Her mood matched the day. Gray, flat light filtered in through the sheer curtains of her childhood bedroom as Sue knelt in the closet, going through box after box of memories on a Saturday afternoon. Pictures in one. Old barrettes and bows from the teenage years when her blonde hair swished about her shoulders in another. Notes from Mike, the boy she dated her junior year in college in a third. She smiled reading one, unusually kind and thoughtful for a boy she’d left behind in her small Ohio town. Now she’d returned, something that had become increasingly infrequent in her late twenties as her jet- setting job and her lifestyle divorced her from that past. But this visit would be her last to this house. Mom decided that with her father dead it had become too empty and too expensive at tax time. The closing scheduled for next Thursday would remove forever this foundation of her childhood. And though she rarely returned to the pale yellow sided house, Sue found this last visit surprisingly bittersweet.
She lingered over the box with Mike’s notes. Then decided he was a part of her past that no longer fit into the present. And threw it with a thump into the large garbage can in the room’s center. Time to open up another piece of the past. Kneeling down, she wondered about the Tiparillo cigar box bound by a rubber band and stuffed back in the corner. Hesitantly, she picked it up, thinking it didn’t look like anything she’d stored. The dull hardened rubber band snapped as she tried to twist it off. She levered the lid back, finding an old set of haircutting implements. Scissors, a big toothed comb, a slender comb with teeth increasingly fine at one end, a pair of black Oster electric clippers and four white plastic attachments. She smiled. Mom’s bargain barber set. The one she used on her brother Timmy when times were tight – or when summer vacation had arrived and she ordered him to sit for the hot-weather shearing. Sue remembered how he perched on the edge of the straight-backed chair, a good, disciplined son silently enduring the humiliation of those cuts, cheap but brutal. How after them he was the epitome of the little boy, his part perfect and his ears standing out so stunningly from his head. Her father ribbing him relentlessly about his brand new whitewalls. Returning from the past to the present, she turned to toss the set. Certainly Tim, with his stylish long curls, had no use for them as a adult. But then she thought again. And walked over and set the cigar box with the other items she planned to load into her car for the drive home. What the heck, she thought, if they work maybe I can use them to do a little trimming here and there.
July in Columbus ushered in heat and humidity that surprised newcomers. Sue, a native, just made the best of it. Outside and inside. So she was glad this was a Saturday night when she and Monica played one of their dress-up games. Tonight that meant a chilled bottle of white from Rhone and nothing but silk against their skin, specifically lingerie. They had amassed quite a collection thanks to the employee discount Sue earned when she worked for six months as the shipping department’s computer consultant at the world headquarters of Victoria’s Secret, a couple of miles north of the downtown.
Sue – having slid into a simple red slip with spaghetti straps and some black lace detailing – walked into the bathroom to find Monica leaning towards the mirror, finishing her face. Typically, Monica had gone all the way, opting for a pair of sheer black hose held in place by a garter belt that matched her deep purple silk panties and lace push-up bra. It was a more femme version of a getup she favored when they played one of their other games, a little B&D; that often found Monica taking the lead. “Mistress and Master Monica,” Sue would call her those nights. They had been together for more than two years, ever since Sue spotted Monica’s smoldering Mediterranean eyes in the clothing shop downtown, fingering through some black silk bras. Their eyes met, then each turned away before coming back to nervously start some small talk about the impossibility of finding a bra that fit well, especially since manufacturers for some silly reason though both sides were created equal. They giggled like little girls over the topic. A blonde and a brunette. Sue, the computer consultant, and Monica, the air traffic controller, two career women flirting nervously. They tried on the bras, bought two each then walked out together. It was Sue who suggested they get a cup of coffee at the Seattle-style shop next door. Coffee led to a quiet dinner that night. Then movies, concerts and eventually a shared apartment. Both were fiercely independent though. Monica, it turned out, the darker both in looks and outlook. And Sue the gentler of the two, the one more likely to inject quick wit or steer them out of the rut that threatens all couples. Monica wasn’t afraid to flaunt her thick, cascading hair, curves aplenty and stylish dress. Sue caught the eyes of both men and women, too, with her bleached blonde sexy semi-crop, long slender body and confident, flirting social graces. So they could get away with public affection that might otherwise earn reproachful stares. Each had tried men, in high school and college, and now that they had grown past them and ever closer to each other over the months, they were able to talk about the choice they had made and enjoy exploring it.
