Scooby-Dooby-Doo, Where Are You? (R)

I WILL SHOW YOU THE WAY

 

I don’t want to give the impression that my life suddenly became The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test, but I was certainly a freer spirit after my braining for The Cause. If nothing else, I was a lot less anxious. No more breath holding for me; our little get togethers were now looser occasions marked by plenty of high-frequency giggling and voracious snacking binges. Though never as chemically adventurous as my compatriots, I was perfectly at home sitting cross legged on my crocheted throw rug with Shaggy’s head in my lap passing the world’s fattest doobie between us, listening to Janis.

Oh, yes, the wheel had come ’round again and taken me along with it. Velma Dinkley had finally tapped into the Zeitgeist of her times. And sweet Lord Almighty, how my grades suffered.

Meanwhile, somewhere behind the half lidded eyes and permanent grin, an idea had been brewing in Shaggy’s mind. “California,” he said suddenly one evening in B34 where Daphne was feeding Fred ice cream in front of the TV and I was trying to skim my way through Miller’s Tropic Of Cancer. One word was all Shaggy offered before closing his eyes and slipping away somewhere purple, electric and mellow.

Four nights later, at the Kappa Kappa Omega “Beer Bust Bacchanal,” we suddenly couldn’t find him. The party was already a washout for me that no amount of grass or “Devil’s Piss” punch could improve. All those frat boys in their boxer shorts howling and leering, it was just not my scene. And then there was Daphne’s little show. Several sheets to the wind and sailing merrily away, Miss Blake somehow ended up on a table go going to “Little Bit O’ Soul,” tossing crowd-pleasing looks to the testosteronic throng, shaking her hips under that carefully pinned toga and lifting her coppery tresses with long, sultry rakes of her perfect fingers. They stamped and bayed and tore her apart with their eyes and she loved every second of it. I was repulsed. Looking for the refuge of Shaggy, I instead spotted Fred   at the back of the crowd, his own eyes darkening and a sweaty rush of blood boiling across his bare chest. Shaggy’s disappearance was probably the only thing that kept their brouhaha from becoming a massacre. Fred was moving through the crowd of his drooling brothers like a runaway train, barreling straight for his table dancing girlfriend. My voice was the emergency brake, “Where’s Shaggy?” Fred stopped, Daphne stopped, the frat boys kept on twisting.

The reason for our mutual concern had nothing to do with the six trays of party foods that Shaggy had vacuumed fifteen minutes into the soiree, the more specific cause may have been the two tabs of acid he had dropped after the second time they had played “Judy In Disguise (With Glasses).” Where was Shaggy? The three of us hustled.

While the party raged and ralphed around us, we covered every square inch of that two-story frat castle, over and under kitchen cabinets and girlie magazine strewn closets, with nary a trace of Shaggy’s existence to show for our detective work.

When we reconvened at the top of the stairs, disturbing an amorous couple petting it pretty hard, and immediately after Fred said, “That’s it, there’s nowhere left to look,” it hit us all at once. Our heads lifted in unison towards the ceiling as if responding to a sudden angelic chorus or a George Reeves flyby in his padded union suit. Again we moved as one, tearing for the attic stairs.

I don’t know why we, with several quarts of liquor and a couple of joints between us, thought we were in a better state of mind than the Shag to manage fifty degree angle footwork across slippery shingles, but there we were, driven by dark thoughts of our trippy friend stepping off the roof in an attempt to hug the stars, ourselves stumbling along the incline, urging the serenely perched silhouette ahead of us not to jump. Shaggy never even turned his head, but remained squatted, arms hugging his knees to his chest, absorbing the blue moonlight. He did smile though, to reassure his rescuers that he was in a safe place and planned to stay there. And as we finally grabbed some shingle ourselves, he spoke again   two words this time, but a definite addendum to his previous cryptic utterance. “San Francisco,” he said, then shoved a handful of potato chips from a mystery source into his mouth.

