Memory Motel: A Rock And Roll Fantasy, Part Two Section Fourteen: A Final Concert
Part Two: Two Years Later (Continued)
6 – The Séance
Mike got another whiskey and soda and sat back down, reaching for Michelle’s hand and the room went silent and Hannah closed her eyes and then opened them and said “Hello Phillip, how are you? I knew you would be here.” It wasn’t Hannah’s voice and the accent was like something out of an old movie, one part Yiddish mama one part Slav with a twist in its tail. “So finally we are all together” Janet said. ”This has never happened before, it is so exciting. Like your world tilting on irs axis and nobody knows what to expect but it is being watched so carefully. I am happy to be so directly involved in it. I am happy you were chosen. It is going to be one of the greatest experiments and I feel like a teacher with a star pupil who has aced every single test. For Hannah to be chosen, with or without Michelle, is very exciting for her. Not many people have the power, so many charlatans you know, hocus pocus and boo. And now this is the meeting of the Aftermath on earth. It never happens, there is always this divide yet here we all are. I am, well, speechless….?”
Janet had decided to make her presence known to Hannah all those years ago because Hannah had the freedom that Janet had so much difficulty maintaining in her own life, in a society where women were secondary, where they were not allowed self expression, Janet spent her life bristling at her inability to be, well, a man, but not really. A man the man was a man at the kick off of the 20th century, a man as in a free soul, able to do whatever it pleases. As a teenager she dreamt of running away to some mythical world where she could be what she was, not hidden and yessing her father, her brothers, and soon her husband. In 1933, Janet had suggested the entire family mmigrate to the States, where her daughters would end up, and was roundly laughed at. It infuriated her but there was nothing she could do except what she did do, get murdered by mankind’s willful stupidity.
Hannah wasn’t like that, Hannah took charge of her life completely, she was the one who gave the orders and always, she never cowed, she was the boss and Janet loved it and when Hannah was crying for her five year old daughter she decided to comfort her. Most of the Aftermath didn’t bother with the Universe. For them it was just matter thought matter stuff, but some of them did and Janet’s sense of righteous indignation existed after her death, where most of those things are just pulses.
Hannah and Janet were like great friends and passed on the pomp and circumstance of the séance, Michelle and Mike were used to it but this was not the sort of meeting with the great beyond Phillip had imagined and he opened his mouth to say something and shut it fast.
Hannah stopped, and then, in her own voice said. “Do you know Susan Joly?”
Mick’s friend “Yes, I do…”
“She is here and…”
Then in a different voice, in Susan’s erudite sophisticated woman of the world voice. “Nah, I don’t do ventriilquilism.” Susan said, and walked through the door of the bar room. The four of them stared in amazement, unspeaking, unblinking, this was a ghost? A real ghost? This wasn’t a ghost. Six foot tall in heels, with straight black hair, creamy brown skin that seemed to shine by itself, in a business suit and four inch heels, she had a presence unlike anything any of them had ever seen before. A poise and a distilled sexuality, an arrogant glare, Susan seemed both wise and sweet and neither. She walked to the bar and got herself a Bacardi and coke and then asked for a cigarette, and when nobody answered, she materialized one, already lit and took a drag.
“Well folks, welcome to the greatest show on earth” she said.
That was Hannah.
“It is very simple guys, the Stones are performing one final concert at Central Park on July 4th. Obviously, this presents some unique problems and you are going to help us make certain it goes without a hitch. Hannah as a conduit with us, Phil for protection, Mike to write about it, and Michelle for her connection with the Jaggers –she will be very attuned to the scene.
“The problem is”. Susan said, sitting next to Mike, “After this initial meeting contact between the Aftermath and you will be difficult. There is a lot going on that you are not aware of, and a lot more at stake.”
“Like what?” Phillip asked.
“Like everything”, Susan replied. “Everything is at stake if this goes wrong.”
“But what can go wrong?” Hannah interrupted.
“So Mick is my Dad?” Michelle asked.
“Write for who?” Mike asked.
And they were suddenly all talking at once. Till Susan silenced them with a glance. “Hush”, she said quietly and the door opened again and in walked Mick Jagger, Brian Jones and Keith Richards. Jagger looked as though he was in his mid 60s, elder statesman, but Keith had returned to his 20s, handsome, flamboyant, cig hanging out of the side of his mouth, all Gypsy cool. Keith went straight to the bar and searched about, found the Black Jack Daniels and took a hard swig, and another. “Anybody got some reefer?” Keith asked.
“I have in my room, should I go and get it…?” Mike asked.
“Nah, I got it” Keith smirked and a joint suddenly appeared in his hand. He handed it to Mike and then materialized one for himself.
“Mr. Richards”, Mike said, visibly set back in his tracks. “I am a huge fan, everything I ever wanted in a career I wanted because you showed me how. I don’t even know what to say, I can’t believe I’m finally meeting you. That old movies that way you stood on stage, the tuning… all that stuff, everything that matters to me you invented. I don’t know what to say…”
This Keith, dead Keith, looked vastly more alive than alive Keith did. 24 years old, his acne in abeyance, a thin, strident, slinger masculinity, stronger, tougher, easier in himself than he was even at that age when alive, he exuded something you don’t often see in the undead: a complete forcefulness. Keith sat next to Hannah and put his hand on her leg before he chuckled, nut not the nicotine filled hacker cough, more like reflex without the background phlegm. If you’d met Keith when he was 24 years old, you’d recognize the visage bit not the man, there was something too precise about him, too aware of too much. He flirted with Hannah, whispered in her ear and watched her giggled, and shouted out Susan. “She is our new stage manager… “ He said. “It out to be a riotous good life, all very “Cocksucker Blues’ Har har har…” And then he collapsed into a fit of coughs without any background cough to it.
Brian sat in the corner, looking golden and beautiful and intense. “Who is he?” Michelle whispered to Mike. “It’s him, the original Stone… h God, this is gonna be great.” Brian didn’t go for the booze or weed or girls, he was the most ghostly of the three, almost unshakable in his otherness.
“Are you alright?” Phillip asked worriedly. Brian looked intensely elsewhere, almost drugged up and Michelle found herself very attracted to him, she couldn’t take her eyes off the man, all blonde gorgeousness and stroking genius.
“Yeah, I’m great. Haven’t been back in awhile, so strange to be here. I guess I am lucky Mick Taylor isn’t dead yet…” Brian said with a deep smile, like an eternity of retribution together at once. He went to the piano and began playing some classical in the background, losing all interest in the proceedings and Hannah allowed herself to look at Mick Jagger for the first time. Craggly, thin, dyed hair, muscular, actually this could’ve been the way he looked the moment before he died. Why hadn’t he changed? Why hadn’t he made himself young again the way Keith had?
“Have you explained everything, Susan?” Mick asked.
“Just the outlines, but that is all they need.”
“Do they know what is at stake?”
“Not really, I don’t want them to know, it is crazy and way too much, they will have a hard enough time following an invisible rock band as it is.”
“But you will be able to see”, Mick said to the four still living. “You just need to get there. Think of it as a video game where you have to pick up more points to reach the next level. But you will. I chose all of you myself, and I know you will do what needs to be done… and Susan and Janet will help. Just be very calm and disciplined… “
END OF PART TWO