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Blond, Black and Pink – A Sequel Part 24

In Part 23, the Crown Point Bulldogs teams in volleyball, soccer and especially swimming have triumphed. Their hard work and dedication had paid off.

Gail has been devastated by her family’s indifference to her dedication, hard work and accomplishments. Kate had volunteered to be her sponsor and to try to fill the void that she felt. The other swimming team Moms offered support and encouragement.

On Monday Michelle and Cindi go to Kate’s shop for haircuts and are surprised by the amigas showing up in support of Cindi.

Week 10

Monday at Kate’s Barbershop

“Mother, I’m ready to go,” Cindi said, anxious to get to Kate’s shop.

“I’ll be ready in a few minutes Cindi. I was just deciding how to do my eyebrows for today. I’m going to cover them,” she said.

“OK. Just give me a call,” Cindi replied.

Cindi and the amigas had talked about what they wanted to do for the rest of the summer vacation, but hadn’t come up with anything they thought was interesting. The rest of the amigas would be going to the rec center, but probably would not spend time practicing either volleyball or soccer. Now that the season was over and school would be starting in a little over two weeks they were somewhat at a loss. They wanted to continue competing, especially in soccer, although Audra was interest in basketball and Cindi wanted to continue with volleyball, but there didn’t seem to be an opportunity to do so. Still they were determined to stick together and be on a team.

“I’m ready Cindi. Let’s get going,” Michelle called down the hall.

The arrived at the door to Kate’s Barbershop just as an impeccably dressed middle-aged male customer emerged. He held the door open for them.

“Thank you,” Michelle said.

“My pleasure Ma’am,” he responded.

Kate had turned from her sweeping at the sound of their voices. “My goodness, back already?”

“Yes indeed. We both have caught the bug Kate. Who was that polite gentleman, Kate?” Michelle asked.

“He is nice isn’t he? That’s John Hampton. He’s senior vice president of the bank. I’ve been cutting his hair for ten years at least.” Kate told them. “His wife, who is quite adventurous, didn’t like the way his barber was cutting his hair and dragged him in here to have his hair cut. He’s been coming back ever since. What can I do for you and Cindi, Michelle. By the way, I think your nose stud look quite good on you. It’s a nice complement to your style. I meant to tell you that yesterday, but never had a chance.”

“Thanks, Kate. I’m very happy with it. I have my eye on several other studs that I’d like to be able to change to sometimes when it finally heals enough that I can take this one out,” Michelle told her.

“Same with me. They have those pink, green and blue cubic zirconia ones that I’d like to wear with different outfits. Who’s going first here? Kate asked.

“I am Kate. I have a picture, but it’s not quite what I want. I’ll have to try to explain it. Here’s the picture. It’s a short bob with bangs. It shows off a little bit of my ears, so my earrings will show. I want the back to angle up a little more with the nape buzzed very short. And I want it undercut up high on the sides and back like this other picture I have. And I want to be able to pull the long part up so I can put it in a clip and show off the undercut. Can you do it like that Kate? Cindi asked earnestly.

“Let me see Cindi. Doing the bob part is easy and that will work nicely with a high undercut the way you described it. When you put it up do you want to put the bangs up as well? That would be difficult to do,” Kate responded.

“No, the bangs can be left down.” Cindi answered.

“I have an idea Cindi. I think that if the bangs are quite wide, then the longer part behind them can easily to be fastened into a little funky high pony tail. You have thick hair and you can have a quite high undercut and still have a very cute little bob. How does that sound?”

“I think that exactly what I was trying to describe Kate,” Cindi replied enthusiastically.

“The next question is just how short do you want the undercut to be. The picture had it buzzed very short – clipper shaved actually. That would work nicely. The other options are to buzz it, but not so short or to go all the way and keep it shaved smooth. That’s my favorite. I’ve got some pictures of girls with it shaved smooth. It makes the back of your head and neck look specially interesting. I’ll get a picture from my collection,” Kate said.

“Mother, could I get it shaved smooth? I don’t think I could do it myself. Would you help me with it?” Cindi asked.

Michelle laughed. “Of course Cindi. You know I said you could cut it any way you wanted, and that includes being a baldy like the others if that’s what you want. And certainly I’ll help you keep it shaved.”

“Thanks Mother. I haven’t made up my mind yet though. It’s still a little scary even though I like the way Melissa looks. And I think Beth looks super,” Cindi said.

“Here it is Cindi. Her bob is a little more extreme than what you are describing, but the smooth part in back is very arresting, don’t you think. And when you pull it all up and the sides and back are completely exposed it will be eye catching and super good looking. You have very nice ears and that would set them off beautifully. What do you think Michelle?” Kate said, eagerly promoting the new style now that she thought Cindi and Michelle were ready to be persuaded.

“Oh my. That would certainly get people’s attention either up or down,” Michelle laughed. “Having it smoothly shaved would be fun and rather cute actually.”

Cindi laughed also. “Mother I think you really do have the bug. I do want to be able to feel it with it shaved smooth. Can you do it shaved with your clipper first and then shave it smooth if I still want it that way.”

“Of course I can. No problem at all,” Kate said gaily.

Cindi was already in the barber chair. “OK, I’m ready,” she said. “I’m excited to see the result. I think it’s going to be very cool.”

“Absolutely, Cindy. The amigas are the coolest young ladies I’ve ever known.

Kate was in the process of snapping the cape around Cindy when the door burst open and the rest of the amigas came trouping in.

“She’s already here. Hey Cindy, you’re pretty early,” Beth explained.

“What are you guy doing here? I don’t remember telling you I was coming,” Cindi exclaimed in surprise.

“Your Mom told somebody yesterday. Melissa called us. We thought you might need a little boosting while you got your new haircut,” Penny said laughing.

“And we wanted to make sure you did it right this time,” Audra told her in mock seriousness.

“Actually, we just wanted to be here with you no matter what you decided to do. And we didn’t want to be left out,” Melissa explained.

“you guys are something else,” Michelle said laughing. “You keep surprising me.”

“What have you decided to do Cindi,” Penny inquired.

“You’ll see. It’s an undercut, but shorter than before,” Cindi answered. “Kate already knows what to do.”

“OK, I guess we’ll just have to wait and check it out when it’s done” Beth agreed.

“Cindy, I going to cut a rough outline first. It will be a bit longer than you specified. Since you’re going to have bangs do you want to go back to a center part? That makes it a little easier to maintain the shape,” Kate told her.

“:Sure Kate. Do it however you think it will work best,” Cindi agreed.

“One more think. I don’t want your bangs to start too far back, but the further back they start, the easier it will be to do the little pony tail that we talked about,” Kate explained.

“Just do it the way you think will look best. You always know how to do things exactly right,” Cindi said.

“You’ve got it Cindi. It will
look great when I finish,” Kate told her.

Kate removed the scrunchie that held Cindi’s short ponytail and combed her hair down from a center part. She made sure it fell in its natural pattern. When she was satisfied she cut the right side at just below earlobe length to the back where it was just a little above the bottom of the buzzed undercut of Cindi’s first cut. She repeated the process on the right side. The next step was to section off the bangs. She formed a shallow “V” carefully judging how far back to go. Working quickly but carefully she cut the bangs just below Cindi’s brows. She would shorten them later after she had the sides closer to the finished look. She examined the result critically and decided she needed to go back a bit farther in order to make the bangs as wide as she had planned. Sectioning off another half inch and cutting it to match the first she was satisfied. Now she began to section off the hair at a line below which she would clipper it close. The line was well above the top of cindi’s ear – nearly two inches. Kate painstakingly adjusted the line to make it straight and at the exact same height around Cindi’s head. The process took several minutes and to the casual observer appeared to be overly fussy. To Kate it was just such exactitude that made her haircuts superior in their execution and finish. When she was finally satisfied the rotated the chair so that Cindi could see.

