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A Day in the Life

A Day in the Life

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Published by Francisco J. Reyes

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Published by: Francisco J. Reyes on May 28, 2012
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Sections

  • — Chapter 1 —
  • — Chapter 2 —
  • — Chapter 3 —
  • — Chapter 4 —
  • — Chapter 5 —
  • — Chapter 6 —
  • — Chapter 7 —
  • — Chapter 8 —
  • — Chapter 9 —
  • — Chapter 10 —
  • — Chapter 11 —
  • — Chapter 12 —
  • — Chapter 13 —
  • — Chapter 14 —
  • — Chapter 15 —
  • — Chapter 16 —
  • — Chapter 17 —
  • — Chapter 18 —
  • — Chapter 19 —
  • — Chapter 20 —

A DAY IN THE LIFE

Copyright © 2005 L. John Perkins 10-Digit ISBN 1-59113-859-0 13-Digit ISBN 978-1-59113-859-4 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author. Printed in the United States of America. All the usual caveats apply. This is a work of fiction. The public activities of the Beatles have been extensively documented in the literature but descriptions of private actions and events herein are totally fictitious. The resemblance of other characters to persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. L. John Perkins 2005 http://www.paulisdead.us Booklocker.com, Inc.

A DAY IN THE LIFE

L. John Perkins

— Acknowledgements —
To Joy who was as big a Beatles’ fan as myself; to my agent Liz TrupinPulli of JET Literary Associates who never lost faith in this work; to my colleagues who read the original manuscript and offered many comments and suggestions: Rick Flynn, Dave Smyth, Neill Taylor, Bill Remington, Jim Hammer, Max Tabak, Jim Stevens, Gary Cambra, Ken Marsh; to Jukebox Heroes for keeping rock-and-roll alive in the San Francisco Bay Area: Steve Medeiros, Bill Remington, Dave Fritz, Jim Shannon, Bill Leach (and me). And, of course, to the Beatles—the best band that ever was and ever will be. L. John Perkins California, 2005 http://www.paulisdead.us

Fell Outta Bed (November 1980) Blackburn Road (September 1966) Curiouser and Curiouser (November 1980) Here’s Another Clue for You All (February 1967) The Lunatic Tower (November 1980) The One and Only Billy Shear (February1967) The Unicorn (November 1980) Early Bird and Lana Bird…(June 1967) Bad Apples (November 1980) The Eggman (August 1967) Felonies and Misdemeanors (November 1980) The Last Link (December 1968) The New World (December 1980) The Second Amendment (December 1980) Sweeney Todd (December 1980) A Day in the Life (December 1980) vii .Contents Prologue (November 1980) Chapter 1: Chapter 2: Chapter 3: Chapter 4: Chapter 5: Chapter 6: Chapter 7: Chapter 8: Chapter 9: Chapter 10: Chapter 11: Chapter 12: Chapter 13: Chapter 14: Chapter 15: Chapter 16: Chapter 17: Chapter 18: Chapter 19: Abbey Road (November 1966) Rock and Roll (November 1980) A Proposal (April 1966) Woke Up.

L. John Perkins Chapter 20: Her Majesty (March 1997) Postscript (August 2008) viii .

November 3. Cool it with a baboon’s blood. “Yeah?” There was silence at the other end. really important!” The girl's voice had lost its hesitancy. What do you want?” Ferro rubbed his eyes and attempted to concentrate. Ferro. the journalist. “Mr…Ferro?” It was a girl's voice and hesitant. right?” “Yes. I'm a freelance. Then the charm is full and good. It was shaking. Daniel Ferro's predominant notion was that something had happened to his daughter.’ Round about the cauldron go. Struggling awake. Harpier cries ‘ ‘Tis time. ” The voice wasn't just hesitant. Shakespeare. In the poison’d entrails throw.Prologue “ Thrice the brinded cat hath mew’d. ‘tis time.m. He shuffled into the hall and snatched up the telephone. Macbeth Monday. no. “Listen. Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined.” “You work for The Times and Rolling Stone and stuff?” “Yes—well. ” W. 1980. They're out to get him! I need—” “John Lennon? The Beatle?” T 1 . Then. he call came at 1:20 a. I…” She seemed to be trying to catch her breath as if she’d been running. “Uh-huh?” “Mr. “You're Daniel Ferro. “Who’s this?” “Listen. “John Lennon is going to be killed. this is important. I need to…to talk to you…urgently.

I can't tell you that. “They’re out to get him because he’s refusing to keep his mouth shut. It could be anytime. I need—” “Hold it. He died fourteen years ago—in 1966.” He tried again.” 2 . “Look. Paul McCartney died in a car accident. He really did die and then—” “Give me a break!” Ferro was exasperated.” “About what?” She sighed.” Ferro interrupted impatiently. Then he shook his head. For Christ’s sake just listen! They're going to get Lennon. hear me out. “Mr. John Perkins “Yes! John Lennon from the Beatles. to keep it all going. That’s why I’m calling you. but please just hear me out. Really crazy. He lay in bed. this is fucking stupid. “Okay. Paul McCartney—the original one in the Beatles that is— he’s dead. “I know this all sounds really crazy. “That was all nonsense. And Lennon's now going to tell all. I know this is going to sound absolutely crazy. absolutely true.” said the girl. This was a joke. Don't hang up. some misguided and some from real kooks. It was all disproved years ago. And they're going kill him!” “Who's going to kill him?” asked Ferro despite himself. He's going to tell the world. Okay? I'm calling you because this has got to be stopped. Lennon’s finally going public with the real story. just rumors. enduring the trilling telephone for three full minutes before striding across the hall to grab the handset. tell the world! I just can’t let this go on any longer. I also can't stay on this call. “Who are you?” “I'm sorry. He shrugged. “Not that old hoax! Not the Paul-is-Dead nonsense again surely?” He slammed down the phone. “Go ahead. Ferro. But why at this time in the morning? The girl certainly sounded scared. Some bona fide. She drew a deep breath. They’re really going to do it. “Please. hold it. Ferro was halfway back to bed when it rang again. Let me finish…okay?” Her voice was harsh. I want you to write about it—expose them. “What's your name? Who are you?” He had received calls like this before. Everybody knows it was a hoax. You’ve got to—” “Jesus Christ!” Ferro snorted and collapsed into a sitting position on the staircase.” “Okay. But it’s true.L.” “Who's going to kill him? Why?” Ferro shook his head. They got someone to replace him. hold on. at least the death part! He did die. In September of 1966.” “But it wasn’t! Don’t you see? Those rumors were true.

