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Seventeen-year-old Cindi Morgan and her two 14 year old twin sisters Cherri and Holly, were now settled in with their Grandmother for the summer. Their parents had been called to active duty. Both were health care professionals and reserve medical officers. The girls hoped their parents call up wouldn’t last very long. They wanted to stay home near there friends and not in some strange small town half way across the country.

The twins were starting high school next fall and Cindi was almost old enough to be on her own. She was looking forward to her senior year. Last year had been great, varsity cheerleader and home coming queen! Now she he would just have to make the best of it and hope the summer would pass quickly, and that her parents would return so they could all move back home.

Grandmother was very old-fashioned and strict, something completely different than what Cindi and her sisters were used to. Grandmother wanted to control every waking moment of the girls’ time, appearance and behavior. They each had `lessons and chores’ to do before they could “play” in the backyard. They weren’t allowed to even leave the house unless they were freshly bathed, braided and wearing the required dresses and leather shoes. The only dresses they had brought with them were sundresses, which Grandmother disliked but tolerated.

Cindi thought the whole thing was weird. None of them were `children’ and not even her sisters `played’ anymore. They had all spent hours and hours at the mall near their home buying the latest clothes, shoes and CD’s. All three had highlights in their long straight hair and wore their makeup similar to their friends, (lots of eyeliner, mascara and lip gloss). They were interested in boys, the latest fashion trends, music and movies none of which were allowed in Grandmother’s house. This wasn’t how she expected to be treated and told her grandmother exactly that!

Grandmother had just stared a hole through her and shook her head. “Looking the way you do, I hadn’t realized you were so mature. You look like a child so I guess I was thinking of you as one” was her response. “Well then, we need to get rid of all the skimpy clothes and do something with your appearance to match your age. Ponytails, shorts and sandals are fine when you’re a child playing in the yard but not suitable in public at any age especially for a young woman”.

“I had planned a trip to the beauty parlor for you and your sisters today anyway. You were all scheduled for the same `summer special’ but I see now you require something completely different then your sisters”. With that she ordered the girls in the old car, her sisters in the back seat and Cindi up front and off they went. On the way Cindi kept thinking about what her Grandmother had meant about `doing something with her appearance’. Before long they were parked in front of a blue building with a sign overhead, which read `The Pink Pony Beauty Corral.’ Grandmother ushered the girls across the parking lot and through the glass door, Cindi first. The heavy sickening scent of permanents and hair spray hit her as she walked into the stuffy shop and stood at the reception counter.

An older lady with bright red bouffant hair smiled and said “Hi Glenda, these must be your granddaughters from the big city. Are they all excited to get their summer hairdos?” The twins looked at each other without expression, rolled their eyes and turned back to stare at the bubbly receptionist. Cindi was too distracted looking at all the activity going on in the next room. “I didn’t give them much time to think about it. It’s a surprise,” replied Grandmother. Give the Twins the `Children’s Summer Special’. I had wanted all of them to have it but Cindi needs a more mature makeover. Is that possible today?”

Well, hmm let’s see, Cindi was scheduled in with the children’s stylists but I think Doris has a cancellation. She does quite a few of our more mature minded clients. She did my hair this morning and I love it! She applied my new makeup as well what do you think” she asked. Cindi’s Grandmother smiled and said, “Perhaps we can prevail on Doris to give Cindi a few pointers for a new face as well”. “Our `makeover special’ includes makeup. I’ll see if she has time to do one on Cindi.” said the receptionist. She picked up the phone and said: “Hi, can you do a `complete makeover special’ for a `new young lady” Yes? Oh goody. Thanks”. She replaced the phone and smiled at Cindi and her Grandmother, “OK Cindi, you’re `SET’; Doris can work you in between her other clients”.

Cindi barely had time to realize what had been said when the bubbly receptionist ushered them into the next room. It was then that she noticed how painted looking the receptionist’s makeup was. She must be joking thought Cindi. No way someone would wear that much makeup unless they worked in a place like this and even then it’s way overdone and old fashioned. She looked towards the main room to see women and girls getting their hair curled, cut and colored. Some were under giant chrome hair dryers against the wall reading magazines while others were in styling chairs. A woman was sitting nearby with goopy black looking dye on her head reading a book. A portable air-conditioner humming away in the corner only seemed to add more humidity to the large warm room.

