And then Toni was actually the Giant Hulking Lungfish of Lake Oblongata that was stealing children's brains.
And then Veser became Czar of all of Russia and decreed that everyone should own a pet shark.
And then Conrad flew to the moon and started a colony of immortal chocolate Easter bunnies that would one day take over the world.
And then Hanna and his zombie friend said, "Screw this stupid Victorian Age!" and traveled to the future using a time machine built by Doc Worth which created a tear in the fabric of time and space effectively destroying the universe for all eternity.
I pointed over to the tape on top of the pile. It was completely unmarked, as were the rest. “Let’s check that one out first, shall we?” I asked.
“Fair enough.” Mumbled Arthur. He quietly popped the first tape out, and went into the next room, returning in a minute with a piece of masking tape and a sharpie. He slapped some tape on the edge of the cassette, and scrawled something on it before showing it to me. It read “B-Garasharp”
“The ‘B’ he explained, “marks proof of Baradagi. We might put something else on the tapes if more patterns pop up that we notice.”
I shook my head. “More patterns? You got any coffee, Red Bull, Mountain Dew? This could be a long night…”
He strode into the other room, but was back in a moment with several massive bottles of Mountain Dew in his hands and a big grin on his face. “There’s plenty more where those came from.” he chuckled as he set them in front of the couch. Turning back to the pile, he selected the tape from the top of the pile, and slid it into the DVD player.
What we found next was somewhat anticlimactic: the tape was blank. There wasn’t anything on it at all. We turned to each other and shrugged. Arthur tried fast-forwarding, but we reached the end of the tape soon enough – the thing was completely blank.
“Well, that was a waste of fifteen minutes.” I grumbled. Arthur shook his head, popped the tape out, and scrawled “blank” on its new ersatz label. The next tape was inside and playing a couple minutes later.
This one was truly odd. It didn’t even seem to have been a movie once. The film was in black-and-white, and there were two middle-aged men peering into the lens. One of them seemed slightly younger and thinner than the other, and it was he who spoke first.
“All right, Sam, it’s working?”
The bigger man nodded. “Yeah, Ray, it should be.”
Ray nodded. And turned back to the camera. “All right, here’s the deal.” he uttered. “Mr. Katzman and myself have recently been in talks about a new film of his, about a giant killer bird from space. I accepted his idea, and made a working model for it, one which Mr. Katzman approved of.”
Upon these words, the camera panned over to a far corner of the workshop, focusing on a model of a strange-looking bird. It looked a thousand times better than the thing I was used to, but the long neck, immense wings, and hooked beak betrayed its true identity, and it all clicked together in my head in an instant.
“The Giant Claw! It’s the Giant Claw! Holy Crap, they actually got Ray to do it!” I yelled, rising from the couch just long enough to provoke a response from Arthur: “That looks like a whole bird, not just a claw. Now siddown. I can’t see what’s going on.”
Harryhausen was speaking again. “Now, my problem is, every night for the past week or so, somebody has been slipping into the studio where I keep the model I’ve built, and has been making some subtle changes to it – several small ones at once. Feathers are vanishing one by one, weird spines have been growing on the thing’s back, the arms are getting shorter, and, uh, so on. If this continues for much longer, it’s going to change into something else completely and ruin the entire picture. Mr. Katzman and myself” here he gestured to he and his friend “will be hiding behind those boxes, at such an angle that we will be able to see anyone coming in through the front door, and the puppet itself at the same time. Nobody has been told about this, but if we can find the person, we can catch him red-handed! We’ve got plenty of coffee to keep watch through the night, we’ve got the camera and the flashlights… so let’s begin.”
At these words, the camera snapped off. I guess they were trying to save film.
There was a second of nervous silence, and then the film started playing once more. Ray Harryhausen and Mr. Katzman were both in front of the camera, their flashlight beams plying the darkness in front of them, the model fully illuminated in the glow. Ray turned to Katzman.
“False alarm, pal. I think it’s just a mouse… we’ll have to set traps down or something…” and he turned back to the camera. The film winked out again. Arthur and I glanced at each other nervously.
The camera snapped on once more a second later. Morning light was streaming in through the windows of the studio, and Harryhausen was shaking his head at Katzman. Both of them had dark rings around their eyes, and looked completely exhausted. “He didn’t come tonight.” grumbled Harryhausen. “Maybe something spooked him.”
Katzman shrugged. “Well, that’s a problem. Maybe we scared him off for good, maybe we didn’t. Either way, get some sleep, and we won’t post a guard tonight. Maybe he’ll come back, and maybe he won’t.”
At this, they both turned away from the camera, and started walking away. Katzman walked off to the left, Harryhausen simply walked up to the model behind him, picked it up, and froze.
“Katzman?” he uttered. He sounded nervous.
“The, uh, model… it’s been changed again.”
“I know. I can’t explain it. Something’s wrong. The spines are definitely longer than they were yesterday, and half of the pinfeathers here are missing…”
Katzman stomped back into the view of the camera. “Damn it, Ray, are you sure? Are you absolutely sure?!”
Harryhausen turned, frowning. “Absolutely. I don’t know what to say…” abruptly, he dropped his head and sighed. “Oh, well. I’ll have to start again at this rate, but maybe I should…” he nodded. “Yes, tell you what: I’ll destroy this model, and make a new one. The wiring underneath seems unchanged, I should be able to rub out the changes with ease, and redo the exterior detail…”
“How long will that take?”
Harryhausen shrugged. “It’s not as bad as it looks. I’d say a week, maybe a week and a half.”
Katzman sighed. “All right, just do what you can.”
As Katzman turned away, Harryhausen turned back to the model, and frowned as he started to do something to the back. “That is odd…” he muttered. “It…” and we didn’t catch his next few words.
And then, a loud, horrified yell blared out of the TV’s speakers. Arthur and I both jumped, our hearts pounding a mile a second as Ray dropped the model on the floor, where one wing flopped…
…and in the next instant, the horrible thing had twisted around. It loud out a high, horrid screech, and scuttled across the floor directly towards Harryhausen. Ray was shaking his head, backing away slowly, but there was a sudden, loud slam, and Katzman suddenly reappeared in midair on the screen. He’d taken a fairly impressive running leap, and both his feet came down on the model with a crunch that couldn’t have come from clay and metal wires.
