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Chapter 5
Beyond the Reaches of Fame

My vision fades as a child's laugh filled the halls of a beautiful quaint country mansion. A mother races to swoop him up in her arms. I drop my guitar case on the near by sofa and rush to the bedroom to join my happy family. We all pile into the bed and snuggle against one another as my son reaches for his favorite book to read, I kiss my wife once on the forehead. We each take turns reading it laughing at parts when an all to familiar girl knocks on the bedroom door. No one gets up to answer it so she impatiently tries again. Still all ignore her as she opens the door without our permission. I angrily point my hand her and scream on the top of my lungs for her to get out and never come back. She runs away teary eyed out into the cold snow before her mother drags her away into an old beat up car. She jumps out of the car and dashes into the woods trying to hide from something. We all walk out to see what all the commotion is and search frantically to help the mother find her missing daughter. Throughout our search, I never make eye contact with the mother who cries for her lost child. Confused, lonely, and tried everyone gives up except me as I plunge deeper into the woods to find this lost lamb. I look back towards the house as my wife and son offer a ride to the dumbfounded mother who only seeks to be with her child once again. I sit on a log trying to reevaluate my thoughts as more snow starts to make its way down from the lofty clouds in the sky. Flashes from the previous nightmare startle me as I reel up in fear.

Well it started pleasantly enough I thought. I wiped the sweat off my brow and moved vigorously trying to get comfortable enough to sleep. The more I tried the less tired I got. Gee, this was worse than the white room at that weird manor. I would win her over, of yes I would. Perhaps I could buy roses, but then again you cannot go wrong with chocolate, although I never met a woman who didn't like jewelry. Hmmm maybe a song would be the best approach. I didn't feel inspired enough for a song quite yet so I would have to postpone that for a little bit. What would be most appropriate for a woman who saved my life? Let's review the facts: her employer doesn't like for her to have special treatment, she doesn't want to go out to dinner with me, she likes me (I think) but has a complex about something which makes her constantly change her mind about how involved we should be. Hold on a sec, did I just say we? We haven't even gone out and here I am already referring to this sham of a relationship as we. This nightmare meeting didn't leave us with any social titles. We weren't enemies. We weren't friends. We weren't lovers. Hell, we were barely acquaintances. I needed to put a lot more thought into this before I even think about doing anything else drastic like referring to us as "we." After several hours of struggling with my conscience, I finally fell into a dreamless sleep.

"Mournin sunshine," Ringo whispered, "time to get up?"

"You're in a good mood this mourning," I whined.

"Well I got a full nights rest but can't say the same about you grouchy," he laughed, "or John for the matter."

"I heard that," he retorted throwing a pillow at Ringo's head.

"Someone's bound to get their eye poked the way this war is goin," George announced.

"Who wants breakie?" Neil said trying to avoid mutiny.

"I do," I yelled hoping that the day would be more relaxing than the past few. We gobbled down on some cornflakes, scrambled eggs, a glass of orange juice, and some famous English tea.

"Hey Paul, did you know we got 12,00 applications for the Beatles fan club in America the day you were leveled by the fans," Neil enlightened.

"How could I know I was passed out the rest of the afternoon and most of yesterday," I whined.

"Yeah we saw on the news what a zoo you made yesterday after puking on the street," John laughed, "oh that poor old lady she just used the last of her pay check to get her shoes shined to look good for her interview and bam Macca spews on em."

"I didn't make it to the interview and now I will have to live on the streets for not being able to make the rent on time," George imitated in a high girly voice.

Ringo spat out his orange juice and burst out laughing, "You sound just like her except she had a bit more of a fake posh accent."

I hid my face in the newspaper trying to pretend I wasn't embarrassed. I had to admit that story did make you want to laugh till your sides hurt.

"Well boys we have a concert later this afternoon but until then the day is yours," Mal said after everyone calmed down.

"We could go to the Eiffel tower," I suggested.

"Sorry Paulie but we did that yesterday on our day off," John informed, "too bad you couldn't come with us I had this gear blond with out of this world knockers who escorted me up the elevator privately."

"I suppose that you're only married on paper huh but when it comes to living your life you'll take all the birds you can find," I cut bitterly. I did not approve of that sort of behavior when you take the vows of marriage. I had no problem with being foot loose and fancy-free if I was dating but I never wanted to disrespect marriage. Dating and marriage are two different things and should be treated as such.

"Cynthia knows and if she didn't want me to then she would say something," John resisted, "let's drop it alrigh'."

"You should of seen that redhead who I was chatting with at the top of the tower, if that skirt were any shorter her but would of fallen out," Ringo reminisced.

"You're all mad. Mine was the best, she's a model for some famous French designer. Boy would I like to see more of those legs," George said confidently.