Now, in the bathroom, Monica finished putting on her lipstick and reached for a tissue, finding the box empty. “There’s more under the sink,” Sue indicated and Monica reached down to open the cabinet. “Hey,” she said pulling out the cigar box, “What’s this?” Before Sue could answer Monica had the lid open and was holding the black clippers, their steel teeth gleaming in the mirror’s make-up lights. Sue had forgotten dumping the box with mom’s old barber set under the sink back in the spring.
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But she saw a leer cross Monica’s face as her mate plugged in the cord. “Hmmm, imagine how THESE might be used,” Monica said coyly as she flipped the switch. The hum. Sue remembered that droning call from summer Saturday afternoons standing in the kitchen watching her brother, his head down as her mother worked over him. The dark sound and the memory of its execution startled her. She stirred. With just a flick, she realized, these clippers could plow a whitewall just as it had two decades ago. Monica, meanwhile, was enjoying herself. “Feels – and sounds – almost like one of our toys, Susie,” she cackled waving the black clippers closer, the cord snaking behind her hand.
“Wonder what they’d do down there,” Monica teased, pressing the clippers against the inner thigh of Sue’s right leg.
Sue, wearing only the red slip and nothing else, jumped. “Hey lady,” she giggled, “watch the short and curlies!”
They were smiling at each other now though Sue’s gleaming pearly whites also hid a real fear. She remembered, oh how she remembered the shearings. And how they scared her, but also intrigued her. How she’d not quite be able to allow her curiosity to overcome her fear. How she’d only watched briefly those summer afternoons before leaving her brother to his humiliation at her mother’s hands. Her fear made her act now, reaching down and taking the clippers from Monica’s firm grip.
“Hmm, maybe,” Sue said, “someday. But that’s not what these are for. I remember Mom using them on Tim. They’re for back here…” she giggled devilishly.
Suddenly, she reached behind Monica with her left hand, pulling a fistful of hair up, exposing her nape and in the same motion whirling the clippers past Monica’s ear to the base of her nape. Monica resisted, then relaxed, slumping back against the grip. An unfortunate bit of trust. Because it brought her neck back closer to Sue. And closer to the still-humming clippers. There was a rasp, then a tickle on Monica’s neck that slid down her back. Both women gasped.
“Ohhh,” was all Sue could muster, suddenly sick, adrenaline racing her heart.
“Whaaat,” Monica softly wailed reaching back with her hand. “What did you do?”
Her tone was angry. Her hand scrabbling over her neck, feeling for the spot, the injury. Sue could have steered her right to it. But she was frozen with horror. There, in the middle of Monica’s neck, just under the bump on the back of her head and right at the hairline was a white slash. Her fingers found it sympathetically about the same time Monica’s got there. They explored it together, Sue gently rubbing like a believer on a genie’s bottle hoping her wish to bring back the hair would come true. Monica like a new recruit who still can’t believe the swift shearing.
“I’m soooo sorry,” Sue stammered. “I was just trying to…”
“I know,” Monica said, “I know.” She seemed oddly calm. A minute ago she had been on the verge of tears. But now a serenity came over her. She was trained, of course, to handle tough situations. But this seemed different.
“Well, you know,” Sue said trying to lighten the mood, “I always said I hated those fuzzies on your nape in my mouth. So I’ve just removed some of them.”
“Yes,” Monica paused. “You have.” Her look told Sue she wasn’t going to get off that easy. But Sue persisted.
“Sit down over by the dresser,” she said, “let me see what I can do. Maybe I can straighten it out. Make it so nobody will notice…much.”
