Ken Capn Babbs Skyp

I had too much to dream last night. I still can't see straight. We parked the bus outside a cemetery and walked in and stood in a circle around a grave. There was me and Kesey and Cassady and Garcia and Leary and Ginsberg and Bill Graham and the Warlocks and the rest of the Merry Band. A full moon hung overhead. We grasped hands and felt a low vibration that grew to a grand shaking. We held on tight to keep it from throwing us off our feet. Then the grave erupted and sent a stream of light and energy into the sky. It sprayed the moon and slewed off in droplets by the millions. We watched them disappear and when we could see where we were going we trooped out and got on the bus.

Garcia was bent over a large tome: The Egyptian Book of the Dead. The Warlocks were gathered around. Garcia closed his eyes and opened the book and stuck his finger in the middle of a page. He looked where his finger was pointing and read, "The chariot of the sun is pulled across the sky by the grateful dead."

We stopped on the rim of a huge bowl. Everyone got out and we stood looking down into a sloping grass field. "This is it," Bill Graham said. "Bigger than Woodstock. Room here for the largest rock and roll concert every held."

We drove one of the rental cars down the hill to the center of the bowl, where the stage would be. A dead cow lay on its side, bloated and black. "Can't have this," Kesey said. I got a five gallon can out of the trunk of the car and he poured it over the cow. We stepped back and he lit a match and flung it on the carcass. It went up with a tremendous whoosh, filling the sky with black smoke. Cassady paced furiously, back and forth, waving his cigarette, scowling and fussing. Snow started falling, small flakes at first, then larger, then so thick we couldn't see across the bowl. Cassady was indignant. "I told you, Chief, this flies in the eyes of the bovine magma opus. Now we'll never get out of here."

He was almost right. The car was stuck but we were able to hike out, snow to our waists, up onto the road and back into the bus. Bill Graham stayed behind, bemoaning the loss of the car. "Don't worry about it," I yelled, "you can get it next summer."

We pulled to a stop on a high plateau. There was a group of men off in the distance. Kesey got out and walked toward them. I followed behind. One of the men was Kesey's father. He was talking to John Wayne who was astride a big brown horse. "This boy has talent," Kesey's dad said. "Go ahead, son, play him something."

Kesey pulled out his mouth harp. "Around her hair, she wore a yellow ribbon, she wore it for her lover who was far far away."

John Wayne creased his face in a smile. He was wearing a Union Army uniform, Civil War era, working on a movie about the cavalry and the Indians and the women they left behind.

Kesey finished playing and John Wayne nodded his approval. From all around us there came handclapping and cheering and whistling. The cavalry and the Indians and the cameramen and grips and makeup people had gathered to listen. Kesey's dad shook his head. "That boy can draw a crowd in the desert."

We were hurtling through the night, Cassady at the wheel, "Going wrong this curve set up for that," -- gloved hand slaps the gearshift -- "unless you got a flat or a suspension change even," -- gears it down for the curve -- "but what it amounts to is I found you can shift into reverse anything under ten miles an hour," -- double clutches into high -- "aw, garwsh, good old Granny . . . "

In the back Pigpen was rolling in the sack with three girls: an Aleut from Alaska, a black beauty from San Fran and a blonde surfer from Malibu. He was regaling them with song and enticing them with come ons. "Get a little lonely in the middle of the night . . . make me feel all right . . ." Bus rocking to the beat. "Turn on your love light . . ."

"Holy Shit," Garcia yelled from his seat in the middle of the bus. "Look at that!"

Bright multicolored lights were flaring around the window next to the bunk bed. "Let it shine, let it shine . . ." Like some kind of psychedelic arora borealis. "Let it shine on me . . ."

Kesey took one look. "Pull over, Neal! The bus is on fire!"

It was the wheel bearings, dry as a cob, forgot to grease them after that brake job. "Turn on your love light," Pigpen sang and the light spread, up and down the road, out across the fields, into the towns and houses, all over the earth, hitting like meatball; the animals, the plants, the rocks, the ground. And the people.

We made it home okay. Kesey and I went in his house and sat down at the table. I was hungry so I got up and started a big pot of stew. Faye Kesey wasn't too thrilled I was in her ktichen. I was stirring the stew, reassuring her I'd clean up after me and knocked the whole pot on the floor. Kesey buried his head in his hands. Faye left the room. I cleaned and swabbed and rinsed out the towel.

"Ah, I'm beat," I said. "I think I'll take a nap."

"That's a good idea," Kesey said. "A nap is a real good idea."

The Surrey
by Capn Skyp

I had too much to dream last night. I had a lot on my mind. It was a big lot, up the creek, on the edge of the national forest; they wanted fifty grand for it but I couldn't be messing with that. I have this upcoming bus and book tour to get ready for. Someone has to write the skits and do the music and of course it has to be all about Kesey.

Tussle and turmoil. Sheets and blankets all tangled, pillows bunched and clumped. Too much to dream. The pay phone was emitting what sounded like airport controllers, "Come up taxi frequency . . . go right to three five niner . . . " Ah to hell with it. I gave up trying to call and drove to the gig to meet everyone there.

I saw them coming, huge butterflys and birds and sailing ships hovering ten feet off the ground. Phil, dressed in a Kaiser Wilhelm outfit, spiked helmet and high polished boots, led the way, marking the beat with a drum major's baton. Behind him the pranksters in their garish garbs pushed long bamboo poles in front of them, kites of all descriptions tied to the tips of the poles. Behind them came the bus, George at the wheel, pranksters hanging out the windows, perched on top; tootling whistles, banging drums, clanging bells.

Bringing up the rear was Kesey, in his red white and blue top hat, white vest covered with blue stars. Red and white striped pants tucked into cowboy boots. He was riding in a one person surrey, pulled by a brown and white cow.

The parade turned into a parking lot, reminded me of the magician who couldn't go down main street without turning into a bar. Kesey and the surrey headed for the dirt track in front of the grandstand. Coming to meet him were pioneers, bonnets and leather with fringes, covered wagons and mules, raising a huge ruckus.

"Look out for the cow," Kesey yelled. All the racket had spooked the beast and it came at me, forcing me over the fence. The surrey broke free and Kesey rode it to the ground. I jumped back on the track and leaped on the cow's back, singing, "Gotta git back on the track, Jack."

"It's not a Jack, it's a Jill," Kesey yelled. The pioneers parted like the proverbial red sea and I galloped through. Behind me I heard screaming and the sound of cap and ball muskets firing. I glanced over my shoulder. Here come the bus, here come the pranksters, joyous were the sounds of the drums and bells and whistles joined in by a sax and trumpet and electric guitar. Pioneers were furious. Kesey was standing in the surrey, orchestrating bedlaam.

"EEEEhawwww!" I yelled and slapped the side of the cow with my hat. The cow bellered, switched ends and sent me flying one way and it mosying off the other. I got up and slapped the dust off my pants. "Well, that ought to knock 'em dead," I said to no one in particular.

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