On a busy Los Angeles sidewalk, a very tall, very thin young man was walking. He was about twenty-four years old, with large dark brown eyes and a head full of thick dark hair. Covering the hair was a green wool cap that he strangely enough wore in the middle of the summer. He walked lazily with his hands in both pockets of his corduroy pants looking down at the ground. He kicked an empty soda can as he walked along, seemingly with no particular place to go. The young man's name was Mike Nesmith, and he was in a rock and roll band, but not today. Today was just a day to himself.
"Hey, mister, care for a bag of fresh apples, cheap!" called a peddler on the street.
"Nah, not today," said Mike in a lazy Texas drawl as he walked on. The only thing he hated about his walks were people trying to bug him on his way. He wasn't a stuffy guy, but he did like his privacy. Other than that one peddler, the sidewalk wasn't as bustling as it usually was. That was why it came to him as a surprise when he saw a young woman, somewhere in her early twenties, practically flying down the street right in his direction.
She kept running, her yellow-blonde hair fanning out behind her, still not changing her direction. From where she was, Mike could see that she was very thin; almost waif-like, and nearly as tall as himself (she was only a couple inches shorter). Mike suddenly felt a dull shot of pain as the girl finally made it to her destination—his body. They collided, and her nails dug into Mike's flesh to keep her from falling, much like a cat he once had.
"Woah, woah there man, what's going on?" said Mike, attempting to pull the girl out of his skin.
"They're after me!" the girl said. Mike looked at her and saw that she was terrified. Her very long, very blonde hair was an unruly mess from running (she wore a little crown of daises…obviously one of those hippie types) , her pale face was flushed and her eyes were wide with fear and were perhaps the largest, bluest eyes Mike had ever seen.
"Well, who are they and what do they want?" asked Mike. He looked at her again and saw she was hiding something under her denim overcoat. "What do you have under that?"
The girl looked up at him with a guilty, caught-in-the-act look and looking both ways, possibly for the people chasing her, pulled out from under her coat a fresh loaf of bread. "I have no money sir…I was just hungry," she said. Before Mike could say anything, two middle aged men, one the shop owner and the other a cop, came running up the street over to them.
"There she is!" said the shop owner.
"All right lady, hand over the bread or you're going to jail," said the cop.
"Come on you dirty hippie gypsy, we ain't gonna wait all day!" said the shop owner.
The girl was just going to speak up when Mike finally snapped. "Well you wait just a minute there!" he said sternly. "This young lady was just on her way to get some money from me to pay for that! Weren't you?"
"Oh yes, yes I was," said the girl quickly, nodding eagerly.
The two men looked at Mike and the hippie girl skeptically. "Well then," said the shop owner. "If that's true, then show me the money!"
"Okay, hold it man," said Mike, getting out his wallet. "How much?"
"Twenty-two cents," said the shop owner. "Plus tax!"
"Twenty-two—man, you're chasing after this poor girl for twenty-two cents?" said Mike, flabbergasted.
"Plus tax!" said the shop owner. "If that little brat is really going to you for money, fork it over!"
"God, fine, if you're gonna be like that," said Mike. "Here, take your damn money." He slammed the money into the shop owner's hand. The owner counted it carefully, and when he finished, he gave a nod to the police officer.
"Okay young lady, you got luck this time," said the officer. "Now stay out of trouble."
"You don't have anything else under there, do you girl?" ordered the shop owner.
"No, I don't, I swear!" said the girl, shaking her head rapidly. The two men gave her one last suspicious look.
"Just as well I guess," said the owner. "I don't want to see you anywhere near my store again, you hear!"
"Yes sir," said the girl. The two men walked off and were soon gone. The girl turned to Mike with a smile. "Thank you so much, I swear I can pay you back whatever you spent."
"Nah, it wasn't much, you don't need to," said Mike. "You…you really do have something else under there, don't you?"
The girl smiled shyly and pulled from out from under her coat a gleaming silver flute. "Oh my God woman, please tell me you didn't steal that also!" Mike gasped.
The girl laughed musically. "Oh, no silly, of course not!" she said. "This is just an old family heirloom; it's been with us for years! I never let it out of my sight!"
"Oh, well that's a relief," said Mike.
"My name's Emily, by the way," said the girl. "What's yours? You look a little like a Ethan…"
"Uh…no, I'm not an Ethan," said Mike, thoroughly confused. "I'm Mike, Mike Nesmith. It's nice to meet you Emily." He turned to leave, but the girl, Emily, caught him.
"I must say, I'm so sorry for doing all of that to you," she said. "Really, I have to repay you!"
"No, really, you don't need to do anything for me," said Mike. He went to walk away again, but this time he felt a slight weight taken off of the top of his head. "Hey—what?"
"Oh, this is a wonderful little hat!" said Emily, who had taken off Mike's wool hat and was now inspecting it. "Green really is you color, the way it stands out against your hair…beautiful!"
