The Bully by Skitch
it's 1974 and the new kid that moved in down the street from me was a
year and a half older than i. as an adult, it wouldn't make much of a
difference, but i was 10 and he was almost 12. he had already "sprouted"
and boy he was big for his age! he was clearly abused at home, because
he would find any excuse to slug anyone smaller than himself. i decided
to teach him a lesson.
i had recently bought a home haircutting kit from the early 60's at a
garage sale.i kept it hidden in a dark corner of my closet. it had
instructions on how to cut hair, but only two styles were mentioned: The
Flat-Top and The Crew-Cut- as though that's all a boy can expect to
i told him that i had gotten money from my mom and that i was supposed
to go to the barbershop and get a short summer haircut, but that i
didn't want to. but i needed to get a haircut, and would he help me? i
showed him the kit i had, with the clippers and such, and did he think
he could do it?
his eyes lit up: oh sure, i can do that, he chuckled. he knew exactly
what he was going to do, and he wasn't going to try at all.
which is what i had hoped!
i had to hand it to him: he actually tried for a bit at first. maybe he
was fascinated by how the clippers denuded the back of my neck. whoa was
what he said. then he laughed and went straight up the back of my head!
a huge hank of long hair slithered off my head and fell to the floor. he
burst out laughing. haw haw I'm done, pussy! and ran off.
i sat there for a few minutes, feeling how short (and high!) that swath
was. my heart was pounding in my throat. this is gonna be GREAT! i
thought. i took the kit home and hid it back in the closet, then snuck
back outside and sat for a minute, beginning to breathe heavily. this
way i would seem like i was really upset and panicky. then i ran into
the house, shaking and almost in tears, and told my parents what he had
done, that he had stolen the money from me and held me down and sheared
me with "his" clippers!
so moms called moms and accusations flew. my mom was incensed that he
had done this to me, and his mom was angry that he was lying, that he
really didn't have clippers and besides i had asked him to. yeah right.
i was totally in the clear! his mom apologized profusely and offered to
take me to the barbershop and pay to have it salvaged. she made him go
along as well.
the barber was pretty tsk-tsk-tsk about the whole situation. kids these
days they got no respect for others and blah blah. he looked at me and
said well, son i can fix this but it's gonna be SHORT. i "sniffed" and
said whatever you need to do, sir. The next thing I knew the steel
clippers were running up the side of my head, and by the amount of hair
falling to the cape and floor, I knew I was being skinned. I could
instantly feel the heat of the steel clippers and the cool draft hitting
my scalp. The confirmation of how severe this cut was going to be was
determined by the facial expressions on my tormentor and his mothers
faces. I knew this was going to be extremely short, and that's just how
i wanted it!
when i was done, i slid out of the chair, in complete bliss. my hair was
less than a half inch in length on top with a huge wide stripe down the
middle that was the same shortness as the hair on the sides and back. it
felt like sandpaper! i LOVED it! but i acted still upset. the kid was
next, and his mom spared no mercy. SKIN HIM she said. that oughta teach
you a lesson! he cried and bawled like a baby as his shoulder-length
flaxen locks were mowed off in swathes and fell to the floor. his blond
sandpaper sparkled in the sun, and for a minute i wanted to have the
same haircut as him, but i thought better of it.
i wanted to keep that haircut, but i didn't have enough money to
maintain it, and so it grew back. my mom felt sorry for me and never
bothered me again to get a haircut, so i got to grow it out really long
and lush and thick, but he had to keep his skinned even when school started!
he steered clear of me for the rest of the summer, and anytime he would
start in on a smaller kid, i would walk up to him and call out his name.
it stopped him in his tracks. i felt like a superhero or something.they
finally moved away the next August, and the neighborhood kids rejoiced.
i had one of them over to my house, and we were hanging out in my room
and i said hey guess what? and i showed him the clipper haircut set and
told him about what i had done and how it really happened, and we
laughed. unfortunately my mom was passing by my door and heard me!
the next day was the last day of summer vacation; school was to start
the next day. we were on our way home from getting school supplies when
she suddenly stopped the car. i heard what you did to that kid down the
street, and frankly I'm ashamed of you. taking advantage of the kid! i
told her what a bully he was, and all, but she had no sympathy. and here
i let you grow your hair out cz i felt sorry for you. well now you'll
see what lying and playing cruel pranks on others will get you. let's
i didn't realize that she had parked outside that very same barbershop
where we had been the previous summer. the barber's expression wasn't
merciful this time around. oh, no... and guess what? i got the same
skinned haircut that he had gotten!!! i pretended to sniffle and cry a
bit, so he would go shorter and be more severe about it. it totally
worked! he gave me the same haircut. all that hair i had grown over the
last year slithered down my shoulders and he made sure it ALL landed in
when he was done, i couldn't tell whether i had ever even HAD hair up
there, all there was was a slight bluing effect when the sun hit it. and
boy that sun on my skinned head felt GREAT, although i still wasn't
supposed to be enjoying it, which i totally was...
yeah the kids at school laughed about it and called me all the jokes:
did i join the army, lawnmower attacks, the usual. i just shrugged my
shoulders and walked away, petting that soft soft velvet.
it was worth it.