Saturday, March 15, 2008

Short Story Saturday

Audrey sighed as she stood and surveyed the crowd in front of her. It had taken her two full weeks to hitch-hike from San Francisco, to New York, but, this concert was not to be missed.
She'd been at the Monterey Pop Festival a few years back, and, from what she'd heard, this concert, Woodstock, was supposed to be even better than that one, if that was possible. She'd been tired of San Francisco, anyhow.
Looking at the crowd, she shook her head. Since she'd left her Wisconsin home, she'd been back and forth across America. But she'd never seen a crowd like this one. Pulling up her ratty, faded jeans, and making sure her flowered backpack was closed, and her sleeping back was firmly tucked under her arm, she dove into the crowd, determined to make it to the stage. Ravi Shankar was wailing away on his Sitar, and it was raining like crazy. She wanted, and needed to be closer.
Sticking her nose in the air, she detected the scent of Patchouli, sweat, and some good grass. Making her way toward's the grass, she tried not to trip over the multiple couples already writhing on the ground in their multi colored sleeping bags. Eventually, she came to a small camp set up with brightly colored tents. They were fairly close to the stage, and, from the smell of it, they also had the good pot.
"What's up, little sister?" said a voice behind the smoke. "Sun's going down" she replied. "I need a place to crash". As the smoke cleared, she saw a good looking man, brown eyes and hair, long hair. With clean fingernails. She was a sucker for clean fingernails. Gesturing towards a yellow tent, he said "crash in there, with me." Needing no further invitation, she went and put all her stuff in his tent. Coming back out, she sat next to him, and watched Joan Baez sing "We Shall Overcome". Moved to tears, she laid her head on the shoulder of the man with the yellow tent. The rain had stopped for the moment, and she was at peace.
Crawling out of the yellow tent at sunrise the next day, Audrey made her way towards the free breakfast. "Yum, powdered eggs" she thought sarcastically as she took a bite. Stumbling towards a pond, she took her clothing off and went in for a quick wash, cleaning off the night before. When she got back out, she found her jeans and shirt, but not her shoes.
"Damned thieving whore" she thought, looking around. "Now I have to walk through this place barefooted." Peering up at the sky, she noted the ominous storm clouds. "Great" she thought.
Up at the stage, some group was throwing maracas into the cheering crowd. "Interesing" she thought as she studied the feet of every woman who passed by, looking for her shoes. She got momentarily distracted as Country Joe McDonald took the stage, and by the time he sang his "Fixing To Die Rag" she was dancing along, barefoot in the mud. After that, John Sebastian came on. She didn't care much for him, so, she continued the search for her shoes.
Rounding a corner, she stumbled over a pair of boots, all alone, stuck in the mud. She slid her right foot into one of them, cursing, because it was too small. Pulling her foot back out, she noticed a rotund, grey haired man, with a pipe in his mouth. "Bad luck, sister" was all he muttered, and passed her an acid tab. She took it gratefully, and kept on walking. Someone, eventually gave her a slice of watermelon, and her gaze focused back in on the main stage. Santana had come and gone, and the Grateful Dead were singing Dark Star. "Cool" she thought, and sat down in the mud to watch for awhile. Sitting there, she realized she'd left her sleeping bag in the yellow tent. Looking around, she saw at least 50 yellow tents, and shook her head. She'd never find it, now. The dead gave way to Creedence Clearwater Revival, and then, as the night wore on, Janis Joplin. Audrey got close enough to smell the southern comfort wafting down from the stage. As Sly and the Family Stone came on, she nodded off, in the mud.
Waking up a few hours later, she was grateful for the fact that some kind soul had thrown a blanket over her, and amused to see that The Who were playing, and Michael Lang was telling Abbie Hoffman to "stay off the stage". Wrapping the blanket around herself, she stayed where she was until the sun came back up, and Jefferson Airplane was on. Sadly, it still looked like rain.
The music stopped after Jefferson Airplane, and Audrey wandered fruitlessly through the crowd, one eye still out for her shoes, and the yellow tent. The storm finally came, and it was magnificent. Audrey watched it from under the shelter of a shared poncho with some guy named Jack. He was too hyped up, and, as soon as the rain was over, and Joe Cocker began to play, she got away from him. But not before he'd given her a hit of the brown acid...
That third day passed in a big, muddy blur for her. She retained only bits of memory from it, laughing at "Sha-na na", weeping at Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and staring in wonder at Jimi Hendrix, in all his glory. She wanted his set to last forever. Sadly, it didn't. She nodded off.....
Snapping awake, she found herself muddy, on a cot, in a tent.
"Welcome back, sister" said a voice to her left. "You are in the bad trip tent. You should have stayed away from that brown acid."
"Damn that Jack" she thought, then struggled to get up. "What day is it?" she asked.
"August 18th, sister", was the answer.
"I gots to go" she announced, and flew out of the tent. Gasping, she saw the mass exodus of all the people. Sighing, she touched the purple stone necklace around her neck, and thought of home.
In a flash, she found herself muddy toes and all, dirty faded jeans, and a smile, standing in her homeroom classroom, in Wisconsin.
"Let me tell you about Woodstock" she said to her classmates, who were all due to graduate in the year 2135...


sybil law said...

I HATE Joan Baez!
Also, no one sleeps while on an acid trip.
But I liked the story very much!!!!!
Seriously, the shoe part would've driven me insane!
I no make a good hippie...

Daryl E said...

Ah the rain .. the mud .. the dope .. the music .. I dont think it was Crosby Stills Nash AND Young til well after Woodstock but the rest is pretty wonderful .. woman you get better and better with each story..

mielikki said...

daryl- believe it or not, they were all there, I looked it up to make sure I was getting my facts straight. I've always been kind of fascinated with Woodstock...

holly said...

nice twist ending!
i remember being disappointed that my parents weren't at woodstock. or in fact even interested in it.

Daryl E said...

My apologies for doubting .. I was so sure it wasnt til after that .. but even tho I wasnt there I think the residual smoke wafted downstate to affect me... ;-)

Anonymous said...
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My expressions LIVE said...

Very Clever! I added you to my blog.