Will Donna find a man who will be devoted and true? Can Sally ever combine her forbidden sexuality with her need to be of service? Can Devon move beyond his self-infatuation to help bring a fractured family together?
EXCERPT: Ten Years After the Future
The dance hall was more like a storage warehouse, a cavernous shadowy funhouse. Everything swirled colors before the drugs even kicked in. Meandering through the angelic ghost-like dancers, they quickly found their way to the front of the stage
The evangelical alchemy of the Grateful Dead—and Jerry Garcia’s nimbus of black hair, belied his un-rock star stature and glory. She was mesmerized from the beginning by his angelic plaintive voice, all teary toned and wise; with a beat that was both an easy rhythm, and blue, at the same time. His voice—a helpless mournful supplication to a distant, seemingly almost attainable heaven. She had never heard such a soulful voice and yearning guitar harmonizing together. Music being created, rather than planned or executed—a perfectly refined improvisation; jams that went on for twenty minutes.
Strobe light staccato-jerky movements pulsed beneath cellular exploding light shows. Tie-dye florescent togas undulated in waves, spinning dervish dancers in bare feet and flowing prairie skirts, and dancers—swimming wildly in mid-air, scaring away the phantoms from every ancient dancehall visions and high school hops of the past. The ghost was cleared. The dead were grateful
And hair; hair, everywhere hair, flapping and flying, flouncing and bouncing like windblown willows, fleece braided tentacles. Sweat pouring off in a rain storm of complete abandon and all the head-snapping corybantic dancing...even the name of the band—shattered any lingering fears or presentments of eminent endings or destruction. They had the audience pulsing with them upon each note, as if everyone there had all taken the same psychedelic drug together and knew it.
Then that roaring, dominating sound, as if dozens of jet planes became harmonic in the same frame, the drawn-out agony solos as ecstasy; a waterfall of bass notes wrapping tightly around vibrating electric guitars, all twisted together by an electric organ, and pounded into one’s body fueled by duel drummers. All six parts in unison, improvising perfectly together. Music at once busy and clean, bouncy and diabolical; she felt as if they were all vibrating underwater together, hyperventilating through the same gas mask of joyous, psychedelic drugs.
Pig-Pen, the scruffy, street urchin, biker, circus barker organist/vocalist striding center stage, intoning everyone to “Get your hands out of your pockets!” and “dance” and then actually specifically pointing out and shaming any non-compliers; until everyone, in spite of themselves, had their own unique mojo going. His disheveled, tough- guy menace, ready at any moment to strut forth and forcefully break into the middle of the instrumental perfume. It was far-out, spacey, time-machine, liquid blues in glorious melody, hatcheted open by an interloping shit-between-the toes, down-home barn yard, western funkiness. Everyone was rocking slowly as one big conscious, peristaltic, snaking engine to the pure music throbbing through each pore of existence.
Donna had never experienced anything like it. And what happened next had her actively disbelieving what she was witnessing.
Some audacious woman in the audience was overly troubled by Pig Pen’s bold, peacock strutting. She jumped on stage from the side, and theatrically mocking his swagger, moved in and grabbed his microphone right out of his hand. While Donna expected security to quickly show up, others around her started jumping up and down and clapping wildly. Normally mellow, Shell went wild too.
“That’s Janis Joplin!”
Donna knew she should be really impressed, but something about her wasn’t really impressive. Long, unkempt brown hair, a floppy brown blouse, a pair of tight green bellbottoms, little make up and mismatched jewelry; she looked more like she might have just crawled out of a basement rocking chair, mocking Donna’s vision of a rock queen.
Flailing with the pulse of the rising rhythm, incarnating a musical spirit of her generation, head down in concentration, she gyrated closer and threateningly closer to the lead singer. Arms thrashing above her head, within and through her entire body, limber but wobbly, she blended orgasmicly with the electronic vibration. She was a definite show all on her own. But it didn’t make sense—she had her own famous band she could do that with, Big Brother and the Holding Company, why did she need to upstage the Dead? An excess demanding attention to replace love? A savage consumption of admiration, driving toward her own ecstasy? The previous gentle, sunbeam aura and daisy chain dancing was suddenly being rent, by a playful but viscous knife. Most stood more amazed and observant.
Pushing Pig Pen playfully to the side with her rocking hips, the band, confused, warmed up to a tighter and tighter rhythm.
“Okay, big boy. Let’s see you whip it out!” Left hand extending the mic away from him in a clumsy pirouette, while her right hand grabbed at his crotch.
Pig Pen, looking suddenly sheepish, almost embarrassed, certainly confused, backed away, cautiously muttering something about his “old lady.” Not the macho guy he was moments previous.
“Come-on, honey. If’n you won’t whip it out for us and show us what the big band leader’s got here, you gonna loose your gig to little ole’ Janis...” Theatrically bending over.
“Oooh noooo; my ole’ lady get the rolling pin after me...”
“Well then, you just lost yer lead here hot shot. See you later...”
And as startled fans hooted and shared bemused glances, Pig Pen quietly, without further fuss, moved off stage. Janis swaggered, danced in over-pleased ambling circles, threw her head back in celebration, and clapped frantically for audience support.
“What’s going on?” Donna hung tightly around Shells neck and shoulders.
“I dunno. I guess we got two shows goin’ for the price of one?”
Jerry Garcia, looking less worried than entertained, calmly motioned to the other band members with a head nod to crank up the flurry, and entered into an unnamed jazz type jam. Janis jumped, danced and whirled about, cherishing her newly assigned role as “band leader.” But apparently tiring herself out with wild dancing, she soon ambled aggressively toward the lead guitarist. With a mischievous, conspiratorial nod toward the wide-eyed spectators, she crowded and loomed in on Jerry Garcia.
Carefully positioning herself to the right and slightly behind him, she bent her knees, squatted slightly, and wrapped her crotch around the back of Jerry’s guitar. Lingering there, she began, slowly at first, throbbing and sexually mimicking intercourse to the beat of the drums with Jerry and his guitar.
While no one in the crowd assumed they might see sex right there on stage, Donna could feel a collective “now what?!” of bewilderment shared by everyone else in the crowd. Everyone seemed to be holding their breath in expectant anticipation.
What happened next clearly stunned Janis as much as every other eye glued upon them in the old warehouse.