Two middle aged operators with short pixie style haircuts under white western hats came over and directed Cindi’s sisters to their chairs and wrapped them with colorful capes imprinted with cowgirls and ponies. Obviously that part of the room was the child’s styling area. How corny thought Cindi as she was directed to the other side of the room were most of the middle aged and older looking ladies were. The receptionist told her to sit on one of the waiting chairs, keep her knees together with her hands folded in her lap and look like a lady while she waited her turn. Cindi thought it was a little strange but did what she was told.

Her sisters had their hair washed and soon were sitting upright with wet heads. They were then pumped up high so their legs dangled out of the bottom of their capes high above the floor making them look like small children.

Cindi watched as the two stylists combed and sectioned off their hair, then forced the girls heads down. Their straight mid-back length tresses were brought down section after section and cut high across the back of their necks; all the long sections of highlighted hair sliding down the back of the chairs to the floor below. Their bangs were then quickly cut an inch above their eyebrows and straight around from ear to ear. Her sister’s started complaining and crying loudly as they stared at each other and themselves in the mirrors in front of them. They were obviously very surprised and upset. Oh my god, how awful thought Cindi. I’m glad I escaped that. No way would I have that done to me.

She would tell this stylist exactly what she wanted. Perhaps a nice soft below the shoulders cut with new highlights. She started daydreaming about the time she and her friends had gone to an upscale trendy salon. They had all gotten blond highlights and trims to their mid-back length hair. How great they felt walking through the mall, looking so nice, with all the guys staring at them. Hopefully she would attract the attention of a few good looking guys in this town if there were any.

She came back to the present when one of her sisters started to yell that she didn’t want her hair curled. There was quite a scene going on now with the stylists and her Grandmother standing over the girls and talking loudly. “You girls are going to sit here and get your hair permed whether you like it or not. I’m so embarrassed by your behavior,” said Grandmother”. Turning to the two stylists she said, “I think your suggestion is a good one. Go ahead and take the girls into the supply room and, as you said, “show them what else brushes are good for”. A couple more stylists stopped what they were doing and came over to help drag the girls into th
e other room. Soon loud swats and cries could be heard throughout the shop. The receptionist shook her head and told her Grandmother it happened once in a while and not to feel bad. The children’s stylists knew exactly how to deal with it.

The paddling and crying went on for some time before it finally became very quite. The door opened and the cowgirl stylists silently marched the now subdued sobbing twins out of the supply room and back to their stations, allowing them to sit their sore bottoms slowly in the styling chairs. They then started to roll up the girls’ light brown chopped hair in gray perm rods with papers. Starting on top of the girls’ heads, they rolled up lines that went from the center where their bangs started, long the top and down the back and sides. Eventually all their hair was rolled up except their straight short bangs. Cotton rolls were wrapped around their ears, neck and foreheads.

Cindi continued to watch, as her sisters’ heads were soaked in perm solution one rod at a time. Finally, the girl’s heads, covered with plastic wrap, were put under those gigantic dryers to `set’ as the stylists described it.’ All this had taken about an hour and a half, but the time had gone too fast for Cindi. She and her sisters had never been spanked. Their rare punishments had always been `time-out’ and `groundings.’ She had an ominous feeling about this place and wanted to get up and leave but was too caught up in her sisters’ dramatic summer transformations. Besides, she reasoned, I’m not going to be treated like a child, that’s why I’m over here.

She hadn’t paid much attention to what was happening on her side of the room until the sound of electric hair clippers caught her attention as an older woman staring at herself in the mirror with a completely blank expression was being buzzed around the ears. Her hair was perfectly curled in rows on top. The sides and back were being tapered quite short. Cindi thought there was something odd about this lady. Her clothes, makeup and hairdo made her look much older but underneath it all there seemed to be a much more youthful face. Strange, maybe it was just an illusion she thought.

The lady’s cape was removed and the large rather stern looking stylist helped her out of the chair. Cindi thought the stylist looked like she a nurse or something. She wore a white uniform with white shoes and her hairstyle was very severe and short. Cindi quickly looked away as the stylist met her gaze as she guided the dazed looking lady by the arm past her to the reception area.

