Jumat, 24 Februari 2012
Sleeping With The redwoods
NAKED IN THE REDWOODS by Peter Nolan SmithThe noon sun shimmered off Monterey harbor. The moored sailing boats bobbed with the light breeze and hundreds of pleasure craft wavered on the wake of a departing fishing boat. A middle-aged man took a photo of his wife before a large trawler tied up to a forlorn dock, while I walked toward Cannery Row. This waterfront had been immortalized by two of John Steinbeck’s Great Depression novels. Overfishing of the sardines had wiped out the jobs and the doors along Ocean View Avenue had been nailed shut by their owners. The hotels and bars catering to the fishing fleet had been razed to provide parking for the tourist trade and the only sign of life on Cannery Row were two cats fighting over a mangled fish carcass.I wandered away from the forlorn harbor toward the Presideo. Two young soldiers guarded the entrance to the old fort. The Viet-Nam War was coming to a close and the hippie era had ended in the Haight. We nodded to each other in acknowledgement of the new era of peace. 1974 was not 1967.I adjusted my sleeping and canvas bags on my shoulder and crossed the wooded peninsula in the direction of the sea.Upon reaching the dunes of Del Monte Beach I stood transfixed by the perfection of the tubed waves rising from the deep. A dozen surfers in wet suits rode the thick green swells to shore like gods from Atlantis. California was Beach Boy country.The broad slope of sand was dotted by sunbathers and mothers surveilling their children in the shallows. I stuffed my leather jacket in the canvas bag and kicked off my heavy Fyre boots. A little over a week ago I had swam in the Atlantic and today I walked barefoot to the Pacific Ocean. Clear ripples eddied around my feet. The cold sand swirled over my toes. My arms stretched wide to catch the wind and the June sun tasted my skin. I fought the urge to strip off my clothes. Becoming one with the four elements was better saved for a more secluded spot down the coast and I retreated to the dunes. Sitting on a charred log I brushed off the sand and tugged on my boots. My good friend AK and I had split in Lodi four days ago. The piano player was waiting for me down in Encinitas. At the speed I was traveling, San Diego was more than a month away. I picked up my bags and resumed my trek around the Monterey Peninsula.Every winter until 1966 ABC Wide World Of Sports had aired the Bing Crosby Golf tournament at Pebble Beach and I stopped for a few minutes to observe a foursome of golfers approaching a tee. The first three landed their shots on the fairway. The last one sliced his drive right and the ball pocked a tree not far from me. The brightly-attired duffer shouted out an apology and I waved to indicate that he hadn’t come close. 17 Mile Drive wasn’t a good place to hitchhike and I trudged into Carmel a little past 1. A rustic Mexican cantina was selling tacos and I ate two at the bar. I could have easily put down a third. I paid the bill with the $20 that Maya had given me this morning and tipped the waitress a dollar. The dark-skinned girl couldn’t have been happier and wished, “Via con dios.”“Muchos gracias.” That and ‘une otra cereza’ were the extant of my Spanish.Reaching the Pacific Coast Highway I dropped my bags on the ground. The Frye boots had taken their toll on my feet. I was done with walking and stuck out my thumb. The shoulder offered little shade and the sun toasted my pale eastern skin. Most of the passing cars were big gas guzzlers from Detroit. The women behind the wheel fearfully avoided any eye contact and the men scowled a threat. Something bad was happening on this stretch of the coast and it wasn’t simply the recession.I toyed with heading north to Santa Cruz and Maya. Returning to her house in the redwoods was not really an option. Boyfriends hated weekend lovers. Ten minutes later a VW bug braked to a stop. The driver was a long-haired hippie. I threw my bags in the back and sat inside.“Thanks for the ride.” The radio was tuned to a station playing Quicksilver’s SHADY GROVE.“How long were you there?” The driver pushed red sunglasses back on his nose and then shifted through the gears to fourth. “About an hour. People looked at me funny.” I stared out the window and the Pacific Coast Highway grew in legend with the passing of each curve.