“I…they’re called the…the Charm Company. They're really ruthless. But look. Some rumors got out but they squashed them. The mystery caller was silent. “Anyway. “You've got to listen and you've got to believe me!” Ferro sighed audibly. They hushed it all up. just before the accident happened.” “No…no. They got the Beatles’ manager—you know. Or rather had been— the Beatles’ solicitor had committed suicide in 1968. “If you believe someone’s threatening to kill John Lennon then why don’t you go to the police?” “I can’t go near the fucking police.” The girl was insistent. They also got Jacobs and now they're going to get Lennon. He felt sorry for her. it’s bound to stop them. Brian Epstein—it wasn’t suicide. I need—”.” Ferro shrugged. “Yeah. get this story out about the Charm Company. Expose them to the world. Poor kid. “Who’s the company?” he repeated She hesitated. You know all about them.A Day in the Life “Please. I can’t” “Okay. Ferro decided. So why are you calling me about this?” “Because this is the biggest story you’ll ever come across.” “Uh-huh. No one knew. “You don't know this. “Look. They'll get me too if they have any idea I'm talking to you.” Ferro grunted. He’d heard about them before somewhere. can I? If they knew I was even thinking of talking to the police they’d—” “They? The Charm Company you mean?” 3 . “You said they got Jacobs?” “Yeah. David Jacobs. I’ve got to stay out of this. They took over everything. I'm absolutely and deadly serious. just listen.” Ferro’s eyes narrowed. They won’t dare go after Lennon then. “What’s the name of this so-called company?” Ferro interrupted. what is your name?” He had difficulty conversing with anyone at any length without being able to use their name. If they knew…” She hesitated again. A crackpot. nobody does. So. If you write it.” “The Charm Company?” Ferro put his head on one side. I know you’ve written stuff about the Beatles before. He was the Beatles’ lawyer back then. I can’t tell you!” “Just a first name then. He knew who Jacobs was. “I’ve told you. but a company took over the Beatles’ business empire back in 1966.

I didn’t tell him anything about this. They had to keep it quiet. misguided—about all this?” “Look—I’m not misguided. You should’ve noticed that. “He’s a label manager at Magno Records. You can expose them. that was all bullshit. I’ve tried. “Who told you to call me?” “It doesn’t matter.” he said gently. The person they got to take over for McCartney. And I know all about it— from the inside. I’m deadly serious. The other Beatles didn’t do anything like that. This was then surely a joker. “If you really believe something is wrong try the police again.” Ferro picked up on the last remark. Said you had good knowledge of the Beatles. his voice was different. You’re supposed to be a Beatles’ expert.L.” “So why should I believe you? Don’t you think that I would also think you were—let’s say. the music business and all that. He told me you write stories like this. Just rumors. They haven’t done anything anyway. that double. Just that I needed a good journalist who knew about the Beatles and wouldn’t be afraid to tackle a serious story. Don’t you see? The whole thing was an incredibly closely guarded secret. You can—” “You won’t help me?” 4 .” “Right. It’s just—” “Who suggested you contact me?” She hesitated again. He knew of several friends capable of contriving such a situation. He was getting cold. And of course there were all those clues the Beatles put on their records after that. I suppose they didn’t believe me. “Do you know a…a Geoff Sutton?” “Yeah?” Ferro replied cautiously. You’re a journalist. Not at first anyway. But why at this time in the early hours? Perhaps it made it all the more funny. They never followed it up. They wouldn’t have.” “So Sutton believes your story then?” “Oh. I was told you’ve got a good knowledge of the Beatles and that you could do it.” The thought struck Ferro forcibly that the girl sounded rational and deadly serious. Everything changed!” “Hmm. I sent them stuff in the mail. nothing else. he couldn’t play bass guitar very well. Why do you think the Beatles stopped performing live in 1966 after that? Why do you think they stopped touring? And although he could sing something like Paul. John Perkins “Yeah! So I can’t go to the police and anyway I—“ “Why not just tip the police off anonymously?” “I have. You can write about this. “Look. right?” Ferro commented sarcastically “No.

