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Sex, Drugs, Macrobiotics and Death - in the 60s
For mature readers
"Whether you were there or only wish you were, your take on the Sixties is incomplete without the Simon saga." Bill Dufty, co-author with Billie Holiday of Lady Sings the Blues, producer/translator of the American version of You Are All Sanpaku, John Lennon's favorite book (John bought 1000 copies to give away - also drew a cartoon of himself and Yoko naked in bed reading it, which appeared in the second issue of Rolling Stone), and author of Sugar Blues, the best-selling etiology of all time (over four million sold).
"A great book. Really a fine writer." Art Kunkin, Publisher, L.A. Free Press
Sample - from Chapter 1
The wicked doorbell rings, tearing me back from somewhere else, like from an unremembered but nevertheless disconcerting dream.
It's 1965. The middle of November. I'm 24, and Beth Ann, my wife and best friend, also 24, has gone and done it, the one thing finally to which I have no answer, the one thing that cannot be undone, accepted, retrieved, altered, forgiven, mitigated, or in any way fixed. We always used to be able to fix anything. The thing that can't happen has happened. I cannot form the word.
I am at my parents' house, in Clifton, New Jersey, where we came when she got so sick we had to do something; and today is her funeral.
Diiing dong! I forgot about the bell. It's ringing again.
"I'll get it!" I say it loud, so the parents will hear me, but it hurts to raise my voice.
The parents are upstairs. I remember when I was little, they were always upstairs, closed in their room, getting ready to go out or something. Or they were out. Or they were just getting back and busy about that. Whatever, they were always unavailable.
They'll hear me or they won't; it doesn't matter. They're available now, now that it doesn't matter, now that nothing matters and they can't do anything about anything.
"I'll get it! I'll get it!" I say it again, this time to myself. Besides, I need the exercise. I'm ninety-two pounds; and at five feet, ten-and-a-half inches, I look like I just got out of Auschwitz. It's been an ordeal, but it's over. I don't care what happens anymore, and that makes it over.
It takes me a couple of tries to get up out of the chair. The simplest, most every-day movement is difficult and painful to the extreme and requires a focused effort. But I manage to make it to the door and open it up.
There is a blinding wash of light out of which materialize two big men in suits holding badges up in front of my face.
"Clifton P.D. -- t' see if yuh want p'leese perteckshun fer de fune-rul."
Nothing can surprise me anymore, so I am not surprised.
"If you're here asking," I say, "I guess that means I better say yes."
"'kay den," one of them says. "Will be back in time t' take yuh."
I close the door, and they disappear. Did that happen? The mother's voice, from upstairs, a question mark.
"Police, Ma. Apparently they're giving me protection for the funeral."
She says something. I don't hear what, but it could very well be, "That's nice, dear." Because anything she doesn't quite hear or understand, she will always interpret as something good.
Then the father's voice. I can't make out his words either; but with him it will always be the other way. Even the definitely good, he will find the bad in it.
I work my way back to the den and back down into the chair and stare into the hole in the world, the place where she is not. I see her lying there on the day bed where she died. I have so much to say to her. I only need to go back a couple of days, just a couple of little days.... Why does that have to be so impossible?
I pick up Ohsawa's last letter to her and read it again for the fiftieth time. There was mystic significance in the way it came to me, but I don't understand such things. I don't understand anything.
Two days after the end, I was walking around the block, when I noticed an envelope on the ground in the middle of a front yard two houses down from my parents'. The incongruity was what caught my eye, the small white rectangle luminous against the green expanse of lawn.
I was not thinking it could have anything to do with us, but something made me go and pick it up. Unbelievably, it was addressed to her, from Japan, from him. And it had not been opened.... Why this letter? Of all the letters in the world, why had this one gotten lost?.... But no, not lost. It was in my hand -- not its intended destination, but its destined destination.
I took it home and opened it, and this is what it said, what it still says, what it is always going to say: "I have made a terrible mistake in your case. Immediately go off the diet. Reread my books and start all over again from the beginning."
© Charles Martin Simon