The moon is in its seventh house, but Greg is in his very first high. The dawning of the Age of Aquarius came late to Bellington College. Greg finds love, but will he risk all to keep it?
Do What You Wanna Do
By Angela Rasch
If I could have shaved without a mirror, I would have avoided all the lies and deception it offered. It falsely reflected a college senior about to embark on his last nine months on campus honing his talents and social skills in order to conquer the world. He looked relatively happy with himself and unafraid of the challenges ahead.
Lies, all of it, except for the fact that next spring I would graduate from Bellington College with a B.A. in sociology.
“Greg,” my roommate called from the hall outside the communal bathroom in our fraternity house, “are you coming with? We’re leaving for breakfast in five minutes.”
“No, you guys go on ahead; I’ve got some things to do this morning.” He knew I couldn’t get ready to go along that quickly; and I knew they didn’t want me to go along, because I added almost nothing to their fun. The game the brothers of Epsilon Delta played pretended we were a society of equals, brothers to one and all.
“Bothers” to one and all would be more like it. I couldn’t be glib, like them, and I preferred the sidelines to actual participation in most discussions.
Twenty minutes later I meandered across the campus mall toward a solitary breakfast in the Student Union. I would have a healthy breakfast of fried eggs, sausage, ham, and butter-fried potatoes -- a high protein diet to get me off to a good start.
Discarded picket signs on the mall indicated some sort of protest had occurred. About a hundred radical students who thought Indiana was Haight-Ashbury always stirred up trouble about Southeast Asia. Summer of love? Not here; not in my world.
The chances of me getting drafted seemed pretty remote. I had voted for McCarthy, but that hadn’t gotten me anywhere. Some said he would actually run for president in three years in '72, but we would be long out of Vietnam by then and he was a one-trick pony.
I probably could have guessed who the protestors had been. Bellington hand-picked its student population from the right families with an eye toward the liberal part of a liberal arts education. Even though most of the guys dressed like ivy-league students, we had our fringe lunatics. According to the student handbook, we supposedly kept an open mind toward all elements, and we tried our hardest to be outwardly accepting.
The leader of the “hippies” had actually spent four years in Southeast Asia as an advisor. He had been there quite a while ago, before all that crap with the commies in Tonkin Gulf. He wore a lot of old army clothes -- “fatigues” he called them. He and his group normally sat in the Student Union drinking coffee and discovering new uses for the word “fuck.” I had studied “hippies” in Sociology 420, a class about modern movements that occurred around us.
He spoke in a colorful language sprinkled with phrases like “number ten” and “fubar.” He could say "fubar" without most people knowing he had just said "fuck." The old vet had mastered some form of judo while in the army, which stopped some of my fraternity brothers from kicking the shit out of him. Kicking the shit out of assholes was the quickest route to Big Man On Campus.
“Could I have the $1.09, please?” I had changed my mind and decided to splurge on a steak and eggs breakfast. The counter woman’s hairnet had seen better days; and her cigarette seemed to be glued to her lower lip; it hung there even as she counted out my change.
I stood in line for ten minutes waiting as they grilled my steak, thinking about how I would use my Saturday. I had a speech to prepare for English 306 and a book report on “An American Tragedy” to write for English Lit. I had decided Theodore Dreiser had given the reader a stern warning about the care needed in selecting your friends. One bonehead mistake and life was over.
“Who has the $1.09?” The girl behind the counter held out a platter loaded with fried potatoes, eggs, and a twelve-ounce porterhouse. I reached, but before I could take it from her a skinny arm attached to a handful of long, slender fingers had beaten me to it.
“Excuse me, Miss,” I said in protest to the back of her head.
She turned and surprised me with her wispy mustache and skimpy beard. “He” smiled. “Sorry, man. I think we must have ordered the same thing. It’s yours, if you want it.”