“OK Cindi. I’ve sectioned it off at the line where it should be buzzed. It just a little bit lower than you indicated, but it’s where I think it should be. This is your chance to change your mind, because I can still give you a really cute wedged bob at this point,” Kate explained. “Of course you’ll have a cute bob either way, just not with the high undercut to show off when you want to do it.”

Cindi looked at herself in the mirror. She could get the idea of what it was going to look like. It was as though she had a bob that had not been trimmed for two months. The idea of being able to touch the back of her head and feel only soft smooth skin gave her a delicious sensation. She shivered and then grinned broadly. “I want to feel it buzzed and smooth Kate. Go ahead.”

“Right you are. Here we go,” Kate told her as she picked up her battery operated clipper and set it to a thirty second of an inch. She started on the right side. With the clipper turned upside down she carefully placed it at the line of demarcation and pulled it down, leaving an inch wide swath the width of the clipper at the front hairline that was now essentially shaved. She repeated the action four more times ending behind Cindi’s ear about where the wedge, that she had cut two weeks earlier, began. She immediately went back to the front, lifted up the hair in front of Cindi’s ear with her comb and ran her clippers up to the bared area. The next pass when up and around her ear leaving a few long strands that Kate quickly removed. A few more passes and she had roughly finished the right side. She repeated the process on the left side then moved to the back where her line of demarcation was about a half inch above the previous wedge. Once again she pressed the upside-down clipper into the part line that extended around the back of Cindi’s head and pulled it down. She continued around Cindi’s head until she reached the left side. A few more passes upward removed the wedge leaving Cindi clipper shaved from temple to temple in a precisely defined line.

“Wow Cindi, that looks so neat. You’re going to look really cool!” Beth said excitedly. “Now I’ll be able to check your head and make sure you’ve done it right!”

The other all broke into laughter at this reversal. Cindi, who had been facing the big mirror during her shearing, giggled. “Why don’t you try feeling it now?”

“I think I will,” Beth said as she walked toward the barber chair and reached out to rub the back of Cindi’s head. “Way too bristly Cindi. Needs a lot more work.”

“It’s going to look super good when it’s done Cindi,” Penny agreed.

“OK guys, let me show you how it’s going to look when it’s up, then I need to get on with the job,” Kate said laughing.

She removed the clips and quickly combed the hair back and began making a braid. In a few moments the top had been braided all the way to the back where she replaced the scrunchie that Cindi had worn to the shop. The little tail that had been created hung down a few inches over the clipper shaved area.

“That is so cool, Cindi,” Audra exclaimed.

“Michelle, did you see how I did that. It’s easy and quick when she wants it up, but I don’t think she could do it herself,” Kate explained. “There are some variations as well. I’ll do one after her cut is finished.”

“I’m sure I could do that Kate. Is there a way she could do it herself?” Michelle asked.

“There is and I’ll show you that too. How do you like it so far Cindi?”

“It’s just what I wanted. I like it, but I’ve decided I do want it shaved smooth,” Cindi pronounced.

“Way to go Cindi!” Beth exclaimed.

“That’s great Cindi. I’m glad you’re doing it just like you wanted,” Melissa said.

“OK guys, let me get it finished,” Kate said laughing.

She picked up her adjustable clipper and set it to the closest setting then proceeded to go over the previously clippered shaved areas careful to get as close as possible to the point where the long hair started. Satisfied, Kate quickly undid the braid and re-established the center part then combed Cindi’s hair down the way she had before. She wanted it to turn under a little if she could accomplish that, but it was not essential. She examined the result so far in order to decide how much of an angle would look right. She wanted it high in the back, but not so high that the short tail could not be achieved. She decided to cut it at an angle that would bring it from just above earlobe length to just higher than the top of Cindi’s ears at the middle of the back. That would achieve that dramatic effect Cindi had described. If that left it long enough in the back to achieve the tail easily she might make the angle a little higher. Spritzing Cindi’s hair made it easier to cut with the precision that Kate demanded of herself. She section off about a half inch of hair completely around Cindi’s head and pinned the remainder on top of her head.

“Keep your head very still while I do this part of the cut Cindy. I want it to be exactly right,” Kate told her.

With a very practiced and steady hand Kate began the cut in the middle of the back just at the point she wanted it to be when Cindi’s hair was dry. She made the angled cut exactly as she had planned it. Now she had to cut the opposite side side the same way. Several small adjustments later she was satisfied. Her next step was to let down a second section the same width as the first. She followed the same procedure, but made this section a tiny bit longer. A third and fourth section followed. A careful survey followed and Kate was satisfied. The final finishing would be done on dry hair after Kate had dampened it again, added a small amount of mousse and blow dried it using her round brush. The next step was to give the bangs the same treatment as she had given the other part of the haircut, but this time she would use her razor tapering tool to cut the under layer and the top layer so that the bangs would be relatively light. She also cut the under layer a bit shorter then the top. The bangs were wide and came down to about a half inch above Cindi’s brows. They extended around to her temples and overlapped the undercut by three quarters of an inch. Kate looked at the result and decided that the bangs needed to be widened more. She wanted the sides to come only a little forward of Cindi’s ears. It was only a few moments work to make the adjustment. Finally she was satisfied. It was done except for adding a little mousse and giving it a little lift and under curl at the bottom. It’s going to be a strikingly original result result when I’m
finished Kate thought to herself. From the front you will be struck by the very wide bangs, although the shape of a bob will be visible whenever Cindi turns her head slightly to either left or right. From the side the angle of the hair rising to high on the back of her head will grab people’s, the back with it high inverted “Vee” shape shaved completely smooth will be be utterly fascinating.

‘Time for your first shave of the week Cindi,” Kate told her cheerfully, as she pinned Cindi’s hair to the top of her head. She went to her hot lather machine and expelled a modest quantity into her hand and applied it around Cindi’s head.

“That feels nice and warm,” Cindi exclaimed.

“It does doesn’t it. It’s too bad you can’t do it at home like that. Nobody sells hot lather in an aerosol can anymore, so you’ll just have to use a nice gel,” Kate told Cindi, although her statement was aimed at Michelle also.

Kate rubbed off some lather at the hairline so she could see where to start. Putting her razor precisely at the hairline she shaved downward, wiped the blade on the towel that she had laid across Cindi’s shoulder and make a second stroke that went down past the front of Cindi’s ear. She repeated the process to the left, taking a short stroke from the hairline downward, then moving downward. Cindi’s ear had to be navigated, which she did with tiny strokes downward followed by short strokes going forward around the top of Cindi’s ear. She continued methodically around Cindi’s head. In the back she pushed her head down and shaved downward from the hairline followed by the nape and then low on her neck. The left side was soon subjected to the same treatment, except that she shaved against the grain as she went around the top of Cindi’s ear.

Kate examined the result. “I’m going to go over it again Cindy. I wouldn’t want Beth to be disappointed with the result when she checks it out,” Kate said with a chuckle.

