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Hair Exposed!

By

Sabrina S. and Sean O'Hare

 

 

"Are you trade?" asked the young woman by the door as the couple approached.

"Yes," replied Stephanie simply, while Steve nodded. Without a thought the woman handed them a blue sticker each, and they wandered into the hall.

"Cool," said Steve excitedly, "they'll think we're stylists when we go around all the stands." Stephanie and Steve, dressed in stylist 'regulation black', smiled at each other as they began to move towards the salon supplies stand along a route they had already plotted.

They had arrived much too early so, over a coffee near the registration desks after getting their own tickets, they hungrily read through the exhibition programme and mentally ticked each stand they intended to visit. Not only that but they surveyed the parade of hairstyles on the women who arrived to register, and passed a comment - not to mention marks out of 10 - on each one. You see, Steph and Steve, are - um, how shall we say this? - very keen on hair. They're not professional stylists but they do cut each other's hair and they do a damn fine job. Perhaps it would be more accurate to call them raving, bloody hair fetishists!

They had spent most of the preceding week ensuring their own hair was pruned - and in Steph's case coloured - to perfection so as not to look out of place at such a show. Naturally Steph's beautiful angled bob and Steve's immaculate graduated short cut needed attention on more than one occasion to meet the high standards they had set themselves. Besides, they enjoyed it immensely.

On their way to the supplies stand to stock up their magic bag - as they called it - they passed a demonstration already in full swing. Inevitably they stopped and, equally inevitably, out came their cameras and they began adjusting their lenses, peering through their viewfinders and clicking discreetly.

It's not unusual for stylists to carry cameras to such shows so they can capture inspiration for when they return to their salons. However most don't have bloody great 400mm long lenses which can capture the surprise in a model's eye as the clippers approach her head from fifty paces! Steph and Steve like to do things in style. Not that they cared of course, even when questioned by some of the other visitors.

"My that's a long one!" said a woman on one of the stands - Steve and Steph just grinned at each other. "So what are you photographing with that?"

We're at a hair show, thought Steph so wasn't it obvious - she felt like saying "a pride of lions of course!" Instead she politely said, "well, you can get a lot of detail of the actual cutting techniques with equipment like this ..."

The questioner's eyes glazed over and she wandered off as a torrent of technical details followed. Mocking the woman, Steve said, "is that a big lens hanging around your neck or are you just pleased to see me." And they both went in to a fit of giggles.

Having captured the last of the model's hair falling to the floor, they about turned and finally made their way to the salon supplies stand. Their main objective was to buy a few practice heads to further explore their haircutting talent ... after all they had bugger all hair left on their own to cut! But surprisingly there were none for sale.

"Well that's put an end to our haircutting fun for a while," said Steph sadly. "At least until our hair grows a bit!"

"Hmm, I don't know. I can see a stray hair on your nape. Just there!" giggled Steve, running his palm playfully along Steph's nape.

"Ah! Well, I guess you better attend to that later. Can't have that!" she laughed. "Where now then?"

In answer Steve pointed to the large stage in the corner of the hall where there were several demonstrations taking place simultaneously. Without a word, they both trotted briskly in that direction. As they stood by the side of the stage, with cameras clicking, they hardly knew where to point it first, and their earlier disappointment faded a little.

During pauses to change films they observed the rest of the audience. A multitude of young eyes staring intently at the stage from their seats, some even scribbling sketches and notes. They were nearly all trainee stylists. And there to learn all about the new styles, the new techniques and how to cut the latest hair fashions.

As the show drew to a close, Steph said, "Wow, did you see that lovely blonde crop?"

Steve nodded a little dreamily. "Reckon I got some good photos there!"

"Me too. Onwards?" Steph enquired.

Steve was about to say yes, when suddenly his jaw dropped. Marching out on stage was a tall, elegant woman wearing a skimpy, low cut black dress. But Steve - being Steve - had his attention dragged straight to this vision's reddish brown hair. She sported an immaculate and short, spiky crewcut. Very short and very spiky.

