The Tattoo By Dreadlocks
“Did you really think those Bills were going to win, I still can’t believe you bet on them!”
Tammy laughed as she pondered her reward for the victory.
“Well, they came close, almost doesn’t account for much though does it?” Shelly cast a glance down at the floor as she began to realize her fate. She had bet Tammy that the Bills would beat the Dolphins and she lost and her penance was to receive a tattoo of the winner’s choice. The location of the tattoo was also the winners choice. Shelly knew that she was in for it. Two years before Tammy had lost a bet to her and Shelly made her cut her hair into a flattop as payment. Oh, what horrors lay in store for her, she thought.
It was agreed that they would meet at Bud’s tattoo parlor on the following Saturday for payment of the bet.
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Shelly told her boyfriend about the fiasco and he just laughed at her saying that she should know better than to bet on the Bills. When he found out what the payment was to be he wasn’t so cheery.
“What kind of tattoo are you going to get?” he asked. After all a guy has a right to know these things.
“I don’t know, but I know it’s going to be something awful. Do you remember two years ago when Tammy got that really short haircut?” Shelly was almost ashamed to bring it up.
“Yeah, boy that was a bad move, she lost her boyfriend and most of her friends wouldn’t be seen with her, except you of course. Why do you bring that up?” Steve had a gut feeling about her reply.
“Well, you see, there was another bet, on another game, only she lost.” Shelly grimaced as the words came over her tongue. “I made her get that haircut.”
“Holy shit!” Steve was shocked but tried to keep calm. “I knew there was something fishy about that whole deal, now you’re in for it, girl.” Steve could only imagine what Tammy had planned for his beautiful girlfriend. “She’s not going to cut your hair is she?”
Steve ran his fingers through her waist length tresses, the blonde waves of hair glowed under the midday sun.
“No, no, no, the bet was a tattoo, not a haircut!”
“Oh yeah, sorry.” Steve was not too bright.
“Oh God Steve, what if she makes me get like a skull on my breast or worse!” Shelly buried her face in her hands and began to sob. “Will you still love me Steve, do you promise?” She looked very serious now as her eyes met Steve’s.
“Don’t worry sweetie, I’ll love you no matter what happens.”
Well, the week passed like any other, in spite of Shelly’s wishes for a time warp into last week. As she rounded the corner of Franklin Street, she saw the grimy storefront that she had passed so many times. Until today she often wondered who would even think about going in for what they did in there. She was so nervous she didn’t realize that Tammy had walked up behind her and was standing right next to her.
“Hey, girl, thanks for not making me chase you down,” Tammy smirked.
“You know me better than that, a bet’s a bet, right!” Shelly worked up some courage from somewhere and pushed the heavy glass door open. The air was full of cigar smoke and it was almost too much to bear as Shelly pushed open the red velvet curtain to enter the shop. There was a little fat man about fifty, sitting on a torn old recliner reading a tattered porn rag. As Shelly and Tammy came in he hopped up off the chair and came over to them.
“Now what do you two girls want? Why don’t you both go back home to your mommy before she gets worried. Besides, I don’t do minors.” The little man seemed to get much larger as he spouted off at the two.
“Now wait just a minute Bud, I spoke with you on the phone last week about this special tattoo, and by the way we’re both nineteen.” Tammy was really pissed.
“Ohhh, so you’re the one on the phone, the one that wanted….”
“Shhhh!” Tammy interrupted the man. “It’s a surprise, remember.”
“OK, OK. You both need to show me proof of age and it better be valid.”
Tammy rifled through her purse for her driver’s license and produced it in short order while Shelly wished that she had lost hers but there it was staring at her through the clear plastic holder where she always kept it. She held the wallet out for the man to see.
“You’ll need to take it out of there and let me hold it until we’re done, you’re the one getting the tattoo right?” Shelly nodded and handed Bud the license, albeit begrudgingly. “I’ll also need you to sign this release form, it’s not a normal request you know. Are you sure about this girly? This won’t wash off in the shower you know, once it’s there it’s there to the end.” Bud smiled, having said that a million times to thousands of customers. Shelly looked at Tammy and then back to Bud.
“Yep, let’s get this over with.” After all it’s only a piece of art. Shelly tried to justify what she was about to do as she signed the release.
“Now we’re going to have to shave the areas where the tattoo is going, OK?” Shelly had a fine blonde peachfuzz all over her body had figured it would be OK for that to be shaved. After all, it would be better than an infection. “Have a seat in the chair.” Bud motioned her over to the old but well-maintained barber chair. Funny that he didn’t want her to remove any clothing. Out of the corner of her eye she could see Tammy gloating over the whole scene. “Hold still now and close your eyes.” Shelly did as she was asked. There was a soft hum that got suddenly louder, and then there was a loud SSHHIINNGG as Shelly felt something cold run down the side of her head just above her ear.
“What the hell are you doing?” Shelly sat straight up in the chair and raised a hand to find a bald strip running down the side of her head. On the floor was a small pile of two-foot-long strands of golden blonde hair. “Oh my God, what have you done to my hair?”
“I told you I had to shave where the tattoo goes, I told you!” Bud was flustered and turned off the clippers.
“You just sit down and let Bud do what he has to do, girl.” Tammy looked straight into Shelly’s eyes and said, “A bet’s a bet, right! You said whatever I want, wherever I want, correct?” Shelly, with tears in her eyes, nodded a yes to Bud to continue with the preparation.
“Young lady, do you even know what we’re going to do here?” Bud was concerned.
“No, and she’s not supposed to see until it’s done,” Tammy barked.
