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Chapter 16
Beyond the Reaches of Fame

My heart raced uncontrollably just at the recollection. The plausible, mysterious feminine companion of last night must be Annabel. I distinctly remember that conversation as if it had only transpired yesterday, not that that it wasn't too far from accurate any-road. "I was born in France but my parents came from Spain, which contributes to my dark features that you were examining earlier."

If she wasn't the Spanish bird from that dream then up is down and down is up. Perhaps my dreams weren't as turbulent and impossible to interpret as I thought when they first dominated my nights. My mind however challenged such an easy explanation, my dreams aren't that inferior. Besides why would just ONE dream be so easily interpreted and the others total cacophonies of images incomprehensible to human logic. No, this theory would not do, but perhaps I should explore the possibility to set myself at total ease.

First, there was the matter of the pearls. Why was that encounter with the man and his crooked grin so secretive just over a simple necklace? Offering him a blank check with only a name wasn't that reassuring either. I couldn't recall any prior encounters with the man or the pearls so I quickly dropped this to move onto issues that are more prevalent.

The setting was completely different from my more common dreams. Sort of the typical posh suburb, lined up with large mansions, and children running around the streets with butler and nannies in tow. Still for such pleasant scenery, the gruesome ending would have left even the most levelheaded person confused by the ironic twist. What was I carrying, no, that's not it; what was I chasing when I bumped into her? A small crumbled piece of paper if my memory served me correctly. Did I ever actually retrieve it or had I just forgotten it when I saw her? There had to be something significant about it or I wouldn't be pondering it now.

Assuming my guess had any merit about it being Annabel, why was my train of thought at the time calling everything a "mission?" If I had any genuine feelings for her wouldn't I call it something else, more romantic perhaps. We seemed in love and happy when we entered, the atmosphere reflected it I suppose. Was her surprised expression an indicator of how I generally treated her or was she just a bubbly, giddy person by nature who always overreacted at the smallest gifts?

The fourth item for discussion was the quick graceful exit to the loo. Why did she vomit after only one bite of food? It wasn't as if she found out we were eating snails or something of that nature. She just got up and left and didn't even explain it when I questioned her. Was she anorexic or nervous? Perhaps she was allergic to what she was eating. Whatever caused her to heave then, I knew what it was in my dream even though the possibilities seemed endless in real life.

I couldn't think of any reason bad enough to storm out the way I had in my alternate reality. Those pleading eyes and trembling hands begged for forgiveness but I pushed them aside hiding from something important. It must have been absolutely dreadful for me yank her by the necklace and have the clasp fall apart spilling the beautiful "marbles."

At the time, I wanted to forget everything but now all I wanted was to remember even the smallest detail. My whole life seemed to be a stage for the true drama, the dreams. A message seemed bound in their intricate passageways. My life had already achieved meaning with our new American fame, so perhaps I should come to explore my deeper conscious, a more entertaining task.

"Hey Mal, do you know if we have enough time to go see the Eiffel Tower today?" I inquired, "I know you already saw it while I was detained at the Muir residence but I have this gut feelin that I am supposed to meet someone there."

"We all make promises to get in a bird's knickers but was she honestly stupid enough to think that she would see you after last night," George stated in a matter-of-fact tone, not realizing I was inferring something more supernatural.

"I didn't promise anyone that I would meet them at the Eiffel Tower," I said irritatedly, "I only said I had a gut feelin' that I would meet someone special there."

"Personally I never did take to that voodoo shit," Ringo replied flipping the channel, "fate is just a bunch of rubbish. Never could see how people put all there faith in somethin' so unpredictable and intangible."

"They waste their lives away thinking some magical power will give them the person of their dreams," Ringo paused, "which I might add are always better than they. No one works for anythin', they expect it all to just be handed to them on a silver platter."

"I'm not asking for a miracle or any other favors from some mystical force; just have an intuitive feelin' that someone will alter my life," I smiled staring up into space.

"You always were a dreamer, Macca," John replied hanging up the phone, "crazy optimists, I tell you. I don't think we can make it. We have three sets tonight and one of 'em is gonna be on the tellie. Some show called Musicorama, if I remember correctly."

"Yes your informant speaks the truth," Neil teased, "you will be exceptionally busy this evening but we might be able to squeeze it in this afternoon. That is if the lads don't mind goin only three days later from the last time."

"Can't you wait another week when we get bored and have seen ALL the sites," George nagged, "we still haven't even seen half of Paris and Paulie wants to go to the one thing we did see."

"Yeah Paul, quit bein' so selfish," John yelled snatching food off the unsuspecting George's plate, "so who wants to go whistle at birds in the park? Why am I askin in the first place this isn't a democracy. I am the supreme dictator and all will bow to me."

