The Little Shavers – A Tale of Lice and Men – Jhbablon 1996
The heat of an early June day permeated the classroom as if to give a taste of a long hot summer ahead. Even though the windows were wide open in the old brick building of St. Catherine’s School, the late afternoon heat wave made the room unbearable. Eddie, sitting in the back of the room, his growing frame crammed into a small wooden desk, gazed up at the clock and saw the hands indicate the time as 3:25. Staring at the old clock in the room Eddie realized that if he didn’t do something soon he’d miss all the fun down at the club house. However his present situation, a prisoner in Sister Mary Catherine detention hall, wasn’t going to help matters any . Eddie was no stranger to these surroundings, for the standing joke was that his seat in detention was permanently reserved for the rest of his tenure at the school. A plan, all he needed was a plan! As the old Nun looked down at the papers she was grading, Eddie’s hand reached into the old wood and metal desk, and extracted a small white bit of fur.
“Well Herman my good buddy it’s time to do your stuff, old man! Good Luck!” he silently thought as he placed the white furry mouse upon the long steel pipe that ran along the wall to the front of the room. Herman sprung into action as he scrambled down the metal path to the unsuspecting victim at the head of the class room. “5-4-3- 2-1” Eddie counted in his mind.
“Yeeeeach” screamed the Sister as she jumped out of her chair, and headed for the door. It seems the good sister had a bad case of ‘mouse-o-phobia’, and by Eddie’s experience wouldn’t return with help for another five minutes or so, which was just enough time for Eddie to make his exit. Of course the quick exit of the only authority figure of the room, set off an immediate riot by the denizens of cell block #515. Eddie of course wouldn’t hang around for the appearance of Monsignor Stephen, and the subsequent return of law and order. As the rest of the prisoners frolicked in their new found temporary anarchy, Eddie skipped out the fire escape door to freedom.
Once outside, his eyes caught sight of the big clock on the side of the Randolph building, and realized that to keep his appointment he would have to hurry. Scrambling down five stories of the rickety iron structure of a fire escape, he quickly reached the hot black top of the playground. Hitting the ground running he quickly traversed the deserted space and ran out between the school gates to the street. He was free at last, but did not stop to savor the feeling, for he had an appointment to keep. Running down Elm Street he quickly hung a left, and continued down Main Street. A quick dodge into an alley at the sight of old Officer O’Reilly. After the law passed by, the journey continued with a right turn down Maple Ave., across the railroad tracks and finally to the abandoned lot at 4th Street. Cutting straight across the lot he made a bee line for a small wooden shack on the side of an old warehouse. As he approached the shack he could read the letters R.H.C. painted upon the door. Eddie barely slowed down as he swung open the creaking wooden door and ran in.
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“Calm down Eddie, Bob hasn’t even arrived yet!” The voice that greeted Eddie was none other than fellow club member Stan. Stan sat in a relaxed manner at the back of the club house leaning back on an old office chair with his feet up on the desk. Stan with his sailor’s cap cocked upon his head was busy gluing a stack of photographs into a large album. A couple of quick yelps from the club mascot, Bald Spot, let Eddie know that the little short haired dog recognized his friend and master. Eddie pulled a dog biscuit from his pocket and walked over to the old barber’s chair in the corner, where old Bald Spot was sitting. Eddie patted the little dog on the head as the pint- sized pup devoured his treat.
The two boys stopped what they were doing at the sound of voices approaching the club house. “OH Bobby, this is so neat! You have your very own club house, and everything!” It was the bubbly sound of a young lady’s voice.
“Of course being president of the club is a big responsibility and all, the other members kind of look up to me” This voice they recognized as their friend Bob.
Stan rolled his eyes at the last comment, but quickly composed himself as the door swung open and in walked a very pretty young girl with long brown hair down to her mid-back. Following her right behind was their veritable friend Bob. Closing the door behind himself, Bob quickly made the introductions.
“Adele, I would like you to meet our fellow club members Eddie, and Stan”
“Pleased to meet you boys,” the lovely little lady replied.
