Memory Motel: A Rock And Roll Fantasy, Part One Section 11- The Children of An Idle Mind
Part One: The Crash (Continued)
Chapter Three: Blue Eyes
The only thing missing was me and suddenly I was there. When I was just a pup, Karolina would put me on the bed with her, lie down next to me, put on James Taylor’s Greatest Hits and, sing to me all afternoon. Ron would be sitting watching soccer on television, oblivious in his own world, and there we would stay for hours on the end.
When I was a year old, Karolina’s mid-August birthday was coming up. She was 21 years, an adulty adult, though I wonder if Karolina will ever not have the sweetness of an extended through a lifetime childhood? Or would have if Ron wasn’t going to die too soon for her tastes. So 21, on August 4th and Ron was planning a surprise birthday. It was getting very elaborate. I sat quietly by Ron’s side, my head in his lap in the Ron Cave, a huge many roomed,, basement apartment, apart from the rest of the house., filled with the Roness of it all. Easel paint, leather sofa and chairs, one of those fancy ones that vibrate, inside one room was his vinyl record collection –thousands of albums, endless albums, in another room guitars and guitars and guitars, dozens of them, another room a mini studio bigger than most maxi studios: all knobs and computers and samples, filled with parts of songs Ron would tinker with till he was bored and then he’d file them away and like so many post-Max Martin musicians, create songs like Frankenstein’s mother from bits and pieces. Ron was working on another solo lbum but as he felt like it. It would happen when it was ready.
Ron was lazing on his vibrating armchair and I was dozing on his knee while he ticked me behind the ear and discussed how many people to invite from Karolina’s home town Kutná Hora. “It isn’t that small, Ronnie”, his personal assistant Jeff warned Wood in no uncertain terms.
“What are we talking about here?”
“We’re talking about you not doing this”
Ron had wondered if they could invite everybody in Kutná Hora to come over for the birthday party and when Jeff had tried to politely recommend against it, Ron had dug in.
“I could afford it easy…”
“We are talking about 20 million bucks minimum to transport all these strangers who Mrs. Woods loves so much she hasn’t visited them once since she got here.
“But it would be fun.”
“Where would we put them? You want them crawling around here? I don’t think we could even fit them and we wouldn’t want to if we could. Please, Ron.
Ron was silent, took a drag on his cigarette while I growled watching the smoke come too close.” Ron waved it away. “But her family?”
“Absolutely her family, completely agreed to her family. We want her family. Figure 500 of her nearest and dearest.”
“No, of course not. No exes.”
“Say a 1000.”
“Let’s let her parents decide.”
“How about everybody else?”
“I think you should call James Taylor.”
“He is a good guy, if he is around he’ll do it. Should we pay him?”
“Maybe half a million bucks to a charity or money if he wants it.
“Yeah, yeah. Shame she doesn’t love Rod Stewart.”
Jeff chuckled. “I bet that would be even pricier.”
“Oh absolutely… will he be here?”
“Well, I have invited anyone yet…”
“No, no… make sure the band is all here.”
“I’ve called Jennifer…”
“Yes, just as a heads up, I’ll be coordinating with her and Micks folks over Stones family and friends, so they’ll be top priority.”
Suddenly, Ron looked a little sad. “How did this get so big?”
“I know, and just four years after your marriage.”
Ron said nothing, he just dismissed Jeff with a nod, and snuggled me closer. Ron and Karolina wasn’t coincidental, what Ron loved about her was she hated this stuff, she was a homebody even if the home was ridiculously large. This party, well except for getting James to play, was going to embarrass the hell out of the young girl. SO why was he stuffing it down her throat when he’d married Karolina for the sole reason she didn’t like what…”
He stopped mid thought and looked down at me. “Oh for the life of a Blue eyes”, he said to me, a look of deep sorrow and yet not that. A kind of want for a life that had been simpler than it ever was or would be. Just to stop this stuff, just to be calm and safe and different.
The build up was done so quietly that Karolina never even considered for a moment the possibility. It came together with a quiet ease once Ron stopped over conceiving it. The music establishment meeting the Ron’s friends outside the business, Karolina’s quiet world of local girlfriends stuck with glue to the life she had left behind so many years ago. All of it brought together in a huge hurrah of hope, a world where being 21 years old took precedent over everything and, yes, James was available, and yes, we could give a coupla 100 grand to a charity. And his family would join them as well. Altogether in one huge bowl of pop.
Ron bundled me into the limo one morning before Karolina could say anything and we drove to the local airport and took his jet to Massachusetts where we met with James over lunch. I sat by Ron’s feet as the two men went on line and tried to figure out a setlist. “How long should the set be?” James asked?
