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Chapter 8
Beyond the Reaches of Fame

The wind echoed my name in soft rhythmic patterns like the crashing waves on the now deserted beach. I couldn't help but become a tad bit confused at the constantly changing crowdedness of this particular site. I watched a gull peck along the ocean's edge but rush in flight as I neared his domain. A string of pearls lay in a perfect circle on the glass white sand. I carefully reached toward them and ran them through my coarse fingers examining their authenticity. However the more I touched them, the frailer they became until they dissolved into a white gloss no longer recognizable to the human eye. I pinched the air curiously looking for the missing pearls and stepped onto the white gloss unknowingly. My foot sank into the pure white foam as I cried for help in earnest. The quicksand of time was dragging me into its depths as I struggled in despair and confusion. A single worn ruff wrinkled hand pulled me up out of the pits of death and onto the rocky foundation composed of mud and water. No one was there to give credit to my amazing rescue only my imagination of the rescuer who's name I know not.

Perhaps it was my mother, or maybe I only wanted it to be her because her physical absence in itself was too much to bear. If I only had gotten one glance than I would be satisfied for an eternity, but had, I not made similar promises to a higher power, which were quickly abandoned after a lack of response. Well in all fairness it wasn't a lack of response just a lack of an immediate response which the young must have in order to maintain their faith. An earth-shattering quake brought me back unto the land of the living, breathing, working men of the world.

"Wakey, wakey," George whispered softly.

"Time to get up lazybones," Ringo added.

"Wouldn't want to be late to the concert would we?" John smiled, "hypocrite."

"I'm up, I'm up," I yawned. The shrill of voices rang in my ear as we descended humbly into the Olympia Theater. I smiled politely at the teenage boys hurdled around us shrieking, "Les Beatles." A sea of Beatle cuts flooded the back gates and I couldn't help but smile at the influence we had on the impressionable youth. Images of my father scolding me about rock n' roll made this all the more unreal; knowing that there were thousands of bands out there with an identical, dream but could not succeed because of the "old generation." I doubted that they would be able to hold their grip much longer as the counter culture doubled in numbers each year. Still for now the majority of the world is conservative and you cannot disregard the rules over night.

We filed into a slightly larger closet after Neil argued about the lack of commodities and our safety being neglected at the last two concerts.

"Hey, look at this," Ringo said clearing his throat, "The Beatles took France by storm last night in their opening concert at the Olympia. Never has an audience clapped along so loudly and if I may further comment looks of envy have been shot up by French groups jealous of these new comers popularity."

"Does it mention the riot?" George cried while drumming his fingers together.

"Yeah, but nothin about us givin a couple of them damn reporters a black eye," Ringo sighed.

"I'd hate to read what hey have to say," John smirked.

"You two didn't do shit," I said excitedly, "you were both scared off your wick and ducked so no one would hurt you."

"I seem to recall the only constructive thing you did was get trampled on," George added.

"Ooh... Georgie low blow, you got aim a little higher cause Paul can't fight against logic like that," John teased.

"Yeah Paul," Ringo commented, "he left you standin there like a homeless person on the street."

"Well if I hadn't reached that microphone when I did then you might not be here to talk about anything more less how useless I was," I shot back angrily.

The room sat still for a moment as Mal walked into the eerie silence, "Come 'ed your next."

Our differences sat at the table as our bodies walked physically to the rickety death trap that we had narrowly escaped from the previous night.

"I swear, if that damn amp shorts one more time than I am going to blow a fuse," George whispered as we walked onto the empty stage. I looked back behind the curtain at the idle foyer and noticed how still and unchanging it was without the bustle of people.

"We're going to give someone a chance who doesn't get to sing very often take the spotlight for this number. So here he is Ringo," John replied unenthusiastically.

" Thanks for that lovely heart felt introduction," Ringo replied sarcastically which got a murmur of laughs through the audience, "Chains, my baby's got me locked up in chains."

"And they ain't the kind, that you can see. Oh, oh, these chains of love gotta hold let me, yeah," Ringo sang keeping a steady beat. You had to smile at how true those words could be especially with someone like Jane.

"I wanna tell you pretty baby your lips are so sweet. I'd love to kiss them but darling I can't break away from these chains." I wondered if things would be like this with Ms. Stevens.

" My baby's got me locked up in chains. And they ain't the kind that you can see. Oh, oh, these chains of love won't let me be, yeah," Ringo belted. He didn't have the most beautiful voice in the world, but I had come to accept its uniqueness. His talent with drumming was what made him shine the most in my eyes though. I had drummed a few times here and there but was never that good at it. Ringo did it with ease like a professional more than I can say about Pete but that's a totally different story I didn't feel like contemplating at the moment.