"Lads, lads the point is not who had the best bird but what we're going to do today," Neil reminded.

"Do we have time to do a lil shopping, I promised Jane I would buy her some French perfume," I asked.

"Well I suppose as long as it's close by," Mal relented. "Is anyone else interested, or is this just going to be me and Paul."

"Count me out I hate the smell of perfume," George quivered.

"Me too, those ladies always try to spray you with that nasty stuff," John cringed.

"I'll go, anything is better than being cooped up with them two," Ringo stated, "how bout you Neil?"

"No thanks I'd just as soon stay here," he replied.

"Alrigh' than off we go," Mal said as he made his way to the door, "are you sure you can walk well enough to go shoppin Macca?"

"I think so," I said as I wobbly got up on my feet.

"Well don't expect me to carry you if you can't," Ringo retorted.

"I wouldn't make you carry me," I snickered, "that's Mal's job."

"Youre a sly one," Ringo joked, "but somehow I have a feeling we aren't just buying perfume for Jane."

"Awe... come off it Ring let's try and have a good time eh," I said giving him a puppy dog look.

"Fine, I'm not the one you have to talk to in the long run," Ringo huffed, "and trust me after your done with Jane talking to the big guy upstairs will seem like nothing."

"I never knew you were religious." Mal commented.

"I'm not but I would be if I had to tell Jane something she didn't want to hear," Ringo shuddered, "or she find out something I didn't want her to know."

"Well it just so happens that I am not keeping any secrets from Jane you lads don't already know about," I said satisfied.

"Well if she finds out I didn't know a thing. You're my witness Mal that I have been sheltered from any transgressions or fornications he has committed," Ringo teased.

"Not if I want to live to see my wife and kids again I won't," Mal coughed.

"Come on she's not that bad, I swear you act like she would scratch your eyes out if you upset her," I defended.

"Not to generalize Paul but redheads can be crazy bitches which I suppose has its advantages in bed and disadvantages in arguing," Ringo came back, "well at least in my experience."

"Ringo that has nothing to do with their hair color, cause pretty much every girl you go out with can be described like that," I argued.

"That was a cheap shot Paul," Ringo yelled, " and to think I thought that John and George had a sharp tongue."

"Yeah Paul that wasn't very nice, everyone KNOWS that you shouldn't pick on those less fortunate than you," Mal smiled at his own joke.

"Bah, don't be makin fun of me in such a round about way if your gonna say somthin than say it to my face. Oh yeah and keep those horrid pun to yourself," Ringo said crossing his arms angrily.

"Come on, we're all mates, there's no reason to fight like this," I pleaded.

"Well then you shouldn't have said something so cruel like that," Ringo squeaked, "you're practically asking for a fight with comments like that."

"Ring I'm really sorry, I didn't mean it I just didn't get much good sleep last night and I took it out on you;" I apologized, "how can I make it up to you?"

"Well first off why didn't you sleep well? Than when you're done answering that we can see about making it up to me," he winked.

"I've just been havin some weird dreams lately and I miss the old ones where everything was so happy and prefect. They might have been short but I always felt so alive afterwards and ready to face the world. It's probably all the stress lately but as soon as we're number one in America it'll go back to the way things were," I explained. Ringo looked satisfied enough as he glared out the window. I couldn't read the expression on his face but something told me he had a different explanation for my change in dreams. Maybe later I would ask him about it but for now, I would enjoy the view.

"Here we are lads, I think you can find whatever you're looking for here," Mal commented.

We looked up at the massive building at least three stories high. The windows were filled with the latest winter fashions but the clerks looked eager to decorate for the upcoming spring. I laughed to myself as I entered into the warm blanket of air inside the store. I rubbed my hands fiercely as I reached the perfume counter.

"Excuse me miss," I leaned over the counter, "could you help me find a nice perfume for my girlfriend? She insisted that I buy her one since I am on business here in France."

"Oh yes," she said thickly in her best English, "we have nice perfume for girlfriend. Here she will like this." I carefully smelled the intoxicating aroma of sweet delight.

"How much is this?" I questioned.

"Only thirty thousand franks," she smiled, "or twenty five pounds."

"That does seem a bit expensive," I interrogated.

"Well it is from famous French designer Jacque du Soule it cost twice as much at Harrods," she coxed.

"Well then I guess you sold me," I laughed.

"What about the one in the pretty blue bottle over there?" I pointed.

"Oh that is Timeless Beauty by Jacobs, a favorite among French women," she stuttered.

"Is it expensive?" I inquired.

"Oh no, it is only twenty thousand franks or twenty British pounds," she persisted.

"Would someone who hates for you to buy them expensive gifts be offended if they were given this?" I asked intrigued.

