Georgie’s Groundhog Day

Georgie's Groundhog Day

Georgie’s Groundhog Day by Sabrina S.

Georgie Bartels groaned as the alarm shrieked in her ear. Disoriented, she opened her eyes to find the window in the wrong place, and then remembered: this was her first day at her new house.

Georgie was twenty-six and newly divorced, living proof that marrying your childhood sweetheart didn’t always work out. Brad had been a total bastard, always picking a fight and not afraid to lay his fists into her from time to time for no apparent reason. When a court order forbidding him to come within a certain distance of her home and work failed to keep him away, Georgie had regretfully upped sticks and moved house. Her new home was in a village three hundred miles from her old, and she would be starting a new job on Monday in the nearby large town.

Today she’d planned to sleep in, but habit had forced her to set the alarm last night for 6 am without even realising it.

Georgie yawned, rubbed her eyes and scratched her head, relishing the feeling of her fingernails through her long, thick, mahogany hair. She contemplated lying in bed and sleeping for another few hours, then decided she really SHOULD get up and unpack more of her possessions.

Through the window she could see the woods that ran up to the back of the cottage garden. Her new home was on the edge of the village, perhaps a little isolated if Bradley ever found her and she needed help, but she sought peace and quiet after a life in the city.

After breakfast Georgie headed for the village, eager to explore and to make herself known to the local shopkeepers and post office. Leaving her car, she walked the two miles, delighting in the scented hedgerows and the crunchy sound of her shoes on the road.

The village – Chaverley – featured a post office, a supermarket, a unisex hair salon, an old-fashioned shop that seemed to sell everything from hardware to clothing, two pubs and not much else other than houses snuggled up for two blocks along the High Street. It took Georgie all of half an hour to visit all the shops except the hair salon and the pub, and the pub was shut.

She peeked into the door of the salon. The building was made of local stone, with a modern picture window inserted. The window was covered with a beige lace curtain, so she couldn’t see if any customers were inside except by opening the door.

Georgie instinctively turned up her nose. The salon she’d gone to for years was modern and bright. This place had sad, inadequate lighting, hideous orange chairs, a curling brown lino floor and a smell of chemicals – perm lotion, setting lotion, bleach. A row of helmet hairdryers on poles stood to attention along one wall. There were no customers. Georgie wasn’t surprised.

A man walked over to her, his shoes squeaking on the floor. He wore a white smock like a barber, and his short dark hair was plastered to his head with pomade.

“Good morning,” he said, his accent rolling in the local soft burr. “Just a trim, is it, or something more dramatic?”

“Er,” Georgie said, “I was just looking actually. I’m new in town.”

“Everybody gets their hair cut here,” he said. “And if you’re new in town, why not start off with a new haircut? Everybody who comes here starts with a new haircut.”

His hand slipped under her elbow and guided her to one of the awful orange chairs. Georgie felt powerless to pull away; it was as if some external force had hold of her, and she had no control over her feet. She sat.

The cape was whisked around her neck, and the thick mahogany waves lifted out. Georgie’s hair spread over her shoulders, almost down to her breasts. It was undoubtedly her best feature.

“I’ve always worn it long,” Georgie said nervously. She remembered the early days of her marriage, when Brad adored her. He told her he loved every bit of her, especially the gorgeous hair, and had demanded that she never cut it short. Although Georgie was divorced, the part of her that clung to that brief year of happiness insisted she wear her hair long, as if in some stupid way it would bring happiness back.

“My name’s Georgie, Georgie Bartels. I’m in Stone Cottage,” she babbled, aware that the hairdresser was, unlike most hairdressers she’d met, not at all talkative as he brushed out her long hair.

“I know,” he replied. “You may call me Mr Shearer.”

He spun Georgie around to face him rather than the mirror. As if by magic a pair of clippers appeared in his hand.

Georgie could only manage, “What -?” before Mr Shearer flicked the clippers into life and made a beeline for her forehead, plunging the blades into the hair on the top of her head and shaving a clean path RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE so her white skin stood out like a skunk’s tail.

Georgie was horrified. What was this madman doing with the clippers? She tried to wriggle free, but Mr Shearer placed his other hand firmly on the top of her head and held it still. She could feel his thumb warm against her bare skin, and gasped. It felt like she had no hair on top of her head!

