Curly Does His Hair

“This is your host, Morning Mike, half-asleep at half past seven, reminding you to WAKE UP! I hope you had a good night’s sleep, I sure didn’t. We’re in for some dismal weather today, so if you had plans to hang ten, go on a picnic or, I dunno, take a nap under a giant sequoia, cancel your plans immediately! We’re having severe thunderstorms all day long! Wear your boots, put on a poncho, grab a sturdy umbrella, and… and… Oh wait, that was last week’s weather… Whoops… You know, this desk is looking awfully comfy. I think I’m gonna take a nap real quick. Can we cut to commercials?”

Curly turned off the radio and sighed. He got out of bed, lumbered into the bathroom, and stared at himself in the mirror. He pulled a curl of his hair out completely straight then let go. It sprang back into place and he groaned. “Stupid hair!”

“Curly!” called his dad from downstairs. “Come down for breakfast, you’re going to be late for school!”

“I’m coming, I’m coming,” he muttered angrily. “Who names their kid ‘Curly’?”


There were ten minutes left until class started. Curly wanted to sneak into the classroom as quickly as possible, but Big Mean Eugene (the biggest kid in school) and Louden Rood (the loudest kid in school) were hanging around the door. They were making trouble for anyone trying to get in, as usual. So he stopped and pretended to take a drink from the water fountain as he waited for them to move on.

Eugene walked down the hall towards the classroom, eating one of his legendary vegan breakfasts out of a tupperware container.

“Hey Eaton,” Louden taunted. “Whatchu eating?”

“Tofu salad,” Eaton said. He stuffed lettuce and chickpeas into his mouth. “Want some? I brought extra. It’s really good for your health, much better than those chips you usually—”

“I’ll take some,” Eugene interrupted, swiping the bowl from Eaton’s hands. Eugene flung the salad bowl and it hit the ground. Tofu fell all over the place. “Whoops, my bad. My arms are just so weak from being vegan, you know? You better clean this up before Mrs. Editoria gets here. You know how she hates messes.”

Eaton picked his breakfast off the floor while Eugene and Louden laughed.

“Yeah, veggie-muncher,” said Louden. He offered Eugene a high five.

Eugene gave Louden a dirty look and made a fist. “Dweeb.”

After waiting an uncomfortably long time at the fountain, Curly slowly backed away from the scene.

“Please don’t see me,” he muttered. “Please don’t see me, please don’t see me, please don’t see me…”

“Hey Curly,” said Louden, “where do you think you’re going?”

Big Mean Eugene snapped his head in Curly’s direction.

Curly gulped. “Nowhere…” he replied.

Eugene smiled with those big square teeth of his. “What’s the rush curlyhead? Don’t you have something for me?”

“I… I don’t have any money right now but—”

“No money, huh?” asked Eugene. “So how exactly did you plan on eating lunch today, huh? Debit card? Wireless transfer? New line of credit?”

“I brought my own today…” Curly said, looking at the floor.

Eugene chuckled. “Oh, I see! Well, don’t hold back. Render unto Caeser and all that.”

Curly took the container of spaghetti and veggieballs out of his backpack. Eugene opened it, took a whiff, and threw it into a nearby garbage bin. “Yuck, you eat this stuff? No wonder you turned out so weird.”

“That’s my lunch!” shouted Curly.

“What are you gonna do about it? You frizzy-haired freak.”

“Frizzy-haired freak,” Louden snickered. “He looks like a woolly mammoth. I bet he weighs the same as one too.”

“I’m not fat!” Curly cried.

“Yeah you are,” insisted Louden.

“I am not!” Curly was getting flustered now.

“Ok, if you say so, fatty.”

“Is Curlyhead gonna cry?” Eugene teased. “Please don’t tell me you’re gonna cry.”

“I’m not gonna cry!”

“He’s such a baby.”

“Aw, look at the poor baby.”

“Leave me alone!”

“Or what? What are you gonna do, fatty?”

“I said leave me alone!” Curly lunged at Eugene, who smiled even wider than before. Eugene grabbed him by the arm and punched him in the gut, knocking the wind out of him. Curly’s glasses clattered to the floor.

“What are you doing!” shouted Clementine. She and Grace walked around the corner just in time to see the punch land.

Eugene still held Curly by the arm. Curly was crying and gasping—trying desperately to catch his breath.

“Mind your own business,” said Eugene.

