This is a story involving female haircutting if that doesn’t interest you please pass on this one.
THE JUDGE’S VERDICT by Shearingly
The judge looked at the file closely, reading it twice to be sure he hadn’t missed anything. Dropping the file on top of his desk, he removed his glasses and walked over to the window. He gazed thoughtfully out over the darkened town then made a decision.
The police chief had sent the file over marked for his attention, so after reaching the decision the judge called the station. “Charlie,” he said to the chief, “have your deputy bring them over. I’ll see them now.”
In twenty minutes his secretary buzzed him to announce they had arrived. He kept them waiting in his reception area for another fifteen minutes while he studied them through a pane of one-way glass.
Joyce Milner was a woman he’d seen before. She was thirty-five years old now, according to the file, divorced, and worked as a receptionist in a professional building. He saw she hadn’t changed from how he remembered her – a fine looking woman, slender and petite with very lovely, thick, ash-blond hair. He knew she took great pride in her appearance, especially her hair, but tonight he saw the lovely head of curls looked slightly mussed. He decided that her experience at the police station must have rattled her.
He hadn’t seen Joyce’s daughter, Terry, before but she was a beautiful girl. She had the fresh skin and youthful figure which is the blessing of many fifteen-year old girls. He could easily picture her as a cheerleader. Her hair was almost as stunning as her mother’s. The sides were caught back into a barrette and then the whole mass of light brown waves tumbled down to her shoulder blades. She had a few wispy bangs which came down around her eyes. When she talked to her mom her head moved making the curls dance like they had a life of their own. The lights reflected off the highlights of her hair shimmering and shining.
He told his secretary to accompany the two to the restroom and to let them fix themselves up before coming into his office. Soon she ushered them in. He coldly told the deputy to wait outside while he talked to them.
He made them sit in two uncomfortably hard chairs while he pretended to study their file. He could tell they were nervous and growing more so all the time.
“Terry, tell me in your own words what has brought you here again,” he said.
Joyce started in, “Well, Terry…”
“No,” he cut her off. “I want to hear it in Terry’s own words.”
Terry told the story in a halting voice. She had been in the department store with some friends and had seen a set of expensive hair accessories she wanted but couldn’t afford. When she thought no one was looking she slipped it into her pocket and walked out. The plainclothes security guard saw it all happen and had stopped her before she got off the premises. They had her cold and she knew it. Any bravado she had exhibited before had evaporated by this point.
The judge looked at the file again and said, “You know this is the second time you’ve been caught stealing.” She hung her head, looking fearful and nodded.
“What do you have to say about it?” the judge asked Joyce.
“I’m terribly sorry for what my daughter has done. She was wrong. I will pay for it, of course, and I’ll make sure she never does it again.”
“You told me,” the judge said, “that exact same thing three months ago when Terry was brought before me. At that time I believed you and I believed that you were going to exercise more control over her. You realize that I can’t let this slide this time, don’t you?”
The judge said, “I can’t hear you.”
Joyce said, “Yes sir.”
“You will have to be punished. I have talked to the owner of the store. He really wants to press charges. He thinks that an example needs to be made of Terry or all the teenage girls will be robbing him blind.”
After pausing and letting them worry and fret for a moment, he put on his gravest expression and said, “Ladies, I’m just not sure we can keep this one out of the courts. This is Terry’s second offense and she needs to learn that she can’t do these things without facing the consequences.”
“Do you know what would happen if Terry were sent to the juvenile correctional facility?” he asked them.
Joyce shuddered and he could see tears starting to form in her eyes. “Oh please, sir. Is there anything you can do to prevent that?” She was pleading with him.
He said to them, “Well, if you agree to abide by whatever punishments I decree, then the owner is willing to drop the charges. It won’t be pleasant and the owner said it has to be something you will remember for a long time, but it will mean that Terry won’t go to jail and she won’t have that criminal record. What do you say?”
Joyce immediately said, “Oh, yes sir. Anything you say. Anything but having Terry go to jail.”
He looked over at Terry inquiringly. “How about you, girl?”
She finally looked up at him with a very sober expression. “Yes sir,” she said in a quavering voice, “I will do whatever you say.”
He buzzed his secretary, “Bring in those papers.” He explained to them that there were some release forms for them to sign. The papers were a complete confessional and a release agreeing to be punished. He explained that they would be kept in a file and if Terry didn’t get into any further trouble by the time she turned eighteen then the papers would be destroyed. They were so relieved and trusted him that they didn’t even read the papers carefully – they were, after all, typed in a small size type.
They both signed the papers and then Joyce turned to him and said, “What will her punishment be?”