However. wait! Wait! Lennon’s going to be—” “Bye!” Ferro hung up the receiver and shook his head in disbelief. It was just that the subject had been covered in other recent articles and he wasn’t sure that one more in the same vein was going to sell. He was researching. It’s crazy. without much enthusiasm.” “Where’s home Geoff?” “Catford. We chatted for half an hour or so. Who’s Carmen Venton?” “Someone I went to school with. she didn’t give her name. * * * * * Ferro spent the next day in central London. “Got an interesting phone call last night. Was it her?” Ferro shrugged. before you—” “No. she wouldn’t tell me. Saw her in a pub there. a retrospective article on Elton John.” 5 . London accent alright. he telephoned Geoffrey Sutton at Magno Records. Ferro had arranged several meetings with record producers and other contacts. Said she knew you or. Paul-is-Dead for Christ’s sake! And after all these years! The telephone didn’t ring again that night. comfortably asleep. He spent an active morning and the previous night’s conversation barely intruded on his thoughts. It wasn’t that John’s 1970s career hadn’t been spectacular—it had. Know anything about it?” “Should I?” “It was a girl. Said you recommended me. that you knew me.” “Really? And you didn’t get her name? Ah…” Sutton paused. Sounded scared. rather. It was the middle of the fucking night. I’m going back to bed where I was. “I don’t know. Had this crazy story and she sounded scared. “It wasn’t Carmen Venton by any chance?” “As I said. Said she needed a music journalist. I was half asleep at the time. I went back home last weekend. Geoff. Hadn’t seen her for—what?—ten years or more. a canceled appointment in the afternoon provided him with an hour of free time.A Day in the Life “I’m sorry. On a whim.” “Oh?…Who was it?” “She didn’t—actually wouldn’t—give her name.

Called the Charm Company or something like that.” agreed Sutton. Someone who could follow a lead about the Beatles and get a story published.” “More?” Sutton chuckled. “So what’d she say?” “Okay Geoff. “it was difficult to get her to talk about anything last week. Ever heard of them?” “No. Came up to me in the pub in the first place in fact.” “Anyway. So. She just wanted to reminisce about what we all got up to fifteen years ago. She said she wanted someone who was a good investigative journalist.” “Yeah. If it was her I spoke to last night. eh?” 6 .” “Yeah. somewhere. what’s this crazy story she told you then?” Ferro ignored the question. Never got a straight answer. really. She certainly wasn’t at ease. She was a blonde. Her mother was from South America I think. Apparently. “Right! She also said that John Lennon’s life is now in danger. I don’t think she smiled once. or somewhere. Fucking great. thinner than I ever remember. Probably using—doped up to the eyeballs. among other things. Never used to be. it does.” “Who are?” “The so-called conspirators. Should she have? “Possibly. John Perkins “Hmm.” Sutton continued. she asked me if I knew any good writers. She was very thin.” Ferro shrugged. She seemed pleased to see me though. can’t say I have.” “Did she tell you anything?” “Nothing particularly interesting. I asked her what she’s doing now. “Carmen? That’s an unusual name.L. “But funny. You could have said the Carmen I saw last Saturday night was scared.” “Well that sounds like our bird all right.” “So why’d you give her my name Geoff?” “Well after she found out I was in the biz.” “And you said her surname was Venton or Fenton?” “Venton—with a vee. I thought she meant songwriters at first. “You’re kidding?” “No. get ready! She woke me up in the early hours to tell me that Paul McCartney is dead and his place was taken by a double in 1966!” “Ha!” exploded Sutton. he’s threatening to go public with the story after fourteen years of silence and they’re out to get him. Have you?” ‘Vaguely. Looked quite ill actually. eh? And there’s more. I gave her a couple of names including yours.

just an eccentric after all. With his second cup of coffee he was on the sports pages. the new leader of the Labour Party. reflected Ferro as he replaced the receiver. It was the autumn of 1969 when the story broke. A quarter of the front page was devoted to a picture of Michael Foot.” “Yeah.” Sutton pronounced it ‘nuffin’. although she looked nervous in the pub. sounds like it has! Not sure about the new bit about Lennon though. “I wonder what she’s on?” “Yeah. They chatted casually for a few more minutes.A Day in the Life “Right!” Sutton agreed. That’s when I first head about it. By his third cup. mostly postmortems of Saturday’s soccer games.” Ferro smiled. just below an obituary of Steve McQueen. Keeps turning up. it seems she really believes it by the sound of things.” “Poor old Carmen. “Perhaps she’s just heard. Ronald Reagan. three-column-inches in length. She was deadly earnest about it all last night. And she was scared they’d get her too. Ferro was glancing over the articles when two words 7 . I mean. I remember it well. It was on page five. next to his predecessor James Callaghan. she never said nothing to me about it.” “Me neither. The Lennon story was new twist though. he was browsing the inside pages. Ferro’s last Guardian article had been three months ago. So it wasn’t a joker. “Me too. It was a good hoax then for a couple of weeks.” “Funny thing is. Read about it probably. Sutton had two new signings he thought that Ferro might be interested in reviewing. About all the old Paulis-Dead stuff. the front page of The Guardian contained little of interest to Ferro. Or been listening to the record clues like all the rest of ‘em. the US president-elect had announced his cabinet. The incident was gone from his mind by the next day. Never heard that one before. Too long. I wonder where she got her story from after so long? It seems to have completely turned her head.” Sutton sounded concerned. Anyway. They weren’t high on Ferro’s list of priorities although he agreed to receive complementary tickets for an upcoming concert. Totally neurotic. doesn’t it? The rumors go back to the late 60’s. * * * * * One week later.

