"John! Shut up!" Paul hissed. "Look!"
The four of them were floating above four people sitting on the floor underneath them. John waved his hands out to keep balanced and saw that they were hazy-looking---not quite solid. He looked at the others and saw that they all looked see-through.
"Paul..." John whispered.
Paul had been looking below them, but now met John's eyes.
"I know," he whispered back. "And look below us. Those people---they're us!"
But the other four real-but-ghostlike-Beatles were hovering above the solid Beatles' heads! It was insane, Ringo was thinking and then there was a sucking sound in the room.
"What the hell!" he shouted, but the sound was too loud and drowned him out.
They felt themselves pulled at and were dragged from the ceiling and with one last loud sucking noise, they found themselves sitting by their doubles that were not yet Might-Have-Beens.
"So I've heard," the solid Paul said in reply. "Think he'll drop by?"
"Yeah. He will."
They all sat silent---but that statement is not exactly truthful. They were silent, but there was a continuous hum of activity from the fans outside.
The real Paul closed his eyes, trying his hardest to let the memories of this day flow back as easily as they could. His memory confirmed that all was going according to what had happened and he began to wonder what exactly they were supposed to do---this was their past and it had already been done; set in stone. The Beatles had accepted the joints rolled by Mr. Dylan---
But nothing was the same anymore. Even their pasts had been tampered with; by entities the beautiful young woman-angel had referred to as "Them." The Timepool had been messed with and now the real Beatles' lives were in danger of past/present/future change and death.
"I wonder which is better then?" Paul wondered aloud.
What is better? What are you talking about, brain?
Paul was stunned by the loudness of the question---clothed in his own voice, but he had not thought or said it!
John looked at him questioningly.
"They can't hear us," he said to Paul softly.
Who's they? God, why do I have such a strange mind? Talks to itself and never to me, it do...
John jerked in hearing his own voice thinking the words above; words he'd never formed in his mind.
Paul touched John's hand lightly. John looked up and when their eyes met, something in their heads clicked.
The voices they were hearing were not their own, but rather the thoughts of the solid Beatles, sitting right next to each of them.
"That's going to make it bloody hard to do anything," John growled.
You said it, Paul thought with such intensity of emotion that John picked up on the thought.
"Well, there's a way around it," John whispered, ignoring the solid John's loud questioning thought. "ESP, I shouldn't wonder. We've been visited by angels; anything's possible, in'it, mate?"
What the hell? The solid John thought at the real John's words, but the real John ignored him.
I guess I'd better talk in this ESP crap, then, hmm? John thought at Paul.
Paul hadn't known that John had heard Paul's earlier thought and was surprised and deliciously amazed when he heard John's voice speaking, unbidden, within his own mind.
God, John...Paul thought back. This is fabulous---keep talkin' to me, son, yer doin' pur-tee well.
Paul heard a soft snort of laughter in his mind. John. Get George and Ringo. I don't think they'll want to miss this.
But we haven't, Paulie.
George's voice was loud within John and Paul's minds.
Me an' Ring have been listening to you two the whole time.
What do you suppose this 'ESP crap' is, then, mates? Paul asked.
George looked up towards the ceiling as he answered: The angels must have given this ESP thingy to us. You know bloody well we can't do this on our own. Maybe they knew it was going to be hard for us to talk to each other with the 'solid Beatles' hearing.
And what if I was thinking something I didn't want any of you to hear? John thought at them, a hint of dryness about the thought.
It was Ringo who answered this time. I've read stuff about this kinda thing. If one person doesn't want the other to read his thoughts, all he needs to do is shut his mind to any thoughts that aren't shaped in his own mind. Do you know what I mean?
Yeah. John's reply was very clear. Look, lads, I'll shut me mind and you all try to think at me. One...two...three!
John shoved his head in his lap and covered his ears. He conjured up an image of a beautiful beach and walked along it, in his mind. Cyn was there and they strolled along, Julian suddenly appearing to weave his trail of tiny footsteps around Mummy and Dad. John picked Julian up and threw the boy over his shoulder while Julian laughed and Cyn laughed. John was laughing too; he felt strangely at peace, so at peace that he forgot where he was and what he was doing and sat up straight, eyes closed, but hands in his lap instead of on his ears. He started thinking about a rhyme he'd been stuck on for his new book, messed with it a little and then remembered that the others were trying to get in his mind. He hadn't realized he'd closed it off to the world until he relaxed and Paul's voice came in very clearly.
It worked, didn't it John? Yeah, it did! John exclaimed gleefully. I couldn't hear you guys at all.
When it was obvious that John and Paul were going to start talking about something else, George tuned out and talked to Ringo. When John was assured that George and Ringo were preoccupied, he told Paul to close his mind to all except John and John would do vice versa.
