Updated for "The Old Hippie's Corner", Part V of the "Weekend in San Francisco" Series:
The Borgward hummed up Highway 1 hot dogging each curve with the agility of a Malibu surfer.
"The bomber is running awesome today," Bill jammed the column shifter up for a quick downshift.
"There's still some morning fog up this way, better fuel mix with all that moisture in the intake," I commented as a true San Fernando Valley gearhead.
"Nah, I think the bomber is just day dreaming about wild mustangs."
"Whoa, I guess! That was a pretty sanitary Mustang at the store."
Tork scrambled on the back of the surfboard from his cubbyhole in the back, "Pray that crimson filly pitch her rider to the sea!"
"Com' on Tork, Victoria wasn't that bad. She's just a fish out of water in these parts," Bill said irritated by the fool's jab at someone from our neighborhood. Victoria might have been a little dingy but didn't deserve disrespect from someone raised by wolves.
"So then my liege, don't we agree? Return this fish back to the sea!"
"Hey cut the rhyming crap!" Bill punctuated his retort with a braking downshift and a little rubber off the rear wheels. Tork slid off the nose of the surfboard and jammed his head into the rear view mirror. Recovering, he scurried to a dark corner of the bomber as quickly as he appeared. His cap n' bells remained entangled in the mirror like some strange motley octopus. Bill pulled at the belled tentacles and tossed Tork's hat to the rear, "So where IS this Limekiln Creek anyway?"
The chastened jester mumbled, "Hang a right after the next curve, man."
* * *
No less impressive than the Plaskett Creek area, Limekiln Creek seemed a whole lot wilder.Â I didn't see a soul about not even Rangers with Smokey the Bear hats. Tork advised that we should camp at the base of the canyon and proceed on foot the next day to the commune. Heavy Duty Dave, the commune leader, apparently only received visitors in the early morning and it was noon by the time the bomber pulled into a clearing alongside the creek. We got out and started setting up camp as Tork trucked up a small trail to collect firewood.
"What do you think?" Bill surveyed our austere campsite, "This Tork dude is starting to get on my nerves."
"I think he's bogus. I wonder what kind of work you need to do for food and weed." I pulled out our small ice chest to throw some baloney sandwiches together, "Of course, I wouldn't mind a change of diet."
"They got cheeseburgers and fries in Monterey," Bill teased.
I flicked a slug of mustard off my knife in his direction, "Don't say those SACRED words, man!"
Bill wiped mustard from his ear and reflected, "Think we should go back to Plan A and do the Steinbeck thing?"
"I don't see any nature beauties around. It's creepy, I don't see anybody."
"Yeah, let's chow down and get the hell out of here before that little twerp returns."
"Man, let's eat this on the road!"
As we repacked the bomber for a quick getaway we heard loud protestations upstream. A large woman dressed as a man came ambling down the trail carrying Tork under her arm like a freshly cut log.
"Put me down! Put me down!" the log cried.
"Shut up before I wring your elfin neck!" the woman threatened, "Can't a gal take a pee in the woods without a peeking Tork in the bushes."
"I'd rather gaze a full moon than your full arse m'lady!"
"It's Big Molly!" Bill exclaimed and we laughed at the plight of our dubious guide. His tall buxom captor dropped him at our feet.
Tork looked up at Bill and then her, "I am surrounded by my enemies! A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!"
Molly gave the fool a size twelve kick with her work boot and Tork scampered away down the trail toward the ocean.
"Aren't you the guys that were at the store?" She asked, "What are you doing with that little pervert?"
"We sent him out to get firewood," Bill answered to the bulges beneath her flannel shirt as if they'd asked the question.
"Why send an elf out to do a woman's work?" Molly grabbed Bill by the neck of his Dewey Weber Surfboards T-shirt and pulled him close to her large face, "A REAL woman's work!"
Bill grinned sheepishly, "I don't know."
