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Tales from Beauty School

Author:

Peg is a licensed cosmetologist who owned her own salon. She writes about people she might have met and places she might have worked.

Hair Salon

Andrew-Ruiz-VeuxVCo5m54-unsplash

Andrew-Ruiz-VeuxVCo5m54-unsplash

Back in Town

It never occurred to Becky to look for work at a hair salon until her friend told her about the receptionist job.

"They have four of them and one just quit." Kathy tried her best to encourage her to submit an application at the place where she worked.

For the last few days, Becky had been sleeping on Kathy's living room floor. Becky needed to get her own place. And soon. Living with Kathy had opened her eyes to a new side of her best friend. Kathy had grown quieter, reserved, seemingly subservient to her new husband a foreigner who'd recently moved his mother into their tiny apartment. Becky couldn't stay there much longer. They'd made her feel welcome and the pile of comforters they provided made a nice bed. But she had an uneasy feeling about what Kathy wasn't telling her about her new husband. What she remembered of their time together, as roommates and coworkers was in total contrast to how Kathy lived these days.

"You're sure to get the job,” Kathy assured her. “Besides, it'll be fun working together again."

They'd worked together as bookkeepers in a bank before marriages sent them in separate directions. Now in the same town again she recalled sharing their 21st birthday together. Those were good times. But the hours Kathy worked made Becky hesitate.

One more night on the floor convinced her to give it a try.

Styling Stations

Styling stations with pneumatic chairs

Styling stations with pneumatic chairs

Tell Me About Yourself

The interview took place in a windowless office at the back of the salon. Squeezed into the tiny room was a too-large desk cluttered with a layer of hair clippings. An open pair of shears perched on top of a stack of applications. She watched the manager's eyes scan her app, peer over the top of it at her, then dart back to her neat handwriting.

"So you've never worked at a salon before?" he asked.

"No, sir. But I've worked several places as a receptionist."

"Not sir. Call me Arturo," he said. "Everyone does. We're not formal here."

His eyes returned to the form, then back at her. She'd worn her navy-blue pants suit with a crisp white blouse, its ruffled neckline neatly following the lines of the jacket. Her go-to outfit had proved successful on past job searches.

The manager's unlined face was outlined by a full head of stark white hair that had been permed into loose curls. She noticed the wedding ring on his left hand and the photo of his family neatly framed on the messy desk. A red-headed wife and a couple of young boys looked adoringly at the camera in the shot.

"What are your plans for the future?" he asked. Becky launched into her standard response about going back to college to finish the courses needed for her degree.

"A job with flexible hours would work out nicely to . . ."

She was interrupted when the door burst open and slammed into the back of her chair.

"You need to get out here right now!" The stylist at the door sounded desperate. In one hand she held a pair of scissors and a comb while she motioned frantically with the other. In a swift move Arturo grabbed his shears and dropped Becky's application on the pile.

"Walk with me," he told Becky as he skirted the desk and darted out to the floor where two stylists were engaged in a duel.

Woman at hair salon

Woman at hair salon

Dust in the Wind

Grant's eyes were like a wild man's as he screamed, "Don't EVER take my curling iron again!" The gleaming tile floor held an assortment of combs and brushes next to a pool of water from a broken spray bottle.

The customer in Grant's station had spun the styling chair around with her foot to gape at the pair. Her mouth hung open. The row of customers along the side wall craned their necks to get a better look. One stylist across the room rolled her eyes and whispered something to the stylist next to her. They both cackled.

Down the row of occupied chairs were patrons in various phases of salon services, New patrons who weren't familiar with this sort of outburst stared with open mouths and wide eyes. Regular patrons snickered and nodded knowingly, having seen the divas in action before. All were equally engulfed in the pungent smell of perm solution, hairspray and coffee left too long on the burner. In a flash, the shouting and blaring music was interrupted by a crackle from the overhead speakers.

"Grant, your 10:30 appointment is in." The sound of the mic slamming back into its holder returned the sound of music. "Dust in the wind," the singer crooned. "All we are is dust in the wind."

Grant, hands on hips, made an abrupt about-face and stormed off toward the front reception area.

"And that ends that," Arturo said looking over at Becky. "Your job duties would include some babysitting from time to time. Are you up for that?"

She nodded, not having any idea of how much money she'd make, what her hours would be or what other unexpected duties she might have to perform. She was intrigued. After the stoic, predictable environment of finance she knew right away, this job would be anything but boring.

University Square Mall, Anytown, USA

University Square Mall, Anytown, USA

Unanswered Questions

Becky walked out of the salon into a maze of gleaming stores in the mall. Elated at getting hired, she realized there were dozens of questions she should have asked before accepting the job. There was so much to do before starting her new job in the morning.

She'd need to buy some new clothes to meet the dress code at the salon, solid red, white or blue in any combination. Shouldn't be too hard. She scribbled on her list of chores, find a thrift store.

