Rosita by EddyZ.
A number of years ago I took over a unisex hairsalon/barbershop – in fact the only one – in a little township near the Mexican border. Being the only hairdresser in town I trained apprentices to help me, of course one at a time. They started with cleaning up and shampooing before I taught them to cut hair. Many of the girls who I trained lived in the little town or in its environment. As was understandable for a place near to the border, a number of the inhabitants had their origins in Mexico. This was the case with Rosita, a 17-year-old cute girl, whose parents had emigrated from Mexico, though she had been born here. She spoke English as well as Spanish. She had been my apprentice for about six weeks when one day I had to be away for an errand. It was round noon and I had told her that I would be back in half an hour and that if a client came, she should ask that person to wait for a while. It took me longer, however, and I wasn’t back until an hour later. When I entered my salon I saw Rosita busy sweeping up a mass of long black tresses. I hadn’t cut such a lot that morning.
“What happened? Where did all that hair come from?” I asked suspiciously. The way she looked at me indicated that she felt guilty.
“I… I did it. A little girl came in for a haircut. I told her to wait for you, but she said that she couldn’t do that as her mother had told her to be back on time and she should not come back without her hair cut short. She begged me to do it.”
“You cut her hair? You are not supposed to do that when I am not there. You know that very well.”
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“Oh, I am very sorry. Yes, I know, but she insisted.”
“My god, what a fool you are. You should have let her go, no matter what she said. She would have come back.”
“Yes, ma’am, I know. It is foolish from me. It won’t happen again.”
“You bet! I would fire you! Well, it is lunchtime. You better have lunch now before our next appointment arrives.” She went to the restroom behind the salon and closed the door.
About ten minutes later an angry middle-aged woman burst into the salon, dragging a child with her. She was short and massive, clearly of Mexican origin, speaking faulty English. But there was no need to explain much: I saw clearly what was the matter.
“Look they did to my Conchita! In your salon! Want back money. And you tidy the mess.”
The child was about 12 years. She looked horrible. Her hair had been ruined. Rosita had tried to cut a bob at earlobe-length, but it had turned out to be very shaggy and uneven. The only thing I could do was to transform it into a pixie cut. I told the mother, as I supposed her to be, how sorry I was and explained what I intended to do. She looked at the whole procedure with suspicion, but after I had finished the cut, she seemed satisfied. I sighed with relief but when I took away the cape, Rosita opened the door of the restroom. Conchita pointed at her and she began to speak to the woman in rapid Spanish. Rosita stood petrified.
“She guilty person. She cut down hair of my Conchita!”
“Rosita, come here!” I ordered.
Reluctantly she approached. The woman pointed at Rosita’s plait. I had told Rosita that she had to hold her long black hair, cascading over her back and ending at her hips, out of her face by braiding it, tying it into a ponytail or pinning it up.
“Want her braid,” the woman said.
“No! Not my hair! “Rosita exclaimed.
The woman had a threatening look. Mercilessly, she insisted, louder now. “Want that braid!”
What could I do? I didn’t want to revive her rage. Besides, Rosita had been disobedient and she had to bear the consequences. “Turn around, Rosita. You have to blame yourself. You were not allowed to cut Conchita’s hair.” She began to sob, while I wrapped a ribbon around her braid near to her scalp and grabbed a pair of my biggest scissors. I prepared to cut but the woman prevented it.
“No, no, no, me do!” I handed her the scissors. It took her ample time to sever the thick braid, but at last it came loose and she held it up with a malicious grin on her face. Then she disappeared, taking Conchita with her and again I sighed with relief. She had had her revenge. Ironically Rosita’s hair resembled that of Conchita before I had tidied it up.
“I can’t have you walk around here like that,” I said to the still sobbing girl. “Sit down.” I pointed at the barber’s chair. Meekly she climbed into it and I swung a cape around her shoulders. Easily I could have given her a neat, short bob cut, but I felt I ought to teach her a lesson and now there was an opportunity to do so! I opted for a buzzcut and I put the half-inch attachment on the big Wahl clippers. I pushed her head to her breast and flicked them on. I started at her nape and went on and on over her head till all of her hair had been reduced to half of an inch all over. I turned the chair to let her look at her reflection in the mirror.
She was still crying but she said: “Thank you, ma’am.” Surprised I asked her why she thanked me. “I deserve a punishment. I had feared that you would fire me. Therefore I am graceful that you let me stay.”
“Well, I hope that you have learned your lesson, Rosita.” In spite of all I felt sorry for her.
“Oh, yes, ma’am, I will never more do anything that I am not allowed.”
But the affair had an aftermath. Rosita’s mother came in the evening, very angry with me. “What did you do with her lovely hair? You had no right to cut it all off. ” I told her the course of events and said that she should be glad that I had not fired her daughter. “She had brought me in an awkward situation. Conchita’s mother could have claimed damages from me.” Rosita’s mother calmed down and apologized for her daughter’s conduct.
It was a small community and soon everyone became well informed of the matter. It didn’t surprise me that most people were of the opinion that justice had been done. Really surprised I experienced the coming of Conchita’s mother with three other daughters, ranging from 6 to 14 years. She wanted me to cut the long hair from all of them into a pixie cut just like Conchita had got. The two youngest underwent the cutting resigned, but the 14-year-old, Consuela, offered resistance. Her mother slapped her with the flat of her hand across her face and threatened her: “You do or me have you shave bald. Yes, ma’am?” she asked me.
“Sure, that is no problem for me, ” I answered in the affirmative. Consuela subdued, crying.
And Rosita? In summer it is very hot in this part of the country. “I did never realise that it is so cool with that short hair,” Rosita said, when it was a really hot day, a few weeks later.
“Your hair has grown out, Rosita. I think it is time for another haircut.”
“I would love it, ma’am if it doesn’t cause you too much trouble.”
“Oh, no, it is my pleasure.”
“Do you use the clippers again? I like the feeling of them running over my head.”
“I certainly do. What do you think? A quarter of an inch?”
“As you wish, ma’am.”
After a rain of short hair had stopped I asked her: “Are you satisfied?” She looked at her reflection and seemed worried. “What is the matter, Rosita? You think it is too short?”
“No, ma’am. I won’t be forward, but could you make it shorter?” I smiled and removed the attachment.
“It is no problem, Rosita.” Perhaps she would enjoy the scraping of the razor still more!
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