She looked back towards her sisters and saw that they were again seated high in their styling chairs. The rods had been taken out and their hair was now being combed styled and sprayed. In a few more minutes they both had very short, super wavy bobs that only reached the bottom of their ears with wide short straight bangs and bare pale necks. Pink ribbons with bows were tied on top of their heads between bangs and curls completing the childish look. They were not happy, she could tell! Didn’t these people realize her sister’s were in their early teens? Cindi thought they looked like first graders now and felt sorry for them as they were pushed past her into the waiting area holding the suckers given to them by the two stylists. . She caught the heavy scent of salon hairspray and perm solution as they went by.

The stylist in the white uniform taking her wrist surprised her. “This way, you’re next honey.” Oh no, not her, she thought. She tried pulling her hand away but the woman had a strong grip and pushed her towards the chair. “Don’t be shy, come over here and sit down.” Cindi was soon forcefully seated in the pink vinyl and chrome chair. Her neck was quickly wrapped with a tissue and a large thick plastic cape. `SNAP’, SNAP; the cape was fastened around her neck almost choking her.

“Well Cindi, my name is Doris. I hear you want something more grown up than your sisters. I certainly hope you behave better than they did. It would be a shame to move you over to the children’s side. You have to act like a grown-up to sit on this side of the room, you know.

I specialize in a certain look that many of our customers prefer so I know exactly what to do. It’s going to take all afternoon since I have other clients and you will be getting the complete `makeover special’. I’m told your grandmother is taking your sisters shopping for new dresses while you’re here. I will have the receptionist call her when we’re about done. If that collar seems a little tight it’s because we don’t want to get all that loose hair down your back”.

Cindi had no idea what she meant by `loose hair’. Her hair was down to her shoulder blades anyway and it wouldn’t — oh my god! She’s planning on cutting my hair short too! Cindi started to get out of the chair but Doris put both hands on her shoulders and pushed her back down. Sternly she said “Do I need to show you the back side of a brush like your sisters”? Cindi started to feel panicky saying “But I don’t want a complete makeover; just a trim and some hightli—“.

Doris reached around Cindi’s face and covered her mouth with her fingers and said, “What I have in mind for you is much more ladylike and sensible. Your Grandmother scheduled you for the complete ‘makeover special’ and that’s `exactly’ what you’re going to get. Sit up straight like a big girl and be quite” she ordered. Cindi felt indignant and angry that this woman had put her hand over her mouth and was talking to her like she was a child. Her chair being roughly pumped up in the air now, distracted her from responding. She was feeling isolated and trapped high above the floor under the large heavy cape. She felt a chill run up her spine as she watched the reflection in the mirror of Doris picking up a large hairbrush.

Doris took out Cindi’s braid and began to roughly brush her hair back into a very tight ponytail. “Your highlights are growing out too I see. No need to worry about that. We will eliminate that problem in short order. Cindi again tried to assert herself but had to grit her teeth and squeeze her eyes closed because the severe brushing was starting to really hurt. She strained to keep her head from being pulled back too far as Doris roughly pulled and gathered her long hair in one hand behind her head. I’m not a child! Stop TREATI——–AHOWWWUCH; she grimaced. Tears were starting to form in the corners of her eyes.

Just when she thought she couldn’t stand the stinging tightness of her scalp anymore, she felt a slight tugging and her head shot forward. Wisps of hair dropped around her cheeks and partially covered her eyes. She opened her eyes in shock and looked around in time to see Doris throwing her long severed ponytail on the floor. “There, that’s better. Say goodbye to all that childish long hair and those cheap looking blonde streaks” said Doris.

Cindi felt like she was going to get sick to her stomach and faint. She couldn’t make herself believe that all her beautiful hair was now lying on the tile floor below her chair. As she gulped for air and tried to force a scream from her dry throat Doris shoved a cup of warm tea under her nose and said, “here honey, sip this, it will calm you down”. Cindi gulped down the tea coughing and trying to get her voice back. “It’s my own special blend” said Doris with a tight lipped smile. I make it with natural herbs and flowers. You just relax while I mix this dye up and sort out my perm rods.

