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Wednesday, April 7

Psychedelic Apples

Psychedelic Apples
Flash Fiction
by Rod Drake

It was April 1967. San Francisco was teeming with wide-eyed kids looking for answers.

Johnny Acidseed stood on Haight Street in front of the Free Store. He watched the endless throng of people that filled the sidewalk. Outrageous hippies, underage flower children, vocal college students, dazed runaways, stoned dropouts and potential revolutionaries.

Johnny checked them all out as they walked past. Every so often, one would catch his attention, usually a cute girl, and he would slip a hit of LSD into her hand. Today it was sunshine, the little orange tablet that looked like children's aspirin.

Some days it was little squares of blotter paper with drawings of a pyramid that had an eye radiating on top like on a dollar bill. Other days it was light blue microdot and on holidays, gelatin "window-pane."

"A day without sunshine is a day without acid," he said each time he pressed a pill into a palm, smiling at his own little joke.

Sometimes the girl would give him a hug or a flower; sometimes they offered him some change or a dollar, depending on what they had. He always refused to take any money. And sometimes a girl would invite Johnny back to her apartment to drop the acid and have sex. That was the best payback. It was usually for window-pane.

Giving away acid was what Johnny did. Every day, he passed out 50 to 100 hits to the endless new recruits on Haight Street. Johnny knew a chemist who made psychedelics, didn't care about money and enjoyed turning on as many people as possible. The chemist had an autographed photo of Albert Hofmann in his lab. Dr. Hofmann had invented LSD in April 1943 thinking it could serve as a psychology tool. What must he think of this whole generation turning on to his little medical experiment?

Johnny liked being part of the process. It was much better than being in the army, which he had been. He had served 18 months in Vietnam. It was during 1965 and early 1966 when the country more or less supported the American effort or at least was quiet in its opposition. Johnny saw things in Vietnam that haunted him. He did things over there that he still couldn't believe he did to fellow human beings.

All he wanted to do for those 18 long months, over 500 days, was to escape. Escape into a beautiful, peaceful world without pain and heartache. Now he helped gentle strangers in the Haight do that every day. Johnny was starting to feel good about himself again.

The Haight was definitely the place to be, and it was growing in population every day. Johnny's real name was John David Armstrong. He was the new All-American Boy. Someone in the Haight had dubbed him Johnny Acidseed in a moment of psychedelic humor. It fit and had stuck.

A man with an Old Testament-looking beard and a halo of kinky hair thumb tacked a handbill announcing a free concert today in the Panhandle by Big Brother, the Grateful Dead and other local bands. Johnny gave him a hit as a community service. A couple of giggling teenaged girls stopped and held their hands out to Johnny. And both girls were cute.

Rod Drake continues to live in Las Vegas and to be amazed by the neon wonderland. Check out Rod's other fiction in Six Sentences, The 6S Social Network, Powder Burn Flash, MicroHorror and AcmeShorts.