Then the clippers were at her forehead for a second pass, growling and howling as they bit into her hair. Georgie felt them pull back through her thick locks, and was very aware of the blades buzzing against her skin. They shaved her hair back to Mr Shearer’s hand; Georgie could hear the falling hair rustle against the plastic cape.

A third pass began over her head. Georgie rolled her eyes up to see Mr Shearer’s face; it wore the intense expression of a surgeon performing an operation. She wondered briefly if he were mad… or if she was.

His face briefly cracked into a secret smile as he brought the clippers to her hairline once more and drew them back, rendering the top of her head bald. Georgie shuddered, and gripped the arms of the chair with her hands.

She jumped as she felt the clippers touch her cheek, then the greedy blades attacked her sideburns. She watched in horror as all the long hair around her face slid down… over the cape… onto the floor. The clippers pulled up through her hair until they met the shaved patch on top of her scalp.

Now they were above her ears, cutting off her hair and tossing it onto her lap with an angry electric snarl. Georgie shivered as she felt the warm blades against her skin, greedily gobbling her hair.

Mr Shearer’s hand on her head pushed it forward, until Georgie was facing her hair-strewn legs.

She shuddered as the man lifted up her thick locks and slid the clippers under them to touch the nape of her neck. Then they moved inexorably up the back of her head, behind her ears, shaving away the lush hair. Georgie’s head was starting to feel cold as her nape was bared.

The powerful clippers ran up the back of her skull, over the taut skin, buzzing away her hair as closely as possible. Again and again the back of her head was clipped until it was pale and hairless, and a mound of hair lay tumbled on the floor behind her.

Mr Shearer began to hum a tuneless song as he clipped the hair above her other ear. It was as if he were humming an octave higher than his equally humming clippers. He tilted her head to the side to clip away the hair than still grew long and shining in front of her ear and around her temples.

Shocked and disbelieving, Georgie felt the blades nuzzle her skin, and watched the last of her hair fall onto the cape.

Mr Shearer spun her around to face the mirror, and she gasped. She was completely bald! Not as much as a crewcut, a total shave! Georgie burst into tears. Her lovely hair had been completely cut off in a few short minutes that had seemed to last a lifetime!

Mr Shearer wordlessly dusted her neck and unclipped the cape. He helped her up from the chair – her legs were shaking – and escorted her to the door.

“There’ll be no charge for today’s haircut,” he said politely, “I never charge my customers for the first time. Make sure you come back soon.”

And Georgie was pushed out the door, which was immediately locked behind her.

She was alone on the footpath with a shaved head in a strange village, far from her friends and family. Sobbing, Georgie walked back to her new cottage in a daze.

Georgie groaned as the alarm shrieked in her ear. Disoriented, she opened her eyes to find the window in the wrong place, and then remembered: this was her first day at her new house.

Georgie yawned, rubbed her eyes and scratched her head, relishing the feeling of her fingernails through her long, thick, mahogany hair. She contemplated lying in bed and sleeping for another few hours, then decided she really SHOULD get up and unpack more of her possessions.

She had a vague recollection of a bad dream in which she’d walked down the village street, gone into the hairdresser’s and come out bald. What a giggle!

Still, it was a good day to explore her new home; bright and sunny. Georgie decided to walk the two miles into the village.

She noticed a post office, a supermarket, a unisex hair salon, an old-fashioned shop that seemed to sell everything from hardware to clothing, two pubs and not much else other than houses snuggled up for two blocks along the High Street. It took Georgie all of half an hour to visit all the shops except the hair salon and the pub, and the pub was shut.

She peeked into the door of the salon. The building was made of local stone, with a modern picture window inserted. The window was covered with a beige lace curtain, so she couldn’t see if any customers were inside except by opening the door.

Georgie instinctively turned up her nose. The salon she’d gone to for years was modern and bright. This place had sad, inadequate lighting, hideous orange chairs, a curling brown lino floor and a smell of chemicals – perm lotion, setting lotion, bleach. A row of helmet hairdryers on poles stood to attention along one wall. There were no customers. Georgie wasn’t surprised.

A man walked over to her, his shoes squeaking on the floor. He wore a white smock like a barber, and his short dark hair was plastered to his head with pomade.

“Good morning,” he said, his accent rolling in the local soft burr. “Just a trim, is it, or something more dramatic?”

