The Truth Hurts by LocksCutter
On the outside, Melissa Swanson was the All-American girl. She had perfect teeth, light blue eyes, and a body to die for, standing 5’4″ and weighing 112 pounds. Her best asset, though, what kept her apart from other perky, pretty, cheerleader-type girls was her hair. To say it was her pride and joy would be like saying water is wet – it’s a no-brainer. Her brown hair cascaded down her back ending in a sharp line at the top of her firm butt like a still, frozen waterfall of milk chocolate. It was so straight and so thick that scrunchie hair clips were no match for her hair – they always fell out due to the sheer weight of her crowing glory. She LOVED her hair. Guys loved her hair. Girls envied her hair. And Melissa’s mother, Connie, cherished her hair. They both knew it was Melissa’s ticket to getting noticed at cheerleading camps by college recruiters. When recruiters would watch videotapes of the team’s cheerleading performance they would inevitably ask, “They’re not bad… but who is the girl with all that hair? She’s great…and a knockout to boot.” “Oh, that’s Melissa Swanson,” someone would say, “she’s quite a Rapunzel, huh?”
It was a Saturday in early May and Melissa read over the words of the letter she had received that morning a second time just to be sure. “…And we’re pleased to inform you that you have been chosen to receive the Anderson Memorial Cheerleading Scholarship.”
“I got it!” she blurted out to her mother in the kitchen. “All my hard work has paid off, mommy! I’ll be able to cheer wherever I want next year!”
“Oh sweetheart, I’m so happy for you. But, sweetie, you did say you’d think about staying here in town and going to State college,” Melissa’s mother reminded her daughter.
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“Yes, mother, I said I would THINK about it. But now since I have this scholarship I am going to go out of state with Greg.” Her mother’s beaming smile soon faded into sadness.
Connie Swanson loved her daughter dearly. She’d always supported Melissa’s cheerleading endeavors. Even when it meant working long, hard hours at a job she hated, she’d always paid the insanely high costs for cheerleading camps every summer so Melissa would get the necessary experience and exposure. And now, finally, as seventeen-year-old Melissa was about to end her senior year of high school, her dream and her mother’s dream for her had come true. Melissa would be able to cheer in college. However, the tough part for Connie was that she wanted Melissa to go to the local college, in town, so she could watch her cheer and give her support. More than that, though, Connie didn’t trust Greg. She saw how he looked at her daughter with lust in his eyes and she was more than concerned. At the moment, though, Connie wanted to bond with her daughter and forget about Greg.
“This calls for a celebration, Missa. Let’s go out for a fancy dinner after a nice afternoon of shopping. What do ya say?”
“Oh that would be great mom, but… err… well I already have plans with Greg today. He really needs help studying for the big Trig test on Monday. I’m really sorry, mom. Can I raincheck ya?” Melissa said, flipping her gorgeous tresses over her shoulder, flashing her perfectly straight smile, and batting her puppy dog eyes at her mother.
“No problem, honey. I should really clean up the house anyway. You go and help Greg.”
As Melissa walked out the door she smirked and rolled her eyes and said under her breath so only she could hear it, “She has no clue,” and laughed softly.
On the inside Melissa was as cunning as anyone could be. She only cared about herself and didn’t mind stepping over people, hurting people, or manipulating people to get what she wanted. She knew she had the looks to make guys bend over backwards for her. She was a good student and teachers thought of her as an angel. It was all gloss, though. It was all for the image. Melissa Swanson was rotten to the core.
“Hmm, that’s strange,” Connie Swanson thought to herself as she hung up the phone. “It’s 9:00 and no answer at the Harris house. Surely, they’ve had plenty of time to study. I’d better head over there to make sure everything is all right. Missa has a big competition coming up and she needs her rest,” Connie said aloud as she grabbed her car keys and shut the door behind her.
A few minutes later as Mrs. Swanson pulled into the Harris’ driveway, she was more than a little alarmed to notice all the lights in the house were turned off. However, she was somewhat reassured to see Melissa’s red Neon, a sweet sixteen gift her mother had worked hard to give her, parked in the driveway. She walked briskly up to the front door, knocked, waited, knocked again but to no answer. She rang the doorbell three times – nothing. Then she tried the doorknob and found it unlocked. Scared for herself and for Melissa, she quietly walked into the home.
“Hello, anyone here?” Connie’s voice echoed in the large living room. She stopped and listened and heard a deep thumping sound coming from upstairs. It was a bass, loud, and hard, continuously thumping over and over again.
“Techno dance music,” Connie thought to herself. “Somebody has to be here listening to it.”
She found the staircase and proceeded to walk up it until she reached the top and could see the door where the music seemed to be coming from. Only now at the top of the stairs, just outside this door, Connie heard a different sound. Under the loud bass-like sound emitting from the stereo inside the room was the sound of moaning, the sound of sex. Connie gently pushed open the door and flipped on the light switch.
“Oh my God in heaven!” screamed Connie. “What in the hell are you doing, Melissa Ann!”