My hands extended in front of me fingers up and palms toward him, declining his offer. My face flushed. Never before had I mistaken a boy for a girl; I struggled to make a proper, profuse apology. “I. . .I. . . . Look I didn’t mean anything by calling you ‘Miss.’ ”
“No big deal,” he offered. “My old lady has been telling me to get a haircut, but I don’t want to waste the bread.”
“Who has the $1.09?” The girl said it, and offered another plate to whomever would take it, exactly the same way she had fifteen seconds before, totally oblivious to the enormous harm she had caused.
I grabbed my plate, and then turned to find a place to sit. Saturday mornings weren’t particularly busy on campus, but more than half the room had been roped off so they could wax the floor.
“We can share that table,” the hippie offered, pointing his plate toward a table for two that appeared to be the only one in the room available.
I really didn’t want to be seen with him, but more than likely none of my fraternity brothers -- and certainly none of my instructors -- would be in the cafeteria that early on a Saturday. Outside of my roommate and a few others at the house, almost everyone at Epsilon Delta was sleeping off a late-night kegger. My roommate and his buddies had gone to check out a farmer in the next county that might allow them to hunt on his land.
I sat down with the long-haired freak, but kept my head on a swivel, in case someone came in whom I knew. I didn’t want the shit kicked out of me simply because I sat with a hippie.
He smiled quit a bit more than necessary, but hadn’t said much. I assumed from the length of his hair, that he had homosexual desires, which made me a little bit nauseous. We had also briefly discussed homosexuals in my sociology courses, and I could probably stomach it, if I ever really met one.
A nice-looking girl brought us refills for our coffee. She would keep our cups full as long as we sat there. Our campus had about ten guys for every one girl and a lot of local girls worked in the cafeteria trying to snatch a college-educated husband.
“My name is Celestial,” he said, “but if that makes you uncomfortable you can call me Les.” His voice had an airiness to it that matched his long, blond hair. “My old lady says I’m fucked up to have a name that sounds like a heavenly body. Wow!” He grinned. “That’s some heavy shit she lays on me.”
The stack room of the library suddenly seemed like the perfect place for me. I needed to write my report, re-write it, and then give it to that girl over in Dymane Hall who typed papers.
In interest of learning a bit more about the “hippie” movement I decided to be brave and sit with him a few more minutes. Contrary to what I had heard he didn’t seem to stink. “Why do you grow your hair so long?”
“You’ve got that backward, man. It’s you that’s all hung up on hair. My long hair is natural because I don’t do anything to it. That makes it beautiful, because it’s in its true state. Being natural is beautiful, don’t you think.”
I nodded, but remained unmoved. “Are you a homosexual?”
He snorted, as if my question came out of left field. “Not that I know of. Mostly my hair means I’m willing too stand up for my rights to be a human being who is harmless to all others."
He sounds like a protester. I’d better be careful or I’ll end up on an F.B.I. list of subversives.
“The ‘man’ isn’t going to get me on a treadmill of killing for the military-industrial complex.” When he picked up his coffee cup he did so in a delicate way that caused me to check the room again to see who had taken the time to watch us. He probably suffered from the ill-effects of smoking marijuana, which had a reputation for changing sex genes. Although our Sociology of Today instructor said no scientific studies had been done, he told us of reported cases of male hippies growing breasts.
“I haven’t seen you around campus before,” I said. If I had I would have noticed him. My crewcut wasn’t our only contrast. He had probably purchased every stitch of clothing on his back from a thrift shop, including his cracked and broken shoes.
“I transferred in because there’s a commune two miles from campus I might live in if my old lady and I get tired of our apartment. A bunch of us had thought about going to Berkeley, but things have gotten too weird there; and I’m just not in to all that weird shit, man.”
Obviously! Hair down to his ass -- and he’s “not into weird shit." Riiiight!
“Too much fucking LSD out there,” he moaned. “I’m psychedelic and all that crap, but wow, if I can’t grow it, I don’t want it in me. Know what I mean, man? Now that they’ve fucking made LSD illegal it’s become a bad trip. Bummer.”