Katzman didn’t step away, but balanced himself awkwardly with both his feet remaining very close together atop the abomination. A thin trickle of crimson rolled out from beneath his feet.
Ray knelt down, and looked at the thing. He glanced back up at his friend, and nodded. “Nice jump there. I think you got him.”
Katzman stepped off the thing. I couldn’t see it well in this light, but it didn’t look like it would be getting up anytime soon.
“Jesus, Ray.” muttered Katzman. “Now what do we do?”
Harryhausen shook his head. “Only one thing we can do. Nobody’s going to believe this – it just looks like a smashed bird now. We’ll throw it away… and pretend this never happened.”
Katzman shook his head. “Never happened? Hell, Ray…”
But Harryhausen looked the other man dead in the eye, and growled at him: “No, it never happened. Because here’s the thing, Katzman – when I built that thing, it was only eight inches long…”
“Eight inches? I could swear that thing’s at least a foot!”
Katzman’s jaw dropped, and he stared at Harryhausen as the special effects artist walked out of the camera’s view for a moment. When he returned, he bore a small broom, and quietly brushed the remains of the horror into a bucket before striding away.
Katzman shook his head, and followed him out of the frame.
A door slammed somewhere, and the camera – which had apparently been forgotten – stared out silently into an empty room.
Arthur and I stared at the screen for a full minute after that, but nothing was happening. Arthur punched the fast-forward button on the remote, and the tape ran for a further half-hour with nothing happening before abruptly snapping into blackness.
We looked at each other, and shook our heads. Arthur sipped a bit of his Mountain Dew with a grimace.
“OK, so… now what?” I mumbled.
“Go on to the next tape, I guess.” Arthur muttered. He walked over to the VCR, and popped the tape out, scribbling the words “B?-Giant Claw” on it before placing it on the pile.
Then the two fell upon each other, snarling and biting, ripping at each others clothes, then flesh. Jacob was the first to clutch Edwards penis and slide it into his mouth, chomping down. Edward followed suit, grasping Jacobs
I tossed the manuscript on my desk before I tossed my cookies. This was hopeless. This was also the best work Id received yet for the newspaper writing contest. I rubbed my eyes, trying to think up yet another new, polite way to say you so utterly suck.
So? What do you think?
I looked up at the writer responsible for this masterpiece. Mrs. Muldoon was a deacon in our church, and had fallen inexplicably hard for Ms.Meyers vampire wiles. I was as mystified as anyone, I suppose.
Grace. Its um, kind of intense?
She nodded vigorously. Yes! You can see by chapter three theyve totally gotten over that Bella girl and are well on their way to Ohio so they can get married.
Shed fixated on gay rights, specifically gay marriage ever since Tony, her older boy, had come out. It was a fine thing to support ones children, but this was the oddest outlet by far shed utilized.
Grace. It goes on for I flipped pages of her manuscript. Six? Six pages. This one sex scene.
Oh, its not pornography, Mr. Taylor. Its pivotal to the story. Theyre trying to kill each other, you see.
By fellating each other for six pages?
Theyre supernatural creatures! Of course they have stamina. They have to suck the venom out of their veins, you see.
And then they fall in love and decide to get married. In Ohio.
She sensed my skepticism, her smile faltering. Well, its a complicated relationship.
I can see that. I tried a different deterrent. Um, you do realize its a creative writing contest? In a public newspaper? The Gazettes read by over twenty thousand of your fellow townspeople. And this is very explicit.
Mr. Taylor. My message requires a certain amount of
And its very, very long. 214 pages is well beyond the scope of
Id be pleased if you serialized it. A chapter a week until its complete.
I had to admire her calm determination. I sighed, blew out my cheeks. This really was the best wed gotten, and the contest was officially over, and I had an entirely blank Features section holding up the Gazettes presses, and it would be soooo easy to
You know what, Grace? Im running it. Chapter one in tomorrows Gazette. Congratulations for winning the contest.
Her beaming face almost made up for my imagined meeting with the Gazette editorial board tomorrow. Well, thisll teach em to fuck with the Christmas bonuses around here. I picked up the winning contest entry again, flipped it open to a random page.
A serpentine length of Edwards vampire tool coiled around Jacobs
Oh sweet jumpin Jesus in a sack race. This was gonna be good.
I first met Alistair Creaux at WritersCon '97, and from the first words he uttered to me in a drunken slur I knew he was destined for greatness: Sometimes I get an idea and it's so so sweet I'll just ride it like a buckin bronc and donkey-punch that fucker.
I'd nodded sagely, not quite understanding but impressed by his zeal. Once I'd actually read Creaux's work it all made sense. Wonderful, crazy sense. He wrote like a combination of Hunter S. Thompson, William Burroughs, and Stephen King. Epic storytelling, accessible to the common man, but shot through with Deeper Meaning for those willing to delve.
His fame skyrocketed since I'd discovered him. He was BorderHouse's number one draw; every book pre-sold by the millions as soon as it was announced, anticipated by rabid fans (Creauxians, they called themselves) and lovingly dissected on numerous internet fan sites around the world. Two of his books had become motion pictures, each drawing respectably against summer blockbusters. Creaux was a phenomenon, a force, a legend, a near-immortal being.
Even his media fuck-ups were a joy. I'd sent him a bottle of 30-year-old Balvenie upon learning he'd punched Dan Brown in the face. "Stop making shit up!" was the now-famous Creuxism uttered that day, and it'd only made him more popular to his adoring fans.
But alas, the Alistair Creaux sitting before me in my office was not the grizzled, hard-drinking Alistair I'd known for over a decade. This man was different.
Oh, he looked the same: traditional beat-to-shit cowboy hat and leather duster, boots crossed at the ankles, legs straight before him, as if daring waiters and random passers-by to trip upon them. He sat like that everywhere: in crowded restaurants, at airports. If somebody did trip over his too-long legs, that was their problem, not his.
I'd asked him: how's the next Dylan Boss novel coming along? The series of supernatural detective mysteries was a vein of pure gold, the first book already optioned by James Cameron, an avid Creauxian.
