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I think all I have to do is explain, and you’ll let me out of here. You know who I am. You know by now that I’ve never been in trouble like this before. Just let me explain.

I’ve always had a lot of time on my hands. My family’s wealth meant that I didn’t have to take school very seriously, and once the business interests had been sold off, there was just too much money around to worry about working. So I didn’t. I know you probably resent me for that, think I’ve had everything handed to me on a silver platter, but it’s not my fault. It’s what I was born to. It doesn’t make me a bad person. All it really means is that I’ve always had a lot of time – and money – to indulge my true interests. Time and money that most other people just don’t have.

And it turned out that my deepest most abiding interest has been women’s hair. It always was, from as long ago as I can remember. And as I grew older, I became able to experiment with new experiences. But my favorite thing to do has always been to run my hands through the thick long hair of a beautiful woman. Blonde hair, black hair, wavy hair, straight hair, I love it all. I love the feel of it as it slips through and around my fingers, the weight of it as I cup it in my hand, the delicate smell of it as I lift it off a beautiful woman’s neck, the dense resistance as I bury my hands in it deeper and deeper. That is my true passion in life, strange and self-indulgent as it may sound. And luckily, I’ve always had the money to satisfy that interest, whenever I’ve wanted to. Because there are always places you can go where women will let you do things to them. For a price.

And I have been a loyal customer of several of those places. Because sometimes my wife’s lovely brown hair – even my girlfriend’s dense blonde curls – just isn’t enough. I want something new and fresh to touch, a new texture and length and feel. That’s when I call Madame Alice. Or another of her kind.

This is Madame Alice’s fault, you know. It’s all her fault. I asked her if the girl knew what was going to happen. She lied to me. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I was feeling the need for something new and made an appointment at Madame Alice’s establishment. She has been unusually good at finding me some extraordinary heads of hair. And her place is very well-kept and very discreet. A few hours there will cost $800 or so easily, but it’s worth it. I can play games with the girls, even see more than one girl at a time. All in fun. No harm done. And I can take my time enjoying the feel of hair through my hands, curls wrapping gently around my fingers, the curve of a wave clinging to the back of my hand. I never hurt the girls or do anything like that. I’m not that kind of person. I just touch their lovely hair, drink it in at my leisure.

That day Madame Alice convinced me to try something else, something new for me.

She had a lovely young Latino girl she said. Excellent thick black hair. Perhaps I would like to go beyond just touching her hair. Perhaps I would like to try something more serious, but that would open up a whole new world of textures, she said.

Madame Alice led me to the room she had set up. The girl was sitting in a barber’s chair, hands and feet tied to the chair. She was dressed in a flimsy dress – meant to be ripped off, I guessed. There were scissors and clippers and combs and a barber’s cape, all ready for me. As we walked into the room, the girl was fidgeting in the chair. She looked nervous. But her hair was magnificent. Shoulder length. Glossy black and thick, with the loveliest subtle wave that made it look like it was moving even when it was still. The girl was dark-skinned, with heavy, well-shaped eyebrows. If they hadn’t been carefully pruned, those black brows might easily have met over her nose.

“Is this OK with her?” I asked Madame Alice, pointing to the girl. Alice looked over at the tied-up girl and nodded. “She’s getting extra from the house. You want to give her an extra nice tip, you do that. She knows what she’s in for. Use the duct tape.” Alice left the room. The girl started fidgeting more, looking at me with that fake seductive look the paid-for girls put on. There was a roll of duct tape on a counter behind the girl. I went over to it. The girl craned her neck to see what I was doing, looking over her shoulder and into the mirror in front of her, and started talking in a heavy accent that didn’t sound Spanish to me. “You want to touch me? C’mon, please touch me. Make me feel good.” Her speech sounded somehow Eastern European to my ear, but you never know.

I ripped off a length of duct tape and placed it gently over the girl’s mouth. Madame Alice was very strict. Pretend struggle was OK, but no loud screaming. That made the neighbors nuts.

With the tape over her mouth, the girl looked really nervous, the whites of her eyes bugging out. I pushed her head forward so the hair fell over her face. Then I buried my hands in it, feeling the thickness and complexity of it, the hidden waves beneath the surface. I put my face in it and smelled it. It had a flowery, cheap scent that I liked. Then I combed through the entire length of the back tresses, using only my fingers as a comb. I loved the length of it and the sensation of it rippling through my hands. I could have done this for hours. But it was time for something new today.

