HERE COMES A NEW CHALLENGER!
Thanks to Know Your Meme for the above pics. The first one is just too cute, and the second far too funny =)
Something different for a Monday!
A challenge was laid down over at The Writer’s Bar:
Write a flash fic, scene or introductory chapter, or scene based on this picture:
So, here we go!
– Mo –
“Come on, Geoff. You haven’t had a close shave until you’ve shaved with your axe.”
He looked up at Jack, the manager of the tree-felling team. Sitting on a stump in the middle of the recently cleared area, he turned to see the other five team members were perched on their own stump, eating their lunches. They all averted their gaze from the new guy, trying to stifle their laughter.
“I’ve spent the last month trying to grow this chinstrap beard, Jack. Why shave it off now? It’s just started to thicken nicely.”
Jack boomed a hearty laugh, his significant belly bouncing underneath his white singlet.
“That’s a beard? Looks more like you fished your girlie’s waxing strips out of the bin!”
A couple of nearby workers choked on their coffee, before recovering and letting out howls of laughter.
Jack rubbed his own face, as clean-shaven as you were like to find.
“The ladies prefer a clean shave, boy. Trust me.”
Many thought of lumberjacks in the red and black flannel shirts and denim jeans, rolled-up sleeves and a beard worthy of a Greek god. The manager sufficed with a set of black work pants, though pulled up just a little too high, and a white singlet. He wore that gear regardless of the weather, many thinking him insane in the winter months. The manager had been in this game his whole life, and there were not many tricks in the lumberjack game he did not know.
Geoff felt somewhat out of place in his cream work pants and heavy shirt, though he rolled up his sleeves to fit in. All the other workers had powerful forearms from their own years of tree-feeling, making him feel even less worthy. He had to find a way to win them over.
“Okay. Let’s do it.”
Jack disappeared to his gear pack to retrieve something, while some of the other team members hooted their approval of the forthcoming activity. He returned with shaving cream, and a cloth which he placed over Geoff’s knee. He methodically lathered the boy’s face in the foam before retrieving the axe sitting at the new recruit’s feet. He rubbed his thumb across the cutting edge, making a sour face as he inspected his digit.
“I’ve felt sharper. You better give it a good turn on the sharpening wheel tonight. The trees around here are ancient, so you need the sharpest possible axe to make any dent in them.”
Geoff tried to look indignant, which the shaving foam did not assist with. “I only bought it yesterday!”
“And old man Gustav has never known how to properly sharpen an axe. Now, hold still.”
Geoff tried to not flinch as the axe’s edge started scraping the hairs from the side of his face. Scarlett had mentioned that she wasn’t too happy with the beard, and that the respect of his peers should not depend on his facial hair. While that was easy to say, the boys were never reserved in their comparing their beards, and they had let him know what a poor effort they deemed his to be.
The other five team members had gathered around, watching intently as Jack masterfully shaved his young charger with the axe edge. Among the group was Jack’s young son Jackson, dressed in high black pants, with matching shirt and skullcap.
As the manager finished his handiwork, he pulled the cloth off the young man’s knee and rubbed the remaining shaving cream off his face.
Jack looked at him, a proud smile crossing his features as he slung the towel over his shoulder. “There you go. Have a feel of that and tell me it isn’t the closest shave you’ve had in your life.”
Geoff ran his hand over the newly shaved areas of his face, barely able to feel any hint of hair.
“That is amazing, Jack. You missed your calling as a barber.”
The manager’s laugh rang out, ringing around the clearing. “My old man was, and he handed down all his tricks to me. The shaving cream I use is a special recipe he devised, which he swore by.”
A cheer went out from the observers, all stepping over to slap the young man on the back and shake his hand. The team member named Eric stepped forward to offer his congratulations. He was a solid man, with powerful arms and a true lumberjack beard.
“Great work, kid. None of us had the guts to let him do it on our first days. Before he tried to shave me, he kept a maniacal glare in his eye all morning. We all thought he was an axe murderer, and wouldn’t let him anywhere near our carotids.”
Geoff beamed as he shook the man’s hand, nodding towards his beard. “Thanks Eric. Did he scare you off shaving forever?”
Eric laughed, his nowhere near as booming as Jack’s had been. “For a good month or two, he did. When I did shave it off, the wife said she liked me with a rugged look.” He shrugged his broad shoulders. “A word of advice: do what the wife says. If she’s happy, you will be too.”
The younger man smirked. “My girl had mentioned it. She’ll be happy.”
Eric winked. “Atta boy. Hopefully there’ll be a nice reward in it for you.” Laughter ran around the crew, the new recruit stepping up to the challenge a bonding moment.
In between the male bonding, no-one had seen or heard the rustling just outside the clearing. A large animal lumbered out from the trees, drawn to the ruckus. Hearing the many voices and commotion, it reared to its feet and let out a roar.
Everyone spun around to behold the towering bear. The colour quickly drained from many a face. Jack stepped between the team and the animal, still holding the axe he had shaved Geoff with.
“Back away slowly, boys. You think of running, it’ll sense it. I’ll make sure he doesn’t follow you.”
– Mo –