We’re here to take calls from members of the public that may know something about the matter. Please hold. yes. Can I have your full name please…Sir?…Hello?…” But Ferro had taken the phone away from his ear and was staring at the cord. I need—” “Just a moment sir. Instead. age 30.” “Yes. this time carefully all the way through. Outside the window. very slowly. possibly there is. Then he read it a fourth time. “We’re not giving out any information at this time. That body they’ve just identified. the suspended water droplets are small. He then gently replaced the receiver and stared through the kitchen window at the fog in the back yard beyond. I’m—” “Good. the head does not turn to squarely face the danger. “I’ve just read the article on Carmen Venton in the newspaper. It is an interesting characteristic that when one sees something potentially dangerous out of the corner of the eye. Can you tell me whether—” “I’m sorry sir.” he said when the police answered. the eyes continue to scan it fleeting from the side while searching in other directions. He sat back and stared at the wall. “Yes. They had your name and number in there.’ could there be in southern England? Ferro remained fixated on his kitchen wall for two minutes.” “It is a murder inquiry then?” “Yes sir. they tend to fall earthwards as drizzle. Daniel Ferro. Just how many ‘Carmen Ventons. Ferro’s second glance at the article was in a manner akin to this flight reflex. Good. as if for an escape route. In a typical fog.” the policeman interrupted. John Perkins formed a jarring resonance. I need some details on the murder. the fog was now turning to drizzle. Now is there anything you can tell us?” “Well. When they exceed a diameter of about two-tenths of a millimeter. * * * * * 8 . I’ll put you through to the hotline. “Hotline! Detective-Constable Tyrell. He read it for the third time.L. can you still hear me?…Sir?” The voice crackled in the earpiece. the phone suspended in midair.” The phone was picked up immediately. was deep in thought and appreciated none of this. however. he dialed the number of Sussex County Constabulary at Horsham. His gaze flitted around its periphery at unrelated stories. “Sir. Then. Ferro considered the situation for a few seconds more.

of popular music. above all. It was a borrowed car. if possible. England were the soccer champions of the world. 1966 he London of November 1966 was a cold. rather dirty city. had been scolded with a wrenching protest from the bowels of the car. smiling member of the world's favorite pop group. to Piccadilly Circus.— Chapter 1 — Abbey Road Thursday. or circumstances…’ The global environmental conscience was still some years away. In the gloom of the November evening. Swinging London was the epicenter of the swinging sixties. The air was now free of the pea-souper smogs of the 1950s because of the introduction of stringent smokeless-coal legislation in the intervening years. In 1966 ‘environment’ was spelled with only a lower case ‘e’ and the Concise Oxford English Dictionary of the period defined it merely as ‘…surrounding objects. the Beatles had evolved a new musical art form in the recording studio that was impossible to reproduce live. T 9 . November 24. In the past year. The shift to the West Coast of America was half a year in the future. But there was. even more litter in the streets discarded by an increasingly nihilistic population. forgetting that there was no first-gear synchromesh on this unfamiliar vehicle. The West End of London was the tourist mecca of the world. George Harrison nursed the Mini Cooper to the curbside and killed the engine. He'd just turned from the Bayswater Road into Queensway and. region. But the London of November 1966 was also a dazzling city at the pinnacle of the renaissance of popular culture. This was no longer the earnest. infatuated with the recent British Invasion and everything that accompanied it. to the King's Road—a riotous melange of youth and color and mini-skirts and long hair and illegal aromas and. less conspicuous than his white Aston Martin DB5 and less prone to lipstick messages from besotted fans. They swarmed from Oxford Street to Carnaby Street. Harrison grimaced. London was the fashion capital of the world. Not for the traditional tourist but for the newly emergent and affluent youth culture. an eternity given the breakneck pace of artistic creation.

the recent appalling event. It had been fantastic in 1963 when stardom had arrived. “My daughter really likes you lot. Was it really only four years ago that he had been riding his bicycle through the back streets of Liverpool. He’d have Mal or Neil get the cigarettes when he got to Abbey Road. The man behind the counter looked at him carefully. picked up the cigarettes and made to leave. Why not just go in and get some? His trepidation of encountering the public had increased markedly over the past few months. the hordes of eager people wanting to shake his hand and feel him up and down. Then again. the continuous facile questions from a fawning press and.” said Harrison. “She’s plastered your pictures all over her bedroom walls. or care. Here was an easy escape at least. the Beatles were 10 . “I don’t understand it meself. then hauled himself out of the Mini and entered the shop. And now here comes the inevitable autograph request he thought. But it wasn’t. he wasn’t sure he was going to Abbey Road today—or ever again. in particular. they had been committed to touring the world earlier that summer as conventional pop musicians before multitudes screaming too loudly to notice. The continuous glare of public scrutiny. he thought. John Perkins Nevertheless. “Twenty Gold Leaf please.” said the man.” Harrison nodded briefly in acknowledgment.L.” the proprietor grunted. he wouldn’t stop here. No. It was the same inane questions and the same looks of awe at seeing him in the flesh. he tried to recall what it had been like when he could go anywhere he pleased. “ Four shillings and tuppence. how badly rehearsed they were. He raised his eyebrows in question but said nothing. I can’t hear what you’re all singing about.” Harrison placed the exact change on the counter. as if he was made of some novel tactile material. At the beginning of that year. blithely ignorant of the world and it of him? It seemed a lifetime ago. He needed cigarettes. He sat in the car and glanced at the tobacconist’s shop. Everywhere he went it was the same thing—the applause as he was spotlighted in the shadows of a nightclub. He sat irresolute for a full minute. were killing Harrison’s enthusiasm for his chosen career. Not that I’d call it singing of course!” As Harrison slouched out of the shop. But it didn’t. Spends all her pocket money on your records. This time he was really was frowning. “Thanks. It’s just noise. the free drinks. He always gave the impression of frowning because his eyebrows thickened as they reached his nose.

