All right, here's the thing. I HAVE BEEN working on my other two priority stories, but it's slow going, what with school and all that that entails. So in the meantime I figured I may as well post this up for anyone who wants to read it. It's a story I wrote for my Writing Club extracurricular-organization-type-thing, and it takes place in 1964 during the height of Beatlemania. (Long story short, I've loved the Beatles since childhood and my obsession has been refueled thanks to Beatlemania '09. XD )
Oh, almost forgot: I do not own A Hard Day's Night. Not the album, the song or the movie---which this is a fic for---though I do have copies of all three. ^^ I don't own the Beatles either. Doy. So anyway. Commence with the reading!
It had rained over the night. Now the sky was calm, calm and grey, but evidence of the downpour still sat on the street in silver pools, dripped from the lampposts, hung on streetsigns and in gutters. For this reason, every single one of the thousand-plus girls lining the street was wrapped in a coat or a mac, tucked into scarves, carrying parasols but not using them. Using them meant they might have become an obstacle in their line of vision, and they desperately wanted to see. Every neck was craned down the road, and every mouth kept shut---they wanted to hear, too. Never before had Big Ben's tick been this audible throughout the city. Every sense was devoted to being the first girl to scream:
"There they are!"
Those three words were the thousand girls' cue. Like their lives depended on it, every single voice rose up from nowhere, and they all blended together in an inseperable din of 'I love you's and crush-stricken cries.
For everyone but the lucky few in front, the dark, black car was hard to see at first. The noise rose as it rolled closer and closer, and by the time it pulled to a stop alongside the crowd, there was no greater sound in England.
There was a moment. A few-seconds' delay that felt like twenty years. Then, on the side of the car not facing the horde, the back door opened, unleashing mania.
The first head appeared, and the screaming crescendoed. A police escort jogged him down the roped-off path to the venue, but even so, the girls could make out the almond eyes they idolized, the boyish face; even so, he managed a wave or two to the crowd.
It wasn't ten seconds before the screams peaked again as a second mop-top emerged. Shy, narrow-faced; a guitarist. He too was jogged into the building by a waiting escort.
The next out of the door---the one with the quirky nose and the crooked smile---waved to the fans on all sides as he braved the crowd running, tripping a little in the process. Another few feet, and the drummer, too, was inside.
That left only one. And a good thing, too, because the policemen that lined the ropes were losing strength; the human chain they formed wouldn't keep the girls back much longer. The final lad had to hurry, which was a shame---he loved the girls and the girls loved him. The crowd scrambled for one final lasting glance as he jogged away from the car, but just as he reached the door of the building, they were overjoyed as he stopped, turned, and faced his public.
"Thank you very much! You're such a lovely audience; we'd love to take you home---"
That was it. The chain broke, policemen scattered, trying to quell the chaos. Ropes toppled as girls rushed the clearance, and the escort and the agent barely had time to shove the grinning lad inside, follow him in and bolt the door behind them.
The agent gave him a whack upside the head. "Lennon!"
"What then, are you mad? Flirt on your own time."
"Ah, but what time is my time? The best time is any time at all."
Norm glared at him. "Don't you toy with me..."
"Temper, temper," John taunted. By night, lead vocalist, but by day, attention-deficit eight-year-old.
The love-fest was interrupted by Paul, the first one in, always the first one anywhere. His punctuality, in point of fact, was occasionally annoying. He adjusted his skinny black tie as he addressed their manager. "Oh, leave him alone; you know he's not listenin' anyway. John, quit aggravating. You know better than that."
"Does he?" This helpful remark came from George, busy unpacking his guitar a few feet away.
"Aw, who asked ya," John fired back.
"Listen to Squire McCartney," Norm advised dryly. "Now you lot come on. You've got a rehearsal to do and it's three hours 'till airtime." But before leading them to the stage, he stopped, furrowed his brow, looked around. "Where's Ringo gotten off to? Ringo!"
A muffled reply came from behind. "O'er 'ee!"
"Over here!" There were a few crashes and a thud, and Ringo stumbled out of a pile of spare amps and old equipment. Noticing they were all staring at him, he shrugged. "Ran too far."
Internally questioning whether he was a manager or a babysitter, Norm rolled his eyes and marched down the long hallway. The four lads fell in step behind him, Paul in the lead and George bringing up the rear, strumming his guitar as he went.
The four of them began to hum or nod along as George played. They all recognized the song, of course---Harrison couldn't play or write a thing without six eyes and six ears on him---and when the tune rolled around to the chorus, Paul began to sing. "Before this dance is through / I think I'll love you too / I'm so happy when you dance with me."
John added to the improv by singing the backup 'ahh's, and Ringo pounded out a beat on the wall as they went along.
"I don't want to kiss or hold your hand / If it's funny try and understand / There is really nothing else I'd rather do / 'Cause I'm happy just to dance with---"
The next word, clearly supposed to be 'you,' came out more like 'oof,' as Paul slammed into Norm, Ringo into Paul, John into Ringo, and George into John. Norm leveled them with a stern and un-amused stare as they recovered. "All right, enough messin' about. Save it for the cameras."
"Get off my guitar, will ya?"
