head. I think I’m getting pretty relaxed about it now,” Jessie said as Kate covered her head with hot lather once again.

Fifteen minutes later it was done. Kate used a soft damp towel to clean off any leftover lather.

“It’s done now. I’ll put on the moisturizer and a little bronzer and you’ll be good to go,” Kate told her.

“That’
s great Kate. It’s not quite two, so maybe we’ll be able to go over to that store on Colfax and still get back for an hour of swimming practice,” Gail interjected.

“There you go Jessie. You look terrific. Have a look. Not a hair out of place,” Kate laughed.

Jessie laughed with her as she stared at the good looking bald girl in the mirror. I look almost as good as Christine she thought.

“Wow, it’s amazing. Best haircut I’ve ever had. We had better hurry Kate. I do want to get back as soon as I can. I guess I’ll have to pay you in installments like Janet did. How much is it for my shave,” Jessie asked.

“It’s on the house for both of you. You wanted to get shaved last week but weren’t quite ready. Just think of it as finishing up that haircut,” Kate told them.

Oh, wow. Thanks Kate. That’s so great,” Jessie said.

“You’re super Kate. Did you know that?” Gail added.

Thanks girls, but it wasn’t much. I didn’t have a customer in sight and I always like to help any girl who is so eager to get a nice clean shave. Just keep in touch and tell a few of your friends where they can get get great short haircuts or have their heads shaved smooth as a baby’s bottom if they want,” Kate told them.

She gave them each their bill for the shaver and supplies of moisturizer and gel along with a signed order form with her customer number on it.

“There you go girls,” Kate said.

“I almost forgot Kate. Janet gave me ten dollars to give to you. And this is twenty from me,” Jessie told her.

“I’ve got twenty too,” Gail said.

Thanks girls. You’ll have it taken care of in a few more weeks. Tell Janet thanks and to come by whenever she needs her bangs redone. You too Gail.

“Thanks, Kate. We need to get going. I’ll tell her,” Jessie said.

The two girls rushed out the door just as Kate’s two O’clock customer arrived. She was just slightly startled at the sight of the two bald girls talking excitedly as they hurried toward their bikes.

“Let’s go Jessie. I’ll race you,” Gail challenged her.

“OK, but not until we get back to twenty fifth. Too many people here,” Jessie said.

“You’re right. Just hurry, will you,” Gail admonished her.

“I’m right behind you,” Jessie answered.

They took off down twenty fifth across Elm, where the light was green for them, and four more blocks to Colfax. The barber and beauty supply store was at the corner of twenty eighth and Colfax. With a last surge, Jessie passed Gail and slammed on her brakes before they got to the intersection. They were laughing uproariously by the time they crossed the intersection, locked their bikes to a nearby light pole and went into the modest store. Several customers turned to look at the two giggling, out of breath, very bald teenagers.

Jessie got her breath back first. “We just came from Kate’s Barbershop to get those battery operated shavers so we can keep our heads shaved,” she told the young woman who offered to help them, handing her the requisition.

“Sure thing. Did you just have Kate shave you? It’s a very cool look. Didn’t you come in with two other bald girls last week?” she asked.

“you saw us? That was Christine and Janet. We wanted to get shaved, but got cold feet. We came back today to get it done. I love the way it looks and feels. No more hair for me. Well, maybe just the fringe at least for a little while. Later I’m going to get it all shaved,” Gail told her.

“We’re in a big hurry to get back to the Crown Point Rec Center to show off our heads and get in a little swimming practice,” Jessie said.

The clerk put their shavers, quart of moisturizer and shaving gel in two separate bags and stapled it closed.

“OK, there you go. Just sign here to indicate that you got everything on the requisition form. We’ve certainly sold a lot of those shavers this summer – at least a dozen, half of them to Kate,” she told them.

“Didn’t I see something in the paper about your swim team,” she asked.

“Yeah, Christine and Tess got their picture in the paper. Janet is shaved except for her bangs. Now we have all four of us shaved. I think it’s very cool,” Gail said laughing.

“You should try it,” you would look very good,” Jessie told the clerk.

“I don’t think so,” she responded.

