In the gaze of the other

"My mistress' eyes are nothing…"

PCP, Guitars and Heather

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At Venice Beach, I met the strolling acoustic guitar players, Steve Gibson and his accompaniment Kenny, who called sneakers tenny runners. They sang Dead songs and other tunes I knew, mostly soft folk songs I enjoyed while stoned, The Beatles’ Norwegian Wood and Loggins and Messina baby songs. I followed those two every weekend and ended up naked with Steve on some grass strip embankment edging a public park. Steve, blonde haired curly lead, was the heart throb, but my fondest memory of the two belongs to Tennyrunner Kenny. I somehow found myself in a bathtub naked with Kenny, the shorter, straight haired less confident but sweeter one. He was always high on whites and shaking a bit, shaky handed, but we had the most pleasant bath, I remember, giggling and playing footsie. So sweet and filled with I-don’t-dare-but-I-really-want-to tension teasing the vaporous heat emitted from the bath water. Those two moved on pretty quickly in my life and memory. 

And then there was the day I met Heather on the beach and smoked a joint with Heads she had just met. I showed up late to the gathering and did not know anyone. The joint I learned too late was laced with Angel Dust, and I recall liking neither the lack of warning nor the distortion it produced, as if I were seeing through the wrong end of binoculars. The warped vision disturbed me; I had a hard time maintaining my composure. That may have been the last time I saw Heather. She disappeared. Presumed dead. Thirty-eight years later theories still circulate about murder, escape, serial killers and marriage.

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