He seemed weirdly rational and maybe even reasonable. I decided to let him know I was hip. “I saw some ‘grass’ once.”
He looked at me as if I had said something funny, but didn’t laugh. “It’s all tied together now so tight it makes my head hurt. This war is fucked up. Drugs are righteous. Free love is righteous. What we’ve been handed is crap. The whole materialistic bullshit we’ve been fed in Disney cartoons. . .it’s fucked up shit.”
My mind drifted to the last Disney movie I had seen -- a free movie in the Student Union -- “Peter Pan.” I chuckled a bit to myself about that scene where the Indians dance to a funny song about what made the red man red. What can be wrong with a simple movie like that?
He pulled a square of tinfoil from an inside pocket of his heavily-beaded vest. “My old lady made brownies last night. Want one?” He tore his brownie in half, and then slid it to me across the Formica surface of the table.
There are certain things about college life that aren’t all that great, like no brownies. I accepted his gift with a smile.
“If my hair freaks people out,” he said, biting into his half with a huge grin, “I love it. Freaking out people makes them think.”
I bit into my brownie with a little less gusto, worried that it might be old or something, but to my surprise it tasted wonderful.
For some reason I found Les totally fascinating. Compared to my strait existence, his life seemed like it had been filmed in Technicolor.
I never made it to the library that morning. Les proudly told me the brownie I ate had been laced with marijuana; and later at his apartment, Les introduced me to what he called a water-filled “bong.”
After experiencing the dreamy qualities of a marijuana-induced “high” for over thirty minutes, I questioned what other lies the establishment had perpetrated. I hadn’t gone mad smoking dope. Not once had I wanted to fly like a bird. I felt, for lack of a better phrase, in a groove. We rapped about everything of importance.
Les’ old lady turned out to be a sophomore who called herself Jovian.
“Jovian was a Roman god called Jupiter,” I giggled, staring at her. “You’re not a boy.” In her short leather skirt she looked tremendously available. Her legs went all the way up to her. . . .
If her love is free, I’m in. I giggled again.
“Gender shit is crap,” Jovian said with more authority than I had ever heard from a woman.
My mother had worked outside-the-home for years and had been elected president of the PTA, so I knew about strong women. You couldn’t make Mom shut up and stay in her place. No sir.
“If everyone could just get into nurturing,” Jovian said, “it would be easier to spread the power of peace and kindness.”
I noted that Jovian didn’t throw around “fucks.” I admired that and wanted to make love to her because of it. Jovian and Les seemed to be two of the kindest, gentlest, sweetest people I had ever met. Compared to them my fraternity brothers deserved the “animal” label they coveted.
She sat on the floor with me. My body flung itself all over the place, but she had her legs folded under her and looked quite comfortable.
“The nuclear family is an oppressive invention of an oppressive government,” she said, taking a long “hit” from the bong, and then passing it to me.
Les leaned back in his beanbag chair. “I’m thinking about joining the SDS and going to fucking Washington. It’s time to tell the world it’s fucked up; and we’re going to change it.”
His altruistic aims stood in contrast to my immediate goals -- to test the limits of my high, and then make love to Jovian, if that would be okay with Les.
Until I had met them I had been firmly against pre-marital sex and had saved myself for marriage. For what? It’s all crap. I could get sent to Vietnam and die an asshole virgin in some rice patty.
“I want women to have the chance to be equal to men,” I said, thinking myself to be quite open-minded.
Jovian giggled. “Women who want to be equal to men lack ambition.”
We all nodded.
“Right on,” Les said. He picked up a bit of beadwork Jovian had been doing and started to work on it. The sight of him acting that feminine unnerved me, but on the other hand it appeared quite natural.
I thought about where I would have been and what I would be doing, if I had gone with my roommate. All of a sudden my life seemed meaningless. Les and Jovian had things figured out. They had their shit together, while my life was “fucked up.”
