First Customer!

Who: Dale and Trent
Where: Trent's salon
When: Afternoon

Now that there was electricity, Trent was all about getting the shop set up. He wanted to get his mind off of the thought that the experiments had continued and he'd got himself mixed up in the drama that might ensue. So, organizing and setting up and getting the salon up and running were definitely a welcome distraction. He was sifting through boxes of hair products by now, getting his station up to his standards. Each bottle and comb and clip put in it's designated place. He probably looked pretty strange organizing things that way, but he didn't care. That was just how things worked in Trenton Hawthorne's world.

Dale was going back to the grocery store - she'd gotten supplies for herself, but she realized that Ben probably wouldn't leave his house to go get them himself, so she thought she might do that. Force her out of her own. Yesterday had left her feeling positively miserable, considering how long she'd been out, but it was better today. It was passing the salon, that made her pause however, and to park her car. It suddenly made her very conscious of her split ends and of the home-done haircut that was probably uneven.

Wondering if there was anyone inside, Dale knocked a little on the glass door, then opened it and stepped in.

Trent heard the knock and glanced up just as the woman entered the shop. He shot her a smile and sat down the bottle he'd just pulled out of the box. Dusting off his hands and walking towards her he gave a little wave and offered out his hand to shake. "Trent Hawthorne. Good afternoon." he said. "Could I help you with something?" he asked.

Dale took off her sunglasses for a moment, flinched, and put them back on. Still a little bright in here. "My hair is awful." She declared firmly. "I've gone nine months without a proper cut, and I need you to repair the damage." He looked competent enough, so she was willing to trust him with the task - what could he do that wasn't as bad as it already was, after all?

He nodded, assessing the haircut she currently had. She was in need of a fix, that was obvious. "Well, I'm sure and certain I can do that for you." he told her. Glancing around the room he took in what had already been done in the shop. "I'm not completely done setting up here, but if you don't mind the mess, I can fix it for ya." he told her. The 'mess' he spoke of wasn't exactly a mess. Everything was situated, a few things had to be tweaked to suit his needs, but to the normal person it looked decent and clean and in order.

Dale glanced around. What mess? Well, it was the same thing back at home she'd say to visitors, even if she just finished cleaning. She took a quick look at his face. No, no. He was serious. "I'm sure I'll survive." Dale reassured him, and took off her coat to hang on the rack. "Do I need to make an appointment?"

He chuckled and shook his head. "No, no." he told her. "You're my first customer actually." he said. "Congratulations." he smiled. "So, just a haircut, or would you like a wash and dry and all that too?" he asked.

"I've already washed it today, so just a cut." Dale said, then suddenly changed her mind. "Actually, I used to have really dark copper streaks in my hair - dark enough that you could barely see them unless they caught the light just right. Do you have anything like that in here?" That'd be nice to have. It would be something resembling normalcy, and Dale didn't know about anyone else, but that was something she absolutely craved after yesterday.

He smiled and nodded. "Of course, what kind of a salon do you think I run?" he teased. "I've got just about everything that you could imagine, so if you're interested in some dark copper streaks, I can do that for you. So how bout we get it cut and evened up and we'll get right to it?" He gestured towards the chair at his station. "Have a seat."

Dale peeled off her sweater, too, so that she was down to her t-shirt, and meandered over to the chair in question. And there she sat. "I can't take off the glasses unless you close the blinds over the windows," she said apologetically. "I'm really light sensitive."

He nodded, walking over to the windows and pulling the blinds closed. "How's that?" he questioned. He wondered for a moment if maybe she'd been in the tunnel experiment that Trevor had talked about, but he felt it would probably be a little rude to bring it up unless she mentioned it first.

Dale tentatively took off her glasses, cringed a little, and hoped her eyes would adjust. "If it gets too be too much, I'll just close my eyes," she decided, and folded her glasses up neatly to put in her pocket for the time being. "Okay."

He nodded and grabbed an apron off the counter, draping it over the woman and fastening it behind her back. "Anything specific you're lookin' for, darlin'?" he questioned, raising the chair upwards and turning it so she could see herself in the large mirror before her.

"Oh, lord, straighten out that mess." Dale sighed. It wasn't so bad when there wasn't another choice, but now that a professional could do it? Dale realized how bad it actually was. "Short, tidy looking. Professional, if you can fix it that much. I may not be one anymore, but I can at least try to look like I am."

He smiled and nodded. "I can do that for ya." he said. Trent reached over and snagged a comb and a pair of scissors to even up the strands of dark hair. Time for the small talk. "So, ya made it through the blackout yesterday pretty well then?" he asked. Small little snips of hair falling to the floor as he straightened out the back first.

We're the ones who turned the power back on. Dale thought, but she just nodded. "I was cold most of the day, but I survived alright. Live on to bitch another day and all that. Yourself? I can't imagine it's easy to cut hair without lights on."

He chuckled. "You'd be right there, darlin'." he agreed. "I was gonna be in here yesterday settin' things up but I woke up to a blackout. Spent most of the day freezin' and walkin' around trying to figure out what was goin' on. Did meet someone though, so I guess it wasn't a total loss. At least I'm startin' to socialize."

"I met three someones. Everett - an ex-police officer. Though I think I'm going to refer to him as the kindergarten teacher from now on. Kales, and Dave. They all seem... reasonably nice enough, anyway." Dale would've nodded, but she didn't want to cause any more problems with her hair then she already had.

"I met Trevor." he said, working his way around one side of her hair. "Why are you going to refer to an ex-police officer as the kindergarten teacher?" he questioned, curious as to her reasoning for the nickname.

"Trevor! I'm assuming it's the same Trevor that was in my experiment." Dale grinned. She liked Trevor; he had the same weird love for the tunnels she did. You know you're messed up when... "Oh, because he's very gruff, it seemed to me."

