Flat Top Required – CutUps
Kara taught Math and Science, had signed on to teach at Morningside High School. She had a job. School would start three weeks from today. But home was Atlanta, and Morningside was in the ski area of Vermont, and Kara still did not have a place to live. She wouldn’t be much of a teacher driving two thousand miles a day to work.
Houses weren’t a problem. Plenty of houses in Morningside, even a newspaper. Kara scored a copy of The Sentinel outside the Lighthouse Restaurant. Might as well have some caffeine while she checked for rentals. She’d have to buy a tent or crash in her Bronco every night if nobody wanted to rent a room to a new teacher.
Leeanne, the red neatly-trimmed woman’s flat top, set coffee in front of her. “New in Morningside?”
“You’re the new Math teacher?”
Kara raised her eyebrows. “Two times two is four.”
Leeanne couldn’t decide if she was interested in what the pretty woman just a few years younger than she was reading, or her brunette hair that hung in waves to her waist. “Not many places to rent here.”
“Yikes. I’ll go broke living at the Inn.” Kara glanced at Leeanne, sipping her coffee. Raeanne was the name of the woman who owned The Inn. Raeanne also had dark red hair, cut in a neatly trimmed woman’s flat top. Kara glanced at the paper again. “Hmm.”
“‘Female roommate wanted. Unattached. Rent free. No lease.'” Kara glanced at Leeanne again. “Flat top haircut required.'”
“It’s a room in the one hundred seventy-five thousand dollar Colonial at the top of Beacon Street hill.
Kara lifted her eyes from her coffee to the owner of the restaurant.
“Raeanne and I are sisters. We hit it lucky in the stock market in college, worked on Wall Street for a few years, and came back to invest in Morningside. We built a house on the biggest hill big enough for the two of us not to run into each other, if you know what I mean. Only now, it’s too big, and it seems a shame to have more room than we need and not use it. Are you interested?”
“Yes,” Kara said timidly. She wanted to ask why the flat top, but didn’t.
“Let’s go show you around.”
The only southern colonial in Morningside, Vermont was built mostly of cherry and glass, with pillars supporting all the roofs and chandeliers in every room. The library was huge. The kitchen was ultramodern, and the bedrooms upstairs were bigger than some houses.
“You don’t want any rent?” Kara squinted at Leeanne, still not believing this INCREDIBLE offer.
Leeanne led her back downstairs, where heels knocked on polished hardwood or got lost in plush carpeting. “Raeanne and I grew up in Morningside, and we’re worth, oh, I don’t know, sixty or seventy million by now. You keep the rent. We just want someone else to talk to.”
Kara had to admit she was fascinated by Leeanne’s precise haircut. She wouldn’t ask why two such beautiful women clipped their hair so short.
A large office lay behind an open door off the huge dining room. Another door was closed.
Leeanne opened the door into a smaller whitewashed, white tiled room with a red high-backed barber chair with footrest and white smock draped over an arm. Clippers rested on the counter below a big mirror. “Our barbershop.”
Leeanne watched Kara glancing between her and the big red chair. “You’re wondering about this. Raeanne and I just have always liked the flat top haircut, even as little girls whose parents made them wear long hair. We got our first flat tops in college. Faced each other in a real barbershop and watched our short haircuts. We don’t need the rent, and you’d be living with us just for a haircut. A flat top’s not much to ask, is it?”
Kara noticed the neatness, the clean lines around Leeanne’s ears and across her nape, and how the hair on top was perfectly trimmed to half an inch, and she had to admit Leeanne was really rather pretty. Kara had a vision of a buzzing machine ravaging beautiful, full hair down to almost nothing. Adrenaline zipped through her. She cringed. “No. No, it isn’t.” But all her hair falling.
Kara hoped she wouldn’t cry. She knew Leeanne hadn’t cried.
“Then you’ll move in, get everything where you want it, and then, get a haircut.” Leeanne lifted Kara’s hair off a slender neck and small, round ears.
“You know, I’ve never thought about a haircut, but I think I could wear yours.”
“Now’s your chance.” Leeanne squeezed Kara’s hand and could hardly keep the smile contained on her face.
Kara really didn’t have much to move into the ‘spare’ bedroom that took up a quarter of the top story of this huge house. She put jeans and tees away in an antique chest of drawers, while Leeanne and Raeanne hung her school dresses and arranged her books. Each time she stacked something, she was that much closer to a ponytail floating to the floor. She didn’t know whether to hurry or run all the way back home to Atlanta.
“The desk. The computer and the files?” Kara looked from Leeanne to Raeanne. “Guys, they weren’t here before.”
“We just thought a Math teacher might be able to use them,” Raeanne said.
Kara hung the last dress she owned and let her hair out of her ponytail, getting ready for IT. “That is just super nice of you. Thank you, for everything.”
It was TIME, but no one said anything. Kara liked her long hair, brushing it, stroking it, putting it up in different styles, but she was surprised she led the Annes downstairs, that they didn’t have to drag her into the barber chair. She faced the mirror.
Raeanne tissued and caped her. Kara spread the cape over both arms of the chair. “Leeanne found you, so I get to do the first part of your first flat top.”
Kara couldn’t have taken her eyes off the mirror if a log truck had cashed through the wall as Raeanne cut her sideburn and tight around her left ear, running clippers over comb. She merely blinked as waist-length hair hit the cape and slithered into piles on the floor. “I think you guys have a fetish.”
Raeanne ran the comb down the back of Kara’s head and clipped her tight to the nape. “Who? Us?”
“You’re watching, Kara,” Leeanne said. “Great. You get a flat top. You give one of us a flat top. On Friday. Every three weeks.”
Raeanne ran the buzzing blade, no guard, up Kara’s neck. Kara shut her eyes and moaned.
She opened her eyes and grinned as clippers slid across a comb, and a right ear popped free from under all that hair. Kara smiled and watched Leeanne smile. “It is a fetish. I knew it.”
Raeanne handed Leeanne comb and clippers, and watched her sister shear Kara to half an inch up her sides and back. And Kara had to fight to keep her hands off her shorn head.
“Only for flat tops.” Leeanne shaved Kara’s neck with the naked blade. “And only if you don’t tell. Raeanne’s the worst.”
Leeanne cleaned up the taper to almost nothing around Kara’s ears and across her nape. Satisfied with the shortness and line of the haircut, this redhead gelled the top of Kara’s head and combed the longer hair back off her face. “She was first to come out with it, Kara. One day I caught her with a whole bunch of pictures of men getting flat tops in barbershops. She was eight.”
Raeanne smiled, watching Leeanne comb and cut, comb and cut, Kara’s top to half an inch. “But Leeanne almost gave it away, when she was ten. She got into real trouble, and Mom and Dad were so mad that they asked her what she thought her punishment should be.”
Kara only blinked while Leeanne did a final trim on her new, tight half-inch flat. “A flat top? You guys, I LOVE this haircut. It is so freaking stimulating, and…” Kara slapped a hand over her move, watching a pile of her former hair drop from the cloth to the floor.
Leeanne smiled, winding the hot shave machine and dabbing cream around Kara’s ears and across her neck. “Oh, I think we get the idea.”
Kara watched Leeanne shave her with short stokes with a straight razor. “I think you do, too. A flat top is required, every third Friday night.”