Continued from previous weeks…
A week later Mona and Gary are on Sunset Strip at night, standing in front of The Fifth Estate. Amidst the glitz of its much-newer-and-better-maintained neighboring nightclubs, The Fifth Estate doesn’t even look like a nightclub. It just looks like an oddly low, rambling Victorian house in much need of paint.
The sidewalks all along The Strip are overflowing with late-night revelers. People glitter, strutting about in costumes so outrageous that even circus performers would be left in the dust. Some are dressed in bright new pastels. Others, especially those going in and out of The Fifth Estate, are dressed in the duller, tattered clothes of hardcore hippies. All are in bell bottoms.
The street is almost at a standstill as only the most exotic and expensive cars cruise slowly down The Strip, so compulsively polished that the light bouncing off them in every direction from the streetlights is blinding. The occupants of the cars call out to the revelers on the sidewalks, rewarding the most outrageously dressed with the most attention.
Mona stares into the hypnotic glare of slowly passing headlights, then turns to Gary. “I’ve been up and down my half of The Strip, and I haven’t found anyone who’s seen or heard of our clothes-horse dope dealer. Any luck with your half?”
Gary sighs. “Nope. You’d think somebody dressed like that would be noticed…even on Sunset Strip.”
Mona: “Maybe the problem isn’t that he hasn’t been noticed. Maybe nobody’s telling cuz they figure we’re narks.”
Gary looks down at their tattered hippie attire. “Would even undercover cops dress like this?”
Mona grabs his arm. “We’ve got to find him! Beg him not to sell anymore of that ‘better than acid’ stuff we took!”
Gary shrugs her off. “We may as well hitchhike back to Ritchie’s house on the beach. This is useless.”
Mona puts a hand on his shoulder. “Aw. This is only the second night we’ve looked!”
Gary smirks. “Everybody’s too stoned…and too California…to remember anything.”
Gary: “Okay. Okay. I’m sorry. But the last person I spoke to had dropped so many pills it took him a full minute to correctly identify the noise disrupting the cosmos as me asking him a question.”
Mona: “I know the type…” She straightens. “But I’m going to keep looking, Gary! What are you gonna do?”
Gary: “Hope that dealer took some of his own ‘better than acid’ before going to see Space Odyssey and is on Jupiter by now. Devote the rest of the summer to lying around the beach and soaking up the benefits of not thinking too much.”
Ritchie emerges from the crowd.
Mona: “Ritchie! What are you doing here?”
Ritchie puts his hand on Gary’s other shoulder. “Got something for you, White Boy!”
To be continued next week…