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Sarah was pretty proud of her hair. She had long, golden blond locks that seemed to almost fluoresce in the bright sunshine. Lots of people liked to comment on her hair. Her mom was so proud of the fine blond mane that Sarah possessed. Most often, she wore it braided it, in twin ponytails on either side of her head. She felt this kept the hair out her eyes and looking too wild.

Once she made it to junior high, she discovered she enjoyed running and tried out for the track and field team. Much to her surprise, she made the cut and was asked by the coach to join the team. Of course, she enthusiastically agreed. She started to practice every day to increase her endurance.

Life on the team was, like most sports in school, a competitive thing and Sarah found that she was coming under the scrutiny of one girl. Sharon had short, brown hair and a definite attitude towards Sarah. Her look always seemed to say `Yeah, you think you’re so good, you made the team but you won’t beat me!’ Sarah never really talked to her and it was basically just the looks that Sharon gave her.

Just before their first meet, Sharon finally came up to her. “Hi Goldilocks,” she sneered. “You thinking you’re going to win because you look like Rapunzel?” Sarah felt herself blush hard. She’d never been so teased about her hair. She felt an acute embarrassment, but then a moment later a surge of rage raised her adrenaline. She looked hard at Sharon.

“My name’s not Goldilocks, or Rapunzel! Why don’t you quit bothering me?”

Some of the other girls, also a year older than Sarah was came over and seemed to side with Sharon. “Don’t talk back to an older girl who’s better at track than you!” one of them said loudly.

“Who’s better than who?” Sarah said, fighting the rush of fear that she might go too far. A girl fight seemed imminent.

Sharon shrugged. “I am better. I am a year older than you, Goldilocks. I don’t got rich parents,” she continued, ignoring good grammar. “You think you’re better than me?”

Sarah shook her head. “No. I don’t want to start anything.”

Sharon grinned, in a maniacal sort of way. “Yeah, right. Whatever you say. Rich bitch says she doesn’t want to start anything. I’m sure we all believe that!” The other girls around Sharon seemed to snigger and nod their agreement. They all seemed to think Sarah was rich and flaunting it! She’d never been teased, hassled or threatened about her hair! Were they mad? One of the other girls grabbed one of her ponytails and pulled, hard. Sarah yelped and a tear came to her eye. What would make them go away?

Sharon waved the girl who had pulled Sarah’s hair away. “No, we don’t want to hurt the princess. Yet. Tell you what,” she looked hard at Sarah. “You want us to stop bothering you?”

Sarah nodded mutely; wiping away the lone tear that formed after her braid was pulled so hard. She wondered what it would take. Sharon rubbed her chin as if she was deep in thought. She sighed as if the idea of coming up with a reason not to bother the younger girl was too hard for her.

“Tell you what,” Sharon finally declared. “If you come in higher this year for overall team standings, I will let you order me around for a month. I will do whatever you ask me. Anything. Do you accept?”

Sarah nodded. “OK. But what if I loose?”

Sharon grinned. “Well. then you lost and you must.” she paused to consider. “You will have to shave your head! Bare and to the scalp!”

The other girls laughed and nodded in agreement as if they thought it was a fair bet. “You won’t be such a princess after the end of the season!” they chorused. Sharon giggled. “How will it feel? You’ll lose those precious braids?”

Sarah wanted to run, but she forced herself to stand tall. “Alright, Sharon! I will take your bet! But you and the others have to promise to leave me alone until the last meet of the season. If I win, I get to boss you around for a whole month. If I lose,” she trailed off, uncertain. “I will shave my head,” she continued, in a low voice.

“What,” Sharon cried. “If you lose, what will happen?”

“I’ll shave my head, OK?” Sarah was getting angry. “But you have to stop bothering me right now or you lose right away!”

Sharon nodded. “I’ll remember this, Goldilocks, come the end of the season. See you in ten weeks!” She grinned slyly and motioned the other girls away. “Come on, she agreed to cut her Goldilocks off, leave her alone.”


