DFO 1471London, 17/2/74
1. I'VE BEEN TRYING & TRYING TO THINK HOW IT STARTED, BUT I CAN'T SEEM TO FIND MY WAY BACK! We were a group of students & we were packing up our stuff to move out of this flat in San Francisco, to move over to San Francisco State to go to school. School hadn't started yet, but I remember thinking that I had to get a catalogue to study to see what courses I wanted to take.
2. I HAD SO MUCH JUNK—YOU KNOW HOW KIDS HAVE SO MANY ODDS & ENDS TO CARRY IN COLLEGE—& I was carrying this stuff to the street car line to take the trolley, & I kept dropping some of it. The trolley came by & the kids climbed on, but I had dropped some stuff & while I was picking it up the trolley took off & I got left behind. It didn't seem very serious, & the other kids were laughing as the trolley pulled out without me. They got on & I didn't.
3. I WAS RIGHT NEXT TO THIS PARK & I THOUGHT, "I'D BETTER GET MY STUFF BETTER-ORGANISED. I'll go over to this picnic table here & get the stuff together so I can carry it better." I was carrying my blankets in my arm when apparently we'd rushed off & I'd dropped them & they were getting all messed up. So I went over to the table & began folding up these two blankets carefully & neatly so I could carry them under my arm better & get my stuff together.
4. ALL OF A SUDDEN THESE THREE HIPPIES CAME OVER TO THE TABLE—two tough-looking boys & a girl—& laid their stuff down & were talking loud, almost like they were ignoring me. I felt a rather ominous feeling about them & a little threatened that they were getting close to me & they meant no good. So I was apparently trying to get my blankets & stuff together & take off!
5. APPARENTLY THEY WERE CAMPING OUT THERE IN THE PARK & the guy said, "We've got no polyethylene for our lantern!" Polyethylene!—That's a funny word! I don't even know what polyethylene is! They'd run out of polyethylene for their lamp or something. This one real rough tough mean guy, kind of a good-looking blond who seemed to be the leader of the gang told the other guy, "You've got to get us some polyethylene!" And the guy said‚ "We don't have any money!" And he said, "Well, get some!"
6. THEN HE TURNED TO ME & SAID, "HOW ABOUT YOU‚ BUDDY?—CAN YOU GIVE US SOME MONEY FOR SOME GAS?" I said‚ "What do you mean? What's polyethylene? I don't even know what it is!" He said, "Methane, man‚ methane!" What's methane? I've heard both those words before somewhere. What is that? (Maria: I don't know. Is it some kind of drug?) Methadone is a drug they use to try to get them off heroin.
7. MY FIRST IMPRESSION WAS THAT THEY NEEDED SOME FUEL FOR THEIR LANTERN, but they were using some other name. He said, "Methane, man, methane!" I said, "Well, I don't know what that is either!" And he said, "You know what this is, don't you?"—And he took his finger & he did like this: He pointed one finger just a fraction-of-an-inch from my eye, & then he had his fist behind his finger, which would poke his finger right in my eye! He said, "Well, you know what this is, don't you?"—And I woke up!
8. WELL, IT'S NOT ALTOGETHER UNUSUAL, I'VE HAD EXPERIENCES VERY SIMILAR TO THAT WITH TOUGH GUYS WHEN I WAS A KID. The United States is full of them! I used to get beat-up at school & threatened & everything. (Maria: Like the paper said‚ a lot of people are turning into animals foraging for food.) So I just woke up & was lying there trying to think of what it could possibly mean, & the only thing I could think of was what a horrible horrible place to be, what a horrible country to live in with such cruel evil beasts!—Like living in constant terror wondering what's going to happen next.
9. REMEMBER HOW THEY DRAGGED PATRICIA HEARST FROM HER FLAT IN SAN FRANCISCO HALF-NAKED? Two blacks & a white woman captured her & were holding her hostage, claiming they wanted this & that. And now they're saying if George Pepperdine doesn't give the Blacks his college there in South Los Angeles‚ they're going to shoot the poor girl on her birthday, February 20th.
10. ANYWAY, I WAS JUST THINKING WHAT A HORRIBLE HORRIBLE COUNTRY THE U.S. IS, like a reign of constant terror all the time‚ living in fear of each other & gangs & violence & robbery & murder—so horrible! I mean, it's like Hell on Earth! Nobody's safe anywhere. Think how horrible it must be to be a student someplace like that! When the riots were going on, the good students were afraid to go to school, afraid they'd get beat up by the pickets who were picketing San Francisco State. How in the World could God let a country like that keep going much longer? He's got to do something to just absolutely cleanse the land & wipe out those evil beasts that are destroying it!
11. THE LAST THING I REMEMBER WAS LOOKING AT THAT SHARP DIRTY UNCUT FINGERNAIL about an inch from my eye that he was threatening to slam into my eye with his fist! Force, violence, threats, terror, horror! What a Hell of a country! Hell on Wheels! That's a good name for it! It was just like you weren't safe anywhere. If it wasn't one thing, it was another; if it wasn't government, it was the lack of it.
12. I'LL TELL YOU ONE THING‚ I WOKE UP & I WAS SO SO THANKFUL I WASN'T THERE ANYMORE & THAT IT WAS ONLY A DREAM! Thank God I wasn't there! It seemed so dark! Even in the daytime it seemed dark, foreboding, evil, like there was darkness everywhere & everybody was living in fear. It reminded me of "Soylent Green"!—The movie where they were grinding up the old folks to make food for the others!—Or those savage gangs & mobs I've dreamed of, running riot after the Atom War searching for food!—And cannibalising each other!—What Hell on Earth the North will be after the War!—When are you leaving?—GHU!