It was one of those rarely warm San Francisco summer evenings— for once the fog had stayed away, and the sun had warmed the avenues and the Haight. I watched it going down westward from the Park... no, not Golden Gate, the other one at Buena Vista peak. With me was Mimph and Puzzle. We had shared out our last wine and Mimph told me he still had some weed back at his place, down the street. He offered to take me over there and show me and smoke me out while he was at it.
Puzzle had a few sheets in his pockets and he couldn’t sell them the night before, so he tore off a good chunk and gave each of us three hits. I had no idea if I was going to take it tonight or not, but I decided not to, and left them in my pocket. Him and Mimph scarfed them up though, and Mimph declared he really was thirsty now, even after the wine he’d like a coffee.
So we trundled ourselves down the hill to the Street, and made our way along, feeling a little giddy and tipsy but surely higher than most of the folks down there.
Those folks looked out at us with commuter eyes as they passed us riding the buses down the hill, and probably thought we were up to nobody’s good.
No, up to nobody’s good, but nobody’s bad, either, just some freaks walking down the street. We passed up the stores along the way, the little cafe-bar-restaurants that had sprung up over summer and shown us up for the change in our pockets had been scrounged and our clothing was half grubbed out of the free boxes that also sprouted, mushroom like, along the side streets.
Mimph’s place was inside a little thrift store that one upon a time had another life as a produce market, a bank, a used clothing store, but as a thrift shop now took in any old rags people wanted to let go of for a small song. It might get you enough for your next meal to trade in a coat or pair of trousers, you never really knew. It seemed like half the folks on the street met the world each day in clothes that had originally began as somebody else’s.
Mimph had a sweet deal there. The owners had let him take over the upper floor, a balcony-like feature that while open to the room still afforded him privacy behind some hanging velvet curtains he had thrown up. Behind the curtains up a stairway, and you were in Mimph’s lair. I guess lair might be a good word to call it. There were three twin bed mattresses thrown down, and mercifully each had a fair allotment of thick wool blankets, so nobody that ever crashed at Mimph's could complain of being cold, not at least in the summer. He had space heaters, a small hotplate, a Chinese tea crate that held his supplies (mostly rice, flour, oil, and a skillet and coffee maker.) It was that coffeemaker we were headed for.
“Get yourself a reefer out of this, Muggles,” he said, handing me a large shoe box which was full of a fair bit of grass. Stems and seeds had made their way to one side of it, the other was a heap of scrub that wasn’t bud and wasn’t trash- some folks might call it “trim” but it did the job. I settled back on one of the mattresses with it, sitting on my knees, an I fished out some papers from my wallet, and threw a j together.
All this time I am thinking about what the chances are this night I might meet some good looking chick or something. I’ve been up on the street a week and a half now, and have seen a few I like, but haven’t had a lot of luck beyond just a cup of coffee at the Piano. I have been hanging out with Mimph and Puzzle because it’s actually been pretty cool to find folks that are pretty much just like me, but they’re guys, and, guys just get boring on me after a while. I figure you might get bored too hanging out tripping and toking with the same folks for a week or more yourself. Well, that was just where I was at.
I had dough in the bank to set another couple weeks at least before I needed to look for work so for now it was a lot like being a tourist except for the sleeping bag part of it. My sleeping bag had seen me through a good seven thousand miles or more, from California to Colorado to Iowa and back twice, and my backpack though worn, held everything I felt I needed except a record player and a guitar. How I lost my guitar I still really can’t explain but I had enough in the bank that I could get one pretty quick again.
If I chose to spend that money on it. I might too, I don’t know.
But I got the joint rolled and passed it to puzzle to light as Mimph kept fidgeting with his coffee maker. Finally he had it just right and you could hear it perking. The j went to Mimph and he took one of his trademarked “big wide” tokes and handed it back to us. It was nearly half gone! That was just Mimph and the way he did things. “You can roll another one if you aren’t getting high enough,” he told me.
So I rolled another one, and wished I could roll one just to pocket, but that would not have been cool, and I was a guest there.
The curtains on the ceiling too were something special as I looked up and noticed them. they must have come from Goa because there was a particular design I remember seeing when I was there four years before- it was banana trees and milkmaids all in a repeated pattern. I laughed just to think of it.