Next on the list was to enroll in the nearby university where she could take some evening classes. Her pat speech about the pursuit of her degree had been cut short by the disturbance in the salon. A momentary twinge of buyer's regret was quickly squashed by her own resolve.

"I'm free to make a change if I need to. I've done it before." For the time being she was on a mission - one that would take her to unimaginable places and unexpected turns in a world filled with opportunity.

© 2020 Peg Cole

Comments

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on August 31, 2020:

Thank you, Bhattuc.

Bhattuc on August 31, 2020:

Interesting storyline. Nice.

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on August 15, 2020:

Thank you, Lawrence.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on August 13, 2020:

Peg

This seems an interesting story, lots of tension and intrigue from unexpected source.

Well done.

Devika Primic on August 03, 2020:

This sounds a lovely idea and you certainly are doing well in sharing your story. You have created an interesting outcome here and will surely grow into a great number of chapters.

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on July 20, 2020:

Dear Maria,

It's so good to see you here. I love your description, "drama department" as this story will dwell on it. You're right to worry about Kathy. She's gotten herself into a real mess. And your comment about the song choice is music to my ears. Hugs.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on July 19, 2020:

Hi Peg,

I love this already! I'm thrilled at the thought of watching this story take on a life of its own.

This beauty shop is on the 'cutting edge' in the drama department. Grant's personality reminds me of my own stylist, LOL.

I'm rooting for Becky and worried about Kathy.

PS - Thanks for the Kansas tune - a favorite of mine from way back.

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on July 15, 2020:

Thanks so much for the uplifting comment, Dora. I always look forward to your visits.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on July 14, 2020:

Good story-telling. Becky's resolve at the end of the story sends my mind into several possible directions for the outcome--all positive.

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on July 12, 2020:

Hi Flourish, I wonder if I should make this one a twisted tale of jealousy, greed and revenge? We'll see.

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on July 12, 2020:

Thanks, William. Just a slice of life for sure.

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 12, 2020:

This sounds like it could be really juicy. I like what you’ve started!

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on July 12, 2020:

Nice story, Peg. A real-lifer for sure.

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on July 11, 2020:

Hello Peggy, This started out to be flash fiction but I believe with all the encouragement it may grow longer. So good to see you and thank you.

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on July 11, 2020:

Hello Mona and thanks for telling me you enjoyed the story. I'm working on a second chapter to reveal more about the characters, particularly Kathy. I appreciate your interest and thoughtful comment.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 10, 2020:

This article sounds like the beginning of a series. It is sure to be entertaining!

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on July 10, 2020:

Hi Linda, Thanks for coming by to read this story. It's always great to see you. I appreciate your encouragement.

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on July 09, 2020:

A very interesting first chapter indeed. I'm eager to find out why Kathy changed after she married, and am looking forward to more scenes in the beauty parlor.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on July 09, 2020:

This is a great beginning to the story, Peg. I'm already intrigued by the characters and their lives. I'm looking forward to the next chapter.

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on July 09, 2020:

Hi Shauna! I'd always told myself I would write a story about beauty school and the antics that happen in a salon. I appreciate your encouragement to continue the tale. Hopefully, more will come of it.

Your intuition radar is bleeping loudly and you've picked up on the undercurrent of the way things have changed for the two friends. I can always count on you to read between the lines. :) Hope to see you again soon.

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on July 09, 2020:

Hello Ann! Yes, it is all go at the salon. One of those 3-ring circuses. I'm so thrilled that you liked it. Hope to keep them rolling along.

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on July 09, 2020:

Pamela, hello. I hope you're doing well. Thanks so much for the encouragement on the story. Your comments always lift me up. I'll put my muse to work on a second chapter really soon. Thanks again.

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on July 09, 2020:

Hi Mary, So glad you're along for the journey. It's always encouraging and uplifting to read your comments. Thank you!

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on July 09, 2020:

Thanks, Bill. That's really a nice compliment. I always appreciate when you visit me. Maybe this will turn into a series. Hmmm.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on July 09, 2020:

Peggy, when I read the title, I thought you'd be presenting some non-fictional. What a surprise to be launched into a fictional tale. I do hope you add a few more chapters to this. I'm curious about Kathy and her new husband. Something's lurking in that relationship. I can feel it!

Then there's the salon itself and its colorful cast of characters.I'm sure there'll be never a dull moment.

Love your story!

Ann Carr from SW England on July 09, 2020:

Becky sounds adventurous and determined. It's all go at the hair salon, isn't it?!

Great start to make us curious as to what comes next.

Ann

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 09, 2020:

I like your story, Peg. I hope there will be another chapter at least. It has a good rhythm as I read through the story. I thought this story was good from the first paragraph.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on July 09, 2020:

Peggy, you're starting us off to another journey with your new characters. I look forward to the next series.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 09, 2020:

What a unique setting for a short story, or series. I love that you chose beauty school as the setting. I love something different, you know, something that shows a bit of creativity. Well done, Peg. I'm hooked!

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