Dali's Cheshire Cat

With quick, uneasy steps, Bill found the large living room of his friends, The Grateful Dead. At least he thought he did.

The walls, floor and ceiling were iridescent fluid, moving and shimmering like a bowl of water in the sun. The liquid walls bubbled and crashed, an interior storm swell sloshing, barely restrained, like a giant plastic dime store bag of  new pet goldfish. The lighting effects at the previous evening's Acid Test paled to insignificance by by comparison. A  mass of people populated the scene. This was not unusual for the house, especially after a gig. 

"Wow! Why didn't they use these projectors at the Longshoreman's Hall if they had them? They're amazing! And are all these people wearing makeup?" wondered  Bill. Then, a split second later:  "No. They aren't!"

A second gawk revealed that, while he could see  features of  their faces,  he could see through them too. Wherever skin was exposed – and there was a lot of skin, because most didn't really seem to have clothes –he could make out sub-matrices of tissue and bone, frame-fanned by multicolored moire patterns pulsing from their chests.

Bill closed his eyes for a long time, shook his head and opened them again.

Nope. Didn't help.

Around him, softly moaning couples were  locked in Kama Sutra embraces, floating on the room's stray air currents, gently caroming from the elastic walls in ever-changing directions, like X-rated windup toys. Figures in what seemed to be bizarre Renaissance costumes casually strolled across the ceiling, down Escher-like stairs and out arched doorways to nowhere. Goldfish chased each other outside their bowl and drifted past Bill's left ear. Salvador Dali somersaulted slowly by amid a litter of tumbling, translucent kittens. A herd of armadillos  – hundreds of them – thundered across the floor, streamed around Bill's boots like buffalo stampeding around a stone glacial erratic, plowed into the gelatinous membrane holding the waterwall, then passed through it into the liquid. It popped audibly as it shut behind them.

“Meow,” gushed Dali as he floated past.  He seemed amused by Bill's dumbstruck face. Graham began to wonder seriously if he'd eaten or drunk something he shouldn't have. Or if some Prankster had, somehow, slipped him something they shouldn't have.

Then he heard familiar voices speak his name. He turned in their direction, feeling a little relieved that something still seemed normal.

“Hey Bill! Good you could make it!”

It was Garcia, calling from a far corner with Mountain Girl and Bob Weir. They were transparent, like everything and everyone else.  All three sprawled on a flashing neon couch that hovered a foot off the floor. Bill worked up a coat-hanger grin. As San Francisco's leading impresario of the out-there, he prided himself on his well-practiced cool, on letting on that he never noticed anything unusual enough to harsh his mellow, even amid supreme chaos.  Although this scene definitely stretched his chops further than usual. 

“Hey Jer, what's happenin'?”

“Great party, eh?” Garcia's head uncoiled Slinky-like from his shoulders. Graham found himself gazing into twin scintillating spirals where Jerry's eyes should have been.

If that's what you want to call it...” drawled Weir.  His wide grin kept opening until his head split grotesquely in half, for all the world like a decapitated Cheshire cat.

Uhhhh.  I thought we could maybe talk about the tour for a few minutes. But it looks like this might be a bad time...”  Bill trailed off, and glanced uneasily left, then right.

Mountain Girl snorted. The aerosol from her nose became fluttering dayglo butterflies, and wafted away. Weir was paralyzed, gasping as silent laughter pulsed out from between the two halves of his head.

“If you want to talk business, man,” he finally said after somehow pulling himself back together, “talk to him!

He pointed toward either the bottom or the top of the Escher stairs. Bill couldn't tell which.