I can't even remember how I stumbled upon the terrible story of Ann Jiminez's 1968 murder in San Francisco. Something about drew my horror and captivation. I just felt bad for the kid. She was only 19. A lost, sad, socially awkward kid who couldn't any place to belong.
She thought she might try her luck in the Haight Ashbury with all the Hippies brandishing their flowers and talking about universal acceptance and free love. As I read her story, I imagined her excitement going there and thinking she'd finally found a home.
The story just breaks my heart. Part of me which I never found it. The other part of me is glad to have told her story, for whatever that's worth.
Right there at the heart of the peace-and-love capital of the world, Holy Mecca of Hippiedom, native stomping ground of the Grateful Dead and birthing-hole of the psychedelic movement, they humiliated, raped, and beat Ann Jimenez to death over the course of three hours — all because she supposedly stole a pair of boots.
Not too groovy, baby. Not too groovy at all.
Straight Haight '67 is a passion project of mine, combining all of my weirdest interests and fringest (yep, just made that up) fascinations. Part of that project is a song titled "Hey There Dreamy Girl."
I published the lyrics and an intro bit to the song here.
Now, I'm excited to say, the lyrics have been made into an actual song: https://soundcloud.com/user-162691940/dreamy-girl-v32
Check it out. It's a great tune. Creepy. Grim foreboding of things to come.
The Summer of Love, it turns out, is creepy as hell.
Washington State parks reopened for hiking on May 5, 2020. Two days later I grabbed my trusty Discover Pass and headed for Mount Si in North Bend, Washington.
I kick off every hiking season with a trek up Mount Si and have had many memorable climbs there, including the time I saw a guy carry a tuba all the way to the top. This year’s trip was unique, though, and I suspect I’ll never forget it. It came in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and was the first time I’d gotten out of house (other to walk down the street or grocery shop) in months.
"J.C. Hibbing, Queen of Northlands Folk, skipped up to Process Dawn Records strumming her guitar and whistling a tune-in-the-making titled “Love the Love and Live.” The long, auburn tresses bouncing up and down on her shoulders went suddenly still when she stopped before her destination (temple of musical destiny), looked up and took the sight in.
It was vaguely disappointing, honestly. Rather cold and businesslike. Indistinguishable from any of the other offices around. Process Dawn Records didn’t even have a sign, if you could believe that.
What else had she expected from the place that would produce her first album? She didn’t know, really. Something like a golden monolith bathed in flowers, probably."
My short story "The Mandala Doors of Hafsmamn Syniad" has been published in the most recent issue of Stupefying Stories.
The publisher tells me that the hard copy is on the way. In the meantime, it's out in digital format on Amazon.
Exam was nervous. He never said it, but the cigarette trembling between his fingers gave him away.
Just the sight of him smoking cigarettes at all made Molly Green nervous. Over the two years she’d used him as an informant, she’d never once seen him abuse his body. Exam always lived as clean as anyone Molly had ever seen. He didn’t drink. Didn’t smoke cigarettes or even weed. He was as devoted a Black Lion as she’d ever met. He’d given his entire being over to the Revolution.
“What’s up, Good Golly?”
12:07 PM, January 1, 1967.
Los Angeles, California.
The white people were protesting again.
Most the time Jerome Jackson had no problem with all that, but today he just wanted to get to work, so he punched the dashboard of his Chevy Chevelle and blared his horn at the tie-dyed, Day-Glo-colored parade of longhairs flowing past.
This lanky cat with flowers threaded through his beard and a buckskin coat turned around and flipped him off.
“Fuck you, pig,” the hippie said and spit towards Jerome’s car. Without realizing it the hippie saved himself from an ass whooping by coming up short of actually hitting the vehicle.
Jerome could only shake his head and laugh at the irony of a white-boy protester spitting at a black man who was just trying to get to work. That, right there, was just goddamn funny, folks, and if you can’t appreciate the humor than you’ve let the politics get too deep into your head.
12:05 AM, January 1, 1967.
Lower Haight neighborhood, San Francisco, California.
The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows” emanates from a dilapidated house on an otherwise quiet street. The house’s windows glow with soft orange light. Darkness bathes the front porch. A match flame pops into life and illuminates the face of a prostitute named Sunshine as she lights a cigarette while standing on the porch steps.
I'm not even sure if anyone's following this blog anymore. I've been terribly negligent with it for far too long as I've focused on my freelance gigs. A recent invitation to read my writing at Central Washington University, however, has woken me up to the fact that I've gotten far too sidetracked by those quick-paying gigs.
So, I've gotten back to work on my novels and am going to spruce up this primitive-ass website.
I'm writing this post more as a way to commit myself to this course of action than anything else. Taking things to the next level and all that shit. Maybe I'll get blog readers back, too. We'll see.
Clayton bolted for the wood-line. He made it halfway there when the compound’s floodlights flicked and exposed his escape.
He kept running. No other option was left. Capture would mean only one thing for him now.
He crashed headlong through a wall of evergreen branches. Inside the woods, the forest canopy blocked out all moonlight and engulfed him in darkness. He ran on blind.