They were as good as their word. Of course Sarah redoubled her efforts and every meet, she gave her maximum effort at every meet. Sharon also seemed to redouble her efforts. Every meet, she would wink at Sarah and Sarah remembered the bet. As the season dragged on, the ten weeks seemed to fly by. Perhaps Sarah felt that she wasn’t good enough to beat Sharon. She reassured herself that she could beat Sharon. Some meets Sarah got the better score, but Sharon seemed to have good meets too. She wasn’t a slouch at running and seemed to have some talent for track and field. Sarah began to dream that she was bald and had to get a haircut. Loosing those golden locks made her feel a surge of adrenaline and made her try as hard as she possibly could. Sharon seemed to grin when she saw Sarah practicing on the track after school.

One day, right before the last meet, Sharon approached her as she laced up her sneakers in the locker room. “Hey Sarah,” she said, using her real name to prevent saying she was provoking the younger girl. “Remember that the last meet is coming up!” Sarah nodded.

“I remember,” Sarah said, her tone low and serious. “I thought I asked you to leave me alone?”

Sharon shrugged. “Just reminding you! You did pretty well for a first-year. I wanted to tell you that you were a good sport and gave me a run for my money. You’ll do nice next year. You get to make a bet with a younger girl, and they’ll get to shave their heads! I had to last year, you know.”

Sarah felt like Sharon wasn’t as bad as all that. “You lost a bet? Last year?”

Sharon nodded. “My parents went ballistic, but there was nothing they could do. They wanted me to get a wig, but I wore being bald proudly. Sorry I got you into a mess, but it was the only way I could think to bring you down a notch. You’ll like having a shaved head.”

Sarah grinned. “And I’ll like having a slave for a month. I think I might make you shave yours again!”

Sharon nodded. “Fair’s fair. If you win, you get that right. I’m glad that you haven’t lost any of the fighting spirit! The last meet is in two days. See you then!” And with that, Sharon moved off and Sarah finished lacing up her sneakers and moved out. But she couldn’t put out of her mind that tiny shiver of fear that coursed through her as she thought about what would happen if she lost.

After the last meet, which Sarah narrowly outraced Sharon in the standings, Sarah felt her nervousness mount. She was sure that she won! She saw Sharon and still the shorthaired brunette girl winked. Sarah marveled at how Sharon could feel confident that she hadn’t lost. Sarah knew that if it were she, she’d be feeling a little put down and ashamed. Still, you had to admire the pluckiness of Sharon. Fighting until the end. The coach announced that the final team standings would be posted on her office door in two days. Sharon winked at Sarah again, as if to say `you have two days left to enjoy your braids!’

Sarah felt like being sick the day the scores were posted, but she steeled herself to overcome her fear. She had won, what was she afraid of? She felt tight, tense and wound up. Why did she feel like that? She braided her hair, well aware that she has a possibility of loosing it all by the end of the day. She wondered what it felt like to be bald. She shuddered. Her parents seemed to notice something bothering her, but she said nothing. After all, what was she going to say? `Hey Mom and Dad, I made a bet with another girl at school and I might have to shave my head?’ She grimaced and set out for school like she always did. < /P>

The day seemed to drag and it was dark, overcast and raining. The gloom of the weather seemed to match the gloom of Sarah. Sharon seemed happy still, not doing anything in her last few hours to spoil the end game. Both sides felt like they had won. What would happen when there was a draw? Neither girl thought about the possibility. They just assumed that they would win and to hell with the consequences! The coach left a note on her door at the beginning of the day. `I will post the final results this afternoon. Please stop by after school to see your final season standings.’

The end of the day bell rang and Sarah gulped in fear. The scores would be posted! What would she do? She made up her mind and walked to the gym and went straight to the coach’s office. Since it was a Friday, the office was dark. But taped to the door were the list of the results. Like some sort of computer printed declaration from a modern day Martin Luther, the coach had posted the results and to the dismay of one of these two girls, Sharon and Sarah.