“Yeah, that should do it… will there anybody before me.”
“I’ll probably get on stage with the boys for a small set, and maybe with Rod and Kenny for some Faces song. I can see Eric going on stage and maybe we can get Paulie on stage. But Karolina isn’t crazy about any of that. She listens to you…”
“Really, that’s really nice…”
“Karolina In My Mind”?”
“Yes, of course, makes sense, right.”
“As a child, she learnt English from it, it was her song. Her Grandpa would sing it to her… When she listens to it, if she wants to she can find herself tearing up,” Ron said, stretching out and forcing me to stick out a defensive paw or get kicked. “It is a form of nostalgia; her Grandma was a friend back in the days when her parents lived behind the iron curtain. Not much music was allowed in but yours was, and her childhood was filled with you!”
“Like Kenny G in China?” James asked, grinning and the two laughed. James stood up, walked over to the sea and looked out to sea. “Yeah, it was strange that you affect people deeply and you never even know it.”
“Particular for someone like you,” Ron said, standing by James’ side and staring at the turbulent sky, a little worried about the trip back. James intuited his concern. “You’ll have to spend the night” James said. “It’ll be a thrill for my family as well. A real live Stone.”
“Maybe I’ll limo back and have the pilot fly back tomorrow…” Ron said.
“We’d love it, really. They’ve been waiting to meet you. It will be fun…”
“The wife…” Ron said but I knew he’d decided to stay for the night.
The two poured over the setlist, studying it song by song, all the ones you’d think, quite a few off James last album, maybe a coupla of Stones rockers. “I can’t hear myself doing ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ “ James opined.
“No, agreed, maybe something like ‘Moonlight Mile”.
“How about ‘Pool Hall Richard’ instead” James asked with a wink
“At least ‘Ooh La La’” Ron replied with a smile.
I guess I take Ron for granted, when Keith or Mick or even Bill come around I get a little start struck, but Ron is like my dad in this lifetime and he has an ease about him that makes me take him for granted. But here, with the Taylor family, and friends . James or Caroline must have called them over because what was gonna be a simple dinner and an early night and expanded and people wouldn’t stop arriving to meet a Rolling Stone in person. Ron was used to it to a degree but not when visiting rock royalty himself, and he was at first a little put off, cradling me closer as people walked in and shook hands, but really, only James and himself (and James’ son of course) were in any sense famous and the rest of the people were somewhat richer than salt of the earth.
A little boy asked if he could carry me and we eyed him warily before Ron handed me over, and after pulling my ears and getting rewarded with a snarl he put me on the floor and we chased around the huge living room. Another boy and girl a brother and sister belonging to a Wall Street guy and his trophy third wife , who ten years in, was feeling more like the real thing, joined in the chase and the four of us tore up and down the living room and then started in on the stairs. The Taylor’s put on a buffet spread and the kids would make sandwiches, and throw me some cold cuts and we would eat cheerfully and then set off again at a mad dash.
Somebody brought out a Fender sunburst and handed it to Ron and James sat at the piano and Caroline began singing old English folk songs before Ron and James began trading Marvin Gaye songs and then Curtis Mayfield, and then back to Motown. It was one of those things we know happens all the time but we are never invited to listen in, and I sat on the first boys lap and all three of us watched even though, really, they’d probably have preferred somebody more like Hunter Hayes. The songs had that quality where even though the kids didn’t quite know it they’d still heard them often enough, somewhere, in movies, on the oldies station before they convince Dad to change the channel, in their beds when they wouldn’t sleep and Mom rocked them and comforted them with Supreme songs (but never “Love Child”) barely touching the melody line, just dipping into it so close that she seemed to be dabbing it with a paint brush: “come see about me, see about me baby…” and you don’t even know you’ve heard it.
The children took me for a walk and by the time we got back the twelve year olds were holding hands while the seven year old had finally learnt not to pull on the leash, the rain had stopped and there was a bite to the air that woke us up to the evening and puppy love, well, it is always nice to around. By the time we got back, James and Ron were deep into swapping tales about the days so long gone, the late 1960s in London. A mythic world where names that resonate, Lennon, Hendrix, Clapton, Beck, Marriott and Lane, and more resonate like stories you can hardly believe even happened from such a distance. “… no, you’re wrong though I can say why you might think that”, James said to the Doctor’s wife. “As important as all that was, it was more than that.”
