I awoke to someone shaking my arm. "Wake up, luv," a voice said.
I yawned and stretched the best I could in my seat. "Are we there?" I asked groggily.
It was Paul who woke me up. "Almost," he replied. "Want something to drink?"
I shook my head. "No thanks," I told him.
"Nell's making everyone get up now," Paul told me, "Well, I'm gonna go ask George something. Don't go back to sleep, okay?" he told me. I smiled and nodded. He stood and went towards the back of the plane.
I looked out the window, trying to wake up, wondering what time it was. The sun was just bairly coming up, so I couldn't really see anything. I could just bairly see a city below us, because of the soft glow of the city's lights.
John came over and sat in Paul's empty seat. "Good morning," he said to me.
"Morning," I replied. "How come all of you are always wide awake in the mornings?"
John laughed. "Practice, luv," he said.
Mal walked by. "Hey Mal, what time is it?" I called.
He glanced at his watch. "Five-oh-one, Lee. The plane should be landing at five-ten."
"Thanks," I replied.
"You know, you need to get a watch. Everywhere we go, you always ask what time it is," John said. I laughed, awake now.
"Yeah, I suppose I do that. I have a watch - er, I had a watch - back in our hotel in New York. In 1985, though," I said, smiling.
A voice came over the intercom. "Attention, please. we will be landing shortly, so if everyone would please be seated, our stewardess will come around to make sure you are buckled in properly. Thank you."
"You're welcome," John muttered back to the voice. I giggled and buckled myself in. Paul then came back.
"Eh, John, you're in me seat," he said, putting his hands on his hips.
John made a face. "Fine, Paulie, I'll move then," he retorted. "See ya, Lee."
"Bye," I replied. Paul sat in the now empty seat, buckled up, and smiled at me.
My ears popped a little as the plane landed. The runway had lights lit on both sides of it - it was still a little dark outside.
But when the plane came to a stop, I saw crowds of fans all over. There were people everywhere - in all places you could see, except for the runway (thank goodness!).
I was told to stay near the back. The plane door was opened, and policemen were waiting to escort us to our limos. The Beatles got off first, waving while girls screamed and waved back. I left after the other bands did, Neil and Mal on either side of me.
We raced past guards and policemen to the limos. I saw there were two limos waiting for us; I crowded into the second one.
I ended up sitting by Jackie. "Good early morning," I said to her.
She smiled. "Hello. So, did you get any sleep at all?" she asked me. I smiled.
"Only a little," I replied.
She laughed. "More than me. Bobby here - " she poked him in the arm, "made me play cards with him and the gang the whole time!"
"No way!" Bobby retorted.
I laughed with Jackie. "There will be plenty of time to sleep at the hotel. I plan to," I told her.
Jackie began to talk with Bobby again, and I looked around the inside of the limo. The Beatles weren't in this one. I didn't recognize all the people in here.
It took about ten minutes to get to the hotel. Neil told me we were taking lots of back roads to avoid fans. The limos pulled up alongside the back of the hotel, and we were herded out.
I met up with the Beatles once we were inside the hotel. We all had come in through the kitchen entrance.
All the cooks in there were just staring. I smiled. We were a really big group, so it was decided by someone that it would be best if we went up in little groups to our floors we reserved, instead of one big one. The Beatles, Neil, Mal, and I were first.
We all dashed to the elevators. Not many people were nearby - I suppose they were all outside of the hotel, waiting for a glimpse of the Beatles there. And thank goodness for that! I didn't really want to be mobbed inside an elevator.
We (my group) were on the top floor, which was floor nine. Each of us got our own room. Mine was at the far end of the hallway.
John picked a room a couple doors down. "Hey, look. The number's 909," he said. The others laughed.
"My baby said she's travellin' on the one after nine-oh-nine," Paul sang in a funny voice. They all laughed again.
I was puzzled. "One After 909"... That was a Beatles song on 'Let It Be'. Why are the Beatles singing it now?
"Why the funny look, Lee?" George asked.
I stuttered. Great - I let on that I knew that song even though they hadn't released it yet. "Well, you guys haven't released that song yet, have you?" I asked.
"No, but we've run through it a couple times back in '63, I think," Ringo replied.
"Never really gelled, though," Paul added.
"So how do you know that song, Lee, if we haven't released it yet?" John asked me, raising an eyebrow.
I thought of a quick answer. "Just because you haven't released it now doesn't mean you won't release it later," I replied.
"Oh, really?" George said, "And when might that be?"
I smiled, and the others laughed. "Oh, no you don't, George, I'm not ever slipping again!" I replied, laughing with them.