“Don’t you think Celestial is pretty?” Jovian asked.
I giggled. “Men aren’t pretty. Men are handsome.”
“Celestial is beautiful,” Jovian said and stood up. She put a Mama’s and the Papa’s LP on her hi-fi. We passed the bong and listened to their four-part harmony, a sound like no other. Jovian swayed to the music and softly sang along.
I needed no more convincing. Life as I have been living it was a bummer. The only time either of them had criticized me all day had been when I “Bogarted” a joint.
“You gotta go where you wanna go,” she sang, “Do what you wanna do.”
Her wanna’s echoed around the room in an erotic way leaving me hard. Her long dress did nothing to hide her distinctly feminine figure. I had heard that some hippie girls didn’t even wear underwear; and I could tell she wasn’t wearing a bra.
Jovian turned off the hi-fi and knelt before Celestial with his face in her hands. “Where do you wanna go?” She spun toward me and took my hands in hers. “What do you wanna do?”
I didn’t have to think long. “Graduate on time and get a good job.”
“Man,” Celestial said, ”you’re either on the bus or you’re off the bus, and if you’re off the bus, you’ll get left behind.”
Jovian nodded and gave her body to the beat of some unnamed song that had to be running through her head. “That’s so sad, Greg. There’s time though. You’ll figure it out.”
My hard-on faded. I wanted so badly to understand what to say, how to be like them.
“What do you wanna do?” Jovian asked of Celestial.
His face turned red. As “laid back” as he came across, it seemed unlikely that his thoughts could embarrass him. He took a deep hit on the bong, and then held the smoke much longer than I thought he should have.
After he exhaled he pulled his legs under himself like Jovian had. “Do you really want to know, man? Because if I tell you what I really, really want, it will blow your fucking mind.”
We nodded, encouraging him to tell us.
“It’ll blow your mind,” he said again. “I promise you it’s an outta-sight mind-fuck.”
I looked to Jovian, whose face reflected the love I could tell Celstial had for her. Even though they both believed in free love, I felt less and less sure Celestial would be okay with me making love to Jovian.
Jovian stood behind Celestial and rubbed his temples. “Tell us Celestial. What do you wanna do?”
“I don’t think so,” he said. “It’s really out there, man.” He picked up his bongo set and pounded out a haunting meter.
“Get on the bus, Celestial. You’re starting to bring me down.” Jovian came around in front of Celestial and kissed him on the lips. “There’s nothing you wanna do that’s going to be a bad trip for me. It’s all okay. Don’t start getting all uptight on me.”
Despite myself -- I hoped what he wanted to do was to go into the bedroom and share Jovian with me.
He opened his mouth. For a few seconds nothing came out, as if his tongue had numbed. “I want to be beautiful,” he said quietly. “I want to be pretty.”
“You are already,” Celestial reminded him. We had just been over that.
Maybe he’s burnt?
“No,” he said, looking quite sad. “I really want to be pretty. Like you.” A tear ran down his cheek.
“You’re the most beautiful man I know,” Jovian said.
I nodded. He did look pretty — in a way.
“But,” he whispered, “I don’t want to be a beautiful man.”
Jovian laughed. “Are you tripping? ‘I wanna be beautiful. I don’t wanna be beautiful.’ What’s your thing, man?”
Jovian and I both stared at him.
Tears poured from his eyes as he struggled to find words. He shook his head and bit his lip. “It’s this crazy dream, man,” he said. “Ever since I was four I’ve had this fucked up dream.”
“It’s okay,” I said. “We all have aspirations. It’s okay to dream about becoming someone rich and powerful.”
He stood and paced the room. “Not rich and powerful. Fuck. I want to beautiful, man. I want to be a pretty, beautiful girl.”
Jovian giggled, but it sounded hollow. “What do you mean, Les?”
