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Fool's Paradise

Written By: David Russell
Published by: Devine Destinies
ISBN #:0000678
Word Count:6000
Page Count: 21
Heat Level:
Price: $1.59
Available in: Adobe Acrobat, Palm DOC/iSolo, Microsoft Reader, Hiebook, HTML, Mobipocket, Rocket, Epub, Sony PDF, Sony LRF

    So, how did I, Jim Herrington, come across this place? By inspired fumbling, which is the way most things cross my path. In those far off days, like so many people of my ilk, I was an impassioned hitchhiker. Somewhat fashionably and rather typically, I followed a long, meandering route around the country, taking occasional prompts and directions from my Alternative Organic Living magazine. My destination house was charted there.

    Having previously been socialized into the YHA, I didn’t really foresee any problems getting on with whomsoever I might encounter, unless they were the problematical ones, in which case I would split.

    The girl who came to the door, wearing a long patchwork robe, obviously home-made, looked rather like an alternative Youth Hostel warden. “What brings you here,” she asked me, as if I were one of many who had passed through the house, “Time warp? Culture shock?”

    “A bit of both.” I felt that my turgid, disordered thesis and my messed-up academic career merited those tags.

    “So, life got you into a bit of a tangle, and you’re interested in straightening yourself out? That’s cool.” Not as a stranger! We could have taken those words out of each other’s mouths.

    “Your bread’s ok?” She gave me a suspicious, sidelong look which she quickly covered with a tight smile. “This is a safe address for giros,” she said, “within reason.”

    “I’m into grants and fees,” I replied.

    Her eyes lit up. “OK, Jim, then there’s room for you. I guess you are familiar with the kind of set-up we have here. There’s a rota of weekly tasks to keep the place shipshape—the living rooms and the other shared rooms. What you do with your own room is your own affair, again within reason, of course. And you must be prepared to attend house meetings. Domestic business is done on a communal basis, that is, based on democratic majority decision.”

    “I’ve been an aspiring student politician, honey, so that’s second nature to me.”

    “Do you…take anything?”

    “Only the soft ones, in harmony with organic diets and herbal medicines.”

    “That’s perfectly cool. We’ve just got to draw the line at the hard stuff. Well, stick around. You’ll meet the others in a couple of hours or so.”

    In the heyday of the Hippie Counterculture, Jim, a disaffected postgraduate, goes on a rural retreat in quest of his identity. He finds a cool alternative abode, which initiates in a bizarre relationship with the housemother, Celia, who turns out to be an undercover police officer, but also with dubious connections. Things develop, including a delicious one—off with Celia, and Jim is drawn towards the edges of nefarious activity. He ends up waiting for his Barrister, convinced he will clear him.

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