The Hair Inspectors by Sabrina S.
Earth in the 22nd century AD was a planet in trouble. Centuries of careless usage of natural resources and an ever-expanding population had caused salinity and global warming. Governments the world over had no choice but to listen to the superpowers of the US and the United Europe, and for once in history the world was peaceful as each country strove for survival under the new world-wide rules agreed upon by the Entire Unity of Nations.
In order to preserve the fragile Earth and its dwindling resources, rules had gradually been applied world-wide.
All power wherever possible would be solar. While this initially caused a dilemma in areas which experienced high rainfall and cloudy days, for the most part it worked well. It would take more than one lifetime to fully eradicate the centuries-old smog which darkened the skies over megacities like Los Francisco (which was the new name for LA and San Francisco as the suburban sprawl finally linked the two forever), but it was a step in the right direction. The combustion engine was a thing of the past as solar-powered vehicles glided silently through the streets.
Water conservation and recycling was introduced on a global scale. Africa suffered badly in the 22nd century as drought made the brown land even browner. Water from rainforest nations was shipped to the desert-stricken continent, but even so, Africa remained desperate, and those who could afford it left for leafier shores.
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Australia too suffered from salination as even the rich alluvial Riverina region became too salt-ridden in which to adequately grow large quantities of crops. The nation which had for the last three centuries promoted a dream lifestyle now sought desperately to keep its head above water. Scientists there, as in the rest of the world, strove to create artificial weather, causing thunderstorms and precious rain to keep the country alive.
It had been five years now since the Entire Unity of Nations – that is, every nation on Earth – had signed the Water Pact. Water was strictly rationed and all households were now required to recycle water. While the water recyclers weren’t cheap, the alternative was a fine and a gaol sentence for those who didn’t comply. Water usage was also restricted, with all showers fitted with five minute timers, and gardens relying solely on rainwater for survival. Rules and regulations for washing bodies, clothes and anything else were plentiful, and the penalties for abuse harsh.
But the section of the Water Pact which had caused world-wide outrage was the Hair Act. Research had shown that washing long hair not only used a lot of water, but also shampoo and, worse, conditioner, which was hard to separate in the recycling process. Therefore all countries had agreed that no person on earth was allowed grow their hair long. It had brought many countries to the brink of civil war as the law was announced.
Governments further qualified the law by stating statistics which proved that productivity world-wide would increase if the population wore its hair short. Less time would be taking in styling it, and less styling products needed. Employees wouldn’t be wasting time in the bathroom fussing over their hair… The reasons for ensuring short hair was the rule were seemingly endless.
There was a choice of hairstyles for women: a short bob to jaw length, a medium length crop, or a short buzz cut. Men could either opt for the buzz or a traditional short back and sides. These were the compulsory styles. In addition, both sexes were encouraged to keep their heads shaved with a solar electric razor to conserve even more water.
Hairdressers and barbers had been trained in the compulsory styles, and faced severe penalties if they allowed a customer to walk out with hair longer than the short bob. In the first couple of years of the Hair Act, newspapers had carried front page headlines of hairdressers being gaoled for disobeying the Act, and getting their own heads shaved and permanently depilated as a penalty.
To ensure that the entire population complied with the Act, a new job opportunity arose for millions: that of Hair Inspector. The Hair Inspector’s job was to patrol the streets and monitor the population. If a person needed a haircut, the Hair Inspector issued them with a warrant to get their hair cut in the next twenty-four hours and report back to the station to prove the offending hair had been reduced. If the Inspector found a person wilfully disobeying the Hair Act, that is, with long hair, the Hair Inspector had the right to shave the person’s head on the spot and/or fine him or her an inordinately large sum of money. Hair Inspectors, roving in their unmarked cars, had the right to knock on anyone’s door at any time and demand to check the heads of the occupants. It was a role with terrifying power. It therefore wasn’t surprising to find that many Hair Inspectors were sadistic bastards of both sexes who enjoyed wielding their power and took malicious glee in whipping out their charged-up cordless clippers and digging them into thick, gleaming hair.
