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Doris stood by her haircutting station, patiently sipping a cup of coffee. She checked her schedule absently. Webb, it said, Kati Webb. Ah yes, such a pretty young thing. Kati was a six-year-old child model. Her straight raven hair was well beyond her waist, and she had thick bangs, which Doris took a quarter of an inch off every four weeks, and half an inch off the other hair every third visit. She absently gathered the spray bottle, comb and scissors that would be necessary. Ah yes, Kati and her mother, Ally, were coming in now. Kati’s hair was in two meticulously French-braided pigtails that were tied with a pair of lime-green ribbons that matched the dress she was wearing. Kati was one of Doris’ favorite child customers, she would just sit and obey Doris’ commands. Ally, on the other hand, would yammer on and on about Kati’s career, and how her lovely hair was making it for her. Wordlessly, Kati sat on the booster seat. Ally signaled for Doris to come speak with her.

“Kati has a part in Miss Saigon, she is Tam.”

“Isn’t he a boy?” asked Doris.

“Yes,” responded Ally. “So I want you to cut Kati’s hair short, very short.”

“Does Kati know?” Doris eyed the jovial youngster questioningly.

“No, she might say no,” Ally responded.

Doris heaved a great sigh of regret as she walked over to Kati. She carefully picked up the pigtail that ran down the left side of Kati’s back. Doris opened the scissors and slid them up to Kati’s mid-back. Ally shook her head no and indicated higher. Right below the shoulder blades? No. To the shoulders? No. Holding the scissors at the plait’s base, Doris slowly closed them as she grimaced with each strand splitting. The severed hair was now completely in Doris’ hand, all but a bit as:

“No! No! No! No! Mommy! No!” Kati began to scream. Ally rushed to her side and smacked the sobbing child. “I like my hair. I like it long.”

“Well, I don’t,” Ally responded, “and neither does the director. She was going to let you get away with cutting it in a crop, but now,” – Ally handed Doris the clippers – “buzz it.” Kati’s mouth hung open as Doris, unafraid to rebel, switched them on. The buzz that had always lifted her heart now made it heavy, as she let the clippers glide up Kati’s screaming face, watching the hair form clumps.

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