I was looking up monasteries in the yellow pages when she knocked. I was living at this time in Jersey City, N.J., on top of a meat market. It was the dingiest of places. I got up from my fleabitten couch. I opened the door to a dazzling darkhaired woman. “My name is Mindy,” she said. I immediately looked at Mindy’s breasts. I suggested she come in. Mindy nodded and entered my apartment. “What sign are you?” she asked as she walked to a window, scratching the glass with her fingernails. “Capricorn,” I said. “Don’t worry,” said Mindy, “Nobody important was ever a Capricorn.”
“I have constant fantasies involving the Statue of Liberty,” I say. I feel that Mindy is someone I can trust. I am in love with Mindy.
“I am from a long line of mendicants, pig breeders, quacks and snake charmers,” Mindy replies.
“What do you think of the Bicentennial?” I ask.
“Start to forget about everything,” says Mindy. She has turned around, looking at me from the window — a panorama of breathtaking downtown Jersey City is visible beyond the panes — with eyes (albeit slightly wall-eyed) that sear.
I am beginning to be hypnotized and am entering a new plane. Distantly, I hear Mindy’s voice, “For a dog, he had good penmanship.”
“Mindy,” I find myself saying. “I am searching for well-being.”
The beautiful dark woman says, “This is an illusion.”
“I don’t think it’s an illusion,” I say. “I think well-being is a reality — as much as anything else.”
“I’m wrong then,” says Mindy. “Well-being is a reality.”
Before I can say another word, Mindy tells me to go to the bathroom to wash out my mouth. My breath smells bad, she says. Somewhat deflated, still in a daze, I go.
When I return, full of lust, I see Mindy pacing up and down, purposely. “This country USA,” she says, “is in the hands of a bunch of madmen. This is home base of the maniacs of the international oil cartel.”
“I realize this,” I say.
“These pigs for petroleum are plundering the planet,” says Mindy. “They don’t care what they do to keep their profits coming in — dry the world of oil, pollute while pumping, have it all wasted in cars poisoning the air, warping our land in a whirl of Interstate Highways and mobile homes and Holiday Inns and assorted other Plastic, and now thousands of their nuclear plants, spewing radiation, spreading cancer, perverting all we really pass on: our genes.”
“I know this,” I say.
“How,” says Mindy, “can you talk about well-being when we are on the verge of planetary destruction brought to you by the Standard Oil Trust?”
“There have always been the best of times and the worst of times,” I say, still basically hypnotized.
“Unless there’s a change fast, these are the end of times,” says Mindy. I have a huge erection looking at Mindy’s marvelous body.
“Would you like to come with me and help smash the rulers?” says Mindy.
“I’m a little busy,” I explain. I was just finishing a report on Morality Among Hippies. I agree to go anyway. Mindy and I walk down the stairs of my five-story walk-up into the bright streets of downtown Jersey City. We pass a big sign which proclaims proudly, “Welcome to the Junkheap of History.” “America,” I say, “this is what it’s coming to.”
Beyond the shopping centers and gas stations that encircle the convivial core of Jersey City, we head on — in Mindy’s 1965 Chevy Corvair — to the New Jersey Turnpike. To Mindy, I recite Baudelaire. “A la tres bonne, a la tres-belle/Qui fair ma joie et ma sante,” I say. She ignores me, and guns along toward the Elizabeth exits and their miles and miles of stinking, smelly oil refineries.
Mindy pulls the car to a stop along the road as a New Jersey State Trooper in a neo-SS uniform flashes by. Mindy looks at me, a political mission on her mind. I am still inflamed in passion, moderately hypnotized. “What do you say we fool around?” I ask Mindy, cooly.
“Do you have a match?” she asks.
I say I don’t. She is alarmed. “We’ve gone this far and we forgot the matches,” she screams. She wheels the Corvair up the Turnpike, to a Howard Johnson’s. She dashes in. I follow. “I’m sorry ma’m,” says this woman behind the cash register to Mindy. “We can’t give you matches unless you buy cigarettes.” Mindy is furious. “Cigarettes are poison, lady — more of your poison,” she says. She runs over to this cigarette machine, knocks it down, and begins stomping it. She is banging and bending the metal when two Ice Cream Counter Attendants restrain her. With two simulated Karate chops, Mindy quickly frees herself from the attendants. We both dash out to the Corvair, and in a burp of backfires take off.
Down the Turnpike, Mindy and I sit in the car, in a rest area. The splendorous view of the New Jersey Turnpike on a hot Tuesday afternoon flashes before us.
“I would like to find a mountain to jump off,” says Mindy.
“You don’t think single-handedly you can halt the so-called Industrial Revolution,” I say.
“I thought we could do it together,” she says.
“What are humans anyway,” I say “— just the prevalent form of chimpanzees on earth.”
“You should see a dentist,” Mindy tells me.
“I specialize in soft porn on the French horn,” I say.