"We'll find out sometime..." Ringo said mysteriously, trailing off his sentence. We laughed again, then I yawned.
Neil came out of an elevator (there were only two). He began to hand out our rooms keys. "Where is everyone else?" I asked, referring to the other bands.
"On the floor below us, luv," Neil replied.
"Everyone?" I said in disbelief.
"Uh huh," he told me, nodding.
Gee whiz! And we six get a whole floor?
"Now boys, you nee to change into suits for your press conference at the stadium. Mal is bringing up you cases now," Neil told the Beatles.
"When's the concert?" Paul asked.
"Not until late tonight, around nine-thirty," he replied.
"Why do they want a bloody press conference so bloody early?" John asked.
"The papers here in Ohio want to publish parts of it in today's paper," Neil told him. John groaned. Mal appeared in the elevator, with lots of suitcases.
Each of us grabbed our own suitcase and headed to our rooms. "See you all later," I called. The Beatles all said goodbye.
I dumped my suitcase in the corner and flopped down onto one of the huge beds. I yawned. Glancing at the clock, I saw it was 5:39. I got up to shut the curtains. It wasn't very light outside yet, but later on it would be. I planned to sleep until about ten or eleven - enough sleep for me. And I had plenty of time, since the concert wasn't for a while. I wanted to go to it, even though you can't really hear anything. It was fun anyway, just being at one.
Not bothering to change into my pajamas, I pulled the covers of one bed and got comfortable. I drifted off to sleep, thinking that I thought I saw a piano in the lobby and I might be able to play it later.
I awoke, feeling re-energized. Pushing the covers aside, I saw the time was 10:31. I had slept for a good five hours - and I was really hungry now.
I changed and washed up, wondering if the Beatles were back from their press conference yet. 'They ought to be - that was a while ago!' I thought.
I left my room, pocketed the key, and heard voices in the hallway. The voices seemed to be coming from one room nearby - must be Neil's room. I put my ear to the door. Yep, it's them (you can't mistake Ringo's laughter!).
I knocked on the door. "Who is it?" a voice that sounded a lot like John's called out.
I smiled. "Lee-vi Jeans," I called back.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I think you've got the wrong room!" John replied. I heard the others laugh.
"Come on, let me in!" I whined, smiling anyway.
The door opened. A smiling Paul had opened it. "Thanks, Paul," I told him. He just laughed.
I plopped down on a small couch next to John and George. Spotting the breakfast cart nearby, I got up again poured some cereal (cornflakes, of course) and began munching. The television was on.
"Slept sommore, didja?" Ringo asked.
I nodded and swallowed my mouthful of cereal. "About five more hours," I replied, "I'm not used to this like you guys."
Ringo and Paul were talking about something, and laughed really loud, then stopped when they saw all of us looking at them. A tiny chuckle escaped from Ringo, which made everyone laugh.
"You guys seem to be in a really good mood today. Did you have a really good press conference or something?" I asked, smiling.
Loud music suddenly started blaring from from the television. "Hello there, this is the gear Mickey Pier, with a Beatle update, brought to you on the only channel for complete Beatle news, Channel 8!" The music played again.
"Turn it up, Ringo!" Paul said. All the Beatles stared at the screen. That would be wierd, watching a tv program about yourself.
"Early this morning, the Beatles had a press conference with the great reporters of Ohio. Be sure to catch what they said in today's edition of the 'Cincinnati Enquirer'!" Mickey said, holding up a newspaper with a huge, corny grin on his face.
Mickey continued. "However, loyal Beatle fans, before this press conference, something amazing happened." All the Beatles laughed to themselves.
"What happened?" I asked, wondering, and looking back at the television.
Mickey started talking again. "What was so amazing? Well, the Beatles fulfilled one of their life ambitions today. For the first time, they spoke with their hero, Elvis Presley, on the telephone!" Mickey rattled on, but the Beatles ignored the tv now and talked to each other.
"Really?" I said, amazed. I knew the Beatles loved Elvis.
"It was great," Paul told me.
"Big surprise, too. We had no idea we were going to do that," George added.
"What did you guys talk about?" I asked. "Did you talk for very long?"
John shook his head. "Only for a couple minutes, but that was long enough for now!"
"He told us he liked the cover of 'With The Beatles', the way our faces were in half-light," Paul said.
"I agree. The cover is pretty neat," I said. "Wow! I bet it was really fun to talk to Elvis."
They all nodded. "We all talked a little about music too," George told me.
"He said he just bought an electric bass," Paul said, smiling.
"So he's learning how to play?" I asked. Paul nodded.
"And he even said we all should get together soon!" Ringo exclaimed.