Gillian lived in the Australian Riverina, on a farm as far from anywhere as she could find. Her soil, rich enough in her great-great-grandfather’s time, now grew just enough to support her and bring in a meagre living. She rarely left the farm, preferring to do her shopping over the ISDN line and have anything she needed delivered.
She was a woman with a secret; it hung down her back in shining russet waves, past her ass, almost to her knees. She had had it cut once, when she was eight years old. She was now twenty-five, and lived in fear of being discovered by the Hair Inspectors.
When she was inside her house she let her hair hang loose, and let it flow around her body as an extra layer of warmth in the cool winter evenings. But whenever she ventured outside, even in her hermit-like existence, she plaited it tightly and let it lie against her skin inside her dress or dungarees, and wore a legionnaires hat low on her head to hide it as thoroughly as she could. On the rare occasions when people came to her door, such as the neighbour who harvested her crops for her, she would tie her hair back as tightly as she could and pop a chin-length wig over the top, with the hat mounted on her head as usual. She could trust no-one. Not her neighbours, not her cousins in the city, as her trophy hair was infinitely desirable and wonderful in a world where it was no longer allowed to exist. She felt a certain triumph in flaunting the harsh, inhuman Hair Law. If ever a law was made to be broken, it was the first that came to Gillian’s mind!
Once, Gillian had had a boyfriend, before the hair laws came into being. Now even that pleasure was denied to her if she wanted to keep her hair. What man could help but brag about her incredible tresses? And if she broke up with a boyfriend, what if he decided to take revenge and give her name to the dreaded Inspectors?
So Gillian had a life where her contact with the world was via her PC. When she used the camera she wore her wig so nobody would be any the wiser. She’d made many friends throughout the world; the men with short hair and the women with bobs and crops. They laughed and joked in real time, had internet parties. While it didn’t provide Gillian with the warmth of another human body to satisfy her sexual needs, she didn’t feel too much of a hermit while there was the net to keep her company. Her closest friends on the net were Annie and Mikey, who both lived in Sydney. They chatted on a daily basis and both envied her the rural life. Mikey was a lawyer, Annie a computer scientist.
It was summer, and her crops were doing as well as she could expect. She’d spent some money this year on pasture improvement and it was paying off. The corn was healthy and strong, and she’d get good money for it.
Gillian sat back with satisfaction on her verandah, the lumpy ponytail uncomfortable under her butt. She tipped her hat back on her head and took a long, long pull at the cool glass of purified water. There would be a storm tonight – Tuesday was designated artificially-induced storm night in her region – which would only help the crops.
Far down in front of her was the road, and Gillian watched a puff of dust move slowly. There weren’t many farms along her road, and the car could only be going to McDuff’s, the last farm on the road.
But it wasn’t. It stopped at her gate and, to her horror, continued up her drive.
Gillian gulped. She wasn’t expecting anyone. She raced into the house, turned her collar up so it hid the ponytail to nape length, and secured her wig with pins. By the time she’d finished there was a tentative knock at her screen door.
The voice was familiar, the use of her name reassuring. Hair Inspectors wouldn’t call her by name. They’d just knock loudly and relentlessly. Or bash the door down.
A face she’d only ever seen at the other end of a PC camera stood attached to a body leaning tiredly against her verandah post.
“Mikey!” Gillian squealed.
“Thought I’d take a few days’ break and surprise you,” Mikey grinned. He’d opted for the short back and sides rather than the buzz or shave. “Since we’ve been friends for two years I thought it was time we met.”
“How lovely to see you!” Gillian was so delighted she forgot about her hair or anything else. Impulsively she reached out and hugged him, and felt his arms wrap around her in return. The contact with another human was wonderful after all this time! Gillian let her body relax against his in a luxurious treat.
Mikey’s hands felt her ponytail hanging straight down her back inside her dungarees. “What’s this, Gill? Do you have spine trouble or something? You should have said.”
Gillian pulled away, her face scarlet. “No, no, nothing like that.” Her heart raced.
Mikey’s green eyes, so familiar, searched her face. Tentatively he put out a finger and pushed a lock of the short wig behind her ears, noticing the tendrils that curled in front of them. “You’ve got long hair,” he said incredulously, “haven’t you?”
