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Chapter 20
Beyond the Reaches of Fame

I blinked my lashes and my vision back into focus. I hadn't passed out only dazed out for a second. My fingers were involuntarily plucking away at the notes even though my mind was spaced out. So, the words fluttered from my lips as I went through the motions of a Beatle concert. The Beatle charm, the Beatle introductions, the Beatle wit, the Beatle head shake, the Beatle smile, all parts to an image Brain cleverly schemed to gain popularity. All movements were second nature to me and ready to be applied at a moments notice.

I stared back out into the eager audience members' faces as I regained consciousness from my blurred vision. The mirage was still there its eyes penetrating into the back of my skull with heated intensity. I stepped away from the microphone for a second to look past the glare of the shining droplets of blood red sunbeams. Still smiling, still sweetly sucking the marrow of my life with its peculiar innocence, many a dream had it lurked in the ocean waves. My mind pushed the image away, the face so frequent a visitor, it was now the inseparable companion of night.

I turned to John and pointed aimlessly into the center of the crowd. He nodded somewhat baffled by my drug-like inebriated state. His face shared a combination of fear, dread, confusion, and disgust as if I had gone off the deep end. I wasn't crazy. I was only hallucinating and even the greatest geniuses did that from time to time. The face was a part of me my heart argued so why not make itself known in the daylight hours too. Its eerie beauty did not belong to this world of light my mind disagreed; it belongs to the world of the night. The battle did not last long until the face disappeared and the final roar of applause shook the stable foundation.

A bit shaken by the whole experience I waved my hand, quickly took a bow, and made a beeline for the nearest exit. My cohorts looked at the host and then back at me before hesitantly following my lead. The skepticism in their eyes suggested that I had acted irrationally when the only strange thing I remembered doing was looking into the faceless crowd. Not exactly an unpardonable sin if I do say so myself, after all audience contact was always encouraged by Brian.

"What the fuck were you doin out there McCartney?" John asked hastily, "Its like it wasn't even you our there because you were so bloody fixated on some damn thing out in the middle of that theater."

"You looked like you were on some heavy drugs the way you were starin at everythin and nothin at the same time," Ringo said concernedly, "it freaked me out to be quiet honest, are you alright?"

"Yeah, I'll be fine I guess I just had one glass to many before I got on," I said lamely, "I didn't mean to cause a scene or anythin. I promise it won't happen again I just wasn't meself out there tonight with all the rushin to eat and such."

"I don't recall you havin a drink before we went on," George challenged, "and if you had alcohol on you then why the hell were you so selfish and not offer us any? Share the wealth man, don't be a fuckin pig." The others turned to me waiting for my cover up to George's well thought out comment. My pulse rose as I prayed internally that Mal or Neil would come to my rescue.

"What the hell were you doin out there?" Neil screamed, not exactly a knight in shining armor but at least it got the attention off the previous question, "You're bloody lucky they cut to commercials when you walked out without wrapping it up with the host. Now the four of you get your asses out there and say goodbye before the credits go on or God help me if I have to use force on you bastards."

"Move, now," Mal pointed as we trudged in single file back onto the stage. The host appeared to be frazzled and offended that I had walked out as different crewmembers went to his beck and call. The make up artist quickly powdered off his shining face as another woman filed his nails. What appeared to be a secretary quickly jotted down notes as we approached the irritated man.

"I don't know why you walked off the stage because that's not how we rehearsed it," he said sternly as his face turned red from anger and stress, "but then again you might of known that if you had been on time for the full rehearsal, now wouldn't you?"

"I'm deeply sorry I was feelin ill I meant no disrespect to the show," I pleaded innocently before I began my ridiculous flattering, "I have been watchin this who ever since it first came out and you've always had the hottest acts in Europe. I was so pleased when I found out I was going to be on your show and I was telling all the lads how famous we must be to be invited."

"Well I guess it was a simple misunderstanding," he relented, buying my rather insincere bullshit, "just say goodbye with me before the credits roll and we'll forget the whole thing ever happened." He just ate up all those compliments like a pig; I couldn't help but smile. All the other lads seemed to be ready to burst out laughing too but we quickly stifled it when Mal walked by running his hand across his throat.

"You're on in five," the camera operator shouted as we all assembled into our places. The circus quickly filed behind the curtain as the final numbers echoed into the theater as the fans finally settled down.

"Well on behalf of all the people here at Musicorama we would like to thank our magnificent guest the Beatles, who coincidentally performed there number one single in America called "I Want to Hold Your Hand tonight on our prestigious show," he smiled smugly, "goodnight everyone until next time." We all waved and smiled at the camera until they finally cut us off. At last, the torture was finally over and we could go to the hotel. Of coarse, there was the matter of exiting the premises with our bodies intact.