Cindi started to feel like she was in an unreal dreamy daze. Her energy was suddenly and completely gone either from the shock, the tea or both. She felt like she could only sit and stare straight ahead across the room unable to move or think clearly. Did Doris say something about `dye’ and `rods’? My God, what’s happening? My long hair! Tears started to form in her eyes again.

Soon Doris was behind her saying that she wanted to shape Cindi’s new cut. “Here, want to watch?” she said as she whirled the chair around to face the large mirror. Cindi saw the reflection of a large eye
d pretty girl with smudgy eyes from the tear soaked mascara, and a mop of blond stringy chopped hair all around her face at cheek level. It was even shorter than her sisters’ had been cut! This is a horrible nightmare. I am going to wake up soon in my own bedroom at home she thought to herself.

“Here, let me wipe off your eyes. That eyeliner won’t do for your new look anyway”. With that Doris applied a handful of cold cream to Cindi’s face, smeared it all over and started roughly wiping it off with some tissues. Cindi’s indignant cries were muffled as the cream and tissues were wiped repeatedly across her mouth and face. “There we are, already an improvement!” said Doris.

Cindi now looked like a very small child in a high chair under that huge vinyl cape. Her freckles were more pronounced and her blond eyelashes and brows were hardly noticeable anymore. “Let’s take out those hoops too”. With that Doris took out Cindi’s hoop earrings and studs. Her double pierced ears were now bare like her face.” There, now we can get down to business,” said Doris as she reached again for the large pair of shears. Cindi wanted to scream and put her hands over her head to save what hair she had left but she couldn’t find the strength or the will to do either. My god, I can’t believe this is really happening she thought. She could only sit mesmerized and watch as Doris sprayed her head with water and then started the process of comb, hold out the section with two fingers and cut. Comb, hold out, and cut, comb, hold out, and cut. Over and over again beginning at her nape, faster and faster towards her forehead. The chunks of wet hair dropping with a `plop’ on the cape and slipping off to the floor over and over. The top was quickly reduced to less than three inches and sticking up all over her head. Doris then cut the right side, the back and finally the other side reducing them to barely a an inch long making her look like a wild creature of some kind. Tears were rolling down her cheeks as she sobbed quietly. She managed to say in a choked voice. “Stop! please stop!”

Doris only smiled and winked at the stylist next to her who nodded and smiled back. “They always get a little panicky when we move them over to the adult side and make them look like proper young ladies.” said Doris. She placed her shears back on the counter and picked up two white towels. She tucked them around Cindi’s already tightly encased neck making it impossible for Cindi to bend, turn or even wiggle her head.

“I see you’ve spent too much time out in the sun this summer already. Your hair is too light and the freckles under your eyes are not attractive for a young woman. We will have to color your hair with a permanent dark brown to cover over what’s left of these highlights. It will be a nice contrast to the light beige tone I have planned for your makeup foundation color.” said Doris as she combed a sticky paste that smelled like ammonia through the remaining hair on Cindi’s head

After applying and combing the strong smelling paste through Cindi’s cropped hair, Doris applied more to her brows. Then she stretched a clear plastic bag over Cindi’s head. “You’re on your way to a whole new look. I will roll over the portable dryer and get it set up here”. Did she say brown hair? Light beige makeup? I have to get down out of this chair and run out the front door cape, plastic bag and all before they can stop me! As she started to push herself up out of the chair Doris returned with a big three-wheeled chrome dryer and pressed Cindi back down in the chair. “Now sit back. Most of the time I let the color soak while you sit in the chair, but since I have other clients I will use the dryer to speed things along. I like to bake in the color sometimes anyway, even though it makes the hair dryer than usual.” She continued to push down on Cindi’s shoulder as she adjusted the height of the large hood so her eyes just peaked out below the plastic visor and turned it on.