There on the bed of Greg’s room sat Melissa, nude and on all fours, her head down and her hair like a thick, silk curtain spilling over on the sheets. Greg, just as naked as she was, and positioned directly behind her, had one hand on her butt, and one hand deep in her luscious tresses. Too shocked to react, Connie burst into tears and ran from the house, driving away into the night.
Melissa quickly got dressed and went home. It wouldn’t be until the next morning that she would see her mother again. As her mother walked in the front door, expressionless, at 7:00AM., Melissa was worried but still cocky. Melissa knew she might get grounded over this and lose some level of trust with her mother. But she could talk her way out of any situation. Her mother never followed through with past punishments. Melissa was her cherub, her golden child.
Connie sat down at the kitchen table across from where Melissa sat, her arms crossed, and said, “Melissa, I am beyond disappointed in you…” but before she could finish, her daughter interrupted her.
“So I am sexually active with Greg, mom. So what?” Melissa spat back in a horribly nasty tone. “We use protection and we’re careful. I’m a grown woman and I can make my own decisions. I don’t need you giving me a guilt trip over this. Look, ground me for the rest of the school year until summer or something, geez.”
Connie stared blankly at her daughter for a solid minute before getting out of the chair and walking towards the front door. “Let’s go, Melissa,” she said.
“Mom, it’s 7 in the morning… where are we going? Are you OK?” Melissa was more than a little worried now but knew she didn’t want further trouble.
“Come with me right now or you’ll be riding the bus to school and won’t be using that car of yours for a very, very long time. And you can forget about your weekly allowance.” Connie’s glare had a newfound intensity in it that said she meant business. Melissa didn’t want to risk calling her mother’s bluff so she left with her mother, got into the car, and they drove off together.
About ten minutes into the drive Melissa’s hands were sweating profusely. “Uh, mommy, where are we going?” Melissa squeaked out, trying her best to flash those gorgeous blue eyes of hers.
It had no effect this time, though, as her mother stared straight ahead and said only, “We’re going to get rid of something. I’m going to help you grow up in a big way, Melissa. If you resist and embarrass me, I swear to God I will kick you out of my house and you will be on your own.”
Melissa knew she meant it and suddenly a huge knot was in her throat and the back of her neck started sweating. Melissa gathered up her flowing locks in her hand and swept them up on top of her head, letting her neck get some air.
“Gosh it’s going to be hot today,” Melissa said rather innocently in a weak attempt to loosen her mother up. It was then, for the first time during the drive, that her mother averted her gaze from the road. Connie merely glanced for a couple of seconds at her daughter, flashed a cruel smile, and then regained her focus on the road. Melissa saw the whole thing… and it gave her chills.
As the car pulled to a stop in a parking space at a strip mall on the other side of town, Melissa was utterly confused. This only lasted a second, though, until she looked up to see the spinning red and white barbershop pole next to a sign that read “Tommy K’s Haircuts: Men, Women, Children Welcome. No Appointments Needed.” The blood in Melissa’s body ran cold and she became nauseated. She thought of staying in the car and refusing to go inside. However, Melissa quickly replayed in her mind her mother’s recent words: “If you resist and embarrass me, I swear to God I will kick you out of my house and you will be on your own.” Melissa knew she had to go in. And maybe this was just a scare tactic. Maybe even if it was for real, she’d only get a few inches cut off. At worst, she thought, she’d get a bob to her shoulders. She could handle that – sure, it would grow back, she thought. Yet, as Melissa shut the car door, a sense of dread chilled her to the bone.
Connie held the large glass door open for her daughter and they both entered the shop. Clippers were busy humming away and the floor, even this early, was already littered with short locks around the single chair of the shop. At the moment, the chair was occupied by a small boy of about ten who was getting a short summer buzz haircut. There was only a woman with a young girl, probably about five-years old, sitting on the fake leather couch waiting for the young man to finish, presumably the woman’s son and the girl’s brother.
“Hi there ladies. Be with ya in a minute,” said Tommy as he ran the clippers over the boy’s head for the final time.
Connie and her daughter sat in chairs next to the couch. Melissa was closest to the little girl, who was intently coloring on a piece of paper. The little girl looked up at Melissa and immediately noticed her hair.
“What’s your name?” asked the girl.
“Melissa,” she said, offering nothing more.
“You have pretty hair, Melissa. Can I brush it?”
Not wanting to upset her mother further, Melissa decided to be the good citizen here and said with her classic smile, “Sure, sweetie.”
The little girl produced a brush from her Barbie purse and proceeded to very gently brush Melissa’s incredible hair from her crown through the ends in long, slow, deliberate strokes. Melissa lost herself in the moment, relaxing to this.
The cape was whisked off the young man, sending a ton of hair to the floor, and as he jumped down from the chair, rubbing is newly buzzed head, he too noticed Melissa and his focus remained on her as he took his seat.
“Which one of you ladies is next?” Tommy asked, motioning to the Swansons.
“My daughter is, sir,” Connie said. “She’s the only one here for a haircut today.”