"Oh no women with all sorts of taste like this perfume," she said sensing another sale for her commission.

"Then I will take that as well," I added.

"Very good," she smiled.

"Your total is forty five pounds," she said putting my purchases in a bag. I handed her the money as I continued walking through the store aisles. That will make a nice gift for Ms. Stevens. I wonder if she will like it. I still have to think of a plan to get it to her without that nasty bitch employer of hers keeping it away. I began to shuffle through some postcards for my family as I thought about this delicate situation. She refused to let me take her to dinner, and I couldn't just walk back to her house. If I sent it through the mail than Mrs. Muir would see it. If I left it on the porch of her home, I would stand a better shot at her getting it. That seemed sensible enough, so what to buy for myself. I gazed at the intricately woven scarves each with it's own unique design.

"Eh, Mal what do you think of this green one here?" I pointed.

"It looks nice, Paul, pay for it so we can leave or we're going to be late," he yelled, "you boys still have to get ready."

"Alrigh' don't get your knickers in a twist," I said smoothly as the cashier rang up my purchase.

"So did you find anything Ring?" I asked.

"No nothin special, just some postcards to send to me family," he explained.

"Come 'ed, I'm not getting any younger out her," Mall hollered as we rushed into the car.

"Turn up the radio, I think we're on," Ringo begged.

"No shit Sherlock, I hope you can tell what we sound like by now," I said sarcastically, "but then again with all the girls screams I think I wonder myself sometimes." We all laughed as we entered the eerily quiet room. I began to wonder what was wrong. John was reading a magazine and George was watching the tellie quietly.

"Why are you all so quiet?" I asked, "you think that you got in trouble by the looks on your faces."

"Neil caught us trying to sneak in some girls," George explained.

"Do you honestly think I would believe something that dumb?" I laughed, "Come on, tell me why you are REALLY so quiet?"

"There's nothin wrong with lil Georges explanation except he forgot to mention they were prostitutes," John snickered, "but the look on his face was worth a million bucks when he caught a look at what they were wearing."

"It's not like we were gonna pay em or anything. They said we could have a go for free since they like our music and all," George defended.

"I'm SURE that you didn't need to pay them and that professional hookers wanted nothing more than to fuck your brains out because were SO famous," Ringo teased.

"I don't need your sarcasm Starkey but it just so happens that there was a merit of truth in those words," John said bitingly.

"Well if I was her I would of charged you twice the going rate," I smiled devilishly, "any hookers that want to give you a free ride aren't worth the time thank you."

"Such harsh words for such a soft sod," George exhaled in aghast.

"Yeah Macca them are some fighting words if you ask me," John raised his head and put up his fists.

"May I take this time to remind you all that you are running late for the show and Paul and Ringo aren't even dressed properly," Mal interrupted.

"Of coarse we are, just not for a concert," Ringo added.

"Well start gettin ready cause we leave in ten minutes," Neil yelled. I rushed into the bathroom and turned on a steaming shower. I moved back at the first drops of hot liquid pounding my aching skin to a goo like mush. I slowly entered back into the boiling water now adjusted to the fire burning my weak body. A relaxation flowed over my pours as I melted against the shower wall transfixed by the shivering heat. I poured the lavender shampoo in my hair and began to slowly wash away the smell of ciggie in my thick long hair. As it rushed over my eyes after stepping to close to the rushing waterfall, I quickly close them tight to avoid any further stinging. I reached for a towel rubbing my eyes madly to get the minute remnants of the blinding shampoo. I turned off the water and stepped out of the shower awaiting another exciting evening filled with pushy fans, lazy cops, and crowded dressing rooms. Ah what wonderful lives we live.

"Hey Macca can we go now or do you need to put on your make up too," John complained.

"I'm done so don't get your knickers in a twist," I shot back.

"Easy, easy let's try to make it in one piece ok?" Neil stepped in. We all nodded our heads in approval mumbling apologies as we walked toward the lift. Now how am I going to get that gift to ms. Stevens? Well maybe I'll send it with Mal on the way home because he already knows where she lives. I only wish I could see the expression on her face after she received my peace offering. I sure hope the fans at this concert won't be so violent. I cant handle another day of be mauled like a peace of red meat by a German Sheppard. Well, we were playing at a much classier music hall, The Olympia.

I could imagine a whole audience wearing expensive eveningwear, glimmering jewels fastened around necks like starts in the sky, pelts on white fur as far as the eye could see. Personally, I didn't see how anyone of this stature would be interested in this sort of music but supposed that they were looking to "invest" or perhaps their wives did. There would of coarse be the ever-present "gold diggers" dressed in deceivingly fine array brought by previous victims or perhaps a few who invested their own money knowing the profit of return would make it worth their while. Might as well be the London palladium all over again. Now that I think about it, they are only five days apart.

