The acid days
But before Fred was Randy and the first frozen yogurt store. Randy and I laughed and played well together, so naturally we partied together after work. One time we tripped all night on Hollywood Boulevard. We rode a bus there from work in Century City, swallowing the tiny tabs on the way, but then got separated after de-busing. I don’t recall much of the night other than walking up and down a strip between Hollywood and Vine and the three blocks north and south from Vine, back and forth, stopping each time I came to the open doors to this plush hotel with a sprawling carpet of captivating geometric design, loud and colorful squares and diamonds in endless interchange and contiguity, looming hugely before me in my psychedelic state so as to paralyze my feet and mind into staring just long enough to prick my consciousness that I was being obvious. It seems that I was often in that state throughout my youth: trying to maintain some semblance of normalcy, working hard to blend into the safety of anonymity, working my incognito frame of drug or fantasy addled mind behind a shield of placid indifference that an indecipherably bland, disinterested face shows in the ordinary wading through human streams of passing feet, chests and faces.
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.