I stepped back from the girl and tied a cape around her neck. She looked down puzzled. Then I picked up a pair of shears from the counter. When the girl saw them, her eyes popped open really wide, and she started shaking her head back and forth. I just thought she had been well-coached. That was the point of the game. She was supposed to be having this done against her will, get it? So I picked up the first long tress and put the scissors close to her head and…snick. I almost hated doing it. No, I did hate doing it. It was a sacrilege. But the cut-off hair was almost as beautiful in my hand as it had been on her head. I picked up a handful of hair next to the sheared spot and cut that off too. I think the girl was crying at that point. She’d stopped shaking her head. I picked up the next section and the next and the next. It took a long time to cut off all that hair with scissors. Finally I was done. The girl had about an inch or so of hair left. I ran my hands through it, picking up stray long hairs in my fingers. It still felt thick and exciting, short as it was. The girl’s shoulders were shaking, but she was quiet. I had a big pile of black hair that I had piled on the counter. As I turned from the girl, I stroked it from top to bottom. It still felt electric under my hand, even severed from the girl’s head.

When the girl heard the clippers start, she jumped. That was when she really started to struggle against the knots that held her down. She threw herself from side to side in the chair and tried to twist out of the handholds. But Madame Alice knows how to tie a knot. Again, believe me, I just thought this was part of the act. You know, a fake struggle. Lots of guys get off on that.

So I stood behind the girl and pressed her head down. It took some effort. She was fighting it all the way. And that did kinda make it exciting. I placed the clipper blades against her hairline at the nape of her neck and pushed them up slowly. Short black hair flew around the sides of the blades and built up on the clipper, finally tumbling onto my hand halfway up her head. There was a short carpet of quarter-inch hair where the clippers had passed through. I liked the contrast between the neat short buzz and the longer, messier, scissor-cropped hair around it. I stopped for a second to touch the crewcut hair with my backs of my fingers. It was stiff and soft at the same time.

I ran the clippers up the back of the girl’s head a second time, widening the mown area and revealing more of her neck. Her scalp barely showed through. I caressed the nape of her neck with my palm. Then the clippers continued working, shaving away all but a u
niform smooth crewcut layer of black hair. As the buzzer shaved away the hair around her right ear, you could hear it as it landed on the cape and then slid down the girl’s front. The sides of her head were butched down quickly. Then I stepped in front of her and placed the clipper blades to her forehead. She tried to keep her head down, but I pushed it back into and over the headrest, so that she was leaning backwards slightly. Then I ran the clippers into the last long hair on her head, and it poured off behind her. I did that row by row, first to her right and then over to the left, reducing that last longer-haired area to the same short crewcut as the rest of her head.

When I was done with the main work, I went back over her head a few more times, evening out any irregular areas. I found that I liked a clean uniform look. Nothing raggedy or uneven. Then I got a different attachment and shaved up her nape freehand, to see if I could taper it nice and neat. I didn’t do a bad job.

The first pass shaved her neck to the skin and then eased up as it glided over the already crewcut hair, creating a nice fade effect. I continued on, thinking I’d gotten the hang of it. Then – oops – the clippers bit too deep and there was a nasty white patch at the back of the girl’s head. I didn’t like that at all. I had to go back and get a shorter attachment than the first and re-shave her entire head. This time I started from front to back, buzzing her down to boot camp length. The super-short path through the already butch-length hair looked funny at first. But as I clippered more and more down, it looked better. And felt better too. I liked the feel of the Marine cut more than the longer crewcut I’d given her first. Though it made her head look barer and more naked, her ears sticking out.

This time I left the nape alone. The taper job I’d done before was good enough, blending into the military-length buzz. I ran my hands over that crewcut head for a long time, front to back, side to side. I used different parts of my hands, back, front fingertips. I liked the stiffness of that crewcut fur and the neatness and the cleanness of the girl’s shorn head, especially around the ears and at the hairline in front. I liked the feel of skin turning into shortest fuzz turning into soft fur as my hand moved upward on her neck. I tossed the cape aside, throwing hair of all lengths all over the floor. There was a carpet of shorter hair underfoot everywhere. Then I untied the girl’s right arm and lifted it. She struggled a little, but I held it in both hands. Her underarm was covered with long dark hair, as though she’d never shaved in her life. I took the clippers and buzzed away the messy nest of hair, razing it down to short thick stubble. Then I did the same on the left side, running my hand over the microscopic hairs left behind, stiff and hard against the girl’s satiny soft skin.

Now here’s the funny part. Frankly, running my hands through the girl’s long hair was the best part of the whole experience. I don’t know. I guess I’m just not a short-hair guy. I kinda wished I could have put all that hair back on the girl’s head and played some of my more usual games with her. So, even though I enjoyed the experience, I realized only long hair did it for me. Oh, well. It was only money. Next time, I’d get back to my roots. So to speak.

