"Yum," Sandra said. "Annie, you've got to check this guy out. Hair's way too long, but oh my, otherwise he's swell."

I lifted my head from last month's 16 Magazine, which someone had left behind in the laundromat, and looked across the street.

"'Swell'? I said. "Who says 'swell' anymore?"

"My sister, for one."

"And she still listens to Pat Boone."

"Would you just check him out?"


"In front of Ernie's."

As soon as I looked again, I didn't know how I'd missed him. His hair was black and glossy like a crow's feathers, and long—longer than either Sandra's or mine, and ours was past our shoulders. Like the other guys hanging in front of the pool hall, he wore jeans and a T-shirt, but his jeans were bell-bottomed and his T-shirt had a picture of a marijuana leaf on the front.

And as Sandra had already indicated, he was drop dead handsome.

"I think he's one of those hippies we keep hearing about," Sandra added.

I didn't think so, but I wasn't exactly sure why. Maybe it was those tooled leather cowboy boots and the clear look in his eyes when he glanced our way. Weren't hippies usually barefoot and—especially considering the picture on his shirt—stoned?

"Which could be good," Sandra added. "It's all free love and fun with them, isn't it?, and I'll have a helping of both, so long as he's serving."

Nothing's free, I wanted to tell her. Especially not love. But right then his gaze held mine for a long second. My mouth went dry while my body felt weirdly hot.

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