Two Little Thieves by Shornlocks
It was a day like any other in this Muslim, Middle Eastern nation. Fourteen-year-old Abdul sat with his friend Ahmed in the barbershop Ahmed’s father owned. Business had been slow today, so Ahmed’s father had asked the boys to keep an eye on the shop for about an hour while he ran some errands. The boys didn’t mind. Though they could do little but tell customers to return in an hour when Ahmed’s father was back, it gave them time to talk about the budding girls’ hair fetish they shared.
“I hear that there are internet sites that show nothing but women and girls getting their heads shaved,” said Abdul in his native Arabic. “I can’t wait until we get the internet so I can see these things for myself.”
“It won’t matter,” observed his friend sadly. “I hear the computer keeps track of the sites you visit. Surely we would get in trouble for looking at such pictures.”
“Perhaps there’s a way to disable that function on the computer,” replied Abdul optimistically, stepping down from one of the barber chairs and making his way over to the counter where Ahmed’s father kept the haircutting tools. “Wouldn’t it be great to watch a pair of these go to work on some girl’s hair?” he asked, taking a set of electric clippers and simulating what he thought it would be like to run them over a girl’s head.
Such was the way the friends usually began their talks on the subject, but today for some reason Ahmed didn’t feel up to it. “It’ll never happen,” he said flatly as he watched his friend guide the clippers over an imaginary scalp, “this country is just too conservative. Only those in power will ever have the internet.”
The thought hung like a dark cloud over the boys, blotting out not only their hopes but the sound of a growing commotion coming from the nearby open-air market. It wasn’t until the door to the barbershop was flung open that they realized anything was out of the ordinary.
“Quick, close the door and let’s hide in here!” said a young blond American girl to her friend. Ahmed and Abdul didn’t need to understand English to know what was going on – the jewelry and assorted trinkets poking out from beneath the girls’ T-shirts being a kind of universal symbol for thievery.
“Stop! You are thieves!” cried Ahmed in Arabic.
The girls spun nervously around, having thought the shop was empty. “W… We’re sorry. We didn’t think anyone was in here. Pl… Please, don’t turn us in. If we can just stay here for a few minutes, we promise to leave quietly.”
Once again, the look of guilt and fear etched on the girls’ faces made a common spoken language unnecessary. “They stole those things from the market,” Ahmed remarked to his friend. “We will be heroes if we turn them in.”
“Oh please let us stay here!” begged the girl who hadn’t yet spoken – a cute, button-nosed little figure with shiny dark hair to the small of her back. “We… We’re just kids like you!” she added, concerned by what she rightly perceived as a lack of sensitivity in Ahmed’s voice.
Abdul motioned to his friend to stay quiet, then took a moment to compose this thoughts in English. “It is wrong what you have done,” he said, “in this country thieves are treated very harshly.”
“Oh Lisa I told you we shouldn’t have done it!” cried the blond to her friend. “I heard they actually cut people’s hands off for stealing in this country!”
Again Abdul paused to translate his thoughts into English. “Even if you girls stay here for a few minutes, the police will catch you as soon as you walk out. You girls do not look or dress like people from my country.”
“He’s right,” said the brunette, “how many other blonds did we see on the way over here… none!”
“So you’re saying this is my fault? How dare you! It was your idea to steal the…”
“Girls… please!” interrupted Abdul, raising and lowering his hands as a gesture to get the girls to stop arguing. “Please, do not argue any more. My friend and I are willing to help you, but you must understand it is not going to be easy.”
“We’ll do anything!” blurted the girls. “Just please don’t turn us over to the police.”
Ahmed, lacking his friend’s grasp of English and unable to follow what was going on, looked questioningly toward Abdul.
“Don’t worry… let me handle this,” whispered Abdul in Arabic. “If this works, we won’t have to wait for the internet!”
Turning back toward the girls, Abdul chose his words carefully. “We… We have no veils to offer you as disguises, but fortunately you have come to a barbershop, and as you’ve probably noticed by the short haircuts my friend and I have, it should not be too difficult to make you look like boys.”
The girls’ jaws dropped when they realized what Abdul was talking about. “No way are we gonna cut our hair just to keep from getting caught,” spat the brunette angrily, “I don’t care what they do to thieves in this country!”
“You should know that if you are caught, a haircut and many things far worse will happen to you,” countered Abdul, speaking more out of fantasy now than fact. “Many a girl in our country has had her head shaved for such a crime as you have committed, and often the authorities apply to their heads a lotion that prevents hair growth for a long time to come. If you allow my friend and I to help you now, you at least will know that what we cut off will grow back one day.”
It was an awful choice, the consequences of which were clearly etched on the girls’ faces as they thought about what to do.
