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Just out of the corner of his eye he saw a flash of beauty. His nostrils picked up on the faint aroma of something tantalising – alluring. His ears pricked at the faint tap-tap of a pair of heels clicking against the hard wood floor of the coffee house. Momentarily distracted from buying his usual after-work latte, David turned around to try and catch a glimpse of the source of these emotions. He was too late. He just managed to catch sight of a female figure disappearing from view through the door of the coffee shop. David apologised to the barista behind the polished counter and hurriedly left.

Out on the street he gazed feverishly up and down trying to see where she might have disappeared to. Across the street he saw a young woman disappearing into a waiting taxi and then disappearing rapidly into the busy traffic of the city. David cursed inwardly – so near and yet so far. He trudged back to the coffee house with a heavy heart. He stood in line once more to purchase his latte.

He suddenly became aware of a presence behind him and then that aroma arose once more into his nostrils. It can’t be he thought. He turned slowly and then stopped, stunned. She was probably about 2 inches taller than he was and he would guess perhaps around the age of 25. Her skin was radiant and it was only enhanced by what was clearly a very skilful application of complimentary make-up. She was dressed all in black from head to toe. A black shiny T-shirt clung to her upper body emphasising every curve of her young body. He wasn’t sure but he guessed it was made from latex or leather. Her long, slim legs were nearly fully exposed by a flared black skirt that seemed to shift and shimmer around her upper thighs as though possessed of a life of its own. He could smell the leather of the skirt – soft, sensual. Her feet were encased in a pair of black high heels which had been polished to a high sheen.

But most entrancing of all was her hair. Jet black hair in colour it had been clearly the object of much care and attention as it shone in the harsh lighting of the coffee house.  It hung like a heavy velvet curtain all the way down to the waist band of her mini-skirt. A heavy fringe covered most of her forehead and served to accentuate the beauty of her pale complexion and delicate features.

“Aren’t you going to buy me a drink?” she asked.

David stuttered, caught off guard by her presence and embarrassed at what must have been his very obvious appraisal of her beauty.      

“Err…what would you like?” he almost whispered.

Her smoky eyes scanned the offerings available, her tongue lightly caressing her bottom lip as she concentrated.  

“Maybe something a little stronger” she murmured.

David looked puzzled for a moment but then she reached down, took his hand firmly, and led him out of the coffee shop and down the street. A few yards later and they arrived at a small bar. She took him inside and from that moment on time just seemed to become unimportant.

He hardly touched the drink she had bought as he listened intently to her every word. He felt unable to stop himself from gazing at her beauty as she chatted away. He wasn’t sure why but there was just something about this woman, a connection perhaps, but just something that drew him to her.  Suddenly he became aware that the conversation had stopped and she was looking at him expectedly.

“Well”, she asked again, “shall we do that”.

Embarrassed at being caught not listening he panicked for a moment, his mind racing trying to work out what she had just asked.

“That’s fine with me”, he blurted out.

The girl stood up and started to walk towards the exit of the bar. David hurriedly followed after her, wondering as he did so just what he had agreed to. They walked down a couple of streets before turning abruptly into a side street. She stopped before a glass door set back slightly from the street and unlocked it. David paused as she went into the building, unsure whether he should go in.

“Are you coming in?” she asked.

He meekly stepped into the building and then followed her up the steep staircase that lay behind the door. The mini-skirt twisted and turned around her young thighs as she ascended in front of him. The taut muscles of her calves flexed with each step that she climbed and he knew that she had him. At the top of the flight of stairs she paused momentarily to unlock a second door and motioned for David to go into the room beyond.

It was quite dark in the room and he paused as he waited for his eyes to adjust to the gloom. He heard the door close behind him and then the unmistakeable sound of a key being turned in the lock. Suddenly the room was flooded with harsh fluorescent light as a switch was clocked. After a moment his eyes adjusted and he started to take in the scene before him.

The room was decorated in a monochrome colour scheme of black and white.  Except it wasn’t just a room. It was a hair salon. To be more precise a barber shop. The room was dominated by a large traditional barber’s chair – shiny black leather, sparkling chrome – its padded arms seeming to reach out towards him, almost beckoning to him to take a seat. In front of the chair was a large full-length mirror. On the wall behind the chair was a selection of hair capes in a variety of colours and materials. On either side of the chair was a low metal trolley, each of which contained a number of hairdressing tools. On one side was a selection of combs, brushes, scissors, and even a couple of old-fashioned cut-throat razors. On the other side the trolley held a number of hair clippers. He recognised the familiar names – Wahl and Oster.