“They have to be careful who they give a ride.” The VW cruised at 50. The van reeked of weed. Any stop by a cop was a ‘go straight to jail’ card. “You won’t read about it in the newspaper, but a killer is working the PCH. People go missing all the time.” “You don’t mean the Zodiac Killer?” This maniac had murdered at least five young people in Bay Area. The police had no leads.“No, he stopped in 1970. This killer is targeting women. The police don’t tell anyone, because they don’t want us to panic.”“Or hurt business.” Panic was a bad thing in a recession. “Aren’t you scared about picking up hitchhikers?”“No, but I’m careful about who I pick up.” His sunglasses slid down his nose, as he glanced at me. “You look harmless, plus the biggest danger to you are thieves robbing hitchhikers.”“A gang tried to rob me in Frisco. I was lucky to get away.” I said nothing about knocking out one of the gang. Violence wasn’t a good selling point to someone giving you a ride.“San Francisco isn’t the City of Love anymore, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop the love.” The driver flashed me the ‘power to the people’ fist and turned up the radio. KSAN segued to the Airplane’s VOLUNTEERS we sang the chorus in harmony. The revolution was not over, then again neither were the days of helter skelter.The hippie left Route 1 at a dirt road leading into the coastal highlands. He didn’t say where he was going and I didn’t ask.The next ride was from a well-dressed man in a Chrystler Imperial. His dark suit was crisply pressed for business. Every fifteen seconds he glanced at my crotch. The wedding ring on his left finger didn’t mean much. He was cruising the PCH for adventure.“I’m heading inland at Notley’s Landing. You should come see my cabin. It’s surrounded by redwoods, plus my wife could use the company, if you know what I mean.” Even straight America had succumbed to the siren call of the Sexual Revolution.“I get the picture.” The driver looked too much like my father and I feared that his wife was a dead ringer for my mother. Swinging wasn’t my scene. “Tough going from here to Big Sur. Not many cars and there’s a killer on the loose.”“So I heard.” America was awash with murder from coast to coast. The violence of a decade-long war had come to the home front. “I could drive you to San Simeon tomorrow.” He wasn’t giving up so easy and tapped his pocket. “I could make it worth your while.”“No thanks.” I didn’t need his money that bad. “But if you see me tomorrow, I’ll be grateful for that ride.” Ten minutes later he dropped me at Notley’s Landing. It wasn’t even a town and the banker hadn’t been kidding about the traffic on the PCH. Salesmen and businessmen sped past me without braking. Grim cowboys glared from dented pick-ups and battered hippie vans rolled past one after the other. A killer was on the loose and paranoia swam in the drivers’ eyes. I walked several miles down the road. The scenery was worth the blisters on my feet.I crossed the Bixby Creek Bridge. Arid pastures ended at sheer cliffs tumbling to a desolate beach below the concrete span. Waves thundered on the sand. I searched for a foot path. There was none and I stopped on the other side of the bridge, content to be part of the scenery for the rest of time.Several minutes later a small truck loaded with hay stopped before a curve. The local farmer offered a short ride to Los Burros Road. His cheek was filled with tobacco chaw and rusty brown splotches stained his flannel shirt.“Thanks for stopping. Everyone else seems to think I was a murderer.” I sat down in the passenger seat with my hands in sight.“You don’t seem the type.” He examined me with a squint.“Thanks, another driver said the same thing.” I didn’t feel the type either.“But people have a right to be scared. Last year a madman killed a bunch of co-eds up around Santa Cruz and scattered their remains in Big Sur. The cops arrested him, but then another maniac is killing men around LA. The cops haven’t got him yet.” “Not to mention the remnants of the Manson Family.” Charlie and his girls had been sentenced to life. The rest of them were on the run. They were no angels.“There are some fucked-up people out there, but while Big Sur has a lot of weirdos, none of them are dangerous, except to themselves.” The farmer spewed tobacco juice out the window. “Sounds like you know the area pretty well.” I figured him for 60. He sounded local.“My family has been here since the birth of dirt. Back in the 20s only two families had electricity. Ours wasn’t one of them. This road wouldn’t have been built if it wasn’t for the chain gangs. My mother told me about hearing them convicts thumping the road. Took them 25 years to complete it.”