“Now that was never part of the bet and you know it,” Shelly exclaimed. “I want to see what’s going on my head before we go any farther.” Tammy looked at Bud and motioned for him to show her. Bud went into the back room and came back with a box and reaching in, pulled out a Buffalo Bills football helmet. “So you’re going to shave the side of my head and put that charging buffalo on it?” Bud spun the helmet around to show the other side. “You’re doing both sides?” Shelly began to complain.
“Don’t forget the stripe.” Tammy wanted to be sure. Down the middle of the helmet ran blue and red stripes.
“Look Tammy, the deal was one tattoo, not three!” Shelly screamed.
“Technically, it is one tattoo as it wouldn’t be finished without the other parts,” Tammy smiled. Shelly looked at Bud but only got an agreeing nod to Tammy’s statement.
“Oh, shit, you’re gonna have to shave me bald to do that,” she said as she looked at the helmet more closely.
“You should thank me for finding an older style helmet, the new ones are red all over,” Tammy giggled. “But you know that you Bills fan you!”
“Are we ready to continue?” Bud asked. “This is going to take a long time anyway and I want to close at a reasonable hour.” He looked up at the clock, 11:15am.
Shelly was really in shock but nodded for Bud to continue, boy it was payback time and then some. She heard the awful sound of the clippers as they came back to life and closed her eyes, not wanting to watch the destruction of her beautiful hair. She felt the clippers run over and over her head, again and again. Shelly could feel Bud’s breath against her naked scalp as the hair was shorn from her head and it sent a shiver down her spine.
“Oh God, my beautiful hair!” Shelly blurted out in between the sobs of despair. Finally the humming stopped and Shelly opened her eyes. All around her was a sea of golden locks in a circle almost six feet in diameter and then she looked into the mirror. Looking back at her was a complete stranger, a face she had never seen. Her head seemed so small and BALD! Bud started to apply lather to her already assaulted head and worked it up into a froth before starting to shave her bald. He used a straight razor and seemed very adept at it. Once again Shelly closed her eyes. The scraping was not unpleasant and almost soothing but the idea of what it was doing was far from being such. There was a pause and then a wet cloth was being run over her scalp.
“Oh my God, I’m BALD, totally BALD!”
Shelly looked at herself in the mirror and gawked. She was indeed shiny bald. Not a trace of stubble remained and the light even reflected off it. Bud laid the chair back and asked Shelly to turn her head to the side. He laid a sticky piece of paper onto the side of her head and then carefully peeled it away. Shelly caught a glimpse in the mirror as the transfer was made. There was a perfect outline of the Bills’ emblem on the side of her bald head. Then there was a different sound. A loud buzz above her ear and then a sharp prick.
“Ouch!” Shelly was not accustomed to pain. Bud continued tracing the outline onto the shiny white skin that was his canvas. When he was finished outlining the right side he repeated to same process on the left. Shelly was getting used to the needle now and kept her eyes closed most of the time. Bud had Tammy help him with the center stripe to make sure it was perfectly straight. It ran from just in front of the hairline to just past the hairline front to back. Tammy wanted to be sure that Shelly would be wearing bangs when her hair did grow back. The stripe was quite painful as the skin there was so much thinner but Shelly got through it OK.
“You gals want to take a break before I start filling in.” Bud left the room to the girls.
Shelly sat up in the chair and for the first time saw the outline of what was to be her permanent helmet.
“Tammy, why did you do this to me. Your hair grew back, this is never going away!”
Shelly looked crossly at Tammy.
“Yes, my hair did grow back, but Bobby didn’t, did he?” Shelly knew she had every right to exact her revenge on her. She had the right.
After nearly seven hours of almost continuous work, Bud finally finished Shelly’s head and settled the bill with Tammy. Six hundred bucks was worth it when she considered what poor Shelly would be going through for next few months or at least until her hair grew back enough to cover the helmet. Shelly’s head was red and swollen and Bud had spread a liberal amount of neosporin over it to avoid infection. He had done a really good job and the helmet was quite convincing.
“Well girl, there won’t be any doubt in anybody’s mind who your favorite team is,” Tammy laughed. “I’ll see you around.” Tammy disappeared around the corner and was gone. Bud looked at the dejected young girl in his chair, examining the tattoo that now adorned her shaved head.
“Do you have a hat that I could wear home, Mister,” Shelly asked sheepishly.
“You don’t mean you’re gonna cover up my handiwork now, do ya?” Bud laughed an evil little laugh. “Kids!” He reached over and handed her the Bills helmet. “It’s all I got right now, sweetie.” Shelly took the helmet from him and looked at it, shook her head and pulled it down over her head. It hurt, but it was better than the alternative. Shelly opened the door to the shop and stepped out into the street. She wished she’d ridden her bike, then at least she’d have an excuse for wearing the helmet. She had only gone a couple of blocks when a group of girls that she knew came out of a shop. Shelly looked down at the sidewalk and quickly walked past the group.
“Shelly, is that you?” Shelly started to run but she could hear the footsteps behind her as the girls chased her. If she could only get home and avoid these girls she could go buy a wig and escape this impending humiliation. She was only a block away now and she thought for sure she was going to make it. There was a second when her foot caught on the root and then THUD! The wind knocked out of her, Shelly lay writhing on the ground as she was surrounded with legs.
“Good thing you were wearing that helmet, you’d have spilt your head open.”
“Speaking of heads, what are you hiding under that helmet. You got your hair cut too short, didn’t you Shelly?”
“Let’s have a look, shall we girls.” Shelly tried desperately to stop them from removing the helmet but four on one was no contest. As the helmet slid off her head there was a collective gasp and then the laughter started. As the group made their way down the street to spread the news of their discovery, a ruined and humiliated Shelly gathered herself together and prepared for life of mockery. For now, no wig could hide what the whole town would know lay just underneath.