“I like the way it feels when you shave it Kate. I guess Beth and I will have to check each other out at the same time,” Cindi said, giggling.

Kate gathered some more hot foam and spread it on Cindi’s head. She had reversed her original path, starting on the left side. Now she felt each area as she shaved it and occasionally went over an area again. The process went quickly and Kate was soon finished.

She used a damp towel to wipe off the excess foam. “I’m using the special moisturizer Michelle. If Cindi intends on keeping it shaved you should continue using it every day,” Kate informed her.

“Well, I think you look wonderful Cindi. Do you think you’ll want to keep it shaved? I hope so. I’m eager to have a chance to shave you myself. I look forward to when you go completely shaved. You would be beautiful with it that way.” Michelle had become quite enthusiastic about the prospect of having Cindi become a baldy.

“Mother! You want me to be bald like Melissa?” Cindi asked somewhat incredulously.

“Actually I do. I just realized it. It’s been in the back of my mind all the time, but I’ve just haven’t let the though surface,” Michelle said.

“That’s the way my Mom was. She wanted me to get it shaved, but didn’t want to say anything to me,” Beth related.

“Mom didn’t even ask. She just told Kate to shave me smooth,” Melissa said laughing.

“Maybe I will. I love the way Beth and Melissa look,” Cindi said. “Thinking about it makes my stomach feel funny. I’m definitely going to keep it shaved, so you can use the moisturizer Kate.”

“You haven’t felt it yet Cindi,” Kate told her. “I’ll put on the moisturizer, then you can feel it before I show you how to put it up yourself.”

Kate had dispensed some moisturizer into her hand. “It’s cold Cindi, but after a while you get used to it. Isn’t that right Melissa?”

“I hardly notice it at all now. By November you can shave just twice a week, but you’ll still need to put on the moisturizer every day,” Melissa explained.

“Mother I’m almost ready to shave it smooth, but I think I’ll wait for a little while. I want to get used to it this way first,” Cindi said.

“Oh dear, Cindy. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be pushy like that,” Michelle apologized. “Don’t pay any attention to me. I just got a little too excited. You look just beautiful this way.”

“Wow, that feels cold Kate,” Cindi said as her body shuddered at the shock.

“I know, but it get better pretty quickly like Melissa said. Now you can feel it,” Kate told her.

As had every one of the girls and young women that she had shaved, Cindy had tentatively touched her head with a finger or two, felt around her head, and finally ended up with both hands caressing her whole head where it was shaved. There was a beatific smile on her face.

“It feels unbelievable – a lot different than feeling someone else even though that feels really good,” Cindi said.

“I’m sure that Melissa and Beth will tell you the same thing themselves,” Kate said.

“You’ll have to pay close attention to this Cindi,” Kate said as she turned her to face the mirror. She spritzed Cindi’s hair again. “Here’s how you can put it up yourself. You do it in two sections. It’s easier if it’s damp and you can even use a little gel to make it easier. Pull up the back section like this. See how that part is easy to hold onto. It’s easy if you have a round snap on clip with the teeth like this. Just pull that section of hair back to the crown and snap on the clip. Your hair is long enough to go all the way back and you can put the clip on it there too, like this. The front part will have to be pulled up and back to lie flat. The you can use one of these wide barrettes to hold it in place. There. See, it’s nice and smooth, and ends in a little stubby tail that shows off the lovely shaved sides and back. What do you think? ” Kate asked her.

“I can do that Kate. It looks neat,” Cindi answered.

“Michelle, I’m going to show you a double French braid. It’s easy to do too and will stay in better than a single one like I did before. If you want it to stay for a long time Cindi, you can have it done in corn rows. That would look quite attractive and would really show off the shaved part,” Kate explained as she quickly fashioned two French braid that ended in short tails at the back of Cindi’s head where they were tightly bound with small clamps.

“That looks good Kate. I can do that and it would stay for a while, wouldn’t it,” Michelle responded.

“I think it would, even through a soccer game, Kate responded. “I’m going to do your cute bob now Cindi.”

She undid the braids and combed Cindi’s hair from her center part. Spritzing it again she applied a little mousse and combed it through. With her blow dryer and round brush she lifted the hair on the sides and worked it out and under as she directed it back. At the bottom she easily coaxed it to curl under and forward. Cindi’s hair was thick and had a slight curl, so once it had dried it had enough body to make the severe undercut undetectable until you saw the back, which also had a nice under curl that met in a shallow “vee” high up at a point approximately level with the top of her ears. Kate had lifted the wide bangs that wrapped around her forehead to overlap the temple area so that they too curled slightly under. The combination proved to be a winner.

“That looks really great Cindi,” Penny told her.

“Wow, you would never know it’s undercut if you see it from the front”, Beth said.

“It’s the back that I like the most. Seeing it shaved up so high is really exciting,” Audra exclaimed.

“Well, Cindi, what do you think of this unique style that you thought up yourself?” Kate asked her.

“I love it Kate, It’s a really nice bob from the front, and I get to shock people when they see the back. That will be fun. I didn’t know how good bangs looked until I saw Beth’s. That’s why I wanted to have a style wi
th bangs,” Cindi answered.

“That is a really neat style, Cindi. I like it a lot. Did you realize that you’ve almost become a blond because you’ve been out in the sun so much this summer?” Melissa said.

“I know Melissa, It looks a lot lighter than it used to,” Cindi answered. “Mother, how do you like it?”

“Why, it’s quite distinctive. You look very cute and daring at the same time. I’m going to have fun shaving it for you,” Michelle said with a little laugh.

“By the way Michelle, you won’t be able to shave it as close to the hairline with the electric shaver as I can do with my razor. Cindi will need to come in for a trim about every three weeks, and I’ll re-shave the edge then. And Cindi when you come in next time I would like to do the undercut a little higher. The style won’t change, but it will be a little bit more dramatic. What do you think?” Kate said.

“Sure Kate. I like it and I’m sure I’d like it cut even higher next time,” Cindi answered.

Kate brushed of the cape and released it. Cindi hopped down to be immediately swarmed over by the other kids giving her hugs and telling her how great she looked with her wonderful new undercut A-line bob.

“Next!” Kate called out in her best barbershop manner eliciting laughter from everyone present.

“Oh goodness. That must be me,” Michelle said as she eagerly got into the barber chair. “I know exactly what I want.”

“what is that Michelle. I though for sure you’d keep this style a few months before you wanted it cut shorter,” Kate said in pretended surprise. “I guess my barber chair has been working on you more than I expected.”

“I’m sure it has. It has persuaded me that I need to get that cute pixie style that you showed me the last time. Every time I think about it I get excited thinking about getting it cut that way.” Michelle told her.

“I remember it very well Michelle. You will look terrific in that style and it’s a great way to get to that buzzed style that you’ll be dreaming about pretty soon,” Kate said.

“Kate! Don’t put that thought in my head. I’ll be dreaming about it every time I see any of the others. Still I know James would be very happy if I got it buzzed like Heather or Abby. That short pixie is enough for now though.” I do want to try a few other short cuts before I end up with it buzzed. When I do that I’ll probably never want to have it any longer,” Michelle said with a chuckle.

“How about if I modify it a little bit to give you a tightly clippered back?” Kate said as she pinned up Michelle’s hair in preparation for beginning the cut.

“Oh my. You mean sort of the way you would do it if I got it buzzed?” Michelle asked.