"Come on lads we have to leave now out the back before the crowds get there," Mal motioned as we quickly grabbed our things to go, "don't forget to grab all the stuff you brought with you cause I don't plan on goin back for it."

"We wouldn't expect you to," George snickered, "after all Neil is our favorite. He is the one who gets the special blessin of pickin up after us because he loves us so much and he is the best mate in the whole wide world."

"Somehow I feel there was some sarcasm in that statement," Neil replied bluntly, "but I don't give a shit cause a compliments a compliment even if it's a sarcastic one. But I must say I expected better out of you Harrison after all you are MY favorite mate in the whole wide world and I get the biggest pleasure from pickin up after you." We all laughed as George tried to shield his beat red face from our eyes.

"If you lads don't want to end up like Macca a couple days ago then I suggest that you make your way to the car before you find yourself walkin to the hotel," Mal replied not looking amused at our childish behavior.

"Yeah we better go," John agreed, "Paulie isn't exactly the prettiest site. I wouldn't want to turn out lookin like him but then again no one would. Or at lest no one with a sane mind would."

"Your confidence in me is oh so exhilaratin," I said sarcastically, "I would be a poor lost lonely soul if it weren't for your comfortin words. You are truly and inspiration to all you meet; I can't even remember what life was like without you."

"No one can," Ringo sighed, "it's a shame really cause those were the good old days and I can't even remember them. If only I had known what bein around John was like I would have lived all those days as if they were my last."

"A lil' to late for would haves," George reminded, "we all would have lived our lives differently if we knew John was gonna be a part of it. Hell livin with John is like takin each day as if it were your last."

"I am standing here," John yelled folding his arms across his chest, "and I don't appreciate all these rude comments bein said right in front of me. I'm not such a bad guy you know. I have fellins just like any other bloke."

"Mates, he's right you know," I agreed tenderheartedly, "he does have feelins just like any other bloke. Unless stone feelins don't count then he would be out of luck again I'm 'fraid. Well I tried to defend you, John."

"May the day never come to pass where I have to have you as a material witness to defend me or I will end up in jail for sure," John teased, "if you call that defendin then I want no part in your interrogation."

"I hate to pull a Mal on you but we really do need to go if we plan on gettin you four out of here in one piece," Neil said sweetly as we finished packing our instruments in their proper places.

"We all came here in four separate pieces and I for one would like to keep it that way," Ringo quipped, "I don't know about you lads but I pity the man that is attached to Lennon for the rest of eternity."

"Don't act like you're so much better," John said indignantly, "I pity the man who is attached to Ringo for the rest of eternity cause every time you get a cold they will have to live through hurricane like winds that come out of that volcano nose of yours ready to erupt at any given second."

"I'd like to get out of here sometime in the near future," I cut in trying to end the one liners once and for all, "I know Valentines day is not booked on your calendars but I do have plans so if you wouldn't mind lets get the hell out of here."

"I don't think it will take us quiet that long," George coughed, "and besides what are your plans for Valentines Day anyways? Sitting alone drinkin a bottle of booze thinking of all the women me and John fucked because you were too busy off in your own world"

"Sounds very romantic if you ask me," John sneered, "I just hope I am fortunate enough to have my plans orchestrated that far in advance. After all Paul is such a role model for every fuckin human on the planet." Mal honked the horn loudly three times, as we each rushed into the back room where we would make our final getaway.

"What's the plan this time?" Ringo asked pacing the floor, "Are we gonna to wear disguises again? Or are we gonna create a diversion at the front office while the four of us carefully go unnoticed out the side?"

"For once you're actually right," Neil teased, "hard to believe I know. I think hell just froze over again lads, but then maybe it didn't cause it would be a lot colder here on account of Lennon bein one of hell's finest assailants." Before John could make a valid comeback Neil pushed him into the abandoned ally as we all followed behind them. We quickly tumbled into the car as Neil slammed the door and the wheels screeched as we finally disappeared into the dark night.

So, I sat there listening to the murmur of conversation between the lads as I thought about the face paying me a visit in broad daylight. Or at least broad stage light, anyroad, why was it there? How was it significant? Was it trying to hint something about my future? Or am I simply sleep deprived and over thinking a simple hallucination? So far, I hadn't identified any living-breathing females that shared its compelling features. The unsettling eeriness, I came to adorn as the repetition made me increasingly intrigued. It was love at first site but an earth-shattering fear accompanied it because I knew not if it was only a figment of perfection that could not exist.

