News from Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Monday, February 15, 2016

Out Takes: The Best of Love in a Small Town

The first draft of my latest book, Love in a Small Town, had to lose about 20,000 words to bring it in under 80,000. Two of the out takes were worth saving, Logan’s Haircut and Sarah’s tattoo. Here is the story of the haircut.
Logan is the class resident geek and genius who hangs with three friends, Dakota, Anthony, and Karen, also considered class misfits. He sees Sarah’s discomfort the first day, responds to her misery, bit is too shy to connect until the day she catches him following her home from school. Sarah responds to him and they become friends. Sarah’s nurturing soul decides he needs a makeover to improve his acceptance. One day, on the way home from school, she talks him into a haircut. We’re in Logan’s point of view.

Logan's Haircut

“You want to do this today?”
“Absolutely. Right now, before you have a chance to change your mind.” Sarah grabbed his hand and pulled him along the sidewalk at a trot, in a hurry, he guessed to get a haircut before he could figure a way out, sure men didn’t get haircuts where women did.
With no chance to do more than voice a futile plea for time, he was there—at “Hair by Delon.” His father would go ballistic at the thought of him getting a haircut at a place like this, and probably by a gay. In a community as diverse as Eureka Springs, you learned to be comfortable with gays, but, on the two occasions per year he was ordered to get his hair cut, his Dad sent him to the local barbershop, also a fishing and hunting guide service. His hair was pretty long, so maybe his Dad wouldn’t ask questions.
In an agony of embarrassment, he allowed himself to be dragged into the shop and hauled before the only person there, probably Delon. The guy was good-looking enough to be a model, and he smiled at Sarah affectionately, like she was his favorite person.
“Delon,” Sarah said, “we need your help. My friend, Logan, must have something done with his hair. I promised him you’re the best, and wouldn’t do anything radical, just make him look like a hunk.”
Logan felt his face flush. Delon gave him a wink that was pleased and sympathetic at the same time. “I can relate. Our Miss Sarah is hard to resist when she’s on a mission.” He whipped a cape from a wall hook and ordered, “Come over here and sit in this chair.”
The chair was next to a sink. Logan looked at it, warily. Was this guy going to wash his hair? He would have bolted for the door, but already he was in the chair, lying head back, in front of the sink. Warm water drenched his scalp. Soapsuds clogged his ears.
“Sarah.” It came out a strangled cry.
Sarah held his hand, patting it soothingly, like he was some scared little kid. He understood this was her turf, and she was in charge. “Relax, Logan. Hair has to be wet to be cut properly.”
“Sweetie,” Delon nodded to Sarah, “go put the Closed sign on the door, and lock it.” He winked at Logan, giving him an understanding smile.
Logan sighed. At least nobody he knew was going to come walking in the door and see him. This guy was all right.
Done. With his head wrapped in a towel, he was led to a swivel chair, in front of a mirror, and told to sit, while Sarah and Delon discussed his hair like he wasn’t even there.
Sarah circled him intently, like a cat considering possible prey. “Maybe a Matthew McConahey, but longer.”
 “He has such lovely hair, and thick. Once it’s thinned, we’ll find too much curl for the McConahey look. I can do better.” He seized his scissors and advanced.
Logan’s eyes widened in alarm. Delon just laughed.
“Trust me. You’re going to walk out of here looking gorgeous.” Rapidly he sectioned the hair and fastened it with clips. Logan cringed at his image. Alarming amounts of hair fell in clumps all around him. Delon turned the chair away from the mirror.
“You can’t see what I’m doing until it’s over. This is going to be marvelous.” He purred with anticipation, scissors snapping like teeth.
It didn’t take long. Clippers were used to shave the back of his neck, after which a large, soft brush dusted all the loose hair away, and the cape was removed. A short session with a hair dryer, and he was finished.
Delon spun the chair with a flourish. “There, now. How’s that?”
 He looked so different. His hair barely covered his ears, curling softly around his face. It looked a lot thicker on top and part of it fell onto his forehead. Actually, it looked pretty neat. Yeah, he looked good.
“It’s cool,” was all he could manage.
“Logan,” Sarah’s voice was hushed in awe, “you’re absolutely beautiful. I had no idea. You have incredible eyes.”
Delon hummed. “Wouldn’t you just kill for eyelashes that long? Absolutely to die for.” He sighed, resigned. “I’m a genius, but I manage to live with it.”

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