On a star-filled night in the glorious summer of 1976, in a sleepy little suburb nestled in the foothills of the Adirondacks, Phinneas Francher—a hippy’s hippy if there ever was one—had a twisted epiphany, a mind-blowing experience that changed his life forever. And he had his eyes closed through the whole thing.
With long, frizzy brown hair and a patchy beard that made him look like a guitar player from Lynyrd Skynyrd, Fin was regularly clad in concert t-shirts, holey jeans, and well-worn earth shoes. He was a typical 20-year old with typical 20-year old goals: to get comfortably high and comfortably laid on a daily basis.
And concerning fornication with nubile members of the opposite sex, the upcoming weekend was looking quite promising indeed. With a huge bicentennial bash scheduled at a nearby state park, Fin had hooked up with a quarter ounce of some killer Vermont indigo that smelled enticingly of skunk sphincter and secured a date with a beautiful, brown-eyed chick with long dirty blonde hair named Beatrice whom he met a few weeks ago at a ripping beer-ball party up on the water tower hill by the old elementary school. The pièce de résistance was the two hits of acid that he had recently purchased from his best friend, Anson. Each tiny square of blotter paper had the image of a red, white, and blue rainbow stamped onto its surface. A fitting symbol, Fin thought: life, liberty, and the pursuit of hedonistic happiness!
Anson was a tie-dyed-in-the-wool Dead Head whose claim to fame was that he had consumed ‘shrooms with Jerry shortly before the band played in Burlington in ’74 and had an out-of-body experience that took him and his psychedelic idol to the very center of the universe and back again in a matter of minutes. The 19-year old intergalactic space traveler was unmistakable with a mop of curly, reddish brown hair, and perpetually almost-closed eyelids. The as-of-yet undeclared major at the local community college had sold Fin the hits, and added that this particular molecular brew was “transcendental” and should only be dropped on very special occasions. And what better occasion than (hopefully) having a heavenly hook-up with Beatrice, arguably one of the hottest pieces of North Country ass Fin had ever laid his bloodshot eyes upon. A devotee of Cat Stevens, Jackson Browne, and Fleetwood Mac; Beatrice had just graduated high school and was planning on studying library sciences at Syracuse University in the fall. Fin couldn’t even begin to visualize her probable future career path—a smoking hot blonde librarian with a celestial set of firm and perkies who refused to wear a bra on the grounds of sexist oppression—without experiencing an irrational infatuation with the Dewey Decimal system.
With all his worldly possessions packed into his pride and joy—a forest green Volkswagen microbus with split windows in the front and the bumper stickers “Ass, Gas or Grass, Nobody Rides for Free” and “A Fool and His Money are Soon Partying” on the back—Fin prepared himself for a star-spangled weekend filled with beer, bong hits, and breathtaking pyrotechnics: exploding inside and outside of his bandana-clad cranium. He had the air mattress all blown up in the back of the bus, cool tapestries on the walls and ceiling, three different kinds of incense, a gallon jug of Carlo Rossi wine, a three-pack of condoms, and some of his favorite albums on eight-track (Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti, Neil Young’s Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, and Deep Purple’s Burn). What else was there?
That night, while parked under his parents’ carport, sitting there in the back of the microbus with Anson getting blissfully numb on bong-burnt purple bud, the conversation inevitably turned to their favorite topic: sex.
Wearing his familiar threadbare Steelers #88 Swann football jersey and disgustingly rank cut-off camouflage pants that reeked of homeless man, a barefoot Anson let out a seemingly endless cloud of smoke from his O-shaped lips. “Man, God created women just like He did every other thing in this world. When He made boobs, butts, and bush, He knew exactly what He was doing. It’s in the Bible. God said it was all good and it was, man…”
Fin could only laugh. For the amount of time Anson extrapolated upon close encounters with the opposite sex, he should’ve been an expert on the subject but he had about as much carnal knowledge as Pope Paul VI. “The only bush in the Bible was a burning one, you idiot. But you’re exactly right about the heavenly thing…”
Fin closed his eyes and listened as a raucous party of insects chirped away outside; it sounded like a raging cricket kegger. “Everything about the female form is beautiful, man. The way they think and move and laugh and smell… their very essence. And every single one is unique in their own way. I love them all. I’ll be the first to get down on my knees and say, ‘All hail almighty Woman.’ And it couldn’t be any truer than now—the summer of ’76. We’re living in a historic time, do you realize that?”
