In late 1969 i was headed to meet Jay Lynch on Wells Street in order to hawk copies of Bijou Funnies to the great unwashed. But I had a stop to make along the way.
It was getting dark as I walked through a Chicago neighborhood. The weather was grisly raw, the temperature was dropping and the wind was howling and whipping tiny pellets of ice into my vulnerable flesh. The El rumbled by, its iron wheels squawking and screeching, and the wind howled in cadence with the iron groans and squawks . Ice was forming in my mustache.
My coat collar was pulled high and the woolen scarf wrapping my neck was flowing behind me, whipping like an angry snake at the whim of the Hawk, my gloved hands jammed deep into my pockets. I was leaning into the cold wind and hunched as I pushed through the ruthless twilight.
I was headed down a typical Chicago residential street, brownstones fronted by sidewalks fronted by the street. It was a neighborhood of stoops with the prescript bar on the corner. I headed up a stoop halfway down the block, and rang the doorbell. I was buzzed in and I quickly headed up the stairs to the third floor.
I banged on 3A and Digger Mike opened the door. Digger Mike was a scrawny, wild electric-haired, bearded guy. And this night he was naked.
"Digger Mike!" I greeted.
I peered into the room behind him and I could not help noticing his -- also naked --wife, Sunshine. Sunshine was a fat, white fleshed redhead. She was broadly smiling at me.
When I'd run into Sunshine out with Digger Mike she seemed like your average chunky street hippie. But naked she was gorgeous. She was meant to be appreciated without clothing. She was rotund, soft as a marshmallow and glowed like moonshine.
"Hey, Skip," Digger Mike replied.
"Hope I'm not interrupting anything," I query. making note of his nudity as well as that of Sunshine, all soft, milky and generous --- and her fiery orange bush, and her affectionate smile.
Sunshine gave me a little wave and beckoned me in.
"Not at all," says Digger Mike. "We were expecting you. Come on in."
I stepped into the apartment, a comfortable thrift store furnished hippie pad. A worn sofa, a bookcase made from bricks and 2 "x 4"s , a record player on a side table strewn with the requisite albums: The MC5, The Beatles White Album, Their Satanic Majesties Request, John Coltrane. Next to the table stood a standing lamp. A cone of red incense burned in a small brass incense burner next to a copy of The Chicago Seed on the coffee table, along with scales and a kilo of loose marijuana in the process of being stuffed in one-ounce portions into baggies.
Digger Mike seated himself on the sofa and said "Take a load off."
I sat next to Digger Mike. Sunshine stood across from us, by the record player.
"What can I do for you?" Digger Mike asked.
"I need some weed," I said.
Digger Mike fetched a fat doobie out of the ashtray on the coffee table. He lit it and passed it to me. I took a deep hit, filling my lungs with intoxicating smoke.
"How much do you need?" asked Digger Mike.
Coughing out a cloud of smoke I wheeze, "An ounce oughta do me".
"No problem, brother. One lid comin' up." Digger Mike weighed out an ounce, put it in a baggie and handed it to me.
"Fifteen dollars," said Digger Mike. I reached into my pocket and handed him a ten and a five.
"Cool," I pronounce.
Digger Mike asked, "Would you like a beer?" and I answered "Sure".
Sunshine left the room and returned with two bottles of Old Style, one for Mike and one for me. She was standing behind the couch next to Digger Mike.
Digger Mike said, "Sunshine and I have decided not to wear clothes at home. It's such a straight thing, wearing clothes. We need to be free."
"I can dig it," I concurred.
Digger Mike passed the joint and said "You can fuck Sunshine if you want." Sunshine grinned.
I turned to Sunshine and said "Maybe a rain-check?" She nods her head in the affirmative. "Tonight I'm on my way to Wells Street to pedal comix."
Then Digger Mike asked "Can I fuck your wife?"
"Okay by me," I answered. "But you'll have to run it by her. She's having a little trouble with men right now."
"Or maybe it's just me," I added.
I took another deep hit off the joint.