“I’m not sure,” he said, “but every night I go to bed and dream that somehow I became a girl and it makes me happy. . .then I wake up.”
“You said,” I whined, feeling bummed out, “you said you’re not a homosexual.”
“He’s not,” Jovian stated. “He’s my fulltime lover.” Her hands rubbed his shoulders, which I noted weren’t as big or broad as they should be.
“I’m not into guys,” I said, setting boundaries that I wouldn’t violate -- no matter what.
“That’s not it,” Les said. “Even my name -- ‘Celestial’ -- is secretly a form of ‘Celeste.’ I named myself after my favorite movie star, Celeste Holm. Remember her from “All About Eve.”
I nodded and tried to see anything about Les that reminded me of her, which I didn’t. “Maybe you could be a Hare Krishna? They wear dresses, sort of.”
“No,” Les replied. “It’s more than the clothes. I can’t figure it all out, man.”
Jovian had stopped swaying. “Are you for real?”
“Do you want me to call you ‘Celeste’?” Jovian asked in a timid tone that indicated she didn’t really want to hear the answer.
Les nodded, and then hung his head in misery.
“I. . .I can do that,” Jovian stated quietly, and then signaled to me with her hand to join her in bringing Celeste back into his groove.
“Uh huh,” I agreed. “If you want to be called ‘Celeste,’ I’m all for it.” My mind reeled. “Do you suppose it’s the marijuana? Have you smoked so much it’s changing you into a girl?”
Les closed his eyes, possibly to think.
Jovian shook her head. “I love being a girl. Being a girl is a rush. Oh wow! I don’t want to change to be a boy; and I smoke more dope than Celeste.”
Celeste? In a way it sounded less affected than “Celestial” and seemed to fit him more than “Les.”
“It’s not the wacky tobaccy,” Celeste said. “I wasn’t smoking dope in the third grade when I snuck into my sister’s room and tried on her dress.”
“Big deal,” I argued. “One Halloween my sister dressed me up as a witch, but Mom made her take it off me before I went out in public.”
“It wasn’t just one time,” Celeste admitted. “I dressed in my sister’s clothes every chance I got.”
“You did?” Jovian asked. “Do you like boys? Do you make love to boys when I’m not around? Did you bring Greg here to make love to him?” Although she certainly had the right to ask, her questions seemed to be surprisingly loaded with animosity.
“No,” he answered quietly. “I’ve thought about things like that, but I don’t think I’m into boys, and I’m definitely into you.”
Jovian’s face registered immense relief. “That’s good, good, good.”
Les turned to me. “No offense, Greg.”
“None taken,” I replied, pleased he cared.
He smiled and passed me the bong. “Take another hit of Mexican Mary Jane. I scored a dime bag. It’s righteous weed.”
“You are pretty,” I said to Celeste after inhaling another toke of bliss. “With your long hair and soft features you are pretty.” It felt weird saying it, but I owed it to him for sharing his stash -- and he did look sort of lovely.
“No.” Celeste dissolved into tears as he sank to the floor. He didn't cry like any man I had ever seen -- more like a miserable woman who couldn’t imagine a future for herself.
Jovian knelt next to him and pulled him into a hug. She held him and cooed. “Celeste, it will be okay. You can’t flow against your Karma. We’ll find a way to make it okay.”
I felt completely useless. Jovian looked sexier than ever holding him. I wanted to show her how resourceful I could be. I wanted her to know how good I could be at solving problems.
I studied the two of them intently -- opening my mind to all the possibilities. The similarities between the two of them couldn’t be denied. In fact, Celeste’s hair was actually longer than Jovian’s, although greasy and matted.
Neither of them could weigh more than a hundred and twenty pounds. They probably drank Tab and used Sweet-N-Low in their coffee. They appeared to be about the same size. Uh huh! They were about the same size. “Jovian, why don’t you make Celeste pretty?”
