Cory is six years old and doesn't want to get a haircut, so he decides to do something about it.
Ian was tired of Virginia’s constant complaints that his hair was too long as his wife looked at him with critical expression number six. Ian had mentally categorized each of Virginia’s expressions and comments along with whatever replies would most likely be acceptable.
“You’re setting a bad example for Cory, you know.”
Oh, yes, always a guilt trip to conclude whatever she said, no matter what the subject might be.
“For god’s sake, he’s only six years old. He doesn’t notice things like whether I need a haircut or not.”
“Don’t swear. That’s setting another bad example. Anyway, Cory does notice things like whether you need a haircut. I want you to take him to the barbershop today. He needs a haircut. And so do you.”
Her expression changed to number thirteen. The ‘don’t even think about arguing’ expression.
“Okay, okay, I’ll take Cory and we’ll both get our hair cut.”
Virginia glared at Ian (expression number eight). “Alright. Unless it’s just too much to ask of you.”
Ian shook his head and Virginia paused for a couple of seconds before continuing. “Are you going now?”
Ian looked at his watch. “It’s 9:30, the barbershop will be crowded with kids this early. We’ll go a little later, let the crowd clear out a bit. I’ll finish reading today’s paper first.” He sat down in his favorite arm chair and picked up the sports section.
A half hour later Ian walked into the kitchen. Virginia was preoccupied making cupcakes for a library fund drive at Cory’s school.
“I’ll collect Cory and head out. We should be back in an hour or so.”
Virginia nodded, concentrating on decorating the strawberry cupcakes.
Ian stepped into the hallway at the bottom of the stairs. “Cory! Let’s get going, bud. Time to get a haircut.” No response. Cory was probably reading. When reading his concentration was so focused that he’d never hear anyone until they stood next to him. ‘What,’ Ian thought, ‘can we expect when Cory’s a teen?’ That was one of those thoughts that made Ian glad that Cory was their one and only child.
Ian climbed the stairs to the hall outside of Cory’s bedroom door.
“Cory, time to go.” No response. That was strange, so Ian walked into the bedroom. Cory wasn’t on his bed reading. In fact, he was nowhere to be seen.
“Cory? You playing hide-and-seek with me? It’s only going to be a haircut, no big deal.”
Ian heard a muffled whimper coming from the other side of Cory’s bed. He walked around the bed and saw the tip of a shoe.
“Cory? Are you hiding from me?” The shoe disappeared under the bed, and Ian could hear muffled sobs. He knelt and lifted the bedspread. Cory laid there, face down. He’d covered his head with a T-shirt
“Cory, come on out. Please.”
Cory sniffled. “Can’t. You’ll be mad at me.”
“I won’t be mad at you. You know I don’t get mad at you. Come on out. We can talk about whatever you think would make me mad. I promise I won’t be mad, no matter what. Okay?”
More sniffling, then an “Okay,” and Cory struggled to get out from under the bed holding the T-shirt the entire time so it wouldn’t come off. He scrambled into a sitting position leaning against the wall, his knees pulled up to his chest, his head hidden inside the T-shirt.
“Why don’t you come on up and sit on your bed. It’ll be a lot more comfortable.”
“Pleeease? Just for me? Remember, whatever it is I won’t be mad.”
Cory tentatively nodded and Ian reached over and put his hands under Cory’s arms and lifted him onto the bed. The entire time Cory gripped the T-shirt so it wouldn’t slip off his head.
Ian sat next to his son and put his arm around his shoulders. Cory pulled himself into Ian and hugged him.
“I’m sorry, Daddy.”
Ian leaned down and kissed the top of Cory’s head through the T-shirt.
“I love you, Cory. You know that, right?”
“Uh huh. I love you too.”
“You know I’m not going to be mad at you, right?”
After a short delay Cory buried his head in Ian’s shoulder, and replied a muffled, “Uh huh.”
“Then why don’t you take this T-shirt off of your head and tell me what’s up, kiddo?” Ian tickled Cory’s sides for a few seconds. Cory laughed and shivered then pulled his arms tight along his side trapping Ian’s hands.
