Your Hair is the Weakest Link. Goodbye! – Cliptomaniac
NB: For American readers – The Weakest Link is a British quiz show where contestants have to work as a team to build up a bank balance of prize money. After each round of questions they vote off the contestant who they consider to be weakest. When there are only two left they go head to head to try and win the money. The show is hosted by Anne Robinson who is deliberately cruel and sarcastic to all the contestants……..This show (complete with Anne Robinson) is coming to the United States soon!
Five years time, and pseudo-scientists “prove” that long hair diminishes intelligence by drawing energy from the head. This becomes the inspiration for a cruel twist to a well known game show.
Anne Robinson scowled at the five remaining beautiful woman, relishing what was to come.
“Right then. In that round you managed to scrape together a most unimpressive three hundred pounds.
The question is:
Who’s gone from imbecilic to idiotic? Who’s the ballast that needs to be thrown off the sinking ship? And most important of all, whose hair is weighing down too heavily on their brain? It’s time to vote off the weakest link!”
Melissa trembled. She knew that she’d answered two questions wrong and failed to bank at a crucial stage. Her heart pounded like the drummer of a thrash metal band. God, she regretted coming on this show! She’d just seen the previous weakest link Marsha lose fifteen inches of hair and end up with an Italian boy cut after failing to know the capital of Tanzania. With a trembling hand she wrote the name “Tracy” on the page. Tracy had answered three questions wrong and Melissa hoped to God that the others had noticed.
The music in the studio subsided, and the glare of the studio light bathed the contestants again, picking out the cascading waist length hair of the blonde girls Gina and Melissa in particular. Another girl Petra had shoulder length red hair and Tracy had waist length brunette hair. Sahir, an Indian girl, had glossy black hair long enough to sit on.
“Voting over. It’s time to reveal who YOU think is the weakest link!”
The contestants held up their cards, Melissa being second.
“Melissa.” Melissa’s heart sank.
“Oh please one more,” she begged.
“Yes!” Her hair was safe. For now.
In her relief, Melissa didn’t realise that Anne Robinson had turned her attention in her direction. Only when she looked towards the black Armani-suited torturess did she catch the steely dagger aimed at her from under the spectacles. She trembled again.
“Melissa, why Tracy?”
“Errr… well I just thought she got one more wrong than me,” stammered Tracy.
“Not because you’re jealous of her looks and want to see her get all of her hair cut off.”
“Oh, no. Nothing to do with that.”
“Hmmm.” Anne then went on to grill Sahir before turning her attention to Tracy, who was already close to tears.
“Tracy. Never been to London?”
“Didn’t you notice that that Waterloo Bridge crossed over the Thames?”
“I might have seen it. I just wasn’t sure…”
“Hmmm perhaps it was all that hair in front of your eyes. Anyway you won’t have to worry about it now, because with three votes your hair is the weakest link. Goodbye.”
Trying not to cry, Tracy walked from the circle and to a barber’s chair situated nearby. On her way, she took an envelope from a selection of three left on a nearby table and handed it to the waiting barber. The barber opened the envelope and read its contents.
“Chin length bob with buzzed nape, Anne,” he announced.
With a look of professional indifference that belied the enjoyment she was having, Anne Robinson fixed her stare on the barber and said in a thoroughly disdainful tone, “Well get on with it, then.”
The viewers would have only seen the first hacks of the shimmering brunette locks of Tracy and a few seconds of the clippering of the nape, then the finished result and the interview with the distraught Tracy, but the contestants saw everything. Melissa felt a mixture of guilt and terror at seeing Tracy’s tresses being shorn and Tracy sobbing. Guilt at having had to do this to someone (particularly someone who’d been so friendly in hospitality) and terror that she might well be next.
When her hair had been hacked and clipped in a rudimentary way, Tracy was led away to have her hair cleaned up and to do her interview. She looked a little more relieved now. Perhaps this had something to do with the fact that her haircut was not as severe as it might have been.
“Right, now that we’ve lightened the head of another dunce perhaps we can beef up the bank balance,” Anne continued. “This time you have just two minutes. We’ll start with the strongest link from the last round, which was Sahir. Start the clock. It’s time to play THE WEAKEST LINK.”
The questions came thick and fast, first to Sahir, then to Petra, who both answered correctly. As Anne turned to Melissa, a voice told her too late to bank the money that had been earned.
“Which King was defeated at the Battle of Hastings?” Melissa desperately tried to cast her mind back to her school history lessons.
“Errr… Henry VIII?” It just came out. She knew it was a stupid answer but it just came out through sheer panic. Now she’d got a wrong answer and broken the chain.
“No. King Harold,” and Anne moved on to Gina, who got her question right. Melissa feared the worst.
Sahir failed to get her next question right but Petra got hers. Again, Anne turned to Melissa.
