Zac Silver's Hairy Tale - Chapter 6
Zac stared at Tilly’s beehive. He scanned the line of frantic competitors - combing, chopping and colouring. His head was full of ideas. He could do something punky – a florescent Mohican maybe. Or something risqué – skinhead on one side, hair-pyramids on the other. He leant over Tilly’s shoulder, “How old are you Tilly?”
“Cheeky! You should never ask a lady her age.” Fake shock slid into a smile. “78. 78 eight years young.”
He looked into her bright eyes twinkling in the mirror. He remembered the black and white photos and watched her wrinkles fade away. “You’re one of the youngest people I’ve ever met.” Zac brushed out the beehive and added hazelnut dye to strands of Tilly’s grey hair. He used his fingers to create gentle waves and curls half way down her head.
“Only five minutes left people,” David said, clutching his clipboard to his chest.
Zac watched the others thrusting final frenzied touches into their styles – feathers, twigs, even twisted knives and forks. He didn’t care anymore. He made the last few adjustments – a snip here, a curl there. “This isn’t about winning,” he thought. “It’s about Tilly.”
“Time’s up, scissors down! Stylists step away from your models. You will be judged on colouring skills, technical ability and your model’s reaction to the style.” David and two other flamboyant characters sashayed to the end of the line. Zac counted eleven facial piercings and eighteen tattoos between them.
The judges scribbled down provisional notes and then invited the photographer to join them for the first reveal moment. David’s wide-eyed excitement twitched across his face as he clasped the velvet sheet covering the mirror. “Three, two, one - Reveal!”
The photographer clicked. The student screamed. “What is that!? It looks like a blind crow's nest.”
David pursed his lips and looked at the other judges. “I take it you don’t like it.” All three scribbled furiously onto their clipboards.
One by one, each model had their reveal moment and the judges scored them. It was Zac and Tilly last of all. David spun Tilly’s chair around to see what Zac had created. There was a lot of head-tilting and nodding. He turned Tilly back to face the mirror. “Three, two, one - Reveal!”
Zac chewed his nails. Tilly took a sharp intake of breath. She glimpsed back at Zac and leant towards the mirror. She stroked her new finger-wave curls and a tear rolled down her cheek. David pulled a tissue from a box and handed it to Tilly. “Don’t you like it?”
The room fell silent.
“Like it?” Tilly said. “I love it! I look like Greta Garbo.”
She saw Zac in the reflection and winked. The judges scrawled and walked into a corner to confer. They totted up their score sheets and handed the papers to David.
David climbed the stepladders. He looked like he was trying to take off as he patted the air above the crowd. “Quiet everybody! Shhhhhh!! Well done to all of you - the standard was exceedingly high. However, it was the simple, vintage elegance of one style that shone above the Japanese punk or complex architectural cuts elsewhere. Therefore, I am pleased to announce Salon Extraordin-Hair’s regional winner is...”
Someone in the back pressed play on a CD player. A tinny drum roll reverberated around the shop.
“Zac Silver and his model Tilly!”
Tilly leapt from her wheelchair. Zac couldn’t move. Tilly grasped his hand and dragged him through the applauding stylists to collect his prize – a place in the national finals, a huge trophy and a £5000 cheque for the school of the winning entrant. David handed the silver trophy to Zac and held his hand in the air. “Our winner everybody.”
The salon door smashed open. “Hold it!” Mr. Barker and a puffing Miss Cleaver pushed through the crowd. “Hold it right there.”