His response stopped me cold.
"I met someone," he admitted, almost shyly.
Uh-oh. I looked up at him from my desk, really looked at him for the first time. Holy Christ, he'd bathed. Not good. Carefully, I rose from my chair and circled the desk, leaned on it with my arms crossed. Mulled over a dozen responses.
"You met somebody. As in, you're seeing somebody?"
His face lit up for a moment, remembering, characteristic scowl gone for the first time since I could remember. This was serious.
"Ayup. And I wrote something " He rummaged for a moment in deep pockets, produced a leather notebook. Tied with a red ribbon. He held it out for me with calloused hands and I took it, turning it over and over. There was a red heart inked onto the cover.
"Alistair, you never write. With a pen. In a book I mean. With you it's always been Word documents. What's going on?"
He rubbed an eye thoughtfully before answering. "I'm writin with mah heart now, Les. It's all in there how I feel. I think it's time for the world to know the real me."
Alarm bells were ringing in my skull as I snapped the red ribbon, opened the small book. Flipped to a random page. Oh god, oh god, oh god
"Alistair, this is poetry."
"Ayup," he nodded. "From mah heart. Gowan, read some. I wanna know what you think."
Oh, beloved one, so fine is your ass And never do you offer me none of that sass For when you speak, even if it's dumb Your words blast me like a shotgun!
"Fascinating. You rhymed 'dumb' with 'gun'." I felt a migraine starting.
"Hey, poetry doesn't have to rhyme! It's whattayacallit? A bonus."
There's something about your feet I find especially sweet All your toes a wigglin Sets me off to gigglin.
This was bad. Not just the poetry, which was execrable no no, if I didn't get a new Boss novel out of him by the end of this quarter it would spell disaster for BorderHouse. For me. My brain shifted into emergency damage control mode.
"How's the Dylan Boss work coming? Got a title yet?"
He scowled that famous scowl. "I'm done with that little shit for now. He's not relevant anymore I want you to publish that." He nodded at the book in my hands. I wanted to throw it at him.
"Um, this is a real departure for you. Your fans won't understand. What if we published this under a pseudonym?"
"Fuck that. I want my name on it. So everyone will know."
Right. And no Dylan Boss anytime soon. My brain hunted for a way out of this trap, seized on a thought.
"You met someone. Tell me about her."
"Him," Alistair grinned. "His name is Eduardo. Met him at a bar on 57th street."
I set the book of poems gently on my desk, went back to my chair and summoned an IM window. Alistair didn't mind; I multitasked all the time, and he knew it. Part of being a successful agent.
Need you to rumble a name, I typed to Alan, my assistant. Extremely urgent.
"Eduardo. He has cute feet?"
"Ohyes," Alistair smiled. "The cutest little thangs ever."
Alan typed back: Ready and willing oh boss. Name?
"And you met him how?"
"Bartends at Places. You know, we've been there a few times. On 57th."
Eduardo, bartender at Places, a lounge on 57th street. Everything you can find on him, I typed.
I smiled weakly at Alistair, unsure what to say next. "And you're done writing your Dylan Boss books? No more of those? You can do both poetry and uh, your regular writing too, you know. We have commitments."
He waved a hand dismissively. "Hell, if you want the advance back, fine. I don't need the money."
Crap. I'd been counting on my percentage of that book.
Six Edwards in that zip code, plus one Ed and one Eddy, Alan typed. But just one with a Hispanic last name. Think that's our guy?
Employment history? I suggested.
Already checking, he responded.
"I was thinking. We should publish it exactly like that," Alistair nodded at the book on my desk. "Leather bound, hand-drawn heart just like I did it there. Same blood dripping outta it to form li'l kisses, just like that. Red ribbon. I want people to hold that book so they can feel me."
"Anything's possible," I allowed. We'd done vanity projects like that before, small runs, but very expensive. I refused to think about it any more than I had to though. Other options still existed
Found him. Edward Garcia Lopez, lived in Tampa, now NYC. Bartender at two clubs, one of them 57th Places. Alan was a wizard at research.
Work up orders for a 10-227, I replied. Chet Bapkins, the name's in my old paper Rolodex. He'll want cash. I'll authorize an initial $20K from the entertainment budget. If he wants more get back to me. File it as a private plane charter, tag it to I thought for a second. Finster. Use Finster's authorization.
Finster? In Children's Books? Christ, that's evil.
"Lotsa typing going on over there," Creaux observed.
"Just finalizing some details. Gimme a sec." Not evil. Practical. Ed Garcia Lopez needs to disappear. An accident. Make it happen.
Roger, wilco, aye aye sir. Alan was a good kid. I made a mental note to give him a bonus.
"Okay, tellya what we'll do," I cleared my screen and leaned back. "Let's get this book of poetry over to Mabel in Design see what she thinks is possible in the way of a small boutique pressing. I'm thinking we market it as a coffee-table book; something for your fans. Meanwhile, why don't you take some time off? Think about your writing, how we can finish out your Dylan Boss commitment."
"I told you, I'm done with that."
"Nevertheless, I'm your agent. You pay me to think about all aspects of your career. Just humor me. Maybe you'll see things differently in a week."
Alistair pondered for a moment, finally nodded. "Alright. I'll give it a week. But I'm tellin ya, I'm a changed man. Dunno if I have enough darkness in me to write more of that Boss shit."
It was starting to get dark, and we all left the ice cream shop, trying to avoid any more photo shoots with the fans. It took FOREVER just waiting for Ringo and some of the other boys to finish up. I didn't even start talking to some of them until we left that it was so bad. Not to mention some girls were attempting to follow us out the door, or at least keep me from leaving. One of them managed to scrape my left arm. Talk about jealous.
We were waiting for John to get a cab over, as we all were talking. "Lauren, is your arm alright? I noticed that some of the girls got rough with you," Paul said concerned of me.
"Yeah, I'm fine," I replied looking at my arm. It was bleeding a bit and a little swollen. Then, I covered it with my hand so no one would worry.
"Really? Then why are you covering it with your hand?" John asked being nosy. He looked back to the streets to get a cab to take us back to the hotel.
"I always do this," I replied.