“Magnum Force was the sequel to which film starring Clint Eastwood?” Joy! She knew this one.
“Bank!” shouted Gina.
The rest of the round went pretty well. Melissa got another question wrong but it was after she had banked a fair amount of money. Sahir, who had been so strong in the last round, got three questions wrong and one of them lost a lot of money. Melissa prayed the others would notice again. The music came to a shuddering halt and Anne gave her usual speech.
“In that round you woke up slightly, banking 500 pounds. But who’s got far more on their head than in it? Whose tresses are shielding their brain from the cold light of day? Whose trip to the barber is long overdue? It’s time to vote off the WEAKEST LINK.”
Melissa voted for Sahir, now barely able to hold the pen for the sweat on her palms.
“Voting over. It’s time to find out who you think is the WEAKEST LINK!”
Phew! A close escape once again.
Anne turned to Gina. “It says on here you like travelling.”
“And you thought Lake Victoria was in Australia.”
“I got confused with the state you see…”
“No room for confusion here Gina. Why Sahir? Thought she had more hair than the others to spare did you?”
“Errr no. I just think she got more questions wrong.”
“So all that hair makes her stupid, is that what you’re saying?”
“Err no, I think she just got a bit nervous.”
To Melissa’s relief, Anne turned straight to Sahir.
“She’s right you know. You were the weakest link Sahir. Apparently your hair’s long enough to sit on.”
“Err yes it is.” Melissa could just see that Sahir’s big brown eyes were becoming wet.
“Well if you want to sit on it in future perhaps you can stuff a cushion with it, because with two votes, your hair is the weakest link. Goodbye.”
Sahir, her head drooped and trying to avoid the owlish glare of Anne Robinson, strolled from the circle towards the waiting barber. She took one of the two remaining envelopes, which she handed to him.
“Pixie crop,” announced the barber. Anne just nodded slyly and the barber set about his work. Sahir didn’t seem too distressed. At least she might have a decent style to go away with, but when three-foot long skeins of black hair floated through the spotlight, Melissa could see the poor girl’s shoulders twitching….
“Right, now we’ve got rid of the longest haired and therefore the dimmest contestant, perhaps we can up the kitty. We’ll take ten more seconds off the clock and start with the strongest link from the last round, which was Gina. It’s time to play THE WEAKEST LINK”
Melissa’s heart was now making a dent in her ribs. This was the last round in which she was in danger of losing her hair, before the last two fought it out for the money.
Again she was second, and answered her first question right. Petra got her first question wrong and lost money. Then they managed to get a fair number of questions right and put some money together. Melissa could hear the studio music gaining in momentum and Anne’s voice becoming faster as the end of the round drew near. Anne turned to her for what was probably the last time in the round.
“Whose autobiography is entitled ‘Still Me’?” It was on the tip of Melissa’s tongue. For a few seconds there was a silence as Melissa visibly agonised. She was scrambling around desperately in her mind just hoping the right answer would pop out of her mouth. In the end she realised she couldn’t waste any more time and passed.
“Christopher Reeve,” said Anne before turning to Gina. Damn! Of course it was.
Melissa seethed, Gina got her next question right, but Petra got hers wrong before the time ran out. Despite that last mistake, Melissa was sure that Petra was a weaker link than her. When the music stopped, Anne glanced across the contestants with a look of contempt.
“In that round you banked an embarrassingly low 200 pounds. Who’s lost the plot? Who’s so thick they make Forrest Gump seem like Stephen Hawking? And whose lovely long locks should be dispatched to the studio floor with all due speed? One of you is about to leave with short hair. It’s time to vote off THE WEAKEST LINK!”
Now barely able to hold the pen, Melissa wrote “Petra” in spidery handwriting. She knew that Gina was the strongest link and hoped she would have the sense to vote off Petra too.
“Voting over. It’s time to decide who YOU think is the WEAKEST LINK!”
“Petra.” Melissa held her board up. Please Gina, please!
Never before had the sound of her own name caused Melissa such pain. Why didn’t Gina see that Petra was weaker? Why?
Anne turned to Gina.
“Gina, why Melissa?” Exactly!
“Well I just thought she was a bit hesitant.”
“Of course it had nothing to do with the fact that she is also a blonde bombshell.”
“Erm… no, not really.” Melissa felt sicker than ever. It didn’t take a lie detector to tell that Gina had voted her off more on the basis that she was a rival blonde than on the strength of her performance.
Anne turned to Petra.
“Petra. Why Melissa?”
“Well, I just thought she was very hesitant as well.”
“But she wasn’t the weakest link was she, Petra?”
“Yeah, alright I know, Anne. It was me.”
“Hmmm. That’s about the only thing you do seem to know. But thank heavens we’re redheads eh?” quipped Anne, half referring to her own crop of red hair. Then she turned to the distraught, trembling Melissa.