“They did a good job.” The two-lane masterpiece hugged the bluffs above the Pacific.“Like to see them try it now.” The farmer spit out the window to emphasis his disapproval. “All the damn fools know how to build are those freeways.”“That’s why I traveled south this way.” Out my open window the sun paved a golden highway to the horizon. Somewhere to the west dawn was breaking in Asia.“You made a good choice. I’ve been driving on this road since they finished it in 1937. I’ve seen hoboes, tramps, sailors, beatniks, poets, writers, artists, runaways, hippies. If this road could talk, no one would believe its story.”“You ever pick up anyone famous?” Big Sur had been a refuge for writers and artists since the 30s. “You mean like Henry Miller or Jack Kerouac?” “Yes.” Kerouac had written BIG SUR at Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s cabin.“They were too crazy for my tastes, but I saw them all at the Post Office. Liz Taylor and Richard Burton too when they filmed THE SANDPIPER. I got her autograph for my wife. Still plenty of artists hiding out here. Most of them don’t look like you think. Look mostly like anyone. You ever seen anyone famous?”“I once shook hands with Robert Kennedy and I played basketball at a mental hospital against Albert DeSalvo.”“The Boston Strangler. Bullshit.” The police had wrapped up the case after the ex-con had confessed to the murders under hypnosis.“No, back in January of 1967 my school’s track team played at hospitals around Boston and DeValvo was sitting in the stands of Bridgewater State Hospital.” I had forgotten about this incident. “He didn’t look like a killer.”“Same as you. Did you get his autograph?”“No, I didn’t go close to him.” He had been murdered in Walpole Prison by a member of the Winter Hill Gang.“Probably better, that killing craze could be infectious.”The farmer dropped me a mile south of Point Sur and I walked the rest of the way to Big Sur. The famous destination for writers and artists wasn’t a town. A simple wooden store served as a post office and grocery store office for the remote coastal region. A few cars were parked in the dirt lot. A bearded man in his 50s exited from the store and got into his Volvo. He drove by me pointing to the left, meaning he wasn’t going far.Neither was I.The setting sun was seeping through the gauntlet of redwood groves. The air was scented by the ancient pines and I was thinking about finding a safe place to camp for the night, when a red Ford pick-up skidded to a halt twenty feet from me.Two long-haired men scrambled from the flatbed and fled into the woods, as if they were wanted by the police. I hadn’t seen a Highway patrol car the entire day. Their hurried departure unsettled me and I readied to join their bolt into the trees, as the battered pick-up inched up to me. Scraps and dents had recorded a history of accidents on the steel body and I expected a mass murderer was driving the wreck. Nothing else could explained the hippies’ fearful flight. The passenger window rolled down and a young girl with curly hair asked, “You have any weed?”“This joint or two in my bag.” I glanced behind the truck. The previous passengers had vanished into the forest.There were no other vehicles on the road.“Cool.” The chubby driver wallowed behind the wheel like a walrus stuck between two rocks. Her dark hair shorn short like a Marine. I knew her type.“We’re going to crash in the redwoods for the night. You want to join us?” The smaller girl’s olive complexion betrayed her Spanish blood. She was all skin and bones. “It will be fun.” The masculine driver was about twenty pounds short of Mama Cass’ mass. Dykes liked heavy. They thought that the weight made them tough.The old childhood rhyme. “Fat and skinny had a race.” echoed in my ears with ‘up and down the pillow case’ playing on a XXX drive-in screen in my head.“Are you heading south?” A ride was a ride.“All the way to San Diego.” The younger girl looked at my crotch and her brown eyes danced with mischief. “But tomorrow. Tonight we’re camping in the woods. That all right with you?”“I guess so.” Hitchhiking in the dark with a killer on the loose was a bad idea.“My name is Jill. My friend is Ricki.” Her smile suggested an open invitation.Both women were in loose denim overalls. Nothing else. No bras. No shoes. Their skin was bronzed without tan lines. They were obviously sun-worshippers.