The unpublished notes of Sterling Rover, on assignment for RollingPlum
You’d think that at some frickin’ New Age Hippie Transformation retreat, you’d be able to hook up with some hippie chicks, right? I mean there are certain perks that come with the profession, and that’s gotta be number one for me (No offense to Number Two).
So far, I’ve met a married, spaced-out hippie mom, a paranoid old curmudgeon in shorts and knee socks (knee socks), a goddess who will turn to wisp at the slightest whisper, and a Butch and her not-so-femme buddy.
Things are not looking too good for Sterling Rover right now.
I take advantage of a free afternoon before the participants arrive to make it over to the Rabbit Cafe.
I introduce myself to this silver fox sitting at the bar sipping a Dim and Dusty. A romance novel sits on the counter before her.
I’ve got nothing against old wealth, even if it does come in the form of a newly-spawned Townie who believes her own back story of serial monogamy, widowhood, and a fifth husband’s generous 401k. Every age brings its own pleasures, I like to say.
I keep looking over my shoulder, expecting the entrance of Rudy Insteadman, the British illustrator assigned to do some sketches to accompany my story. I’ve never met the dude. We’re supposed to rendezvous here sometime before the events begin, and I keep suspecting that every man who looks like an Englishman might be him.
So when this tall bald guy in a tartan-plaid shirt walks in, I’m thinking maybe that’s my guy.
“Ya, Joe!” says the bartender to him. “We got someone famous here! A real writer! Come to do a little number on the big
Change-Me event getting ready to start up!
As I watch Joe making his way down the bar, I notice the Widow Silver checking me out, with a sly and knowing grin. I am not ashamed to be an open book to all creatures feminine.
She is lovely, and I catch myself imagining her with her hair down, twenty years earlier, with that same sly smile, that same spark in her eye. And then I remember she had no twenty years ago except in the back story of our imagination. This is her first digital appearance, spawned by my visit here, and every past with which we endow her is a product of our imagination.
Or in my case, a product of my lushly depraved imagination, for this fine lady would have made one awesome hippy chick.
Another woman with titanium-colored hair slides into the room. This one, with eyes for me. I recognize the gaze of a noncommittal woman when I see one, and it takes very little stretch of the imagination to reach back into a shared past that might have been on that big vast expanse of lawn dotted with hippies at Woodstock. I can hear Arlo Guthrie tripping as he tries to make sense of Dylan’s lyrics, spinning out this tale of earthquakes along the San Andreas fault and everybody walking down abandoned railroad tracks to pick up a jar of peanut butter from the corner store, and soon this goddess of earthy delights and I are each holding the corner of a blanket in our hands as we are walking down the line to a secluded spot under the shade of a crumbling pine.
Is it fake because it’s imagined? Isn’t there something to this spark of a story that rises in me and spreads out to her, engulfing us both in a shared past that is only the hint of our invented history?
Isn’t this what lovers always do as we spin and respin our tales of when we met and what we wore and what we dreamed and what we said, all twisted again and again until the flax becomes golden with the heat of our words as we fabricate a shared wish of what we were instead and what we might become?
There are others in the bar, sharing this moment of invention with us, Sims who will later become fodder for my rants about established wealth and homeless Townies, emerging consciousness and obliviousness, inspired dreams and empty repetitions of endless patterns of coding.
Long as I’m here, sharing the bar with them, I figure I’ll flip some local color, find out the inside scoop on how the residents feel about truckloads of CAS wide-eyed delusional self-serving naval gazers pulling in.
“They’re coming in by the bus-load,” I tell them. “CAS, Legacy brats, SimSelves. All for one purpose. To discuss game and what it means to be game-aware. Here in your sweet little town.”
“They can come all they want,” says the bartender, “long as they tip good!”
“We have no pre-mades,” says the Silver Widow. “They’ve been all swept away, deleted in a mad late-night frenzy! We have plenty of room for all types here. We don’t judge, right Joe?”
“Speak for yerself,” says Joe, as he waits sullenly for his drink.
Insteadman has clearly not arrived. I get the feeling I’d better head on back to Jasper House. I leave a message at the bar for them to tell Rudy where I can be found.
As I jog back to the compound, I start thinking about this town. It’s got beautiful women and good air, you know? This is the kind of air that cleans out your nasal passages, fosters clear thinking, cuts through illusion, and puts a person right in square with the facts. I’ve been roving on assignment for quite a while, always thinking sometime I would settle down, once I found a place that agreed with me. Maybe once S- GAS Transformation clears out, I’ll tuck into one of these little houses overlooking a canyon, put up a big fence around the perimeter, fully stock my arsenal, and run for mayor.
I find a little tune jogging in my mind in time with my steps:
Of ecological disaster they have come
to save our asses.
We would fight for hippy chicks
We would die for hippy chicks
And, holy smoking llamas, what do I see when I arrive back at Jasper House? It looks like the guests have started to arrive in all their retina-burning, mind-frying, digital SimSelf glory!