She hesitated between saying “Don’t be silly!” and telling the truth. If he stayed with her he’d find out anyway. If she sent him away he might take offence and tell the Hair Inspectors. Either way her secret was doomed.
So Gillian nodded. “I can’t bear to cut it,” she said, “I’ve had it long all my life, and I find these rules so ridiculous and Big Brother and downright cruel.”
To give him his due, Mikey didn’t start sprouting the law at her. He merely said, “And I thought you were such a nice girl and a good citizen!” Then he grinned. “I haven’t seen long hair in ages, except in old movies. C’mon, give us a look!”
Heart thudding, Gillian drew him inside the house, and shut all the doors and blinds and drapes. “Call me paranoid,” she said, “but there’s been such bitterness about these hair laws that if anyone saw this, especially another woman, I reckon I’d be shaved bald inside an hour.”
She unpinned the wig and drew her ponytail out. It was Rapunzel hair, a braid she kept pulling and pulling out of her clothes until Mikey was sure there couldn’t be any more hair left in there. Finally the braid was free, and hung halfway down the back of Gillian’s thighs.
Mikey gasped, lifting it up in both hands with reverence, feeling its weight and silkiness.
“Gillian, it’s magnificent!” Gently he pulled off the covered elastic band on the end and began to unravel the huge plait.
Gillian said nothing as she felt his fingers delving into her hair; she enjoyed the sensation as he used them as combs to tenderly smooth her luscious locks. The fingers travelled up her back to her nape, where the plait began, and when they’d finished they lifted the entire weight of her hair and draped it around her, so she looked like Venus in dungarees.
Mikey’s fingers travelled from her hair to the buttons holding her dungarees together, and Gillian trembled with desire.
“I can’t help it, Gillian,” he mumured. “Ever since I saw your photo for the first time I’ve thought you were beautiful. But seeing this gorgeous hair… I’ve never wanted a woman so much in my life!”
Gillian moaned, getting wet at his touch. “It’s been a long time since I’ve had a man,” she said, pulling him close. “I want you, too.”
Somehow they managed to undress each other with their lips fastened firmly on each other’s mouth. Mikey’s fingers kept straying to Gillian’s waves and entangling themselves in the sweet smelling hair. Gillian’s hands roamed his body, revelling in the muscular hardness of his arms and shoulders and back.
They took each other on Gillian’s old sofa, gasping and eager as teenagers. Gillian’s hair shrouded them, engulfed them, spilling over their bodies, tickling Mikey’s ribs. Mikey could barely contain himself long enough to give Gillian enough pleasure before the sight and touch of her hair made him explode like fireworks inside her.
After, when Gillian was sated and sleepy, he made her sit on the sofa with her hair lying over the back of it like a silken russet waterfall, and brushed every lock from the roots right to the end. It was so long it curled and swirled on the floor. Gillian groaned with pleasure. It had been years since anyone had brushed her hair for her; she had big arm muscles from doing the job herself.
“You won’t be able to keep this forever, you know,” Mikey said sadly, drawing Gillian close to him and pulling her on top so her hair covered them like a blanket. “Sooner or later someone will catch up with you.” He stroked her hair lovingly.
“I know,” Gillian said, equally sadly, “But I’ll keep it for as long as I can. The kind of life I lead, nobody ever gets to see it anyway.”
“I won’t tell a soul,” Mikey promised. “It’s the loveliest secret I’ve ever seen.”
The man had good intentions. But like all secrets, once more than one person knows, it’s no longer a secret.
Mikey stayed for five days. For both of them the experience was delirious. Gillian glowed at the simplest touch from Mikey’s hand, and Mikey began to fall in love. It was a wrench when he had to leave to rejoin his legal practice, but as he got into his solar car to drive back he told her he was thinking about moving out to the country, and could he move in with her if he did?
Gillian thought it a wonderful idea. She was also beginning to fall for him, and the thought of living with him was almost overwhelming. Not only would she have someone to love and share her life with, her life would become easier, as Mikey could be the person to answer the door, go to the nearest town for supplies and help keep her secret just that.
They kissed passionately with Mikey promising to sort his life out the instant he got back to Sydney.
Which he did. He gave notice at his legal firm, and in a month’s time would pack up and move to the rural Riverina. It was a month that couldn’t go quick enough for either of them.
