Just one more illusion, man


I never did understand them.

They just landed in our lives from some other psychic planet, one more petty illusion in a bad batch of acid I thought that first time.

I never stop tripping.

People talk about bad trips but with me the bad trip starts when I stop.

Part of it is my old lady, Grace, who bitches at me so much that I can’t take her anyway other than high.

All she wants is to live the good life somewhere, a place of our own that doesn’t need roach powder twice a week.

She wants the picket fence and windows with curtains, and expects me – a hobo throw back to the 1930s – to get it for her.

Like I know how!

Then, they drop in on us – rich hippies from some job the boy pulled back east – looking and sounded like down and out hippies, but carrying a wad of bills in their pockets I never saw before outside a bank.

They scared me because they stood out so much in that goddamn red, white and blue VW van, playing the role of Abbie Hoffman or Peter Fonda. So I ached to shake sense into them, and tell them they can’t go around advertising themselves like that. The man will get you if you stand out too much from the crowd.

Maybe I even liked them despite the fact they looked poor and acted rich, when I always thought people should do it the other way around.

I sure did feel guilty taking that money from their bags the night before they got ready to leave.

I still tell myself it was Grace’s fault – hissing in my ear the whole time like a goddamn snake. But I know better. I wanted the money, too, and I told myself that they were going to lose it anyway along the road somewhere when the cops stopped them and asked just where they got it.

Hell, it almost happened right here at the Taco Bell when the cops jumped on them convinced they were dealing dope when it was really me.

But I think Grace might have had something to do with that. I heard her whispering into the telephone and thought I heard the word “police.”

I pretty sure she knew they would be hassled and didn’t warn them.

Anyway, when they left, I never thought I would see them again, and Grace made plans for us to move out of town, up state – maybe beyond – where we can start over.

Who figured those people would be back our way before we could pull it off? I still don’t know how I kept my face straight knowing they suspected me of stealing a wad of their cash, but I did.

This time when they went, I thought it was for good, and Grace got it into her head that upstate wasn’t far enough. We had to move out of state so they could never find us again.

So we moved to Las Vegas, settled into a nice house on a tall hill with a fence out front and curtains in the window. I got a job down at the Burger Chef, and flipped burgers while I tripped, trying to imagine myself somewhere else doing something else, anything else at all.

Months passed, almost a year, and then they were back. No van this time. No wad of cash either. This time, they looked and acted like what they were, and asked us for a place to stay and some food.

Grace told me to tell them to get lost then tossed me out when I told her I couldn’t say that to them since we got where we were on their money.

I got them a place to stay at an old flop house, and stayed there, too, knowing that sooner or later they would have to move on and I could move back in with Grace.

I got him a job flipping burgers with me, though he wasn’t very good at it, maybe needing the same boost LSD gave me to get over the slavish repetition.

Then, Carl, the owner of the flop house threw us all out saying he wasn’t giving charity this month, and I knew I would have to crawl back to Grace and I couldn’t do it carrying these two on my back, and suggested they leave and not come back.

I don’t know where they went. But after while, after putting up with Grace’s idea of living, I wish I had gone there, too.

Maybe I will someday.

Meanwhile I just keep on keeping on, letting the sour tabs melt under my tongue and flipping burgers, thinking those two may have been just one more illusion after all.



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