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“San Francisco Freak Out!

” / Vince Stadon Synopsis Page 1 of 6

Vince Stadon
68 Mary Carpenter Place
St Werburghs
Bristol BS2 9RY
0117 9556957
“San Francisco Freak Out!”

“If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.”

It’s the Summer of Love, and Iris and Panda tune in, turn on and drop out! But when the
music’s over, will our heroes be allowed to leave the party?

The red bus materializes during a hippie gathering (or “Be-in) in Golden Gate Park, San
Francisco, one balmy summer night in 1967.
Iris is thrilled, Panda less so… particularly when he discovers that the bus cannot leave.
They are trapped! Weird temporal forces are anchoring the bus to this point in space and time,
and Iris and Panda must find out why. Or at least get hold of some tie-dye clothes.
The hippies--principally Professor Coyote (shrewd and intellectual), Harmony (flower
child, sweet and sexy), Herb (laid-back drug supplier) and Lilith (Earth Mother)--regard the
materialization as another in a series of funky transcendental trips they’ve been experiencing.
Last night, a beautiful, naked hippie named Tex appeared out of thin air; last week, the hippies
levitated the Pentagon by a few inches. These hippies really know how to party.
The hippies greet new arrivals with herbal tea, but Iris suspects that the herb is a narcotic.
She sticks to gin because it tastes better. The drug thing annoys Panda; he not keen on hippies.
Iris learns that Coyote was a research scientist before he dropped out. He’s always been
fascinated by space and time, and he tinkers with gadgetry and equations. Iris tells Panda that
Coyote’s experiments are worth investigating. And besides, he’s cute.
The hippies take Iris back to their commune in Haight-Ashbury (or “Hashbury”), where a
party is in full swing. Drifting coquettishly through hazy, mellow rooms filled with children of
the counterculture revolution… occasionally dancing to the pulse of the turned-on sound of acid-
rock… eavesdropping on groovy conversations (The Grateful Dead are hitting on Gracie Slick,
Dr Timothy Leary is boring Ken Kesey, and Mamma Cass has the munchies)… Iris Wildthyme
is the life of the party.
Panda, in an obstinate frame of mind, elects to stay behind on the bus. He is kept
company by Harmony, who has a thing for erudite Englishmen, even if they’re stuffed (shh!)
Iris tries to strike up a conversation with Tex, the hippie who materialized at the previous
night’s Be-in, but the young man is stoned out of his head. Nonetheless, Iris is taken with the
“San Francisco Freak Out!” / Vince Stadon Synopsis Page 2 of 6