“That’s about right. You’ll be be able to rub it with you hand and send shivers up your spine,” Kate laughed.

“That would be fun and James would like it. Sure, go ahead Kate,” Michelle agreed.

Kate was going to use her razor taperer for most of the haircut, just as she had done for Penny’s short Pixie. She had determined that she would do a version that would leave the front almost the same as shown in the picture, but would have it get progressively shorter as she proceeded to the crown. The bangs would be about two inches long and the crown only an inch long. In the back it would be just an inch long and taper quickly to a half inch where it would blend with the closely clippered back. For this method of cutting she started at the front using the razor cutter to thin and taper each strand before she reduced it to the length she wanted. She worked diagonally from left to right going steadily from front to back. She had to lower the chair and have Michelle put her head down to reach the crown area. She treated the sides much the same way except that she used scissors for the lower part, and tapered it with the other little razor comb tool. In the back she repeated the procedure cutting just the top two inches. Kate picked up her clipper and attached the half inch guide. Once again she pushed Michelle head forward and quickly ran the clipper up the back to meet the section that she had just cut. Five more runs and the back had been reduced to a half inch, but she was not finished. Replacing the half inch guide with the quarter inch one, she repeated the process going up only about an inch an a half. The final step was to adjust her clipper to its eight of an inch setting and cut the bottom inch. She would use both her comb and scissors as well as the razor comb taperer to finish both the sides and back. After a little examination she decided that she would raise Michelle’s hairline about a half inch in the middle of the back. Michelle’s hairline had a long point in the middle of the back which Kate judged to be inappropriate for the style. She began again at the bangs carefully trimming them to the correct length and making the individual strands separate the way the picture showed them. She did some judicious additional thinning to get them just right. Using her comb, fingers and scissors she adjusted the top so that Michelle’s hair became progressively shorter toward the back where it became less than an inch long at the crown. She treated the sides and back similarly then use the razor tapering comb to produce the effect she wanted. The back was now quite short, buzzed up to a point level with the top of her ears.

“Almost done Michelle. It looks wonderful on you although you’ll probably say it’s too long. I can always get it right the next time you get it trimmed,” Kate joked.

“Too long! I know you Kate. Anything you can get hold of with your fingernails is too long for you. Do you plan to get a shorter buzz yourself in about two weeks?” Michelle responded.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if I did. Being with all those women and girls with super short haircuts last night has inspired me to make sure that all my customers and I get ultra short haircuts. I may have to put up a sign up explaining that the longest than I can cut anyone’s hair is two inches, like yours, and then only if it is just a small part of an overall cut than averages a quarter of an inch or less” Kate said in pretend seriousness.

“Now that would be interesting and different, although I might be able to qualify in a month of two,” Michelle said.

Kate had added a little gel to Michelle’s hair to make sure she could separate the fringe of bangs and to make the rest neat. She surveyed it and was satisfied.

“All done Michelle. Have a look. By the way, I like the way you look without your eyebrows. You’ve really gotten into that look haven’t you? You didn’t have any yesterday either,” Kate commented.

“I do like the look. I think it makes my eyes look brighter, but it’s actually a fake. They’re just covered up. You probably noticed that already. Anyway, I love this haircut. It is so engagingly attractive it makes me want to smile. It just feels so right for me. Can I see what you have done to me in the back?” Michelle as she reached up to feel it. “Wow, that is short isn’t it. It feels so good. Is that what it feels like to have a buzz?”

“It would have to be a very short buzz cut to feel like that all over. Iris’s is about like that,” Kate told her. “Maybe next time. What do you think?”

“Kate! There you go again. You’re going to have my head shaved if I don’t get out of here,” Michelle laughed.

“What a terrific idea Michelle! I’m sure I could find time to do it right now. What are we waiting for?” Kate responded enthusiastically with a big grin on her face.

“I’ve got to get out of here Kate. I am not, repeat, not going to get another haircut today, maybe tomorrow, but not today,” Michelle laughed.

By now the amigas were in stitches along with both Kate and Michelle.

“Mother, that is such a great idea. You would be the most beautiful angel if you got it shaved smooth. What do you think guys?” Cindi asked.

“Oh, absolutely.
I’ll bet all the other lady angels up there would be green with envy, Penny responded.

“I wonder if angels are allowed to be envious,” Beth retorted.

“OK, that’s enough kids. I’m not getting my head shaved, so forget it, at least for now.

At that moment the bell on the door tinkled and Ginny entered.

“Ginny, you’re later than usual. I had almost given up on you,” Kate said.

“Hi, Ginny,” Michelle said. Fancy meeting you here.”

“Oh, Mrs. Michaels. I almost didn’t recognize you. Wow, that is a really good looking haircut. I thought the way you had it last night was terrific, but this is even better. What in the world is happening with all the amigas here. You’re not all getting haircuts are you?” Ginny asked.

“No, it was just Cindi. See, she got a really cute bob with an undercut. The others just showed up to support and encourage her,” Michelle explained.

“Actually I’m getting a haircut,” Audra interjected. “But you can go ahead of me Ginny. Yours takes just a few minutes anyway.”

“Thanks Audra, I appreciate it. Cindy, that is really a cute bob from the front, but it gets a lot more interesting from the side. Turn around so I can see the back,” Ginny said.

“That’s way cool Cindi with the back shaved up high like that. Where did you get that idea?” Ginny asked.

“I found some pictures on the web and I combined two of them. Kate actually figured out how to do it like this,” Cindi said.

“Cindy, show Ginny your undercut,” Beth said.

“It’s really neat and Kate said I could have it even higher next time,” Cindi said as Michelle held her hair up so Ginny could see how it had been done. “And I can pull it all up whenever I want to show off the undercut. That will be fun.”

“Wow that looks good Cindi. Won’t you have to come in every week for Kate to clipper the undercut?” Ginny inquired.

“Oh no, Ginny. I’m going to shave her every day and use that shave reducing moisturizer. I like it as much as Cindi does. She looks super good with it up and it needs to be perfectly smooth for that look,” Michelle said enthusiastically.

Ginny had occupied the barber chair to be caped by Kate, who had already begun to clipper shave her head. “Well Ginny isn’t it time for you to try a smooth shave,” She inquired.

“I’m thinking about it Kate. All the shaved kids that were there last night almost have me convinced. Jill and Steffie are so good looking I’m very tempted. But I’ll be going to state in a couple of weeks and I’m not sure I want to stand out that much the first year,” Ginny said.

“Too bad you’re not going to JHU like Jill. You’d still stand out, but at least there would be another baldy there,” Kate responded.

“Isn’t she a senior this year? We wouldn’t be in any of the same classes,” Ginny answered.

“I suppose that’s true. There, you’re all done. How are you going to keep it like this when you go to school,” Kate asked.

“That’s a good question. I don’t want to let it grow out, but maybe I’ll just have to be practical. I’m sure I could have a short buzz like Mom and no one would pay much attention,” Ginny said.

“You’re right. A buzz doesn’t get nearly as much attention as a clipper shave or having it blond and down to your butt,” Kate laughed.

“I’m not in to getting attention from a bunch of guys. Maybe a buzz is just the right choice while I’m in school. I can always get you to do it like this when I’m home,” Ginny said.

“That sounds like a good plan Ginny,” Michelle chimed in. ” Although I think your almost shaved cut looks great on you.