Monica was not convinced. But there wasn’t much else she could do now and she unplugged the clippers, still in Sue’s hand then followed her into the bedroom. Monica sat, still touching back there, feeling the damage.
“How about I just straighten out the line? Take care of those little hairs? Make you all neat and clean?” Sue offered.
She reached a reassuring hand up to Monica’s bald spot, caressing and then planting little kisses along her shoulder. Monica said nothing. Sue plugged in the clippers. She moved to pick up a brush and ran it through Monica’s cascading curls, then separated much of the hair away from the nape into a ponytail. Monica sat, unmoved. Sue couldn’t tell if she was angry or just resigned. Pulling the ponytail playfully Sue giggled “Now I have you,” she joked. And she guided Monica’s head forward, forcing her chin on her chest. “Assume the position recruit” she snapped. And with the command an unaccustomed sense of authority coursed through her.
“OK,” Monica said solemnly, though Sue thought she spotted a leer, “I’m all yours sarge.”
Sue took the clippers and bracing her left hand on Monica’s nape set them on the hairline behind the right ear. But then, rather than just nibble at the hair to the right of that white slash, she plowed them into the dark tresses, letting them run up about even with the ear. She said nothing. Just brought them down and ran them up again, unveiling one white swath after another. Three-foot waves of hair tickled down the back of Monica who started.
“What are you…I thought you were just..” She seemed too stunned to complete the questions.
Sue kept clipping, creating a block of stubbled white, a Mondrian-like contrast to the dark hair above. She had gone so far towards the crown that some of the shorn hair still stuck in the ponytail band. This was what she’d seen her mother do to Tim those summer Saturdays. And now she had indulged this hidden need, a need that ambushed her seconds before she indulged it.
Monica felt a coolness on her neck that was at first thrilling. And unaccustomed. She wondered…. But the wine had slowed her thinking and she trusted Sue. Just a neatening. Sue finished, barely able to contain a grin. It was much more than a neatening. The line of shaved scalp extended a good three inches above the hair line.
“Oooh, Mon, I’m sorry. I don’t know what got into me,” she said, gently caressing the bare, gleaming scalp. As she did so, her actions became clear to Monica.
“What the hell…You bitch. Why did you..” Monica’s recriminations were furious and tears formed at the corners of those deep brown eyes that first entranced Sue. “How could you?”
With Monica sobbing, Sue hugged her tight, kneeling in front of the chair. Softly, she spread kisses all over Monica’s cheeks, slowly finding herself drawn to that nape. With the caresses, she felt Monica warm underneath her and as she started concentrating on the neck, Monica slid a hand up under her slip.
“I should kill you,” Monica whispered, “not make love to you.” Their hands moved slowly over each other, coming back again and again to Monica’s razored, raw, exposed skin. Slowly, almost akin to the first time they had touched, they explored each other, eventually moving to the nearby bed.
The next morning Monica joked that “I ought to shave your blonde head bald and parade you downtown” but it was clear she found something enticing in her strange haircut. She took to wearing a ponytail around the apartment, the very availability of her long Audrey Hepburn-neck a constant flirting with Sue who found herself drawn to the lure. Nuzzling Monica’s nape became the starting point for their lovemaking over the next few weeks. And Monica never again showed anything but pleasure at the sacrifice of her curls.
Away from home, Monica wore her hair down. It was so long and thick that only if the wind blew hard could anyone notice a difference. In public, as they walked or sat, Sue would reach up under Monica’s waterfall of curls to massage her barren neck, a gentle little secret they shared with a knowing smile. Sometimes the stroking got them both so hot it became a game to see who would give in and be the first to suggest they head home.
One night they went to a baseball game for the local minor league team, which Sue noted with delight were called the Clippers. After a couple of beers and some bad hot dogs, Sue reached around with her right hand and used her fingertips to run softly up and down Monica’s neck. The shave had grown into a velvety cushion, like the soft side of a velcro fastener, and the thrill of such a public bit of foreplay sent shudders through Monica. They left in the sixth inning and considered parking the car on a dark street on the way home. Instead, they raced into the apartment, tearing at each other, hands and tongues dancing.