Mimph poured us all coffee, and we sat on the mattresses while he started telling us about something he had read, that actually seemed esoteric but had to have been a little Gnostic in the world we were living in.
“The Greeks took acid, man! The Elysian Mysteries were founded on ergot drinks! Did you know that? It’s all here in this book!” Mimph tossed me a small book and I guess it was Hofmann and Wasser's treatise. I wondered how many people actually knew about this?
“Our entire Western civilization and it’s based on people getting high! What do you think about that? Why our government won’t even let us partake of it, and the whole edifice is kept from falling apart by being based on the truth being forbidden! That is completely bogus, man!”
Mimph was cool to have turned me onto that book, and I would look for a copy of my own when I got out the trip I was on then. But we were hanging out and like I said, I was getting a little antsy to get a woman and put something else together than this running around with him and Puzzle.
We smoked that second j, and then Mimph tells us “Hey, lets go up on the roof!”
Another stairway led to the roof, and up there there were clotheslines, a short parapet that kept things a bit apart from the neighboring store roofs. Most of them were pretty different heights, so it was a bit like being on an island in the middle of the city, being up there. There was a fire escape, or from where I was standing, it looked like one. Mimph walked over that way.
And that was about the last thing I remember for sane times, because Mimph walked in the direction of the fire escape, and as I turned to look toward the now pink sunset, Mimph went over the edge.
Puzzle and I just looked at each other.
“What the h—?”
We ran to the edge of the roof and looked over. What we had thought was a fire escape was actually something a lot like a diving board, and Mimph had probably done a swan dive! But as we looked down to the street below- the back street that was the boundary of the store- we didn’t see him. Probably the dark was getting on, but we did not see Mimph.
Well, now our whole reason for being in the store was gone, so Puzzle and I decided “we’d better get out of here, man!” and we made our way down the stairs into Mimph’s pad. I turned off his coffeemaker, pinched a little of his grass for later (he probably really wouldn’t mind, I’d decided) and with my three hits of acid in my pocket, I had (at least) a means of buying somebody a drink or two before the end of the night. So we split.
On the street, Puzzle and I split up. I wanted to check things out as they were going to pan out , and Puzzle maybe had had enough of me in the last couple weeks as well. So I just nodded to him “See ya later” and headed west towards Golden Gate Park. Maybe there would still be some folks up on Hippie Hill and there I could sleep, at least, if I needed to, some ways back beyond it, in one of those other eucalyptus groves. Whatever.
There were people there, actually, when I got there, happily. It was about fifteen folks and they were pretty sauced and half of them would be sleeping there themselves that night. And by some luck, half of them were girls, too! I was happy to find one of them had a guitar, and I sat and played for them a while. Really this living without a guitar was not the way to go. I decided that tomorrow, I’d go the music store an spring for one. But the girl who owned the guitar really dug what I played so she warmed up to me.
Her name was Gloria and she was down here from Bend Oregon. I knew that place only a little, had been stuck there for six hours on my way down from Portland once. But this girl had a wide, fine, happy smile, she had zongas like plantains and legs almost like an ostrich, although that was just my funny riffing on being high and short first impression.
The sun had gone down completely by now so she and I walked up back to Haight Street together. On the corner at Clayton she ran into a group of friends, and they invited her (and me too) to a party.
I was really kind of shocked when it turned out to be at Mimph’s place, only down below, on the floor of the thrift shop! After hours they had locked the doors and were only letting people in who knew their “secret password” and the party was held in a room behind all the clothes, still on the first level. I could not help but wonder if Mimph was the noises I heard up above me. but I was way too interested in Gloria and getting it on with her than in finding out.
The people in that little back room were about my age, I suppose a couple of them were a few years older. There were one or two who looked like hardcore Haight Street types, like they had been there a year or two at least, to go on, and maybe one of them was part owner of the store, or something. He was friendly enough, but by the look in Gloria’s eye I had the not-so-faint notion that she’d be into balling me sometime soon. Like, it was a pretty good prospect and possibility.
So in order to more or less initiate something I borrowed back her guitar an played them a few songs. If they didn’t recognize them that was because they were the ones I wrote! But Gloria liked them.
“Where do you live?” she asked me.
“The street, pretty much, for now. Don’t have a place yet.”