Merely the thoughts of how desperate my situation were becoming, wanted to make me burst into tears of pain. I had absolutely no control of my love life, dreams, or even mind as I tried to evaluate them all I slipped further into a childlike terror of the unknown. I needed something to clear my head from all the complications of my life, particularly Ms. Stevens who captured my heart and would not surrender. She sat there occupying the castle with all the gates firmly closed, my pride accompanying her.

Although the real Ms. Stevens did not share my passion, for I stood outside her heart throwing rocks to enter but the gates sealed me out, never to enter the heavenly paradise. I felt like Adam standing outside the gates of Eden knowing I could not enter for I was no longer worthy of its perfection. I had to confess my feelings to her, or rather I had to confess my obsession with her. Not right away of coarse first, I had to rely on the McCartney charm and take her out on a couple dates. As she began to reciprocate my feelings then I would tell her of all the jumbled feelings I couldn't explain from our first encounter.

I wasn't sure how she would respond I would have a better picture once I completed the impossible, convincing the Muirs to allow me to take their beautiful employee on a date. I only hoped that after all the trouble I went through to have their approval that she would agree as she had before to go on a date with me. However, that was before Jane stepped in and made that spectacle, how did she feel about me now? I chose to stop thinking entirely for it was only upsetting me and look at the window at the beautiful Parisian night skyline. The few neon lights illuminated the busy streets, as laughter poured out from the miscellaneous cafes along the narrow streets.

"So are we goin out anywhere tonight or are we goin to hyperventilate in those rooms down at the suite?" George complained, "I could use a stiff drink and I wouldn't exactly be opposed to gettin a good fuck out of the local bar maids."

"Yeah I'm not inadvertently opposed to gettin some pussy meself," John agreed, "how about a nice night on the town? We can get to know the real Paris, you know, the one with cheap fast easy women tryin to make their way into the modelin world."

"That doesn't sound a bit like the Paris I know," Ringo said confused while scratching his head, "sounds a lot more like a Lennon fairy tail France if you ask me. I doubt all the pubs around here are filled with part-time waitresses waitin to get their "big" break and if this story is true then I don't see why we're not down at them more often."

"John's story does have some merit to it," I explained, "a lot of girls come to places like Paris, London, New York, or Hollywood thinkin that they'll be the next Marilyn Monroe or Audrey Hepburn. But the world isn't big enough for all of 'em so most get stuck in low paying dead-end jobs."

"Can we skip the semantics about girls tryin to fulfill their dreams of stardom and see if Mal and Neil are even willin to let us have a lil' fun at a pub?" George interrupted impatiently, "wouldn't want to get me hopes to high if they are going to be a stick in the mud about it."

"Well no one's "hopes" are as high as yours are Harrison," John smirked evilly, "but then again I wouldn't mind putting my "stick" in someone's mud if you aren't up to it. I know it's a big sacrifice but I am willing to do it; after all you're me mate and what are good mates for." The whole car burst into laughter as George turned beet red the second time this evening. Sometimes I wondered why we teased him it was just too easy.

When Neil finally stopped choking from laughing so hard at John's tasteless humor, he said, "Well I suppose we could go out to a local pub, just once. After all we wouldn't want lil' Johnny here to be a bad mate and not take that torture for you, now would we?"

"No anything but that," Ringo said melodramatically, "the day that John becomes a retched mate the whole universe will topple over. Day will be night and black will be white. Hey that rhymed."

"Sod off you git," John said agitatedly, "Enough drama already. If I wanted to hear bullshit, I would have listened to Paul talk to Jane about why he hasn't called her. I don't have time for mindless dribble; it interferes with my sex schedule and I am booked up for the night."

"Are you going to take that?" George instigated, trying to gain back a scrap of dignity after his previous humiliation, "if you let him get away with it now you'll regret it later. I used to think it would all blow over, but trust me it only gets worse the longer you wait."

"Well George has the expertise when it comes to blowing," Ringo teased, "or at least that lady who was over here a few nights ago did. Oh, wait my mistake that HOOKER over here a few nights ago sure did. How much does the average price go these days?"

"I wouldn't know seeing as she wasn't a hooker," George defended, "but I don't know why you are asking me because it costs extra if they have to look for your penis because its too small to see." This time Ringo was the one ready to craw under a rug and die, pardoning the cliché as we got a good laugh out of one of George's better quips. Life couldn't be better as we enjoyed each other's company; the Beatle circle is a beautiful thing.