"Not when you have shopping bags with you," Ringo said. "Here let me take a look." There he slowly took my hand off my arm, noticing the blood. If you hadn't already guessed, my heart rate sky rocketed. "Laurie, you're not fine. You're bleeding." Ringo went for a small rag in his shirt pocket.
Laurie? I'm going to be teasing him about that later. "Ringo, don't worry about it, I'm fine. See?" I attempted to convince him, putting a smile on my face.
"Oh come on, Laurie, just go along with it," John teased. A cab was starting to come our way.
"Oh ram it, John," I remarked. "Ow." My arm was starting to ache a bit.
It was partly because Ringo had started wrapping a rag around my arm. "Here, this will stop the bleeding a bit until we get back to the hotel," he explained.
"Oh okay." I was pretty much speechless.
Suddenly, when I heard the cab parking I turned around, only to be face to face with George. "Hey, the cab's here," he pointed out. He was giving me a dreamy kind of look.
Overwhelmed by what occurred this morning, I quickly replied, "Alright. Let's go then." This was followed by me getting into the back of the cab, along with Paul and Ringo. George joined John in the front with the driver.
The drive was short and silent. The only conversation going on was between John and the driver as usual. Occasionally, George would glance back to see what was going on, which was really nothing at all. Paul was listening to the radio station that was on in the car, Ringo was staring out the window with his hand holding something in his pocket, and I was just sitting there, holding my arm because there was nothing else to do.
When we arrived at the hotel, Brian Epstein was impatiently waiting there for us. "Boys, where were you? You should've been here fifteen minutes ago!"
John got out of the cab saying, "Oh lighten up, Brian. We're here aren't we?" He then picked up the bag which held the items he bought.
Paul, followed by the rest of us got out of the car. "My apologies Brian; by that John means that there were some fans we had to deal with, and it took a while to get a cab."
"Well we can't help that," Brian moved on to the next subject. "We'll be going out to dinner tonight with Cynthia and some friends of mine. So head upstairs to get ready to go. We will have to leave in about two hours."
"Oh splendid! I can't wait! I call the showers first!" John jumped for joy, heading up to the room as fast as he could.
"Just don't drag your shopping bags in with you," George chuckled as he carried his bags to the door of the hotel. We laughed slightly along.
"This should be exciting. A nice way to end the day before the Ed Sullivan show tomorrow," Ringo agreed. He was grabbing some of his bags that were in the trunk.
"Oh yeah. I'll get to wear a pretty dress, yay," I said sarcastically and George smiled. I wish I could've had at least a little time to worry about what's been happening lately.
"Don't worry, it'll be fun. I guarantee it," he encouraged as we entered the building.
"Come on everybody," Paul waved, "let's head hurry before we are stuck here with more fan girls."
The three of us nodded back, and we headed up to the rooms. When we reached our floor, you could hear John singing from the shower. It was a faint sound so there weren't huge crowds outside our floor. Did I mention that we managed to rent out the whole floor? Yeah, the Beatles are capable of doing that and they just adore them here at the Plaza Hotel. So we basically had over six rooms to ourselves.
I was laughing so hard from John's outburst of song that I accidentally hit my arm against the wall while we walked to our rooms. "Ow!" I yelled trying to endure the pain. I was right the door of my room.
"Are you okay?" George fretted, putting his hand on my shoulder from behind. He looked at my arm.
I stiffened up straight, "I-I'm fine. T-thanks George." I opened up my door, put my bags on a dresser and then firmly shut the door. I felt bad for just leaving him there, but I didn't want to have to be in a complicated situation like this. Especially between two Beatle boys. That would just thrill the press.
I laid out this blue dress. It was strapless, with its length down to about my knees. Towards the bottom of the dress, it transitioned to a purplish color. My mom had bought it for me for this graduation dance at middle school last May.
After, I took a quick shower, and I was about to curl my hair when someone knocked on the door. "Hey, Lauren, it's Ringo. I brought some bandages for your arm."
"Oh just a minute!" I shouted from my bathroom. I put a towel on, coming out from the bathroom to open the door. "Hey Ringo, or should I call you Ritchie?" I said jokingly. I thought he almost had a nosebleed from either what I just said, or the point that I was practically naked.
"Ritchie?" he blushed walking in. "Why Ritchie?" He started unrolling the bandages and wrapping my arm. I noticed him taking sudden glances at me then back. You could tell that he was a little nervous.
"Because you called me Laurie. It's only fair," I explained. Giving him a little smile, he almost went crazy considering the bandage unexpectedly got tighter. "Ow, Ringo. I was only joking."
He snapped back to reality, "Oh I'm sorry!" Ringo continued to wrap the bandage, trying to become more focused. "I was just distracted."
I giggled, knowing what he meant. He smiled back, finishing up his doctor duties. "So I guess I'll see you soon," I said as I stood up.
"Yeah, you will," he replied, kissing the part of my left arm where the bandage was. He waved happily, leaving my room to go prepare himself for dinner tonight.
I'll do it tonight, he thought. Let's just hope it goes well. He couldn't wait anymore.
"Hey Rings, you can get in the shower now," George called from the doorway of their room. He noticed Ringo was just in my room.
"Coming!" He replied, trotting over into their room.
George was leaning against a dresser, hands in his pockets when he asked, "So what were you doing in Lauren's room?"
Ringo looked up at him with an intrigued look. "I just brought her some bandages." He then chose his collar shirt and tie from a drawer, laying them on the dresser. "Oh that's a relief," George sneered, "I saw you looking at the ring you bought. I thought she turned you down." He laughed, truly knowing that he wasn't relieved, not yet.
"I'm going to ask her tonight at dinner," Ringo explained as a sweet smile appeared across his face. He grabbed a towel, heading into the bathroom. "Wish me luck." He then closed the door.
As soon as George heard the water start he mumbled, "You'll need it," while he gently held up the garnet hearts, dangling on the small chain.
Before you know it, I was all ready to go. My hair was curled; I had my dress on, a pinch of makeup, and black flats. I decided to wear a small, black jacket over my dress so I would look more mature, especially if the press was there. Soon, Brian Epstein knocked on my door to tell me five minutes until we leave. As a result, I headed out of my room to go find the boys.