They both looked at me with big, puppy-eyes. They wanted someone to help them; and I had the power to be that person.
“Unless I’m hallucinating,” I said, “you two appear to be about twins in the way you’re built. Of course, Celeste needs to grow a couple of. . . .” I indicate breasts by cupping my hands where my breasts would be, if I had some.
Jovian eyed Celeste. “I see what you mean.”
“Your dresses fit me,” Celeste said, his face turning bright red.
“Oh,” Jovian exclaimed, “I wondered why. . . .”
Celeste turned to me. “Do you want to be a woman too?”
I laughed, but the idea of being with two women as fine as those two intrigued me.
“Do your own thing,” Jovian declared with virtuous anger. “The establishment tries to control people by arbitrarily deciding who should wear what. That’s bogus.” She stared intently at Celeste. “Let’s take a shower. I want to work with your hair; and we need to clean a little fuzz off your face, arms, and legs.”
They went into the bathroom; and for the next thirty minutes I could hear almost constant giggling that made me even hornier.
I turned on the hi-fi receiver and listened to the radio to take my mind off what had happened, but every song was a reminder. The disc jockey play Johnny Cash's Boy Named Sue, Steppenwolf's Born to be Wild, the Rascal's People Got to be Free, John Fred's Judy in Disguise, and Marvin Gaye's Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing.
When they came out, a shy and nervous Celeste looked strangely appealing a long granny dress. Her shy awkwardness faded quickly after I rose and gave her a hug. Hugs hadn’t been my thing before meeting Celeste, but they had quickly become natural.
“Your feet are too big for my shoes,” Jovian said apologetically, “but I normally go barefoot. We’ll paint your toes and you’ll be just perfect.” She then spent a long time making Celeste’s fingernails and toenails pink, during which we did another number.
“Out of sight! It’s a good thing you still had a few bras,” Celeste giggled at one point, “or we would have had no place for my boobs.” Celeste had stuff the bra with something to create a figure that closely matched Jovian’s.
“You look groovy in my threads,” Jovian said. “Next week we should make you something adorable of your own we can tie-dye.”
“Power to the people,” Celeste's chest moved in that way that makes you think of great sex.
“I didn’t think hippies used make-up,” I offered, as Jovian sat Celeste in front of her and brightened her face with a variety of cosmetics.
“Far out,” she said. “That’s what we like people to think.”
When Jovian finished it became hard for me to remember Celeste had really been Les. She looked nifty, like a real flower child.
Jovian lit incense and rubbed a pleasing, vanilla lotion into Celeste. Celeste’s hair dried enough for Jovian to brush it, and then weaved a few strands into a small braid that circled the top of Celeste’s head. Then Jovian wove flowers into that braid. The rest of Celeste hair hung straight down so that she looked a bit like a honey-blonde Cher.
“I’m so fucking stoned,” I moaned, feeling turned-on.
“Celeste,” Jovian said with an evil grin, “let’s show Greg what we do to men who get wasted in our pad.”
The two of them jumped on my body and tickled me all over. I melted into a helpless puddle. Jovian eased off first leaving Celeste to keep up the torture. When she quit I found myself lying under her on the floor with her crimson mouth inches away from mine. It was perfectly natural when we kissed. It felt even more natural when Jovian sat next to me on the floor and took a turn kissing my lips.
“Mmmmm,” I said, after we all came up for air, “You both are so beautiful I can hardly stand it.” At that moment I would have gladly taken the two of them into their bedroom, but Jovian had other ideas.
“Let’s go for a walk,” she suggested.
Celeste took a sharp breath. “I can’t.”
“Can’t or won’t?” Jovian asked. “Are you worried about the ‘man’ all of sudden?”
I had become a spectator, as they challenged each other to new heights. The idea of walking across campus with those two felt oddly exciting. “Let’s do it,” I said. “You’re both too lovely to hide from the world. You should show everyone what being pretty is all about.”
