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Chapter 18
Beyond the Reaches of Fame

"Yes they do," I said solemnly as we swerved in front of the slower cars full speed. After the last stoplight, we screeched around the corner as my weight was thrown to the opposite side of the seat. He might have been driving madder than a sixteen year old boy who got a Mercedes for his birthday but I made it there only seven minutes late.

"Here you go," I said tossing the money through the front window and ran past the hordes of girls into the empty auditorium. I quickly ran up to the stage and gulped as I saw Mal tapping his foot impatiently as the rest of the lads finished tuning their instruments.

"It's about bloody time," Neil said half annoyed half relieved, "where the fuck were you? We thought you were lost especially since you didn't have a local with you. A thousand things could a happened to you cause you were stupid enough to stay by yourself. Care to explain anything?"

"I didn't realize how late it had gotten until I looked at my watch about twelve minutes ago," I explained casually, "I wasn't all by meself, I was chattin with a local bird I saw at the party yesterday. So there's no reason to worry about me gettin lost or kidnapped, okay? I'm sorry for not letting you know who I'd be with or for not makin here in time."

"Well stop appologizin and start practicin already," Mal pleaded stretch out his arm full length so I could grab hold of the newly tuned bass, "we can finish talkin about this after the show. And I don't plan on lettin it slide either."

"What songs do we have to play for Musicorama?" George asked, "I need to tape a list on the side of me guitar so I don't forget. Once those birds start screamin you can't hear a bloody thin."

"Let's see, there's "From Me To You," "This Boy," "I Want To Hold Your Hand," "She Loves You," and "Twist And Shout," John read from the director's clipboard, "but don't we have a concert first before our tellie appearance?"

"There are three shows tonight and the last one is the one aired on Musicorama," Neil explained while testing the mike, "but we want you to be most familiar with those cause all of Europe will be watchin."

"ALL of Europe will be watchin?" Ringo gulped exaggeratedly, "well you heard the man let's get some practice. I don't want to make an idiot of meself to ALL of Europe. I do want to be able to support meself and I'd hate it if I couldn't get a job cause no one could take me serious after this gig."

"It's all about you, isn't it?" I said glaring as a loud clash sounded when an assistant knocked over one of Ringo's cymbals. At this rate we were never going to get started I fiddled with the bass riff for "From Me To You" while the crew got their act together.

"One, two, three, four," John counted as our quick rehearsal finally took flight, "If there's anythin that you want.  If there's anything, I can do. Just call on me and I'll send it along with love from me to you." I sang along the appropriate harmonies imagining Ms. Stevens in that sexy red dress from the party. No one knew what happened to her and the only things I could think of weren't very comforting.

What if she never wanted to speak to me again? I mean she took it better than most women who would probably have bitched out the nasty girlfriend. One comment and she left gracefully; I suppose it was her pride that even allowed that to slip out. Still before the whole "incident" had taken place we were flirting gaily and teasing about going on an official date, assuming the Muir's would allow it. Who could forget that inevitable moment of de ja vu when she mentioned the woman at the sea. Oh and the kiss, I tasted those perfect petals only once but I feared the addiction would take years to overcome.

I quickly pushed the thoughts to the back of my mind. In a matter of minutes, we ironed out all the minute flaws from our lack of practice and were ready for our first show. Ushers began helping everyone find their appropriate seat as we rested briefly before making our way back up on the stage. The seats creaked with anticipation as the make up artist finished powdering us off. I breathed deeply this was going to be a long night.

"Come 'ed," George called motioning me to the stage curtain, "they're waitin for us and we'll be late again if we don't get our asses out there soon. Wouldn't want to be late, would we?

"No, we represent Great Britain, her Majesty and such," I replied like an old worn out record, "wouldn't want people to think that us Brits as tardy, lazy individual, who run amuck wherever they go."

"Well I'm sure it's not the message the prime minister had in mind anyways," John smirked distastefully, "all the more reason to go through with it, if you ask me. The world could use a good stirin up, especially some of the small minded conservatives round here."

"You're always tryin to stir people up," Ringo pointed out, "if gettin people upset was an occupation than you'd be a millionaire by now. I don't know anyone who can offend someone as quickly as you can."

"Well I am the master," John teased cockily, "all will bow before me and give me the respect I deserve. I won't take no for an answer but if you speak now I might consider a maybe but this is a once in a lifetime deal. Feel honored that you were among the select few who had the opportunity to receive it."

"Did you hear that?" George said excitedly, "If we act now we can possibly get a maybe. What jolly good times, and to think I am among the few who was able to experience it. Wow I can't wait to tell me kids when I have 'em."