"Really? Do you know when?" I asked. I bet them meeting Elvis would be like me meeting the Beatles - unbelievable!
"Naw, but I hope it's soon!" John replied.
The television forgotten, the Beatles and I talked for a while longer, about Elvis and music. They knew an awful lot about him, which just seemed wierd to me. But I suppose it's the same situation as me knowing a lot about the Beatles then meeting them and all.
After a while, Neil left for some reason. I don't know where he was going. Nobody else noticed.
After a while, Ringo's cards were taken out, and we gathered in a circle to play Rummy.
It was a fun game. Paul and Ringo kept acting like they were looking at each other's hands and exchanging cards with each other. Oddly enough, by the time Neil came back about 45 minutes later, Ringo was in the lead, with Paul close behind him. John got up and sat between them, saying maybe some of their luck would rub off on him (he was in last place).
The game ended when Mal came into the room, carrying a little bundle of newspapers. The card game was forgotten, and we all went to Mal to see why he had the newspapers. Neil gave each of us one, while Mal cleaned up the cards of the floor.
I sat in a recliner, Ringo and Paul claimed the couch, and John and George got the floor as we sat down to read. The television was playing softly in the background. Mal left and Neil got on the phone, and was talking to someone.
I looked at the newspaper. Early this morning, Neil had mentioned that parts of their press conference would be in the newspaper. My newspaper was the 'Cincinnati Enquirer', which was the paper Mickey Pier was talking about.
Scanning the pages, I saw lots of ads and an article on a new school. Turning the page, I spotted the article and read.
'A newspaper man from Dayton, who said the four ought to be able to handle a crowd of 30,000 without police protection, was told by Lennon, "Well, maybe you could. You're fatter than we are." I laughed to myself.
'Teenagers stand up and scream piercingly - and painfully - when the Beatles appear. Why? They were asked. McCartney said none of them knew, but he had heard teenagers pay to go and scream. "A lot of them don't even want to listen," he said, "because they have got the records." I heard John snicker to himself. I read on.
'A reporter asked what they thought of the psychiatrist who drew an analogy between the hysteria produced by their beat and the speeches of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. Lennon said abruptly, "Tell him to shut up. He's off his head."
'A question asked McCartney what he thought of columnist Walter Winchell. McCartney answered bluntly, "He said I'm married and I'm not." "Maybe he wants to marry you," Harrison suggested.'
I giggled, and looked at Paul. He looked up at me.
"I'm not, you know," he told me, smiling and setting down the paper. He got up, and I returned to the article.
'The four answered a question admitting that the show that comes after teh show is the one to see. They said they whooped it up until 4 or 5 in the morning, depending on how much sleep they need.' The article ended there. 'And that's the truth,' I thought, folding up the paper.
"You can keep that as a souvenir if you'd like," Neil told me.
I smiled. "Alright, thanks." I saw that John and Ringo were playing poker, Paul was nowher in sight, and George was eating something frm the breakfast cart. I went out into the hall, and into my room to put the newspaper in my suitcase.
There was a neat pocket with a zipper on the front, which was rather large, so I tucked the paper inside it.
There was lots of time to kill before the concert tonight. I remembered about seeing the piano in the lobby, so I left my room and got on elevator.
Once on the ground floor, I looked around. I saw a corner of the piano inside a little room.
The room had a big window, potted plants, plush chairs, and a huge white grand piano right in the middle of it. No one was in there, and I figured the piano was there so people could play it and I wouldn't get in trouble for playing it.
Sitting down at it, I smiled. I've always wanted a white grand piano. John had one in the seventies, you know. I thought that white pianos were really nice looking.
I thought for a while, thinking of a good song to warm up with. I placed my fingers on the keys and played Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag", then "The Entertainer".
A lady with a tiny girl came in the room. "That sounded nice," the lady complimented me.
"Thanks," I replied. I began to play "Alla Turca", written by Wolfgang A. Mozart - my favorite composer. The lady and the girl left after that song was over, the girl saying, "Mommy, I want to take piano lessons now."
I smiled, and began playing a Brahms piece, "Rhapsody" from Opus 117. I had played that piece in a state-wide contest and won last November - it was really great.
I was so absorbed in my playing, that when the song was over, I saw several people had come into the room, including all four Beatles with hats on (John had his cool one on that I like). Two other people, an older man and woman, were sitting in chairs. They all applauded.
Smiling broadly, I said, "Thank you!"
"That was beautiful," the woman said.
"Who composed it?" Paul asked me.
"It's by Brahms," I replied.
John took off his hat and scratched his head. "Didn't he write that lullaby song?"
