An article by Henry J. Stafford
I’m sure everyone has heard---or heard of---the new group The Monkeydoodles.
Number ones, millions of albums sold, screaming fans, sell-out concerts...sound familiar?
Are The Monkeydoodles "doodling" their way into being able to lay claim to the coveted title "the new Beatles"?
“I know you’re on a rough draft, but remember, don’t use clichés when you write.”
Henry, hunched over his notes, sat up and smiled at the voice of his fellow reporter and friend, Sandi Parker. But, not really having heard her, asked, “What did you say, Sandi?”
“I said, don’t use clichés. ”
Henry skimmed over his writing. “I know that, Sandi, but I haven’t used one.”
“Yes, you have. ‘The new Beatles’ is a cliché.”
Henry looked at his paper again, turned in his seat, and stared at Sandi, who was standing behind him and reading over his shoulder. What she was saying struck him as amusing and his laughter pealed in the large office. Sandi echoed it and Henry found an odd sense of relief in her comment. They were both Beatles fans and were both relaxed in knowing “the new Beatles” was a cliché and hopefully, it would stay that way.
“Another thing,” Sandi said, with a toss of her honey-coloured head and jerking him from his thoughts, “are you really sure you want to say that anyway? It’s a bit too soon after John’s---death---don’t you think?”
Henry understood the falter. John Lennon of The Beatles had been killed just a couple of weeks ago.
“I know what you mean, Sandi,” Henry replied softly, “but The Beatles and John have been mentioned non-stop. Do you think it’ll bother anyone to read ‘the new Beatles’ in a probably back-page article?”
“Maybe, maybe not,” Sandi replied and the pain in her soft blue eyes hurt him. She coughed. “It may make some people angry that anyone could even replace the Fabs or it may make some sad because without John, The Beatles can never reunited and can never be whole. Besides,” she added, surprised at the fierceness in her voice, “that’s the last thing people need to hear; monkey-people trying to take the title of ‘the new Beatles’. Can’t you use another phrase? Say something else? Go in a different direction with this article?”
“I know,” she sighed and coughed again. “You’ll probably use it in the end. But for the people who are grieving, for their sake, please word it differently.”
She stood abruptly and pulled on her coat, which had been hanging over the crook of her arm, and left the room.
Henry sighed heavily at her retreat. There was a lot on her mind, he could see, by the unsteadiness of her walk, as if she couldn’t see the ground she was walking on and her asking to move her desk nearer to the windows and of her spending her lunches and breaks staring out of them. There was so much on her mind and he didn’t know if he could even help her. She had not confided her troubles in him and he could not bear the thought of offering her help and seeing tears spring into her once-laughing, once-bright blue eyes.
He turned back to his paper and with Sandi’s pain hovering about him, scratched out “the cliché.” He replaced it with
He sighed again and got up from his desk and went to stand by the window overlooking the street. Even though a couple of weeks had elapsed since that dark day, snatches of song and sounds of crying drifted up to meet his ears from the ever-present crowd of mourners.
Copyright 2000 and beyond: Lissa Michelle Supler. This is original copyrighted work and may not be reproduced in any form, by any means, without the permission of the author. Permission may be obtained by e-mail.
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Background courtesy of Vic "the Slick"