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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2203150
807 words, written for the Writer's Cramp prompt. October 14 - Be Bald And Be Free Day
Bald And Free

There was already a pretty big crowd gathered outside the barber shop. The poster took up almost the entire window.


October 14th.

Most of the people queuing were guys. Trish estimated they were anything from between sixteen and sixty years of age. There were only a few girls, ones that already had short hair-styles. Only a single guy had hair anywhere close to the length of her own.

"Oh, I don't know..." she said, fingering the auburn hair that reached almost to her waist.

"You can't chicken out now, Trish," her sister Debbie said.

"Yeah, it's alright for you to say that," Trish replied.

Kevin put his arm around Debbie's shoulder. "You've had all that sponsorship. If you don't do it, you won't get a cent!"

"Well, why don't you do it! You could take my place."

Before she had even finished her sentence, Kevin was shaking his head. "Look around you, Trish. What do you see?"

Trish looked.

"You see a crowd of guys, at least fifty of them. That's just here, at this barbershop. Do you really think anyone would pay me to go bald?"

Kevin had made a valid point. If she was going to raise the money to adopt that dog she was going to have to go through with it. Reluctantly, she joined the queue.

It didn't move very quickly. Trish, Debbie and Kevin had plenty of time to watch the newly shorn and shaved leave the building. Most seemed happy and there were a good few thumbs up exchanged; Trish guessed she wasn't the only one to feel nervous and unsure of her decision. She tried hard to stop her mind from wandering back to thoughts of the high ponytails, the complicated plaits and buns that she'd favoured.

It didn't matter, she told herself. It was only a haircut. A severe one, maybe, but it would grow back. Didn't they say cutting made hair stronger? Trish wondered if that applied to having the whole lot removed.

Why did it have to take so long? She was being given too much time to have second thoughts, but finally she was inside the barber shop. Only four guys were in front of her, including the one with the long hair.

Unable to stop herself, she stared as the barber took hold of handfuls of the guy's hair, chopped at it with scissors and let it fall to the floor. It was ridiculous; she'd never set eyes on him before, but still she felt a tear trickle down her cheek. He moved in to the next seat and there was the buzz of the electric shaver that left not even the shadow of stubble.

As he stood to leave, the barber with the razor slapped him on the back. "Well done, mate. Don't look so sad, it'll grow back again... give it a few years!"

Trish's eyes met his as he walked towards the door. He did look sad, almost disbelieving. If she'd not seen the transformation herself she would never have recognized him.

Trish was now at the front of the queue. If she was not going to go ahead with it, she had to move fast. Images of the doberman flicked through her mind. Her hair for his life? There was no choice to be made.

She took her seat. "You sure, love?" the barber asked, scissors in hand.

Trish nodded, tried to look away from those thick auburn tresses that fell on to the tiles. Was it her imagination or had a hush descended? She would not look in the window, or the mirror, as she moved on to the next seat. "Good on yer, girl," said the guy with the razor, breaking the silence before he set it buzzing, removing the final traces of her hair.{/linespace
Kevin and Debbie did a double-take as she joined them outside.

"You really did it," Kevin said, then began to laugh.

He was silenced by a jab in the ribs from Debbie's elbow. "Let's have a look at you then. You are really pretty, Trish. Now that your hair isn't stealing all the attention I can actually see what you look like. It... it suits you. Doesn't it Kevin?"

He nodded. "Yeah, it's kind of cool. So what are you going to do now that you're bald and free?"

Trish took a deep breath. She'd done it, she really had. "First, I'm going to celebrate not having to wash my hair every day." She smiled at Debbie. "Then I'm going to get a tattoo. And then," she gave a whoop, "I'm going to the dog pound and gonna get me a dog!"

"And then?" asked Debbie.

"Then I'm going to go home and face my parents!"

"And I'm going to record every moment," Debbie said, waving her phone towards her sister.

(809 words)

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