Steph jokingly pushed upwards on Steve's jaw, and they grinned at each other. "Give it a few minutes shall we ...?"

"Good morning everyone, and welcome to out first learning seminar of the day, during which we will present detailed instruction on how to achieve the very latest in high street hair fashions. The styles women will be clamouring for in your salon. And to demonstrate these styles allow me to introduce Brian." There was a polite round of applause.

Following in the woman's footsteps was a slight young man dressed in black. Black leather trousers, a tight fitting black T-shirt and topped off by a neat short crop ... although it was visibly longer than the woman's style which was honed to perfection at the hairline.

"Thanks Barbara. Right, can I have my first model please."

While Brian worked through several commercial and somewhat boring styles, Barbara maintained a continuous commentary punctuated by regular flirty comments at 'young Brian's' expense.

"Lucky sod," mumbled Steve on one such occasion from behind his camera which was trained on Barbara's delightful crop, totally ignoring Brian's mild snipping of his model.

Steph giggled. "He's probably not even interested. Mind you he's still probably feeling a bit warm under those leather trousers under all these lights."

Steve wondered how he himself would react to being flirted with by a crewcut woman while he snipped away at a model's head ... and felt rather warm too!

As the haircut drew to a conclusion, Brian whisked away the cape and said, "there we are, I hope you like it."

There was polite applause, and Steph and Steve mumbled as one, "not much!" And started giggling.

Barbara continued. "Young Brian is regularly asked to visit salons all over the country showing the latest techniques and styles, based on the theme of the moment. And of course as you young followers of fashion out there will know, this year's theme is a return to the eighties. So how many of you out there were around in the 1980s?"

Not a hand went up from the seated audience. Most of the trainee stylists were probably under 20 and not even a glint in the stylist's scissors in the eighties.

But, without a thought, two hands went up from the side of the stage. They had the look! They wore black, they sported great haircuts and the trade stickers were displayed like medals. They looked for all the world like stylists ... well, other than for the heavyweight camera gear perhaps.

Steve and Steph were laughing, jokingly reminiscing about their hairstyling experiences from the eighties. Then they suddenly realised it had gone very quiet. Even from the stage. They suddenly realised Barbara was looking intently at them, and her gaze was followed by everyone else.

She glided over to the edge of the stage and knelt down, lightly taking Steve's hand which was still held high. It was only her grasp - as Steve looked up into her dark eyes and noted the beautiful, almost shaven points in front of her ears - that stopped him dissolving into an amorphous mass by the side of the stage.

"Well, how fortunate, it seems we have a couple of real styling experts from the eighties amongst us. It seems most of the rest of the audience weren't even around then and won't be familiar with styles and techniques from that period. What's your name?"

"Um." Unable to think quickly as Steve's mind was assaulted by the three immaculate shaved points of her nape, he said, "er, Steve."

"And you?"

Similarly lost for words, his companion replied, "Steph. Er, Stephanie."

"Well, Steve and Steph, why don't you come up here on stage and give our young audience here the benefit of your expertise. Demonstrate that haircutting is a technical art. A precise art. Not just chipping and shattering which sadly seems to be so much the vogue these days," she stated with an air of exasperation, running a hand through her own immaculate short crop.

They looked as reluctant as a long haired woman being forced in to a barber's chair. "Come on you lot, give them some encouragement."

There was a pause at this strange turn of events, followed by a substantial round of applause and a few cheers.

Steve and Steph looked deeply into each other's eyes and their expression slowly changed. They visibly gulped and then a smile began to appear on each of their faces. They didn't need words, they were sharing something very deep which would have been impossible for anyone to fathom from outside.

The applause increased slightly as they walked hand in hand on to the stage, and then it died away. "You two look really sharp, " Barbara said fingering the graduated nape of Steve and then the immaculate undercut - almost shaved - bob of Steph..

"I bet you cut each others' hair don't you?" They both nodded. "Don't see many precision cut bobs like these nowadays do you," she announced, lifting the longer hair to display the undercut and accompanied by the oohs and ahs from the young audience.