“We can get some food at the store and a big jug of red.” Jill motioned for me to climb in back and I climbed into the flatbed. The two women were lesbians and probably lovers. As long as tonight was strictly weed and wine I was good with camping in the woods. There was safety in numbers.We hit the Big Sur Outpost for provisions. “Don’t worry about your stuff.” Rickie motioned for me to leave my bags in the truck. “This isn’t the Haight.”“You sure?” My sleeping bag and canvas carry-all were the sum total of my worldly possessions.“This is about getting back to Nature.” Rickie pulled me away from the truck. She was my height with a fifty pound edge. The big woman was used to getting her way. “It’s cool. Trust us. Trust the world and Mother Gaia will shine on you.”“If you insist.” I came from the East. Car thieves had ripped off my brother’s VW. He was lucky. It ran out of gas three blocks away his apartment in Chestnut Hill. This morning a gang had tried to rob me in Golden Gate Park. I had knocked out the toughest junkie with a rock hidden in my hand. There wasn’t another car in the lot. I pointed to a pay phone. “I’ll be a few seconds.”“We won’t be long, so keep it short.” Rickie guided her consort into the store.I emptied my pocket of quarters and took out a piece of paper from my wallet. I dialed the number in Encinitas. The operator came on the line to demand $2.15 for three minutes. It was the price of an LP. I slotted the coins into the phone. A woman answered on the second ring and I asked for AK.“Where are you?” my friend sounded high on weed. AK loved his reefer.“Big Sur.” Lodi was about two-hundred miles from here.“Big Sur? You haven’t made much progress.”“It’s tough going.” Three days and nights with Maya had stalled my progress. Our bodies had locked time in chains. AK wouldn’t understand my sleeping with a Peggy Lipton lookalike. He was straight. “How about you?”“I’m going to the beach every day. It’s great. My friend Vincent is coming on the weekend. He’s working as a dancer in Hollywood. Maybe he can get us jobs. Hop on a bus and get down here.”“I’m trying, but tonight I’m camping with two women in the redwoods. Don’t get excited, they’re lesbians. The only reason they want me to camp with them is that I have two joints and they’re scared of a man cutting up women on the PCH.” I explained about the murderer. He hadn’t heard of the killer or the one slaughtering men in LA. The police were experts at keeping a lid on their investigations. “I should be down there tomorrow or maybe the day after that. Hitchhiking isn’t that easy on the PCH, but it is beautiful.”“I have some good news. You remember Pam?” “Who could forget her?” The blonde nursing co-ed had shared the driving across country with us. My ex-girlfriend’s roommate had headed north to meet her boyfriend interning in Mendocino. Everyone thought that she looked like Patti Hearst. AK was in love with her. “She called to say that her boyfriend was seeing another nurse and there was no job, so she’s coming down to Encinitas next week.”The line was cut by an avalanche of quarters into the collection box and I slammed the receiver in its cradle. The call had lasted less than three minutes. AT&T was a monopoly. They could do anything they wanted to their customers. I went to the truck and got out my black leather coat. My mother had bought it for me. I entered the store. The floor creaked under my boots. The interior smelled of dust and stale food. The canned food appeared safe and I grabbed tuna, beans, and peaches off the shelves. The two women picked out sagging vegetables, Uncle Ben’s rice, and two bottles of Zapple wine. It was sweet as cough syrup and I opted for a large jug of Gallo White. Big was good. I peeked out the front window. The pick-up was the only vehicle in the parking lot. At the cash register Rickie put her arm around the smaller girl to confirm their relationship. The teenage girl behind the counter ignored the gesture. Big Sur was a magnet for all kinds.I offered them a $10 and looked out the door. We might have been the only four people on Earth. My bags were safe.“We don’t need your money.” Rickie waved her hand at the crumpled bill. She was the pants of the couple.