Eddie eyed the little long-haired beauty and said in a lustful tone, “Hi, Adele, very glad to meet YOU!”
Stan stood up and in a little more reserved manner said, “Hello Adele, nice to meet you.”
Adele then remarked, “This place is really cool! And look at this old Barber’s chair over here. Where did you get it?”
Stan piped in, “Oh about a year ago, when old man Martoni died they were throwing it out, so we picked it up and gave it a new home.”
“Oh, Bobby I have a question for you,” said Adele. “I’ve been meaning to ask you what do the initials R H C stand for?”
Stan and Eddie gave Bob a funny look, but Bob continued with his smooth delivery explaining, “Why, Adele, my dear, it stands for Recreational Hair Club”
Adele replied, “So what do you do here?”
Bob shot back without a blink, “My dear, our activities are dedicated to the admiration of long-haired beauties such as yourself.” Pretty Adele’s flawless complexion turned a pretty pink hue at Bob’s little compliment. In contrast Stan just sort of rolled his eyes, and Eddie had to restrain himself from breaking out in hysterical laughter.
Adele then noticed little Bald Spot sleeping in the corner. “What a cute little dog!” she remarked. She walked over and proceeded to bend down to pet the little canine.
While she was bent over stroking the puppy, Eddie was surreptitiously sprinkling some powder on her head. Eddie had a mischievous smile as the contents of the ‘A1 Novelty Itching Powder’ fell from the can on to Adele’s scalp. She stood up and walked over towards Bob, and was about to ask him another question when she had this uncontrollable urge to scratch her head. Her fingers were soon engaged in a vigorous massage of the top of her own head in a totally frenzied manner.
Bob, looking surprised, remarked, “Adele are you OK?”
“Bobby, I don’t know what’s wrong. All of a sudden my scalp is itching like crazy!”
Bob replied in a reassuring manner, “I’m sure it will pass, it’s probably nothing.”
“No, Bobby, this is strange, my scalp is itching like crazy!” Adele replied, her voice starting to panic slightly. “Please Bobby do something!” she pleaded.
“Stan knows about this kind of thing, he’ll take a look for you.” Bob replied confidently.
Stan walked over to Adele and parted her long hair in the center of her scalp with a comb, and then started to look carefully at her scalp. As he was looking he said, “Tsk Tsk Tsk, I hope it isn’t what I think it is.”
“Is what? Please tell me!” blurted the worried young girl.
Stan replied, “Well I’ll have to check it out under the magnify glass to be sure.” He then pretended to lift something from her scalp, and walked over to his desk. He opened the drawer and pulled out a big magnifier and made believe he was studying something.
Bob, with a concerned tone, inquired, “Come on Stan this can’t be the same PROBLEM that Polly Potter had, can it?” All Stan could do was bow his head in a tragic mournful pose. Bob, with a look on his face of utter disbelief again questioned his friend, “Stan are you sure? Adele has such lovely hair. Is it definitely the Dreaded Siberian Head Lice?”
Stan just shook his head in an affirmative manner, casting a sorrowful look at poor Adele.
“Bobby, what does this mean? What can I do?” Adele pleaded for help.
Bob waited a moment and then replied in a somber manner, “Well, Adele, with normal head lice you can use a liquid medicine from the drug store, or maybe shampoo with kerosene, but with Siberian head lice…” Bob pauses and makes his last plea, “Stan there has to be another way, look how lovely this girl is, it would be criminal to ask her to….”
Stan just shrugged his shoulders and put his hand over his eyes and looked away.
“Ask me to do what?” Adele pleaded, as she continued to scratch at her tormented scalp. “Bobby tell me what I have to do to get relief.”
Bob looked her straight in the eyes and repeated in a somber tone, “You will have to shave your head, Adele.”
The room became totally silent as a shocked Adele turned and contemplated the answer to her plight. Her silence didn’t last long, for her irritated scalp quickly reminded her of her present condition. “Oh Bobby, I’ll do anything to get rid of this itching!” she replied.