Then, as I reached down to untie a leg, the girl pushed me over backwards and ripped the tape off her mouth. She started yelling at me in a strange language that wasn’t Spanish, for sure. She was so loud, Madame Alice appeared in a matter of seconds. She and some other people – I didn’t see who – untied the girl and held her back. She was still screaming and trying to get at Alice and me. Another dark-skinned girl started talking to her in that same strange language, cradling her shorn head on her shoulder and looking daggers at Alice. And at me.

Finally the girl calmed down some. I had picked myself up and was standing aside to talk to Alice. I was pissed at the uproar. I didn’t spend big bucks at places like that for that kind of excitement. As the girl was being led from the room, she came over to me. They were still holding on to her, but she reached out and took my hands in hers. I thought she was being nice, and I tried to apologize, but she cut me off. “So, you like the clippers, eh? Clippers.” And she squeezed my hands. I felt a tingle in my fingers and pulled my hands away from hers. I tried again to tell the girl I was sorry. She obviously hadn’t known what was going to happen to her. I wanted to tell her it wasn’t my fault. I thought she knew what would happen. Really. But I never got the chance.

So I paid Madame Alice and let her know in no uncertain terms how displeased I was. She asked how I liked the haircutting thing, and I told her not as much as I thought I would. Next time – IF there was a next time – I planned to go back to my quieter routine, thank you very much. Long hair only from now on.

After that, I cleaned up and went home. My wife was home when I got there. Marge is usually out shopping or lunching during the day. She’s quite expert at spending money. She’s always looking for more and more of it. She must have had her hair done that day. It looked particularly good, long and lustrous. I went over to her and cupped her head in my hands to give her a hello kiss, slipping my hands into her hair. Then I felt that weird tingle in my hands again. Suddenly, hair was falling all over the place. As I pulled my hands away from the sides of Marge’s head, bunches of her hair clung to my fingers and where my hands had been on her head were just two neat crewcut patches.

“Charles!” she yelled. “What are you doing?”

But I hadn’t done anything. Then she pushed me aside and ran upstairs. From the hair on the floor, it looked like a lot had fallen out or been chopped off or whatever. I thought maybe some process at the hairdresser’s had made her hair extremely brittle. When I went upstairs the bedroom door was locked, and Marge shouted at me to go away. I tried to explain that it wasn’t me, that it must have been something her hairdresser had done, but she wouldn’t listen. So I left. There was no point in staying then.

I went over to Linda’s apartment. Actually, I pay for everything, so it’s really my apartment. But Linda lives there. I take care of her. She makes me feel better. She has lovely curly blonde hair, a little longer than chin length. She was home when I got there, and I went over to kiss her, plunging my hands into her curls. Again that weird tingle and again hair was falling everywhere. Linda screamed and jumped back. “What’s going on? What are you doing to me?” I said I didn’t do anything. It wasn’t my fault.

Linda is made of sterner stuff than Marge. She was younger and had spent some time chasing rock bands and the like. She ran her hands over the buzzed sections of her head and said she liked it. It was kinky, she said. So she got a chair and suggested that we experiment. She sat down in front of me and told me to run my hands through her hair again. She closed her eyes and tilted her head up toward me. So I stood in front of her and buried my hands in her hairline, right at her forehead. Torrents of hair fell between my fingers onto the floor. “Shit!” she said. “Look at that!” At this point, Linda had about half a crewcut. She stood up and looked at herself in a mirror. “Better not stop now,” she said. And she sat back down again. And again I tried to enjoy the feel of her blonde curls, and again the hair peeled away beneath my tingling fingers. Up the back I ran my hand, and Linda had a neatly shaven nape. Over the sides of her head, and hair fell away around her ears. Finally, there was no long hair left at all on her head. It was all over her shoulders and on the floor and in my hands. “Cool,” was all she could say, as she ran her hands over her new crewcut. But I was horrified. What was I going to do? Crewcuts felt good, but not nearly as good as rich long hair in my hands. Now, long hair melted through my fingers as quickly as I
touched it. One brief sensation and then nothing. I couldn’t live this way. It was the girl from Alice’s fault. She did something to me. I had to find that girl. She’d taken my greatest pleasure in life away from me. I had to find her.

I ran from the apartment and went directly to Madame Alice’s. She said the girl was gone. She had no way to reach her. I was angry and still confused. I had to try again, to be sure. I still couldn’t believe what was happening. It had to be a mistake or a coincidence or something. So I asked Madame Alice for my usual room. Fairly quickly, a tall redhead entered, wearing just a bra and panties. I’d been with her before, so she knew the drill. She sat down in front of me and shook her hair forward. As I stepped toward her, I felt my hands start to tingle. It couldn’t be happening again, I thought. This girl was one of my favorites. Would I never be able to touch her hair again? That thought made me wild. And there she sat, brushing out that long beautiful red hair.