The locker room was quiet and Sarah walked up to the door, seeming to feel her braids get heavy along with her heart. Who had won? She scanned the results slowly. She felt her confidence built as she looked, but a gulp of fear overtook her as she came to Sharon’s name on the overall scores. Sarah’s name was directly beneath! She had lost! Sharon coughed lightly and Sarah spun around, a tear welling in her eye.

“Sorry,” Sharon said. “I sent the others away so it could be just you and I. I wanted to say that you fought hard. You deserved to win! But, a bet is a bet. When will you shave it?”

Sarah gulped. “Where can I go to get it done?”

“Barber’s shop downtown. They shaved me. Cost you five dollars.”

Sarah let her shoulders droop. “I guess I loose. You won, fair and square. Do you think I could go now?”

Sharon nodded. “Yup. They are open Friday’s until 6 PM. I will come with you to make sure you go through with it.”

Sarah nodded, but her heart seemed to weight a thousand pounds as it thumped wildly inside her chest. Her parents were going to kill her! And Sharon wasn’t going to go away. She had won; she was going to make sure the bet was collected. “One more thing,” Sharon said. “You have to wear around like I did. You can’t hide under a wig, or a hat. Outside of school, whatever you do is OK, but in school you have to let your baldness shine!” Sarah nodded mutely, still feeling the stabbing pain of her loss. She left and she and Sharon walked downtown to the barbershop Sharon had indicated.

Sarah walked in, Sharon close behind. “Remember,” whispered the brunette. “Nothing less than a full head shave!” Sarah nodded. She seemed unable to speak. She knew the sooner she got this out of the way, the better off. Sure, everyone would know she lost the bet but it could start growing again right away. In a few months it would be a short pixie cut and it would continue from there. Sarah felt lifted by this.

“Next,” a male barber called. He was a young man, with a short buzzcut, tapering down as it approached the next. Sarah became acutely aware that she was next! She gulped and approached the man. She sat in the chair. She swallowed hard again. He produced a cape and wrapped it around her neck. “Don’t get many girls in here,” he said. “What kind of haircut would you like? I don’t know many girl’s cuts, I’m afraid.”

Sarah smiled at the kind man, her eyes glistening. She swallowed hard once more and said in a small voice, “Please shave my head.”

“Excuse me?” He seemed confused. “It’s hard to hear in here sometimes. What did you ask for? A perm?”

“No,” said Sarah, raising her voice. “I would like you to shave my head, please.”

“Oh, I don’t know about that, miss. I mean, you are a young girl and I can’t afford any trouble with parents. Sorry, you’d better go.” He began to remove the cape. As he started, she pleaded with him. She told him how she lost the bet to Sharon and she needed to make good on her part of the bet. The man hesitated, but he didn’t remove the cape. He seemed like he genuinely wanted to help her, but was afraid. “If it helps,” Sarah offered, “I can say that the girls forced it on me, or something. I won’t tell them that you did it. You should be safe. Please,” she made a final plea. She made puppy dog eyes at him and he grinned.

“OK,” he said. “I guess I get what trouble’s coming to me. What kind of cut did you want again?”

“I want you to shave my head, please, mister.”

“Alright, miss,” he said and pulled out a pair of scissors. He moved to her braids. He looked hard at her reflection in the mirror. “Are you sure, miss? Not too late to back out.” Sarah shook her head, feeling the weight of her braids. “Can I just.” she stammered, “get one of my braids as a keepsake? I’ve had them a while.”

“Sure,” he said and began to crunch the scissors into the braid to the right. He kept at it and crunched through Sarah’s blond tresses, and then the braid came off in his hand. He offered it to her. She sighed and accepted it. “Thanks,” she sighed. She noticed the grin on Sharon’s face in the corner. She was enjoying it! The barber crunched through the left braid like he had the first. Once he had cut the scissors through it, he placed it on the bench in front of the chair. “A keepsake,” he said. “You are the first girl I have ever shaved.” Sarah smiled, looking at the rough ends of her previously long hair. She was conscious also of the fact her hair weighed a lot less. She couldn’t recall her hair ever being this short! More tears formed in her eyes, but a bet is a bet.