One Saturday in late August when Sue suggested they go out to dinner, Monica sharply answered “No! Let’s, uh, stay home and play tonight,” she said, her eyes practically twinkling with sexual energy.
Sue knew just what that meant. Monica wanted to dress up and play with some of her tools, the velcro cuffs, and the low-humming little toys they had collected like spoiled little children over the last six months.
“Oh, I guess that would be fun,” Sue answered, feigning indifference, her heart racing. Though Monica most often assumed command, theirs was a more complex relationship with the power switching back and forth. Some of their most freewheeling, utterly abandoned nights of lovemaking, Sue thought, had come with her at the controls – or, in the other view, when Monica had ceded the power. This evening started, as always, with the costuming and then a fine meal, sitting across from each other at the dining room table. This was a ritual, after all, and part of the fun of rituals is their comfort. How Sue and Monica deviated from the familiar script gave the evening its tension, its uncertainty. An uncertainty that – at first secretly – and later quite openly thrilled them both. Sue chose the wine – a refreshing bubbly red from Italy that was rare to find here in the heartland – and they both pitched in on the meal of salmon with dill sauce, wild rice and salads. After dinner, they moved to the couch where Monica ordered Sue to fetch her a Scotch. Monica had the black outfit on, a stretch lace bustier with half cups, leaving her nipples shining like brilliant tan buttons, black lace panties, fishnet hose and garter belt and black leather pumps. Her hair, of course, was pulled back high on her head, showing off the soft five o’clock stubble. Sue had gone “formal” as they joked when she appeared from the bedroom, modeling a black lace bodysuit with high cut legs and a thong back. Sue came back from the dining room with the Scotch and handed it to Monica, who sipped.
“My dear,” Monica said, “kiss me here. Now. Hands behind your back.”
It was starting and hearing Monica’s authoritative yet warm voice, Sue wasn’t sure she could go through with it.
“Yes, yes,” Monica whispered as Sue ran her tongue along the edge of the bustier. “You will be mine tonight. And I shall have all you can offer.”
Sue felt herself warm, but just as she did, Monica commanded “Stop!” Monica forced Sue back from the couch and onto her knees, hands first on her shoulder then grabbing a fistful of Sue’s blonde hair. “Slowly,” Monica said, reaching over to the end table and opening a drawer. That meant the cuffs for Sue. As Monica looked away, Sue struggled free, grabbing the ponytail. Her quickness surprised Monica. The two wrestled.
“Going to make it hard tonight,” Monica said, stifling a laugh.
Suddenly, the roles were reversed. Sue gripped Monica tightly. Determination creased her lips.
“Well, ok, have your fun,” Monica said, relaxing a little in Sue’s grip. Perhaps, this wouldn’t be Monica’s night at the controls after all. Monica’s pumps had been discarded and now the shoulder strap from he bustier revealed it, too, to be on the way off. Sue held the leash of hair tight by the ponytail and kissed her neck, running her left hand around to Monica’s welcoming breast.
“Move!” she said, using her body to butt Monica forward and towards the bedroom. “Maybe I can go through with this,” Sue thought to herself. Along the way, she plucked the cuffs from the drawer without Monica noticing.