At that moment a certain spark ignited in all three young gentlemen. Adele thought for a second, and with a frustrated look on her face asked, “But, Bobby, how am I going to shave my head? I can’t do it myself, the beauty salon won’t do it, and I’m too embarrassed to go to a barbershop.” Adele continued to think, and as she looked around she spotted the barber’s chair. An idea flashed in her head and she said, “You guys have a barber’s chair, maybe one of you can shave my head?”
The request was met by three of the best poker faces in existence, but the stern exterior displayed by these three young men was a mere facade to cover up the veritable explosion on the inside. Bob, breaking the silence, finally said, “Well Adele, I don’t know — we could do it — but if anyone found out we did it we could get in trouble for cutting hair without a license.”
“Oh please shave my head! Bobby, I won’t tell anyone you guys did it. I promise!” Adele begged the boys for her haircut.
Bob finally relented. “OK we’ll help you, Adele.”
As the words were coming out of Bob’s mouth, Eddie and Stan were getting the necessary materials together. Adele with a big smile of relief on her face walked over to Bob and planted a kiss on his cheek, and said, “Thank you Bobby.” Of course Bob was thinking, “Thank you Adele!”
Bob led the young beauty over to the chair were Eddie, with a grin from ear to ear, was waiting with barber’s cape in hand for his client (victim) of the day. Meanwhile Bob took out a flash camera from the desk drawer and grabbed a pack of flash bulbs.
Adele questioned, “Bobby how come you are going to take pictures of me getting my head shaved?”
Bob replied, “Scientific research Adele dear, these photos may someday benefit mankind.” Of course all of mankind Bob was thinking about were the members of the club.
Adele, a little apprehensive, sat down slowly in the chair. Eddie had her hold up her long soft brown hair while he tied the cape around her neck. As she released her tresses, her lovely hair cascaded down the back of the old barber’s chair. Eddie then proceeded to brush out her hair in long soft strokes. A nervous Adele sheepishly asked her young barber, “This won’t hurt at all, will it?” To which the mesmerized Eddie answered, mimicking the great W.C. Fields, “Won’t hurt a bit my dear, won’t hurt a bit.”
Eddie reached for a pair of big black hair clippers and plugged them in. A flick of the switch and the clippers sprang to life with a surge of electricity, but the mere volts and amps were no match for the surge going through Eddie’s body. As he brought the vibrating clippers close to Adele she winced and closed her eyes in apprehension of the unknown. Eddie nudged Adele’s head forward and placed the vibrating machine at her forehead. With a confident and careful motion Eddie pushed the clippers up Adele’s virgin scalp. Adele jumped slightly as she felt the vibrating blades started to traverse her lovely head. Waves and waves of long brown hair dropped into her lap as the clippers rose higher and higher up her scalp. Eddie paused at the crown of her head as he visualized for a moment what this pretty girl would look like finally parted from her long brown hair. He then began another pass across the top of her head leaving a still wider strip of baldness. Two more passes and Adele no longer had any long hair on the top of her head. Eddie then inverted the clippers and started to trim off all her long hair that remained. He then brought the blades to her scalp again and once again began running them up her head. He removed most of what was left on the right side, around her ear and the sides of her head. Eddie tilted her head to the side so that he could now clip off the left side.
The buzzing clippers reduced the left side of Adele’s head to pale white skin, till the only hair left was on the back of her head. As his final move, Eddie tilted her head forward and buzzed the clippers up the back of the neck. Clumps of hair fell to the floor, as pass after pass Adele was approaching total hairlessness. Eddie switched off the clippers when and only when there was no more hair to remove from Adele’s lovely shaped head.
Adele with her eyes still closed shut, asked the young barber, “Am I all done yet?”
Eddie answered, “Not quite my dear, with this type of condition we must shave your scalp with a razor and shaving cream just to make sure that there is nothing for the little buggers to nest in. Stan is getting things ready now and will be over in a minute to finish the job.”
Stan at that very moment was lathering up some shaving soap in the old mug. He carefully placed a brand new Gillette ‘Blue Blade’ in the silver colored safety razor, and grabbing a warm moist towel walked over to the freshly buzzed Adele. Stan placed the moist towel around Adele’s sheared head to soften the stubble.