Immediately Cindi heard the load roar of hot hair descending around her now very exposed ears. Doris said something else but Cindi couldn’t hear anything but the roar. Doris walked away leaving her all alone and pinned under this totally alien machine with hot air blowing around her ears, unable to even move her head much less stand up. Minutes went by and she started to feel drowsy and her eyes slowly closed. She dreamed she was in a desert. The hot sun was beating down on her head. No water, hot and tired with sweat running down her cheeks. She was staring at the bare horizon and calling for help. She awoke suddenly. It took her a few seconds to realize were she was. Her head felt like it was on fire; sweat was running down her face onto the towels around her neck. How long had she been under here? She felt like she was dying! “Help” she whispered, then louder “oh my god, HELP!” Doris was back, turning off the dryer and lifting it away. Chuckling, Doris said, “Never been under a salon dryer before? You’ll get used to it. In fact, you’ll be spending a lot more time under these things now that you are going to be one of my `regular standing appointments.’

She rolled it out of the way and turned the chair around tilting it back so Cindi’s head was in the wash sink under the counter. “See, everything we need is right here. Makes it nice and convenient. My ladies appreciate not having to get up and walk to the wash sinks and dryers. “Let’s cool this down and rinse out the dye”. The cool water running over Cindi’s head felt so good! It was soothing to her burnt scalp. Cindi was just starting to relax when Doris applied shampoo and started roughly rubbing her head over and over. Cindi’s scalp was hurting again with the rough scrubbing. “We have to get the all the dye off of your scalp. Put your arms down and stop wiggling. You must be a tender head. I’m almost through” Doris said with a slightly disgusted tone. After the final rinsing Doris ratcheted up the styling chair and turned it again to face the mirror. “Nice color don’t you think”?

Cindi uttered a small guttural sound unable to speak from the shock of what she saw staring back at her in the mirror. Her long flowing blond highlighted hair had been replaced with ugly dry, dark brown bristles. No eyelashes could be seen in contrast with the darker hair and dyed eyebrows. “Don’t worry honey, we aren’t even halfway finished yet” said Doris as she again pumped Cindi high up in the air. Let’s roll you up.” Doris took off the two towels and replaced them with fresh dry ones. She reached for a nearby trolley and pulled it near Cindi’s chair. On the trolley were various sized plastic rods and rollers, all with different colors. Doris picked up a black rattail comb and sectioned Cindi’s hair off into lines the width of the rollers right down the middle of her head from front to back. Then she made half-inch sections between the partings and deftly began rolling up each section of hair with a small perm rod and a paper strip. Cindi felt the pull at her scalp as each rod was rolled up and tightly pinned down.

Very quickly Cindi had a row of interlocking thin perm rods running over the top of her head . Doris finished a new line of rods and then another until Cindi’s entire head, down to about an inch and a half above her ears was very tightly encased in perm rods. Cindi’s scalp felt like all her hair was being pulled out at once. “I need to get some curl in your hair so the style will hold between your bi-weekly salon visits”, said Doris.

Cindi tried to reason out what Doris was saying. My god, she expects me to come back here twice a week? What is she doing to me? I want to go home. I have to think, I have to get up and leave. I have to—. “I see you’re getting nervous again”, Said Doris. “Here’s some more tea. There, there, I know the towels make it difficult to swallow so I will help you”. Doris loosened the towels, pulled back on Cindi’s forehead and forced her to swallow down the tea. Cindi was in shock, her scalp was hurting and she was absolutely totally helpless. She felt
like she had no strength or will power again. Doris was completely dominating her. She could only stare at the unreal image in the mirror in front of her. `It’ looked like a manikin head with a very small tight fitting helmet of rollers sitting on towels. Ridiculous! Stupid! Certainly not a real person let alone her!

While Cindi tried to concentrate and focus her thoughts, Doris retightened the towels, and then wrapped rolled cotton completely around her hairline, over her ears and forehead. Then she began squeezing on perm solution one rod at a time. Moving a finger to the next rod each time to keep tract of where she was so as not to skip any, she soon had Cindi’s head saturated with the stuff. Cindi could smell it now. It smelled like burning hair, strong enough to make her eyes water. Her scalp, already raw, started to burn even more from the harsh chemical solution. Cindi’s emotions boiled over. She overcame the shock, the tea and Doris’ domination to scream out “Stop! I don’t want a permanent!” Other ladies and stylists turned to stare at Cindi. Doris smiled and waved her hand. She’s nervous about her new makeover! The others smiled and nodded knowingly then turned back to what they were doing. Doris leaned down and put her head next to Cindi’s. “Too late my dear. You already have one!” she hissed in Cindi’s ear as she put another towel around her mouth and then tightened it. “Under the dryer you go”.