Once Monica saw what awaited on the dresser, she started to struggle again. But Sue’s fist refused to yield her tight grip on Monica’s dark hair. Just for effect, Sue let Monica know with a tug there was no escape. Earlier, while excusing herself to use the bathroom Sue had come in and placed the old barber set neatly on a small white towel in front of the big dresser mirror. Along with a new toy she’d picked up at the barber supply shop last weekend. Sue forced Monica onto the small chair. With a flourish she snapped off Monica’s lingerie. Monica’s breathing increased as each piece was ripped from her torso. When she sat back a little in the chair relaxing her arms on the chair’s arms, Sue quickly snapped one cuff on her right wrist. Monica giggled. Then the left. Then Sue walked out, leaving a nude Monica to stare uncomfortably in the mirror for long minutes. Finally, Sue returned, naked and smiling, her right hand behind her back. Then Monica heard the humming. A little alarmed, she smiled when she looked up on the dresser and saw the black clippers sitting silently. Ah, one of our toys, she thought. Sue brought the humming to Monica’s neck, gently pulling her ponytail to expose the nape and send the vibrations rolling in waves from behind her ears down Monica’s back. Kisses followed everywhere. Slowly, agonizingly she moved up and down. Around the ears. Over the curve of the shoulder. In the soft spot between the arm and the rib cage. Monica melted, purring contentedly. Sue, too, felt the arousal sweeping from her vibrating hand to points north and south. And she moved her hand gently over Monica’s breast, then down, feeling the welcome wetness.
“Now”, she thought. Removing the cuffs, she slipped the chair out from under Monica. “On your knees,” she said, more a nervous request than a command. Monica complied, turning her head and offering full lips, lips Sue explored voraciously, eventually sinking her tongue deep between them. “Time for another haircut, Mon,” Sue said. “And it’s all mine. ALL mine.”
Monica said nothing and Sue moved behind her, reaching over with her right hand to pick up the clippers and turn them on. Both women shivered, their breathing quickening, the air escaping in tiny bursts from their gently heaving breasts. Sue barely had to touch the ponytail before Monica tucked her chin on her chest offering, practically begging, her to have at the neck. Sue hesitated, purposefully laying her hand with the clippers heavily upon Monica’s right shoulder.
“First, we have to get some of this excess out of the way,” she teased. Monica remained silent, her eyes closed now as if in meditation. Sue leaned over the still-kneeling Monica, breathing hard upon her neck and set the clippers between Monica’s legs. Then she reached to the dresser for a small, five-inch long red box. Slipping the lid off quickly, she lifted up the contents, flicked it open and slipped back behind Monica, her left hand still wrapped around the ponytail. Monica, waiting, panting hard, saw nothing. With a yank Sue pulled Monica’s head back, forcing her eyes up to stare deep into hers. At the same time she flashed the straight razor, now freed from its box, in front of them. Monica’s breaths suddenly became short, spastic. Forcing her head level, Sue took the straight razor and began sawing through the ponytail, sending Monica into spasm after choking spasm. Once through the hair, she held her trophy before Monica’s wide eyes, then swished it gently over Monica’s breasts and hard nipples before dropping it between her legs.
“Ohhh,” was the most complete response Monica could manage.
After dropping the ponytail, Sue surveyed Monica. She had a short shag, gently framing her strong features. Sue paused, considered, then chuckled, “now for that cleaning up.” Monica slumped. Exhausted, ecstatic. Sue reached down between her legs and picked up the still-humming clippers with the half-inch attachment. Monica looked upward at her, questioning then somehow grateful and immediately offered her neck in supplication. Sue, feeling her own wave of satisfaction building within her, suppressed nothing running the clippers from back to front with zeal. She followed the clippers with her left hand and tongue, sucking in wisps of shorn hair as she recklessly worshipped Monica’s soft, fuzzy skull. Hair fell in gentle waves over shoulders as Monica sat mesmerized. Choking, panting, shuddering again and again.
As Sue set the clippers aside freed wisps were plastered to Monica’s forehead, along her neck, stuck in her ears. Monica stood and turned and the two embraced practically ramming each other with desire. A soft, enduring night of touching, tonguing and lovemaking followed, the one they would always remember. Halfway through, Sue realized she was fantasizing about leaving the bed and sitting in the chair for her own shearing. But Monica didn’t seem interested. They weren’t going anywhere, not even ten feet away. Someday, Sue thought, staring across the pillow as Monica slept and the clock registered 5:12, perhaps you’ll give me the care and attention I’ve lavished upon you. Perhaps you will sit me in front of that mirror and take my golden proffer. At that thought, one that 12 hours ago would have sent unrelenting, sinking fear racing through her, Sue smiled. Sweetly.