"Hail Lennon, the new Hitler of our generation," Ringo teased giving the Nazi salute, "we are but trembling peasants in the eyes of our great leader. Oh if I could but kiss the bottom of the soles of your feet I would be the happiest man alive."

"You shouldn't feed his ego like that," Mal warned, "his head is big enough as it is, and is bound to explode if you talk to him like that. I have enough trouble keeping him in line as it is. He doesn't need any encouragement, understood?"

"I really do want to kiss the soles of his feet," Ringo smiled faking sincerity, "I would never miss out on an opportunity to make easy money, right George?"

"Oh yeah, I'd pay to see that," George agreed, "but that wasn't the deal we discussed earlier. Don't think I'll let you weasel out of it that easy. I only pay for the best in the freak show circuit."

"Hey are you sayin I'm a carnie?" John questioned authoritatively, "Cause if you are there's a barnie with your name on it. I just might have to beat you shitless. Us carnie folk don't like to loose..."

"I would NEVER say you're a carnie," Ringo exaggerated, "just that you belong in a good ol' institution. You're much to fucked up to only be a travlin bum whose job is to get laughed at, even if you could become a millionaire doin it."

"Oh sod off you wanker," I mumbled tired, "just leave John be for once. Me head is poundin and I haven't eaten breakie, so I can't handle you two bickerin at the top of your lungs all mournin."

"Well that's awful selfish of you," George concluded, "I THOUGHT you were gonna defend him but I was sadly mistaken. Every things all about you, isn't it? Some best mate you are."

"Hey, you're half the reason I'm in a foul mood so I wouldn't go 'round accusin me of shit that isn't even your business in the first place," I replied, allowing a deep sigh to flow out of my lips. "When the fuck is that damn room service gonna get here?"

"I'd forgotten how irritable you could get when you haven't eaten," Neil quipped to himself. "They should be here any minute now. After all our room number, is on that list of top priorities employees answer to first. When you have celebrity's stayin three weeks in your hotel, you want them to give good publicity or you'd end up bankrupt."

"I wouldn't go 'round call them celebrities quiet yet," Mal insisted, "just cause you're number one in America at the moment doesn't mean it won't change by the time they finish up here. You know how those fads are, one minute your hot and then next minute your ass is out on the street."

"Oh what comfortin words of wisdom, perilous leader," John said sarcastically, "I feel so disillusioned and betrayed. I thought you liked our music but you're just in it to ride with us to the toppermost of the poppermost. Well, we won't be havin that, will we?"

"I rather enjoy my hypocrites straightforward thank you," George smiled, "Ah you know we're only pullin your leg. Who would carry our instruments and find us cute birds to fuck if we gave you the pink slip?"

"Neil," John said flatly as the room burst into hysterics, "but then again Mal's the one who usually brings the busty birds so I guess he can stay. For now..."

"I feel very appreciated," Mal sniffled sarcastically, "I'd forgotten how much you slime care about my feelins. I work and slave away for you and what do I get? A room full of sarcastic ungrateful wankers who bitch at me when I AM the one doin them favors."

"Life's a bitch ain't it," Ringo said resting his hand on Mal's shoulder, "you have to roll with the punches. And learn not to take half the stuff John says seriously or you'll end up a depressed psychotic suicidal serial killer."

"What wonderful things we have to look forward to," Neil smirked, "to think I could have gotten a REAL job like a bouncer or something but NO I'm stickin around you sort. I should be goin places..."

"Yeah like downstairs to find out what's takin that damn bloody room service so long for a couple of fuckin eggs," I growled, "you'd think that they were waitin for the chicken to lay 'em or something." As if on cue the door burst open and a cart filled with French pastries along with the breakfast I ordered, wheeled into the open space.

"We are dreadfully sorry for the wait gentlemen, but one of our cooks took ill this mourning and his trainee isn't quiet familiar with how things work around here just yet," Cassandra said shuffling her feet uncomfortably, "just to let you know how terrible we feel, the meal is on us. We brought you some of our other specialties and a basket of fruit as a gift to let the inconveniences of the past be just that; the past."

"Well that was might generous of you," I smiled trying to hide the bitter contempt on my face for the length of my wait, "as far as I'm concerned tomorrow's a new day and there's no reason to let something this insignificant ruin our pleasant experience at your hotel."

"Thanks once again for your optimistic attitude of the hotel and we hope you enjoy the rest of your visit," she repeated like a recording and then whispered, "I really enjoyed meeting you perhaps I might come back."

"Perhaps I might request you," I mouthed blowing her a kiss. She winked back at me before the door finally squeaked shut. I scanned the over flowing table to see what appealed to my growing appetite. My plate slowly toppled over with food after all your eyes are always bigger than your stomach, or at least mine are anyways.