"Anyone feel like gambling tonight," John smiled.

"What kind of gambling," George inquired, "if it's poker you can count me in. I have a few tricks up my sleeve."

"More like a few cards," Ringo snickered.

"I don't cheat thank you very much I play fair and square. I can't help it that you loose every time, so you have to blame me with my "cheating." Why can't you just accept it? I'm better than you," George mocked.

"As much fun as it is to watch you both argue over something so trivial, that's not the kind of bet I had in mind," John announced.

"Well stop talking about it and tell us what it is already," I said getting annoyed.

"Hold your horses McCartney, I'm getting there. You know how we're having a party tonight. Right?" he questioned.

"Yeah go on," Ringo asked impatiently.

"My proposition is we all put a certain amount of money into a fund and whoever can get the most screws in one night wins," John declared.

"I know that I'm a smooth operator but I don't think that the girls like me all that much here in France," George bragged.

"I'm in John and I put in a hundred pounds," Ringo said cockily.

"Well, what's a hundred pounds, I've lost more than that playing poker with George, so I guess I'm in too," I laughed.

"Well George are you in or are you out," John vexed.

"Oh alrigh' I'm in but I might as well throw my money in the toilet cause that's where its going with my luck these days," he agreed. The pressure is now on but I have a sneaking suspicion of who will win tonight.

"John," a small adolescent screamed on the top of her lungs above the already roaring mass as we dashed into the much larger venue. It might have been more distinguished but it didn't keep the fans away. They're worse than the post office I thought, "no rain, nor snow, nor heat of day." I smirked at the notion but quickly focused on the enclosing surroundings. The audience looked nice enough. No surprises as far as dress went or class for that matter. We all filed into our practice room and began to tune our instruments as the opening acts began.

"Hey George, I can't seem to get this quite right, will you take a look," John asked.

"Quick some one alert the media, John actually asked for some ones help," Ringo said in a monotone voice.

"Shu' your gob,' John hissed.

"Why and not rub it in your face like you do every time we ask for help?" I inquired.

"Well if you haven't noticed I am better than you so I get special privileges," John quipped.

"We'll see about that tonight," I bluffed, "your such a hypocrite some times."

"And damn proud of it too, mate," John added.

"Boys you're next and try to behave yourselves," Neil instructed.

"Yes, mummy," George agreed.

"Why wouldn't we behave?" John smiled devilishly.

"Yeah we're good blokes and hardly cause any problems too," Ringo pouted.

"No point in putting up the act with me I'm not the one you have to talk to if you don't," Neil reminded.

"Yeah, Brian always has a stick in his ass," I remarked.

"Or other things," George mumbled which brought John into a fit of giggles.

"That's exactly the type of crude behavior I don't want on stage," Neil sighed, "this isn't Hamburg so I expect you to act like NORMAL decent citizens."

"We'll behave honest," Ringo chimed.

"Well hurry up there waitin on you," Mal motioned. John and George quickly rushed onto the stage and I followed suit as a wave of applause shook the halls.

"Good evening ladies and gentlemen," George said into the dead microphone as a screeching sound filled the auditorium, "we would like to welcome you to the show and now a quick fast number for you all."

"One, two, three, four," Ringo counted in.

"I Saw Her Standing There" blared from the small amps as I drifted into a state of indifference that usually accompanied a forced public appearance. My heart was in public appearances but I just couldn't appreciate it in this dull atmosphere of posh elite dickheads who didn't understand rock n' roll. I eyed them all boredly; the once seeming luster vanished from their gleaming jewelry, as did the spark of my once abundant interest. I suppose I am selfish. I don't care for screaming teenagers, but don't want old prunes either. Couldn't there be a middle group? Some one that truly appreciated rock n' roll and didn't scream though every number would be more than ideal. I never understood what was so appealing about giving your idol a headache but the way they went at it you could swear we lived every minute of our lives to hear it. The crowd doesn't matter that much anyway as long as we're famous I don't mind putting up with either lot. As long as we're famous

"Well my heart went boom as she crossed that room and I held her hand in mine," I sang as my mind drifted to the innocent encounter the other day. There were so many questions left unanswered I hardly knew where we were headed. Oh great there I go again saying we when she seems to hate me. But then again they say women act like they hate you when they like you, which doesn't make sense cause they act the exact same way if they don't. I always had a ruff time telling the difference. Nevertheless, my gift would win her over and my charm if she gave me the chance. But, all things in due time, I reasoned.

"Oh since I saw her standing there," echoed from my lips as John began concocting a rather controversial intro for such an elite crowd. I could hear a stir of noise getting louder in frequency as the opening chords flew into the energetic air.