"You mean if you have 'em," Ringo reminded, "I just can't picture you havin kids. It just seems so wrong. Someone else's life in your hands, it's almost too creepy to even consider."

"Well personally I would think something was wrong with you if you wanted to picture George havin kids," John stated matter-of-factly, "I just wouldn't be able to get off to me best mates havin sex. So why else would you want to watch?"

"You are one sick fuck," I blurted harshly, "but I think we better let it be for the moment and get our asses out there on stage. They'll be riotin soon if we make 'em wait much longer than this."

"Yes, oh fearless leader," George laughed bowing down to me, "oh wait scratch that, yes, oh cautious follower. I know I'd catch a fright if you bullied me into doin somethin. I mean come on you're Paul McCartney."

"The only thing scary about Paul is how many birds he has floatin around him with the shit that flies out of his mouth," Ringo said scrunching his nose, "or maybe those big eyes. I was always skeptical that he wasn't from a different planet or somethin."

"We've all had our doubts, haven't we?" John said smugly, "I mean why do fans consider HIM the "cute Beatle" when I have more grace and sex appeal in me pinky finger than he does through the coarse of his whole body. Definitely somethin to look into more seriously."

"Just because girls have enough common sense to recognize good lookin when they see it is no reason to get your knickers in a twist," I replied dryly, "besides girls likin me and me bein an alien don't have anythin in common. How the hell did you link 'em together?"

"Allow me to explain," George coughed clearing his throat, "you know, how aliens have advanced technology and such, right? Well accordin to John's outrageous theory you have a machine that send wave impulses into the atmosphere that control the female population into thinking you are a gorgeous piece of meat."

"Eh, that's nothin like me theory," John defended bitterly, "it's not a machine sendin impulses, it's an ancient form of mind control that predates the Egyptians before they flew back to other galaxies."

"Oh! That's SO much more believable," Ringo said sarcastically, "I mean it all clicks now. I don't know WHAT I was thinking before. Just like a light bulb when off in me head. Thank you so much John I don't know where I would be without you."

"Well seein as your IQ just dropped about ten points from hearin that rubbish I'd say you were better off without him," I teased playfully, "you know what how the old sayin goes garbage in garbage out."

"Yeah, Helga was the perfect example of that philosophy," George's head perked up intently, "John dished out the garbage and she took it all right in, didn't she John? Or is it Satan's apprentice?"

"Naw, that's Hitler," John said cheekily, "but you're right about Helga takin in the garbage although I must confess that sort of lowers what I consider to be a haven thing. Cheapens it if you ask me."

"As if you haven't defiled everythin you touched anyroad," Ringo snorted, "I don't think I'll ever be able to recover from the emotional damage of how I view marriage after your infidelities towards Cyn. I suppose I'm immune to it, now."
 
"I don't know why you'd even pretend to be upset by it for a lil' bit to begin with," John cut stubbornly, "none of us are faithful to our girlfriends and or wives so we shouldn't be pointin fingers."

"In case you gentlemen forgot, you have a show you're late for," Mal said sternly pointing down at his watch, "they're getting anxious out there and I don't want any repetition of what happened at the Cyrano Theater cause you lot weren't on time." He pushed us onto the stage before we had anytime to refute him or at least squeeze out one quick quip before we started.

"Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to our show," I flashed my charming smile, "we'd like to begin now with a favorite of ours and we hope it's a favorite of yours. One, two three four."

"If there's anythin that you want. If there's anything," John sang too close to the microphone as it squeaked unpleasantly, "I can do. Just call on me and I'll send it along with love from me to you." We ignored the electronic errors and continued singing blindly, not that any one would have cared if we sang at all.

Well maybe here in France they listened to the music, for the most part, but I would be lying if I said that about our British fans. Sometimes I would ponder how much oxygen a teenage girl can compact into those lungs before releasing it all. I bet some of our fans could break the world record for holding their breath the longest if they put even half the effort they do into drowning out the music at our shows. God bless the Queen, that tonsillitis isn't a bigger problem here in Great Britain.

The show seemed to drag more than I was originally accustomed to. It felt undeniably dull after all the other exciting things that we experienced the first five days in Paris. How could you find this audience entertaining when the last one nearly trampled us to death after an argument with a photographer backstage? Well maybe entertaining is not the right word perhaps intriguing would be more sufficient. As much as I detested the experience, I wasn't on the edge of boredom clasping onto my sanity with the tips of my fingernails.

So at last, the final chord blew out of the speakers and we were free for our first break of the evening. We bowed politely and then ran off the stage like children on the last day of school. I quickly unbuttoned the top three buttons and fanned my chest.