Mikey spoke to Gillian every day either by phone or PCTV. They established a new secure chatting facility which was reputedly hacker resistant, and on one day Gillian turned on her PCTV camera and let Mikey see her without the usual wig, her hair billowing around her body.
Reputedly hacker resistant didn’t mean it wasn’t being monitored somewhere along the line.
Two hours later, when Gillian, her hair still loose, was cooking her vegetables in a suffused glow of happiness, replaying her conversation with her lover in her mind, a knock came at the door.
Hastily Gillian turned off the stove and bundled her hair away under the wig. It was probably flowers. Mikey had sent her flowers twice now. They cost a bomb, especially with the water restrictions, and Mikey knew how much she appreciated them.
The knock came again.
“Coming!” Gillian called happily, tucking the last of her hair down inside her clothing.
She opened the wooden door expecting to find a basket of gerberas almost completely obscuring the delivery boy and habitually unlocked the screen door. Instead she found a man and a woman in the dreaded dark brown uniform of The Hair Inspectors.
“Gillian Stephens? We have reason to believe you’ve been growing your hair,” said the male Inspector menacingly. His head was shaved to a shining cueball and his eyes icy blue slits under pale eyebrows.
Gillian tried to act natural, but her heart thudded so hard and fast she was sure they’d be able to see it through her dungarees. “Of course not!” She touched her wig. “Regulation bob.”
“You were on the net one hour and fifty five minutes ago talking to Michael Matthews in Sydney about your long hair. We have video proof that you are in violation of the Hair Act, 2145,” said the female Inspector, who’d chosen a number two buzz as her style. She held up a disc.
Gillian stood rooted to the spot. Christ, only once, ONCE, had she dared to go online without the wig, and then only for ten minutes!
With a savage motion the male Inspector yanked at the screen door. It flew open so violently it banged against the wall, and then all hell broke loose.
The two Inspectors swarmed in, grabbing an arm each, and dragged a screaming Gillian across the living room floor. With his free hand the male Inspector pulled the bobbed wig from her head and flung it across the room.
“Well, well, what have we here? Or should that be, what have we hair?” Roughly he pushed her into the nearest chair, and his female counterpart slipped her hand into Gillian’s clothes and began to withdraw her hair.
“Bloody hell,” said the woman, “it’s fucking long all right!”
Gillian winced as both of them tugged at her locks. She’d been pushed down so hard she was sitting on her hair, and it hurt as they dragged it free. Finally it hung around her like a bell. Gillian was so terrified she could hardly breathe.
“Stand up,” said the man, and roughly lifted her to her feet.
“Holy shiiiit!” the woman breathed. “Talk about paydirt!” She reached onto her belt and Gillian winced, waiting for the dreaded clippers.
But the woman unclipped a camera and took several photos of Gillian’s luscious waves.
“We haven’t had hair this long in years,” salivated the male Inspector, lifting Gillian’s hair and feeling the texture. Gillian felt dirty and violated at his touch.
“Mate, this is gonna be FUN cutting this lot off!” grinned the woman, putting the camera away and producing a long-bladed pair of scissors. “Want the right side or the left, Ralph?”
Ralph grinned, his breath foul close to Gillian’s face. “I’ll take the right.” He grabbed a handful of hair so tightly that Gillian couldn’t move a millimetre without being in pain.
The woman did the same on the other side, clutching a clump above Gillian’s ears.
In unison they brought their scissors to Gillian’s hair, and dove the blades in close to her skin.
Then CRRRRRUNNNNNNCCCCHHH! SKRRRRRIIIIIIIKKKKK! The scissors sawed mercilessly at Gillian’s beautiful hair, tugging her head this way and that as they bit into it. Gillian felt them move up the side of her head, then watched in horror as several feet of hair fell uselessly to the floor. First on the right side, then the left. Tears pricked at her eyes as her life-long locks were severed. The sound of the blades shearing off her hair was loud and rasping in her ears.
Her feet were glued to the floor as the Inspectors pulled tightly more handfuls of hair and bit the scissors into it behind her ears, hacking heartlessly. They cracked jokes as they cut it off.