“Please, if you decide you want our help you must hurry,” instructed Abdul when it became clear the girls weren’t going to come to a quick decision. “My friend’s father is the owner of this shop. He is due back at any moment, and I assure you he will not be as likely as we to offer help.”
There was another pause, followed by a short, mutual nod from one girl to another. “Okay, we’ll do it.”
“You have made a wise decision,” announced Abdul, turning his body slightly so as to give a thumbs-up to Ahmed. “Come, take a seat in the chair while I lock the door and close the curtains so no one will see.”
“What’s going on? What did you tell them?” whispered Ahmed excitedly in Arabic as he helped Abdul with the curtains.
“I told them the police would shave their heads and a whole lot more if they got caught, so they agreed to have us do it here, to make them look like boys!” replied Abdul.
“Yesss! How short should we cut it?” asked Ahmed, still whispering.
His friend paused a moment, glancing over to where the girls were now climbing into the barber chairs, their long, shimmering hair swaying back and forth with each movement. “Let’s shear them bald,” sneered Abdul. “They think nothing of coming here and running amok over our laws… perhaps they’ll think twice if we let the clippers run amok over their heads!”
More excited than they could ever recall being, the young friends made their way over to the counter. “Let’s start with the scissors,” suggested Abdul in Arabic, “chop off some of the length before we shear them like sheep.”
“These are the best looking sheep I’ve ever seen!” quipped Ahmed, realizing now that his Arabic made it unnecessary to whisper. “Which one do you want… the blond or the brunette.”
“I’ll take the brunette,” replied his friend, remembering that it was she who reacted so strongly against the notion of cutting her hair. “I want to personally see to it that all that long, dark hair of hers ends up in the trash.”
“Then I’ll take the blond,” said Ahmed, happy that he too had ended up with his first choice. “Should we make them face the mirror as we do it?”
“Better not to… I have a feeling you and I aren’t going to be able to keep a straight face through this!”
After nodding his agreement, Ahmed and Abdul – capes and scissors in hand – turned and faced their two little thieves.
“H… How short are you gonna cut?” asked the brunette nervously, her eyes glued to the scissor blades as though they were a pair of poisonous silver serpents.
“I’m afraid it needs to be quite short,” replied Abdul, switching back to English with some effort as he tied the barber cape around her neck. “It will not do you or your friend any good to leave here and still get caught by the police because you look too much like girls.” Whether or not the brunette would have nodded her assent will never be known, for at that moment Abdul tucked the scissors beneath his arm and pulled her head sharply back, using both hands to stroke and gather up the girl’s lusciously thick, dark hair. To his right, he spied Ahmed doing the same to the blond.
“What do you say, Ahmed… you got a boner yet?”
“Shut up! They might understand you!”
“Oh, I don’t think there’s any chance of that,” mused Abdul, still stroking and gathering up the brunette’s hair, “if they’ve been in this country long enough to learn Arabic, they would certainly have learned that the punishment for stealing a few trinkets from the market is nothing near as bad as what we’re gonna do to them!”
“I guess I gotta hand it you, you’ve been right about everything so far!” chuckled Ahmed, his arms buried to the elbows in velvety soft blond hair. “And to answer your question… yes.”
Whatever chortles of laughter the boys were unable to stifle were immediately drowned out by the first sounds of the steel scissors chewing their way through the little thieves’ hair.
Eager as he was to rid the brunette of all her locks, Abdul had placed the scissors at the nape of her neck and was now twisting and muscling them furiously through the super-thick hair.
“You should leave more length,” suggested his friend, who indeed was lopping off only about six inches of the blond’s hair. “You’re gonna wanna have some to shave off with the clippers, and don’t expect me to share any of this blond stuff with you!” he joked.
“Don’t worry about me,” replied his friend, the forearm of his cutting hand bulging with exertion, “this bitch’s got plenty of hair.”
“Yeah, mine too I suppose,” observed Ahmed, who now plunged the scissors a few inches higher into the blond’s hair, squeezed the handles tightly, and stepped back to allow the long severed locks to fall unencumbered to the floor. “Damn, I bet my dad’s floor has never seen hair like this!”
Abdul paused a moment to survey the growing pile of blond hair at his friend’s feet, then returned to muscling the brunette. “By the time we’re done, there won’t be a barbershop in the whole country that can claim the kind of trophies we’re gonna have.”
“Think I’m gonna bust out the clippers,” said Ahmed after a few moments. What had started as a straight line across the blond girl’s mane had degenerated into random hacks and chops with the scissors. “What do you think? Looks like she was sleepwalking and tried combing her hair with grass shears!”
It took every ounce of reserve Abdul had to keep from laughing at that one – and at the mess Ahmed had made of the blond girl’s hair. “Damn… you hacked the shit out of that!” he remarked, still working the scissors through the brunette’s impossibly thick knot of hair.