"Chains, chains of love, chains of love, chains of love," Ringo concluded. A loud thunder of clapping rose from the male dominated bleachers. Various men yelled out the name "Ringo" as if a house was on fire.

"Well now that the worst is over with," I teased as Ringo gave me an icy glare, "we'd like to move on with the next song, A Taste of Honey."

"One, two, three, four," George counted. The song melted with the good acoustics even if this hall could have been around when dinosaurs ruled the earth. At least they fixed our amps to work properly with all the French wiring. I anticipated the day Mal would be burnt to a crisp and knowing the promoters would shrug it off and send his wife a card saying they were "sorry" for her loss. Those twenty minutes became a blur once again now that France had lost its initial dazzle. They lost their edge from back in the early days when getting a paying gig was like finding a needle in a haystack.

"This'll have to be our last song for tonight but we invite you all to stand up and sing along," John said a little too close to the microphone, "ahhh..., ahhh..., ahhh..., ahhh...,"

"Well shake it on baby now," John yelled as George and I echoed the harmony behind him. I always had fun on this number because we just let go as a group when we sang it. No worries just a good time with a true rock n' roll number or perhaps we enjoyed it because it was the last number we sang. Once again, I am perhaps thinking too deeply on a subject clearly of no consequence and am not paying attention to my instrument. Nevertheless, it doesn't matter no one hears the music anyways with all the screaming. The French are a lot better about keeping the volume quiet enough to actually hear, for the most part, but on a loud number like this every one is too involved with dancing and clapping to notice. The last chord sounded as we gracefully took a bow and ran back into the velvet curtain.

"Hey Mal, since nothing went wrong at tonight's show can we have that party you promised us yesterday," Ringo asked.

"Yeah, Neil we want our party," George chimed.

"We made a bet, for those of us who have bad memories," John reminded.

"Well I guess that means we HAVE to have the party now," I replied sarcastically.

"You're sure sharp today Macca," John replied matter-of-factly, "please, please..."

"Me whoa yeah like I please you," Neil chuckled, "well... I suppose I could CONSIDER it."

"Thank you, we'll do anythin, anythin," George begged.

"Speak for yourself," John shot back, "I'll be no part in givin into Neil's fancy."

"Seeing as the only thing he fancies is you," Mal teased.

"I'm no queer," John defended as he shuddered inwardly, "and that's exactly why I refuse to be any part of these shenanigans to please Neil."

"That hurts," Neil pouted, "we all know the only bloody queer is Eppy so let's stop sayin things we're gonna regret."

"He'd sure be mad if he heard you say that," Ringo replied thoughtfully, "or at least hurt."

"Well I wouldn't want to loose my job," Neil said.

"Yeah let's ignore the fact that you would be hurting Brian and focus on you losing your job," Mal said seriously, "well, at least I would get a raise."

"I think the point ofthis conversation was to determine if we're going to have a party or not," George reminded, "it's amazing how quickly we can get off topic."

"Tell you what," Neil relented, "I'll call Brain again tonight and ask him what he thinks."

"Ahh... Brain won't let us have a party," I complained, "he never changes his mind about ANYTHING."

"Well not with the attitude," Mal sneered.

"Yeah Paul why do you have to be so pessimistic?" John said sarcastically, "we all know that there isn't a chance in hell this party is gonna happen in the first place."

"I'm not pessimistic," I whined, "I examine things realistically"

"Is the cry of the pessimist," George smiled, "but seriously Paul is the most optimistic of the group I think."

"Or the one with the most outlandish dreams," Ringo snickered, "you shouldn't confuse the two."

"Oh yeah," Mal smiled dumbfoundedly, "that makes much more sense."

"Do you think I could invite Ms. Stevens to the party?" I said ignoring Ringo's previous comment.

"I don't see why not," Neil replied, "but I doubt Mrs. Muir will let her come."

"Now look who's being the pessimist," I shot back heartily.

"I wasn't saying it to be pessimistic," Neil explained, "but Mal said that when he delivered the flowers that Mrs. Muir didn't take to kindly to the gesture because she didn't want "spoiled help." He explained that they were from the manager and were strictly to be taken as a token of gratitude. She still seemed rather reluctant but gave into his demands all the same. I definitely think that a party would fall under this "spoiled help" category."

"Well you know the story pretty well for someone who wasn't even there," Ringo pointed out.

"Like he mentioned when he started I told him," Mal replied firmly.

"Wait a minute if you told Mrs. Muir that the flowers were from Brain, then how could she have thanked me for them?" I inquired.