I nodded, laughing, "Uh huh." I turned back to the piano. "You guys will recognize this song." I began to play "A Hard Day's Night".
"Hmm, don't know that one," Ringo said, laughing. George and Paul hummed along with the melody.
I played a couple other Beatles songs, almost slipping and playing one of my favorites to play, "Martha My Dear". I covered it up - I don't think any of them suspected that I hadn't meant to. Mal came into the room. "I've come to fetch you. You lot are needed upstairs." The man and woman complimented me, then left. The five of us followed Mal to the room.
Once inside, I saw several men there, with a cart filled with scissors and measuring tapes and all sorts of things. "Who are these guys?" I whispered to John.
"Tailors," he replied, sounding exasperated, and he stepped next to Ringo.
When the men saw the Beatles come in, they gathered up some supplies from the cart and started measuring and scribbling on papers. John, Ringo, and George were the ones who they were measuring first. Paul came over and tlaked to me while he waited his turn, since there were only three guys there.
The tailors worked quick. Soon it was Paul's turn. Neil came over to me.
"D'you want them to take your measurements so we can have something made for you?" he asked.
I shrugged and smiled. "Okay." I went over and a man measured me. I tried to stand still, but John and Ringo were making faces at me, so I was trying hard not to laugh. The man asked me a couple of questions, like what my favorite color was, and then I was done.
"Thank you, Mr. Aspinall. We'll have the suits finished by the beginning of next week. They will be sent to Mr. Epstein," a man told Neil.
"Thank you, gentlemen," he replied as they left.
We were all sprawled out on the furniture, joking around and laughing. Neil said he'd order up a tea cart. Soon we were all drinking tea (I just had lemon water) and talking about random things.
Dinner was served up in our rooms. It was this really good noodle stuff.
At around 8:15, the Beatles got into their concert suits. It was funny - Paul and Ringo just grabbed their suits, pulled off their shirts, and were working on their pants when John shouted out, "Whoa whoa, fellas, just wait a mo' there!" and jokingly pulled me up and pushed me out the door. I giggled while Paul and Ringo yelled "Sorry!" and laughed. I went to my room and pulled on shorts and a sleeveless shirt. I wanted to watch the show in the wings of the stage (Neil said I could), and I figured it would be hot.
At 8:47 we were all herded into a limousine. I was squished next to John (not that I minded) as we zoomed to where the Beatles were going to play. It was Cincinnati Gardens, Ringo had said.
We slipped into the stadium from hidden back doors (still guarded by policemen). The Beatles and I dodged to the dressing room. Mal was there with the guitars, and John, George, and Paul got them and tuned up. Ringo found a comb and began shaking his head, combing stray hairs, and shaking it again. I laughed. Neil came into the room.
George and John played a little of "Things We Said Today". paul hummed to himself and fiddled around on his bass.
"BEATLES, PLEASE REPORT TO THE STAGE DOORS, BEATLES, TO THE STAGE DOORS," a voice fuzzed on an intercom. Ringo dropped the comb on the vanity table and the Beatles filed out of the room. I walked with Neil behind them.
"I'm going back to the dressing room, luv. I'll come and get you before it's time to go, alright?" Neil told me.
"That's fine," I replied. I heard the applause for the band that was onstage now. The Beatles stood, just waiting to go onstage. They didn't look nervous at all - this was just regular for them, I thought.
Guards opened the doors, and the Beatles rushed onstage. "Good luck!" I called out to them. Paul turned and winked at me. I smiled as that electric chill ran down my back.
I leaned in the doorway of the entrance, feeling hot already. The air was thick and sticky. Someone came up and stood beside me. I recognized him - he was Bill Medley, from the Bill Black Combo, which was on tour with the Beatles too.
"Hello," I said to him.
"Hi, Lee," he replied. His gaze was fixed out on the audience.
"Come to watch the show from a different angle?" I asked, smiling.
"Actually, I've been wondering something," Bill replied. "Everytime the Beatles go onstage, the houselights are turned up. I don't know why."
I was puzzled. Now that I think of it, it did seem to get brighter at the last concert when they started playing.
The Beatles began to play "Twist and Shout", and all of the sudden, it seemed to get brighter in the audience. Bill and I leaned over to peer into the audience. "Wow," I murmured.
Lights, little tiny lights, were flashing and blinking nonstop like fireflies in the audience. I was a really neat sight. I'd never seen anything like it before.
A moment of silence followed between us. "I know what it is," Bill said, smiling. "Cameras. The flashes on cameras. So many people are taking pictures of them that it lights up the stadium." I looked again. Oh my gosh, it was! Neat!
Stay tuned for Chapter VIII!
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