Ace, acid hippie of the "X" generation, caught the all-seeing eye of a nameless spirit, the ghost of a long-dead Beat poet. Excited that a new true age of Beat was about to begin, even as the century ended, the spirit began to follow Ace, watching as the tripping hippie encountered a New York cockroach that somehow stood up on its hind legs. Later, on the road, Ace and Goddog met old friend Lucinda and her new friend Annie Lane, with disastrous consequences for Annie. Ace however knew none of this, and rejoined the Deadheads, as Beat a bunch as ever was, soon after. But Goddog, Ace's faithful etc., was separated from his master amidst that crazy subculture. At a crucial moment, he opted to stay with a female friend known only as French Fry Thighs - abandoning his original owner forever. In Denver, Ace encountered another cockroach that somehow vanished from a closed hand, and a book of Beat poems that has special significance to our spectral navigator….

Lucinda, owner of the pagan bookstore Circle Star, arrived at the Full Moon Festival with two hitchhikers, Annie and Mouse. Accidentally dosed with LSD by Ace, Annie soon found her world crashing around her, her lies and hypocracy exposed. Meanwhile, Mouse's arrival would spell great change for someone else….

Alison, alone on a cross-country journey, met Maria and had her future foretold, then met Mouse and fell hard. But their intimacy was interrupted, first by Annie's frenzy, then by Mouse's abrupt departure. Lovestruck Alison set off after her, only to be terrorized by a hitchhiker on a lonely mountain road. Days later, on a Utah peak, she surrendered to the storm that has broken over her life - utterly alone in the wake of a love affair that never happened and a crime that almost did. But in the midst of her grief and shock, she found a curious strength.…

Harlan met Tracy and fell equally hard, but was far luckier, abandoning everything he had - which wasn't much - to follow her on the road. In Oregon he encountered Tracy's mother Maria, as well as her sister Maya, a little girl possessed of an unusual power. Later, working a Renaissance faire in Colorado, they met many new friends, including oddball Christian mystic Chris, before joining the migration to the Rainbow Gathering: a July 4 peacefest in the woods that attracts hipsters and tripsters from all across this great nation….

And now…

Author’s Note (Rainbow disclaimer):

Rainbow Gatherings are unique experiences, difficult to describe with the written word (and better writers than myself have tried). The same Gathering can be very different things for different people. I want to make clear that this and the following chapters are based only on my own impressions of the Rainbow Gatherings. Also, in keeping with the unofficial nature of all things Rainbow, I should note that this semi-fictitious rendering of the 1994 National Gathering in Wyoming is in no way endorsed by the Rainbow Family of Living Light.
Chapter Ten
(c) 1999 Alan Rankin