Before Cindi could react the chrome beast was again encircling her head and breathing down hot blasts of air. The sickening smell of burning hair, the shock and the hot air were too much for Cindi to bear. She passed out. She didn’t know how long but when she opened her eyes, her forehead, face and neck were dripping. The sweat was soaked up along with the solution in the cotton roll around her head. On and on the torture device whirred until finally it was turned off and the hood lifted. “Let’s check those curls”, said Doris. Hmmm, not yet, a few more minutes”. “Please, no more, stop!” Cindi tried to scream, but the muffled cries came out something like “meeesh-nn-mmuu-oopp”. The towels were too tight across her mouth and neck! Down the hood came with more noise and hot air. More sweat. Her head was on fire again. She was gasping for air now, tears rolling down from her eyes.

Finally the hood was lifted and Doris pulled out a rod, watched the brittle dark hair snap
back against Cindi’s scalp and pronounced her done. Her head was again in the sink with cool water putting out the fire on her head. Doris removed the rods and rubbed another substance in her over processed hair. “Here we go”, said Doris as the chair was set upright and turned to face the mirror. Cindi’s head was covered with a large wrapped towel. “We have time to start your makeup while the conditioner is working” said Doris. Cindi could only see her large round eyes and dark brows. Everything above her brows and below her nose was wrapped in towels.

“First thing we need to do is thin down and arch those brows. The dark hair color makes them look too thick”. Cindi tried to pull her head back away from the tweezers but the towels around her neck prevented any movement. Doris started plucking Cindi’s brows, removing the hair on top of her brows at both ends, then the bottom side at the middle. Soon her youthful full feminine brows were reshaped to high thin perfect arches changing her expression to one of permanent conceit or surprise. Finely the pinching and pulling stopped. “I think we can rinse out the conditioner now said Doris”. Cindi again had her head in the sink staring at the white ceiling and Doris’ underarms. Her eyebrows were still stinging from the relentless tweezing. Then Bang, whirl; back upright in the chair facing the mirror!

Oh my god! , Oh my god! Cindi screamed in her mind. In the mirror her reflection showed an extremely short cap of mousy brown curls over eyebrows that were dark, pencil line thin and highly arched. The short flat sides made her ears appear to stick straight out. This image looked nothing like the youthful blond longhaired Cindi who had been forced to sit in this chair a couple of hours ago. Ooh phh maah g— was all she could manage to scream under the towel between sobs.

“Relax, we’re not done yet. I will roll you up to get some nice high curls on your head. It will make you look very attractive and mature, you’ll see.” With that Doris pulled the towels back down around Cindi’s neck to uncover her mouth saying, “now act your age and be quite or the towel gets pulled back up and you’ll be on your way to the supply room We don’t want that now do we” said Doris sweetly. She then scooped out a palm full of green goop from a large jar labeled `setting gel’ and smeared it into Cindi’s wet super curly hair and started wrapping it in Velcro rollers. Like the perm rods, the rollers were wound in all around the top of Cindi’s head leaving only the straight unpermed hair above her ears and around the back of her head. When Doris finished she gripped Cindi’s wrist and said, “come with me, I will put you under the regular dryers across the room. I have to get a wash and set going on another lady while you dry.

Cindi tried to look down at the floor as the chair was lowered but once again, the towels around her neck prevented her from looking anywhere but straight ahead. “Watch your step dear, Said Doris. Cindi felt totally helpless. She realized that she couldn’t run out of here even if she tried. She’d trip over something and break her neck. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. A very small head with a cap of curlers on top of a large cone gliding across the room! She looked like something in a science fiction movie. She felt so humiliated and defeated. What could she do now? It was too late. She was being transformed into a freak!

After another horrible stint under a dryer a weak and faint Cindi was led for the final time to the chair. Doris was pumping it up in the air again. “That perm will hold the style for almost a week if you take care of it”. With that she started removing the rollers causing Cindi’s dry brittle brown hair to bounce back into larger curls resembling the rollers just removed. Pieces of damaged broken hair then began to rain all over the cape from Cindi’s head as Doris brushed her hair out and teased it up over and over.