“Gotcha, Daddy! Now you can’t tickle me! No more tickling and I’ll let you go.”
“Well, you did get me, didn’t you! Okay, I promise no more tickling. But you have to take off the T-shirt that’s on your head. Okay?”
“Okay. But you won’t be mad at me?”
“I won’t be mad at you. Nope. Not mad at all. No way. Not at all. Never.”
Ian chuckled, and that made Cory giggle. He pulled back and slowly pulled the T-shirt off his head. Now Ian saw what Cory had been too scared and embarrassed to show him. Cory had given himself a haircut. A really, really bad haircut.
Ian guessed that Cory had used the trimmer on his electric razor. He had started on his left side by running the trimmer down from his part to just above his ear. The result was uneven, some places very short, and some places that he'd missed remained the same length as when he started. Then Cory had attacked the top of his head at the front. He had cut off the short bangs on his left side, and they were mostly still there on his right. He'd cut part of the hair on top of his head, very unevenly. The right side and the back of his head remained unchanged. It appeared that he had stopped at that point, probably when he realized that he shouldn’t have started cutting his hair. It obviously turned out to be a much bigger job than a six year old should attempt.
No one could doubt that Cory’s bad haircut would beat any challenger for the title of ‘The Worst Bad Haircut of 2010’. Ian knew that it would take a Herculean effort by Les to repair what Cory had wrought.
Cory looked at Ian, tears filling his eyes, waiting for a reaction. Ian bit his tongue, hard, so he wouldn’t laugh. But he couldn’t restrain a big smile.
“Well, I see you gave yourself a haircut.”
“Uh huh. I heard you say I was gonna go get a haircut and I wanted to do it so I wouldn’t hafta go. I did it by myself.”
Cory actually sounded proud about what he'd attempted. Ian again made every possible effort to avoid laughing.
“I guess you used my electric razor.”
Cory looked down and nodded.
“Do you want to go to the barbershop and have Les finish your haircut for you?”
Cory looked up, nodded, and hugged Ian. Hard. He’d been certain, in that way that only six year old boys can be certain, that he had a great idea. It’s just that it didn’t quite work out the way he’d planned.
“You think that maybe we need to clean up the bathroom before we leave for the barbershop?”
“Okay, let’s get to it, and let’s do it as quietly as we can so Mommy won’t hear us. Okay?”
Cory nodded and smiled, his first smile since he took the T-shirt off his head. He put his index finger to his lips and whispered, “Shhhh!”
They tiptoed into the bathroom and Ian closed the door. It surprised him that it was rather neat and clean, not what he’d expected. Cory had carefully shaved his hair, well most of it anyway, directly into the waste basket from under the sink. They wiped up the modest collection of stray hairs in the sink, on the counter, and on the floor, and the bathroom was clean and presentable in a few minutes. Ian opened the bathroom door and they stepped into the hall.
“Okay, kiddo. Let’s get going.”
Cory’s eyes opened wide, and he shook his head rapidly.
“No, no! Mommy can’t see me!” he whispered.
Ian thought for a moment. “Tell you what we’re going to do. You know that Giants’ cap you got at the game last month? The one that’s way too big for your head?”
Cory’s eyes lit up and he grinned.
“Yeah. Lemme get it.” He ran into his bedroom and returned with the cap sitting on his head, covering the worst of the bad haircut. Ian adjusted it so nothing showed that might elicit questions if Virginia saw him.
As they were about to leave the house Ian called out, “Virginia, we’re leaving for the barbershop. See you in about an hour.”
“Okay. See you later. Bye-bye, Cory.”
Ian knew that Les would be able to repair what Cory had done, and that he’d return home with a much shorter haircut than usual. That would make Virginia happy. Ian hoped she’d be so happy with Cory’s haircut that she wouldn’t notice that he planned to have Les give him a light trim. He sighed. No, she would notice. And she’d nag him that his hair was still too long. At least she couldn’t use the same old guilt trip, ‘You’re setting a bad example for Cory.’ And he wouldn’t end up with a bad haircut, one that would be way too short in his opinion, one that Virginia would have preferred. Nope, no bad haircut for Cory or for Ian this Saturday.
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