"I didn't tell Ms. Stevens that the flowers were from Brain," Mal defended, "I only told Mrs. Muir that the flowers were from Brain."

"Oh," I mustered still unsure on how much faith I could put in a man taking advantage of my trusting nature.

"I'd like to get home sometime soon if it's not to much trouble," replied one of the angry security members eager to be home with his family.

"They'll be ready soon enough tom there's no need to take that tone with them," replied the wiser more experienced security officer who I vaguely remembered from somewhere. I shook off the feeling of de ja' vu and picked up the last few items I brought along with me that evening.

"You lads get in the car with Neil," Mal ordered, "and I'll take care of your instruments."

"Sure you can handle that by yourself?" Neil asked unsuredly.

"No of coarse not but if we let those lads run to the car by themselves who knows what could happen," Mal said with a look of fire blazing on my direction.

"I suppose that answer has some merit," Neil sighed, "you're likely to tell that driver to go to the nearest pub if someone responsible doesn't keep an eye on you."

"Damn," John muttered, "he's figured us out we'll have to go to Plan B."

"Oh yeah Plan B," Ringo winked.

"I forget who has phase one," George mocked.

"George if you can't even remember who has phase one than this mission is doomed toward disaster," John hissed, "so I here by relieve you of all your duties in this mission."

"That's not fair," George complained, "I'll tell them the classified info if you don't reinstate my duties.

"Do you think we should give him a second chance," Ringo said sympathetically, "after all if he blabs on us the plan is useless anyway."

"He swore an oath of secrecy and he knows the punishment for releasing classified information," John smiled moving his finger rapidly across his throat, "I will not be blackmailed by the lil shit."

"Yeah I forgot about that," George said dejectedly, "well it's all for the best. But I am warning you now Lennon that if the mission does fail than you're gonna pay hell for not letting me be a part of it."

"Well I think I've heard enough shit for one day so let's cut out this secret agent crap and go to our hotel," I replied frustratedly.

"Gee looks like we might have to add him to the list," Ringo whispered loudly.

"Yeah I agree can I go ahead with Plan C." George begged.

"Not plan C," John shot back, "that's only for extreme emergencies. Besides no one has ever tried Plan C and lived to tell about it."

"No one has even attempted so how do you know that I won't live to tell about it," George reasoned.

"Well I once knew a man desperate enough to try Plan D and he isn't living. So I just assumed the same would happen to the idiot who tried plan C," John explained.

"I guess we'll just have to get him the old fashioned way," Ringo swallowed.

"I leave you alone with Neil five minutes and you're still not in the car," Mal said firmly pushing us toward the car, "come on let's move it."

"I'm sorry I just got distracted by their intriguing bullshit I didn't mean to keep them here," Neil apologized.

"I'm so offended he called Plan B bullshit," John cried out in pain.

"Isn't that what it stands for?" Ringo smiled.

"Shhh... he's not supposed to know," George winked.

"Finally the limo now on the count of three I want you in there," Neil ordered, "and that means EVERYONE."

"One, two, three," Mal yelled as we made a mad dash toward the Cadillac limacine. It felt like we were running through a minefield during WWI. My adrenalin was a lot higher than normal and sweat cascaded off my flushed face like ammo in a machinegun. The pounding in my chest made my knees grow weak as the flashes blinked in unorthodox patterns. I quickly flashed my public press smile before I regained enough strength to topple onto my fellow band mates in the overhauled limo like a soldier rolling into a trench on the battlefront.

"We made it," Ringo panted, "and all in one piece."

"Since we started off in seven pieces I prefer that we stay that way," George added.

"I could only imagine what we would look like if we were all attached in some monstrous, contorted, disfigured, creature," John sighed.

"The thought of John being a part of anyone is more disturbing than I can handle," Mal coughed.

"Now, now it's not Julian's fault his father's a whacker," I laughed. John glared maliciously as the others joined me in a cacophony of noisy hysterical laughter. It was hard to even consider the fact that John was a married more less a father to a young impressionable child. If he was anything like his father, John had a hard road up ahead. Than again John was a lot wittier than most parents and would probably be able to dish it right back at him equally as quick. Still I worried about how much time he was going to be able to spend with Julian now that we made it big in America. With our number one in place, we were likely to tour a lot more in the near future and Cynthia couldn't stand raising Julian by herself. Unfortunately, she was to passive to have any control over John so things would likely remain the same. I suppose it was her passiveness that kept them together and pulled them apart.

"I haven't laughed that hard in ages," Ringo wheezed.

"Me too," George gasped.

"That counts double for me," Mal and Neil replied in unison, which only made them giggle louder.

"Scoot over," John replied in an annoyed tone to George, "it's small enough as it is without you hoggin up all the room."