vying for position in the traffic streaming from central London. free to do as he pleased. NW8.K. when this new recording session had been suggested. In 1964 they had become celebrities in the States. But this morning he had been strangely drawn by the desire to at least see the familiar faces of the inner circle. he had refused. It had been five months since the Beatles had last recorded at the studios—Tuesday. in the street of the same name. an English Heritage plaque on the front of the house informed the world that Sir Edward Elgar had recorded here decades before. 1966 to be exact. In October. Harrison thought. he’d decided not to do it. June 21. A month had passed and he had barely softened his opposition. But now in late 1966. he could stroll through bustling central London without being recognized. he had been the one most vehemently against continuing. he could walk the streets of London unrecognized.A Day in the Life well known in Liverpool but. without the press and populace snapping at his heels. Just another face in the crowd. By the end of 1963 the phenomenon had exploded in the U. The Wedgwood-blue plaque is still there today. a date that held more 11 . shop as he pleased. It has yet to be accompanied by a similar plaque commemorating the Beatles. if just for one hour. act as he pleased. with only a rather minor single release to their credit. In November of 1966. Perhaps two more deaths must occur for that to happen. this King Midas syndrome was becoming too painful. He was still ambivalent as to whether he’d stop in at Abbey Road or simply just drive on and out of this charade forever. He and his two fellow Beatles were broke. The autopilot in Harrison’s head shepherded the Mini north on the Edgware Road and into Maida Vale. The original building was erected as a detached residence in 1830 with nine bedrooms and five reception rooms. Of the three remaining Beatles. Then there was his wife—he was sure that Pattie suspected something. How great it would be. By 1965 they had achieved global exposure. Yesterday. It was purchased by the Gramophone Company in 1929 and converted to recording studios just prior to the merger with Columbia Records to form EMI. and it was still fun—more or less. And perhaps of most concern there were the financial implications. His conscious brain was in turmoil. * * * * * EMI’s Abbey Road studios are situated in a white-painted mansion in the leafy London suburb of St John’s Wood. especially given the present crisis.

and stood back to let Harrison enter. What had ostensibly been devoted to recording the song ‘She Said She Said’ for the forthcoming Revolver album. A bored-looking security guard glanced into the Mini Cooper stopped outside. The recording complex of Abbey Road comprises four studios. was insolvent. himself. And now. casually dressed and a former multi-millionaire. However. Their favorite studio had always been Studio Two. sir. Cautiously opening the door to the control room of Studio Two. and for two very different reasons. Their unique position in the world of popular music was beyond question. Harrison strode through the hallway vaguely aware of the smell of polish on the parquet floor. The largest is Studio One and is routinely used for large orchestral recording and operas. it was referred to patronizingly as the ‘pop’ studio by EMI management. for the first time in their career. that the usual gaggle of fans outside the gates was absent.” said the doorman. “Hello George!” said the five people on the floor. he nodded without expression to engineers Gerry Easterby and Peter MacDougal.L. But the doorman would have been astonished to learn that Harrison. like his remaining colleagues. 12 . whereas approximately half of their Revolver album had been recorded in Studio Three earlier in the year. recognized its famous occupant with an inclination of his head and swung open the gates. there was no pressure on the Beatles to deliver a recorded product to meet a planned deadline. “Studio Two today I believe. Harrison was conscious of the contrast between them: the doorman resplendent in a sham uniform and probably earning all of fourteen pounds a week. Even hidebound and inflexible EMI had offered them open-ended evening studio time and no recording budget limit. had in fact been the final recording session of the four original Beatles. It always triggered in him the olfactory memory of Dovedale Primary School. It had been so long. Doorman and world celebrity glanced at each other as they passed. and descended the twenty steps down to the floor of Studio Two itself. apparently deferentially. only producer George Martin had smiled. There was a slight hesitation before the ‘sir’. At the entrance to the building a uniformed doorman nodded. The Beatles rarely used Studio One. John Perkins significance for rock and roll than any music historian would realize. The stucco walls of the grounds fronting the street were still painted offwhite even though they had been adorned for two years now with a lacework of graffiti from Beatle fans.

A Day in the Life On that Thursday in November of 1966. wire-framed National Health glasses.” “They’re not much use here in the studio anyroad” Harrison drawled. staring at the ground. Harrison thought they looked rather silly.” said George Martin to the room in general. were seated at a small table. They sound tinny at low volume. his large six-foot-three-inch frame bent almost double. the other Beatles’ factotum. and let’s go. a slap in the face to the tenor of the times.m. two microphone mix. “Hmm.” Lennon didn’t look up. a returned relic from the Beatles’ Shea Stadium concert last year. an acoustic guitar slung around his neck. two semi-acoustics—an orange Gretsch and a sunburst Epiphone. “O. raised his voice towards the studio intercom. The other’s hair was cropped short. “This is a new one George. “Thermistor’s overheating again.” replied Evans.K Gerry. It was a left-handed model. returned to a Vox amplifier he was inspecting. George Martin was seated on his characteristic high stool in the center of the studio with John Lennon standing before him. It’s…it’s about a place I knew once. a chessboard between them.” Lennon taped some handwritten lyrics 13 . “I understand that Paul’s not around. He peered inside the back. But Harrison’s eyes were drawn to the solitary instrument set apart from the rest—a Höfner violin-style bass guitar. A lump formed in his throat as Harrison blinked rapidly to stem the upwelling tears. Mal Evans. It’s called ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’. Ringo Starr and the Beatles’ assistant. Rehearsal only. Neil Aspinall. “No. five guitars were laid out against the wall of Studio Two: a Martin acoustic. He thought Lennon looked considerably thinner in the face since he had last seen him.” Their producer paused. Mark this session started at six p.” said Lennon shortly. that’s all.” He turned back to Lennon eyebrows raised. channels one and two. and he was wearing a pair of cheap. “Is he coming later in the week?” “No. Single track. and a 1959 Fender Stratocaster. “Smell the smoke? These Vox AC100s never have been reliable.” “Why?” “He’s not. “Trouble?” said Harrison. “Too big.” Harrison sat down and watched Lennon and Martin through the pall of cigarette smoke hanging in the air.