Then the man picked up a pair of trimmers, electric and equipped with metal blades that could buzz through hair. She shivered and saw him snap a plastic attachment to the trimmers, making them cut longer than normal. He stepped behind her and prepared to start cutting the hair on top of her head. “I am leaving it a bit longer than normal, in case that girl decides to stop me and let you get away with just a short boys cut,” he murmured. Sarah nodded and gripped the arms of the chair in an iron grip. Though she had never been in the chair like this before, she almost felt like she knew what was coming.

The clippers began to make inroads in the blond hair on top of her head. Suddenly, she noticed the fuzziness on top of her head; she had seen it in many boys, right after school let out. The called it a `crew cut’. Now, she was getting one! Only she was going to have to go `all the way’ and have a shiny, smooth scalp at the end. No boy was brave enough for that!

He finished the top and started on the sides, with a shorter attachment. Sharon continued to watch and smile, she never made a peep to stop the butchering of Sarah’s beautiful hair. Sarah felt like she might want to admit she was a boy after this. What would she do? Only time could heal this wound.

He made progressively shorter and shorter passes over Sarah’s hair. With each pass her hair became less and less visible. Even the air seemed to chill as Sarah felt that Sharon would make her go all the way. Even the man had remarked that Sharon was letting Sarah take the full brunt of the punishment. He had asked what the bet was about and Sarah told him. She fought the tears back and made herself keep her chin up. There was no doubt she would end up with a bald scalp. Sharon was grinning. She was enjoying watching the fulfillment of the bet. The barber continued plowing through her hair, each stroke leaving less than the pass before. She saw her blond hair, what was left on it, standing fully upright. Her scalp showed clearly. She had a shorter crew cut than she’d ever seen on any boy now.

“OK,” the barber said. “Time to trim it really close to the skin.” He glanced at Sharon seated over in the waiting area, but she made no move to stop the head shaving event. “Personally, I think she should let you go now, but the customer is always right.” He took up a pair of smaller trimmers with incredibly short metal blades. He attached nothing to them; h
e simply picked them up and moved around to the back of Sarah’s head. He turned them on, and the familiar buzzing she had grown used to in the last few minutes recommenced, only this time it seemed to have a more sinister overtone. Sarah knew in a couple of minutes her bristly scalp would be almost non-existent.

The man hesitated for a second and then pressed the ultra-short trimmers to Sarah’s neck, pushing her head forward so she had to look at the floor. She saw clumps of blond hair, her hair, on the cape and scattered around the chair on the floor. She swallowed hard once more as she felt the cold metal plate press against her bare neck. She knew she was going to be bald as her uncle when he was done with her. Sharon continued to smirk and was obviously enjoying the show. The man pressed upwards with the clippers at the back of her head and she could hear the small amount of hair she had left getting sheared off. She grimaced, but she fought make a cry and the tears. It will always grow back! She gripped the arms of the chair under the cape and tried to look at the bright side. Was there one? She hoped she would live to see it.

The man finished the back of her head and lifted her head and began to buzz the sides. He seemed relentless, and she saw more and more bare scalp with each pass that he made. She marveled at the coolness that she felt as he made her head more and more bare. He finished her left side and started on the right side. Working back to front more and more hair disappeared. She felt like she was totally naked, left for the world to scrutinize. Sarah tried to be brave, but the tears were streaming now. She could not stop it. She uttered a sob.

“I know it hurts, honey,” the barber said. “If that mean-spirited girl says the word, I will stop.” Sarah muttered and he kept clipping. Now he began at her forehead, slowly pushing the trimmers back. She was bald! With each pass, the blond hair practically vanished and was replaced by just pale, white skin. It seemed almost unreal. Sarah’s eyes were red from crying. She had lost and she was getting her punishment! Sharon continued to look on, though she had stopped grinning. The man finished trimming the hair down to close to Sarah’s scalp. She felt hopeful. “I’ll get lathered up,” the barber said. “I’m almost done now, honey. If it’s an consolation, you look cute without any hair.”