“I really felt we had left our parents behind us.” Ron explained. “It was like WW2 and thank you very much, but you aren’t us. We want something else. Enough of all of this stuff, you know. It was long away and we rejected it, and now I see we rejected it because we lived in a world where we could reject it, but we did reject everything about Britain, the class structure, the colonization, all that we just had no interest and we were able to move past you and onwards…”
“To Eastern mysticism”, a 30 year old dotcomer asked.
“For many people…”
“Not for me”, James said, shaking his head. “And I never noticed it in in your work either.”
“I was too much a blues guy for the music and when I moved from the blues with the Faces, I got into soul, because of Rod’s voice and a sorta laddishness about us. You know, it really was like the start of something else as well..”
James nodded to himself and closed his eyes, his lanky body morphing his mind backwards. “It was a fabulous world, fabulous. It was strange to be in the middle of the magic of Apple Records, of knowing Paul. Can you imagine George Harrison noticing you in a club and coming over to say hello. From being on one side of the world to the other side of the world… I was twenty years old…. You were younger?”
“I was 17 when I joined my first real band but it didn’t happen. I was also only 20 when the Jeff Beck Group ambled along. But really even earlier than that. It was 1967 and you know 1967. It is one of those years, right? How many can you think of? 1939? 1956? A handful of years where everything was cresting and changing and happening. Look, James, we were both in it for the music first, you the songs but me, the real blues. I was a blues cat. My folks were bargees, you know. I had nowhere to go really and so much and guitar and BB King and Muddy Water –what can you do with strings and electricity and for me, it transformed me, it made me who I am. The hand of god, maybe?” I wagged my tail at that though life didn’t work that way, really and at all. I still wanted to take a bow.
Ron and I trudged to the bedroom, he was tired and so was I and we fell on the bed and I cuddled near Ron’s stomach, fitting my body to his ribs, and we were nearly asleep but still he managed a call to Karolina, telling her how he loved her and missed her and… he was tired and felt the end creeping closer every day. I could hear her voice in the background, faintly, or maybe I imagined it because Ron’s voice was so soft I could almost imagine I was imagining his voice, and it was during this conversation, Ron agreed to having a child. I could hear him murmur, “I am not going anywhere but if it is so important…” and in the dreamy late evening they made plans and plans for the new child, and even if Ron didn’t have a hundred years with him or her, but probably, maybe, he might get 30 years.
I slept and I had information relaying as I slept, usually if I get information or send, it is mostly outside this Universes time arrow, so this was all precedent and now I had something this Universe has never provided me with before, not exactly foresight but the news that this will be completely different, never before and who knows again. And why? This is what I love about the After Math, reason is sort of beside the point, my reason is quiet to me till the crash occurs. . When you deal in matter you deal in reason and laws, even if nobody is near and nobody can see or hear or think or consider why there is reason, even so, there is reason. Things work the way they work but in After Math they work the way they don’t, everything is contingent on thought. So, what I am telling myself is somehow somewhere thought and matter is going to connect and I am going to be right in the heart of it.
Then I fall into a deep dream, it wasn’t a Blue Eyes immortal god type dream, but a Blue Eyes doggy dream and it was an immensely beautiful dream. And I am dreaming I am a dinosaur again, and Ron and Karolina are dinosaurs back when the earth was young and we are hunting together and the sun is on our back and slowly their brains are evolving and I can feel my Blue Eyes self coming forward and the world changes around me and Karolina and Ron are children, like the children who took me for a walk earlier, and I am maybe a year younger, a puppy, and it might be the same field we were just dinosaurs on, a green green meadow lasting forever and always in all directions.
The children were suddenly gone and I grew and grew and grew till I was the size of a building (I mean a big building) and everything was seen from a distance, from a thousand miles away, but I was still just a puppy, even younger than I was at the time, not a year and a half but six months old and completely alone I ran from field to field to field and the Stones were playing in the background abut more than the background because that suggests it was only in this tiny little area of the world, in a speaker, or a box, but it was everywhere, it rang like a force of nature, a strange and powerful force neither ahead nor behind me. Everywhere me. Keith Richard licks, so sweet and tasty, seemed to burnish itself in the air, and Jagger, his drawl affected and infected covered me up, nothing lost in the wind and nothing lost in time, but just here and right now.
