Story Snippet: Copacetic Cop-Out

A sixties-themed short story, originally written for the weekly flash fiction challenge on my group blog 8 Ladies Writing.

“Copacetic Corner? A Counterculture Commune for Retired Revolutionaries? What the hell is this?”

Commander Mann pushed the brochure back across the desk with a snarl. Hand-printed with vegetable inks on recycled paper, the cover was an eclectic mix of paisley-patterned swirls and fluffy clouds emblazoned with hippie buzzwords: “Peace”; “Love”; “Freedom.”

“You didn’t read the good bits yet, Commander.” Rainbow pushed it back again. “I think ‘Can You Dig It?’ is an inspired name for an organic vegetable garden, don’t you?”

“I don’t see what this has to do with me.” His eyes met hers briefly and slid away.

“My mother is looking for investors,” Rainbow explained brightly. “She’s not getting any younger and wants to create a sanctuary for herself and her friends, but she’s having some difficulty raising the finance.”

Commander Mann was seized by a sudden fit of coughing. Rainbow straightened her mini skirt, crossed her ankles and waited politely until he subsided before continuing with her pitch.

“Apparently she has some kind of mystery blot on her copybook dating back to the sixties. We’ve been trying to get to the bottom of the problem. It’s very odd. She was in a couple of protest groups, nothing very radical, but afterwards there was a crazy rumour they’d been infiltrated by some kind of super-secret police task force.”

“That’s the most ridiculous thing I ever heard.” Commander Mann’s face was a sixties shade of puce.

“Exactly what I said, sir.” Rainbow reached into her macramé bag, took out a photograph and laid it on top of the brochure. “The flower child in the tie-dye kaftan is my mother. I’m not sure I recognize the groovy dude sharing her psychedelic mushrooms, though he does look vaguely familiar.”

Mann stared long and hard at the photograph. Then he opened his desk drawer and took out his cheque book.

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