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Rowland and Betty
and the Police

Rowland and Betty were walking together in Elysian Park in Los Angeles rapping about hippy type things like what is god and what are we doing here anyway and how to get more people to do more of the shit work at The House of the 7th Angel when Betty felt a tap on her shoulder. She jumped a foot, her heart thumped, and she turned around half expecting some thug to be threatening them. Instead a big, burly uniformed policeman asked, “Are you two REAL hippies, or are you some of us?”

“Are you a police officer?” asked Rowland. They remembered that Elysian Park had an officer’s training school at one end of it.

“Yes,” he answered, “are you?”

Understand that they undoubtedly had a few joints in their pockets and perhaps even a tab or two of LSD, one never knew exactly when it would come in handy.

Betty was speechless, but Rowland told the officer that they were really real hippies. Betty was dressed in her antique hand embroidered Chinese skirt, all blue and white silk satin that sung its luxurious folds around her as she walked. Her hair was getting very long and wild. She was certain that the red heart painted between her eyebrows would help open her pineal gland to peace, love and understanding. Rowland was wearing bright green ragged trousers he’d rescued from a dumpster and an embroidered shirt with lots of beads and an ankh around his neck.

They were convinced, of course, that they were about to be searched, arrested, interrogated. Instead the officer smiled saying, “You’re just what we’ve been hoping for. We’ve got a bunch of rookies taking a brush up course, and we’d really appreciate it if you’d come in and talk to them.”

Heaven! A chance to convert police officers! They were escorted to a classroom with about thirty uniformed men in it. Rowland talked first about the economics of being a hippy, how the discards of the wealthy American society were the food and clothing of hippies. He said hippies had new ideals like sharing instead of greed, loving instead of fear, working together instead of competition. He explained about Jesus and the lilies of the field who sowed not, neither did they spin and yet were clothed so beautifully. The men were amused, condescending. They smirked at each other. Then Betty said that psychedelics were important in opening oneself up to god-consciousness. She told them she had owned a huge jewelry business and had given it all up - given her money away. “Now we meditate together every day - we are learning to talk with honesty.”

The policemen asked then about “drugs”. “ They’re sacraments to us. We use marijuana every day. LSD once a week, peyote when we can get it. It’s like the wafer in church - blood & body of Christ.”

The men were angry. “Those are all illegal,” they said. “We could arrest you right now. You’re committing a felony every day of your lives.”

Betty laughed. “So are you,” she said, “probably so are most adults in California.”

“Whadya mean? We don’t commit felonies. We’re police officers.”

“Because fellatio is illegal in the state of California. If you don’t believe me, look it up.”

“One of the men got up and left the room. There was some conversation about what it feels like to smoke pot, and why hippies used it. Betty and Rowland made it clear that the word hippy comes from jazz and means “one who knows.” They were proud to be hippies and used psychedelics to give them insights most people rarely obtained. The police were swinging between amusement, disbelief, wanting to put down these ridiculous freaks and hearing more about hippies than the usual talk of sex and rock and roll. They were awed by the talk of god. Were these the same people they’d been arresting? Then the door flew open, and the man who had left came in all excited. “:She’s right,” he shouted, “it’s a felony to commit fellatio in the state of California. She’s right! Can you imagine that?”

After that it got to be more of a dialogue with real people talking to real people. Rowland and Betty talked about how scary it was that their holy sacraments were illegal. “You could really help us,” they said. “We’re not threatening.”

The police told them how terrible it made them feel to be called “pigs.”These men had never talked to hippies before. “Thanks,” the police said, “we learned a lot today.”

Then Rowland and Betty went out into the L.A. sunshine and strolled back to the House. It had been a groovy day!

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