"Look who's gonna waist food now," John echoed loudly, "John don't order all that food if you're not gonna eat it. John there are hungry people in the third world who don't have a single eat and would lie cheat, kill, or steal to have that bagel when you only took ONE bite. Now who's the fuckin hypocrite?"

"Oh piss off Lennon," I whined between mouthfuls of food, "I haven't eaten since late afternoon yesterday and it's already half past one. I plan on eating everything on this plate and if I know I can't finish it I'm not just gonna take one bite and throw it out."

"No reason to get all antsy about it," George commented, "John's just tryin to get a rouse out of you. We all know you're NOT a hypocrite."

"Somehow I have this naggin feelin that there was some sarcasm implied with that statement," I replied wryly, "but at the moment the only thing on me mind is food so I don't plan on arguin about it."

"I'd hate to come between Paul and his food," Ringo shuttered teasingly, "I rather enjoy me head bein attached to my body. But then again that's only me I can't speak for the rest of you."

"Don't even think it, Lennon," Mal warned, "I know what you were thinking when Ring said that and I'll have you know that it was absolutely disgustin. You did it on purpose didn't you, makin it all ambiguous and such. So no poor taste puns, alright?"

"I don't have the slightest clue as to what you're talkin about," John smiled innocently, "what foul joke are you inferring I would have made with Ring's innocent comment? I didn't see any sexual connotation in it. Did you George?"

"Oh nein," George coughed with a thick German accent, "I am totally befuddled as to what sick inference could have been made by such a typical cliché. What kind of perverts do you think we are?"

"I don't think you would want to know the truthful answer to that," Neil laughed, taking a sip of his tea, "but I think we still need to discuss our plans for today if any. Our first show starts at half past five which only gives us four hours to do something."

"Weren't you listenin before when I said we were goin to the park to whistle at birds?" John cried demandingly, "I'd swear you're hard of hearing. Then again, I could swear it was something else that got hard but I just can't seem to put my finger on it."

"Funny I thought you would have the most experience in that department," Neil smiled triumphantly at his addition to John's foul comment, "but I don't plan on allowin you to be the absolute dictator so how about hearing everyone else's opinion first?"

"I knew when I allowed you to have input that one time that you were goin to overthrow my absolute power," John hissed, "well it was good while it lasted anyways. I'll let you have your own opinions but don't think I'm doin it willingly."

"Quiet frankly, I don't care why you do it as long as you do," Mal interrupted, "so who wants to go walk along the river edge and see the talent, if you know what I mean."

"I'm game," Ringo agreed, "I always did want to find a masterpiece along the river and not just a work of art either. Although one of those big sculptures of a naked lady would look nice in me garden back at me flat."

"Sounds like fun," George added, "I wouldn't mind looking at the local talent along the river front. Who knows, I might get a good deal?"

"Well you're the expert George; how much is the average price for a blond, medium height with a D-cup?" John smirked teasingly, "or do you still need that owners manual to make sure you're not getting fucked over."

"That's not funny, bastard," George pouted, "a bloke gets a hooker ONCE years ago and his mates rip on him for the rest of his life. Don't act like you haven't had your share of shady dealins, cause I know there's no way that some of the birds you brought in could have that kinda experience and be FREE."

"What on earth are you talkin about?" John smiled devilishly, "It just so happens that I have a gift with the ladies and know how to pick a tart out of a group. Don't hate me cause I'm beautiful."

"He doesn't hate you cause you're beautiful," I defended, "he hates you cause you're an arrogant prick who makes fun of him and treats him like shit. Not to mention he's jealous of how you get all the birds and you're married to boot."

"It doesn't matter who hates who and why, let's just go and get us some birds," Ringo interrupted clasping his hands together, rubbing then in a scheming manner, "come 'ed, we're not getting any younger here. Time's a waistin."

"Yeah four hours isn't long enough for SOME of us," John teased staring directly at Ringo, "then again others can make instant transactions if you know what I'm sayin, right George?"

"Enough already, you're gettin on me wick, now," George said agitatedly, "the only instant transaction I'm gonna make is my foot in your ass if you keep pesterin me. So lets get this show on the road."

We all walked out the door single file giggling like little school children on a field trip. Enjoying leisure time and Beatle are antonyms so we were more than enthralled that Neil was allowing us the afternoon out instead of bein cooped up in our hotel room. I'm just glad he wasn't pushin us to finish up writin those songs we needed by the end of our three week stay in France. Perhaps this trip would serve as some inspiration, but all I was really concerned with was getting into some birds knickers.

"Pull over, this looks like a good spot," Ringo pointed, "and I can definitely see some priceless works of art that need some attention."