A voice spoke calmly but sternly over loudspeaker behind him.
“Flash red,” the voice on the loudspeaker said. “Flash red.”
Clayton knew that at that very moment the others would be pouring out of the compound and flooding into the woods to find him. He knew because he’d been on the other side before — too many times.
“Clayton,” the loudspeaker voice said, “we’re coming for you, son. Don’t be scared. Just hold where you are and we’ll find you.”
Clayton hesitated. For two months he’d obeyed every word uttered by that voice, and the impulse remained ingrained strongly within him.
That’s why you have to escape, a dim internal voice reminded him. That dim voice was all that was left of his actual self, he realized.
Trees blurred by him. Braches and brambles cut his face and tore open his grey gown. Many times he fell, got up, and ran some more.
Flashlights cut through the forest behind him. Voices called his name.
He’d started with a particular direction in mind, but soon he was lost in the woods, simply running in the direction away from the forces following him.
After half an hour of frantic flight, he miraculously found himself breaking out of the woods and into the back lot of an abandoned gas station. Moonlight glinted faintly off a phone booth situated on the far side of the parking lot, near a winding road.
Clayton took off his shoe and dumped out the change he’d been secreting there under the sole of his foot for four days.
From off in the distance came the roaring of a pickup truck driving closer to his position. The flashlights hunting him in the woods brightened.
He didn’t know if the phone in the booth was functioning, and he’d have minutes at most to make a call, even if it did.
Probably only seconds.
No choice left, he reminded himself. There’d been no choice left from the moment he’d made his break for the woods.
Clayton gripped the change in his hand and sprinted for the phone booth.
Jim was just taking the redhead’s bra off when his cell phone rang on the nightstand. The next morning he wouldn’t even be able to remember the woman’s name. That was the thing that would come to haunt him the most — he betrayed his little brother for a Tinder hookup whose name he couldn’t even remember less than twenty four hours later.
She was a nice person. Truth be told, Jim liked her a lot. Her name was Carrie, even if he couldn’t remember it. She gave him one of the best nights he ever had.
Recently divorced, Carrie had a sweet smile and a playful innocence about her — the sort of innocence that a woman wills into herself after enduring hard experience. Jim had met a few women with that brand of defiant innocence, and they always left a long impression on him.
Carrie didn’t say much about the details of her marriage, but there were enough hints for Jim to put the story together. He’d hit her at least a couple times and just generally not spoken well of her.
She also liked poetry and ice cream, he’d recall. Strange the things that stick in our memory.
With her bra tossed on the bed Carrie jokingly apologized for the imagined sagging in her breasts.
Jim just laughed. “Are you kidding me? They’re beautiful.”
Carrie laughed. She knew they were beautiful the whole time.
Tinder hookups had become even more common than usual for Jim over the past couple of months. He’d never had trouble attracting women, being tall and well-built with dark features and olive eyes. Ever since he’d appeared in an episode of Danger Hunters two months prior, however, the women had been crazy for him.
Carrie had been unapologetic in her quest to sleep with a TV star, and Jim had taken absolutely no offense to her using him like a “piece of celebrity meat,” as she put it.
Jim ignored his ringing cell phone. It was Carrie who kept looking over at it.
“That’s not your wife, is it?”
Jim pulled her pants the rest of the way off as he looked over the phone. Clayton’s name was illuminated on the screen.
“No, it’s just my screw-up brother. He probably smoked too much weed again or something.”
Carrie laughed. Jim laughed, too.
He forgot all about the call until the next morning as he was driving to the airport to pick up Rus Grossman, CEO of Ralph Marketing Associates and Jim’s biggest client yet. Even then he held off to listening to it until hearing that Grossman’s flight had been delayed.
Sitting in his truck in the airport parking lot, Jim sighed and started the message, eyeing the sky for the incoming Alaska Airlines flight with his very wealth client sitting aboard.
Jimmy, I’m in trouble, man, his brother’s voice said. Pick up the phone, man. Please.
Jim’s face went slack and pale and the hand holding the phone slumped down so that it was no longer against his ear. Clayton had called him dozens of times for this or that problem, but the raw fear in his brother’s voice was apparent from the start.
Jimmy, I’m scared. His brother sobbed. I’m in trouble, man. The sobs turned into a light cry.
“Clayton, what’s wrong?” Jim shouted in his truck as though the message wasn’t from the night before — as if it wasn’t too late to do a damn thing.
A loud engine became audible on the phone, followed by the sound of truck tires skidding to a hard stop in gravel. Then the sound of two doors being flung open and boots running over the ground.
Clayton sobbed again, a sad, haunting sob of resignation.
I’m sorry, Jimmy. I’m sorry, man.
With that, the phone fell and clattered against something hard, as though dropped the ground.
“Clayton!” Jim yelled pointlessly at the phone.
Moment of silence on the other line. Jim couldn’t hear or anything, or at least couldn’t consciously identify what he heard, but he sensed the presence of someone picking up the phone.
It was a very light breathing — not his brother’s breathing, but someone else’s. He didn’t know he knew that, but he did. Someone else was on the phone, listening.
The call clicked off.
Copyright 2018 Jeff Suwak