"Oh, wow," the nameless skinny chick said as Megaman, looking like a cross between a troglodyte and a stoned circus bear, pushed through the colored Gypsy beads that hung in the doorway. As usual, he had a hundred and fifty watt grin on his face and a joint dangling from the corner of his mouth. "Dude, how was Chicago?" somebody in the middle of passing the hash pipe asked. "Awesome man, just awesome," Megaman said, nodding his head and making the curly black locks of his hair and beard jounce up and down. "The 1968 Democratic Convention will go down in history as the turning point, you dig, in the cultural revolution. Like, the pigs hassled us, but the establishment is on the run." "Oh, wow," the nameless chick said again. "Right on, brother," LeOtis affirmed. "For sure," Mary Mary agreed, sagely shaking her head while inhaling deeply from the brass pipe. Little Dude, A.K.A. Calvin Hodges to the straights, sat in the corner, watching, uncharacteristically quiet. Megaman, whose given name was Raymond something or other, was the oldest in the group. He had been in the navy, as a radio tech, and was sort of the de facto leader of the loose knit commune. A jovial fellow, he was always smiling, passing a doobie or the pipe, and espousing political rhetoric aimed at overturning The System. He spent the next hour telling how heíd gotten his political bonafides in Chicago by throwing bottles at the pigs and bravely running away. Finally, everyone except Megaman, Little Dude, and the nameless chick, got up to leave. There was a free concert in the park tonight. It didnít start till eight, but they needed to leave early to have time to steal toilet paper from some filling stations. Electricity one could live without--but there were some bourgeoisie affectations even the revolution embraced. Megaman rolled and lit another joint, then offered it to Little Dude, who waved it off. "You seemed bummed, Little Dude. Have a hit." Little Dude shrugged, waved it off again. "Hey man, whatís up?" Megaman asked. "You acting like your Grandmother just flushed your stash." "Well, itís like, you see . . .every since I dropped that Mescaline last week, the stuff eight-toed Eddie brought up from Mexico, from that Shaman, Iíve . . . well, Iíve been receiving some sort of transmissions--like random TV newscasts from the future. It went on for several days, seemed to peak, now itís gone." "Far out.." Megaman, who systematically believed in anything that couldnít be substantiated, nodded his head up and down. " Like visions and stuff? Then everything is groovy, you dig? The air is full of shit like polluting electro magnetic radiation. So why not from the future? Lay a rap on me, man. What about the sexual revolution, dig, free love and all that?" "Some deadly shit shows up, Megaman. At the turn of the century theyíre still trying to cure it. Takes years to kill you. Itís called ADDS, or something like that. You can never tell whoís a carrier, and they can pass it for years before symptoms show up." Megaman glanced at the skinny chick, in time to watch her say "Oh, wow," then back to Little Dude. "Thatís very unhip. Well, how about the superpower conflict? The peopleís revolution? The threat of Nuclear annihilation." "Communism in Russia, the workerís paradise, it just . . .falls apart. No bombs. No WWIII. The Berlin wall comes down. Some actor--you wouldnít believe me if I told you--becomes president and we get into a military hardware spending war with them, which they lose." "The Mideast crisis?" "Well, that seems to be on going. Nothing changed, far as I could tell." "Bummer, man. How about toward the millennium, politics in America then?" "Political corruption is still as bad as ever. In fact, in the mid-nineties, we have a president who embodies corruption and hypocrisy. Heís a vote selling powermonger, a womanizer, a sexist pig, likes to abuse young chicks, lies to the public and stuff . . . is even accused of rape, and gets away scott free." "Damn! You mean the Republicans will be in control of the White House in the mid-nineties? Well, do race relations improve by then? Do we achieve parity?" "Sort of. There is this rich black guy--a movie star or athlete, or something like that--who nearly decapitates his white wife, and slashes a white guy to death, and then buys his way out of it." "I guess thatís progress? How about the pigs? Do we off them? Theyíre definitely still uncool, right?" "Theyíve got their own TV show, with a cool theme song and big ratings numbers." Megaman was stunned, but only for a second. He took a hurried hit on the J, then asked, "Well what about the back to the earth movement? Do we shutdown technology?" "Well, not exactly. In a couple of decades computers are everywhere, and there are commercial satellites orbiting the earth; You can get 500 channels on your TV--picture quality you wouldnít believe--movies in your home, sports events. That part was pretty cool." Little Dude got to his feet, began working the kinks out of his legs. "You believe me, donít you?" Megaman frowned as he thought, then said, "Sure, Little Dude, why shouldnít I. Youíve always been a righteous dude." "Megaman . . .I . . .I ím dropping back in. Tomorrow, Iím cutting my hair, going to my parents to beg forgiveness, and . . . Iím going to enroll in computer school. I hope you understand. "Iíll see you around sometime, Megaman." For just a second, Megaman stared at the swinging strings of beads his friendís exit had set in motion. "Five-hundred channels? Movies . . ." Megaman mumbled to himself. He tossed the joint away and scrambled to his feet. "Hey, wait up. Iím going with you. And call me Raymond from now on." "Oh, wow, " the nameless skinny chick said.
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