okay?” snapped Lennon. Let’s take a break shall we?” Martin turned back to his local microphone. froze in the act of extracting a packet of Peter Stuyvesant from the carton on top of the piano. Harrison stared at Lennon with deep concern. but ultimately beautiful lyrics. He adjusted the tuning of his top string and began. Martin sat on his stool in front of Lennon. This song was to start very differently from the final version. can you reel up that song 14 . “ ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’. he stared at the instrument. Their eyes were focused on the two figures in the center of the floor. George Martin was looking up at the control room and seemed not to have noticed the petrified proceedings. “Gerry. “I just can’t do this today George. misunderstanding all you see…” began Lennon in what was to be an intermediate attempt at the opening lines of the song. This was magic in the making. Starr and Aspinall had ceased their chess game. Harrison and Evans were both listening entranced by Lennon’s halting. Holding it away from his body. we’ll take twenty.” said Martin at the song’s conclusion. his head on one side listening closely. childlike. Starr.” “Something wrong John?” Martin asked. John Perkins to the microphone stand. “I can’t do this. behind a sound screen. Who wants to play the bass part just for today?” Lennon and Harrison glanced quickly at each other and then at the floor. offered a drum pattern with dominant use of tom-toms. a piece of musical history was about to be set into motion. Phil. I think. Easterby had left the control board and was standing in the open doorway. “No one.” exclaimed Lennon.” “Okay John.L. Following a few rehearsals of the song.” said Martin into the intercom microphone. who had risen from his drum stool. his eyes wide and unblinking. ”Jesus fuckin’ Christ. Harrison played rhythm accompaniment. Finally Lennon got up from the Mellotron stool and moved slowly over to the Höfner Beatle bass. Ringo Starr. “Okay John. we’ll need a temporary bass track for reference. “Anyway it’s left handed—I can’t play left handed. He knew that his colleague’s inner demons must be squirming and that this was the last thing that Lennon wanted to do. “If you’re going to add further ideas tonight. is in my tree…” he sang. “Well?” said Martin. “Who wants to do the bass part?” No one moved. take one. glancing at a transcribed chord chart on his music stand. “Living is easy with eyes closed. looking down on the scene in the studio below. just himself and an acoustic guitar. okay.

okay. So. what’s wrong with Lennon? He’d certainly been increasingly difficult to work with over the last year or so—more demanding in his requirements. Paul’s solo session we were doing a couple of month ago.” Lennon looked over at Harrison. more acerbic in his comments to the staff. Starr and Aspinall had returned to their chess game. I said I don’t want to hear that again. MacDougal switched to fast rewind. Slamming it down on the table.A Day in the Life for the new single? You know. detached it from the Studer four-track machine and replaced it in the metal can. then again. He seemed about to walk out with it but appeared to think better of it. Evans had given up on the amplifier. Harrison smiled for the first time that evening and nodded. Anyway. leaving vacuum tubes scattered over the tabletop. I’ll take it off. I don’t want to hear that again. unamplified. “Want to go upstairs George?” he said. “This is Paul’s song for the new single.” replied MacDougal the engineer. Not tomorrow. John could add some more harmony vocals later. McCartney’s voice cut off abruptly. raising his eyes upwards. But. ever more creative in his musical output.” said Lennon. Lennon watched this operation closely. On its completion he snatched up the can and held it firmly to his chest.” McDonald looked at the EMI recording sheet. it’s cold up there. It was emanating from the reference monitors on each side of the control desk. Not ever! Okay? “Okay. “What the fuck is that?” snapped Lennon. braked the flapping reel with the palm of his hand. “Take it off. “The one he started in September when you were filming in Spain. MacDougal shrugged. his chair tilted back against the wall.” “Er…George just said he wanted it played for you. George said you might want to add some more today and—” “I said take it off. you remember this one. The two men stopped dead and listened intently. “This was…take four and…” “Take it off.” said Lennon very quietly. Lennon and Harrison were walking out of the door into the corridor when the control room was suddenly filled with voice of Paul McCartney. He had picked up a guitar and was idly strumming it. Not today.” MacDougal looked at him resentfully. The engineer watched them go with puzzlement. surely? You came in and added some harmonies by yourself later in September. “Better bring your coat. That’s what you put up with when you work 15 . he strode out of the room followed by Harrison.