“OOOO that feels neat, it’s strange having no hair.” commented the pretty little lady.
Stan answered, “It will be better after I’m done. Having a bald head this summer will be fun Adele, and real cool too.”
Stan removed the towel, and taking the shaving brush started to lather up her scalp. When he was done, he put down the shaving brush, and taking his trusty double edged blade began to shave her scalp. He plied the razor with short and careful strokes, starting at the front by her forehead. Each stroke left a small patch of smooth white skin in the middle of the sea of lather. Stan carefully, but quickly, worked around her entire scalp. He paused every once in a while to check the smoothness with his two fingers. After a number of inspections for absolute smoothness, Stan decided that he couldn’t shave Adele any closer and that he was finally finished. He was about to wipe off the excess lather when the door opened and a voice greeted all present.
“Hi everybody”, said a young blonde girl sporting a short crew cut.
“Hi Sal” was the chorus of response that met her greeting.
Sally, noticing the freshly shaved Adele in chair, addressed her, “OH dear! Another victim of the lice epidemic. Good thing you had your head shaved, my dear, it’s the only cure that works!”
At the sound of Sally’s voice Adele opened her eyes , and seeing another young girl with very little hair smiled.
“My name is Sally what’s yours?” asked Sally, as she walked over to Adele.
“Hi I’m Adele.”
Sally continued, “May I say Adele you look absolutely stunning with your head shaved!”
A slightly embarrassed Adele relied, “Oh thank you, I’ve never had my hair cut short before much less shaved totally bald!”
Sally continues while she reaches for a bottle of baby oil, “Well dear, in my opinion you have all the best features for it. A nice shaped head, cute ears, and gorgeous long neck, with those features it’s criminal to cover up all that beauty with hair!” Adele giggles, as Sally start to massage the oil into Adele’s scalp.
“Wow, I’ve never experienced a sensation like that before. It’s strange, but kind of interesting.” Adele remarked.
Sally gently takes the hand of the hesitant Adele and places it on her new smooth scalp. Sally guides the girl’s hand across new and uncharted territory. Adele breaks into a smile, and Sally lets the girl enjoy the feeling of a naked scalp. Adele begins to caress her own scalp, massaging the skin, and experiencing the sensual pleasure for the first time. “Like it?” queries Sally as Adele is busy getting off on her new hairless- do. Adele just smiles and nods her head yes.
“Let me show you what you look like!” says an excited Sally, fetching a hand mirror for Adele. “Are you ready Adele?” she asks, poised ready to confront the girl with her own reflection. Adele replies, “I guess so”
Sally slowly raises the mirror up in front of Adele’s face so she can take in her new look. Adele lets out a surprised shriek when she first gets a glimpse of the bald headed girl staring at her in the mirror. The shock and surprise soon wear off as she takes the mirror and studies her head at different angles.
“You know I don’t look half bad without hair” Adele surmises.
“Honey I think you look twice as good than before… but then I have this Affair with Hair myself” Sally said, running her hand back over her tufting crew-cut hair. Sally helps Adele out of the chair and the two start to walk out of the club house talking away about Adele’s transformation.
As they open the door Adele turns to the boys and says, “Thanks for the haircut guys,” then giggles and walks out with Sally. On the way out you can hear Sally say, “Now first we can go over to my house and I’ll show you how to do your makeup, and how to take care of that scalp, shave it and I might let you trim mine and……” The voices of the girls fade into the distance, and all that is left in the room is three young men.
Bob breaks the silence and says, “Well boys, I don’t know how we do it, but there goes another bald beauty into the world. Eddie, get this film down to down to Thompson’s Photo Shop and tell them we need 20 prints of each shot. Stan, get the mailing envelopes out and our club mailing list, and don’t forget to add that new kid from down south, North Carolina or something. You know guys, this RHC club thing could get really big. In the future we could go totally national, maybe even world wide.”
To which Stan replies, “Yeah, maybe we could even publish a magazine called Little Shavers or The Clipper- Hey, I could be the Cap’n – or something like Sally’s idea on the Hair Affair – something like that if only any folks showed interest !”