"Such an even cut. See, you don't just run the clippers up the back once but several times to get such an immaculate finish. I bet you both do that don't you?" They both nodded - and both ensured they didn't look in to each others' eyes for fear of cracking up in a fit of giggles. "Well, that's good because it will come in very useful for the style we are going to ask you to create now."

Both Steph and Steve looked at Barbara looked at her enquiringly.

"We're going to ask you to do an asymmetrical bob with a shaved side ... and a shaved nape!"

They both gulped once again!

Barbara held out her hands expansively and called, "will Kelly please come forward!"

A tall, elegant model - she could have been a fashion model and perhaps she was - strutted towards the front of the stage. She took up typical modelling poses as she took in the audience with her haughty smile ... and tossed her thick, luxurious locks that streamed down her back provocatively with a hand on her hips.

A short satin-like leopard print cape was already fixed around her neck and barely covered her short black skirt. Which in turn barely covered her long, long legs which clearly must have stretched all the way up to her bottom.

"So Kelly I don't think you heard the style are friends here have been asked to provide you with?"

She shook her head with the wide fixed smile still on her face. The silky hair flowed effortlessly over the smooth cape around her shoulders

"Probably doesn't understand what asymmetrical means anyway," whispered Steph, "it's probably got too many syllables for a model."

Steve smiled. "And she probably wouldn't even understand that you are thinking of a plethora of styles to give her." Steph smiled back.

"Well, no matter Kelly. Come and pop yourself on this stool over here as I think Steph and Steve are keen to start." They both nodded, almost too eagerly.

Kelly sat smartly to attention on the stool and beamed at the audience, her perfect teeth glistening under the spotlights and her perfect hair glistening even more.

Steve took in the thick lustrous hair that streamed down the model's back and murmured, "Wow, real virgin territory, I bet she's always worn her hair long."

"Not much longer," Steph giggled quietly in reply.

A trolley was almost ceremoniously wheeled out and a cloth pulled away to reveal a vast assortment of hair cutting implements.

Spying something blue and glittering on the trolley Steph couldn't contain herself and marched over. On the top of the article in question, in big white letters, the word WAHL was displayed. "Yes! The new Envoys - I've been wanting a chance to use a set of these for ages. Excellent!" she said aloud. Ooops!

She looked at Steve nervously and at the audience. They just looked up with rapt attention. No one seemed surprised at her excitement. Just a professional keen to try a new piece of equipment.

In an attempt to deflect from her excitement, Steve announced, "We usually use the Supertapers but they are rather heavy, especially in a woman's hand. These look ideal."

Fingering her prize, Steph spoke quietly to Steve. "So who's going to go first?"

"Well one side each I think Steph. Phew, are we really going to do this?" Steph, firmly holding her new toy made him realise they were. "Well you better go first and do the short side I think. I'll do the longer side."

"And you can do the nape too Steve. I KNOW you can do a beautiful nape."

"Right when you're ready guys you can start. And if you could explain what you are doing as you go along please for the benefit of our young audience. Say what you are doing and why you are doing it."

Steve, with his back to the audience, mouthed to Steph, "because it turns us on." And poor Steph had to disguise her laughter by a polite cough or three.

Steve brushed the model's hair while Steph readied the clippers with a suitable guard. It really didn't need brushing - it glistened beautifully and the brush simply glided through it. Such long hair Steve was dreamily thinking to himself, "and we're going to be cutting it all off" he said aloud without realising it. No one heard as the microphone wasn't nearby - well no one except the model perhaps. She maintained her smile but shifted a little in the chair, as if ill at ease.

"OK," Steph said, placing a hand firmly on the model's head and holding it in place to one side making the hair on the side appear even longer. "What we will be doing first is buzzing all this side away using a number four guard to start with, and then probably down to a Number 2 at the hairline That will remove all this bulk," she added, demonstrating what was at stake by lifting the thick hair with the hand that still held her neat Envoys.

