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For all their psychedelic unpredictability, the Dead remained a working group longer than most. It wasn't until fall 1974 that they disbanded for an indefinite period. Their fans, an unusually loyal lot known as Dead Heads, remained utterly confident of a revival.

Charles Perry, "The Sound of San Francisco" in The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll, ed. Jim Miller, New York: Rolling Stone Press, Random House, 1976


Lying is never hip, exactly, but mystery is definitely cool and mysteries, like lies, depend on hidden truths. Annie was trying to think as she hit the highway, but she survived the drive anyway. What should she tell Brendan? What, after all, was there to tell Brendan? What on earth was going on anyway?

Laying it out unsorted like that, be it noted, was not an available option.

Being a woman of mystery had its appeal, as did being a beacon of forthright honesty. Either way, however, she had to know what was going on, and it was increasingly obvious (even to her) that she didn't. Map reading 101: Identify a landmark, USGS survey marker, hilltop, river, stream, creek, brook, or anything. You have to find a starting point.

Mindlessly steering the Rabbit up Graham Hill Road, Annie was in a strange state, half-thinking, half-feeling, vaguely luxuriating around game metaphors. Like most acidheads, past present and future, she found the concept of human interactions as patterns of consensual rule-bound activity intuitively appealing. Like most non-academics, she manipulated theory best through concrete example. Baseball, say, not a fancy of hers, which helped: She had a general idea of what was going on, uncomplicated by details, love or real interest.

To hit the ball, she had to get to bat, and she wasn't in the on-deck circle. She wasn't in the dug-out. She wasn't even in uniform. Hell, in the panicky reality of a dream, she didn't even know the address of the ballpark and she was stuck across town without cabfare trying to get directions from smiling tourists who didn't speak her language.

Downshifting to roll through the stop sign at Sims Road, she took herself firmly in hand. Paranoia, she asserted, a pointless indulgence. Shape up or ship out. Or? And? Uh-oh.

The house was warm and smelled faintly of grass. Brendan was curled up in the big chair, with his legs under him and his head deep in the Cretaceous, courtesy of Stephen Jay Gould. The standing lamp behind him threw his face into shadow but for the reflections off the page, as the stereo washed the room with rhythmic browns, rippling guitar leads and saxophone spikes. The melody, like the scene, was familiar but the performance, like the book, was new. Annie breathed a contact "Hi."

"Hey there." He put a finger on the book and looked up with a soft smile. "Recognize this?"

"Sounds like jazz," she ventured with vague disapproval.

"Anything else?"

"Kinda like the Dead."

"Yeah!" exulted Brendan. "It's the new Dead album, I got it on the way home, it's great, they got Branford Marsalis to play with them on 'Eyes of the World'."

And so it went. There was no decision for Annie to make on the Brendan question, she understood all of a sudden; the decision seemed to be that there was no question; or the decision was that there seemed to be no question; or something ... perhaps she had found, if not the ballpark, then at least the direction she had to head in order to find it. He did ask about the meeting but he barely seemed to notice that she yawned away comment as if overwhelmingly tired. She, on the other hand, did notice, which seemed odd, which occurred to her, which was a surprise, which seemed unusual or at least somehow wrong, as she vaguely saw herself falling uncontrolled towards infinite regress.

But she did see herself, which was something, even if what she saw was someone completely out of control.

So was he, and she started to see that too.

Opposites may attract, but in long relationships like calls to like.

Mirror, mirror in the bed
What's this warning in my head?
If at night my soul should wake
Would you let it crash and break?
Or keep it soft and safe and warm
Rested well and free from harm?
Mirror bright, mirror gleaming
Someday shall we rise up screaming?