"Hey man, give that back, will ya?" said Mike, irritated. "Look, I helped you out back there, but that doesn't mean you can just take my things!"
"Oh, don't be so grumpy," said Emily. "Here, I'll wear your hat, and you can take these!" She removed the crown of daises off of her head, stood on her tiptoes, and placed it on Mike's head.
"What the hell is this?" exclaimed Mike.
"Flowers silly!" said Emily, stuffing her head into Mike's hat. "They look groovy on you!"
"Well I don't wear flowers!" said Mike. "I wear that hat, so give it back!"
Emily giggled behind her hand. "How's this for another deal?" she asked. "Let's you and me go back to your place, and I can give you back your hat there!"
"Are you inviting yourself over to my pad?" Mike asked. "Are you nuts woman?"
"Well…I…uh…I really have nowhere else to go you see," said Emily with a guilty, girlish look, twisting a lock of her hair. "But if you don't want me there…"
"Oh geez, don't pull that on me now," said Mike. "You…you can come."
"Oh, yippie!" Emily exclaimed, jumping up and down with glee. "Oh, this is great Mike, just totally groovy man, I promise I'll pay you back one day, I'm indebted to you!"
"Well, I wouldn't go that far Emily," said Mike, wondering what in the hell he had done. "I'll just let you stay for the night until you can find somewhere else."
"Mike, you have a heart of gold," said Emily. "Let's go!" Emily roughly linked arms with Mike, and Mike reluctantly walked (or marched, rather, because that was what the happy-as-hell Emily was doing) back to the pad that Mike shared with his bandmates.
At the pad:
Three young men in their early twenties lazed around the living room of their beachside pad in the afternoon. They were doing nothing in particular, mostly because neither of them could get up off of their lazy asses.
"Where do you suppose Mike's been at?" asked one of them. He was the blond of the three, his pin-straight hair flopping over his face so that he constantly had to flip it out of his honey-colored eyes. "He's been gone for an awfully long time!"
"He's fine Peter," said the second one. He was the shortest of the three and spoke with a heavy Manchester accent. He had dark brown hair and dark eyes under bold eyebrows which held a charming expression. He was definitely the pretty one. "Besides, he's the only one of us four who hasn't had some crazy misadventure and ended up in trouble."
"Well, that's a relief!" said the blond, Peter. "I was beginning to get scared for a minute! Thanks Davy!"
"Don't mention it man," said the British one, Davy. "Mike hasn't called yet, has he Micky?"
"Not a ring, but I ain't worried," said Micky, who had a head of thick, very curly brown hair and dark, deep-set eyes. "The only one I'd worry about in this bunch is Peter anyway."
"Aw, that's very sweet of you Micky!" said Peter with a bright smile.
"Oh, Peter," drawled Davy, rolling his eyes.
"The good thing is you can't insult him," said Micky. "He can't understand it anyhow."
"Oh please, I understood that one," said Peter. "But what does this have to do with you being worried about me?"
"Exactly," said Micky, nodding his head once. Just then, there was the sound of keys being put into a lock. "Oh, Mike's back!"
"That's right," said Mike as he opened the door.
"Uh…Mike?" asked Davy. "Why are you wearing flowers…and who's that?"
"Oh…" said Mike as he stepped inside with Emily. It hadn't occurred to him that he was still wearing Emily's crown of daises…or that he still had Emily with him in the first place. "Well…guys…this is Emily. Emily, these are Davy, Micky, and Peter." Each guy waved as they were introduced.
"It's great to meet you all!" said Emily. "Mike is such a good person, he shows that even the most seemingly stern of us all have a core of shining goodness in all of us! You should be proud to have a friend such as him."
"I think we found Peter's long-lost sister," said Micky.
"Well, I very well could be," said Emily, unphased. "But aren't we all brothers and sisters here?"
"Gee Mike, I think you found a winner this time," said Davy.
"Oh, why thank you, but I think Mike's the real winner here," said Emily. "I think I'll go get something to drink, the kitchen's over there, right?" Before anyone could say anything, Emily pranced off to the kitchen.
"Yeah, go ahead, make yourself at home, don't ask the people who rent this place to help ya out!" Mike called after her sarcastically.
"So what's she doing here?" asked Davy once Emily was safely out of earshot.
"She ran into me—literally—after she stole a loaf of bread," said Mike. "I paid for it to get her out of trouble, but then she just latched onto me. I don't know what to do!"
"Mike, she is right, you're such a good person!" said Peter.
"Yeah, too good Pete," said Mike. "I don't think I can get rid of her now."
"Why would you wanna?" asked Peter. "She's so sweet!"
"Yeah, and pretty," said Davy. "I'll tell you what Mike, if you don't want her, I'll take her off your hands!"