The dream changed again, and usually when I am sending information, I am not like a receiver but I am sort of like an opposite sponge, like the After Math is a sponge and I am water and I am drenching information onto a sponge and the sponge is sucking it up and that’s what I have done for a billion plus years. I have my purpose as you have yours, and all our purposes is to keep me from atrophy. But in this dream there is a reversal, as I am both sponge and water, both absorbing and being absorbed, and, and this is the important thing to keep in mind here: still in this Universe. In The After Math all the laws are different any way, but here? That never happens and my dream becomes a room and I keep on running to the door and the door keeps mobbing further away from me till it feels like I have been running towards it for years and never getting close to it, a perpetual run around on the age of perpetual, which, of course, doesn’t exist in the Universe. Everything ends. And so does this. I am the door, scraping at in with my paws, trying to get forward and trying to move beyond here to get in and a whine and growl and pout and slowly the door opens and I am inside. And I can see something that is happening and I can’t quite make it out, what I am seeing is this day, exactly a year after the dream, and I can see the crash unfurl and like I said, I don’t do foresight, it just isn’t part of the scene. I ride always forward at the same pace, always at the speed of light, always with the same rules of science and I am like Major Kong at the end of Dr. Strangelove, straddling time, a nuclear bomb dropping from the sky and screaming “Yee Haw”. This will all end.
Then, I see myself as both my true self and as Blue Eyes, looking back and forth, and while it is just a dream, my true has no matter, has no brain, no sensation, in some Universes it is barely conscious, in other it is individuated, and in all it is the purest of thoughts, it just thinks, that is all it does, it think and thinks and it is in a hub and it is alone and as a being, certainly in the past 300 existences, it thinks alone: neither part of one thing or another, by keeping out and observing, even while living it, I remain completely apart and that is the message of the dream: to myself, from myself, never forget Blue Eyes, I am not part of this. Living things are alone, remember humans are 62 mutations away from being wheat and 300 generations away from your earliest civilizations, meanwhile, simply because of what I am I live over and over again and so I am much more aware of but much less controlled by the process. In The After Math I am also both part of and apart from everything, maybe that’s why in essence I am an intense (I know this is the wrong word but there are no words for anything) introvert. I am an emotional mask, I can only very rarely break through to real emotions besides living real lives. The six year old daughter is rare, it happens, it happened once when I was Neanderthal, where there is something missing in the wiring a little (it is like my compassion buzz goes on overload from time to time, I lose a little control and I care which is a suckers game and not mine). So here in this dream I had a deeper understating of compassion, of how I lose and have to lose, and I have a pretty good idea that it has been activated for a reason.
Finally, I am sitting with my daughter, I know it a dream, but it is also a moment of truth beyond dreams that happen from time to time. We are sitting near the tent, you’ve seen westerns, right? So something like that. I am sitting by the fire, my sons are scattered around me and my wife is somewhere else, it is men’s stuff, discussing the upcoming battle which we all feel we are gonna win except for me, I’ve been alive too many lifetimes not to understand exactly how odds work. I know this stuff, how can’t I? I know we’re gonna lose and I am pretty certain that when we fail to repel them, they will slaughter the entire tribe, my five sons, my wife, their wives, my grandkids, and my youngest daughter, all our friends, everything will almost certainly be gone within 24 hours. I am an imposing, well respected guy in this life, and people, even my wife, treat me carefully, they respect me and they figure my quietness, my otherness is just to my deep connection with God. Funnily enough, they are right to a degree.
I am droning on, with a stick in the sand, drawing war maps, and plans, intently, seriously on and on and I can feel a tugging on my sleeve and it is my daughter. In all my thousands of past lives, hundreds of millions of years of existence, I have had very few favorites, some T-Rex’s, a few dogs, but that’s about it. I don’t care for either Ron or Karolina remotely close to the amount I’ve loved those few dogs, and love this little girl, as she tugs at me , puts her head in my lap and holds my hand. I put down my pipe and use one hand to stroke her hair and she is humming tunelessly to herself as I plan with her brothers, and I want to cry. When it really happened I didn’t cry, I hid it very well, but in my dream I began to cry and cry and cry for my lost daughter. She would be raped and murdered very soon and me being me, she won’t probably see me as this father ever again. I am not like humans, I don’t move on the way they do at the end of a life, this was goodbye and really goodbye and in her eyes I could see the purest of love for me. What move me most was I really felt that she knew who I really was, her eyes so clear, her mind so open, I felt my daughter was looking at everything I was, everything we all are, seeing in me and through me, and loving despite that I could in theory have told the entire tribe, let’s run and hide, let’s fight another day, let me save this little girl who can see into me so clearly. And in my dream I begin to cry and cry and cry and my daughter took my hand and we walked away from the camp, away from the battle we were going to lose and she was going to die in, and to the future, to the world, to the place where everything lives forever and ever and I cried and when I woke up I was yelping and Ron stirred and stroked me, “Shhh, Baby Blue Eyes, it is just a dream go back to sleep”. The children of an idle mind