With an expert hand, and a rat tail comb Doris styled Cindi’s tangled teased hair into absolutely perfect lines of curls on top of her head.” I’ll cover your eyes while I spray those curls in place” said Doris grabbing a plastic shield designed for that purpose and a large can of hair spray. Cindi was instantly enveloped in a choking cloud of sickening sweet smelling hair spray. Doris sprayed Cindi’s hair from every angle. Finally waving her arms to clear the air around Cindi’s head Doris stopped and patted the curls with her hands. “There we are. Now we’ll clean up the rest to finish the style.”

As Cindi was coughing and gagging from the hair spray, Doris removed the towels around her neck and put a fresh single one under her collar before snapping it tightly back in place. She then picked her large Oster clippers and attached a thin metal guard over the teeth. Switching them on, she brought the powerful whirring clippers up behind Cindi’s head, pressed them against her neck and ran them quickly upward carving a 2-inch wide path of stubble. The vibrating blades went up and up before a quick flick of Doris’s wrist sent large chunks of hair falling all over the cape.

Again and again Doris drove the clippers up and out on the back and sides. Cindi’s mouth fell wide open as she watched the clippers remove her sideburns and take her hair down to almost the skin around her ears. Doris picked up a large black comb and ran the clippers over it again and again as she blended the short sides and back into the curls above. The clipper blades clacked on top of the comb as they relentlessly removed more and more hair. Finally Doris was satisfied that every hair was either blended
or cut down. She replaced the large clippers with smaller ones and started to go around the edges of Cindi’s hairline. Cindi’s white scalp now showed clearly through the dark brown dyed nubs of hair an inch above her ears contrasting with the tan line on her neck and face.

Next Doris spread warm white shaving cream around Cindi’s hairline and with a straight razor carved a neat point in the shadow of hair in front of Cindi’s ears and a cleanly shaved wide strip up and around them to her nape. “I think this style looks really crisp and neat. You will need to have this done regularly to keep it looking this way.” Doris cheeringly said as she wiped away the remaining shaving cream with the edges of the towel. The mirror image showed Cindi’s teased and curled cotton candy hairstyle sitting atop short white tapered sidewalls making her head look like an ice-cream cone. Her `hairdo’ was so unbelievably ridiculous looking that she couldn’t make herself believe it was real.

Doris turned her chair around to face the makeup drawer. “Now we just have to do your makeup. No more eyeliner, freckles or shiny noses for you!” Doris said with a smile as she removed the towels and went to work on Cindi’s face. She applied a heavy `foundation’ followed by more painting, brushing, tweezing, and lash curling. Lipstick and a dusting of powder on her face and neck completed her makeover. “I’m giving you a complementary clasp purse with a compact, rouge, lipstick and tissues. From now on you must discreetly check your makeup with your compact wherever you go and remember to reapply your lipstick and re-powder your nose every time you eat or drink something. . Don’t forget!”

“Now comes the big moment Cynthia. “Your `coming of age’ makeover is complete! We’ll call you by your given name now that you look like an attractive mature adult. No more schoolgirl name for you! You can close your eyes while I turn the chair to face the mirror. I’ll tell you when to open said Doris. Cindi waited for Doris to say “open” and then slowly opened her eyes In the mirror a middle-aged woman with dark brown rows of perfectly curled hair, thick makeup, and thin high arched brows stared back at her. Cindi was completely gone! Erased! Replaced with a Cynthia that bore no resemblance to her self-image or what she looked like up until a few hours ago.

As Doris moved a large hand mirror around the back of Cynthia’s head she could see how high and close her hair had been sheared making the perfect lines of cotton candy curls stand out even more. She willfully pulled her arm out from under the cape and felt the back of her head. It felt like sand paper until she moved her hand up above the tops of her ears where the longer taper met the beginnings of the curled hair. It felt a little longer there. She could almost pinch it between her fingers. At the top she lightly patted the curls and realized it was all glued together. It all bounced back up no matter where she pushed on it. She leaned forward to look closer at her face. Thick pancake makeup obscured any trace of freckles or her youthful sun kissed complexion. Light brown mascara held pointy, severely curled eyelashes straight up over heavy sky blue eye shadow that extended all the way to the thin arched brows above. Mauve lipstick and rouged cheeks completed her new identity.