Why? Paul asked.
Because I want to show you something. You'll understand; they may not.
Paul shut his mind and also heard echoes of John's other thoughts: Paul'll understand; he won't laugh at something like this.
John showed Paul his thought of his wife and son on the beach and Paul smiled at the gentle beauty of it; and of the part of John it revealed.
They talked for a few more minutes, but John felt a severe tug at his mind that he couldn't ignore.
Concentration broken, he and Paul opened their minds and George came in:
If you two are finished talking, I'd like to remind you that we have a mission.
For the only people in the room were not just the solid and real Beatles. The door to the room had opened and Mr. Bob Dylan had walked in.
Suddenly Brian Epstein was in the room, fluttering about, introducing them to each other. ("Mr. Dylan, here's John, Paul, George and Ringo. Boys, this is Bob Dylan.")
Everyone was standing and heartily shaking hands, amidst great laughter on the solid Beatles' part.
"We know who he is!" Paul was choking with laughter.
"And I'm sure he knows who we are, too!" John hooted and he and Paul fell on each other in helpless laughter.
"Those two will laugh at anything..." the real Beatles heard the solid George whisper.
Hey! the real Paul said. I don't remember you saying that!
A general blushing feeling came from the real George's mind.
Shu'rrup, you two, came Ringo's thought. George and Paul shut up, as the formalities had already been exchanged between the solid Beatles and Bob Dylan. Now they were all sitting in a loose circle, chatting about who was high in the charts (besides themselves), who was "up and coming" on the music scene, and various other things. When everyone seemed quite comfortable, Bob said, quietly,
"I can get you guys some if you want."
Puzzled, the solid Beatles exchanged glances with one another. The real Beatles could feel their confusion. Bob took it as something else; the real Beatles could feel that he was embarrassed and thought that the solid Beatles were using "higher stuff."
"Some what?" the solid Paul asked.
Now the real Beatles felt Bob's embarrassment melt away, only to be replaced by incredulity.
"Some pot," Bob replied, this time a bit of good humour tugging at the corners of his mouth. "I'll get you some."
"Uhhh..." the solid John began, "We don't do that sort of thing."
The real Beatles tightened, then relaxed. They knew instinctively that the solid John's words weren't about to create the Might-Have-Beens.
"But what about your song?" Bob asked, greatly abashed. "The one about getting high?"
The solid John and Paul exchanged glances, mystified.
"What song?" the solid Ringo asked for the pair.
"You know, the one that goes, "'And when I touch you, I get high, I get high, I get high...'" Bob had thrown his head back, strumming an imaginary guitar, getting a bit too song-example-happy.
The solid John and Paul looked at each other and didn't even bother to hide their grins. The solid George looked away and bit his lip in an effort not to burst out into hearty laughter, and the solid Ringo was quietly chuckling.
"That--that isn--isn't h-how the s-song-g g-goes-s," the solid John stuttered, shaking with laughter. "S-sing-g it-t w-with m-me, P-Paul!"
The solid Paul was convulsing in a fit of suppressed laughter, but began to sing with the solid John: "And when I touch you, I can't hide, I can't hide, I can't hide..." and when they finished, they both clapped each other on the back, laughing.
Bob's cheeks were a little pink, but he said, grinning, "Well, your damn accents render your lyrics unintelligible! How was I supposed to know?"
"Did he say our accents were intellectual?" the solid John asked teasingly.
"No, he said he didn't know we were so intelligent!"
"Actually, Paul, he said we were vegetables."
"Intellectual vegetables! Hee hee!"
Bob was by now laughing at the solid Beatles' banter and at himself. When they had all calmed down, wiping their eyes, he asked them again,
"Well, if you want to try, I can get you some."
This was the moment of change and the real Beatles knew it. The solid Paul looked a little doubtful, but also curious and John looked purely curious. George and Ringo looked a little skeptical.
Maybe we shouldn't. I mean, what's the good of all this? the solid Paul was thinking.
"No! No!" the real Paul said urgently. "It's quite good. You know you've always been curious; why don't you try some?"
Yeah, why not? Do you really want this, Rich? the solid Ringo was thinking. What if you end up in the hospital? God knows you've been there enough.
"You know you've heard all kinds of good stuff about it," the real Ringo argued. "Just try it. If you hadn't tried your luck with the guys, where would you be?"
The real Paul smiled at him and the solid Ringo replied, Good point.
"We'll..." the solid Paul started and the real Beatles held their breaths.
"...try some. Why not?"
Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, etc.: Lissa Michelle Supler/Strawberry Sunshine 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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