pretty golden pendant Tex wears. She’s even more taken by the fact that the golden pendant is
the only thing he wears; his sculpted musculature gives her happy flashbacks to Daniel Craig in
Casino Royale.
On the bus, Panda begins to warm to Harmony, and not just because she’s drop-dead
gorgeous. But during their flirtatious conversations, Panda begins to feel odd... as if he’s been
drugged; time seems to be slowing down. He berates Harmony, but mid-rant he notices a large
clock floating in the air. Is he hallucinating?
At the party, Herb hands Tex a huge stash of his freshly-produced LSD, boasting to the
others that the naked hippie can take every drug all at once, and trip through space and time (Iris
is not impressed).
No, it’s not a hallucination--time really is slowing down on the bus, and there really is a
big clock floating in the air! Worse, it’s counting down...
Harmony considers all this to be far out. A loveable Panda who sounds like Noel
Coward! Time slowing! A floating clock! Wow! Panda, however, is worried.
Talking to Professor Coyote about his space-time equations, Iris realizes that she has
taken a dislike to him; he is not what he seems.
Panda and Harmony arrive at the party; Iris and Panda confab. The countdown worries
Iris. It can only be Very Bad News. Professor Coyote’s time-space stuff is just gibberish; a red-
herring. No help there.
Panda notices that Tex’s pendant looks like the floating clock on the bus. Iris examines
the pendant--it’s some kind of alien time device! Perhaps Tex is the key to the time problem?
At that moment the police raid the house! Professor Coyote is an undercover vice officer!
(Within “The Hashbury” circulate more than 25 undercover narcotics agents, who arrest an
average of 20 hippies a week. Busted hippies in turn come back under orders to inform on their
suppliers). Tex is the only hippy carrying serious narcotics; the naked hippie is led away in cuffs.
The hippies have a brilliant lawyer who can get Tex bail. Herb will confess that the
drugs belong to him, take the rap. They’ll get on to it at daybreak, hangovers permitting.
Lilith bakes hash cakes (using a hidden supply) as she explains how Tex materialized a
night ago. The hippies believe they’d caused him to appear through trance, meditation and
drugs. Just like the way they had levitated the Pentagon, and summoned Iris and Panda. They
had offered Tex herbal tea, and, impressively, he had gulped it down. Herb gave him strong-
grade LSD to see just how much he could take.
The pendant snaps open to reveal a countdown clock. Time is running out. The bus will
be fused into this point in space and time. No time to wait for lawyers. They must get Tex out of
The hippies gather outside the police station, and stage a noisy demonstration. Hippie
chicks show the night shift policemen some free love, distracting them as Iris slips inside and
offers tea and cakes to the Duty Sergeant. (The station is otherwise empty).
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When the Duty Sarge is completely stoned from the hash cakes, Panda sneaks in. He
finds Tex in a holding cell, picks the lock (a skill he picked up from Raffles, The Gentleman
Iris de-toxes Tex with a nice cup of hot tea; free of drugs, Tex’s mind clears and he
begins to remember...
… That he is Vort, a time-travelling “fixer”. Fixers seal up cracks in space/time (Iris has
vaguely heard of such creatures, but she’s never been interested in that sort of thing). This was
Vort’s first assignment; immediately on arrival at the cracked point in time, his mind was blown
by the drugs. (Materializing in a new environment, Vort shape-shifts by latching onto a vivid
mental image; in this instance, the image was of Harmony’s buff ex-boyfriend from Texas.) He
sent out a mental distress call, found the bus in the vortex, and used all his mental reserves to
pull it to Earth. Of course, the bus arrived a night later, too late to help poor Vort, but that sort of
stuff always seems to happen in time travel stories, particularly ones about Iris.
They arrive at the bus and Vort uses the clock-pendant to plug the time fissure. Vort
assumes his natural alien shape, and then dematerializes with a cheery wave.
Harmony kisses a blushing Panda. He’s grown quite fond of the hippies.
The bus is free, and Iris (with flowers in her hair) and Panda set off for new adventures in
time and space.

Sample Prose
(approx 1,000 words)

“Take the wheel, Panda, luv,” said Iris Wildthyme as she tumbled out of the driver’s seat
with all the grace of a walrus laden down with heavy shopping. “I’m going to take inventory!”
She clumped off down the aisle, her heels rolling sparks off the islands of exposed metal which
pocketed the threadbare carpeting.
“At last!” said Panda, snapping shut a heavy, leather-bound encyclopaedia, and
immediately wishing he had remembered to first remove his paw. “It’s about time we had a stock
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take. And a thorough roof-to-wheels clean up, too. Upstairs is particularly gruesome. I’m sure
there are things growing underneath the back seats.”
From the rear of the bus came the clinking of glass bottles as Iris found herself knee deep
in empties. “We should take these back to the Co-Op.”
“A recycling programme,” said Panda, “is exactly the kind of thing I was thinking of.”
“They pay tuppence a bottle in Barnsley. We’ve enough empties here to--whoa!”
The bus suddenly lurched to the left and Iris was thrown ungraciously onto her backside.
Before she could locate the remains of her dignity, the bus rolled to the right. And then like a
pancake being carelessly tossed by an overconfident chef the bus flipped upside-down, before
righting itself with a stomach churning spin. Finally, as Panda was extricating himself from the
pile of unwashed bloomers he had landed in, and Iris was reaching out to grab what looked
enticingly like an unopened bottle of gin, the bus dropped out of the space/time vortex and
crashed to Earth with a tremendous WHUMP!
There was a pause.
Panda used the moment to stop screaming, and Iris filled the silence with an impressive
stream of expletives, only stopping when she had exhausted her vocabulary.
“That,” said Panda, quickly removing a pair of frilly knickers from his head, “was not my

