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Sean O'Connell

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Hippy Ever After
By Sean O'Connell
Tuesday, June 04, 2002

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A few years ago he could have been described as a Yuppie. No, that’s not true . Harvey Glickstein would never have been called a Yuppie. Oh, yes, he was certainly upwardly mobile. His executive business style was firmly fixed in the high-rise, high-risk arena called Finance. His sights were definitely set on the fast-buck target called Fat Profit. He armed himself with the essential weaponry of any self-respecting, shoot-from-the-lip financial street fighter. His Porsche was black – 911. His phone was mobile – always ringing. His Filofax was full – leather bound. His house was Georgian – stockbroker belt. His wine bar bill was large – paid monthly. But Harvey Glickstein would never have been called a Yuppie because Harvey Glickstein was not – young. He was, in fact, 50 years of age.
His rise to the heady strata of shiny round wheels and million pound deals had not been meteoric. In fact, it had taken twenty years to obtain his management status. The long haul had been worth it, however. He was now known as the ‘Billy the Kid’ of the business world. He led his young gun team with a raw energy that was both stimulating and frightening. He encouraged them to take risks and dared them to approach every situation with a flair and panache that would leave their rivals dumbstruck and their clients awestruck. His experience and skilful handling of most matters left little room for error and ensured a healthy list of successful business deals. Nobody had any doubt that Harvey Glickstein was well worth his six-figure salary and deserved all the accolades, which had finally come his way.
Harvey lived with his American girlfriend and his two daughters from a previous encounter. Fallon was 15 years younger than her partner and her great joys in life were to throw pots, dinner parties and the occasional tantrum.
Chastity (Chas to her friends) was a 21-year-old student of Fine Art who normally turned up at weekends with her Rastafarian boyfriend, several waifs and strays and enough marijuana to keep the whole West Indies in blissful ecstasy.
Harmony (Harmony to her friends) was a 19-year-old busker at the local train station. Her ‘act’ consisted of a few well-worn protest songs and a highly creative verbal attack on anyone who failed to register their appreciation with a financial reward.
Despite their small failings, all three remained important features in Harvey Glickstein’s life. However, there was only one, true all-consuming obsession in his cut and thrust, power-struggling world. Harvey Glickstein was a 50-year-old laid-back, wiped-out, peace-loving Child of the Universe. Harvey Glickstein was a middle-aged Hippy.
He had managed to keep his passion firmly locked behind the solid door of his study. No one, not even his family - especially not his family - was allowed into the Inner Sanctum of his study. The pretext was feasible. The walls were lined with high technology. The table and desk were cluttered with machines that rattled, rumbled and spat out mile upon mile of paper spaghetti. And so, he insisted that nothing be disturbed. Nobody wanted to go in there anyway. It was a place that offered nothing but chauvinistic boredom for the rest of the family but, for Harvey, it offered a magical, mystery tour into the dreamy world of the pill, pot and painted nipples.
His cine cases contained reels of broadcasts, interviews, concerts and underground films from the great Hippy era. The record cases were full of countless reminders of the anthems of peace, love and freedom. The suitcases were bursting with the memorabilia of those heady, carefree days. He had hundreds of beaded necklaces and headbands. Bells jangled like a fleet of Christmas sleighs. Kaftans, shirts and trousers exploded in a torrent of frenzied images.
This was the Flower Power world of Harvey Glickstein. Here, in his soundproofed sanctuary, he was able to ‘turn on’ to the psychedelic words of Timothy Leary, ‘tune in’ to the caressing sounds of the Turtles and the Byrds and ‘drop out’ into his closet world of sex and drugs and rock and roll.
Harvey had long enjoyed this paradox in his life. He had carefully resisted the temptation to openly mix his high-powered business empire with his flower-powered private domain. However, the urge to tell the world about his world was becoming increasingly stronger. On several occasions, he had found himself close to opening his study door and inviting Fallon and the girls to share his joss sticks, love bells and Californian Dreaming. His logical mind told him it was time to tell the world. He had, in fact, transported some of his paraphernalia to the office so that he could snatch a few minutes of hazy tranquillity in the midst of the hectic struggle to make an honest fortune. Several people had, indeed, noticed the funny smell and the glazed expression but they were either to busy or too ambitious to make any comment.
August 14th was a day of tremendous decision in the life of Harvey Glickstein. It was the eve of the anniversary of the greatest celebration of Hippy lifestyle that had ever taken place – Woodstock. It was also the eve of Harvey’s birthday and, this time, it was his 50th. So, he had decided that August 15th would be the day when the whole world met the real Harvey Glickstein.
His final act before leaving the office had stunned even his normally unshockable troops. They had heard him offer £125,000 for an acre of land near Bath. He would not disclose the name of the client but simply told the amazed onlookers that it was someone who had great plans for the site. Most of the team decided that it must have been the heavy workload that had affected him. A few put it down to the funny smell that followed him out of his office.
Harvey hurried home, knowing that his two daughters as well as Fallon would be there to greet him. They had both managed to spare a little time for their father’s birthday. It would be the perfect moment to let them share his mind-blowing news.
They had unwittingly made a start when they bought him the present for which he had been dropping enormous hints for some time. The 1968, soft-topped, VW Beetle had been delivered a few days earlier and, ever since, he had spent endless, mysterious hours locked away with his new toy.
‘Darlings, how lovely to have my three favourite girls all together.’
‘Hello, Daddy,’ was the reply that was accompanied by gentle pecks on both cheeks.
‘Darlings, come and sit down. I have made a decision that I want the whole world to know about but I want you three to be the first to hear it.’
All three sat down and looked at each other with puzzled expressions. Harvey stood in front of them, anxious to reveal his monumental decision.
‘I’ve decided to come out of the closet…as it were. Well, out of the study, actually.’
‘Oh God, my father’s gay!’
‘No, no, just let me explain.’
Harvey raced off to the study and returned, a few moments later, fully regaled in long wig, beads, bells and multi-coloured kaftan.
‘Jeez, he’s a transvestite as well!’
‘H.Harvey,’ Fallon stammered, ‘I had no idea. You’ve never let on when we’ve…’
‘Don’t you recognise it?’ Harvey protested.
‘It’s certainly not mine!’
‘Nor mine.’
’Harvey, the nearest thing I have to that is my tie-dye pottery smock and I thought you hated that.’
‘Darlings, this is my Hippy gear. I’m going to be a Hippy!’
‘Daddy, whose fancy dress party is it?’
‘Is it something to do with the office?’ Fallon questioned, hopefully.
Harvey, losing patience, stamped his foot and gave a huge twirl.
‘This is how I’m going to dress from now on. I’ve always wanted to be a free spirit, a true , ‘Child of the Universe’ and the Hippy culture is the epitome of all that.’
‘You’re one bead short of a necklace,’ Harmony observed.
‘Won’t they be a little surprised at the office, darling?’
‘Oh, I hope so! I hope they’ll be stunned. I bet it will blow their minds!’
‘I bet it will blow your job. Daddy, how could you be so stupid?’
‘It’s not stupid, darling. It’s wonderful. At long last, I can stop pretending, I can be who I want to be.’
‘But, Daddy, who wants to be a prat?’
Harvey spent the rest of the evening and well into the early hours trying to explain his dreams and plans. Eventually, the girls admitted a grudging understanding, wished him a happy birthday and went off to bed. Harvey sat with Fallon for several more hours, excitedly relating the history and philosophy of his obsession.
By the time that she tripped wearily off to bed, Fallon had almost warmed to Harvey’s childlike enthusiasm. That same enthusiasm kept him awake until it was time to leave for the office.
His arrival there caused more furious activity than a Wall Street crash. Every computer, phone, fax machine and typewriter was abandoned as people rushed to get a reasonable view from the office windows. And, indeed, the view was well worth seeing. Harvey arrived in his Beetle. He had painted it bright yellow and covered that with a kaleidoscope of flowers and zodiac signs. An equally long moustache now accompanied his long wig. The headband glittered and the bells and beads wrapped round his neck were like a gaudy treasure trove. The kaftan was a vivid expression of patterns and colours. The sandals and shades rounded off the image for the ‘Dry Martini Dropout’

