Bowl-ing – CutUps
Lucy brushed the thick platinum blonde to her elbows, peeking through the window into her front yard. Mom and Dad were gone on business. Lucy had been sprung from jail, for two weeks, and Angel, her best bud like for forever, was coming up the front steps, bouncing up the stairs, and coming into Lucy’s room without knocking, like always.
Even Angel didn’t know how many of the pictures Lucy had. Angel would never believe what Lucy was dying to do.
Brunette Angel with the ringlets to her own elbows looked through all the pictures. “These are all bowl cuts, Luce.”
“Now, you know.”
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“What do I know?”
“Ange, I love that haircut.” Lucy stopped brushing. She was ready to do what she was going to do.
“You love bowl haircuts?”
“Yes. Are you gonna watch mine?”
“You got hair half way to your butt.”
“Only for a little while longer.” Lucy showed Angel her favorite; the blonde bowl cut half an inch above the ears and clipped to stubble up the back and sides.
Angel looked at her friend again. “This is short, like super peeled, and you’re gonna get it?”
“Yeah. It’s like that bully on The Simpsons, the kid who’s always beating up Bart, then it turns out he likes Andy Williams music. I don’t know why I like bowls so much, but I do, and I’m gonna get one.”
“We only have a barber shop in this town. How do you know if the guy even knows how to do one?”
Lucy pulled Angel out of her room by the hand. “I’ll tell him how, that’s how.”
Angel was still struggling to keep up with her friend two blocks later. “All of a sudden, like after sixteen years, you tell me you love bowl haircuts. I still can’t believe you’re gonna do this.”
“Let’s make it interesting.”
Angel did stop Lucy then. BARBERSHOP was only a block away. “Wait. What do you mean, interesting? I know you. You’re up to something.”
“You don’t think I’m gonna go in that barbershop and get my bowl in front of a bunch of guys. Let’s put your hair on it.”
“You better explain,” Angel said. “What do I have to do?”
“Nothing, if I chicken out. We walk out of there looking like we do now, but if I get my bowlcut, you get one, too… unless you’re…”
“No, I am not chicken. I’ve just never thought about cutting my hair. Let’s see that picture again.”
Out of Lucy’s pocket came the blonde with the bowl cut half an inch above her ears, with back and sides clipped to stubble. They would see their ears with that haircut, REALLY see their ears. Angel thought about running all the way back home, and hiding from Lucy for the rest of her life. Mom and Dad loved Angel’s hair. Angel loved Angel’s hair. Lucy clucked.
Angel gave her a playful shove. “Shut up. What are you doing? I never knew about your fantasy until a few minutes ago. Mom and Dad will be blown away.”
“So will mine, but they’ll get over it, and we will have a GREAT haircut.”
“If I don’t like it? Or you don’t?” Angel asked,
“We shave it off and wear wigs.”
“Uh-uh. Not. I am definitely not gonna…” Angel even stepped back.
“Oh, you know I’m only kidding. It’ll only be for a couple of months, then we can do something else, like a shag cut or a pixie or something.”
“I could just watch you and still chicken out…” Angel thought then, watching a smile spread slowly across blonde Lucy’s lips. “No. You’d sneak into my house some night through the root cellar, and I’d wake up with a bowl cut on half my head.”
“Or a strip shaved down the middle and your name razored out of the back.”
Angel waved both hands. “All right, all right. I’ll get it if you do.”
The barbershop was a real barbershop. Big mirror. Big red chair with footrest. White barber cloth with those pinstripes. Lucy and Angel stepped inside as the barber mowed a guy with a crewcut right down the middle. Clippers buzzed so loud, the girls could hardly hear themselves think. Angel cringed. Lucy led her to waiting chairs by the hand.
“Don’t get many ladies in here, especially young ladies.” The barber, who was as old as Angel’s grandfather, shaved the neck of the fellow in his chair.
“Give ’em crewcuts. Anybody looks good in a good shaved crew,” the man in the chair said.
The barber tidied his neck and let him out of the chair. He held out the smock. Lucy didn’t have to be told it was for her and her bowl. She rested white Nikes on the footrest and took the smock around her neck.
She showed the barber the picture. “I’d like this bowl cut, just like this.”
“I can do that. I can do that,” he said. “You want to see it?”
Lucy looked her friend Angel in the eye, a dare, maybe? “Yes. Yes, I do.”
He turned her, a pretty, rosy-cheeked young girl about to lose long hair, toward the big mirror. She sat there, watching herself, so proud of herself for doing this. She stuck out her tongue to the young brunette. The barber smiled. Crewcut, who’d stayed for this, chuckled.
Scissors snipped her hair away, half an inch above her ears. She watched blonde slide like a snake through grass down the smock and plop onto the floor. Snip. Snip. All the way around her head. So vivacious, so young and full of life, listened to the snipping, even chatted about this or that. Young Lucy, the barber knew, could walk into a shop full of strangers and get a major haircut like this like most people thought about having lunch.
He snipped her bangs. “This is a nice cut for a girl, probably active all the time, like you. You keep it trimmed, you don’t have to mess with it much.”
Lucy sat still as he combed and snipped uneven spots. “I like bowls. I always wanted one.”
“Now, we gotta get rid of the rest of your long hair along the sides and back, highlight the bowl effect with this haircut. Clippers?”
Lucy’d heard them, on Crewcut. “Yes.”
The Wahls popped to life, buzzed kind of like Dad’s weed whacker, inches from her ear. The barber took down her sideburn, into a tight V. He ran the Wahls up to the bowl. Ears popped free, and the contrast between the buzzed hair and the bowl was unbelievable. The barber took off the hair up the back to the bowl, ultra short. Hair just kind of dropped off the back of her head and plopped to the floor, covering the barber’s shoes. Lucy couldn’t hide her smile. Getting the clippers was better than Christmas, birthdays, and all those things she wasn’t supposed to do that Lucy’d done with boys. She watched the barber draw a straight razor across some leather thing and turn a crank until some can thing churned. Hot cream around her ears, and the shave, the razor sharp enough to slit your throat was… was WILD! Lucy broke into a grin. Crewcut smiled. Even Angel smiled. Cool air conditioning air hit Lucy’s ears as the barber brushed her clean, and she stepped from the chair.
The barber swept piles of blonde locks from the floor. He held out the smock again. He was looking at Angel, and she knew it. “How about your friend there?”
“Angel, you have to get this,” Lucy said.
Lucy was shorn, but Lucy was beautiful. Sure, a bowl had been right for Lucy, but Lucy had known it would be. But her hair was clipped, soooo short that you could hardly see any left below the bowl. Angel liked playing with brunette ringlets, ringlets she had worn since she could remember, ringlets that were like an old friend. Angel loved the bowl on Lucy, wished Lucy’d gotten it years ago, but…
The barber waited. Crewcut waited. Lucy waited, and if Lucy started clucking like a chicken again… Lucy put her lips together as if ready to say “Bet.”
Angel sat in the big red barber chair, heart wanting to beat right out of her chest as the barber snapped the cape around her neck. She was going bowling. She crossed her fingers, hoping she’d look as hot as her friend.