She looked a little own like she might have preferred getting taken to some bitchen pad, but, I haven’t even been here yet long enough to have a life, and bitchen pad it not yet in the picture. So I left with her and we went up to hers. Her place was around the corner, wouldn’t you now, on the same side street Mimph disappeared over.
She let me up the stairs and let me into her kitchen. She was sharing the place, of course, but her roommate wasn’t in after all and the place was relatively well furnished, if I compared it to the little landing that was Mimph’s place or any of the other places I had crashed at the last couple weeks. The kitchen had a number of different sized pots hanging on the wall, a solid wood cutting board, and shelves behind glass that held cups, plates, saucers on one side of a sink and food of various sorts behind the same type of shelves on the other. The kitchen had some interesting blue and green tiles above the sink as well. It was a pleasant little space. She had a little radio and turned it on to one of the local channels, they were playing some old stuff, but I don’t remember much what it really was. Mostly I remember her because she’s a great memory!
I broke out the little bit of pot I pinched from Mimph’s stash and set it on the table. I was able to get two medium-sized j’s rolled out of it, and we lit one up. Thank god she smoked like a normal person, (not like Mimph!) and we were able to stretch that j out a good five minutes or more, and by the time we were both high there was still a sizable roach left. And she came near me and began wrapping her arms around me as I was sitting there, and soon it was, she was kissing me, and led me into her room itself. When we had smoked the weed I remembered I had the acid still so I gave her a hit, which she ate right then. Not wishing to harsh the experience at all for her, I dropped one of the other two and kept the last one in my wallet.
And so we were getting into it, she sitting on my lap and me kissing her. Soon I was fondling her ample zongas, surely they would be a sight for sore eyes if I got that chance. And I would. Because once the acid began coming on, she soon peeled off her clothes and indicated I should do the same.
Naked we were on the bed together, just holding each other. There was no need to hurry or rush anything. She got up and went to the other room for a while and came back to tell me she had called out for Chinese food- just some chow mein and fried rice, but there would be enough for us both.
“I haven’t eaten all day and don’t feel like cooking,” she said.
Now with the acid coming on I was looking around her room. There were shelves of books on the wall- a lot of poetry by people I had never heard of, modern day one-offs, as well as a lot of philosophy and gardening books She seemed to not really need much. There were records, and a small portable record player (mono) with a little speaker and she put on Ravi Shankar while we waited for the food to show up.
When it came she threw on a bathrobe and collected it at the front door and paid off the delivery guy. Now I was more than hungry not only for the food, but for her!
There is a place in every trip where you almost feel like you are on the verge of a real insight about your life. This time for me it came while we were sitting on the bed naked sharing the chow mein right out of the paper takeaway boxes. And the insight I had was that somehow I knew I had been through all this before with her. Was she a soul mate? Well that wasn’t as clear though as the distinct déjà vu, of eating this meal with this other person, maybe it was back in old New England, or England itself, or Holland, or somewhere.
When we had glutted ourselves then she seriously went down on me and things went from there to me reciprocating, and then we did it together, and the experience of being totally clear yet fully ripped on acid while we were sexing it was another one of those “only once in a lifetime” kinds of things.
She was great! She knew exactly how to move how to squeeze, how to lean off just at the point of almost-there, and take it back down and build it back up. I was surprised when the next time I checked her little clock that four hours had gone by and we still had not taken it to the conclusion. But that realization put the tiger in my tank and I got her real wet again and then it happened- the final orgasm was a lot like a rain cloud opening over the fields, and when I was spent she was as well. There was not much need for saying anything other than “That was fantastic!”
And we slumbered after tripping another three hours or so, talking about all kids of things—then until dawn when she got me into doing it all over again then at eight she was out of bed, had a shower, got me one and we did it once more (for good measure) and she was off, herself, on what she said was an appointment, and I was out the door as well.
When I hit the street of course I was coming down by then and the fog had finally come in and socked everything over, so thick you could not see more than about twenty feet ahead of you. As I came down the street I noticed there were all kinds of cop cars and a hospital wagon pulled up behind the thrift store. I kept walking, turned the corner, and in a second I was back on Haight. There was Puzzle, hanging out in front of the Piano.
“What happened to Mimph?” he asked me.
“I just don’t know,” I said, burying my hands in my pockets and we scooted down the street looking for more people to buy hits off his sheets.