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Thursday, April 3

Piece of My Psychedelic Heart

"Piece of My Psychedelic Heart"
Flash Fiction
by Rod Drake

It was April 1967. San Francisco was home to a new wave of musicians.

Janis Joplin sat in a lawn chair with her feet on the railing of the little balcony at her Lyon Street apartment in Haight Ashbury. She was playing with a psychedelic pinwheel a fan had given her in Golden Gate Park yesterday. She liked it and laughed in her throaty fashion which carried down the block on the warm, gentle breeze.

Janis was only wearing underwear and didn't care. Under the lawn chair was a half-empty bottle of Jack Daniel's and a half-eaten bag of red licorice. A young man walking past down below caught her eye.

"Hey," she hollered down to him, "aren't you ... um ... from that band ... what's its name, uh, The Medicine Show?"

The young man stopped and smiled up at her. "Dr. Marmalade's Medicine Show," he corrected her.

"Yeah, that's it. You play bass, right?" Janis pulled her legs down and leaned on the balcony's railing.

"Uh-huh. You're the girl that sings for Big Brother and the Holding Company, right?"

"Yeah, that's my gig," Janis smiled widely in appreciation of being recognized. "You playing at the free concert in the Panhandle today?"


"Well," Janis laughed, "come on by and listen to me then."

"Can't. Moving our equipment to another practice hall this afternoon."

Janis leaned over the railing. He was really cute, in an unkempt sort of way. "How about coming up now instead? We could get to know each other." Then her maniacal laugh rang out through the neighborhood again. “I’ve got some killer weed," she added as incentive.

He considered it for about three seconds. "Okay. By the way, my name's Keith."

"I'm Janis. But my friends call me Pearl. And I think you're about to become my friend." She laughed once more as a light breeze blew her pinwheel into a frenzy. Could life get any better than this, she thought, running into her apartment, pushing magazines, sheet music and empty food containers off her unmade bed. Probably, hopefully, they would end up here.

Janis was popular in San Francisco, and she had no problem attracting men and taking them home with her. So very different from her life in Port Arthur, Texas, where she as an outcast, a freak, an overweight ugly girl no one wanted. But here she was special, the reigning queen of the Haight. Janis hoped it would last forever.

Rod Drake observes, thinks and writes in the neon fantasyland called Las Vegas. Check out Rod's longer stories posted in Six Sentences, Flashes of Speculation, Flash Forward, MicroHorror and AcmeShorts.