So I thought I’d experiment. I made the girl stand up, and I pulled her panties down to her ankles. “Hmmm, something new,” I think she said. She had a small muff of red pubic hair, shaved in at the sides. I stepped behind her, resting my cheek against her shapely right buttock, and caressed her pubic area lightly from between her legs with just my fingertips. Short curly red hair fell to the floor in front of me. “Hey, what’s that? Feels good,” she said. I stroked her again all over and left her with just a very short auburn stubble covering her. “Jesus, what the..?” My right hand was vibrating like a machine as I lifted it away from between her legs. She looked very bare and started feeling around down there with her fingers, wondering how she’d been shaved down to almost nothing, I guess. Then I stood up and just lightly touched a red tress that was hanging down as she examined herself. It fell immediately from my hand. “What the fuck are you doing to me…?” I heard the girl say. Then she started screaming. I guess I reached out to her hair again, maybe to push her away, because a whole curtain of red fell in front of her face, leaving just neat buzzed hair on most of her crown. I ran out into the street.

After that, I don’t remember much. There were a few women on the street I think I recall. Some with beautiful hair that it was just too tantalizing not to touch. I couldn’t stand not to touch it. I had to. I couldn’t lose that part of my life. But I remember just the quick feel of it and then nothing as it dropped away from me. Constantly dropping away, just as I reached for it. And the farther and faster I reached, the faster all that lovely hair fell away from my outstretched hand. Then the police came, I think. Then I was brought here. But you understand now. None of it was my fault. It wasn’t. And you have to help me find that girl. I can’t go through life like this. You have to help me. Help me. Please.

*  *  *  *

“Well, Doctor?” Outside the Observation Room, two white-coated figures spoke quietly together.

“Certainly is a strange psychosis. He really believes his story. No question about that. He’s not faking. And the women?”

“Attacked with scissors in the street. Or some kind of clippers. The hair wasn’t hacked off. It seemed buzzed off from the police photos I saw.”

“No question that we have to keep him here then. I’ll sign the commitment papers. Where’s the wife?”

“Outside waiting.”

Doctor Harris walked into the waiting area. A well-dressed woman with a short crewcut was standing with a fur hanging from her shoulders, arms crossed in front of her.

“Well, Doctor?” she asked.

“We’ll be keeping your husband here for a while, Mrs. Randall. He’s something of a danger to others. His hair obsession may seem harmless, but we can’t have him attacking women in the streets.”

“What’s the prognosis?”

“Too early to tell. His delusion seems pretty well-fixed at this point. We’ll try some different things to help him.”

“Thank you, Doctor. Money is no object. I’m being appointed guardian of his property, so send all the bills to me. I’ll control the purse strings until Charles is better. But please don’t rush with his treatment. I want him well. No matter how long it takes.”

Doctor Harris scratched under her blonde bun with a pencil. “One question, Mrs. Randall. Your husband talked about cutting your hair? And I see your hair is quite short. Did he attack you too?”

Mrs. Randall laughed. “No, Doctor. Charles transferred a large sum of money into my name in exchange for my going to a barbershop and getting a crewcut. He came with me and made me ask for it myself. Actually more than one crewcut. The first wasn’t short enough to suit him. It was quite humiliating at first, but I have few assets of my own, and the sum involved was quite large, so I did it. And I’ve actually grown fond of short hair and now I buzz it myself with barber’s clippers.” The woman ran her hand up the back of her head as she spoke, caressing her short buzzcut nape. “Perhaps that’s what triggered this obsession in Charles to begin with. He’d always liked my hair long. Now it’s shaved off short. I don’t know what else might have made him change in such a short time. But it was his idea.”

Doctor Harris looked at the closely cropped woman. Mrs. Randall seemed to be observing her from the corner of her eyes, gauging her reactions. The rich sure are different, the doctor thought.

“In any event, Mr. Randall will be with us a while. I’ll be doing more tests, and I’ll keep you informed about his condition.”

“Thank you. I’m having all mail forwarded to our Aspen house. I’ll be sure you have the phone number. And doctor…”

“Yes?”

“Again, please take your time with Charles. There’s no rush. If he needs to stay here quite a while, I’ll understand. I know he’s getting the best care. And I suggest that you keep him in that straitjacket when you’re in the same room with him. He’d likely rip that hair right off your head if he got the chance. He’s that violent about hair, you know.”

Doctor Harris patted her hair bun gently as the woman walked out of the room. Very strange, she thought. Walking back toward the Observation Room, she loosened her bun and shook out her long blonde hair – something she rarely did at work.

Doctor Harris pushed a button on a nearby intercom. “Andrew, please bring Mr. Randall back into the Observation Room. I’d like to talk to him again. And this time, no straitjacket please.”

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