Celeste smiled, and then she took my face in her hands and kissed me deeply. Our tongues met. “When we get back, I want to see if I like boys.”
“I think you do,” Jovian said, as she giggled. “I think I like the idea of you liking boys. If your boyfriends all are as nice as Greg, we can share. That would be beautiful.”
My mind raced as I tried to think of ways to make them forget about the stroll across campus in favor of a short leap into their sack.
Jovian added another set of love beads around Celeste’s neck. “Let’s go before one of us gets all chickened out.”
Celeste shot Jovian a look that said neither of them would ever back down.
As amazing as the two of them had looked in their apartment, they looked a hundred times better in natural sunlight. They pranced more than they walked, dancing around trees and running across wide-open areas of grass holding hands. Happiness soared from their heads in shades of pastel blues and pinks. Watching them made me wonder if I was looking at a preview of heaven. I calculated the eternity it would take to get them back to the apartment and into my arms.
“Hey, look at the hippie chicks.”
I recognized the voice breaking into my perfect world as Stuart from my fraternity. He was the one guy in our house who couldn’t wait to “kill a few gooks.”
“If they didn’t smell so bad, I’d love to fuck me a hippie chick.”
I turned and saw Stuart walking with Pockets, who had become infamous for drinking from a gallon jug at keggers. They both had dressed in their ROTC parade uniforms and spit-shined boots, which meant they were going over to the stadium for extra credit marching.
I didn’t particularly like either of them. They embarrassed everyone during Hell Week when they paddled the pledges and made up obscene things for them to do. Most of the time during Hell Week -- I stayed in my room.
Jovian and Celeste turned to find me. They stood about a hundred feet away; and Stuart and Pockets had stopped about halfway between us. My marijuana picked that moment to wear off. I had lost my buzz. I stepped behind a tree.
“What the fuck!” Stuart shouted. He pointed at Celeste, who had one hand on her hip and the other held up toward him -- flipping him the peace sign. “That’s no fucking broad. She’s a guy.”
Pockets moved warily toward Celeste, as if she might be contagious. If I ran quickly, I could’ve cut them off. I wasn’t a physical match for either of them, but I most likely could’ve gotten them to back off. Instead, I froze.
“He’s a god-damned fairy,” Stuart screamed. “I hate fucking faggots.”
“Are you a peace-loving, hippie faggot?” Pockets shouted. “You misfits are dangerous to our world. I oughta fuck you up good.”
“Leave Celeste alone,” Jovian yelled. Both Jovian and Celeste looked toward me with those same puppy-eyes I’d seen no more than three hours earlier.
This time I solved the problem by moving further behind my tree. Perhaps Stuart and Pockets had a point. What had I been thinking?
Stuart shoved Jovian aside; and Pockets took a menacing step toward Celeste.
“Hey man,” Celeste said, “we aren’t looking for any trouble. Be cool.”
I wanted to intercede, but I knew if I came forward both Stuart and Pockets would know immediately what I had been planning to do with Celeste. That would be the end of me.
Pockets advanced again toward Celeste; and she reacted by retreating. She hooked the hem of her granny dress with her bare heel and pulled herself over backward. She reached back to catch herself, but her head struck the marble base of a Korean War monument with the sickening sound of a dropped watermelon.
She died before she hit the ground.
The pigs called it “an unfortunate accident.” The college gave Pockets and Stuart enough credits to graduate early -- to get them off campus. The Army immediately commissioned them as first lieutenants. Neither one of them came back from Vietnam. My guess is they both were fragged.
The hippies didn’t even protest the circumstances of Lester’s death. They seemed embarrassed by how he had been dressed.
Jovian dropped out of college; and I never saw her again. Someone said she joined a commune in Oregon. When the yearbook came out I found out her real name had been Jennifer.
I never came out from behind my tree. More often then not I dream about that day and what happened and what might have happened. . .and wake up screaming my regrets.
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