“I guess it’s your turn Audra,” Kate said.

“And I have to go if I’m going to make it to work on time,” Ginny said. “Bye all.”

Audra sat down in the barber chair and Kate caped her. “I’m getting it shaved Kate. Mamma is getting hers shaved in a couple of weeks too. Anyway, Aunt Steffie’s wedding is coming up soon and I want to be ready for it. So I’ve decided to get started now. Everyone liked it when it was shaved two weeks ago, so I guess I’ll keep it shaved,” Audra explained.

“Great idea Audra,” Kate said enthusiastically.

Cindi had asked if she could stay while Audra got her clipper cut redone so she could be with the rest of the amigas, who were all bouncing in excitement. “Audra, you should have told us you were getting it shaved,” Cindi said. “You’re going to look awesome.”

“She already looked awesome, now it’ll be awesomer, Penny corrected her to laughter from the others.

“Maybe she’ll be the awesomest,” Beth offered.

“I’m sure it will be the most awesomest,” Melissa added.

“I have the money to pay for the shaver and stuff Kate. Aunt Steffie said I should buy it today. I think my Mamma will be using it too,” Audra told her.

“No problem at all Audra. I’ll have you as smooth as silk in a few minutes,” Kate told her as she wrapped her head in a hot moist towel.

A few minutes later the towel was removed to be replaced by hot lather which Kate spread generously over her head. After a brief pause, she began shaving Audra’s head. As promised, she had it shaved once in less than ten minutes. A second application of lather followed which led to a slower and more meticulous shave. Another ten plus minutes and Kate had wiped off any excess foam with a damp towel.

“Well, you’re going to be an outstanding baldy, Audra. And I guess since you’re going keep it that way for a while, I should use the special moisturizer,” Kate said.

“Sure thing Kate. I don’t know how long I’ll keep it shaved, but now that I’ve done it I’m pretty sure I’ll keep it shaved as long as the rest of the amigas do,” Audra said.

“Hurry up Kate, I can’t wait to feel it,” Cindi said.

“I can’t go much faster Cindi. Besides I’m all done. I guess you don’t need any of my bronzer Audra. You have the most beautiful skin tone I think I’ve ever seen,” Kate told her.

“Thanks Kate, but Mamma told me that I can get a sunburn just like they do. I didn’t believe her, but last year I did get sunburned when we all went swimming and I didn’t use any stuff to keep from getting burned,” Audra explained.

“I’d heard that Audra. With skin as beautiful as yours you be sure to take good care of it, especially on your bald head,” Kate admonished her.

“It is truly a beautiful head Audra. I have a hard time deciding whether or not it might be more beautiful than Steffie. I guess its a tie. So take good care of it and keep it perfectly clean and smooth. You’ve never looked better,” Michelle told her.

Audra smiled broadly. “Thanks Mrs. Michaels. I’ll be careful.” She stepped down from the barber chair to be surrounded by the other amigas who rubbed her head and giggled. After a round of hugs Audra finally had a chance to pay Kate. A brief conversation and they agreed to go to Melissa’s house to hang out and play some board games, but first they would stop at the supply store to get a shaver and moisturizer for Audra.

At the rec center Abby had dropped off Tess a few minutes before nine AM. She found Christine, Jessie and Tommy waiting for her.

“Hi guys. This is going to be interesting. I guess Tommy actually decides what machines to use and exercises you’re supposed to do,” Tess greeted them a little skeptically.

“Hello Tess,” Tommy greeted her.

“You’ve got it Tess. We have to have a lot of upper body strength as well as endurance, so Tommy designed a routine for us that would work on that. Of course we do lower body stuff too, because that’s what we need for launching,” Jessie explained.

“OK, but how do you know they’re the right exercises,” Tess asked.

“Tommy took his exercise chart to our coach and asked her if she thought it was OK. She told us it looked almost exactly like the chart the fitness trainer at the University had given her when she was a freshman,” Christine responded. “It really worke
d for us Tess.”

“That’s true. I guess I’ll give it a try,” Tess said.

“You really have to keep at it Tess. Once Christine got us going we all began to have better and better times. Christine has been doing it for two months now and you saw the kind of times she has now. The rest of us are just trying to keep from getting too far behind her,” Jessie said.

“Here come Janet, Bridget and Gail,” Christine said, seeing the three nearly bald girls walking briskly along the path leading to the rec center. “We should head on in. Ellen always comes on her bike. She’ll be here in a couple of minutes. I don’t think Sharon and Dana are going to come.”

“There’s Ellen now,” Jessie said, pointing toward the sidewalk that led to the other side of the park. “She’ll catch up with us in a minute.”

Fifteen minutes later they were all in the gym starting their workout routines. They had worked out a system that allowed them all to begin on a different machine each day. There were duplicates of a few machines such as the stair master and treadmill that allowed them all to use one or the other. Tommy worked with Tess making sure she had the right weights for the number of repetitions that she should be doing.

At the first machine Tess had objected to the weight. “I can do more weight than that Tommy. I’m not that weak.” she complained.

“Tess, you’re not training to be a weight lifter. You’ll be swimming events that take anywhere from almost a minute to more than five minutes. So you’ll be repeating the same motions the whole time. You have to train your muscles to be able to do that,” Tommy said patiently.

Tess looked over to the machine that Christine was using. “Christine is using a lot more weight than I am,” she complained.

“Well she’s been doing this three times a week for more than two months Tess. She started out with less weight than you’re using now. You’ll be using that much soon enough if you keep working at it,” Tommy responded. “Why don’t you try it this way for today and see how it goes for you.”

“OK. If it works for them it ought to work for me too, but it’s frustrating to see someone as small as Ellen using a lot more weight than I can,” Tess replied, the frustration apparent in her voice.

An hour later an exhausted Tess, was sitting on a padded bench trying to get her breath back after her twenty minutes on the last machine, one that put her whole body through a workout. The other six girls had already used that machine or a treadmill and were beginning a second run through of their routine. They were all sweating profusely, but to Tess’ astonishment she saw Ellen add weight to her first machine. She watched for the entire time that Ellen used the machine. During the last set of repetitions Ellen was obviously struggling to finish, but finish she did, doing a little fist pump at the end, then stood up and shook her arms and shoulders to loosen them. Tess went back to the beginning of her routine and repeated it with the same weight she had used the first time. She was barely able to finish.

Tommy saw her struggle and took a break from his own workout to assist her. “Take it easy Tess. You can’t get there in one day. If you try, you could hurt yourself and that’s definitely not what you want to do. It’s repetitions that count, so take off some weight for the rest of your workout.” Tommy advised her.

“This is so crazy Tommy. I can hardly believe what those guys are doing. Do all of you put on more weight after the first round,” Tess asked.

“They didn’t start doing that until after a month of workouts. You’ll get there if you keep at it. Just stick with the same weights for now. You’ll notice the difference in a week. And you’ll notice a lot of difference in two weeks,” Tommy reassured her.

“I sure hope so. I hadn’t paid attention before but now I see all the muscles that they have. No wonder they can swim they way they do. Am I ever going to get like that,” Tess asked.

“If you really want to you will. They all wanted to be the best they could be and they’re working to do that,” Tommy said quietly.

“I’m going to do it if they are,” Tess said defiantly.

“That’s how it works Tess. You need to have some kind of goal. You can do it,” Tommy encouraged her.