“Sure did. Come on, why don’t you leave the rest of that for the clippers,” said Ahmed as he returned his scissors to the counter. “You’re girl’s neck muscles look like they’re gonna pop out her throat.”
“Yeah, maybe you’re right… it’s all coming off one way or another,” replied Abdul, disentangling the scissors from the mass of hair still to be cut and joining his friend at the counter.
“Nice bunch of hair you got there,” said his friend, motioning toward the severed dark ponytail still clutched in Abdul’s hand.
“Sure is,” he replied, dangling the hair between them like a horse’s tail before reeling it in and running his fingers through it. “All my life I’ve dreamed about taking the scissors to hair like this…”
“How old do you think they are?”
“Oh, I don’t know… about our age, thirteen, fourteen maybe.”
“Yeah, although yours looks like she might be a bit younger… not holding up quite as well as the blond.”
“That’s because the blond has no idea what you just did to the back of her head!” joked Abdul. “At least mine felt how much hair I was cutting… yours has no clue!”
“She’ll have a clue in a minute,” replied Ahmed, taking a pair of electric clippers off the counter and plugging them into the wall outlet. “My dad should have another pair around here somewhere.”
“I found them,” said Abdul, opening a cabinet drawer. “Are we using attachments, or no?”
“Works for me!”
“Wait! D… Do you really have to use those?” implored the brunette when Abdul approached the chair. “Can’t you just keep using the scissors?”
“To look like a boy in my country, you must….” Abdul’s English trailed off when, glancing to his right, he saw that Ahmed had already pulled back the blond girl’s head and started shearing a skunk-like strip down the middle of it, letting torrents of long hair fall to the floor at his feet. “Oh fuck it,” thought Abdul, not even bothering to finish his answer to the brunette. Instead, pushing the girl’s head to the side, he tucked the clippers beneath a section of long dark hair he’d left untouched and slowly propelled them up toward the crown.
The girl flinched as an 18-inch long section of hair slid sideways down her shoulder, splaying itself like a giant fan over the cape covering her arm. Excited by how well the clippers worked, Ahmed rolled the girl’s head forward and went to work on the back.
…ZZZGGGGRRRRRR… …ZZZGGGGRRRRRR… …ZZZGGGGRRRRR…
Using short, quick strokes he sheared the back and sides of her head bald, pitching the shorn hair forward into her lap. Glancing over toward his friend, he saw that Ahmed had chosen a different approach, keeping the blond girl’s head pulled back so far that her eyes looked straight up at the ceiling. “Whatsa matter… you don’t want the blond to see her hair for the last time?” he asked.
“Of course I do, but I’d rather it be a surprise,” replied Ahmed. “You know, wait until she gets out of the chair and sees the huge pile of it on the floor. And besides, when I push her head forward to get at the back, she’s bound to look over and see the mess you’re leaving in your girl’s lap.”
“Yeah, you’re probably right,” replied Abdul, running the clippers from back to front now along the brunette’s crown, pushing piles of shorn hair over her forehead so that they slid past her eyes like thick, lustrous cobwebs. “She’ll freak when she sees what I’ve done to her little friend.”
Sure enough, the blond girl exploded into tears moments later as Ahmed brought her head forward to finish off the back. Though Abdul had finished with the brunette by then, he waited until that moment to remove her cape, making sure that both girls were watching as he dumped the lovely piles of dark hair onto the floor. The only one who missed it was Ahmed, who by now had gathered up the last of the blond girl’s mane and was busy raking the clippers through it, enjoying how the tightly pulled ponytail grew more slack with each pass.
“All done?” asked Abdul.
“All done,” replied Ahmed, dropping the freshly cropped ponytail atop the pile behind the chair. Removing the cape from around the formerly blond girl’s shoulders, he put the clippers on the counter and turned around in time to see the girls embrace – fresh waves of tears moistening their eyes as they gazed down toward the floor and realized the full extent of their shearing. Grabbing a push broom from the corner of the shop, Abdul quickly moved in and starting sweeping up the hair – giving the huge blond pile a single poke toward the waste basket before scurrying around the other chair to gather up all the brunette’s locks.
The sight of their hair being pushed around the barbershop floor was just too much for the girls. Without so much as a wave or a nod, they sprinted out the door and into the street, ignoring the startled looks of two elderly Muslim women who happened to be passing by.
“They forgot to pay us!” cried Ahmed half-jokingly as he ran over to the window.
“Oh, let ’em go… we got what we wanted,” replied Abdul, putting aside the broom and stooping to pick up a handful of each girl’s hair. “This should tide us both over until we get the internet.”