“Don’t you tell me what to do!” Clementine cried.

“I’ll beat you up too, no problem,” said Eugene. “Don’t think I won’t just ’cause you’re a girl.”

“Leave him alone!” shouted Clem. “I’m going to tell Mrs. Editoria!”

Eugene let go of Curly’s arm, then pushed him to the ground. “Go ahead, see if I care.”

“I will! And you’re going to get detention again. You’re dead meat!”

Eugene scowled. “Whatever, you stupid tattle-tale! Shut up!”

Eugene and Louden walked into the classroom while Curly’s other classmates made sure he was ok.

“Do you need to see the nurse?” asked Grace, giving him his glasses.

“I’m fine!” he said, once he had his breath back. “Go away, I’m alright.”


“Leave. Me. Alone!”

And that’s when Mrs. Editoria finally decided to show up.

“What’s going on?” she asked.

Before Curly could tell them not to, Clementine and Eaton had told her the whole story.


“You can’t let them get to you,” Grace told him. Grace had given him half her lunch. He tried to refuse, but Grace kept insisting until he gave in. “The more you do, the more they’ll pick on you!”

“It’s all because of my stupid hair!” said Curly. “That’s why they pick on me. Do you hear what Eugene calls me? Frizzy-haired freak, woolly mammoth, mop head, Sir-Curls-a-lot, Curlyhead! It’s all because of my hair!”

“They’re bullies, Curly,” said Grace. “If it wasn’t your hair they would just tease you about something else. Reacting is what they want you to do. They’re counting on it. It makes them feel big. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with your hair. I kinda like it.”

“Really?” asked Curly, blushing.

Grace nodded and smiled.

Curly took a few more bites of the half-sandwich Grace had given him. He glanced up at her. There was a strange feeling in his chest he had never felt before. At first he thought it was heartburn, but no, it wasn’t that… Grace was so kind and smart and pretty and… pretty.

‘Woah. Am I in love?’

Just then, Eugene came tearing into the cafeteria. “Ok, where is he!?” Eugene scanned the room with two rageful eyes until they landed on Curly. Curly just about peed his pants.

Eugene stomped over to where the boy was sitting and grabbed him by the collar. “Thanks to you, Curlyhead, I got a month’s detention! And Principal Write called my parents so now I’m grounded too. You know what that means? Well? Do you?”

Curly couldn’t think straight, he was so afraid. “It means… the system works?”

“No!” Eugene bellowed into his ear. “It means that from now on my only goal in life is to make your life miserable! You got that freak! Miserable!”

Then, suddenly, Eugene let go of Curly’s collar and marched off to plot Curly’s doom.

All the kids at the lunch table stared at Curly.

“You’re doomed,” chuckled Louden.

“My condolences, Curly,” said Adam.

“It was nice knowing you,” Ollie said.

“See you on the other side, man. Better run while you still can!”

“He can’t touch you, he wouldn’t dare touch you!” said Clementine. “We won’t let him and the teachers won’t let him. He’ll get expelled if he hits you again. He can’t just do whatever he wants!”

“He’ll get expelled if he hits me,” Curly said sullenly, “but nothing’s stopping him from teasing me.”

Curly wanted to hear what Grace had to say about it but he didn’t look in her direction. He was embarrassed, being bullied in front of the girl he liked.

But he mustered himself and finally asked, “What do you think I should do Grace?”

“Pray,” she advised. “For the both of you. What are you waiting for, go pray! Now!”


A week passed, and Eugene was true to his word. Never in his life had Curly been so miserable. Every morning as Curly approached the school, Eugene was there waiting for him (in fact, Eugene had better attendance that week than any other week that year—he went to school on time just to bully Curly).

“What’s up Curly head?” he would say, or, “Good morning butthead,” or “Top of the mornin’ Curls-for-brains,” or “Fine weather we’re today having, huh mophead?”

Then Eugene would follow him into school and sit behind him in class. The entire day he would say stuff like, “You really outta sit at the back of the class. You block everyone behind you with that huge mop on your head!” and “Seriously, how much hair can one kid grow? Leave some hair for the rest of us furball!”

Curly tried to get to school before Eugene. On Wednesday, he woke up before dawn and got to school at 6 AM. But Eugene was waiting for him with a huge grin on his face.

Eugene laughed. “Early to bed, early to rise… makes no difference, your hair’ll still be curly.”