"Kelly has wonderful thick hair," - Kelly's smile broadened - "and beautifully long too" - and Kelly's smile broadened even more. With hair of this quality she'll really be able to take the style we propose. It will sit beautifully. Once we have got rid of the bulk of course". And with that she switched on the clippers.

The model had clearly understood none of Steph's description but, as the clippers began to buzz, she started to look a little nervous. Understandably so, although her fixed smile remained. Steph's smile increased dramatically.

"So with this side buzzed we will gradually layer the back so the bob shape only starts to form on the other side and at the back. It will be very short around the face - and then we'll gradually lengthen it perhaps using the number eight guard to remove the bulk at the back. We'll then use scissors to point cut in and tapering it down at the nape. The bob shape will then start to form at the occipital bone. And, what do you think Steve, should it go down in a line and reach her chin?"

"Oh yes I think so," he replied politely, despite his urge to shout YEAH! PHWOAR!!

The model began to get an inkling of the dramatic makeover that was now about to unfurl. Her smile was superglued into position, but her legs held a tenseness as they gripped the metal stool; it was obvious she'd love to do a bolt. But Kelly was a professional model so she felt obliged to stay. She was locked to the stool, with dozens of keen apprentices watching her - with several now sniggering, and an audible mumble of "she's going to lose all her hair!"

Buzzing clippers in hand, Steph asked, "Er, just how much charge do these hold Barbara?"

"Around 50 minutes I think."

"Ah, plenty of time to have a bit of fun... er, a bit of fundamental demonstration of the use of the clippers."

Without another thought she drove the clippers into the side of the model's firmly held head and was rewarded by seeing 15 inches of glossy hair slip down the cape and fall the floor. "Cor! These are good," announced Steph, attempting to sound professional.

Kelly looked like crying but, ever the professional, didn't move a muscle as one side of her head was denuded. The only part of her that moved were her eyes, casting downwards to the rich tumble of hair that now lay on the floor.

Steph surged the Envoys half way up her head and gradually pulled them out to create longer layers on top. She gave the hair a bit of an undercut at the sides - the clippers going up behind her ears - and changed to a longer guard, a number six, to work around the back. Regretfully she pushed the clippers less and less high up Kelly's shampooed scalp as she moved to the back. She had to leave the nape in prime length and condition for Steve to have some fun.

The silence as she switched the clippers off was almost deafening - especially to Kelly! Sadly Steph put them onto the trolley. Heavens they'd been nice to use; they fitted so snugly and perfectly into her hand. Hunting swiftly through the selection of scissors, she chose a pair with five inch blades. "Hmm," she said professionally, "I didn't bring my own scissors with me, not expecting to do any cutting this weekend. These look very good though. I'm going to do some dry cutting - while wet cutting was big in 80s I want you to see what I'm doing."

Steph hoped her fingers didn't tremble too much. She was still teaching herself scissoring techniques and often dropped the comb when trying to manipulate both the comb and scissors in one hand as the stylists did. However, luck was on her side. Time and again she combed the hair out from Kelly's head, held it firmly between the fingers of her left hand, and snipped it away with her right at a 45 degree angle to Kelly's shorn head.

It was more by luck than design that Steph achieved a cut that was shorter around the front of Kelly's head. She'd actually intended to cut it straight at the side then dip down to the back, but the style that seemed to be creating itself under her comb and scissors took a gentle graduated line all the way. Mind you, it did start almost at the top of her head at the front, not really at the sides at all. But the angle it was taking (ever so slightly) seemed to indicate that by the time it reached the opposite side at the back of Kelly's head, it would lie on the occipital bone. Meanwhile most of the layers on the side sat well above Kelly's neat pink ears.

Barbara looked on approvingly. The young stylists looked approvingly. Barbara said, "this stylist really knows her stuff - beautiful precision layers."