"Tunnels, I think he said." he told her, nodding as she spoke. "Met him when I was walking around and such. Made due with heating my kitchen with a grill. We made a make shift heating type thing." he chuckled. "Kept warm though."

"Well, good. Trevor and I got along well during the experiment. Which one were you in? Or weren't you in one at all? You seem pretty stable." Dale said dryly.

He shook his head. "No experiment for me." he told her. "My sister was in one. Not really sure which though." he shrugged. "I'm a volunteer... wanted to do something to help out I guess."

"Ah." Dale felt bad for him. While her experiment hadn't been as bad as the others, as far as she could tell (or maybe she just handled it better), she'd at least had some experience with the entire thing, while he'd had none at all. "Okay, when you close up today you might want to go to the grocery store and stock up on canned food and stuff that'll last for a long time. Just in case." No sense in freaking him out, but warning him was the least she could do. "Preferably stuff you might not necessarily have to heat. You never know when the power'll go out again, or for how long."

"I'll keep that in mind." he said with a nod, continuing along with her haircut. It didn't take long to even it up, shortening it a bit and making it look professional like she'd requested. Setting the scissors down on the counter and moving the comb through her hair to remove any loose strands. He reached over to snag a hand mirror and offered it out to her. "Here ya go. Lemme show you the back of it and see if you're pleased with the result, then we can get to those copper streaks."

Oh dear. That didn't sound like he was going to take it seriously until the world blew up in his face. Dale resolved to get some extra food and things for him, too, not just Ben. "Oh, that's good. That's the best it's been in about... nine months or so." Dale laughed. "Thanks! It looks really even."

He smiled. "Good, I'm glad you like it." he said with a little nod, taking the mirror back and replacing it on the counter in the place he'd gotten it from. The next task at hand was the streaks, so he grabbed the necessary bottles and containers he'd need for that. "So you want a lot of streaks, or just a few?" he questioned, stirring the mixture as he spoke.

"Just a few. Nice and subtle." Dale nodded. She liked subtle. It registered with people, but it kept up the 'professional' image without going overboard and making her look like a metallic punk. "Maybe next time we could alternate between dark copper and dark bronze."

"Subtle is good." he said, grabbing some foil strips and working a few into her hair with the deep copper color. "So do you think they're doin' the experiments again?" he asked her. "Trevor seemed to think that's what was going on. I'm a bit new to the whole thing so I'm not really sure what I should be doin' ya know..."

"I think the best thing to do is assume that they are and pray that they're not." Dale said quietly. Then she gave him a little half smile through the mirror. "Stock up on food. If they take it all away from us, we'll starve anyway, and it can't hurt to have extra. Strike-anywhere-matches, batteries, everything that you can think of that'll help. First aid kits would be good, too."

He nodded. "Guess I should probably do that." he agreed. "Pretty fucked up to think helping just got me into a bigger fuckin' mess." he muttered, mostly to himself. "I just wanted to have some good come out of Carolyn's death, I just didn't think it'd be like this. I haven't even been here that long and boom, the whole town goes fuckin' crazy."

Dale gave him a sympathetic look. "Honey, you haven't even seen the tip of the iceberg yet."

"Well at least I have somethin' to look forward to then." he said, sarcasm coating each word. He finished up the foil wrappings and set a timer, then set about the waiting time for the color to set. "I'm still fuckin' confused about the whole thing, honestly." he told her. "Still tryin' to figure out what the point to it all is, ya know? I don't understand what they're really gainin' by doin' all this bullshit."

"Well, the theory I have so far goes along the lines is that they get off on watching us running around like chickens with our heads cut off." Dale said dryly. "And that they're sadists. I wouldn't be surprised if they sold the videos as snuff film in some cases."

He wondered for a moment if the bastards had video taped his sister. He tried not to dwell on that too long, he had been in a decent mood and the thought had the potential to turn it for the worse. "That's pretty fucked up." he muttered. "Guess there are some fucked up people in the world though. I shoulda been smart enough to realize that I guess. They came up with the experiments in the first place. I just didn't know what the fuck they'd done."

"Hey, I could be completely wrong. I'm looking at it from this side of the thing. If you go over to their side and they told you? They'd probably be able to show you reams of paper from the experiments, or corrections to psychology textbooks, or all sorts of things. What I think and what could be are two different things completely."

He shrugged. "Nothin' anyone can do about it right now." he said. "Not like you or me could change anythin' that's happened or will happen. We're fucked at the moment. Stuck. Sucks ass, but there ain't no changin' it now."

"Fatalistic, aren't you." Dale gave another little half smile to him. "Just remember that the vast majority of us did survive, and at the very least I find unnecessary death to be very much not cool. I'll help you out as much as I can, alright?"

"Thanks." he said with a nod. "I appreciate that. Can't say I'm very optimistic really, guess I should try and be looking for the bright side a bit more. At least I didn't freeze to death yesterday." he chuckled. "That's a good thing."

"It's not the middle of winter yet." Dale pointed out, chuckling too. "But that's the spirit. I don't think we're going to get out of this intact unless we really work together at it - though I don't know if the other people are as willing to do so. I guess we're going to find out about that one."

He nodded. "We need to round up all the people we can to see if we can band together or somethin'." he suggested.

"Well, that didn't work in my experiment. Some people are never going to be happy unless they're the ones in charge - and usually those are the ones you don't want in charge." Dale pointed out. "And people are likely to bunch up by experiment or occupation, unless they knew each other on the outside, which isn't very likely. I'd say it's better to let people gravitate towards their own leaders, and then try getting those people together."

"Guess I just gotta find a bunch of people to band with me then." he said with a shrug. "Come on, lets get that color washed out and dry it up. See how it turned out."