As the lads sounded off down the line, the agent scowled. "All of you, shut up."
"Oh, he's a strict little devil, i'nt he?"
Before there was time to think Lennon, you'll be the death of me for the sixth time since breakfast, the lost cause was cut short by the appearance of Shake at the end of the hall.
"It's about bloody time! Where on earth've you been?"
"Hello Shake," all four boys said at once.
"Oh sure, you'll behave for him." With a roll of his eyes, Norm pointed a thumb over his shoulder. "John had to incite a riot."
"Oh, right then." To anyone else it might have been odd that he barely responded to that, but John's antics needed no explanation 'round these parts. "Anyhow, you've almost missed sound check and the director's gone half mad." Shake was quickly nearing a quiet panic, also known as his default setting.
He's awfully twitchy for such a tall man... "You're awfully twitchy for such a tall man," George noticed.
Looking a little like a disappointed child, Shake turned aside to Norm. "I don't think George likes me," he worried aloud.
"Nonsense, 'course he does; don't you Georgie?"
George looked up from leaning his guitar against the wall. "Sure I do, we're pals and all that---now be a good sport and get me a cup 'a tea, huh?"
With a defeated 'told-you-so' look, Shake glanced back at his shorter counterpart. Norm shrugged. "I don't think he likes you."
It was Paul who got them back on the original subject. "Relax; 'almost' means we didn't, now doesn't it? Don't get your shorts in a knot, it'll be all right."
No sooner did he say that, though, than the other three fell to their knees and started bowing. "Mediator McCartney, Mediator McCartney..."
"Oh, come off it."
"Can't help it," Ringo said. "If ya sucked up any more ya'd be sold to house-cleaning ladies by door-to-door salesmen."
"You're one to talk, teacher's pet."
"Enough, the both of you!" Norm was thoroughly convinced that one of these days he was going to give himself a stroke over nonsense like this. Or an ulcer. Some nights when he couldn't sleep, he could practically see John's defiant smirk, laughing, always laughing, enjoying every minute of driving him to an early grave...or at least to grey hair... God, why couldn't I have managed the Supremes.... "I'd expect this from him," pointing at John, "not from you two. And you two sods, get up off the floor." George was mimicking him as he lectured, and the agent caught it from the corner of his eye. "George, behave yourself or I'll cripple ya. That goes for all of you. If any one of you so much as breathes wrong in there I'll have your instruments up for auction. It's my head ya know. Now you're gonna get in there, you're gonna do the set and you're gonna like it, or there'll be consequences. Clear?" Norm fixed his headmaster's gaze on each of them, one by one. "Now what'll it be?"
Each of the four lads exchanged a pointed glance. The nods that went with them were so slight, they were undetectable to the untrained eye.
John flashed a cheeky grin. "Consequences," he said simply. "If it's all the same to you."
Ringo stepped forward with a scowl. "Now, hang on---are you sayin' you don't want to play?"
"I got nothin' against playin,' I'm just sick of the third degree. I love playin;' that is if you can call what you do 'playin'.'"
"What's all this now?"
"Come on, Ringo, all you do is tap a couple of drums," Paul interjected. "Totally expendible. And what kind of name is 'Ringo' anyway? Stop denyin' it: you're Richard Starkey, it's not making anything better."
George came up from behind and stood beside said drum-tapper. "I think he's fine; it's you who's the weak link, you and your big 'ead."
Paul's eyebrows crawled up his head. "Am I?" he challenged. By now Norm and Shake were watching in worry.
"That's right. Some bass player you are---sounds more like you're steppin' on your grandmum's cat."
"Oh, says the tone-deaf gorilla," John accused.
From there, the argument erupted, and from the four voices that rose up in the hallway not one sentence could be distinguished from any other. The two bystanders were practically sweating in horror when from Paul came the dreaded words:
"Well maybe we shouldn't play together then!"
Norm was officially going to die. Was it especially hot in here...?
"Maybe we shouldn't!" George shouted back.
Shake was now fully living up to his name. "B-b-boys, f-f-f-fellas, p-please. S-surely you don't want to jump to c-conclusions."
"I say let's jump!" With an air of indignance, John stormed past the gaping middle-agers and threw open the door to the deserted back parking lot. Already speechless, Norm had nothing left to add when John flicked him on the nose, turned, and walked out of the studio.
Ringo gave an abrupt nod. "See if I ever work with you lot again!" With that, he, Paul and George left in a huff, and the door shut after them with a heavy final slam, leaving the two ruined managers to contemplate their impending funerals.
After an era or two, Shake nervously turned to Norm and spoke. "I'm guessing George won't want his tea then?"
The glare he got in return was the worst one he'd given all day. "You idiot."
Outside, the cloud cover was beginning to break. Walking in the same direction as opposed to four different ones, a straight and tailored row, the boys squinted the sun from their eyes. "Top notch, men."
"We'll head back in an hour or so?"
"Oh, perfect; let's see if we can find those ballet dancers from the studio next door."
"Dancers! Better make it two hours."
There ya have it! And it all ends with a clang, like the song...XD Sorry. Kidding. XD Butyeah. Review if you want, thanks for checkin' it out, and I promise progress soon on YNCT and TPP. Peace and Love.