Surprising, thought Steph, as her hands were still shaking. She combed down the last long layers on the top and point cut them so they lay over the top of the undercut in lean, angular spikes. "I'd suggest a little wax with this to accentuate the ends," Steph said, imitating every stylist she'd ever been too who'd been carried away with "product". "But only a little, we don't want a wet look, just a bit of texture, a modern twist on an 80s style. And now Steve," she said with a grin and a flourish, because she was blushing and shaking and trembling and doubted she could cut any more hair without screaming in sexual tension, "Over to you for the back."

Steve had been leaning against the back wall of the stage, watching approvingly. He didn't really trust his legs to move as they appeared to have turned to jelly as the Envoys raced up the side of the model's head, but surprisingly they still appeared to retain bone and muscle, and carried him unhesitatingly to the trolley holding the most marvellous array of haircutting tools.

He ran his fingers through Kelly's long hair at the nape. Good girl, Steph, he thought, you've left it all for me to shear away. So generous... and you've left this lovely crewcut here for me to touch. He ran his hand up the side of Kelly's shorn head, adoring the shaved texture at the sides and the heaviness of the layers on top of her head..

Steve felt his legs turn to jelly again as he caressed the fresh haircut, but he cleared his throat and said awkwardly into the mike, "Right, Steph has laid a great foundation here for the rest of the cut. I'll clip the nape area short, but the layers on top will get progressively longer and angle down."

Carefully he pinned up the long hair that would form the layers, gripping it with a sectioning clip. Three lovely inches of nape hair were left to tumble over the cape. He stared at the nape awaiting him and it stared back at him, as if saying, I'm yours, clip me, take me, get rid of all this hair on me.

Steve needed no further bidding. He placed his hand on top of Kelly's head and pushed it forward so she was studying the hair clippings that lay on her knees, and her nape was positioned at the best angle for clipping. The Wahls felt perfect in his hands, light and full of energy. So he pushed them up ever so slowly into her hair, savouring every millisecond, loving the sound of the clippers growling and biting into the locks, shearing away the long waves that cascaded down her back. "What a lovely hairline Kelly has," he managed to say without stuttering. Obviously he was expected to make some kind of commentary as Barbara was starting to stare at him. "We have to expose it, and make the most of it."

He glanced at Steph. She'd picked up her camera and was hiding her pink, excited face behind a long lens.

"Oh yes," said Barbara. "Taking photos, Steph?"

"Oh yes," stuttered Steph, "We've been taking photos all day because you get so many new ideas on techniques and styles that you can take to your own salon."

"And why don't you give your salon a plug?" Barbara said warmly. "What's its name?"

Steph thought wildly and came up with a name that was her idea for a salon name. "Eighth Wonder," she said loudly.

"And where IS your salon?"

Steph glanced desperately at Steve. He was looking a little dubious as he was used to the feeling of Supertapers, and the power of this small rechargeable set of clippers had taken him by surprise. So small yet they left such a neat half inch pelt! He was at first wondering how well they'd work because of their size, but now he'd discovered they worked extremely well indeed. So well, they were turning him on, he thought with a grin. Is that a set of Supertapers in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?

He looked up at Steph and saw a worried look on her face. Oh dear, was his excitement showing? Quickly he said into the mike, "I'm very impressed with these new Wahl Envoys Barbara. Despite their dainty size they do a superb job, don't they, Kelly? I bet you've not had a single hair pulled by these clippers."

"Um, no," said Kelly, her voice muffled as she stared at her cut hair.

Blissfully Steve kept clipping Kelly's head, blending in with the work Steph had already done and moving to the other side.

But unlike most stylists, Steve didn't stop with merely clipping the hair once. He went over it again and again.

Barbara's expression of indulgence was slowly changing. Why was this man shearing the same area over and over? It's cut, it's done, her expression said. Finally her voice said it too. "Why are you going over it so many times, Steve?"

Steve's REAL answer was "because it turns me on!" but he politely replied, "This is our special technique. So many times you see stylists simply clip the hair once. But going over the area several times we ensure that each hair is clipped precisely; the style will hold its shape for much longer. We used this technique in the 80s for a perfect graduated finish. There won't be a hair out of place when I've finished this precision cut," he waffled, a little desperately. "If you listen Barbara, you can still hear hair being cut when I run the clippers up the back. We want to get this as smooth as glass."