"Damn are those lights or fuckin sun beams," John growled irritatedly, disregarding his shirt swamped with perspiration, "I feel like a bloody prisoner when they blast that piece of shit at me."

"Preach it to the choir," Ringo roared like one of those overzealous gospel fanatics, "have mercy. I thought we were in the middle of the Sahara Dessert. And I got down on my knees cause I knew for sure that we was livin on heavens great mercy. Praise his name, for leadin us out of it into the gates of eternal comfort and strength."

"I think we got the message Ring," George replied pushing him aside and blocking anyone's view of the fan, "I like to take my blasphemy in small doses that way I won't burn in hell quite so long."

"He won't burn in hell for mockin one of 'em black Christians who yell durin the "divine" service," John defended sourly, "I can't see how any of that stuff they say is upliftin in the first place. Just seems like a bunch of folks carryin on to get some attention. If what the preacher has to say is so HOLY than I don't think it would be wise to continually interrupt him, do you?"

"I don't see how anyone could sit through one of those sermons and have the slightest clue what ever the hell they talked about in the end." Ringo agreed, "I heard that they last for HOURS and with a short attention span and a crowd of people yellin a bunch of mock praise it would just be a waist of me time to even try and find anythin upliftin."

"Well anythin is better than those stiff lipped white preachers," George shivered, "all they do is preach about how everyone is gonna go to hell. Everythin is a sin with that lot; you can't do anythin right or enjoy yourself. Definitely not for me."

"Don't need to tell me twice," John echoed, "what's worse is they try and press all their views on you. They are overly judgmental hypocrites who feed on sinners when the book they believe is right says, "judge not lest ye be judged." I mean how much more openly charlatan can you be."

"As much fun as I am havin listenin to you talk about religion and the purpose of life, I'd really like to know what you lads want for dinner," Mal interrupted gently, "seein as Neil has to pick it up in about ten minutes or so or you may not eat for two hours."

"Me stomach is poundin now I don't think I'd last five mines, more less two whole hours," Ringo said grabbing hold of his grumbling stomach, "why don't you get a hold of some Italian food? That's hard to fuck up, right?"

"No the French are pretty good at classic Italian recipes so I don't think that will be much of a problem," Neil added helpfully, "but do the rest of you mind eatin it? I'm only stoppin at one place so if you want variety you better beg Mal to do it."

"Italian sounds good to me," George chimed, "but then again I could eat a horse right about now. Not that anyone here in France would give me funny looks even if I did mean it figuratively. French people call a lot of nasty shit delicacies like snails."

"Here, here," John rose in hands in support, "anyone who can eat a bug and call it a rare traditional dish is insane in me book. Just the thought is enough to make your skin turn green or have you purgin in the loo for a couple of hours."

"Can we forget about snails and send Neil out to get Italian unanimously?" I cut him off trying to avoid any further description of reactions to French cuisine, "I for one don't want to wait two hours before I eat again."

"Didn't we all eat a lil' somethin at that café you were sittin outside?" John antagonized unmercifully, "I don't see how everyone can be on the brink of life and death to eat two hours later."

"No one's THAT close to death just anxious to eat somethin more fillin than a bowl of soup and a sandwich," Ringo answered tactfully, "if anyone is actin that way than their just bein a drama queen to get attention."

"You're on in five," George smiled, "I really think you stand a shot at winnin best actor for the Oscars this year. Me stomach is poundin now I don't think I'd last five mines, more less two whole hours.' Definitely no exaggerations there."

"I'd argue with you but what lil' strength I have left would fleet me bony body," Ringo cried dramatically, "farewell cruel world. Parting is such sweet sorrow, if only I had one taste of water to quench the burnin passions deep within the interior of me stomach than Richard Starkey would not turn to dust as he draws his last breath." He dropped to the floor clenching his chest once and then went limp to add affect.

"The sequels are never as good as the originals," John said solemnly shaking his head, "so sad that people feel they must exploit a classic to its full potential to gain the prestige of the almighty pound."

"Not that you're complainin though, I mean you and sellin out or so different it's unbelievable," I sarcastically snapped before allowing my real opinion to be voiced, "If you were colors you'd be black and sellin out would be off-black."

"I have never been so," John turned his head dramatically, "privileged in me entire life to hear such a thoughtful compliment. At first I thought you were bein sarcastic but then I realized that you're me best mate and you would NEVER lie to me."

"The thought is just propos porous," Mal said aghast, "Paul, the Beatle, usin sarcasm, in everyday conversation. It can't be true. I must contact the authorities so they can relay the REAL message. Oh will he ever recover from the emotional trauma of the foulness that has allotted his pure name."

