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Tuesday, June 19

All You Need Are Loveburgers

"All You Need Are Loveburgers"
short fiction - Literary
by Rod Drake

It was April 1967. San Francisco was overflowing with new ideas.

Molly worked in a used bookstore on Stanyan Street near Golden Gate Park. The store also sold comic books, cigarette papers and roach clips, plus handmade hippie necklaces and bracelets. The job didn't pay much, but Molly didn't need much money.

She shared an apartment on Fulton Street with two other girls, Rachel and Patty. The building was an old Victorian home that had been converted into a dozen apartments. The Jefferson Airplane lived in an old Victorian mansion at 2400 Fulton. Molly had seen Paul Kanter come into the bookstore twice, and once Grace Slick was with him.

Molly could walk to work and up to the Haight for anything she needed. There was always something going on in the Haight; a parade, a demonstration, a lecture, street theatre or some kind of literary/musical thing. It seemed like every weekend one of the local bands held a free concert in either the Panhandle or Golden Gate Park. Something to do was never a problem.

It was almost noon, the store was empty and Molly was hungry. She decided to hike up to the Haight for lunch and see what was going on. She ran into Patty just as she was leaving.

"Hi, " Patty said cheerily, "going for lunch?"

"Yeah. I feel like a loveburger. Maybe two." Loveburgers were what they called hamburgers in the Haight now. They were 25 cents each.

"Big spender. I'll go with you." Patty handled her some letters as they walked. "Here's the mail that came for you today."

Molly looked through the stack. A letter from a friend at college, the PG&E bill, a couple of ads and a business letter from Speak Softly Recording Studio.

Molly had done some work for the studio reading Anais Nin's The Delta of Venus. A couple of guys from Berkeley ran the small spoken word recording company, and they liked Molly's voice. They said it had the sensual, earthy quality needed to interpret The Delta of Venus' erotic stories. Molly had met them at a Family Dog concert in the Panhandle. Free, of course

Molly enjoyed doing the recording; she had always liked high school drama and poetry reading. It was just something fun to do for her.

She opened the envelope and found a check. Made out to her for $500. For her vocal services. She was astounded.

"Wow," Patty commented, "I've never seen that much money. You could buy a ton of loveburgers with that!"

"Yeah." Molly was clearly stunned. "I never thought I would be paid for recording those stories. Let alone this much money."

They stopped at the Happy Tummy, the Haight's local grill and greasy spoon restaurant. Outside, some obvious runaways were panhandling unsuccessfully.

"That's it!" It came to Molly just like that.

"What's it? You're gonna buy me lunch for the next five years?"

"No. The money. I know what to do with it." She beamed at Patty like a saint who's suddenly found her mission in life. "I’m going to give the money to the Free Store, so they can continue helping people in the Haight. And to the Diggers, 'cause they offer food to anyone here who needs it. What could be a better use than that? I don't need that much money; I've got enough to be happy."

"Okay, but first you're buying me a couple of loveburgers."

"Deal. With fries and cokes."

As they left the Happy Tummy, they bumped into Johnny Acidseed, a local character who gave out free samples of LSD up and down Haight Street. He put his last hit of acid for the day into Molly's palm.

Rod Drake believes that the best thing in life is, well, you know. Check out Rod's other stories published in Flashes of Speculation, Flash Forward, MicroHorror, Six Sentences and AcmeShorts.

Wednesday, June 6

Searching

"Searching"
Flash Fiction
by Julie Morgan

I know things nobody else knows. I know how many legs you can take off a spider without crippling it, I know four different ways to set fire to ants, I know how to tie ten different types of knot, and I know where Jennifer Evans is.

We’re out looking for her now. Her mam’s blubbing, her little brother’s with his nana and her dad’s not here. He’s dead, like her. His heart burst in his chest last Christmas, leastways that’s what she told me. Gruesome.

All the neighbours are out. All of them, and a load of coppers an’ all. Some of them aren’t even meant to be working today, but they want to do their bit to help find little Jennifer.

They’ve put out a picture of her, I saw it on the news. It’s the last one we had taken at school. She looks dead pretty on it, got her hair tied back in a ponytail, big smile on her face, showing her dimples.

I’m here with me mam and dad and our Tony. We’re the celebrity searchers, since the last little girl to go missing was our Becky.

I know where she is, too.

They’re together, Becky and Jennifer, keeping each other company so that they don’t get lonely. Along with that tatty looking little mongrel used to hang about in the park next to the swings. Two little girls and a dog. Nice that. Bit of company, bit of fun.

‘Y’alright, son?’ The family liaison copper squeezes my shoulder as she goes past. I give her a brave little smile then go back to staring at the ground, searching. I see a button, half trodden into the dirt. It isn’t either Becky’s or Jennifer’s, I’ve accounted for all of them.

‘Here!’ I shout, sounding all excited like. ‘Here! I think I’ve found something!’ I stand still with my hand up like we were told to. They all turn to look and a copper runs over to see.

‘Good lad, Josh,’ he says. ‘Well spotted.’ I smile. I am a good lad, I know that. Everybody says so.

Julie Wright has had stories published in Bullet, Flashing in the Gutters and Flash Pan Alley, and is in line to appear in Issue 2 of Out of the Gutter. She lives by the seaside in the north east of England and hangs out on Crimespace http://crimespace.ning.com/profile/Julielew when she's supposed to be working.