“I’ll pay for my own.” The bill came to less than $10. The way things were going I could stay in California for entire summer.The three of us exited from the store, The girls walked barefoot across the pebbly lot with the grace of ballerinas crossing a polished wooden stage. Their soles had to be tough as leather. I climbed back into the back of the truck and Rickie unscrewed the Zapple to drink from the bottle. Jill took the next tug and her face shone with an imp’s delight. She was no lady.The young girl handed me the Zapple. The wine was sweeter than I remembered it.“We going far?” I wiped my mouth and returned the bottle to Jill. The sun had dropped lower between the redwoods and the ancient forest donned a fairy tale cloak of moss. “I know a place.” Rickie signaled Jill to get in the truck and she drove short distance to the south. The outpost disappeared behind a wall of trees and the pickup veered off the PCH onto a logging road. Whatever they had planned for the evening was better executed beyond prying eyes.The F-150 sped down the dirt trail and the tires lost contact with ground several times. I was rocked from side to side and banged on the roof for her to slow down before I was thrown from the truck. The two of them laughed with a wickedness emboldened by the V8. The truck lifted into the air and crashed onto the rough road. Jill screamed out a warning too late and the chassis ground to a halt.The sudden stop threw me against the cab. The fat driver cursed behind the wheel, as the dented Ford F-150 rocked back and forth without success. The pick-up wasn’t going anywhere and I jumped out to look underneath the truck. I got to my feet and went to the passenger side. “You’re stuck on the stump.” It was about two feet wide.“Stuck?” Rickie shut off the engine and got out of the truck. Driving fast wasn’t funny anymore. Jill got out on my side. She knew to keep her distance from her lover. The bigger woman slammed her palm against the steel. “Damn.” “It’s not that bad. I didn’t see anything broken and don’t smell any fuel or oil. You have a jack?” She had been lucky not to shattered the transmission.“Yes.” The driver surveyed the situation on her knees and stood up, brushing the pine needles off her overalls. “Why?”“We jack up the rear of the truck and once it clears the stump, we push it forward.”“Then what?” Women were distrustful of men on the best of circumstances. Dykes even more so.“If the truck isn’t fucked up, then we camp out for the night. Same as before.” Rickie got the rusty jack from behind the seat. I positioned it under the rear bumper and pumped the lever until the chassis cleared the stump by a good six inches.“Is this going to work?” Rickie bent over to examine the situation.“We could go back to the outpost and see if there was a tow truck around Big Sur. They could haul us off the stump in two minutes.” I had stranded my brother’s VW on Horseneck Beach at low tide. By the time the tow truck reached me, the waves were lapping at rear tires. The tow truck freed the Bug with ease. “It’s not like we’re in a hurry.”“We might as well give this a try. This truck takes a good beating.” Rickie was not interested in having another man around Jill. “Which way are we pushing it?”“Away from the transmission, so to the right. You ready?” I placed my hands on the back of the pick-up. “On the count of three. One-two-three.” Rickie shoved at the same time as me and the truck lurched to the right and fell six inches to clang on the stump. There was a new dent in the body, but the chassis had cleared the stump. Jill clapped her hands and kissed Rickie on the lips, then danced across the pine needles to peck my cheek.“Thanks.”“Glad it worked out.” My face burned red with embarrassment. “Let me get the truck off this road.” Rickie wasn’t exhibiting any signs of jealousy and pointed to a circle of redwoods. “That will be home for tonight. Start gathering wood.”She drove the truck to the trees and unloaded camping gear. Jill gathered kindling and I picked up dried wood for the fire. A red glow was fading from the chinks in the forest to the West. The sun was setting in the Pacific and darkness was creeping over Big Sur.The kindling took to fire and Jill spun around the flames like a Sufi mystic. The overalls fell to her belly. Her breasts were capped by puffy nipples. Ricki noticed my staring. “Pretty?”“More beautiful than pretty.” I was describing the redwoods more than her breasts. The king pines in Maine were half their size. “She’s a free spirit.” Rickie chopped the wood with a small ax. She was good at it. A overalls strap fell off her shoulder. Her breast was almost as big as my head. “We both are.”“Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” I pulled out the joint that Maya had given me this morning. I lit it from the embered kindling. The first puff filled my lungs with smoke destined to bliss my mind. I passed it to Jill, still dancing to the music in her head.“This is the real freedom. Away from the cities. Away from the roads. Away from TV and churches and hang-ups.” Rickie cleaved the ax into the nearest redwood and undid the other strap. Her eyes sparkled with a missionary zeal. “Free as nature. Jill and I live on the beaches and in the woods. We have no house. Only the truck and us.”She made it sound like the TV show ROUTE 66, where two men drove a Corvette around America, except Rickie and Jill weren’t men and the Ford pick-up truck wasn’t a Vette.“Jack Kerouac said “ Live, travel, adventure, and don’t be sorry.” He had put us all on this road.“And Lewis Carroll said, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” so here we are.” Rickie pulled Jill onto her lap and took the joint. The two of them kissed without inhibition. I felt like a third wheel. I knew gay men in Boston. They were my friends. Lesbians existed in a parallel universe separate from us. My only knowledge of their behavior was based on dirty books and I was jealous of their ability to sustain an endless chain of orgasms.Jill glanced at me and said, “Take off those boots, we’re not going anywhere fast.”“Sure.” I hadn’t meant to stare.They cooked a vegetarian meal over a fire of redwood branches. The smoke curled up the columns of ancient trees. A starry evening completed the roof of evergreen. We drank the wine from the jug and set up a comfortable seating area with our sleeping bags. The flames cast sly shadows on the girls’ faces. Owls hooted overhead. They pretended to be scared and wrestled me to the ground. Rickie pulled off my shirt and Jill stripped off my jeans. I was naked and within a second they were too, but instead of kissing me they embraced each other with a fervor I had only seen on the silver screen at porno theaters in Boston’s Combat Zone.“Join us.” Rickie guided my erection inside her. We had sex for several minutes. Her vagina was too big for me and her girlfriend pushed me off to insert her fist.“Fuck me now.”I finished within the smaller girl within a minute. They would not accept a flaccid penis in their presence and devoted their attention to getting me hard again.If I wasn’t fucking one of them, then the two girls were at each other like cats mad for milk. Their tongues were loud on each other’s flesh. The second I recovered, they would enlist me back into service. The only times I slept was when Rickie drove to the outpost for more wine.Jill never left me alone.I was their rented mule. We formed daisy chains of three. They worked me to the bone. I was losing weight and recalled the two hippies fleeing the pick-up truck.Now I knew the reason.These women were sexual predators. The redwood grove had become a stalag. I was Charlotte Rampling in THE NIGHT PORTER. Ricki was Dirk Bogarde. Jill was from another movie. LSA OF THE SS SHE WOLVES. They wouldn’t stop until I was dead.Scared for my life I waited until they fell asleep and then sneaked from the redwood grove. I heard them calling my name and imagined Rickie chasing me with her ax.A farmer picked me up around sunrise.“Whew, smells like you been rutting with hogs.”I was a little ripe and bathed in a river farther down the coast.I reached LA that night and took the bus to San Diego, where my friend Andy was shacked up with some acidheads. They all laughed at my tale.“You had these two women to yourself and you let them go.”“No, I escaped and I was glad to escape.”Two days later I was walking naked on Black’s Beach north of La Jolla. Andy was checking out the naked girls. He pointed to a pair sunning underneath the cliff.“Let’s go talk to them.”“Not a chance.” It was the two women from the redwoods. Man-eaters. I dropped my head and jumped into the ocean. I swam with the current and came ashore some two hundred feet from them.Andy shook his head.“I can’t believe it.”The only electrified fences were attached to my frayed lust.I escaped from them at dawn of the second day. I imagined dogs barking in the distance. SS on my trail. I hit the PCH out of breath. A car heaved into sight. A Chrysler Imperial. The banker. His wife was in the front seat. Jack was happy to see me. Aline was in her early 30s. Her perfume Chanel No 5. A beautiful woman scared of her 40s.They were driving to Santa Barbara for the weekend. We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant. Aline drank margaritas. Three more than me. In the motel room Jack photographed us for his private collection.Aline told me that I was # 53.Jack told me not to worry about ever seeing the photos.