From his conversations with Misty, Rick had learned that Memorial Park was the place to be if you wanted to meet counter culture people. One hot, summer afternoon Rick walked downtown to buy a new record at a place called The Record Room. Rick still had a paper route and he used his extra money to keep up his music collection. He was thinking about buying the first album by Jimi Hendrix and The Experience. He had heard one of his favorite local bands perform Purple Haze, the second single release from this album, and decided that he wanted to hear the full LP.
After he had purchased the album at the record store and walked out the door he felt some one tap him on the shoulder and say, “Excuse me, man.” This was the first time that anyone had called him, “man”. Rick turned around and saw what could only be described as a female hippie or a flower child. He had previously only seen the flower children on television or in magazines. This girl definitely met the stereotype. Rick would estimate that she was fourteen to sixteen years old.
“Hey man, do you have a cigarette and a little spare change?”
Rick happened to have a pack of Sweet Caporal cigarettes on him and did have change left over after purchasing the Jimi Hendrix album. This must be what the hippies meant by spare change. Rick laughed and said, “Sure”. The young girl had long blond hair and freckles. Although she was very thin and appeared to have missed a few meals Rick found her to be reasonably attractive.
“Would you like to get something to eat? There’s a Salisbury House about a block from here and I’m buying.” Rick couldn’t believe that he’d found the courage to say this. This was like asking a girl out on a date and he had never had any success with this. There is nothing more shattering to a young man’s ego than rejection from a female. When a young man hears, ‘No,’ or I don’t think so,’ it is like taking a heavy punch to the abdomen. The air is sucked right out of you.
To his delight and amazement, the flower child said, “That would be very cool. Can I get a smoke from you now?”
“Absolutely,” said Rick taking a cigarette out of his pack and handing it to her.
While the two new acquaintances walked to The Salisbury House Rick felt like he was floating on air. It was hard for him to contain his excitement. He was about to have the company of a female all to himself.