“I think you should take a seat in my chair, don’t you?” she instructed.

“I’m sorry I think there has been a misunderstanding here, I really don’t need a haircut” David almost whispered.

“But in the bar you promised that if I paid for your drink you would pay me back”.

Now it became clear to David what he had missed in the bar in the conversation. But surely he would just clear up any confusion and then be on his way – wouldn’t he?

“Well, I’m waiting” she said, walking towards the chair.

He hesitated. He felt caught between two emotions. He never liked having his hair cut it was just one of those things in life one had to put up with. He hated the loss of control he always felt once sat in a barber’s chair. He hated the sense of losing his will as his body was encased beneath the silky prison of a barber’s cape.    

“You did promise to pay me back and this is precisely the time and place where you pay the price – sit!”

Meekly David edged towards the chair and gingerly lowered himself onto the cool black leather seat. He felt very small in the chair and nervously rested his hands on the arms of the chair. Suddenly he was jerked backwards and forwards as his captor began to pump the metal pedal attached to the chair so that it slowly rose into the chair. When she stopped raising the chair his feet were left dangling in the air almost as if he were only a child seated in a man’s chair.

In the mirror’s reflection he watched as walked to the rear wall to retrieve one of the many capes hanging on the wall. Her heels tapped out a sensual rhythm on the shiny black tiles of the barber shop’s floor. She paused momentarily before selecting one of the capes – a scarlet cape that shimmered in the lights of the room. With a flourish she flung the cape out into the air and let it settle gently over his seated body. The heavy satin of the cape moulded itself to the contours of his body. It felt cool to the touch. Cool and constricting. The collar of the cutting cape was then pulled tightly around his neck. Not tight enough not be uncomfortable but tight enough to let him know it was around his neck.

She stood behind him and raked her long nails through his hair.

“It was a big drink that I bought for you, so it’s going to have to be a big haircut to pay me back” she hissed.    

David swallowed nervously. Never a fan of haircuts, as an adult he always tended to opt for salons rather than barber shops. He preferred the frequent, if not that short, cuts he received there and being spared the harsh results usually inflicted by a pair hair clippers.

“Just a trim, please” he almost whispered.

She laughed harshly, “Oh I think we can do a lot better than that”.

Karen pulled the trolley with the array of clippers closer to her and let her slim fingers wander over the various implements. He forced himself not to glance down and watch her deliberations over which clippers would shortly be running over his hair. With a faint smile playing across her mouth she settled for the red and black of the Wahl clippers – Wahl Balding clippers. They were aptly named for they stripped hair from a client’s head with a quite ruthless efficiency to leave nothing but bare skin.

David felt a firm hand pressed against the back of his hand and submissively and obediently dropped his chin towards his chest.  But the pressure continued and so he dropped his head further forward until it touched the shiny cape. Only then did the pressure release. He waited. Head down. Expectant. Nervous. What was she waiting for? Then he jumped as the clippers burst into life and he felt the first cold, hard touch of the merciless blades at the nape of his neck.

He felt the clippers begin their ascent of the back of his head, trying to guess what carnage was now being inflicted upon his hair. Hidden from view he could only imagine just how short his still nameless barberette was cutting his hair. It certainly felt strange on the back of his head where the clippers had been and he couldn’t put his finger on why. A glance down and he saw chunks of hair falling into his lap, slide down the cape and then drop silently to the floor tiles. His hair had not been exactly long before she had started cutting but, the amount of hair now being stripped from his head and dropping to the cape, caused a cold sweat to break out on his forehead.

“I hope you’re not cutting it too short” he mumbled.

Karen stifled a laugh as she continued to steer the clippers on their remorseless mission. As an experienced barber she was still surprised at just how close these clippers would shave the hair – shave being the operative word. She pondered about just how short she was going to take her latest victim. A high and tight or a bald fade or maybe even a complete head shave? Personally she always felt that in some ways a bald fade had more of an “impact” than a shaved head. The stark contrast between the bare scalp and buzzed hair above it held a strong appeal. She also liked that once she had cut a fade on a new victim they either had to put up with this contrast until it grew out, or take the plunge and have it all shaved off. Meaning that one cut sometimes actually meant two if they opted to have it all taken off themselves.