“She’s gonna sleep cooler in summer without this lot, that’s for sure!” smirked Ralph, his blades so close to Gillian’s head she knew he was trying to cut her hair to the scalp with scissors alone. SKKKKRRRIIIIIIIKKKKK!
Gillian brought up a hand and wiped the tears from her cheeks, crying as silently as she could.
“Ah, poor baby!” jeered the female Inspector. “Don’t we want all our hair cut off, then? Too bad! If you obeyed the rules we wouldn’t have to shave your head!”
At the dreaded words “shave your head” Gillian shuddered. The woman was cutting away her hair high up on the side now, near her crown. Already her head felt funny and light where the heavy weight of hair had been chopped. What was it going to feel like to have none at all?
Roughly Ralph lopped off the hair at the back of her head, jerking it back and forth as he bit into it with the sharp blades. “Quit talking, Maxi, you’re behind!” he grinned.
In response the woman called Maxi snipped wildly through Gillian’s hair, lifting and cropping with lightning speed. Skkkkrrrriiiiiik, skkkrrrriiiiiiiikk, crunnnnnnch. Gillian watched her hair rain down to the floor, forming a mound of hair around her feet. She was barefoot, and the soft hair felt warm and alive on her toes. From time to time Maxi threw the hair deliberately in front of Gillian’s face.
“Tum te tum,” carolled Ralph tunelessly with one careless snip right on top of Gillian’s head. He lopped one lock so short it stood to attention like a cock’s crow. “Ready for part two! Scissors, DOWN!”
As one he and Maxi returned their scissors to their belts. “Clippers, READY! Clippers, ON!”
Gillian heard CLICK! Bzzzzzzzzzz! in stereo at either ear. She looked wildly from side to side and saw the brightly coloured, extremely powerful little clippers ready for action, and the evil grins on the Inspectors’ faces.
Then, to Gillian’s horror, the blades met her cheeks, revving up her cheekbones and into her hair. She started to shake as she felt them nuzzle the side of her head, shaving her hair to the skin. Clumps of hair fell in front of her, dropping onto her shoulders and breasts, and then falling to the floor. The blades tickled as they vibrated against her temples.
Ralph whistled tunelessly as he pushed the clippers into her thick russet locks, and on the other side Maxi hummed along.
Gillian felt the clippers at her hairline behind her ears, then they were racing up both sides of her head, shearing away every hair that dared to lie in their path. The little machines screamed as they bit off her hair.
Roughly Maxi pushed her head forward so she could shave the back of Gillian’s neck and head.
Powerless to move, Gillian felt both sets of clippers rest briefly on her neck, humming mildly. Then as one they moved up into the hair at her nape, and their motors howled. Maxi’s hand clutched the hair left on top of her head, pushing her head forward brutally so she could clip the hair as closely as possible.
Gillian was aware of the clippers buzzing up near her crown, then resting on her neck again before shaving up the middle of the back of her head. Her nape tingled as the clippers nuzzled it; it felt cold as they moved up, shearing her hair off to her scalp. Hair rained heavily; it fell inside her clothing, tickling and scratching.
Abruptly Maxi’s heavy hand was pushing her to the ground. “Kneel!” commanded Maxi. “It’s easier for us to cut your hair off.”
She had no choice but to kneel, her knees lost in the mound of hair that had been clipped from her head. She put her hands into it, lifting it, disbelieving that it had been cut off, and sobbed loudly.
Maxi’s fingers yanked her head straight. “Don’t move!”
Gillian could see two brown-clad pairs of legs in front of her. She peered upwards to watch the clippers make their inexorable way to her forehead to shave the top of her head.
As one Ralph and Maxi placed the blades at Gillian’s hairline and pushed them back into her hair, shaving a wide path straight down the middle. Gillian’s scalp was brightly white where her hair had been shorn. She gasped as the clippers crept over her sensitive crown and denuded it.
“Hmmphh!” grunted Ralph. “Missed a bit.” He brought his clippers to the front again and clipped the top of Gillian’s head even closer.
She was aware she had two wings of hair left on top, one on either side. The last locks of hair were quickly doomed though, with Ralph and Maxi ploughing the clippers into them with relish and effectively rendering her totally bald.