"Here, here," George agreed straightening out his collar, "if you gentlemen will excuse me, I will show you how to properly pick up a bird."

"My memory always was a bit shaky on pickin up a hooker etiquette," John quipped, "you wouldn't mind remindin me on how it's done properly, would you?"

Piss off, Lennon," George yelled throwing him the finger and swiftly turning his back away in the opposite direction. He gave a cunning smile to the blond sitting on the bench enjoying the view of the silver river.

The water illuminated a flawless reflection of the satisfied talkative couple. I didn't care to walk over and hear the cheery conversation; it would only depress me or I suppose more accurately remind me of the dream that seemed impossible to analyze. First, I wanted desperately to seek new love and now I found myself once again hiding from it. Still the stronger half of me egged me to make my dreams a reality so I walked casually along the melancholy streets.

John and Ringo seemed to have hit it off well with what looked like twins or perhaps they were only sisters. It didn't matter much one-way or another, they were obviously blood related and that's all that counted. So here, I was last but not least strolling down the riverfront.

My hand was empty, a symbol I suppose of how I felt at the moment. I grew distaste for my changes in temperament and love, and once again, the anger rose to my cheeks ready to lash out at all who even mentioned my name. I knew this drastic difference in personality was unhealthy but what was I to do? Storing was the only way I knew how to process emotion so I let the cycles continue there endless circles. You're raised that way from birth, so you carry on until you die, with little luck of breaking the habit before your offspring catch hold of it. Each generation tries endlessly to break the traditions of bad and continue the few good ones that disappear with time.

Still I was better than most about showing my emotions. I cried once and then and fused out my anger when I needed to. It was only around the lads that my subconscious allowed my "weaker" emotions to surface. I wasn't the type to just boil over all at once after an extremely long period of encompassing years, months, and weeks. No, I was the type to let it boil a day or two before loosing my top. I was patient for the most part, because of my optimistic views on the world around me. Women were the only danger when it came to not expressing my honest feelings right away. I could suppress anger for months and blow up at some helpless broad for asking to pass the salt in a date.

I sat awkwardly at an empty seat in an outdoor café with my hands folded in my lap. We had been in a café just like this one, I mused. Except here I sat alone, abandoned, without the love of my life cuddled into my chest. No classical music to comfort my soul, no running children to tag along at my feet, no merriment, only dear sweet sorrow my only guest who sat with me in the looming shadows. I looked up from my menu at the laidback waitress, enjoying the slow pace of the day, an ideal held close to any European's heart.

"Est-ce que je peux prendre vous commande, le monsieur?" she asked softly staring so deeply into my eyes I felt the language barrier crumble beneath my weary feet. Even though I didn't have the slightest clue, what she was talking about I felt a comfort in those warm doe eyes. Summating up my courage, I decided to try conversing in French with the few expressions I had learned while lying on my back that first day. Somehow, I could taste the impending disaster.

"J'aimerais un verre de vin," I rapped out quickly, "et quelque soupe aussi, s'il vous plaît." My hands were sweaty as I rubbed them back and forth against the tablecloth. I knew she could tell I was a tourist eager to impress the locals, or so I assumed in my fragile mind. Still Mal's phrases had been very helpful and the menu helped me with the rest.

"Oh, vous parlez français," she laughed heartily, "Je n'étais pas sûr si vous étiez un touriste ou pas. Vous avez un regard étranger de vous."

"Oui, je suis du London," I replied hoping what I said made sense based on her comment about tourism, "Je suis ici en France sur les affaires." Luckily, her boss gave her a cold stare or I could have thoroughly embarrassed myself, if I hadn't already.

I had been so focused on impressing the waitress I completely forgot about my mates and how they were coping with these French ladies. George had been lucky his spoke English but if I knew John he would just as soon find one that didn't so he could get into her knickers faster. If the poor girl didn't understand what he was saying she wouldn't be able to argue, or so the line of thinking was. She also wouldn't be able to understand all his perverted remarks, enough for anyone to envy.

Alas I spotted them walking up to my table ready to socialize over a nice glass of wine. I could hear their sassy comments ringing in my ear about how I was alone or how the McCartney charm had run dry. Something immature of that sort, so I ducked behind my menu hoping they wouldn't see me.

"There you are," John smirked triumphantly, "we were lookin all over for you. We thought you must have been fuckin some bird since we couldn't see you anywhere. But here you are ALL alone, I must say I'm flabbergasted."

His date and Ringo's for that matter just smiled innocently completely ignorant to what we were talking about. George's date was too fixated on him to even hear us openly talk about sex. I looked around desperately to find someone to claim my own before this got any more out of hand. I hated to be taunted by John, he was so merciless and it crushed my ego. Than I saw her form the corner of my eye, my dream had become a reality.