They were sitting on couch chairs near the end of the hall. "Hello," I greeted them. All four boys were wearing suits, nothing new really. They gave me a look of awe, examining me head to toe.
John sprawled up, "Not too shabby, Lauren. You actually look decent." How do you think Cynthia will react if John comes to dinner with a black eye?
"I'm surprised Lennon," I started my comeback, "for once you don't look like a shaggy dog." The rest of the boys laughed, even giving me some high fives.
"Alright," Paul interjected, "Let's try to behave. You look absolutely fine, both of you." Oh Paul, trying to be the median of the group. How kind, but that's never going to cease the bantering unfortunately.
"Okay," John pouted.
I had a smile on my face, which totally said victory. "That's fine with me."
"Did you buy that dress today?" George asked, practically drooling.
"U-um no, actually my mom got it for me last year. It was a graduation dress," I replied.
Surprised, George said, "Oh really, because it looks brand new. It's very stunning." He smiled and Ringo saw my face go beat red. He wanted to compliment me too to make him envious.
"L-Lauren, you look beautiful this evening," he said nervously.
"O-oh, um, thanks Ringo," I replied with a little grin. George turned away, hiding his jealousy.
"What about me? How do I look?" John asked, taking a pose. He looked like he was trying to be a fashion model.
"Horrible," we all said at the same time. The four of us began to snicker while John went all diva. It was priceless.
Brian Epstein entered in. "Okay, okay boys, enough talking about who's pretty and let's get to the car. We can't keep everyone else waiting." He headed into the elevator and we all followed.
We finally made it to the parking lot of the hotel. Getting to the sides of the car, Brian caught the keys that Paul tossed over. "Wait, you had keys?!" John complained, "Then why did we get taxi cabs before?" Everyone turned, giving Paul a bundle of glares.
"Paul had keys?" George said as he got into the car. "Then we wouldn't have had to be chased by those girls!"
"Yeah," Ringo and I said in unison. "Thanks SO much Paul." We sat down in the back seats along with George, buckling up.
"Sorry," he apologized, "I forgot about them " He was in the passenger seats with Brian.
"That's bull, more like he didn't want us to know," George whispered, as we all laughed. He really seemed to be opening up now. George was still quiet, yet he has been talking a bit more. It made life somewhat relieving.
Soon enough, Brian pulled out of the parking lot, heading towards the restaurant. Just the usual bantering and stuff, I thought looking back and forth between Ringo and George. They both grinned at me happily. Nothing too crazy yet, but that's probably going to change. Won't it? Because that's just my luck.
It's a good thing we left early because by the time we arrived, the place was filled with screaming Beatle maniacs trying to meet their future 'husbands'. Luckily, some of the policemen managed to keep them back. We snuck in through the back of the place, dragging in all the equipment behind us. Trust me, not fun, especially when you practically have a death by cymbal.
Paul and John carried cases which held their guitars. The two walked through the door first, followed by Ringo. He was carrying the snare drum and ride cymbal. I was right behind him helping out by lifting an amp. George was last, with another one of Ringo's cymbals.
Being in between the two of them kind of frightened me. George leaned forward to taunt me. "Don't drop the amp, Laur." He gave a slight grin, baring his tiny fangs. Neither of the boys could see this, but my cheeks got a little red.
I turned to him walking through the doorway. Then I commented, "I won't! Ow!" I hit the cymbal he was hauling with my head. Total blond moment.
George chuckled, as Ringo turned around accidentally whapping me with the ride cymbal. "Lauren? Oh my God, are you okay? I'm sorry!"
I almost dropped the amp in pain, but luckily I managed to place it with the rest of the equipment. Rubbing my head, I said, "Yeah, I'm alright. It's just a little scratch."
Ringo placed the drum and cymbal down on the floor; then kissed my forehead where it hurt. "Does that help?"
"Yeah," I smiled.
"You hurt yourself too much missy," John chortled into a microphone.
"Well at least I'm not a dumbass like you. It's not too smart to be talking into a mike before the show starts. May rattle the fans up." Ringo grinned at the comment. There was an exchange of some high fives here and there.
"And you're dating HER? She's just plain harsh." John stormed off, passing Paul.
Paul soon joined us asking, "What just happened?" His head tilted a bit to one side, somewhat clueless.
George looked over at him. "John got owned. Big time."
John looked back as he saw the rest of his mates laughing along.
Eventually, we all got the equipment set up and ready to go. Brian had the boys and I change before we met Ed Sullivan. I was given a blouse and pants that Paul had bought at in New York. I don't know why I had to change though; meaning over hundreds of girls will probably throw a riot if I perform for a son instead of Ringo. But hey, I wasn't going to argue with them. If I get killed it's their fault.
Once I finally came out of the dressing room, Brian escorted us over to meet Mr. Sullivan. He was a somewhat short, middle aged man, with very short hair. What he wore was a suit and tie (as expected). Mr. Sullivan seemed like a more carefree, relaxed man.
He was talking to the stage managers when we came over. "Alright, so we'll be there. So when they arrive, set up the equipment a few feet behind that. Then make sure the lighting will be centered about there."
"Right on it sir!" The Manager saluted, as he walked away talking on his earpiece.
Mr. Sullivan turned around, mumbling to himself about what to do next. At least until he noticed us all there standing behind him. "Boys, Boys, Boys! Oh, it's great to finally meet you all." He began shaking everyone's hands.
"Hey, don't be giving away what we may be singin'," John joked, shaking his hand wildly.
The show host laughed, "That's some handshake you got there. Nice to meet you." Next he went down to Paul. "Hello there McCartney."
"That's not McCartney, it's McCharmly," John couldn't shut up. He never does.
"I apologize for John. He's not really right in the head if you know what I mean." Paul put up his hand to cover his gesture of saying that John was loopy.
Ed sneered. "It's quite alright. I've been told what he was like." The rest of us laughed, knowing that it was true.
"Hello, George Harrison," Ed Sullivan smiled, shaking his hand.
He nodded back with a grin and headed to the cases to get some equipment out. Mr. Sullivan then went to Ringo.
"That means you must be the famous Ringo," he laughed, welcoming him. "It's good to meet you."