As we pulled up to the curb of one of the more isolated clubs, squirreled away in an abandoned cold-a-sack at the end of a dark ally, my nerves began to wrench at the dwindling contents in my stomach. Was it hunger or was I regretting my internal decision to abstain from the countless sexual exploits flung at me at this "prestigious" environment to better prepare myself for Ms. Stevens? As the draft of stale smoke hit my nostrils, a clam rushed over me as we inconspicuously seated ourselves in a booth in the back of the pub.

Mal's eyes shifted around making sure that we were in no immediate danger of violence or worse yet of being recognized by the locals that formed to mob at will. Safety precautions now in line he motioned for one of the bar maids to come take our order.

"Le bon soir, qu'aimeriez-vous manger ce soir?" she sputtered fluently not realizing we were tourists, which were foreign in these parts, ignoring the pun of coarse, as most of them wouldn't travel so deep into the heart of the city away from the comforts of the English speaking.

"I think she asked us what we wanted to eat tonight," Mal whispered, and coughed before raising his voice to his weak French, "Nous tous aurons une pinte un morceau. Merci."

She smirked at his distasteful accent, but quickly converted it to a smile as she scampered to the back to place our order. As her form disappeared behind the counter, our eyes shifted around to see the male to female ratio in this excuse for modern day construction. The numbers were clearly not in our favor, which aroused a little resentment about choosing this pub.

"There's a thousand pubs in this damn city and we HAD to go to the one where women are as scarce as water in the Sahara Desert," Ringo said frustratedly, "once we have our pint, can we try somewhere else a lil more reputable, so women aren't afraid to go there?"

"Hey Ring, I didn't know you knew anythin about geography," Neil said ignoring the later part of his statement, "I guess we all learn somethin new every now and again."

"Some more then others," John mumbled purposely attracting our attention as smiles spread across the table, "anyroad I think Ringo poses a good suggestion in spite of all the fluff surrounding it. What good are long drawn out speeches that only make the mind wander into oblivion and hide the true purpose of solving an issue in the first place? Its absolutely unheard of in my..."

"Enough Lennon," George growled sternly, "there's no need for the sarcasm or the intentional hypocrisy. Lets just stop this bloody charade and have done with it. If we are goin to another pub I'd like it to be in this century."

"That's a pretty mean spread if I do say so meself," I chimed cheekily, "as much as they like to argue I don't think they possess enough vocabulary to go on THAT long. But George is right let's stop skirting the issue, Mal can we head out after we pay the tab for our drinks."

"I'm a bit insulted that it took you lads so long to actually get MY opinion," Mal said a bit irritatedly, "and I don't know how keen I am on going to the kind of establishment you boys are interested in. I'd be settin meself up for workin harder and potentially puttin you in danger."

"Your sincerity for our safety is SO moving," Ringo chuckled, "for someone who takes your job so seriously your priorities aren't exactly in order."

"Are you daft?" John moved to face Ringo, "Who would want YOU to be a priority. After all, you hardly even sing and you aren't exactly a site for sore eyes."

"Well you're right about that John," George smiled, "in my experience he's he one that causes you to have sore eyes."

"Hey," Ringo said sourly, "I resent that remark. All I do is make a valuable remark where we all can benefit and this is the thanks, pardon me the lack of thanks I get. Anyroad, I'm makin a mental note here and now not to do that again."

"Ahh cheer up mate," Neil said sympathetically, resting his hand on Ringo's shoulder, "you'll have your day to shine. There's plenty of fish in the sea or something like that. I'm not sure really, it seemed to fit the mood but I forgot where I was goin with it."

"Would it make you feel any better if I said I'm gonna do somethin I regret," Mal swallowed, "like perhaps... drinking one to many martinis."

"You're bloody terrible you know that," George said indignantly, "gettin us to believe there's a chance in hell, no John not you, that you might show some damn compassion and let us enjoy the REAL Parisian scene."

"You win my hands are tied," Mal said throwing his hands up in the air, "somehow I have a feelin I'll regret this but I'm actually gonna put myself in a more difficult situation to help you lads out. One of these days I'm gonna ask you a favor and you better damn well at least pretend to listen."

"You know me," John said innocently, "I'd NEVER ignore a simple request to PRETEND to listen to what you say. Besides wouldn't that be like what I do on a daily basis anyways."

"Actually I must confess that does sound an awful lot like you Lennon," I agreed solemnly, "but let's get this show on the road wouldn't want to miss out on meeting a madam worth remembering." Mal fumbled with the wallet as he searched for the correct amount of cash to make our grand exit. Although the likelihood of anything extravagant here seemed as likely as being unrecognized at a Beatle fan club meeting. The bar maid's complacent frown lifted after receiving her generous tip and she was more than happy to make sure the proper transportation arrangements were made. What thoughts were in store for my next car trip seemed impossible to fathom...