Tess went back to her her routine, but now with smaller weights. She still felt the strain as her muscles protested at the end of a set of repetitions, but she could get through them. There was very little chatter now among the girls. An hour earlier they had chatted freely while they went through their routines. Now it was mostly silent except for the sounds of the machines and an occasional comment from one or another of the girls. One after another they finished and either sat down somewhere or walked around to get loosened up.

“I’m ready for a shower,” Gail said from the bench where she rested.

“You and me both,” Janet responded. “Good workout though.”

“You’re right about that Janet,” Jessie said as she raised her hand for a high five from Christine. In a moment they had all exchanged high fives, even Tess, who had been drawn in by Bridget.

Their lunch was another surprise for Tess. She had simply purchased a sandwich, chips and a drink from the array of machines in the in the main area of the rec center. Everyone else had lunches they had prepared.

“Why do you guys bring your own lunches,” Tess asked perplexed.

“Those sandwiches aren’t very good for you. Too much fat and other stuff and not enough of the right kind of things if you’re working out the way we do,” Ellen explained.

“You guys are really into this aren’t you,” Tess said. As she looked around she noticed that Christine was setting out food for Tommy. “Tommy, does Christine make you eat that way too?”

Tommy grinned. “Not exactly Tess. I’ve been a vegetarian for three or four years. But Christine can make one mean vegetarian sandwich, so she doesn’t have to coax me to eat what she fixes.”

“Are all of you vegetarians?” Tess asked in astonishment.

“I don’t know Tess. We don’t talk about it much. I stopped eating meat so I guess I am now,” Janet admitted.

“I still eat a little meat sometimes, so I guess I’m not yet, but I will be,” Bridget said.

“I’m like Bridget too, but when I get to college I’m going to be a vegetarian for sure,” Gail said.

The discussion continued throughout their lunch with Tess questioning them about their motivations as well as getting details about their diets. Ellen had voiced her determination to be a vegan to the surprise of the others. Tess had never thought about it before, but now the issue was suddenly in front of her like a bill board, not that anyone had said, even once, that she should change, they all spoke confidently about what they were going to do.

The afternoon swimming session was just as intense as the morning workout. They were all doing ten laps in their two primary events, trying to get up to speed in the longer races. Their assistant coach was helping them learn how to pace themselves. At the end of an hour and a half of hard swimming with only brief breaks to work on details of strokes, kicks and breathing, they did time trials at two hundred meters. In the free all five girls as well as Tommy started. Christine set a difficult pace and Tess tried to match her, but her strength and endurance was no match for the Bulldogs. She finished well behind Ellen who had paced herself well and overtook her in the last fifty meters and pulled away, finishing even with Bridget. Tommy had equaled Janet who was a body length behind Christine.

The conditioning that they had all achieved allowed them to recover in just a few minutes, while Tess was still breathing hard and did not have the strength to pull her self out of the pool.

Tess was distraught. “I’ll never catch up with you guys,” she said despairingly.

“Not true Tess. I know you’ve got a way to go, but you’ll get there,” Christine told her. “I know
you want to be a great swimmer and you can be, but you have to work to do it. Don’t you dare quit.”

“She’s right, Tess. I know you’re not a quitter. Now you know what you have to do and you can do it just like we did,” Jessie told her.

“But the tryouts are only two weeks away! I’ll never be able to compete with you guys in two weeks,” Tess said.

“Yes you will. You’re good in the fifty and the hundred, so you’ll make those. Then you can keep getting better and do the two hundreds if you want,” Christine told her.

“Just keep coming back Tess. When I first started I was sure I’d never be able to do what Christine and Jessie were doing,” Bridget encouraged her.

“OK, I guess I’ve got nothing to lose,” Tess said.

“You’ve already lost you hair, so you’re right about having nothing else to lose,” Janet said laughing.

There were laughs and groans at that rather lame joke, but they were all glad that Tess would not give up.

Thursday at Kate’s Shop

Having unlocked the door and turned her sign in the window to show Open, Kate turned to tidy up her counter and take care of a little house keeping. She had hardly started when the bell sounded and Iris came in followed by Rhonda, Sammie and Doris.

“Hi Kate, we’re back,” Iris greeted her animatedly.

“Well, so you are. So what can I do for you? Don’t tell me you’re all decided to go for a shave,” Kate responded equally brightly.

“Oh, not just yet for me, but I can’t speak for the rest,” Doris laughed.

“I do want my buzz refreshed. What was the number the last time Kate? I can’t remember,” Iris said. “It seems a lot longer now than it was two weeks ago.

“It was a number one and a half. That’s only three sixteenths of an inch. So it’s more than twice as long now as it was then. The shorter it is the more frequently I get to cut it,” Kate laughed.

“Andy almost flipped when he first saw it, but now he says he likes it and that maybe I should get it shaved like Janet. Maybe I’ll get cut a tiny bit shorter,” Iris said as she sat down in the barber chair.

“I can go with a number one on the top and a zero on the sides and back. You would need to come back every week or so if you wanted to keep it close to that look,” Kate advised her.

“Every week. You mean I would have a good excuse to come back every week to get it buzzed! Sounds absolutely delightful. Consider it done!” Iris said, then burst into laughter.

Kate and the other women shared her exuberance, laughing at her facial expression and gestures as she responded to Kate’s statement.

“I suppose I ought to take that as an affirmative about how you want it cut?” Kate said grinning at the other women.

“What is it about yes that you don’t understand?” Iris said trying her best to keep a stern look on her face.

“I do believe I’ve got it Iris. Yes, I’m sure I’ve got it.” Kate joked with her.

Kate picked up her battery operated adjustable clipper and set the blades to an eight of an inch. She didn’t hesitate and began to buzz Iris’ head quickly and efficiently. Iris was facing the mirror and grinned widely as the clipper went up the side then up the back and the other side. When Kate ran the clipper from the middle of her forehead to the crown she giggled.

“It feels so good to have you do that Kate. I can’t wait to get my hands on it. I’ll probably have to wear a hat to keep Andy’s hands off it,” Iris said.

Kate finished the top by running the clipper over her head several times front to back and side to side to be sure it was uniform. She took a moment to clean the teeth with a brush and adjust the head to the zero setting which resulted in a sixteenth of an inch. She started at the back pushing the clipper up well above the occipital bone where she began a taper. Several passes later she moved to the right side and repeated the process. The transition area was essentially undetectable as a result of Kate’s skill. The left side followed. Kate examined her work and made a few minor adjustments, then set the clipper to it closest cutting range which she use to do a short fade at the hairline on the sides and and back.

“OK, Iris. It’s done. What do you think?” Kate asked.

“Iris continued to grin. “I love the way it feels in the back,” she announced. “The top is too long. Can you make it like the back all over?”

“Are you sure. That’s really a clipper shave. Actually a number zero clipper shave. Is that what you want,” Kate asked seriously.

“What comes after that Kate?” Iris asked laughing again.

“A double zero which is only a thirty second of an inch,” Kate explained.

“Can you get a hold of it if it’s that short,” Iris asked still grinning impishly.

“Maybe just barely with your fingernails,” Kate told her.

“I’ll bet that a triple zero comes after that doesn’t it,” Iris asked still grinning from ear to ear.

“Actually it does. Are you thinking of getting a triple zero clipper shave?” Kate asked a little taken aback.

“What a marvelous idea Kate. Whatever make you think of it. Can you actually do that for me?” Iris asked.

