I was on my way to Woodstock hitchhiking with my 6 string, when this colorful bus pulled over and gave me a ride. The driver Neal, a cowboy looking dude said that the 8 track player just broke and they wanted me to play my guitar for them. He asked me if I could play any Grateful Dead songs and I said, “No, but I know Bob Dylan and Marty Robbins.” A guy in the back of the bus named Ken Kesey requested ‘El Paso’, so I played that song. Ken offered me some Kool-Aid and said that it was electric. I did not see any wires, so I asked him if it was charged with batteries. Ken introduced me to his Merry Pranksters and said that he was looking forward to three days of peace and music.
I told Ken that I was also looking forward to hearing some good music, even if I might have to put up with listening to groups like Iron Butterfly. I wanted to see Hendrix, Joplin, Joe Cocker, Richie Havens, Melanie, Arlo Guthrie, John Sebastian, Leslie West, The Who, Creedence, Jefferson Airplane, Ten Years After, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Santana, and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young and since Ken told me that he was going there to see The Grateful Dead, I figured that I would check them out also. It was a rainy weekend, but 32 acts performed outdoors and I got to sleep on the bus, which was good because I did not bring a tent. Ken introduced me to The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane and Santana.
After the show, I stayed with the Merry Pranksters and we drove out to Novato, CA where this drummer Mickey Hart lived in a barn on a ranch. The ranch became a clubhouse for The Grateful Dead and their crew and I became a sound technician. Hart taught me how ride horses, and we would shoot off guns for fun. I helped Mickey construct a studio in the barn which was big enough for the whole band to record, that was so radical. I started traveling on the road with the band and the crew put me in charge of taping the shows.
In the end of 1969, we headed to Altamont Speedway where the Rolling Stones were going to play. The Hell’s Angels were drinking a lot of beer and a lot of fights broke out in the crowd. We got word that Marty Balin was punched in the face and Garcia said that he was not going to perform. They told me to get the recording equipment and bring it back to the bus. I got frightened when I saw the dude get knifed, so I took down the equipment as fast as I could. I was bringing it back to the bus when this biker jumped me and knocked me out. I woke up in my bed and found out that this was just a dream.
Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Sunday Writing Prompt “fictional story” hosted by Yves. We are to chose between telling a story about 3 objects in your current location, The last song you heard, The current weather, A nostalgia inducing scent or A dream fragment and I went with the dream.