Barbara was impressed. Steve's logic and knowledge was impeccable.

Regretfully Steve finally placed the clippers back on the tray, and selected comb and scissors. He let down the first section and began to scissor it so it sat over the top of the undercut in chunky, pointed spikes. Carefully he point-cut and snipped so it followed the same flowing angle Steph had already created. Desperately remembering the way she'd held the hair and cut it, he copied her technique. The crunchy sound the scissors made as they lopped off the long hair was music to his ears.

As he kept cutting and cutting, and letting down layers and cutting some more, he couldn't believe his luck and his skill. A perfect asymmetrical line was forming across the back of Kelly's neat head.

Kelly didn't really know what was happening at the back. She was extremely glad the clippers had been put down though. Clippers made her distinctly nervous as their only purpose in life was to cut hair short. The steady rhythm of the comb through her hair, and the quiet SNICK of the scissors, was far more homely and comforting. Kelly noticed, though, that her head had a peculiar lightness to it on one side and across the back. She could feel cool air on her neck and ears as the hair that had, until fifteen minutes ago, covered it, had gone forever.

Feeling every inch the professional, Steve chattered away as he snipped and snipped, and brought down more layers and snipped some more. Hair flew everywhere and Steph's shutter missed none of it. Finally Steve was down to the last section, the hair on Kelly's crown.

"There's too much hair here," Steve said jokingly, and held it taut above her head, holding his arm high so the hair stretched to its full length. He picked up the scissors, dry-mouthed at the showoff act he was about to do, and plunged them into the hair a few inches away from Kelly's head.

The model's eyes widened as she felt the scissors rasping into her hair, and then the long lock was tossed on the ground in front of her and the cut hair felt beautifully into place.

"That's got rid of the bulk," Steve said with satisfaction. The haircut looked perfect so far, a truly dramatic asymmetrical look.

He moved to the front and looked at the job so far. One side of the model's hair hung over her boobs; the other was shaved to a number four. Steve almost sighed out loud in pleasure; he did love a truly dramatic asym! But the line he'd cut at the back had to be continued.

"Steph, would you like to complete the side, please?" He bowed to her.

Kelly didn't know which of these stylists she was more terrified of - Steve or Steph - they were both bloody maniacs, racing at her head with clippers.

Steph cleared her throat as she combed through the last bastion of Kelly's long locks. "This is such excellent hair that the bob will just shine like glass - really gorgeous - and it'll curl under her chin and look wonderful. We have to graduate the layers out so that by the time it hits Kelly's chin it'll all be one length and there'll be no layers."

She surveyed the lovely job awaiting her and was convinced at last that there WAS a higher being somewhere. "Thank you God, thank you Buddha....thanks whoever you are!" she thought with an internal grin as she sectioned off the top layers.

"I'm going to do something radical here," she said, and Kelly's eyes turned into saucers. "I'm actually going to start cutting at the front and slice my way up to the back."

And with that Steph held the hair firmly and began to cut. Kelly's panic-stricken eyes saw an acre of hair slide away, and when Steph released it, it sprang back and tickled her chin. Determinedly Steph cut up at a tight angle, so that by the time she'd reached the back of Kelly's ears the hair was earlobe length. Three more long, expert swipes of the scissors saw the baseline cut match up perfectly to the line Steve had left at the occipital bone.

Steph stood back and admired her handiwork. This was going to be a haircut and a half!

Not saying much, she let the hair down section by section and carefully cut it so that less and layers were visible along the sides as she neared the front. It curled under by itself in a very attractive way. Masses of long hair made a mound around Steph's heels. She was barely aware of Steve snapping photo after photo of her scissors slipping through the shining locks and the hair falling away.