"All signs point to yes," George read from the discarded magic eight-ball left backstage from a theater production, "so I guess you're off the hook this time Lennon for even insinuatin such horrible things about our dear Paulie. But next time you may not be so lucky."

"Well I'm gonna keep pushin me luck until it runs dry," John challenged, "People are always sayin, 'you may not be so lucky next time' but I don't believe it for one minute. If I got a shilling each time someone said that I'd have more money than the every Catholic Church in Europe."

"That's a lot of shillings," Ringo sighed dreamingly, "but if you were being more realistic I bet you wouldn't have more than fifty pounds, tops. That's factorin in your entire life past, present, and future."

"Why did Neil leave without gettin our order first?" George asked randomly, "I wanted to try somethin different from me usual order of spaghetti and meatballs. I was cravin fettuccini alfredo."

"Well he didn't have much time to get it if we plan on eatin it before our first show so I guess he figured it would be best to order whatever we ordered last time we ate Italian and deal with our gripin and complainin later," I offered. 

"If he's smart he'd know better than ever orderin what he thinks we want without askin and assume he can handle the bitchin cause it's likely to get ugly if I don't like what he brings," John said, shaking his fist, "I don't like people assumin things about me."

"I never met anyone who did," Ringo agreed, "but that's the way things are so you'll just have to make do. I'm more concerned about him bringin ENOUGH food than I am what he orders me."

"As long as it's edible I don't care much," I interjected, "I just don't feel like makin a big deal out of him not askin what we want. He's doin us a favor so we don't have to wait and I don't think that we should nail him to a cross for leavin off a few details."

"I'm glad that you lads aren't on a judiciary committee or Neil would be on the gallows right about now," Mal smiled good-humoredly, "or fryin in the electric chair. Either way I don't imagine he would look to pretty afterwards."

"I've yet to meet an attractive dead person," George shuttered, "they're always so ghastly pale. Not to mention the funeral parlors put so much makeup on them they look like a hooker off the street."

"Yeah and they're usually deformed from however they dies like stab marks or rope lines," John said fancifully, "sometimes they have bruises or other shit. Yep corpses are ugly fucks, alright."

"How did we go from complainin about not getting to order our food to describin what people look like after they die?" Ringo said disgustedly, "Where did we go so wrong? I can't imagine normal people gettin so far off topic on somethin so opposite."

"Yeah, they really don't know how much they are missin out," Mal said sarcastically, "I don't remember what me conversations were like before I got polluted by you hooligans. It's rather mind bogglin."

"Something's are better left forgotten," I quipped, "but others are definitely worth rememberin like that stripper that last week in Hamburg back in 60'. I never met a woman with perkier tits in me life."

"I don't think anyone can top that bird," George reminisced happily, "remember how we stole her bra so she would have to just settle on that see-through white shirt with her nipples showin."

"How could I forget that," John smiled evilly,  "I bumped into her on "accident" and she practically had a coronary. Like I did it on purpose. She only wishes that I had so she could get rich off tellin people John Lennon had a hard-on for her."

"If people could get rich off sayin they gave John Lennon a hard-on then there would be a LOT more female millionaires runnin 'round," Ringo said playfully, "then again John probably did make a lot those playmates millionaires."

"He wasn't alone," Mal smiled staring straight into George's eyes with fake contempt, "I think others helped add to Hughes fortune. I can accredit four lads to most of it, not the millions of British perverts as the Americans would like to stereotype."

"Well John by himself counts for three so whose the other one?" I asked curiously, "or does he count for four? Hmmm maybe just three and a half, which would make Georgie the other half."

"How can George be only a half when he funds the local woman in need fund by making donations to women selling there bodies to RAISE awareness of the evils of the world view on women?" John asked earnestly.

"Guess that makes it a three to one ratio again," Ringo remarked, "not that anyone's surprised. I have this strange feelin that someone is givin me an evil look like I said somethin offensive again."

"No these lines on my face are symbols of the happiness and warmth I feel towards your comments," George glared sarcastically, "oh and my arms bein crossed is only supposed to add to the affect, not resemble a bitter man poutin."

"Thank goodness for a second there I thought Ringo and I were in deep shit for pushin you over the edge," John sighed wiping his hand over his forehead, "well now that that's done and over with I can just focus on worryin about fans molestin me against my will."

"As long as it pertains to sex I don't think it could possibly be against your will," Mal interjected, "you really are a slut John. I mean you'll sleep with anything that has a set of knockers and a pussy."

"I have higher expectations than that," John yelled angrily, "they have to have a big set of knockers and a pussy for me to fuck 'em. Now giving blow jobs on the other hand, is an entirely different story."