‘You’re fired, you dope smoking degenerate!’ Lionel Copeland was Harvey’s immediate boss.
‘Hey, that’s cool, man,’ was Harvey’s calm response.
‘You used your position to negotiate that land deal for yourself. That’s against the rules, Harvey. I have no option.’
‘That’s right, man. It’s me who has the option – an option to build actually. I’m going to build a Hippy Theme Park. You’re welcome to visit any time, man. Stay as long as you like. My tent is your tent.’
Harvey turned and walked out of the office. He explained his position to his young team and made his farewells. He left quickly and made his way to the car. Lionel Copeland ran after him and caught him as he gunned the engine.
‘You’re mad, Harvey. You’re throwing away a great deal.’
‘I’ve got everything I need, man,’ Harvey explained as he pointed to his tent and provisions.
‘And what happens if no-one comes to visit?’ Lionel hissed.
Harvey reached under his seat and produced a bag full of funny shaped cigarettes. He looked at Lionel with a slightly glazed expression and revealed.
‘If no-one comes, man, there’ll be a hell of a lot more for me!’
With that, he switched on the tape and, to the sound of Jimi Hendrix, Harvey Glickstein ‘dropped out’.

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Reviewed by Bourge 11/16/2002
I lovvvvve this! I just sort of browsed your page on the site, but this story's wicked! It just personified the phrase 'young at heart'!

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