$50 for my troubles.A bus to LA. A train to La Jolla. A dime phone call. Andy’s friend picked me up at the station. Vince was a dancer. He was studying choreography for film. We went to a disco in San Diego. Marines and queens. Andy was after a fag hag. Inca skated from his grasp. Vince and I danced to ROCK THE BOAT and JUNGLE BOOGIE. We arrived home to Encinitas late. The dawn lingered on the dying fragrance of jasmine. I recounted the story about the two women in Big Sur to Andy and Vince. |They laughed at my flight through the redwoods. I laughed too and fell asleep on the floor. It felt good to sleep on the floor.The next morning Vince dropped Andy and me at Black’s Beach. It was a nudist beach. Au natural. Andy was jealous. Inca had yet to kiss him.“I should have gone with you.”“It wouldn’t have happened if you were with me.”I said nothing about Lance or the banker’s wife. My wallet held more than before. Wine was back on my menu.“I don’t know why you ran away.”“Because I got the feeling she was sucking the life out of me and they’d be nothing left, if i stayed another day.” There was such a thing as too much sex. Even in 1974.“How bad could it be?”At that moment I glanced to the right. A huddle of naked men surrounded a pair of bare-skinned women. The two were in their twenties. One thin. One a little heavy“Shit.”It was the bull dyke and her girl friend.Ricki and Jill.She was checking me out like I was a piece of meat. I cupped my hands over my privates and waddled away to safety. Later that afternoon I told Andy about seeing them. He didn’t speak to me for the rest of the day. Inca was into a transvestite. Vince laughed again upon hearing about my encounter.“You’ll regret that at the end of your life. You’ll be lying in bed and ask yourself, “Why didn’t I have sex with them again.” He was more talking about him and me. Everyone in California was into sex. More a plague than a disease.That night I relieved the tension with a fantasy of Ricki and Jill. Another time about Lance and Star. The last furious release was with the banker’s wife. Morning came and I was cured by my own hand.In three weeks I would be back in Boston.And in that city there had never been a Summer of Love.But nothing could stop the seasons of lust.Not in the summer of 1974.The bull dyke had her way with me like a rented mule for several days and I escaped one evening while her rested her libido.I hitchhiked down to LA and said nothing of this story to my gay friends.Those beauty hounds would have been horrified.two weeks later I’m walking on Black’s Beach in SD. It’s a naked beach. My straight friend heard the story and said, “I don’t know why you ran away.”“Because I got the feeling she was sucking the life out of me and they’d be nothing left.”“How bad could it be?”At that moment I looked to the right.“Shit.”It was the bull dyke and her girl friend.She was checking me out like I was a piece of meat. I cupped my hands over my privates and waddled away to safety.Later that evening I relieved the tension with a fantasy of her. I went down to the beach the rest of the summer without ever running into her.But I had lived in a world of women. Not forever, only long enough to know it’s not natural. at least not for men.A stream ran through a gauntlet of redwood groves and I strolled a few yards into the forest to sit on a flat rock. I lit up a joint of Acapulco gold and pulled out my journal to write about the last days. After a half-hour I returned to the road. The sun was seeping through the trees. The parking lot was empty and my sleeping bag on the ground and fell asleep with my jackknife in hand. There were killers on the roam. The hefty dyke I’m hitchhiking in Big Sur on the way to LA. A pick-up stops for me. Two women in the front. One bull dyke and her fem GF. They ask if i want to camp with them. I said why not and splurged on a jeroboam of Gallo White. We set up camp in a grove of redwoods and drank wine around a fire. The bull dyke said she hadn’t had a man in years. She looked like a sumo wrestler. The younger one was in the mood too. She was thin and cute. I thought this would be interesting but it developed that sex with the bull dyke was more pleasurable than the fem.