“No more sun for you my dear. You need to discourage those freckles and keep your makeup and hairdo fresh. The tan should fad soon so your face will match the white around your ears. Much better for your skin, you know. Before you go to bed you need to wash your entire makeup off with cold cream and wrap your hairdo with bathroom tissue so you don’t mess up the curls while you sleep. In the morning apply a 50 sunscreen, especially around your ears and neckline then apply your makeup. Lift your hair away from your head with a rattail comb to give it its proper height and shape. Then give it a good spray with extra hold. Your Grandmother will help you until you get the hang of it. No need to wash your hair. We’ll take care of that here. Remember; when you take a shower you’ll have to cover your hair with a shower cap”. You mustn’t get it wet or it will ruin the style”.

“Our receptionist has already scheduled you for you’re next bi-weekly wash and set. We will wash, restyle, trim, and color your hair twice a week for the summer to keep you looking your best. Eyebrow touch-ups and makeup are included when necessary. After that you will be able to get by with weekly appointments. I will see you in a few days. Oh, here are your hoop earrings. They won’t look good with your new style but I have some large pearl button clip-ons that I will give you until you can get something suitable.” Doris snapped on the large costume jewelry earrings on Cynthia’s ears causing her to flinch from the pain. ” Don’t fret, you will get used to them. Here is a large pearl choker as well. With that she whipped off the cape, snapped the costume pearl choker around Cynthia’s neck and brushed off her shoulders with a small soft brush.

The stark difference between her tanned skin below the necklace and her powdered neck and face above stood out in the mirror. It was almost laughable. It looked like someone had stuck a clown’s head on her shoulders “You’ll need to get some nice dresses with higher necklines to hide that line” said Doris as she pulled Cynthia out of the chair, put a bag full of hair spray, makeup and the complementary pink vinyl purse in her hand and guided her into the reception room. Cynthia almost fainted twice while she was helped to the couch in front of the counter. She barely noticed her Grandmother, the receptionist and several stylists near the door surrounding two little girls sitting on another couch facing away from her. “Oh my, they look so cute and adorable” said the Receptionist. The stylists were smiling and nodding their heads as well.

Reality crashed down on Cynthia as She now fully realized that she had no way to undo what had been done to her. Her confidence, her youth and even her identity had been taken from her. “My long hair is gone; my scalp is raw and burning; my brows are plucked to nothing; my face is covered with all this thick makeup; I’m wearing these stupid jumbo pearls; I’m a freak! A painted, plucked, permed, shaved freak!

Her Grandmother turned and walked over to Cynthia holding out her hand saying “come along Cynthia dear; we’re almost late for your fitting. You need a new wardrobe to match your new image. As she was pulled to her feet, Cynthia turned towards the door and again glimpsed the perfectly matched set of baby doll twins still sitting on a couch facing the other direction. They had the same short curly bobs with pink ribbons that her sisters wore when she last saw them. Their hands were folded perfectly across their laps compressing the full chiffon petticoats under their identical pink puffy sleeved taffeta dresses. Shiny black Mary Jane shoes with pink lacey socks completed their look.

Grandmother said; “Hope; Charity, please stand and greet your grown up sister. Don’t forget to smooth your dresses when you stand up”. The girls stood and smoothed out the backs and fronts of their very full wide short dresses. They turned, dropped their jaws and stared open mouthed at their sister. They were obviously shocked at what they saw. Grandmother clapped her hands. Don’t be rude girls; greet Cynthia properly as you were shown earlier.

Hope and Charity (Holly and Cherri before their makeovers) now faced their `grown up sister Cynthia’, lowered their eyes gripped the hems of their dresses and curtsied saying “Good afternoon Sister” in unison. “Very good”, said Grandmother. Please help your sister to the car. She has had a very long afternoon. Cynthia weakly held out her hands and let her sisters lead her out the door.

Their identity lost and their looks completely changed, what would happen to Cynthia and her sisters in the weeks to come? How would they cope with their new identities? Would they be forced to go for more sched
uled appointments at the Beauty Corral? What else had Grandmother planned for them?

End part 1

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