Sarah sobbed a word of thanks. None of the other customers or barbers seemed to notice as the man drew some hot water and rubbed it on Sarah’s head. She seemed to relax a little. It was nearly over. Once he shaved her scalp, it would be over. At least she could look forward to that! He dispensed some white foam, like Sarah had seen her dad use when shaving his face, into his hand. He gave her a smile as he began to rub the cool foam over her head. Very soon her head was covered in the white foam and the man picked up a regular razor to begin shaving. “You’ve been brave throughout. I’ll only charge you half the regular price for a shave.”

Sarah tried to smile. “No,” she managed to stammer. “I’ll pay what all the customers do. You were so very nice. Maybe I’ll visit you again and get it shaved again.” She knew it sounded hollow, but she wanted him to know it wasn’t his fault. Sharon had made her and after all, Sarah lost and was paying the price!

Sharon suddenly loomed over them. “You can stop, mister. She’s short enough.” The barber paused, ready to begin pulling the razor through the foam. “I thought I would stop you when you cut the braids off, but I got to enjoying it. Can I be next to get a shave?”

The man nodded. “I’ll need to rinse off this pretty girl before I do that.” Sarah shook her head. “No, sir. Please finish. I lost and I agreed to have it shaved. Please shave it down to just bare scalp. Please!” Sarah looked at both of them. She was too far now to look back. Just a little more humiliation and she was done with the bet, her loss was tallied. “Just promise me that if you take Sharon into your chair, you will take her as bald as me!”

The man nodded and then gazed at her reflection. “Might as well,” he said. “After all, you are nearly there. Yes miss,” he said to Sharon, whose eyes were widening. “You can be next. Except you will not have a choice. You will also get a shiny, smooth scalp!” Sharon nodded and stood back. The barber ran the razor over Sarah’s head, the blades caressing and stimulating Sarah’s scalp. The metal on her head felt weird, but Sarah felt like in the end, despite that she had lost the bet, she had won a small victory. The barber finished and rubbed her scalp down. “You’ve got nothing left now, miss,” he said. “But you were a good sport.” He rubbed her head with a towel and Sarah saw her bare head glistening in the fluorescent lights. He rubbed some baby oil on her head. “Be careful in the sun, despite that fall is coming, your scalp isn’t used to it. Take care and be sure to rub a little baby oil on your scalp to keep it moisturized.”

Sarah got up and gave him a ten-dollar bill. “Thank you, sir,” she said and stepped back.

“Now you,” said the barber and Sharon sat in the chair. He put the cape around her neck and went, immediately for the really short clippers. He wasted no time in starting to mow through Sharon’s hair. Very soon, she would be as bald as Sarah was!


Sarah got in a lot of trouble, but she discovered that having a shaved head was a delight to have in warm weather. Though Sarah was grounded for a month, Sharon became a loyal friend. She promised to stick up for her when Sarah got to high school. Sarah had lost her hair, but gained a good friend. The other girls leered at Sarah and called her a loser, but then Sharon would arrive and stick up for her. Their equally short hair made them sort of kin, as far as the others were concerned. As her blond hair started to grow out over the next few months, Sarah felt like though she had endured a lot of grief and hardship, even a grounding, but Sharon was a very good friend. Sarah’s dad understood when she told them why she did it, but she confided that she was getting to like it. He nodded and rubbed her bristled scalp. “You look like a boy,” he remarked, “but you are getting to be a grown up. You are become a mature young woman. Do what you want to make yourself happy. That’s all that really matters.”

And Sharon, in her wisdom, agreed with Sarah’s dad. And they decided that come the end of the school and summer had arrived, a cool head shave was in order. They would go down to the barber and ask for a pair of head shaves. Only time could grow it back, but they could shave it any time they wanted.


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