# # Hippie Chick

Brother, I Can See Your Skull.

Brother, I Can See Your Skull. - The Coreyshead Blog

Hippie Chick

It is a pleasant summer day, the sun radiating down to heat our pleasant and bustling tourist destination of a town. I am on my knees behind the counter, busy taking inventory of a shipment of pseudo-prayer flags; squares of cloth emblazoned with brightly colored, new age motifs, strung together with black, cotton string, and selling for $41.50 apiece, retail.

The store is only moderately busy; tourists and regulars milling about the crystals, books, and tarot cards like lazy bees in a somnolent flower garden.

Out of the corner of my eye I see a young blond fellow, about 19 years old or so, poking around the CD’s; a dizzying collection consisting of world music turned on its ear by the lounge scene, various new age standards, and a bevy of discs brought back from India by the store’s enterprising owner.

“Hey,” the boy catches the glint off my bobbing bald head and approaches cautiously.

“How you doin’?” I ask, though I could care less. What I really want to know is, did they send us the proper amount of Yantra flags or not?

“This all your music?” he asks, waving a hand behind him in the general direction of the discs.

“Yeah, that’s it,” I say, grinning like any retail idiot.

“It’s mostly new age, aint it?”

“New age, world, chanting -yeah. We’re a new age shop.” I want to get back to my inventory but the kid is standing there, hands in his pockets and nodding his head – the universal male pow-wow sign. To ignore it is to be rude and my job description denies me that particular pleasure, so I stand and face him, my well-trained facial muscles assuming a faux openness.

“Is there a music store in town?” he asks.

“Yeah, sure: Quimper Sound. Up two blocks, take a right. It’s in the middle of the block, you can’t miss it.”

The kid nods, a late-teen version of attempted sagacious wandering across his features. He is quiet, calm. His stature soft but classic, the athlete on vacation; shoulders thrown back, head a good three inches above my own 5’ 11”, trendy baseball cap, hair a respectable length yet long enough to announce his easy inclusion to a fashionable realm I can no longer gain easy admittance to.

“They have cool music there?” he asks.

What is cool music?

To me it is anything that can’t gain regular airplay and startles you out of your square, 4/4 life – to him it could be Good Charlotte. What the hell do I know from good music? I’m 37 for chrissakes. My shaved head and earrings have blinded him to my advanced state of unhipsterness -or he’s a dolt.

“What kind of music do you like?” I ask, my years as a record store employee coming to the fore.

“Alternative rock.” he answers with only a hint of hesitation, hesitation that lets me know I am the pack leader in this circle; he fears appearing foolish to my eyes.

“Yeah, they have alternative rock.” I say, leaning back, slipping my hands into my pockets and assuming the pose of the wise elder he seems to be seeking. “They’re more into jazz, blues, and singer-songwriter titles but you should be able to find what you’re looking for there. They’ve a really nice selection of vinyl, too,” I add but the reference is lost on him. ‘Vinyl what?’ his eyes seem to ask.

“Cool, cool,” he says, shifting on his feet and looking around at nothing in particular; a learned move meant to indicate an attitude of nonchalance. “Is it a cool place to hang out?”

“Sure. They’ve got tables, a full service coffee bar, and free wi-fi.”

The kid nods again then asks “Do hippie chicks hang out there?”

This town I have adopted is known for a number of things: its Victorian history, quaint buildings, numerous festivals celebrating, among other things, the annual blooming of the rhododendrons, wooden boats as a way of life, and a wacky kinetic sculpture race. A proliferation of business-minded lesbians has also gained fame here, as well as an underlying hippie aesthetic that took root in the 70’s and has yet to release its hold despite the attempts of a conservative minority.

The lad standing before me is obviously aware of the latter but his question has taken me off-guard. The way in which he posed it is the same one would expect were he asking for a bag of BC bud or, perhaps, a surreptitious blow-job.

“Uh, yeah, I suppose.” I reply.

The town is laced with hippies of both sexes, you can’t swing an organic, locally grown vegetable without bringing forth to your shuddering nostrils a waft of their patchouli tainted and otherwise all-natural body-odor.

“As a matter of fact, there are some really cute girls who work as baristas and clerks at the store.” I add with an eyebrow raised -a cheap sexual allusion as well as a hopeful conversation ender: I’ve mass-produced, colorfast paganism to inventory and price, dammit.

The boy nods again, his feet shuffling as he slips further into a state of tentative and embarrassed discomfort. His next question catches me off-balance for a second as it is delivered at a level of earnest sincerity I haven’t seen since my daughter was five, yet implies a direction of single-minded intent unknown to the innocent.

“You, uh” he stammers, leaning in and almost whispering. “You ever, uh, been with a hippie chick?”

Obviously the boy is in need of some direction and wisdom from an older pack member, someone who can remember what it is like to be young, naïve, and awash in a confusing and powerful tidal swirl of hormones, someone who can provide just the Zen koan he needs to see the light. I am that man.

Moving in, I lock his open gaze with my own.

“You ever been a hippie chick?” I ask.

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2 Responses to “Hippie Chick”

  1. blackonyx says:

    oh my gosh this really happened in the store?!? Hahahaha!

  2. cae says:

    It did, indeed. Nate’s comment, upon hearing the story was: “I woulda asked him if he wanted to be my hippie chick …”

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