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ice cream cliffs
an element of fear
two plums and a pair of chopsticks
a trip to mosquito town
hot cold chinese coasters
a dance in the river
a watercolor wordbook
trees reclaim the cabin window
a sudden smell of sage
miracle birth at the witching hour
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Gary Gautier is interviewed by Fiona McVie at Authors’ Interviews.
The passage below captures a quiet moment early in the novel (circa 1969) for our hippies (click images for links).
(4.4 out of 5 stars in 19 Amazon reviews so far)
“That’s really good,” said Pepper, and she looked back up at the sky.
The others ate in silence, enjoying the crickets, the bird chatter of dusk, and the occasional sound of a VW bug torqueing around the potholes on St. Roch Street. Ragman bussed the plates and refilled the wine.
“That’s why I never did LSD after that first time with Gina and Tex,” Pepper continued, as if there were no pause. “It was cool at first but then the long agony of coming down. I remember driving across the 24-mile bridge at night and seeing monsters coming out of the water with each turn of the waves, over and over in a hellish rhythm. And then I felt all the organs inside my body splitting open. I could see them and feel them tearing. Fuck that.”
Rag was lighting two tiki torches at the ends of the table.
“What the hell were you doing driving while tripping?” he asked.
“I wasn’t driving. Tex was.”
“Oh, that makes it all better,” joked Zig. “TEX was driving while tripping.” They chuckled at the reckless absurdity of it all, knowing that at least this time all turned out safe.
“But listen,” Jazmine said, thinking now of the tan acid from Ragman’s hideaway closet lab. “You could even do this stuff, Pepper. There is no long, dark coming down part.”
Rag fired up a joint. The match momentarily lit up his face. The hazel eyes gleamed, the cheekbones more prominent as they tapered down to the point of the light brown beard. He looked for a moment like one of the plastic devil heads that come from claw machines. He inhaled hard on the joint and then passed it to Zig, who sat on the bench next to him across from Pepper and Jaz. As Rag momentarily held the pot in his lungs, Jazmine could see a note of concentration in his face.
“What are you thinking, Rag?” she asked quietly.
Rag was equally quiet as he spoke: “This shit could change everything.”
Zig took his hit and passed the joint to Jazmine. The earthy sweet smell of marijuana mixed with the citronella fuel of the tiki torches and wrapped the four faces at the table into their own world. Jazmine, with her dark eyes and ivory glow, fiery Pepper with the ice blue eyes, Zig with his rectangular face framed by long curling black locks, and Ragman: faces close together, dimly lit against the darkening sky, all feeling the wrap and pull of pot-forged kinship, but the attention was on Ragman.
“You ever heard of William Blake?” Jaz suddenly asked. “Songs of Innocence, Songs of Experience, the visionary poems?”
“I like the concept,” Rag said.
“I like the images,” Jaz smiled.
“I like the conversation,” Ziggy threw in roguishly.
“Well, kumbaya, motherfuckers, I’d like a hit off that joint,” said Pepper, breaking more fully the gravity of the scene. Now everything was light again. The focus on Ragman had shifted.
Second release, new cover
Click image to get your copy! Post a brief Amazon review when you finish!
Set in New Orleans, three kids poking through an abandoned house awaken ghosts of racism and betrayal, and join up with some quirky old characters to save the neighborhood from its own past.
Award-winning writer Gary Gautier has published a number of books for adults and kids. A screenplay adaptation of Mr. Robert’s Bones was selected to the second round (top 10%) at the Austin Film Festival. This family-friendly novel is good for ages 15-99.
SAMPLE PAGE FROM MR. ROBERT’S BONES BELOW
The three kids moved slowly into Mr. Jimmy’s dimly lit house. The two steel-hooped barrels sat fat, glum, solid as ever, like surly guardians in the dismal light, but with the incongruous festivity of tiny gadgets and figurines on their heads. The dark painting hung in its place, but the broad strokes of purplish-blue waves seemed oddly different, as if they had moved a few paces toward edge of the canvas. The bedroom, dining room, kitchen along the shotgun path of the house were otherwise just as they had seen last time, as if no one had lived there in the interim. Instead of conducting them to the back porch, Mr. Jimmy sat them in the kitchen this time, at one of the interchangeable thrift store tables that seemed to sprout up in various rooms and porches of this fantastic setting. Mr. Jimmy had apparently been engaged at the table a short time ago. A photo album, some loose photos, and reading glasses lay on the scored and pock-marked wooden surface. Mr. Jimmy put the reading glasses on and eyed a photo for the album, like the kids weren’t there. But then he spoke.
“You know the silver in Mr. Robert’s house?” faltered Melissa.
“I told you about it, didn’t I?”
“Well, we kinda been looking around for it.”
“I know you been looking. Well quit looking.”
Mr. Jimmy put a photo into the album and eyed another. Even Melissa remained daunted at his demeanor.
“Some people,” continued Mr. Jimmy, “knows more than you kids about that house. Some people knows more than he’s saying right now. That silver is tainted. Cursed. Blood money. Touched by the devil’s own hand. You understand what I’m saying?”
The speaker paused and let the question float. Then a heaviness descended on his countenance. With a delicate movement he took off his glasses and looked up. He stared at, or through, the kids with a fixed intensity that pushed a chill up their spines.
“’Cause this is the last time I’m saying it.”
The kids hesitated, immobilized by dread but eager to forge on. Mr. Jimmy put his glasses back on and installed another photo.
“There’s more, Mr. Jimmy,” Melissa said.
Mr. Jimmy continued to fiddle with the album.
“Well, what more?”
Manifesto of a Bum on Chartres
for Allen Ginsberg
I am a ship channel with
I am a tree with
many branches and still
The wine-press knoweth
not the grape
I am under erasure saith
the reptile critic
I too am of reptilian descent
I am a Blakean hero
I drink the world’s guilt
and express it as energy
Allen Ginsberg’s twenty-seven cents
I am nothing
Lucifer stretching his wings
before the fall
I am pharmakos
I drink the world’s energy
and express it as guilt
I am the world’s cipher
I consort with the dead
and amuse the living
posture, breath, eyes, teeth
I speak in many voices
the sublime and the abject
none of which
are to be
(Pieces of this poem appeared in Solid Quarter, Issue 3.)
Hippies is FREE this week on Amazon (Kindle). Get your copy now. Or if you have a copy, gift a copy or two to friends. Just tell them to be polite and write a brief and honest Amazon review in return for the freebie 🙂
Click the cover below to link through. (Read some excerpts below that.)
(Note: Paperback, unlike e-book, isn’t free but is 20% off at $10.89.)