One Great Big Huge Sweaty, Heaving, Mystical Pile of Naked Flesh Frolicking

I hitchhiked back to San Francisco as fast as I could hitchhike. I had visions of the love of my life up on the sunroof with Jim Moss — his shiny black hands rubbing squirts of Coppertone down the small of her back and up the sides of her sturdy rib cage.

“Oh, yeah, and Bud.”

Bud’s goatee tickling the tips of her pretty nipples got me through Kansas.

“Oh, and Ron Silverstein, of course.”

Visceral visions of her and Ron Silverstein grabbing at each other like animals, tearing each other’s clothes off, like Heloise and Abelard finally released from their vows, got me through the Rocky Mountains in no time flat.

“I was blacked out some.”

Holy shit. That could have meant most anything. Pictures of Ginny and a bunch of Vedanta swamis and Buddhist monks and Catholic priests all in one great big huge sweaty, heaving, mystical pile of naked flesh frolicking up and down the aisles of Grace Cathedral sped me the rest of the way to San Francisco.

While I’d been in New York, my parents had moved up to Oregon, to Ashland, Oregon — where I am now, where I’ve finally quit playing golf long enough to sit down with my little stack of letters and things and say this stuff.

Ginny wasn’t in San Francisco when I got back. She was visiting her aunt in Laguna Beach. No one was around when I got back. I was on my own.

Sometime during the next week I got a job in the Industrial Relations Department of the State of California, rented an apartment on Bush Street and got married to a woman named Sabine. It was a fake marriage. A newspaper vendor I knew from the Navarre Guest House introduced us. Sabine was from Austria on a tourist visa and needed to get married to an American in order to stay in the country. I needed to get married in order to stay out of the army. They were drafting people right and left by then. Staying out of the draft was a full time job. I did all kinds of things — getting married was just the beginning.

I called Ginny at her aunt’s house in Laguna and asked her if she thought it would be okay if I got married. She said, “Sure.” Ginny didn’t want me going to Vietnam any more than I wanted to go to Vietnam.

The ceremony was at City Hall. The newspaper vendor was our witness. Sabine kept his change machine in her purse. I kissed her on the cheek when the judge said I should. She was pretty cute, too, but it was all strictly business. Nobody wanted to go to Vietnam. Well, except for Elliot, I guess, and he had reasons of his own. He had reasons of his own for everything he ever did. Reasons I never understood. Reasons to this day I don’t understand. Reasons I’ll never understand.