“Well, go to Kate for a good haircut. She’s the best there is at all kinds of haircuts. She’ll do it however you like,” Gail said. “We have to get going, Jessie.”

“OK, we’re out of here. Thanks for getting our stuff,” Jessie said.

Putting their purchases in Gail’s saddle bag, they continued their pell-mell dash back to the rec center. It was now two twenty and they hoped to get there in less than fifteen minutes. This time they went back to Elm Street and used the bike lane racing at top speed through the intersections. They had to stop at only one light all the way to thirty sixth where they had to wait through a cycle until they could make the left turn. Five minutes later they had their bikes in the rack and locked. Gail took their purchases out of her saddlebag.

“Jessie, I’m going to stash our stuff in my locker. Don’t forget to take it when we leave,” Gail reminded her.

“I’ll remember,” Jessie said.

With fifteen minutes to spare they were at pool side doing some stretching and loosening exercises.

As soon as there was a moment’s break the five other girls stopped and came over to see what they had done. Janet had explained that they were going to get their heads shaved, but was not quite believed.

“Wow Gail, you really did get it shaved. That is so neat. I like the way it looks. It’s a lot like Janet’s except for the part on the sides,” Ellen said with obvious admiration.

“Thanks Ellen. I like it a lot, but I’ll probably get it all shaved if I make the Forest High team,” Gail responded.

“I like the way you look Jessie. Are you going to keep it shaved like that?” Bridget asked.

“I’m sure I will if I make the Forest High team,” Jessie answered

“I’m beginning to think my long braid is slowing me down. I may get it cut off pretty soon. I really want to make the Forest High team next year,” Bridget continued.

“You don’t have to cut it Bridget. Just keep working the way we’ve all been working this summer and you’ll make it. Still, having long hair when you’re a swimmer is sort of a problem. I would never let mine grow very long. It’s just too much hassle,” Gail advised her.

They went back to various tasks, practicing their strokes, turns, breathing and launching. They received instructions and constructive criticism from their assistant coaches, Their coach, who had been a nationally ranked swimmer five years earlier, but now taught biology at the Community College, led their regular sessions. She was a volunteer, but had become devoted to her team as she realized what a dedicated group of swimmers she was working with. Christine had astounded her. And the others were not far behind. She had the feeling she was observing some girls who might easily end up being the best in the country. Her two assistants were college seniors who were on their respective college teams. They were both hoping to become professional coaches in college.

Everyone worked with the concentrated determination characteristic of winners. The assistant coaches were tireless and enthusiastic, knowing what their swimmers had accomplished in just two months.

By four thirty they were all ready to call it a day.

They left the indoor pool, showered and headed in their various directions. Janet, Gail and Jessie were standing near the bike rack talking quietly. Gail was telling them that her boyfriend had liked her previous haircut and was eager to see her with it shaved. Neither Janet nor Jessie had a current boyfriend. During this interlude, Christine and Tommy arrived.

They turned to greet them.

“Hey, Christine, how did it go?” Jessie asked.

“It was fun, Jessie. They did things so fast it was hard to see what a
ctually happened. Wow, you did get your head shaved didn’t you? And you did too Gail. You got the fringe in the back shaved off too. You guys really rock, you know that,” Christine exclaimed.

Five minutes later, Christine glanced at her watch and realized that she should be going. It was five O’clock.

“I have to go guys. I’ll see you tomorrow morning,” she said.

They all retrieved their bikes from the rack and rode off. Tommy and Christine rode slowly to the edge of the park along the bike path. They stopped briefly their bikes close together. Christine put her foot down and leaned toward him. They exchanged a quick kiss.

Christine laughed. “That’s a funny way to kiss Tommy. Thanks for taking me to your gym. I liked seeing what you can do. It’s really amazing,” she told him.

“I think I did a little better than usual with you there to cheer me on,” Tommy told her.

“Well, I certainly do a lot better with you around to cheer me on,” she replied.

“I’ll see you in the morning,” Christine said.

“OK, I’ll be there,” Tommy replied.

They road off in opposite directions. After a short distance they turned back toward each other almost simultaneously and waved.

Christine rode home with a warm glow that seemed be with her whenever she was with Tommy and persisted for long afterwards.

To be continued in part 18.

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