Georgie had a slight premonition, a sense of déjà vu as the man took her arm and led her to a chair. But she wasn’t prepared for the CLICK! BZZZZZZ! that seemed to come out of nowhere, nor the blades diving at the top of her head like a jet fighter, attacking her thick, soft hair and shaving her bald, stroking first the top of her head, then one side, then the back….

She was powerless to move as the clippers ran all over her scalp, severing her hair, shaving it close. She could only watch the long locks fall onto her lap, and feel the blades against her skin in disbelief.

Ten minutes later she was pushed out the door, bald, and the door locked behind her. Sobbing, Georgie walked home, touching her naked scalp in horror.

Every morning for three weeks Georgie woke to an unexpected alarm clock and made the inexorable decision to explore her new village. She awoke with her long hair strewn over the pillow as she had done for years.

Every morning for three weeks an innocent peek into the hairdresser’s would result in her being led to a chair, sat down, and her head clipped to baldness in a few brutal minutes by the mysterious Mr Shearer.

It was as if she had no control over her day. Certainly in the first few days she had no real memory of the day before. But after two weeks her waking thought went along the lines of: “Yes! I’ve still got my hair!” before something inside her took over and sent her down to the village to get her head shaved. Subconsciously she realised this was happening every day, but she was powerless to stop it.

On the twenty-first day, Georgie’s alarm clock rang loudly, and she awoke as usual to wonder why the window was on the left rather than the right.

Then she touched her scalp. Yes! Hair! Lovely long thick mahogany hair, halfway down her back! She had a very clear vision of her last three weeks, the daily headshave at the awful old salon, the creepy Mr Shearer. The same bloody day, every single day!

Georgie jumped out of bed and said firmly, out loud, “Today is going to be different. I will not go down to the village. There has to be something I can do to change all this!”

She showered and looked at her reflection in the mirror as she towelled herself and her beautiful hair dry. Could she stop living the same day if she made the decision to cut her hair herself? Was that the key?

A poignant memory of Brad holding her close on their honeymoon and stroking her hair flitted across her mind. She was filled with a mix of sadness and happiness. Sadness that the happiness didn’t last. She HAD to stop thinking about Brad. Things could never be the same again. He wasn’t the boy she’d married, he’d grown into rather a nasty man, demanding, brutal, dictatorial. He’d ordered her never to have short hair.

So short hair she’d have!

Ignoring the pull she felt to walk to the village, Georgie rummaged through one of the packing cases until she found her dressmaking scissors. She galloped back to the bathroom and stood in front of the mirror.

“Brad is no longer part of my life,” she said firmly, holding up one of the long locks that grew at her forehead. Before she could think twice about it and chicken out, she wielded the scissors and cropped the thick clump of hair to about two inches long.

“Oh my God, did I really do that?” she wondered out loud, looking at the severed lock of hair and the spiky bit now sticking up on her head.

But it had felt good, as if she were ridding herself of the past. Inspired, entranced almost, Georgie picked up another lock and lopped it off, throwing the cut hair on the floor. Grabbing a handful of hair on top of her head and holding it taut, she hacked at it with the scissors. Skkkkrrrrriiiiikkk! Skkkkkkkrrriiiiik! The short wet hair stood at attention where she’d chopped it, and slowly fell sideways. Georgie dropped the cut hair at her feet.

The top was almost done. Without hesitation she began to cut off the hair growing at the side of her head, letting the cut locks fall against her naked skin, cutting away like a woman possessed. She HAD to cut her hair short! Uncaring of style, she simply cut it to somewhere between half an inch and two inches long, grinning at her reflection as she hacked away, watching her ears appear magically from under the curtain of hair.

The back was harder. Georgie couldn’t see what she was doing but simply held her hair out taut and cut into it sideways with the sharp scissors. Her heart was thudding as she felt with her left hand for more long hair. Finally, there was none left. She’d cut off her hair, her lovely long hair. She ran her hand over the back of her head; it felt odd now it was so short and didn’t hang down her neck and back any more.

As if she’d been under a spell, Georgie blinked and took in the bathroom. Hair lay everywhere. She’d thrown it over the sink, into the bath, on the floor, haphazardly all over the place as she’d cut it off. Her reflection in the mirror showed an urchin-like creature with the worst short haircut in the known universe. Georgie gasped and started to giggle at her own reflection. She looked awful! She’d have to get it tidied up somewhere before she started her new job on Monday.