“Absolutely. I most certainly can, if that’s what you truly want,” Kate told her grinning in turn.

“Now isn’t that the most wonderful thing?” Iris said directing her remarks to the other women. “Kate’s going to give me an adorable triple zero clipper shave. Isn’t she just the nicest lady barber you’ve ever met?”

By now, having recovered from their astonishment at what Iris was about to do, the others were in stitches

“She is a marvel, no doubt about it. I would never have thought of such a wonderful idea. She is going to transform you into the most delightful lady angel. Are we allowed to feel it after it’s done. I would like to be the first,” Doris said barely able to keep from bursting into laughter again.

“Oh, but I’m sure Kate will be the first and I would like to be second. I hope you are not too disappointed at having to be third. You are very sweet to ask though,” Iris said a little breathlessly.

“I wonder if the the marvelous Kate will be able to think up equally wonderful ideas for the rest of us? Truly I shouldn’t doubt it all all,” Sammie said grinning almost as broadly as Iris.

Kate had put her battery operated clipper back in its charging stand and took the large black clipper off its hook. She look at the head to verify that it was the triple zero one that she remembered using the day before.

“One delightful lady angel coming right up,” Kate announced.

Kate pushed Iris’s head forward so she could easily get to her nape and ran the clippers up the back to the crown of her head. She made a second and third pass to left and right then continued around to the left. Each pass left only a dark shadow on Iris’s head. Kate continued methodically on the right side then the left. At one point Iris shivered. Kate noted the reaction and put a check mark in her mental list of women who had succumbed to the delightful feeling of a clipper running over her head. Iris continued to smile as Kate brought the clipper to her forehead and ran it back leaving a nearly shaved strip in its wake. A few more passes and she began to run the clipper over Iris’s head a second time, making sure there were no missed spots and that it was cut uniformly to the triple zero specification. When she was satisfied she used her hand to brush off a few clumps of hair that had fallen from the clipper, just as Iris had predicted. She used her brush to remove as much of the tiny stray hairs as she could.

“All done. One beautiful certified lady angel. What do you think ladies,” Kate asked.

They applauded loudly and all started talking at once admiring her daring, telling her how great she looked and what an inspiration she was.

Iris had already started to inspect her new appearance and to feel the slight roughness of her bald head. She noted that there was a definite shadow that betrayed the fact that she actually had hair. She tho
ught that was quite nice, but the feel was indeed delicious.

“Thanks, girls. I do feel a little like a mischievous angel. I don’t know what came over me. Suddenly I wanted it all cut off as close as possible. I don’t think I’ll be able to stop smiling and having shivers go down my spine for quite a while,” Iris said.

“You should shower and shampoo your head when you get home Iris. Otherwise the tiny hairs that stick to your scalp will itch like crazy after a while. Oh, and this is a very important thing that I must tell you. If you do not return every week or less for a clipper shave your new designation and certification as lady angel will automatically expire,” Kate explained with pretended seriousness.

“I’m sure it will look and feel awful if I don’t return quite frequently. Would it be possible for me to do it myself,” Iris asked as she stepped out of the chair.

Of course, Iris. Lots of stores have decent clippers that have a triple zero setting. Just pick one up and give yourself a clipper shave every couple of days. It only takes five minutes. It won’t be quite as good as having a good lady barber do it, but you won’t lose your lady angel status. Just come back whenever you want it done especially nicely,” Kate instructed her.

“Oh, Iris, that’s such a nice feeling,” Doris said as she ran her hand over Iris’s head. “It’s almost irresistible. Makes me want to give you a kiss on the top of your head.”

Putting her word into action, she did exactly that. Now the others crowded around Iris to feel her head and share their feelings about what she had done Finally they settled down enough to hear Kate ask if anyone else was going to get a cut. Sammie and Doris stepped forward simultaneously.

“Whoops,” Sammie exclaimed. “Go ahead Doris. I can wait a little while longer,” Sammie said.

“Anyone as eager as you deserves to be given special treatment Sammie. Go right ahead,” Doris told her.

“Thanks Doris. I guess I am a little eager. You know Jessie and the others did do something special at the meet last weekend. Hal still can’t get over how well they did and some of the people who came were definitely from those swimming clubs that run the top swimming camps. I said I would do something if they did well. They did, so I am,” Sammie said as she sat in the chair. “I need one of your wonderful ideas Kate. Do you have one for me?”

“Can you give me a hint about what you might like. Would you like it just a little shorter than it is now” Would you even consider a clipper shave like Iris?” Kate asked.

“It’s up to you Kate. You said that you wouldn’t give someone a short cut that didn’t look good on them. You gave Iris a clipper shave and that looks good on her, it’s up to you to decide,” Sammie told her firmly.

This was not a completely new experience for Kate, but it was different in that Sammie was the first adult woman with an already short cut to give her carte blanche to do any haircut she thought would look good and that was shorter than the cut she already had. Kate weighed several options. Sammie could carry off a short buzz like the one Iris had gotten two weeks ago. On the other hand she would look good in a much shorter version of the cut she had now. After pondering the options she decided to go for a much shorter version of the semi-flattop brush cut that she had given Sammie the previous time.

“OK Sammie. Here’s the idea that I’ve come up with. It will be a modified flattop with short back and sides. I think the sides should be a a number one all the way up, and the top will be quite short in the middle, no more than an eighth of an inch. The front will be a little longer thought,” Kate said.

“My goodness. She is quite clever isn’t she. I think that is an excellent idea. What do the rest of you think,” Sammie asked.

“I think we’re in a magical barber shop with a wonderful good sorceress as the proprietor,” Rhonda replied.

“That must be it, Rhonda. She has cast a special spell on that barber chair and we end up feeling a marvelous sense of freedom with our super short haircuts,” Iris added.

“Not only that, but they’re the most flattering haircuts we’ve ever had, or at least that’s what my Frank and I think,” Doris said.

Kate laughed. “You flatter me to much. Still I have every intention of being a part of the group if you’ll have me. Gail needs someone to stand behind her.”

The banter stopped abruptly at this declaration.

“Oh Kate, that is such a great and generous thing to do. Gail was just devastated when her Mom left on Saturday and didn’t come on Sunday,” Iris said. “She really needs someone to stand up for her.”

“I’m going to do that every way that I can, but right now I need to take care of Sammie who’s waiting patiently in my chair. Here goes Sammie.” Kate said as she began clippering the top with a number three guide.

In short order Sammie had a three eighths inch buzz. Kate adjusted her clipper to the one eighth of an inch setting and starting in front of her right ear immediately began to run it up the right side of Sammie’s head to the curve, where she continued her path upward as the clipper came away from Sammie’s head. This process was continued over her ear and around the back where Kate went progressively higher toward the middle. Moving to the left side she repeated the process. She would return later to make final adjustments, but now she needed to complete the top as she had explained it. Taking up a comb and adjusting her clipper to its closest setting she began cutting the top straight across from right to left as she moved the comb back. About two inches from the front it rested firmly on Sammie’s head as she sheared off the protruding hair. She continued in this manner over the crown. She continued with comb and clipper adjusting the sides and top so that the transition from the flattened top to the sides was a little less severe. Toward the back she progressively reduced the length to match the one eight of an inch that was featured there. Using a thinner comb she blended the middle of the top near the back to the eighth of an inch of the upper back. In the front she made a small adjustment. The last step was to use her edger to make a short fade at the hairline on the sides and a higher one in the back where she shaved upward nearly half an inch before blending with the short hair above. Sammie had a definite landing strip on the top of her head if you viewed it from above, but it was not visible from the sides, The back and sides were very close but not shaved. Kate added some gel to the front which she brushed vigorously to make it stand to attention. It was a dramatic look for Sammie and her red hair.