Thoughts of worshiping women led, inevitably and almost instantaneously, to dozens, no, hundreds, of females Fin deified—and three of them were television actresses: “Have you seen the commercials for that new show, Charlie’s Angels?”
Anson grimaced like a cartoon baboon that had just been kicked in the nuts. “Dude, I’ve got the Farrah poster on the back of my bedroom door, remember? Jesus H. Her hair, man, it’s hypnotic. Or satanic. I heard that there are subliminal messages hidden in her curls, like that Beatles album played backwards. I stare at it for hours. Her nipples could definitely be possessed with some kind of dark magic, man… ”
Fin interlaced his fingers behind his head and leaned back, only half hearing Anson’s theory on Farrah’s demonic teats; all he could think about was Beatrice, his infatuation of the moment. “Seeing Bea’s tight little dumper in those white cut-off jeans and that t-shirt with the big sunflower on it that she always wears… God, they could make a poster with her stretched out in a field of wild flowers and rake in a bundle. Maybe God put subliminal messages on her, like that tiny freckle on the tip of her nose or that little heart-shaped strawberry mark on the inside of her thigh. She’s perfect, man…”
Anson focused on the task of packing another one-hitter as Phinneas ruminated. “Imagine a world where women and sex were… exalted, you know? No closed-mindedness, social constraints, or puritanical restrictions… ”
Fin suddenly sat up straight and blinked his eyes a few times: “Dude, I just said puritanical restrictions!”
After a round of stupefied laughter that was so loud it momentarily quieted the crickets outside, Fin continued his meandering pseudo-thought. “Like a world where religion doesn’t separate people, a world where we are the religion. The one tribe… and an act as natural and normal as sex is out in the open and universally embraced… where women and men would look upon themselves and their partners as shamans, ideally as gods and goddesses, and sex—and everything associated with it—would be the ultimate spiritual fulfillment. By worshiping each other, we would be showing our love for the God that created us.”
Brow furrowed, his roasted red-haired friend futilely tried to complete a lucid thought. “So like what you’re saying is if we were like gods then going to church would be like hanging out at home with stained glass windows everywhere and all the wine we could drink…”
Realizing Anson couldn’t think his way out of a paper bag, Fin ignored his friend’s synaptic meltdown as he tried to visualize a future where sex was as inspired as it was glorified: a world where Love—physical and spiritual—was the answer, the unifier, the healer. Unsure of the utter absurdity of this future paradise, Fin recalled a William Blake passage from his 12th grade English class with Mr. Weidman. “Maybe the road of excess does lead to the palace of wisdom.”
Anson’s bloodshot eyes were glazed like donuts. “What access road leads where?” And then, a second later, “Man, I could really go for a bowl of Count Chocula about now. Or Lucky Charms… the pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, and green clovers. They’re magically delicious—just like Farrah’s magic marshmallows.”
Later that night—long after Anson had stumbled home to most definitely masturbate like a cross-eyed monkey amidst his horde of Playboys, consume massive amounts of sugary cereal, and then pass out—Fin stretched out on the air mattress and rode out a nice, mellow buzz listening to Zeppelin’s “Ten Years Gone” in his high-fidelity, stereophonic headphones.
