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Summer of Love

Summer of Love

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Published by Writerlady

September, 1967. Cassie’s aunt from Grand Rapids has flown to San Francisco to claim her. Neck creped with anxiety, she consults in murmurs with the arresting and probation officers, the psychologist and the caseworker before moving in on Cassie herself.

Originally published in Boardwalk Magazine.

September, 1967. Cassie’s aunt from Grand Rapids has flown to San Francisco to claim her. Neck creped with anxiety, she consults in murmurs with the arresting and probation officers, the psychologist and the caseworker before moving in on Cassie herself.

Originally published in Boardwalk Magazine.

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Published by: Writerlady on May 21, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/17/2009

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Linda Boroff 
Summer of Love
September, 1967. Cassie’s aunt from Grand Rapids has flown to San Francisco to claimher. Neck creped with anxiety, she consults in murmurs with the arresting and probationofficers, the psychologist and the caseworker before moving in on Cassie herself. Thetall, redheaded girl huddles, impenitent and swollen-faced, against a slender boy of aboutsixteen dressed in torn blue jeans and a black T-shirt with a red hammer and sickle on thefront. The boy’s wavy brown hair is parted in the middle, cut blunt at earlobe length. Hekeeps throwing it back from his eyes, but it immediately cascades forward again. Theaunt steps up, moistening her lips."Cassie, it’s time to come home." Cassie looks up once and back down. "Thissummer has been quite a trial for your family. Not a word for six weeks. We were sureyou’d been kidnapped. Your mother is bedridden. Then they find you living like ananimal in a houseful of hippies. She indicates the boy with her chin."His name happens to be Dennis," says Cassie. She looks at Dennis."Be strong," he says."Are you packed?" asks the Aunt, applying gloves."Nothing to pack.""You mean to say you ran away with nothing at all?""There was nothing I wanted from there." Dennis snorts."Is he coming with us to the airport?"Cassie's look is like a blow. "Yes," she says. "The man I love is coming with."1
 
 Noxious vapor hugs the ground before the South San Francisco Industrial Park.The bus cleaves it bluntly, brazenly, breaking its own arrogant wind, a mocking retort tothe triumphant crows of all technology visionaries. Trees along the road shrug off bluishleaves in the gale of the bus’s passage. Cassie scratches a tooth, examines the residue andflicks it onto the floor. People look away."Next stop the San Francisco International Airport." In the early fog, a gappy redand yellow chain of bars appears. As the bus roars past, a few old wobblies and drowsy barflies wince at this noisy rebuke from death morning.The bus picks up speed as it enters the final straightaway before the airport’scurving ramp. The driver slouches, then braces for his Saturday morning Grand Prix deMonte Carlo. Buttocks flobbing, elbows back, he bares his teeth to the wind as he handlesher on out and cuts loose.Alarmed passengers grab at chrome poles, exchanging anxious glances. Womenforsake propriety and brace their feet apart in the aisle. Somebody’s shopping bag splits,releasing ripe plums and curses. Cassie grabs a large plum as it bounces past and stuffs itwhole into her mouth, giggling as she maneuvers it into place and bites down. The plumpglobe explodes, drenching the skirts of both Cassie and her aunt, and the neck of the mana seat ahead in its surprised liquor.Cassie gags, hiccups, and swallows the fruit, seed and all, nearly topplingsideways into the aisle as the driver fights the lurching gulk bus to a standstill, aeratinghis armpits in the ebbing wind. His shirt is cold and damp. His nose drips and he tastesgrit, the Driver.2
 
The cowed passengers creep from the bus on tiptoe. Cassie and Dennis wolf twomore plums on their way into the airport, and Dennis belches juicily as they enter. Astewardess wheels to stare in amazement, and Cassie sticks out her tongue. The hair of the stewardess is the color and shape of the fruit they have just eaten, a spherical helmetof glazed plum.Reflecting on the hair of women, Dennis suddenly recalls the strobe light at adance joint in Berkeley; Cassie’s hair sailing and snaking in a thick, braided liana,redolent of sin, serpents, and perdition in the blinking tropics of the dance floor. Stoned,scared, he had grabbed both Cassie and the braid, trapping the seductive, glossy hair in acurve of warm spine. And there they had clung to the end of the dance, Adam and Evetrembling before the furious, invisible Assailant.The eyes of the stewardess, caught again in appraisal, flutter off like a moth.Leaving Cassie’s aunt to buy the tickets, she and Dennis stroll toward the gift shop,studying the infinite uniformity of the baggage, car rental, and ticket counters, a waist-high walled fortress whose inhabitants preen and blink beneath a fluorescent sun, pullinglevers, punching buttons, and wishing pleasant journeys to fornicators and communists.At the gift shop, Dennis buys Cassie a tin of violet pastilles, a paper flower, and a book entitled The Night Action ("Hippie love and lust without limits in Sin Francisco.")The cover features Australopithecus Robustus in bell bottoms preparing to flagellate withlove beads, a female wearing nothing but a large guitar. Between them lies a skull ashtrayin which a cigarette burns, releasing the type of green cloud that usually contains a genii.3

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