Molly gave Bill a big dog sniff and then pushed him away, "Hmm, I guess you'll do." She then let out a tree-felling laugh, "You'll do just FINE, mustard and all the fixings!"
"What?" Bill and I looked at each other perplexed, was this Plan A or Plan B?
"Let's smoke a number," Molly pulled a joint and wooden match from her shirt pocket. Striking the match on her U.S Forest Service belt buckle, she motioned for us to sit down with her inÂ a meadow abounding with California poppies.
"I'm Molly," she took a deep drag then passed the doobie to Bill.
Exhaling she laughed again, this time just a small log splitter, "Dick n' Bill! Oh no, those aren't good names for around here. Let's seeâ€¦"
Molly looked Bill up and down then me, "Dick, where'd you get that haircut? Looks like the barber must have used #3 shears on you!"
"I guess I should grow it some," I said.
"You know Heavy Duty Dave says that if you don't let your hair grow out it gets all balled up in your head and you can't think straight. Hell, he's got hair down to his butt and a beard down to his pecker," Molly thought for a moment as Bill and I toked down, "That's the problem with being named Dick, you wouldn't let people call you Pecker would you?"
"No, I guess not," the weed took a fly swatter to my senses, "What-za-good name?"
"Tell you what, 'til you get some hair I'm calling you Shortcut. Now Bill hereâ€¦" Molly gave Bill a big one armed hug, "â€¦I'm calling you my Willy! Now that's some good names, Shortcut n' Willy. Hell, you could rob banks n' trains with them names!"
Bill and I gave out a nervous but approving laugh. Where this train was headed was anyone's guess. I tried my hand at the locomotive throttle,
"How did Tork get his name? We figured he was raised by wolves over by Plaskett Creek."
"French poodles would be more like it," Molly slapped my knee and took another hit on the canyon weed, "He ain't from around here, just drifted into the commune about a year ago. I believe little Torkie is originally from Michigan, Saginaw maybe. He hitchhiked to San Francisco several years ago and did street theater in Haight-Ashbury. That's where Torkie picked up all that Shakespeare mumbo jumbo."
"Yeah, well he was too much for even the Haight. He's an evil little son-of-a-bitch. Watch your back with that one!"
Bill tried a turn at the throttle; "We were supposed to meet Heavy Duty Dave tomorrow."
Molly exhaled a smoking forest fire laugh, "Oh that's a beaut! Heavy Duty won't be seeing anybody except the spirits for the next two weeks! Those two dudes that Sage and I were with at the store just brought in a load of Owsley Acid from the Bay. HD is up in his cave levitating and all manner of nonsense, best stay clear of the commune for now."
"Where are you from Molly," I asked emboldened by weed.
"I'm from these parts. My pa was a Las Padres Forest Ranger. This here is his belt buckle," Molly said proudly pointing to her match striker, "Poor pa got killed by lightning five years ago in a freak summer storm over there in Pfieffer," Molly pointed north, "He taught me and my kid sister, Elko Mono, how to survive in the woods and that's what I've been doing ever since. Elko moved with my ma to a gold mining town in Eastern Nevada after pa died."
The fog was rolling back in and there was a chill in the afternoon air. Bill's practical side suggested, "Maybe we better get that firewood."
"Oh yeah Willy, I forgot," Molly put her index and ring finger between her lips and produced an ear splitting locomotive come-to-station whistle. A long silence ensued and then we saw a lithe figure hopping down the trail. Molly stood up and hollered, "Sage, be a doll and go fetch some firewood. I got a stash back there at the fork."
Molly turned to me and said, "Shortcut, be a gentleman and go give Sage a hand."
I jumped to my feet and headed up the trail thinking of that old saw: Sometimes you have to watch what you wish for. Molly gave a second shout, "Shortcut, don't you and Sage hurry back. Willy and I have some business to attend to!"
Next in the Series: Part VI
28 May 2006
Â©Colonel Possum Publishing Co.