Still shaking, she felt both sets of clippers run all over her head, ensuring not one even moderately long strand remained. They buzzed away like wild things galloping over her scalp, their timbre changing each time they encountered a little tuft of hair. Her whole scalp felt tight and peculiar without its thick, lush covering.
“Whaddaya think, Maxi? Depilate her as well so it doesn’t grow back?” Ralph’s big, sweaty hand lay on top of her hairless head and Gillian shuddered at his touch.
“Oh, I don’t think she’ll be letting it grow long again, do you?” Maxi assessed her prey, who knelt on a bed of hair, clutching soft, lustrous locks to her body. “Well, bitch, gonna keep your hair short from now on?”
Numbly Gillian nodded.
“Cause if you don’t,” Maxi continued, “we’ll come back and depilate you, and your hair will never, ever grow again. Not one single hair.”
Gillian bit back a million retorts, and gulped. “I won’t grow it,” she whispered.
“We’re sure you won’t,” said Ralph. “We’ll be back every three months to check that you don’t. Women with long hair like you had get monitored for life.”
Maxi hung her clippers back on her belt. “Have a nice day, baldy!”
They left silently, closing the screen door behind them with exquisite politeness. Gillian curled up on her bed of hair, and cried until she had no more tears left.
“They shaved my head,” Gillian told Mikey later that night, scarcely able to hold back her tears. “They just burst in…they were monitoring us!”
“Darling, it’s OK. Really.” Mikey looked into the camera, desperately hiding the sinking feeling in his stomach. Gillian – bald! “It doesn’t change a thing. Don’t worry, your hair will grow back quite quickly. It has for everyone else I’ve seen shaved.”
“But I can never grow it long again!”
“Hush, sweetheart! I’ll be there next week, alright?”
Gillian nodded. She was wearing her bobbed wig, and was far too embarrassed to take it off. “Sure you don’t want to wait until my head looks decent again?”
“Nah,” Mikey grinned. “For all the baldies I’ve seen around, I’ve never slept with a bald woman. It might be a whole new experience for both of us.”
Gillian smiled shakily.
When they both rang off, Mikey sighed. At least he’d had one mind-blowing experience with a woman who’d had the most incredible hair on Earth. That was something to remember always! And Gillian was Gillian, hairy or bald. He continued his packing. There was an ancient song from centuries ago that Mikey remembered hearing: “Always look on the bright side of life”. He started to whistle.
In their car the two Hair Inspectors grinned at each other.
“One of these days we’ll get caught,” Maxi warned Ralph.
He shrugged, and carefully folded his uniform before pulling on his t-shirt and shorts.
“But it’s been worth it, hasn’t it? What a stroke of luck, hacking into THAT conversation!”
Maxi grinned. “Am I good or am I GOOD!” She’d discarded her stolen Hair Inspector uniform in favour of jeans. She sat in the car with the miniaturised PC plugged into the car system, scanning through networks and conversations in search of more hair talk.
“Lucky she didn’t ask to see our credentials,” Maxi said.
“They never do, they’re too scared,” retorted Ralph, locking the ill-gotten uniforms out of sight. “But man, what a head of hair! We’ll never be that lucky again!”
Maxi closed her eyes in bliss. “That first cut with the scissors! Oh, Ralph! Just plunging the scissors into her hair and cutting it off! Did you feel how HEAVY it was?” She pulled him close, biting his lips and plunging her tongue into his mouth. With one hand she steadied the PC and with the other stroked his clean shaven scalp.
“Mmmm,” groaned Ralph. “Better not, I’d hate to be arrested somewhere out here having sex and they search the car.”
“I suppose so,” said Maxi sadly. “Well, onto Sydney, I suppose, as planned.”
“Lots of people, lots of hair,” Ralph grinned. “But this was a most enjoyable stop.”
Maxi loaded up the pictures of Gillian’s amazing hair while Ralph started the car. “Shall we come back in three months and check on her?”
“What a good idea, she might need a trim!”
Their laughter echoed out of the car windows as the solar powered car, its batteries full from a day in the sun, slid silently into the night.
The end. (c) Copyright Sabrina S, 1999