“Well come on over then, honey. Don’t be scared. I won’t bite ya,” Tommy said with a loud, booming chuckle.
Melissa looked at her mother, whose eyes were like hot pokers, and she knew without saying a word that she had to get in that chair. The little girl ceased her brushing and Melissa stood up and cautiously walked over and climbed onto the huge, red upholstered barber chair, contemplating her fate. After asking her to hold up her hair, Tommy quickly caped Melissa, leaving her trapped under the sheet, her doom sealed. Melissa released her hair and everyone in the shop heard the sound it made as it swished back and forth, healthily, against the back of the chair.
“My goodness, honey. You got some head of hair there,” Tommy remarked staring ahead into the mirror against the wall in front of the chair… the same mirror Melissa now looked into. Tommy clumsily began to comb through the radiant tresses in front of him with his barber comb but it was clearly no match for the hair’s thickness.
“Well mom,” Tommy said now completely ignoring Melissa and giving his full attention to the girl’s mother, “what are we gonna do here?”
“I want you to give her the same haircut he has,” Connie said with quiet anger, motioning to the little boy who now sat on the couch, still rubbing his head and still contently watching Melissa. The mother and daughter, who had been ready to leave, now remained seated, as if some force bid them stay.
“Hmm, so we’re talking about a #3 on top with the back and sides tapered down with a #1?” Tommy asked the mother. He intentionally used the guard lengths instead of specifically stating how much hair would remain in inches. He was always game for a nice female shearing in his shop
“That sounds short enough. Yeah, let’s go with that,” Connie said with a small smile now spreading over her face.
“Mom!” Melissa finally shouted in disbelief at her mother’s orders. “You have to be joking! I’ll behave, OK? I’ll break up with Greg… anything… please!”
Connie bolted from her seat and after two strides was at the chair with a finger pointed two inches from Melissa’s panicked face. “Listen to me you ungrateful brat! I have worked myself silly all this time for your future and you are throwing it all away. You will still go to college but here, not out of state, and if you want any financial help from me you will break up with Greg immediately, get a job, and study your little tail off!”
Melissa looked to the woman, boy, and small girl for help but they just sat there. Melissa looked directly ahead into the mirror on the wall opposite her but only found Tommy clicking a clipper guard onto his clippers and testing the switch, his eyes averted.
The image before her quickly became blurry and unfocused as tears began to build up and spill down her cheeks. With her magnificent mane spread out all over the cape in all its glory, Melissa knew these were the final moments she would see such beautiful hair for a very long time. She began to sob.
Tommy flicked the switch again and a loud BRRRRROOP echoed in the small shop. As he placed the clippers at her forehead, the last thing Melissa saw before she shut her eyes was the little boy with the buzzcut gazing up at her from the couch with an enormous smile on his face.
A torrent of hair immediately slid down onto Melissa’s caped lap. She opened her eyes to see a patch of velvet grow and grow as a waterfall of hair fell over her shoulders, into her lap, and behind the chair as well. “Oh GOD!” escaped her lips and the sobbing grew harder. It was like an electric brush was stroking itself through Melissa’s hair, leaving only short, bristled hair in its wake.
Soon Melissa could feel the brisk breeze from the shop’s air conditioner against her newly exposed ears and neck. Her head felt lighter and she felt uglier. As she began to hiccup due to her uncontrollable sobbing, she broke her gaze from the mirror and looked at her mother. Connie’s grin had now vanished and she clearly was realizing the severity of this punishment she had given her daughter. Perhaps a little regret was creeping into Connie’s mind. Tommy shut off the clippers, quickly popped on the #1 for the finishing job and began his work once again.
The little girl hopped off her mother’s lap, walked to the chair where a crying and buzzed Melissa sat, still enduring the final moments of her punishment, and she picked up a long swatch of Melissa’s hair and held it in both her hands, stroking it, saying, “You are a pretty piece of hair. Look mommy, it’s so soft! Can I keep it?” The little girl’s mother was too shocked to say anything in return.
After what seemed like an eternity, the warm clippers were turned off for good. After whisking off Melissa’s face and neck, the barber unbuttoned the cape, and dumped what appeared like several pounds of hair onto the floor in front of her, joining the already incredibly large mounds of long locks around the chair. No more would Melissa’s hair swish against her butt as she cheered at games with all her fakeness. No longer would she be able to run her fingers through her hair, flipping it at any male and get what she wanted. She couldn’t even bear to think of what she’d look like in her cheerleading uniform without her trademark hair. She was buzzed and bawling.
After paying the barber, Melissa’s mother had to help her out of the hair and even then, the still-bawling Melissa looked like a newborn fawn taking its first steps as she wobbled out of the shop. The pair looked more than a bit strange as they exited the shop. Connie, with one arm firmly around her daughter, ironically consoling her now, said, “It’s all right, baby. You’re going to be fine, Missa.”
In between sobs, Melissa could only reply, “All my hair, mommy. Why did you have to cut all my hair off?”