Melanie Browne's Alice was thirsty.

Tim couldn't remember the first time he saw her severed head. He thought he was hallucinating. He'd been working long hours at the Opera. He made a phone call to his internist, who recommended an extended break from rehearsals, and prescribed various pills for nerves. Tim did as he was told. None of that worked. He continued to see Alice’s severed head.

He could tell she was thirsty by the way she licked her cracked mouth. He brought her a glass of water and held it to her mouth. She drank as if she had never had drunk a drop in her life. She moaned and stared at him with lifeless eyes. Tim hid her head in a pantry cabinet, behind the almond flour and rice crispies, and tried to focus on something else. He listened to hypnosis tapes on stress reduction. He lay on the floor with arms and legs spread out and breathed in and out slowly. He heard Alice start to moan again.

He stood in front of the cabinet and opened it. He could see one eye peeking out between the almond flour and the iodized salt. The eye seemed to be pleading with him, begging him to carry her head around with him, as he had done last week. She had asked him to let her watch Late Night with David Letterman. She smiled and asked for a snack, so he gave her a bite of cheese. He set her down on the coffee table, but she started to wail and demand that he pick her up. He had done as she wished. Tim carried Alice around all night long like she were a baby—she even liked being rocked. The next morning he was extremely tired and called his friend Brent, and asked him to come over and shoot some pool as he needed the distraction.

Upon arriving, “Tim, you look awful,” Brent said.

“Gee, thanks.”

“No, I mean it; you look like you saw a ghost or something.”

Tim almost told Brent the truth, but something kept him quiet.

Though what Tim didn’t know was, that when Brent had gone to the bathroom, to splash cold water on his face, he'd heard a strange noise in the kitchen and had gone in to investigate it. He hadn't found anything, so “You seriously need to call the exterminator,” he told Tim. “There’s something in your cabinets making an atrocious sound. It’s all those Nutter Butter cookie crumbs, gross.”

Tim’s face went white, and he coughed so hard he thought he might have broken a rib.

“Let’s get out of here and get something to eat,” said Tim.

After Brent went home, Tim retrieved Alice from the cabinet and played her some Mozart, followed by the Clash and then the Who. He finished with her favorite band, the Stones. She liked music and would hum along and close her eyes while listening.

Alice had a dream, and one night she told Tim about it: she was determined to meet Keith Richards, from the Stones.

Alice was very persuasive and eventually softened Tim's strong resolve never to take her out in public. She told him about all the grey areas in life, about the cruelties of nature; all of her arguments seemed strong and reasonable. It would be expensive. Tickets to Rolling Stone concerts were not cheap, then there was parking, and finding a backstage pass. As it was, financially speaking, he could barely keep his head above water, but Tim gradually came around to seeing things the way Alice saw them. They were becoming one mind.

The night of the concert, Tim bought a corsage for Alice. But he pinned it in her hair because of the lacking a body thing. He had to pin her backstage pass to her hair as well. He used up a lot of bobby pins and she was beginning to look ridiculous. Alice did her best to look beautiful and used a lot of makeup to bring out her lifeless hazel eyes. Tim was strangely proud to be taking Alice out and helping to make her dream come true.

“Alice, you look lovely,” Tim said.

Alice smiled. She looked nice when she smiled.

They took a limo to the Amphitheater; Tim had to hide Alice’s head in a big bag that said “Rock Island Light and Power,” and had to act as if he were not nervous, which wasn't easy.

Backstage, Tim walked to an area with large crowds and picnic tables. He could see Mick and Keith eating sandwiches and laughing and talking with a group of people. Keith was nodding in agreement with something that was being said, and laughing. Tim began to realize that if he took Alice’s head out of the bag then someone would call security and he might go to jail for the rest of his life. He didn’t know what to do. At the last minute, he decided in favor of it. Tim took a deep breath and walked towards Keith. He gently took Alice’s head out of the bag.

He held Alice up in front of Keith and Keith stared at Alice and then at Tim, weighing each one with his eyes, and then, much to Alice’s delight, took the still-burning cigarette out of his mouth and put it up to Alice’s. She laughed and took a drag, then exhaled skyward.

“I love a woman with a good head on her shoulders,” Keith said, and then realizing that Alice had no shoulders, added, “Well, a good head anyway.”

“Keith,” said Tim, “this is Alice. Alice, this is Keith.”

“So very lovely to meet you Alice.”

Alice giggled.

“Alice,” Keith said, “how would you like a front row seat to the show?”

Alice nodded and Tim watched in amazement as Keith set Alice’s still bleeding severed head on the neck of his guitar, and walked onto the stage of the Amphitheater. The crowd, thinking it was a prop, went wild with enthusiasm. They very nearly lost their heads with excitement. Tim stood backstage, his eyes wild with amazement, his mouth open in shock.

The guitar began to wail and Tim could see Alice smiling and enjoying every minute of it. And he was filled with joy to be able to make her dream come true.

After the show, Tim lost track of Alice. He was swept away by the exiting crowds and found no way to get back to her. He never again saw the severed head, but hoped she had an exciting new life.

Melanie Browne is a writer that lives in Texas, a big state with lots of white trucks and bluebonnets. She has never owned a white truck, and never plans on it. If you are taking pictures in a field of bluebonnets, don't get too close to the highway. Mel knew a guy who was taking pictures of his family in a field of bluebonnets and got hit by a semi and now his face looks like a Picasso. Don't feel too sorry for him though, he can still eat a heaping giant plate of Bar B Q and a truckload of potato salad. You can find Mel's writing slung all over the internet like hash-browns at I-Hop, Places like Pulp Metal Magazine and Mad Swirl, and other places that you need to look through a peep hole to see.