With each passing moment David’s feelings of dread and panic rose as he felt the clippers slowly but surely climbing higher and higher up the back of his head. Bizarrely he was sure he could now feel a cool breeze on his scalp but how could that be? Surely that would only be possible if she was…..The realisation suddenly hit home with ice cold clarity. She wasn’t just cutting his hair – she was shaving his hair!

She stepped back for a moment surveying with pleasure the pale skin which had now been exposed on the back of his head. Knowing that she had to leave her mark in case he never came back – did they ever come back for a second cut? – Karen had opted for a full or high bald fade. The razor sharp blades of the clippers had therefore been allowed to shave his hair a good 2 inches above the tops of his ears. With her free hand she stroked her fingers across the newly shorn skin making sure that not even a single hair, or even remnant of hair, remained.

Satisfied that most of the back of his head was now truly totally free of hair, Karen stepped around to the side. Placing a hand on the top of his head she raised his chin and then, once straightened, she moved his head firmly over to one side. She kept her hand on his head so that there was no chance of any escape from this brutal shearing.

David’s relief as he was finally allowed to raise his head and the clippers stopped was short-lived. His torturer roughly moved his head over to the side now and the clippers burst into life once more. Once more he felt the sharp blades, now almost hot from their hard work on the back of his head, pressed against the side of his head. He could just about see his reflection now and with growing horror he could begin to see unfolding before him just how short and severely his hair was being cut.

He felt helpless as he watched his hair being ruthlessly stripped from the side of his head. The efficiency of these clippers was almost hypnotic and felt somehow compelled to watch as the haircut progressed. In perhaps less than two minutes, most of the hair that used to be on the side of his head, now lay in clumps on the floor of the salon. Without pausing Karen moved around to the other side of the chair to repeat the process. David stared at the floor almost in a state of shock.    

Karen finally switched off her clippers and put them back onto the steel trolley. She retrieved a small hand brush which she began to sweep briskly and none too softly across the now shaved back and sides of David’s head. Satisfied that
no traces of hair remained, she picked up a second pair of clippers, attached a number 2 comb and then began swiftly reducing what hair was left down to a uniform half an inch. David, all resistance gone, almost slumped in the chair as the haircut approached what he hoped was the final stage. He couldn’t wait to be gone from this experience and to hurry home and survey what was left of his hair in the mirror at home.

The clippers were silenced once more and returned to the trolley. She straightened and then began running her fingers over the newly shaved skin. A flicker of annoyance crossed her lips as they encountered the slightest trace of stubble. She reached down to the bottom tray on one of the trolleys and retrieved a small canister of shaving gel. She squirted a small ball of gel onto one hand and then worked the gel into a rich, creamy lather. Karen then started the lather along both sides of his head and also across the back of his head. Satisfied that the entire bared scalp had been covered, she wiped her hands on a small towel and then picked up the cut-throat razor.

David sat very still in the chair dreading what was about to happen. With great precision she pulled the skin one side of his head taut and then began to stroke the razor against the grain for the closest possible shave. Concentration furrowed her brow as she worked the razor against his skin. There was something deeply satisfying about a razor shave, as close as the clippers went nothing beat a proper shave she thought. The tone of the razor against his scalp changed slightly as the tiny traces of hair were removed to leave just pale, naked skin.

After twenty minutes of razor work the task was complete. Karen collected a hand towel and vigorously rubbed it over the white skin. Dropping the towel into a small linen basket, she turned back for a final close inspection of her handiwork. The brutal contrast between the shaved skin and the buzzed hair was perfect. The harsh line the razor had carved stood out clearly – this was not a haircut that would disappear quickly, leaving its mark for some weeks to come. She untied the cape and removed the silky cover from her newest conquest.

“You can go” she instructed.

David stood up slowly, his legs unsteady beneath him. He went to speak but Karen just stood silently holding the door open and indicating for him to leave. Shoulders bowed and spirit broken he trudged down the staircase and out into the outside world once more. The wind felt cold against the freshly shorn skin. Each shop window he walked past he couldn’t help stealing a glance at his radically altered appearance. That was one hell of an expensive drink he thought.

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