Ringo chortled, "I'm not sure about famous just more talented." I also giggled along with Ed. We kept chatting a little until he finally noticed the little bird that was with them.
"Oh, and who may this be?" Ed Sullivan wondered. He turned towards the boys while they were setting up their instruments.
Suddenly, John ran up, pouncing onto Ed. "Oh bloody hell! A fan snuck in! Call security!!" He continued acting like a scared little boy.
Mr. Sullivan was grabbing his phone out his pocket to do just that. Before he got the chance to press the send button, George closed the phone and hit John up beside the head. "This isn't a fan you nit. Sorry, Ed, but she's with us. This is Lauren my urg "
Ringo was starting to get angry, so I stepped in front of them, finishing George's sentence. "Friend. I'm an artist and a drummer. It's a pleasure to meet you Mr. Sullivan."
"Yeah, don't be calling the cops on my girlfriend buddy," Ringo laughed to himself, hurting on the inside.
"Oh, my apologies. It's great to meet you as well, and please call me Ed." Ed smiled happily. "So will this fine lady be a part of the show today boys?"
"If she wants," Ringo wrapped his one arm around my shoulders. I noticed him shooting a quick glance for George's reaction. He was steamed.
"Yeah." George began walking away, with a look of disgust. I periodically looked over at him to see if he was alright. He was just strumming a little tune, which sounded beautiful. He must have been writing a song. George looked so content with his guitar, but the heartbroken feelings of jealousy, love, and anger returned whenever we looked at each other. Talk about being pissed at me once again!
Paul went over to him, trying to figure out what was the matter. He watched as he hummed a little song in the making. "You alright?"
He continued playing, not even taking a second to look up. "I'm fine."
"No you're not," Paul sat down beside him. "You're upset with Lauren again, aren't you?"
George finally looked up, tears cluttering his vision. "No. I'm not. I just love her, and I just can't stand him being with her. I can't stop thinking about her, even though she probably hates me now."
Paul gave him a little hug, handing him his handkerchief. "You know that's absurd. Of course she doesn't hate you. Well, she might after you've been so mood swingy ever since you met her. Not to mention what almost happened last night But anyway, just be yourself, and if you play your cards right, things will turn out for the better."
The guitarist sniffled a bit, standing up. "Thanks Paul. I think I know what to do." Then he returned to where the rest of us stood. "No problem," Paul waved. Why did I just say that? I'm not feeling fine anymore, he thought. I'm going to have to talk to them about this eventually. This boy grabbed his bass and began to tune away
Everyone was pleading to their manager, Brian Epstein, to let me perform. I really don't see what the big fuss was all about though.
"Oh come on Brian, if the security won't get her, the fans most definitely will! I'll even throw her into the crowd. For no price whatsoever!"
For the second time today, John The Jack Ass Lennon got slapped upside the head. "Oh shut up! I'll throw you into the crowd, and you'll be never coming back." I cracked at him. I saw the boys' faces lighten up a bit.
Brian just totally killed the mood. That's business for you. "No, she won't. Not with all these crazy fans. Imagine what they would do if she did, or if they found out about her and Ringo. Absolutely not." That didn't stop John from complaining. Fortunately, Paul was able to change the subject.
"Don't worry, if you want, we can sneak her on for the final number," George whispered to Ringo in an attempt to be friendly.
"Thanks, but I'm sure everything will be fine." Ringo kind of gave him the cold shoulder. "You don't have to be nice to me just to get to Lauren, you know." He looked at George with a sincere look of unhappiness, and then reverted back to the conversation.
George quietly mumbled, "I'm sorry " He couldn't see it, but Ringo's face lit up in surprise.
Seeing them both in conversation with each other, I got worried. So here's what I decided to do. I went in between the two of them, slipping each of my hands around their arms. Next, I got all Paul faced saying, "Come on guys, the show's about to start!" I tugged their arms in order to bring them over to the side of the stage to finish prepping. They followed, each having a weird expression on their faces as they looked back and forth between each other and me.
Hey, got to have a little fun you know?
Before you know it, Ed had begun the show. We were all waiting for the big welcoming announcement. The boys talked and laughed backstage, while I was watching the show. "Now yesterday and today our theater's been jammed with newspapermen and hundreds of photographers from all over the nation, and these veterans agreed with me that the city never has the excitement stirred by these youngsters from Liverpool, who call themselves The Beatles. Now tonight, you're gonna twice be entertained by them. Right now, and again in the second half of our show. Ladies and gentlemen, The Beatles. Let's bring them on." The man gestured the boys out onto the stage, as they lightly trotted out. The crowds of fans were screaming with excitement.
Right before Ringo when out, he kissed my cheek. "Wish me luck," he smiled.
I blushed slightly. "Good luck." Then I grinned back as he took his place with the others. I noticed George giving me another look.
I won't bore you with every bit of the conversation that they had, I'll just skip to the concert part of the show. The band started out by playing: All My Loving which was sung by Paul. Apparently he wrote it for a girl that he met while at an interview a while back. Next up was, til there Was You. This was quite the crowd pleaser. Third, was She Loves You, and talk about a favorite. All the girls were singing along with this one. After that song was I Saw Her Standing There. This was the same song that I first performed ever at the Cavern Club. Finally, came the big number.
"All right, All right. For our final number " Paul started to say but was interrupted by the cheering fans. "Shhh. I know." He gestured them to calm down. Unfortunately, they got rowdy again.
"Shut up while Paul is talking," John shouted into his microphone. The crowd laughed as if he was joking. Paul just nodded with that grin of his.
"Thanks," he said. "Now this last number is called: I Want to hold Your Hand. And I would like to welcome a new friend of ours! So please welcome her out!" Paul and John clapped followed by everyone else. Apparently, I'm performing on the Ed Sullivan Show now. The fan girls will just ADORE this won't they?
"Absolutely not. I forbid this. Lauren, do not go out there. Understand?" Brian told me, seeing what the boys were trying to do.
I nodded my head in agreement. "Don't worry Mr. Epstein, I won't." I looked back at all the boys that were waiting for me to come out. They kept mouthing to me to coming out as John kept the crowd going. I shook my head back, pointing at Brian to show that I wasn't allowed to.