It tasted of nothing more than granulated sugar. fuck it. they met no one as they made their way to the roof of Studio Two. “I already popped one an hour ago. He wondered if Sir Edward Elgar had been this difficult. George! We shouldn’t be here tonight in the first place. I need a double hit tonight. I’ve got to be able to play the guitar later.” “How’s Pattie?” “Fine…and you? And Cyn. “So. the sky was clear and sparkles of frost were already forming on the neighboring roof tiles. Go ahead George.” Lennon chewed the inside of his cheek They fell silent and both stared at the ground. folding his arms into his body. The air temperature was in the low thirties.” Lennon shrugged. “This’ll be the end of any more useful work tonight you know. Harrison followed him up the stairs to the third floor. “It ain’t going to work like this. Inside were five sugar cubes. Harrison watched as his colleague took a small plastic bag from his pocket and offered it to him. is it Georgy boy?” said Lennon at length.” nodded Lennon. Lennon leaned against the push-bar to let Harrison through. In 1966. Well it was a great song anyway. Lennon lit a cigarette. Abbey Road Studios was still mainly a nine-to-five operation. Julian?” “They’re okay I ‘spose. Get on wi’rr’it.” Harrison shook his head.” “Oh. “Good stuff?” said Harrison. his head down. his face grim. fell out of bed…’ * * * * * Lennon led the way through empty corridors. popped a sugar cube into his mouth and crunched it. Harrison stamped his feet and hugged himself against the cold. Lennon looked about him sadly.” Harrison hesitated. his breath condensing in the cold air.L. how’ve you been George?” “Fair to middling I suppose. It had been an entirely different world last time he was up here. “Very good. John Perkins with geniuses. He shrugged again and looked back at McCartney’s recording sheet for early September. How did it go again? ‘Woke up. 16 . “No thanks John. even if Lennon didn’t want to hear it.

At least it’ll bloody well be warm there! Not like this shitty frozen country. “I met this chick—well a woman really. That was a new song tonight wasn’t it? The one about the old orphanage at Strawberry Fields?” “Yeah. Can’t get anything useful done. “Yeah.A Day in the Life “No. She’s Japanese.” Lennon snorted. Fucking Jacobs. Can’t do anything. “It was dumb to think we could continue this. “We all agreed John. it’s actually been better the last couple of weeks. Although. You know. I’m sort of thinking of—” “You’ve not said anything to her about any of this?” Harrison looked alarmed. course not. I know. George?” “Not good. Know what I mean?” Lennon grunted in assent. in a funny sort of way. “ But Jesus fucking Christ.” “Who’s going to pay for it? All our money’s with the Company remember!” “Yeah. She looks at things differently than I ever have before. plus them. I started out and then almost drove by and away forever. “So how have you really been.” Lennon continued. Fucking stupid idea!” He smacked his right fist into his left palm. “What do you think?” Harrison shrugged and then said.” Lennon breathed heavily. She’s…she’s sort of different. Lennon was looking rather sheepish. Harrison glanced up. “In Pete Asher’s Indica Gallery.” Lennon shook his head. “Well John. Fucking stupid cunts. We could’ve said no. more meaningful. She’s not from here. “No. Makes it all more special now. I met this chick…” He hesitated. me too. Writing’s what I can still do. I wasn’t going to come here today. er…comforting. It wasn’t just them. Finally Harrison said. Hide maybe. “Funny thing. Go to the Caribbean for a year or two.” They fell silent again. at least you can still write. In a very different way. eh?” He paused and then asked.” agreed Harrison. But she’s been. He shook his head. ” Lennon snorted. just off Jermyn Street.” “Does Cyn know? About this woman I mean. “Have you talked to Ringo more about it? 17 . We voted four to nothing. “Fucking Epstein. We should just drop it and slip away. In the end. George! How were we to know this would happen.

John’s Wood.L. London Zoo! Visions of tigers sprang into his mind—bright. he says. He rose and walked over to where his partner was now fixated on the sparkling frost crystals coating the air conditioning ducts. Anyroad. “Umm…John…” Harrison hesitated.” he said grinning expansively. This puzzled Lennon until he realized it must be Regent’s Park and London Zoo. John Perkins “Yeah. Their desultory conversation continued until Lennon gradually fell silent. velly clever. Matter-of-fact about it all. He blinked rapidly and the nuggets merged with the lights of a halfdozen surrounding tower blocks of St. His eyes blazed. The panoply of precious stones formed sweeping arcs of swirling rainbows. Too clever by half. preoccupied with his altering perception. Lennon would 18 . Lennon laughed delightedly.” Lennon put a finger into the corner of each of his eyes and slanted them upwards.” “Ah! It’s not that incredible. overpowering in their intensity. Velly. “It’s very good! Wow! Come and look at this!” Harrison was sitting on a low retaining wall hunched up against the cold. He squinted through his eyelashes and shook his head slowly back and forth. The Company is clever. er…what d’you think about this grand idea of Brian’s then?” Lennon wheeled around to face him. “Yeah?” “What. It was a clear night with good visibility.” He bit his lip. He swiveled westwards once more to stare at a nearby block of flats. crimson mouths. For a minute he gazed across the rooftops. Remember the Company. “Velly clever. He finally turned his gaze eastwards to a large black region devoid of lights. He looked southward over Lord’s Cricket Ground and gradually rotated to encompass the now-pulsating lights over Maida Vale. emeralds and deep-blue flashing diamonds. He swiveled north to the Finchley Road where a yellow snake of sodium streetlights was threading Swiss Cottage. The lysergic acid diethylamide was beginning to bite and the tingles were starting. He could clearly see the rough speckled texture of the surface of each nugget. “It’s good George. rubies. The lit windows metamorphosed into array of gold nuggets set on a large velvet cloth. The tower blocks became large black monoliths studded with sapphires. You know Ringo. it’s incredible the Press haven’t been sniffing around. They can hush anything up. flashing yellow-gold tigers with broad shiny black stripes and gaping. You makes yer choices and takes yer chances. Fuck ‘em all. “I think it’s totally fucking insane!” He swung back and stared hard at the ground.