But his mind kept wandering back to the red, white, and blue hits of acid wrapped in tin foil and hidden underneath his black ceramic dragon bong with the glow-in-the-dark eyes. After a few moments of contemplation, he decided to quarter one of the hits and take it for a little test drive before the big weekend: a metaphysical appetizer of sorts before the seven-course meal. He placed the tiny piece of paper on the tip of his tongue like a communion wafer, closed his eyes, and let the music take him away…
Pupils dilated like two miniature black holes, Fin opened his eyes to a strange new world. He was on an extravagantly sized bed at least twice as big as his van in a lavishly decorated bedroom rhythmically thrusting himself in and out of some mysterious female from behind. His lover had long hair so blonde it was almost white and orange-tinted skin that reminded Fin of an alien babe from Star Trek. He searched her head for antennae. It wasn’t until he looked down that he realized he was wildly sodomizing this woman, his cock relentlessly pummeling her ass. He felt a strange and disturbing heaviness in his groin. When he pulled himself all of the way out to investigate, Fin saw that he had two unnaturally large cocks, both of which easily put John Holmes to shame. He had been fucking this woman anally and vaginally simultaneously. One cock was a few inches directly above the other: two massive, painfully erect penises, both curving upward slightly at the tips, like the front end of a double-horned rhinoceros.
“I’m a cock monster,” Fin thought to himself, mesmerized. He speculated that he might be on the porn Island of Dr. Moreau. Try as he might, he just couldn’t make himself look away from his tusk-like sex organs. He felt his jaw go slack.
“Still not used to the augmentation, baby?” The cinnamon-colored woman asked while collapsing onto the ultra white bed sheets. Fin saw her gaping maw of an anus slowly contract back into the form of a puckered brown starfish and fought back the urge to vomit.
His dilated eyes examined the rest of her as she stretched herself out on the bed. Her age was difficult to gauge because she looked so freakishly inhuman.
Her face was like a mask—blue eyes so big they looked owl-like, a barely perceptible nose, and oversized lips that made Fin think of those wax lips you sometimes got on Halloween—and her breasts didn’t look like breasts at all. It was like she somehow had two basketballs surgically placed under her skin. It looked excruciatingly painful, like some kind of weird torture.
She looked down at his two turgid tools. “You’ll get used to it. It took me months for mine to feel normal.”
“My clitoris and labia, silly! Remember? You’re the one who wanted me to get it done!” And with that, she rolled over onto her back and spread her legs wide to reveal her completely hairless—and, again, seemingly inhuman—nether region. Her clitoris was a huge, fleshy appendage—like some angry deep sea creature pulled out of its shell—but her vaginal lips were even more disproportionate: grotesquely swollen and inexplicably bright pink, like some kind of Venus flytrap sculpted out of a mammoth wad of chewed bubble gum. Fin was reminded of the baboons at the Syracuse zoo.
She smiled a smile that was whiter and brighter than the sheets. “You said it would help my career as an adult actress—and you were right. I’m getting work in everything—gang bangs, bondage, electrosex, fisting, sex machines… And it’s all because of you. The best porn agent in LA!”
She laughed, “And husband too, of course!” And then inadvertently farted.
It was then that he noticed the heart-shaped strawberry mark on the inside of her thigh.
Fin woke up gasping for breath. He was covered in sweat and sprawled out on the air mattress in the back of his minivan. As he ran fingers through his long hair and tried to get his bearings straight, he felt strangely comforted as soft fingers of dawn gently stretched through the van’s back windows and bathed him in its muted, soul-cleansing resplendence.
By the end of the glorious summer of 1976, Phinneas Francher—a hippy’s hippy if there ever was one—had sold off all of his worldly possessions and was living as a monk in a Trappist monastery somewhere in the Finger Lakes. Living a communal life of meditation, study, and hard labor, Brother Fin enjoyed his meager existence making bread with the other monks and spending endless hours in quiet contemplation.
Before morning prayer, he would oftentimes walk through the rolling fields of wheat behind the abbey and bear witness to the dawn. In the gray stillness, he enjoyed watching the very first rays of sun illuminate the horizon to mark the beginning of another new day. As robins, sparrows, and chickadees sang songs too beautiful for words, he stood at the very center of a virtual universe of dewdrops clinging precariously to the endless rows of whispering stalks, refracting tiny rainbows of prismatic light onto the world…
Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written more than eight thousand reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and is also an adjunct faculty member in Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program.