"Well you know how much room I take up," George mocked, "being a fat cow and all. I'm surprised we even fit in the same car."

"You said it not me," he bit harshly.

"Oh come on," Ringo persuaded, "you know we're only yankin your chain. Julian could be a lot worse off than with you."

"Yeah Cynthia could of got preggers with a deformed, drunk, bitter, angry, rapist who beats him until he's black and blue," George mused.

"He'd be better of with the rapist," Mal murmured softly.

"Shhh... I thought we agreed not to tell him," he winked.

"Right," Mal whispered loudly.

"In case you haven't noticed I am standing right here," John reminded, "you're all fuckin nazi bastards who are just jealous that you aren't as popular as me."

"I'll give you that one," I smiled, "I can't even begin to compare our popularity."

"Damn straight," John quipped ignoring the sarcasm intended with the remark. As the conversation lulled, I stared idly out the tinted window. The sun was fixed over the western horizon as the streetlights began to slowly twinkle along the busy areas filled with happy people partying on wherever space was available. To experience the true spirit of Paris would be magical but the only thing in store for us was a bleak dark hotel room with the possible social gathering of faces never remembered and never cared to explore fully. The mystic of underground pubs where intellectuals discussed current events and poets recited their feelings in not only words but also actions and emotions not considered art by outsiders. That culture and rebellion attracted me like a moth to light. It was so outlandish and unusual and after my taste of it in the Hamburg days, I always did want to see the heart of the exis, Paris.

Perhaps this party would be better than others, after all Ms. Stevens might be among those in attendance. The tint of the windows took on a different light merely at the thought of this lustrous beauty. I am not one for love at first site by all means, and quickly agree with anyone that the attraction is purely physical. On the other hand, I feel a unity of something beyond the physical flesh a bond that compels me to learn more. A feeling of need, desperation, lonely emptiness within my own being that lay barren without the company of a soul mate. Not that she is my soul mate; merely that she enlightened me that I need that magic person who fulfils me one more than a worldly level. The journey to this companion would most likely seem unattainable but I swore on my mother's grave that when I did meet her she would not slip through my fingers. Now was the time to live life to the fullest, I'm young and need to explore all the boundaries of life.

I looked around the vehicle no longer lost in a trance staring out at the night sky. The faces were frozen images of the conversation before like china dolls that are seen but not touched. Someone needed to break these glass figurines and return to them the life of humanity that makes them unique. I breathed in ready to wake these mummies into reality when someone pounded against the window in such a startling manner that I nearly jumped through the roof. I rubbed my head profusely cursing under my breath.
"What's a matter Macca, did she scare you?" John teased eager to avenge everyone after being harassed earlier.

"No I jumped up and hit the roof on purpose," I whined sarcastically, "you know how much I love those big bumps on my head."

"Touchy, touchy," George smiled.

"She scared the hell out of me and I was on the other end of the car," Ringo added. I turned back to the window to get a better look at her but all that was left was a silhouette of a woman I knew much to well. I would have asked them to stop the car but they would have only laughed at me and sent me to a mental institution for insisting that I knew this "stranger." I had never met her before, only seen her from time to time. I suppose I will have to wait yet another lonely night to see this angel again...

"Finally the hotel," Neil gasped.

"On the count of three we get out," Ringo stated, "one, two, three." Our shoulders all crammed in the tiny doorframe at once as we tried to escape.

"Le' me through," John hissed.

"No I wanna go first," George whined.

"We all can't go at once," I shouted, "and if we don't hurry there might not be enough of us left to matter."

"Alright you can go first," George relented.

"That's what I thought," John said sternly prissily pushing past him into the engulfing multitude.

"Move," Mal yelled, "I don't have all day here."

"Well considering we're the ones in danger here you're being awful selfish," Ringo concluded.

"If I didn't get on your back then nothin would ever get done around here," Neil said backing up Mal.

"Less talkin, more walkin," Mal pushed.

"Oh like I'm going to get trampled by a heard of fans," I smiled, "oh wait I already did that."

"Ha, ha, very funny we all had a good lark; now can we make it in the hotel in one piece?" Neil elbowed. The five of us made a mad dash to the door where John was waiting patiently.

"It took you long enough," John glared.

"Well you know how VAIN we are about having to go first," Ringo laughed.

"Tell me about it I could hardly get Paul to stop talking about his gorgeous eyebrows," George snickered.

"Well at least I didn't go on and on about my silky chocolate hair," I teased.

"You know you're really going to hurt someone's feeling like that one day," Mal warned, "and not just me."

"Well your opinion isn't that valid now is it?" John smirked.