Among our little quartet we had pretty much abandoned our various and sundry academic curricula for free, pointless days of being. Nothing seemed truly important anymore; Daphne was quick to point out that in a world where Vietnamese children were hugging American soldiers and pulling the pins to the grenades they had hidden under their clothes, what the hell was the point of sweating a term paper? It seemed the whole planet was spinning out of control and the only power one had over the whole mess was to live, to live with all the force we could manage. Well, it sounded good at the time. As did Shaggy’s proposal when it finally found its way out of his mental fog bank. The last revelation was handed down to us the morning after The Paint Job.

The mid afternoon sun woke me giggling and confused. Too much of everything that I can’t recall. One thing I’ll say for “recrea­tional” drugs, they brought me dreams ten times stranger than anything I’ve ever written since. I even kept a journal on the night­-stand to jot them down come morning, but in leafing through them now, they definitely lost something in the translation of a conscious, sober mind. Regardless, in those late, yellow hours when I finally slipped on my glasses and stumbled out of Daphne’s bed, unfortu­nately alone (big surprise!), with the inside of my mouth feeling like pink Fiberglas insulation, I spent maybe two minutes just trying to find my missing roomie. And I might’ve spent an hour more in groggy confusion looking under piles of underwear if the door hadn’t suddenly burst open and if her hand hadn’t grabbed my wrist, pulling me into the dorm hallway still in my flannel p.j.s. “Daph? Wait-!”

But she just grinned like a maniac and arched those perfect eyebrows. “You’ve got to see this!”

Clambering down the stairs like a couple of sugar powered children on Christmas morning, we kept on going right out of the front door and onto the lawn. And there, having left telltale tread marks from ten yards down the street, rested Fred’s van taking up residence on the dorm’s postage stamp yard like an enormous green hippo with headlights. Only it wasn’t just green anymore. The van’s spring field of vibrant bluegrass had sprouted flowers. Big, outlandish, Peter Max excuse for flowers. All around the psychedelic Chevy were purple and orange spatters and spills from the emptied spray cans littering the ground; the boys had been generous, they’d wanted to flower the earth as well. I was shocked into stone while Daph was laughing so hard she had to stamp her little feet.

We threw open the back doors and discovered the artists in their natural habitat. Sprawled on the makeshift bed, Shaggy and Fred snoozed away, paint stained arms draped over their eyes. Fred’s body was up quicker than his mind. “Wuzza ?” he queried.

Not surprisingly it took even longer to rouse Shag. Fred, somewhat more alert by this point, stepped in with his proven method. “Allow me, ladies….” He then proceeded to strip off Shaggy’s sandals and tickle the soles of his feet. Slight tics at the edges of Shag’s mouth suggested it was beginning to work, so then we all joined in. Before long we had him cackling like a hyena. It was, all told, a great success though our chemically enhanced visionary awoke with terminal hiccups.

He looked at Fred, “D-hid they like the v-hic-an?”

“What were you guys thinking?” I asked.

“Haight hek-Ashbury,” he answered, grinning.

Fred laughed, “Don’t look at me. Somewhere around two this morning, Shag said the van needed to grow some flowers. Sounded perfectly logical at the time.”

Haight Ashb-hurry,” Shag insisted.

For once we kept our mouths shut and waited. This proved to be just the trick; after gulping in a few held breaths, Shaggy elabo­rated.

“It’s where everything is hic-appening. It’s, like, where we need to be. The world he- isn’t gonna be changed from here, man. W-hic we’ve got to, like, go to the center huc-of the energy. We’ve gotta tap in f-ic-or peace.”

I don’t know if any of us was taking this long formulated scheme seriously at this point, but, tellingly, we let him go on.

“And the acid! They, like, just p-hass it around over there, man! … On the street!

He grinned and nodded, happy with the thought and happy to let it sink in for a second. Daphne and Fred had already begun picking up the paint cans.

Shaggy was still bobbing.

“Zoinks!”

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