“Ever been to Germany, Melissa?”
“Yes,” squeaked Melissa, choking back tears.
“But you didn’t know that ‘Friseur’ was the German word for hairdresser?”
“I didn’t go to one.”
“No, I can tell, you don’t often visit the barber do you?”
“No, but you’re going to visit one now. Statistically you weren’t the weakest link but there’s only room for one blonde bombshell here and Gina wants to see all your golden locks come off so… Melissa, your hair is the weakest link, goodbye.”
Melissa had wanted to give Gina an angry glance but she was now so drained of spirit that all she could do was stare at the studio floor as she did the walk of shame. She took the last envelope from the table, hoping it would contain at least a moderate haircut and handed it to the barber. She then sat down in the chair and awaited her fate.
“Buzzcut.” The word was like a fist to her ribs, worse even than hearing her name voted off two minutes before. How could they do this to a girl? How?
“It’s not fair!” she blurted out in the general direction of Anne Robinson, not even realising she was forming the words.
Anne stared back emotionlessly and simply said, “This game isn’t fair, Melissa.”
Melissa sank back into her chair trembling as the barber prepared the clippers.
“What number, Anne?” Enquired the barber.
“Oh, I think the number one setting don’t you?” snapped Anne sarcastically. The remaining contestants could hardly believe what was happening as Melissa, her face now buried in her hands, was brutally shorn. She just tried to cut it out, but could feel the humming steel of the blade against the skin of her scalp and the shearing “zzzzhhhh” sound as her crowning glory was parted from her forever.
Momentarily, she opened her eyes and parted her fingers and could see her shimmering golden hair, buoyed by the heat of the studio light, sashaying its way sorrowfully to the floor. Why did she come on this show? Why?
Then she felt the barber pulling her hands away from her face. “Feel the side of your head,” he instructed. Melissa was no longer in the mood to put up a fight. She raised her right hand to her right temple and felt there was nothing left but a five o’ clock shadow keeping her palm from her skin. She was then spun round in her chair so the audience and viewers could see the contrast between the shaved and unshaved sides of her head. “This is the best haircut I’ve ever done!” announced the barber cruelly.
Then to complete Melissa’s humiliation, she was led away backstage, the shaven side of her head showing to the audience while the other side was still adorned with glorious blonde tresses. This was even worse than if she had been completely bald!
As soon as she got backstage, Melissa howled with grief at the loss of her hair. Luckily the backstage barber was friendly and comforted her as he shaved the rest of her head, something that actually came as a relief. He said he wished he could shave the head of Gina, who had so cruelly voted her off, instead. When at last she saw herself bald in the hand mirror she choked back the emotion and made up her mind that she would come to terms with the way she looked and put on a brave face for the interview.
The interview came and Melissa knew her bald head would be on show to everyone in the country. “I quite like it,” she said to the camera, as much trying to convince herself as the viewers that she was happy. “Perhaps Gina should try it now she can afford expensive hair extensions.” This was a calculated pop at Gina, who, Melissa had just found out, had won the prize money. Petra left with nothing but had at least kept her long red hair.
Eventually it was time to leave the studios and go home. Melissa, now wearing a woolly hat, went to pick up her car from the car park. She was amazed by who she saw waiting to meet her. It was Gina!
“Hello Melissa,” she said.
“Oh, don’t be like that. Look, I am SO sorry. I had no idea they were going to do that to you.”
“Save your apologies, Gina.”
“Look, why don’t you let me take you out for a nice meal and we’ll make it up,” Gina pleaded.
“Oh, it’s great now you can buy off your guilt isn’t it Gina? What if you hadn’t won the prize money? Would you have asked me out for a meal then?” Melissa was getting really indignant.
Gina went silent for a moment. “Look, if there’s anything I can do…” she went on. This gave Melissa an idea.
“Yes Gina. There is something you can do.”
“Prove you’re not a coward after all. The barber who finished my haircut backstage said he really wished he could shave your head for what you’d done.”
Gina looked terrified. “But… my hair means so much to me.”
“And what do you think my hair meant to me, Gina?” snapped back Melissa. “Now are you a coward or aren’t you? That barber said he’d be in the studio till 9 o’ clock. Now I’m sure he’d shave your head if you asked him nicely.”
Gina trembled. Silently she walked up to Melissa. “Take your hat off,” she said quietly.
Melissa obliged but continued to taunt Gina. “Are you proud of what you’ve done?”
“In a way, yes. You’re beautiful without hair.”
“And you’re beautiful too, Gina. But let’s see how beautiful you really can be.”
Gina gathered a bunch of her gorgeous golden hair in one hand and eyed it pensively. She then looked straight at Melissa and with a shaking voice said, “Alright then.”
The two hugged as new friends and then walked back into the studio, the evening sun shining in Gina’s hair for the last time…..