The next day, Curly went to school late, 30 minutes after class started. But Eugene was still there waiting.

Eugene wagged a finger at him. “Late for class Curly? Naughty naughty.”

Curly followed Grace’s advice and prayed every morning. He prayed that Eugene would leave him alone. He prayed that the principal would expel him instead of just giving him detention and suspensions. He prayed for God to bring fire and brimstone on Eugene’s house in the middle of the night. But none of his requests came true.

“Have faith,” Grace would tell him. “God will see you through.”

If she was any other girl he would have rolled his eyes and said, “Faith? Yeah sure, I have faith that I’m going to get bullied tomorrow. And the day after that. And the day after that.” But to him, Grace wasn’t any other girl so he kept his mouth shut.

On Friday Eugene said, “You know I only pick on you because of your stupid, curly hair. If it wasn’t for that I would probably be picking on Eaton for being a veggie, or Clementine for being a blabbermouth, or Ollie for being… well… Ollie. But that hair? Come on, it’s like you’re just asking to get bullied. You should cut it or straighten it or something. You would be doing us both a favor.” Then he walked away, chuckling.

Curly ground his teeth.


Sabbath morning. Curly stood in front of the bathroom mirror again. He grimaced. He stared at the frizzy fringes of his frilly furling hair.

“Stupid hair! Stupid Eugene the Philistine!”

“Curly!” shouted Dad. “Come on, we’ll be late for church!”

“I’m coming!” he shouted back. He grabbed the clothing iron and a pack of hair straightener he had been saving. “I’ve just got to do something quick.”

He got to work.

Exactly five minutes later, Curly’s dad heard a scream come from the bathroom.


Then the smoke detector rang.


“Curly!?” Dad bolted to the bathroom.


Curly’s father got to the bathroom door and swung it open. His eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets.

“Curly! What did you do to your hair!?!”

The room was covered in singed hair. Smoke filled the small room. Poor Curly had burns all over his head and shoulders. His eyes were full of tears. Oh yes, and he was bald as a naked mole rat.

“I… I… I’m an idiot.”


Curly, rightfully terrified of how his dad would react if he found out, never told him exactly how he lost his hair. And to protect his privacy (and what shred of a reputation he has left), neither will I. All I’ll say is that he learned the hard way never to iron hair soaked in cheap hair straighter. That’s the moral of the story. Good night!

Ok, ok, not really. Where were we? Oh yes:

Curly skipped church that Sabbath… he had to go to the emergency room. But Monday morning it was straight (or bald) back to school. Eugene was waiting in the usual spot.

“What’s with the hat?” asked Eugene. “Don’t think you can just cover up your hair and get away scot-free. Take it off.”

Curly sighed and obeyed.

Eugene laughed as Curly knew he would.

“Baldy, baldy, ha, ha, you’re bald!” Eugene was so ecstatic with laughter that he keeled over and rolled on the ground. “Curly’s bald!”

Curly put his hat back on. “Are you done?”

Eugene wiped the tears from his eyes. “Not by a long-shot, baldy. What should I call you now? Curly the Bald Eagle? Caillou Curly?”

“You’re… not funny,” said Curly, realizing it for the first time. “Look, the hair’s gone. Can you just leave me alone?”

“Not on your life, I’m just getting started. Baldy, um… baldilocks, egghead, baldie!”


At lunch, Curly told Grace everything. “Eugene gave up by second period. He just got bored, I guess. Then he started picking on Ollie. But that didn’t work either, Ollie ignored him too. So now he’s picking on fourth graders.”

“I told you, just ignore him. He doesn’t exactly have a long attention span. He won’t bother you again.”

“Well, unless he gets the sudden urge to beat me up again… But you’re right. I should have listened to you from the beginning. All he wanted was for me to pay attention to him and feel bad. There was nothing wrong with my hair. You know what the saddest thing is?”

“What?” asked Grace.

“I hated my hair so much… but now I kinda miss it.”


If you don’t have Curly in your Thumbuddy collection: hair692

13 thoughts on “Curly Does His Hair”

  1. Thank you for the Thumbuddy code!! 😊 Every time I see it, I’ll think of this story. Good job!! 👏🏼 I really like it. You do have talent for writing stories.

  2. I love this!
    Yeahh there seems to always be this subtle (or outward in Curly’s case) pressure to change some about yourself especially in schools

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Curly Does His Hair

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