Longshoremen's Hall Big-meetin' Day

Neal's entheogenic night train snaked off the sidetrack onto a looping main line, through a huge auditorium quaking with sound and color. And people.

The crush of humanity they had just left in the greenroom was magnified by hundreds and thousands - hip Technicolor space pirates in faded frayed denim, drenched in an interstellar cloud of scintillating light, body heat and dense sweat, particulate flotsam tossed on, and part of, successive tidal waves of over-amplified, distorted sound that crashed upon all shores of the world at once: the booming familiarity of a single human voice broadcast above a low, pervasive AC hum; followed by a calming folkie acoustic guitar; followed by screaming industrial breakdown.

Among the wonders and curiosities through which Cassady's mightily-pistoning arms pulled them was a painted Indian teepee, set up to explore. Hanging from the ceiling at one end of the hall were giant swatches of colored cloth, seemingly representing flags of countries found beyond the places where maps were marked terra incognita.

Bright glassy groupings of slide projector lenses irregularly, rapidly, glared new images across the crowd, painting it with a clashing cacophony of changing rainbows. Words and pictures flashed on the walls as well: "America Needs Indians" next to a short repeating loop of a chic, pillboxed Jacqueline Kennedy frantically clawing back across the broad black trunk lid of a particular Lincoln convertible at a particular parade. Bottomlit trays of colored oil and water on overhead projectors roiled transparent pastels across everyone's faces.

Milo had sensed the brittle, overbright opening notes of an LSD aura back in the greenroom. In very little time, they had twined their auras into shining chords. He was finding it harder and harder to discern where outside stimuli stopped and acid started, but the coming stone, by all signs, promised to be a truly magnum opus, symphonic even by his connoisseur's standards.

"All Hail Owsley," an unidentifiable, disembodied voice seemed to whisper from somewhere very far away...