“There you go Sammie. That’s a nice look for you. It’s quite short, but it suits you beautifully,” Kate told her as she turned her toward the mirror.

“It’s wonderful Sammie. You look absolutely darling,” Rhonda interjected.

“I agree completely. I knew you would look great with it shorter,” Iris interjected.

“You don’t have to convince me. I just wanted to savor it. I do look quite the bold redhead don’t I. I’m quite delighted with it. Hal will have interesting positive things to say about it too,” Sammie said with a bit of a smirk. “As usual Kate, you did an outstanding job. It is quite remarkable how these super short cuts grow on a person so quickly. I actually look forward to getting it in shape in the morning. It’s so easy and looks so good in just a couple of minutes.”

“I’m very happy you like it Sammie. I certainly would have been chagrined if you had thought I had not done it right after you gave me such a free hand, Kate responded.

“We never had a doubt Kate,” Doris said. “Rhonda, you can go next if you like. You’ve been itching to enjoy the feeling for two weeks haven’t you?”

“I have. I haven’t been able to pass a mirror or even a windowpane without looking at myself. I can hardly imagine myself with long hair again. Tim was shocked at first
, but he got over it quickly and now he loves it like this. He explained all the wonderful things he wanted to do with me now that I have so much extra free time,” Rhonda said with a twinkle in her eye.

Rhonda had already settled herself in the chair and Kate had fastened a strip of paper and the cape securely around her neck. “I don’t think I could devise a style that would be more flattering for you Rhonda, so is there anything different that you would like me to do, other than simply return it to where it was two weeks ago. It has grown out alarming long in those two weeks,” Kate joked.

“It certainly had. No doubt about it Kate. It has grown out and I think you should cut it a tiny bit shorter that you did the last time, just so I can see how well I like it like that. I don’t think I’m bold enough to do what Iris did though,” Rhonda told her. “But Bridget got hers cut much shorter than mine and she did have an extraordinary performance last Sunday, so I think I’d better take a little step.”

“Well it’s a little difficult to cut it just a tiny bit….” Kate’s voice trailed off as a thought suddenly flashed on in her head. “Of course. How silly of me. I can do exactly what you want. I gave you a three eighths inch buzz the last time. I can do it just a sixteenth of an inch shorter this time. I don’t know why I’ve never thought to do that before,” Kate told her a little chagrined.

“That sounds like just exactly what I want,” Rhonda confirmed her decision.

“Good. I’ll get right to it,” Kate told her as she adjusted her battery operated clipper to the one sixteenth setting and then snapped on a number two guide. That made it five sixteenths of an inch rather than the three eighths she had used previously. She put two clips on the whiff to secure it and make sure she didn’t accidentally cut it, then began to run the clipper over Rhonda head. She did the mental arithmetic and realized she was going to reduce Rhonda hair to approximately half it present length. She worked quickly, but not too quickly so that Rhonda would have a chance to savor the experience. The top was nearly done and Kate made a few more passes to be sure it was even and nothing had been missed. Satisfied with the result, she replaced the number two guide with a number one mentally noting that the combination was the same as a number one and a half with her clipper adjusted to its closest setting. Just as she had done previously she pushed the clipper up to the place where the curve to the top began, but continued up rather than following the curve. The result was a well calculated taper between the two lengths. She continued around to the back and then moved to the left side. A few more passes and she had completed the circuit. Now she removed the guide and adjusted the clipper to its one eighth of an inch setting. Just as she had done before she went up about an inch on the sides and two inches in the back. As she did the back she noted that Rhonda had taken a deep breath, held it momentarily, and let it out slowly. Rhonda had reacted to the feel of clippers on her nape. Kate added another check mark to her mental list. The next step was to blend the three lengths to perfection which Kate began doing using scissors and comb. Ten minutes of meticulous cutting later she released the whiff from it confinement and trimmed it judiciously as well as tapering the little section just behind it to blend with the top. Finally she used her edging clipper to trim around the ears and do a little fade for the sideburns and at the bottom of the nape and to clean up any stray hairs lower down on the neck. She inspected the cut and made some snips here and there to catch a few hairs that somehow had escaped the clipper and scissors. The last step was to add a little gel to the whiff and comb it back and to the side.

“There! It’s done, and you look absolutely splendid Rhonda,” Kate declared as she rotated her to face the mirror.

“Rhonda looked at herself. It’s amazing Kate. I can hardly believe that cutting my hair off like this could make me feel so good about myself. I wonder if I should get a weekly trim. I like it this way and in two weeks it seems to grow out too much,” Rhonda complained.

“I’ll say this,” Sammie said, “when we go out together, the rest of us are going to be practically invisible. Everyone is going to be riveted on you Rhonda.”

“I certainly agree. Even being practically bald isn’t going to get me any attention standing beside you Rhonda,” Iris added.

“I can’t argue with that, but who cares. I’ve never had girlfriends that I’ve felt as close to as I do you three, four counting Kate. And of course Paula and Abby are part of our group too. They’re both terrific women that I would like to know better,” Doris added.

“That’s right. All seven of us should figure out some things we can do together on a Sunday. There must be some activity that we’d all like. The guys go play golf. We ought to figure out something for ourselves” Sammie said.

“There are a lot of activities around her. I’ll compile all the things each of you thinks you might like doing other than getting your hair cut and we can go from there,” Iris offered.

“Great idea Iris. Meantime I’d better get my hair cut,” Doris said as she sat down in Kate’s barber chair.

“Do you have anything special in mind Doris,” Kate asked.

“I like Rhonda’s idea. Do mine the same way, that is, make it a tiny bit shorter than the last time. Can you do that?” Doris asked.

“Sure can, now that I’ve figured out the obvious. Do you know what I did the last time?”
Kate asked.

“Yes I do. I wrote it down just the way you told me. Here’s the paper,” Doris said as she handed her a folded bit of paper.

“Perfect. I’ll have it done in a jiffy,” Kate said. She turned to the two other customers who had arrived in the last half an hour. “I’ve be done here in about twenty minutes. I hope that’s not too long.”

They both demurred and Kate began buzzing Doris’ head, cutting it exactly one sixteenth of an inch shorter than she had done it the first time. True to her promise she was done in a jiffy if you accept that twenty minutes is a jiffy. The method was essentially identical to the one she had used with Rhonda. The only difference was that instead of a whiff she had a few strands of a fringe.

“Done!” Kate exclaimed as she brushed off Doris’ neck and forehead and turned her to face the mirror.

“My goodness, that does look much better. I had forgotten how much better I looked after my first cut. Now I remember. It’s true Rhonda, it grows out too much in just two weeks,” Doris laughed. “Goodness, I hope we find some activities other than coming to Kate’s shop for haircuts, although that is beginning to feel like a really nice weekly activity.”

Five minutes later, having paid Kate, four women, one clipper shaved, and three with short buzz cuts, waltzed out of Kate’s Barbershop and sauntered down Melrose Street arm in arm, chatting and laughing as though it was the most normal thing in the world.

To be continued in Part 25.

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