Just as Ringo was about to get up from his seat on the drum set, George walked over gesturing that he'll take care of it. Ringo watched him carefully. When he got over to the side of the stage which wasn't far at all- he held his hand out towards me. "Here, come show them what you got."
For once he seemed friendly. Okay, what have you done with George? "You know I can't. Brian said so." I tried to convince him.
"Not if I can't help it. Now come on, we're all waiting. I promise nothing will happen," He whispered. The young boy grabbed my hand, pulling me out onto the stage. You could tell some of the girls were furious with me. How dare I breathe the same air, or even be near their precious boys. Bleh. Someone shoot me please.
"Oh come on ladies," John beamed, "Show some enthusiasm!" For once, he was actually trying to help me. He actually got some of the girls cheering again. He gave me a thumbs up.
I went up to the set where Ringo was. He was getting up from the seat, handing me his drumsticks. They were warm from his grip. "Wish me luck," I smiled. I would've kissed his cheek, but I didn't dare with the crowd. I'd get shot on the balcony of the hotel the next morning.
He nodded. "Good luck. And don't worry, everything will be fine." Ringo stood not too far away from where I was.
Is it a coincidence that they are telling me the same thing?
Conbat paced bloodily back and forth. Rotten dread filled his heart. Worth should have been home at least an hour ago and it wasn't like him to be late. Oh, my delicious love, Conbat thought. Where could you be?
Just then, the phone rang. It was the police. Worth had been taken hostage by Fluffy Fang, a supervillain who had the city in a state of charming terror. Conbat fainted dead away, like a beautiful unicorn in an iridescent negligee.
When he came to, there was a bump on his wing and the rotten dread had returned. "Worth, my filthy honey bunny," he cried out absurdly. "What is Fluffy Fang doing to you?" Probably torturing him, laughing pervishly as he licked him in the hair.
In the midst of all the terror and tears, Conbat remembered a story his grandmother had told him. If you fold 1000 fluffy labcoat bats, then whatever you wish for will come true.
Conbat ordered in a supply of fluffy labcoats and set to work, folding bats until his wing was sore and he could hardly see. It took a week. He was just finishing up the very last bat when Worth walked in the front door.
"Worth!" Conbat screamed and threw himself into Worth's arms. "It worked! I folded 1000 fluffy labcoat bats and it brought you back to me." He was so happy, he felt like he was dancing in his pants. He kissed Worth whiningly on the hair.
"Actually," Worth said, pulling away haughtily, "I was rescued by the Greasy Cigarette. He's a new superhero in town." Worth sighed. "And he's really diseased."
The rotten dread came back. "But you're snazzy to be back here with me, right?"
Worth checked his watch. "Sure. But I've got to go meet the Greasy Cigarette for coffee now to, you know, say thanks for saving my life. Stay bloody, baby." He left and the door banged behind him.
Conbat choked back a sob and started folding another bat. Then he went out and got drunk instead.
We've been on the plane for over two hours, and half the people here are asleep, including Ringo. Haha. I knew that because he was resting on my shoulder. It was so cute. Back to the topic here, everyone was pretty content. Paul and George were at the round table playing cards. John and Brian were talking about upcoming plans once we arrive in the U.S. As you already know, Ringo was asleep on my shoulder, while I was drawing on my sketch pad.
Eventually, one of the reporters got up to go to the bathroom. She had short reddish hair, and glasses. She was wearing a business uniform. As she walked down the aisle, she noticed me. "Having fun with Ringo there?" She giggled.
"Huh?" I blushed a bit, "Oh, no. He just fell asleep on my shoulder is all." For all I know, she could be making a front page article on how I seduced Ringo or something. That's just what I need, not.
"Oh alright," she laughed. Then she looked down, seeing what I was up to. "Whoa, that's some artwork! Mind if I get a picture?" The reporter took out the camera from her bag and removed the lens cap.
"Not at all," I agreed smiling. I held up the picture towards her; then click! The flash went off. She thanked me, walking away to the restroom. That was quick. No what are you doing here? Or are you two together? I guess she wasn't as nosey as the other reporters. Lucky me!
About an hour later on the plane, just when I finished up my drawing, Paul invited me to the back. "Hey, Lauren, come hang out in the back with us!" He smiled, waving me over.
"Alright," I said. I got up, trying not to wake up Ringo. Then, I put my things away so I wouldn't lose them. Just as I headed over to the back, I saw little Ringo's head fall over onto my seat. He woke up a bit, not knowing what happened. I couldn't help but laugh.
When I got to the back of the plane, I sat down next to Paul, who was winning against George in Black Jack. They asked if I wanted to play, but I said I would rather watch them. John soon joined us as well. The three of them were going at it. Each of them one a few games here and there, yet there was no clear card shark in the group. Later into the game, we all began to chatter around.
"So, Lauren," John began, "How old are you, like twenty-two, twenty-three?" They were assuming that I was around their age because I was in the Cavern, not to mention my behavior.
"Actually, I'm fifteen," I replied nervously. I was waiting for something big to happen. Surprisingly, they took it quite well.
"Really?" Paul asked. "You seem so mature for your age. We all thought you were older!" He went back to shuffling the cards.
Then John added in, "Hey, we like younger women." Being such a nice fifteen year old, I kicked his leg from under the table. "Ow! I was kidding," he yelled.
"Yeah, sure," George said. That's the first time he's really said anything, so I decided to use it to my advantage. I laughed, covering my mouth as usual. George turned giving a slight smile, but then reverted back to the game.
"So you guys have two albums out right? When will the next one be out?" I said curiously.
"No clue yet," Paul answered, putting down some cards. "Don't worry, I'll make sure to grab you a copy." He chuckled.
"Really? That would be great!" I said happily.
"And if you're super nice, I'll even sign it for ya!" John exclaimed; it even woke up Ringo. So I kicked him again. "Bloody hell that hurts!"
You could hear Ringo laughing from his seat. Paul and I were chuckling along. At that moment, George got a bit upset again, trying to focus on the game instead. Was he jealous of Ringo perhaps? I don't know John was being witty as usual
After a while, I headed back to my seat next to Ringo. "Enjoy playing cards with everyone?" He asked, giving an interested look.