After cleaning the bathroom and having another shower to wash the cut hair off her skin, Georgie headed for the village. In the car, this time.

She bought heaps of groceries at the supermarket, and wandered down towards the post office.

The hair salon caught her eye. It looked different today. The curtains weren’t over the windows and when she looked inside it had bright, modern spotlighting, modern black and white posters of great hairstyles, and comfortable looking black leather or vinyl chairs.

Intrigued, Georgie opened the door.

A man walked towards her. Not the mysterious Mr Shearer, but a good-looking man of about thirty, with well-cut, short brown hair. “Hi there!” he said, “Can I help you?”

“I think I need help,” Georgie said humbly, touching her ravaged hair. “Where’s Mr Shearer?” She looked around nervously. The last thing she wanted was Mr Clipper-happy Shearer to shave her bald yet again.

“Who? I’m William Jones. Don’t know any Mr Shearer. What on earth have you been doing to your hair?” He touched her hair and Georgie shivered as he ran his fingers through the tattered locks.

“It’s a long story,” Georgie said, sitting down in one of the chairs and finding it as comfortable as it looked. “What can you do for me?”

William contemplated her head. “How do you feel about a crewcut? Really, it’s such a mess we can’t do much with it. Much kinder to just cut it all short and start over.”

“Cutting it short and starting over is just what I had in mind,” Georgie murmured as the cape was gently fastened around her neck.

This time she welcomed the clippers, for they were truly cutting ties and setting her free. She watched in the mirror, grinning like an idiot as William came towards her with the clippers.

“Ready for this?” he said gently, flicking the clippers into life.

Georgie heard the familiar buzzing sound and grinned. “Absolutely!”

William brought the clippers to her forehead and started to shear the top of her hair to about half an inch long. She closed her eyes and gave an involuntary shudder as the blades touched her forelock and bit into it, gliding along the top of her head and cutting her wild hair evenly. He tossed the clippings over the back of her head. Georgie now had a short, neat path clipped down the middle of her head.

With relish she opened her eyes again and watched the blades’ progress through her mahogany mop, shortening it to a velvety pelt. With three long strokes the top of her head was shorn. Her spiky fringe was left longer than the rest of her hair.

William started on the sides, buzzing around her ears and temples. Georgie watched her now short locks become even shorter, the clipped clumps falling softly onto her knees.

She automatically bent her head forward to let the clippers nuzzle her nape and buzz up the back of her head. It was a surprisingly good feeling, unlike the headshaves she’d had for the last three weeks. She almost sighed with pleasure as the blades touched her nape and nibbled her hairline.

Then she watched the last of her hair get shorn off in front of her left ear with a sigh of relief. The locks fell on her shoulders and dropped to the floor, and Georgie felt free.

William picked up comb and scissors and snipped away here and there, tapering her hairline closer at the back, and shaping a very short fringe so it lay in tiny points on her forehead.

“This haircut looks great on you,” he said, almost surprised. “You’ve got a well-shaped head, you can wear your hair as short as you want and you’ll always look good.”

Delicately he shaved her neck with a smaller pair of clippers, defining the hairline and removing stray hairs on her nape.

“Fantastic!” Georgie said, when the cape was removed and she had the chance to run her hands over her cropped, clipped hair.

“It’s not every day I get to do a crewcut on a woman,” William said, “Nor every day such a good-looking one comes into the salon. D’you want to go to dinner tomorrow night?” he said in a rush, as if he were nervous about asking her.

Georgie met his eyes in the mirror. They were brown and direct and kind. “I’d love to,” she said.

Georgie awoke the next morning late. Very late. The sun was shining on her face and her alarm clock, mercifully silent, showed 10 am. She sighed and stretched, wondering why today felt so good.

Hesitantly she lifted her hands to her head, unsure of what she’d find. Long hair? Short hair?

Her fingers met the velvet plushness of her crewcut. Georgie lay in bed stroking her clipped head with pleasure, grinning like a fool. She felt happier than she had in years.

A fleeting memory of her marriage crossed her mind and she said firmly, “Brad WHO?” There was the future, and William, and a crewcut that she’d be delighted to get trimmed once a month. Georgie turned her mind to the most important thing. She had a date tonight with an attractive man; just WHAT was she going to wear?

The end

(c) Copyright 1999, Sabrina S.

 

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