A beach scene from Hippies
Summary of novel: In this Age of Aquarius epic, a group of hippies moving through the sights, sounds, and ideals of the 1960s counterculture discover an LSD-spinoff that triggers past life regressions and leads to a dramatic climax.
x x x
As Ziggy ambled naked toward the water, Jazmine thought there was a hint of Apollo in his stride. “But a little skinny,” she added in her mental narrative, smiling to herself, as she watched Ziggy plunge. She’d never had a guy best friend till Ziggy, someone she could love with all the doors and windows open. But not sexually. Maybe that was her problem. She had to separate sex and love, as if love were pure and sex were dirty. Like she was defending something inside but she didn’t know what it was that was being defended.
“You look hot!”
Jazmine started out of her reverie to see a lanky teen boy with black frame glasses hanging over her.
“Thanks.” The teen boy could see she was nervous.
“No, I mean sweating hot. I’m not hitting on you, I swear.” He grinned. “We got some beers over by the Plymouth.”
Zig was walking up, squeezing water out of his long hair.
“Hey, man,” said the kid, “I was telling your old lady we have some beers over by the Plymouth.”
“Thanks. We’re good.”
“Y’all hear about the cops out here yesterday?”
“Never seen the cops out here before,” said Zig. Jaz kept sunbathing in her own mental space, trying to put closure on her thoughts.
“Yeah, cops took my friend’s weed and sent him packing.”
Zig commiserated: “Shame, man. Cops getting into everything.”
“Hey, I know you,” said the kid. He scratched his big toe in the sand, as if he were trying to draw a secret symbol. Then he looked up and straight at Ziggy.
“I know where I seen y’all before. Y’all part of Ragman’s army,” he said, grinning a little more cautiously.
Ziggy laughed. “If we’re the army, I feel sorry for whoever we’re defending.”
“Don’t laugh, man,” said the kid. Weird, Ziggy thought. That’s the second time somebody told him that today.
“Be careful around Rag,” continued the kid.
“Rag’s cool,” said Zig. The kid had touched on a point he felt strongly about. “Rag’s the coolest guy I ever met.” The kid fidgeted.
“Ever,” Zig repeated, letting the kid know that this was not negotiable.
“I know, man,” said the kid. “But be careful.” Now he was nervous, whispery. He looked over at a small group standing across the beach by a palm tree.
“That’s the problem,” he hissed, under his breath. “Ragman’s the one thing the cops can’t stand. An idealist in the drug scene. You think they give a shit about speed and heroin dealers? Shit, the cops are dealing half the drugs in this town. And cocaine and downers? The Man loves that shit. Speed to keep people working; downers to keep’m tame. What the cops hate is LSD. And maybe pot. And kids with the vision to change things. Fuck things up. And it ain’t only the cops.”
The more the kid hissed and whispered, the more Zig became intrigued.
“What do you mean, it ain’t only the cops?” Zig asked.
“Those fucking dealers coming in with the heroin and the coke. They just want money and zombies. They’d get rid of Ragman faster than the cops. Yeah, they got their fucking ways too.” He rolled his foot along the sand, smoothing over forever whatever imaginary symbol he had started. “Their own fucking ways, man.”
“Why are you telling us this?” asked Zig.
“I don’t know. I like Ragman. I admire the guy. And your chick there looks cool.” He thought for a second. Someone from the group by the palm tree gestured to the kid. “And because I’m a fucking idiot,” the kid said, and he walked briskly off.
x x x
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