"Oh, shut up Davy, it ain't like that," said Mike. "She's just a lost, wayward hippie…who stole my hat off my own head."
"Wanna say though, those flowers really suit you," said Micky.
"Yeah, all you need are some love beads and you're all set!" laughed Peter.
"Shut up you guys," said Mike. "I told her she could stay for the night…I'll just see what goes on after that. Play it by ear, ya know?"
"Well, we are musicians, we do that all the time!" said Peter.
"Musicians?" said Emily on her way out of the kitchen with a bottle of soda. "Mike, why didn't you tell me that? I showed you my flute after all!"
"As if you couldn't tell by the giant drumset and the guitars in the middle of the room," said Mike. "And can I please have my hat back?"
"Well, they could be decoration," said Emily. "And yes, so sorry about that." Emily reached up to take the flowers off of Mike and replaced them with his wool hat, putting her flowers back on her own head. "What do you call yourselves then?"
"We're The Monkees," said Peter. "You play the flute? Hey! You should jam with us, go on, take it out!"
Emily giggled for the millionth time. "Oh, well, if you insist Peter," she said. Peter rushed over to his bass, prompting the others to make their way, a little less enthusiastically (Mike the least so) to their respective instruments. Micky climbed behind the drums, Mike strapped his guitar on, and Davy picked up his maracas. Emily took her flute out from her coat and prepared it.
"Ready Emily?" asked Peter, brimming with excitement.
"Ready!" said Emily. Micky clicked off with his drum sticks, and the band started to play a simple riff. Emily listened, charmed by the music. After getting a sense of the key and style, she raised her lips to the silver flute, closed her eyes, and started to play. It was a gentle and flowing melody, beautiful…that is, until the drums stopped beating and there was a shriek from Micky. "Something wrong?" asked Emily, stopping and opening her eyes. Micky couldn't speak—he could only gawk at what was in front of him: his drum sticks, floating in the air in front of him.
"Oh! Silly me, look what I've done!" said Emily. "So sorry Micky, here, let me fix that for you." She played a few simple notes, and the sticks came back them again, clattering on the drumset.
"What the bloody hell just happened?" asked Davy, trying to calm Micky down.
"I'm so sorry I forgot to tell everyone," said Emily. "This is an enchanted flute!"
"I can see that now," said Micky, pale in the face. "And why…how?"
Emily shrugged. "I dunno, I barely know how to use it," she said.
"Well, I guess we're lucky nothing bad happened!" snapped Mike. "Emily, you could have hurt somebody!"
"Oh, Mike, that's the worst it does!" said Emily. "Trust me, I've had this thing for years."
"Suppose I'll have to," said Mike. "You okay, Mick?"
"I—I'll be okay…yeah," said Micky, still shaken and refusing to touch his sticks.
"Enchanted flute…" said Peter. "Ya know, I think I've heard that somewhere…wasn't that Mozart?"
"Nah, close," said Davy. "Mozart did 'The Magic Flute'."
"Oh!" said Peter. "Well, why don't we call Emily's enchanted flute a magic flute?"
"Copyright infringement?" asked Micky.
"No, I'm pretty sure 'The Magic Flute' is public domain," said Peter. "It was written in the Medieval Ages or something."
"No, no, no!" said Davy. "'The Magic Flute' was written in 1791 at the end of the Classical era! I swear, you bunch are the most uncultured bunch I've ever met…"
"I won't play it if it makes you all uncomfortable," said Emily.
"That would be fantastic for now," said Micky.
"Just as well, I need some time to actually sit…something I haven't done all day," said Mike. He took his guitar off and sat down on the couch. Before he could so much as blink, he felt a slam on his stomach and a small ounce of pain in his crotch and saw a curtain of blonde. Yes, Emily had just decided to plot right down on his lap.
"Emily, what the hell are you doing?" asked Mike.
"Sitting," said Emily simply. "I haven't done it all day either, it sounded like a good idea."
"Well yeah, but not on me!" said Mike.
"Oh, leave her alone, she looks good on you," said Micky.
"Whatever you say Micky," moaned Mike. Whatever he had signed on for, he hoped it wasn't for long…however, something told him it would be for more than just one night.
Later that night:
Emily was still awake downstairs while everyone was asleep upstairs. It was easy for her to keep quiet from having to sneak around stealing food off the streets. That morning was the only time she had gotten caught. She was thankful to that Mike through and through for helping her out. He was a nice young man, no matter how stuffy he seemed to be.
She was starting to feel sleepy, so she sat down on the couch. Before deciding to lay down, she removed her coat and took her flute out. She stroked it, tracing the inlay designs engraved in the silver, feeling the cool metal, and clanking the keys. She was determined to figure out what this flute could do, but making drumsticks float was enough amusement for her at the moment. Still holding the flute close to her, she lay down on the couch, and using her coat as a blanket like she always did, drifted off to the first pleasant sleep she had in a long time.