Last Of The Hippies: From Thereby Hangs A Tail
Hippies nearby? I knew just from how they talked. I looked up and all of sudden the butte, which hadn’t come any closer in so long, was right there; but unsteady, kind of wobbling. And at its base, also wobbling: an RV painted in rainbow colors, the sun glaring off its windshield; a tent with one open side; and two old guys, both bald except for long gray fringes all the way down to their shoulders. Hippies, no doubt about it.
“Will you look at that,” said the one wearing a vest. “Wish we had a camera.”
“We have a camera, dude,” said the one with no vest.
They passed a joint back and forth. I went right up to them and lowered Princess to the ground.
“Will you look at that. I thought it was a weasel or somethin’, but it ain’t.”
“Course it ain’t. No weasels in the desert.”
The joint went back and forth. I stood there panting. Princess lay on the ground, eyes open.
“Point is I thought it was a weasel he’d killed, like, the big dog, I’m talkin’ about. But it’s an itty bitty dog. The big one carried the little one. From outta nowhere, if you see what I mean.”
“What do you mean?”
“Look out there. See anybody?”
“Then it’s outta nowhere. How weird is that?”
“Like, how often does it happen, two dogs from outta nowhere?”
I gazed up at these guys. The desert was full of old hippies – we’d run into them before, me and Bernie. Bernie didn’t like them, not sure why, but I did, especially that hippie smell – sweat, leather, pot, toe jam – so interesting. I was smelling it now, maybe the all-time strongest.
“What do you think he’s barkin’ about?”
They took turns sucking at the stub end of the joint. “Could be he’s thirsty.”
“Can’t think what else.”
Not too long after that, the hippie in the vest went inside the rainbow RV and returned with a bowl of water, which he lay on the ground.
“Get a load of them two goin’ at that water.”
“Like there’s no tomorrow.”
“Seize the day, man.”
They bumped fists.
“Wonder if they’re hungry.”
“Sure are thirsty.”
“Go together sometimes, hungry and thirsty.”
“We still got that pack of Slim Jims?”
“Slim Jims? Reckon dogs dig Slim Jims?”
Oh, brother. I liked hippies, but they had a tendency to be a little slow.
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