By the time she'd made the final snip, the last cut, Steph was no longer nervous. She felt she'd done a three year hairdressing apprenticeship in one lesson. The cut was brilliant, there was no doubt about it. One side was short and punky, with hair near the crown and side parting sticking up like the feathers of an enraged parrot, the other side swinging and glossy and full. The haircut from heaven, the style of the show, Steph thought proudly. It didn't even need product to keep it in place, but automatically fell into position.

Grinning, Steph spun the model around on her stool so the audience got a 360 degree view of her freshly-shorn head.

There was, at first, a hushed silence. This haircut was so different! Was this the kind of style around in the 80s, the era famous for big hair? One person started to clap, and then the whole audience joined in, until the area around the stage echoed with tumultuous applause. People from the stalls surrounding the stage had left their post to watch the last few minutes of the dramatic haircut, and the show's official photographer tried to hustle Steve and Steph into position behind Kelly for a shoot.

Kelly herself had no idea what she looked like. Her head felt peculiar. One side of it was very cold and felt funny and tight as it adjusted to the unfamiliar layer cut. The back felt even weirder, with one side cool and the other warm as the longer hair covered more if it. She longed to look in the mirror and find out what those clipper-happy maniacs had done to her perfectly good, Pantene hair.

A guy with a camcorder and sound man with a boom mike approached. They bore the logo of one of the local TV news programs. They were accompanied by a being who had to be a reporter - he was wearing heavy pancake makeup and was mysteriously sporting a very fresh and extremely short haircut. Obviously he'd been a visitor to the Wahl stand, all in the name of news. "Hey, who are these stylists?" he asked Barbara. "What a great haircut! Hey guys, where are you from?"

"Yes," said Barbara, "Where ARE you from?"

Mars, thought Steve wildly. He felt like he'd been transported to another planet, having been presented with a willing long-haired stranger to crop when the only experience they'd had was clipping each other's heads.

Steph was still bobbing on the crest of a wave, and grinning to herself at that particular pun. "We're mobile," she said quickly. "You know, we have a van and come to your house and cut your hair."

"Very mobile," agreed Steve, grabbing his camera and picking up Steph's. Oh God, what if they asked for business cards? It was time to do a runner.

Then to Steph's horror she saw a familiar face in the audience, an all too familiar, unwelcome face wending its way through the delighted apprentices and admiring stallholders. Katie, the big mouthed gossip from the office where Steph worked as a product manager.

"Hey, Stephanie," Katie shouted, in an all too carrying voice, "I didn't know you could cut hair! You work full time...does the company know you've got your own business?"

Barbara's face changed as if a strong wind had blown across it. She looked at Steve and Steph's cameras with the long, catch-everything-up-close lenses, and thought of the way the two stylists attacked Kelly's hair with the clippers, over and over and over. Her smile slowly dwindled.

"Let's go," Steph hissed, grabbing Steve's hand and pulling him to the side of the stage. They jumped off and pushed their way through the crowd. Steph called back to Barbara, "Well, we did have to pack up the salon a few years ago, we were losing money but we have haven't lost the technique," she lied. "You must remember, we started in the 80s!"

"You said you'd been at Uni in the 80s, studying Marketing," piped up Katie, and Steph, wending her way through the crowds, thought she'd murder the bloody girl come Monday.

They sped up. Steve swore he could hear the unmistakable sounds of feet galloping after them. "Quick!

It's Barbara! Or Kelly!"

"They'll sue us!" gasped Steph, breaking into a run and dodging around the back of a stall selling wigs in hideous colours.

But the Toni and Guy man caught them after all, popping around the other end of the wig stall. "That was a superb show, you two. Are you happy with your current jobs? Would you like to come and work for us?"

Steph and Steve exchanged huge grins. What an opportunity! Cutting hair all day long! Bliss!

The Toni and Guy man continued, "Yes, we've been looking for some photographers to cover both hair shows and our current portfolio and I couldn't help but notice your equipment...."

The End

© Copyright 2001 Sabrina S. and Sean O'Hare. Comments welcome to sabrina.s@zdnetonebox.com and psharp55@hotmail.com.