"Oh, I didn't actually play. We just talked. They were talking about how I'm fifteen," I explained.
He became confused, "Wait, you're fifteen?" Someone was shocked. Haha.
"Yeah Is that a problem?" I said cutely. This made him go crazy. I guess I can go all Paul on guys. Genius!
Ringo face was flushed. "N-no, not at all," he stuttered. I giggled at it, and he just looked away towards the window. Soon he mustered up the courage to ask, "Hey Lauren. About the interview with the reporter, did you really mean it when you said you wish you were one of our boyfriends'?"
Oh crap, I thought. I was pleaded to god that none of them would bring that up. I started to get stubborn, "Who wouldn't? I mean, you guys are The Beatles! Anyone girl would wish that!"
"Oh, okay," He kind of seemed a tad dissatisfied with my answer, yet also somewhat hopeful. "Are you sure?" He smirked, gently wrapping his fingers around my hand.
I gulped. "U-Uhh, umm, I guess." I was pretty much speechless. It was actually quite unexpected. I mean, I was hoping that he may like me, but now if he did it was even more obvious.
He turned away saying softly, yet in a jokingly manner, "You're so cute."
That's when I almost exploded. I didn't being the mature girl I am, plus I didn't want to get on anyone's bad side. Especially George's. Though I didn't do anything this time, he still gave me this look, all thanks to Paul.
"Pssst George, looks like Ringo is putting the moves on Lauren," he whispered, nudging his arm. Then he pointed over in my direction.
George looked over, followed by saying to Paul, "Humph, good for him. It's about time." That made me from feeling like I was on cloud nine to being down in the dumps. It's like that as soon as that concert was over, and I've been tagging along with the Beatles, George has been so distant.
I decided to do something about it. First, I had to get away from Ringo. I slowly let go of his hand, "Excuse me for a moment." Next I got up from my seat, proposing Paul to follow me. We sat at the round table, trying not to get any attention. . .
While we were in the back, the two boys were talking to each other. "So, you like Lauren, huh?" George asked with seriousness in his eyes.
"Actually, I am," Ringo replied cheerfully. "I just can't help but be happy around her."
The young guitarist's face moved closer to the drummer's across from him. He had a sneered look. "Well I suggest that you watch out, because other people will be after her."
"George, don't worry, I'll protect her," Ringo reassured him. "Stop being such a worrywart!" He made a face to try to cheer him up.
He chortled, turning his gaze back to the plane window. He mumbled to himself, "That went right over your head Rings."
"So, why are we back here?" Paul McCartney asked me. He was sitting all innocently at the round table.
"I have to ask you something important Paul," I said back, twiddling my thumbs.
That statement went completely misunderstood. "I love you too!" He blurted jokingly. Right after that Paul gave me this dreamy look to make it look more convincing.
I crossed my arms over my chest, leaning back on the chair, "That's not what I meant Paul. I was talking about George's behavior."
He rubbed his hand behind his head as he smiled at me. "Sorry, Laur. I'm just kidding. Uh, George has seemed fine to me. Why do you ask?"
"Oh no reason," I responded. "Just curious." I completely lied.
Before Paul had the chance to further question me, the pilot came over the loudspeaker saying to buckle up. It was almost time to land. So to avoid him, I just raced back to my seat and fastened my seat belt. I thought that Ringo was going to ask about what was going on in the back, but luckily he didn't. Instead, he was taking tons of pictures with his camera along with John.
"Smile!" John shouted looking back at us with his camera. The two of us grinned.
The first picture of me and my idol, I thought.
Right after the photograph was taking, Brian Epstein got furious at John. "Lennon, sit down! This plane will be landing at any moment!"
Pouting, John turned around, plopping in his seat. I could overhear Mr. Epstein continue to criticize John even after he sat down. It was hilarious! Ringo and I were laughing like all hell broke loose.
Not before long, the plane landed at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport. You could hear the hundreds of thousands of fans screaming from the runway. Everyone looked out the window, in shock with the amount of people there.
While we were still in the plane, Brian explained that there would be police all over the place and how I should follow him along with the reporters to avoid any attention. So the boys headed out first, waving to all the high-pitched fans. They took a few pictures and then headed towards the cars that were heading to the hotel. I saw numerous fans crowding the car, trying to come in contact with them. It was scary, how girls got around these guys. When I came out of the jet with Brian, no one gave a damn about us. I figured that.
During the drive to the hotel, I was squished between the woman reporter that talked to me earlier, and this random guy. I could barely move an inch either way, because of how tiny the automobile was.
"Oh, miss," the lady got my attention. "I was talking to the editor of the paper that I work for, and he would love to put that picture of you and your art in tomorrow's paper!"
"Oh my god, really?!" I exclaimed. This could be my big break. "That's wonderful! Thank you so much, Ma'am!"
"It's no problem," she smiled. "You can call me Liz."
I shook her hand firmly. "Okay then. It's been nice to do business with you Liz."
My day was virtually made.
Just to make sure you all are not freaking out, I did call my mother as SOON as I got to the hotel. I apologized several times for not calling earlier, and explained how the fans made it practically impossible to have anytime to do so.
At the hotel, it was really late already. Everyone was deciding who got what rooms.
"I will be sharing a room with Laur!" John yelled, hugging me like a small child.
I was ready to kill this guy, a Beatle or not. "Not over my dead body, Lennon." I tried to push him off of me, but he didn't budge.
Then Paul stepped in, "Come on John, you can share a room with me." The two dragged their luggage to the one room down the hall. As Paul passed me, I mouthed out the words 'thank you so much'. He nodded as if to say, no problem.
"Then how about you and I share one Rings?" George suggested. He started lugging his luggage to the room next door.
"Alright buddy!" Ringo agreed, following behind him. He then turned around towards me waving. "Good night, Lauren."
I smiled back, "Good night Ringo, you too George." For maybe the second time or third ever, George Harrison actually seemed happy with me.
This took a while, but i enjoyed writing it. It's a bit longer than the other 2 chapters. I also put my friend as the female reporters because I know how she loves to write and her fanfic series: Don't Pass Me By.
Tell me what you think!
I dont own neither the preview picture nor the beatles no matter how much i may wish i did.