“What we need here,” he responded as he walked over to Terry’s chair, “is a punishment fitting the crime. Now in Arab countries,” he paused and picked up Terry’s slender wrist, “the punishment for stealing is to cut off the offender’s hand.” They both gasped and Terry pulled her hand away. He smiled and went on, “But we don’t want to permanently maim Terry, do we.”
“Humm. What was it you stole, Terry?” he asked. They produced the item – a package of pretty hair accessories. “Ah, yes, I’ve got just the punishment!” His hand moved up to Terry’s head – “Terry’s punishment is to have all of her hair cut off!”
Another pair of gasps and Terry’s hands moved up to protect her hair. “Yes, that’s what it’ll be. Your punishment is to lose the hair which you were trying to adorn. That will remove further temptation for quite a while.” And so, having made the pronouncement he moved across the office to a cupboard on the side wall. He opened a door and pulled out a leather attaché case. Bringing it back to the girls he laid it on top of the desk and opened it. Inside, carefully arranged – and in full sight of the two were an assortment of scissors and a couple of electric clippers.
“Do you mean it?” Joyce asked. “Isn’t that too extreme, or cruel and unusual, or something?”
“No,” he said firmly, “this is just what she deserves. It is a punishment that will be over quickly but will teach her a lesson that she’ll remember for a long time. Remember you signed papers saying that you’ll abide by my decision. Oh, by the way, two things Joyce – that paper you signed said that if you resist my decision you will be prosecuted for obstruction of justice and,” he paused dramatically, “the papers also stated that whatever punishment Terry is given will also be given to you since she is a minor and your responsibility. You have failed, so you must suffer also.”
Quickly taking control before they could think about their predicament he said, “Terry move your chair over here into the center of the room.” She jumped up and obeyed him. After she had seated herself again he stood behind her and unfastened the barrette that was fastened in the back of her head. He ran his fingers through the luxuriantly thick tresses, playing with them and her. He took a wide-toothed comb and smoothed her rebellious curls into place.
Grasping a pair of scissors, he pushed her head forward into a submissive posture and none-too-gently lifted a thick lock of hair right at the nape of her neck. Holding the sixteen or so inches of beautiful light brown hair taut, he placed the scissors close to her scalp and closed the blades. The severed lock sprang free. He slowly brushed it across her face and then laid it in her lap. Another lock joined the first and then another and another. Soon the back of her head was closely cropped. He then started working across the top of her head and around her ears until it was all less than a half-an-inch long. Even her wispy bangs had been cut off and left to drop down on her face.
“What does that feel like to you?” he asked her.
When she put her trembling hands up to feel the stubble, she screamed.
She got quiet again when she heard a snap and a hum as the electric clippers were turned on. With no sizing guard for the blade, he pushed her head forward again and buzzed all around Terry’s head until she was as bald as an old man. He made her collect the severed hair and put it into a paper sack with her name written on it.
He then turned to Joyce and said, “Your turn!”
Her jaw dropped. “I thought you didn’t really mean it about me.” she said.
“Absolutely not,” he answered sternly. “You have been negligent as a parent and deserve punishment as much as Terry. Now get over here and sit in this chair.”
She slowly moved across the room, pausing to give her daughter a hug and run her hand over the denuded head. She crumpled into the chair. When she felt the judge’s fingers run through her hair she lost control of herself. He heard something and looked down into her lap. There was a big wet spot where she had wet herself. She began to cry.
He closed his fist in her hair and jerked hard to get her attention. “Now stop that, Joyce. If you don’t hold still I’m liable to hurt you even worse.”
She snuffled and sniffed trying to control her sobs. Her thick, ash-blond hair was styled in layers that let the natural curls free to gracefully wave all around her head. The back hung long enough so the curls touched her shoulders.
He didn’t use the scissors at all with Joyce. He picked up the clippers and snapped them on. Joyce jumped when she heard that noise and the tears were flowing but she held herself still for the inevitable. He stood in front of her and started at her forehead, tilting her head back a little so she would have to look up at him. She didn’t close her eyes when he moved the buzzing clippers from the top of her forehead to the crown of her head. Great clumps of beautiful curls fell away as the clippers moved. After mowing a double wide swath down the center of her head he stopped and lifted her hand to feel the stubble. She nearly collapsed.
The clippers moved again shearing off the curls like she was a sheep surrendering her wool. When he had finished with Joyce he had the two stand together holding up some of their severed strands while he took some pictures.
He finally held out a mirror to them so they could see themselves. That produced a fresh burst of tears. They clung to each other for moral support.
After a short lecture on the evils of crime and the responsibilities of parenthood he let them go certain that Terry and Joyce would remember this lesson for a long time – at least for several months while waiting for their hair to grow back.
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