Cilla's bored. Working as a cosmetologist in Beverly Hills has lost its allure, and going truly freelance beckons. Soon she is recruited by a mysterious organization and mixes with a different class of people…some not even human.
My name’s Cilla De La Zeus. I’m in my late twenties, and work as a cosmetologist in Beverly Hills. I do it all, from haircuts, shampoo and styling, to manicures, pedicures, facials, and bikini waxes. It’s early afternoon and time is dragging. I’ve no one booked for the next two hours, but if I left the salon it would be my luck to miss a walk in. Of course, that’s assuming the salon owner isn’t busy. Margaret always has first call. This means if Margaret thinks they have money, she would bend over backward to make sure she becomes their hairdresser. With two assistants, it’s almost certain she would somehow manage to fit them in. To be honest, these days Margaret doesn’t really do any cutting, shampooing, applying chemicals, and definitely not the manicures or pedicures. The years have taken their toll on her health, and allergies are very common among hairstylists.
I was wearing pumps, black tights, and a loose Caftan top with a red flower motif. Comfort and keeping cool was the number one order of the day. Sitting in my own chair, killing time with my legs crossed, I mumbled, “Can’t take much more of this. Do I have enough regular clients to go truly freelance? Say I lost twenty percent because they really like and want the salon environment, can I still make a living? I’ll ask Dave tonight to crunch the numbers. At least I’ll save the chair expense, and here in Beverly Hills it’s ridiculous how much they charge to rent a station.”
A tall man walked in, and Melony was all smiles at reception. She had good reason. He was six feet tall, dark-brown hair, designer stubble, and a weathered craggy look. She slipped off her stool, showing off her long legs, and then made the point to brush her short black mini skirt down. Her high heels clicked on the floor as she intercepted the potential client. “What can I do for you, sir?”
“I’d like a trim.”
“Do you have an appointment?” Melony already knew the answer was no, but was waiting for a sign from Margaret to see if she was interested.
“No, I don’t. I was hoping you could fit me in.”
“Sir, we love walk-ins.”
She saw the owner’s subtle shake of the head. His clothing wasn’t expensive enough, and he wasn’t wearing designer shoes. She looked over in my direction. I saw a dollar sign, not a large one to be sure, but it would help cover the exorbitant rent I was paying just to say I worked in Beverly Hills. I quickly got up, smiled, and shook my unruly mass of ginger hair. “Melony, I’m available.”
With a practiced ease, Melony slipped her arm around my potential client’s waist, making sure he felt her ample assets, and started to guide him my way. “Cilla is the best, and she’ll make sure you leave completely enamored with the result. If you’re not, see me on the way out. My name’s Melony.” She tilted her head and touched his arm. I could tell she fancied him. “Stop by anyway,” then she propelled him toward me. Anyone would think Melony owned the salon, but it was incredibly good PR. My new client sauntered over. My, he’s hot.
I smiled and asked, “What can I do for you?”
“Just a trim.”
He sat down, and I wrapped a mauve cape around him, fastening it at the back of his neck. “Don’t want anything to mess up your clothing. Let’s see what I have to do—just tidy up your neck, and shape the sides. I see you have some hairs that look like spider legs on your eyebrows. They’ll have to go, and those on your nose—they look like miniature horns. Do you mind if I pluck the one growing out of your ear?”
He laughed. “Go for it.”
I walked in front of him, first cupping his head in my hands, lightly fluffing his hair, and then giving his scalp a massage. “Yes, I think that’ll do it. Are you in town for business?”
“As it happens, I am.”
“What do you do?”
“Cilla, I can call you that...”
“Please call me Bengy. Cilla, I find if I repeat the name a couple of times, it sticks. You have free rein. I do fancy a change.”
I smiled. “I can do that. A little shorter on the sides and let’s keep it long on top... yes, that’s definitely the new you. You were about to tell me all your secrets. I can multitask, and will be listening as I work wonders on your hair.” I ran my fingers through his hair, my thumbs rotating in little circles behind his ears. I could feel him relaxing, and settling into the chair. “How about having a quick shampoo and conditioner for starters?”
“Yes, don’t stop whatever you’re doing. It feels great.”
With practiced ease, I released the back of the chair, lowered his head into the shampoo bowl, and started a quick rinse with the shower-head. “Water’s not too hot, is it?” I didn’t expect an answer. His green eyes were already closed. I slowly massaged the shampoo into his scalp, rinsed all the suds away, conditioned him, rinsed again, and then toweled his hair to remove the excess water. “Time to sit up, it’s best to cut hair while it’s still damp.” I raised the chair, and swiveled him around so he could watch the proceedings in the mirror. “You’re very quiet. Where do you come from?”
“You wouldn’t believe me.”
“I’m actually an alien.”