Iris picked tiny silvers of glass from her hair and straightened her mighty bra. She had
bruised a knee and laddered a stocking but she was otherwise unscathed. Fortified with a
generous hit of neat gin, she wiped away the film of grime from one of the windows and peered
The bus was surrounded by a ragged semi-circle of about thirty people. The men had long
hair and unkempt beards and the women were effortlessly pretty in beads and flowers and very
little else. Nobody looked to be over thirty. They were dancing and cheering, drinking, hugging
and kissing, and generally having a party. Glasses were raised to the bus, quickly drained,
refilled and then raised again. On the grass in front of the semi-circle, spelled out in bright
yellow flowers, was the word WELCOME! A double-decker bus had just appeared out of thin
air right in front of them, and nobody seemed remotely surprised. There was no sense of panic
or alarm. It was as if they had somehow been expecting the bus to appear before them. Iris gave
a cheery wave which was returned with enthusiasm. Encouraged, she held up both hands and
made peace signs. This seemed to be less well received and Iris was momentarily baffled... until
she realized her mistake. She twisted her wrists around. There were cheers.
A little way back behind the semi-circle, a group of musicians were silhouetted against a
streaky red sunset. And in the far distance, rising up into the night and stretching into a hazy
vanishing point, was the Golden Gate Bridge.
The band had been celebrating with the others but now the guitarist mumbled a lazy
“One, two, one, two, three, four” into a microphone, the drummer rained down a mighty beat and
the night was filled with very loud rock music. A woman grabbed the microphone and began to
“Don't you want somebody to love / Don't you need somebody to love / Wouldn't you love
somebody to love / You better find somebody to love.”
“Oh no,” groaned Panda from the driver’s seat. “We’ve landed in a field of hippies!”
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“Not just any hippies, duck,” Iris corrected him. “The original hippies! This is San
Francisco during the Summer of Love, where the whole hippie-thing got started.” Iris paused for
effect, knowing that she was about to seriously annoy her companion. “Cool!”
“We have got to get out of here!” wailed Panda, frantically turning the key in the ignition.
Nothing happened.
“I know this song,” said Iris. “It’s Don’t You Want Somebody To Love by Jefferson
Airplane. I used to have it on a tape. Mind you, I always preferred the one they did in that film
about the shop window dummy coming to life. Mannequin, was it? That was a good movie.”
“None of the instruments are responding! We have absolutely no power!” Panda
glowered at Iris, desperately trying to make her understand the gravity of the situation. “We can’t
leave. We’re stuck here! In a field of hippies!”
“Things could be worse, Panda.”
“No, they absolutely could not.” Panda scrambled around under the seat, looking for
some tools. He’d try to make some repairs. And if that failed, he could beat himself to death.
Iris moved to the front of the bus and flopped down in the passenger seat. She was keen
to get outside and start partying with the hippies, but she had to admit that she was a tiny bit
concerned about the bus. Though the vehicle was practically indestructible (just this past week it
had weathered the Time Winds, escaped from a collapsing black hole and survived a vicious
onslaught from the milling hordes of Militant Meter Maids) it couldn’t hurt to quickly check the
systems and see what was causing the power failure.
“What have you got against hippies?” she asked, randomly flipping switches. Panda was
right. Nothing was responding.
Panda popped up, a croquet mallet firmly grasped in a paw and a mad look in his eyes.
He looked like a puppet which had just escaped from a particularly violent Punch and Judy
“How long have you got? They’re smelly, lazy, uncultured, uncouth and permanently
stoned. They have no sense of responsibility, no concept of authority, no respect for institutions,
and most egregiously of all, no taste at all in music. I mean, listen to that racket. It’s making my
ears bleed.”
Iris was staring at the chronometer on the dashboard. The readings were baffling. They
seemed to indicate that some very odd temporal forces were at work. Time distortion. Iris
shuddered. She hated time problems. They were always getting in the way of having a good
“Hmmm. Panda, dear, we appear to be in a bit of a pickle. If these readings are correct,
there’s some kind of time hole in the area, which has drained all the power from the bus. We had
better go outside and investigate.”
“But the hippies are outside!”
“And very lovely they look, too”. Iris headed for the doors, and peeked outside. The
bacchanalian celebrations were in full swing, the air was filled with exotic fragrances, and a
couple of the young men looked to be seriously cute. San Francisco was enticing. “Come on,
love. Let’s mingle!”
“There might be some residual power,” said Panda, desperation in his eyes. He started
pounding the dashboard with the mallet. Bang! “I might be able to dislodge something.” Bang,
bang! “Kick-start the engines!” Bang, bang, bang!
“Oooh,” said Iris, “some of the hippie chicks are taking their clothes off!”
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Panda paused, mid-swing. “Really?” He lowered the mallet and relaxed his grip. “Well,
perhaps we might step outside for a few minutes. Just to greet the natives. After all,” he added,
trying not to let on that the mallet had landed on his foot, “it would be rude not to.”

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