A Day in the Life

focus for a second on one spot when, out of the corner of his eye, another shimmer would draw his gaze. He steeled himself not to look at further flashes but their Morse Code insistently demanded his attention. Lennon was experiencing a lull. His vision had cleared and his perception was more or less back to normal. But he knew he only had to wait a minute or two for the show to re-commence. Shaking his head to clear it, he turned his attention back to his friend. “Are you going to the Bag O’Nails club tomorrow?” he said thickly. Harrison blinked. “To see that new black guitarist?” he said at length. “Yeah, thinking of it.” “He’s suppose to be really shit-hot you know.” “Yeh, I know,” said Harrison dourly. “Eric said he let him sit in on a Cream gig they did at the Regent Street Poly. Said he tried to blow him off the stage. Eric said he was fuckin’ good. Too fuckin’ good!” He sighed. Just one more slick, virtuoso guitarist named James Marshall Hendrix was all Harrison needed in his life at the moment. It had been increasingly difficult for him over the past two years to maintain his status in the top echelon of lead guitarists. An echelon with no formal ranking but, nevertheless, very evident within the music fraternity. The new note-bending, blues-influenced styles of Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and now this Hendrix character, were rather alien to him. Harrison was a picker, a competent but conventional guitarist whose major influence had been the rockabilly guitarist Carl Perkins. Suddenly, Lennon was shaking Harrison’s arm, doubled over in laughter. “I was just thinking,” gasped Lennon. “It’s so funny…so funny. You just said, ‘tried to blow him off the stage.’ I was just thinking…like this.” Lennon pursed his lips and attempted to blow. His continuing laughter defeated the effort. Harrison stood there frowning, appearing not to see the humor. But Lennon did. He collapsed in a heap on the ground, helpless with laughter, tears streaming from his eyes. It was the kind of laughter that wouldn’t let go. It continued to pump his diaphragm and prevented him from taking a breath. It was the kind of laughter that made him scared it would never stop. But it stopped as abruptly as it had started. * * * * *

19

L. John Perkins

“Okay John,” said George Martin. “Ready to go on ‘Strawberry Fields’ again?” John Lennon was not ready to go. The jitters had commenced in earnest. Moreover, he was mesmerized by the pulsing reflections from the pearl inlays on his acoustic guitar. He angled the instrument to catch the studio lights high overhead and he scanned back and forth from the kaleidoscopic colors on the body to the iridescent markers on the fretboard. “John?” said Martin again. Lennon wrenched his attention back to his producer. But, out of the corner of his eye, the wall to his left, formerly only a yard or so away, appeared to have vanished and had been replaced by a huge yawning void. His head instinctively snapped to the left and the green studio wall appeared reassuringly solid. He shook his head to clear it. “I want to try something alone for a minute, George” he said to Martin. “I’m going to do something different to start it.” He haltingly picked out an introduction similar to the Mellotron figure he’d added an hour ago. “Let me take you down, ‘cos I’m going to…” he sang unsteadily. Just after the start of Lennon’s solo effort, the door from the control room opened and Brian Epstein quietly descended the stairs. The Beatles’ manager was, as always, immaculately dressed, with a camel-hair officer’s drill coat, brown leather gloves and a yellow silk scarf. His hair was starting to thin and he had recently been sporting a lowered side parting with the front arranged in rather prissy waves. He stopped two steps from the bottom, leant on the handrail and listened closely to the remainder of the song. “Very nice John. Very nice indeed,” Epstein said with a smile at its conclusion. He was, however, sweating and looked nervous. Lennon was having trouble focusing on moving objects, however slightly they were moving including Epstein. His manager’s face, already flushed, looked to him like a giant red beach ball hovering in the air. Epstein’s features were grossly distorted and extended into a huge nose and grinning cavernous mouth. “Hello Brian,” Lennon slurred. He smiled hugely at nothing in particular. “George, excuse me for interrupting the session,” Epstein said turning to Martin. “I just popped in to see the boys. Would you mind if I drag them away for a minute or two?” He turned to the three Beatles. “Boys, shall we go upstairs for a minute? I’ve brought someone I’d like you to meet. I knew you’d all be here today so I thought we should strike while the iron was hot.” He rubbed his hands together enthusiastically but avoided looking them in the eye. Lennon was still having trouble with the red beach ball.

20

A Day in the Life

The three Beatles followed their manager up the stairs and through the control room. “That was a new song I just heard wasn’t it John?” said Epstein smiling over his shoulder. Epstein’s teeth were irregular and slightly splayed, unusual in one so fastidious in dress. When he smiled, his top teeth appeared to bite into his lower lip. “Uh-huh,” grunted Lennon. “I’m so glad you’re doing a new song today. A new beginning and a new LP, eh?” “There’s not going to be any new LP, Brian.” “Now John! We’ve already discussed all this and it’s been agreed. Anyway, the song sounded very nice. Yes, very nice.” He paused. “You know though, the middle bit sounded…er…not quite right. Perhaps you should think about—” “You just stick to yer percentages Brian,” retorted Lennon acidly. “We’ll look after the music.” But no more music was destined to be made that night. The main corridor outside Studio Two was now in semi-darkness. The minimal night lighting was throwing yellow wedges on the floor in patterns alternating with dark pools of shadow. The doorman had long departed leaving only the night watchman, at this moment asleep in his booth just inside the main entrance. In one of the patches of shadow a solitary figure stood, watching the approaching group of four closely, a cigarette burning in his hand. “Umm, boys,” said Epstein apprehensively. “I’d like you to meet Bill.” He turned to the figure in the shadows. The stranger was dressed in a cream, gabardine raincoat, a striped college scarf wrapped tightly around his neck. His face was distinguished by a mustache and a pair of black, heavy frame glasses. He wore a beret on his head. The newcomer was about five feet ten tall, the same height as Harrison. He glanced quickly from one Beatle to the next, a nervous smile licking at the corners of his mouth. Lennon strode forward until he was toe-to-toe with the stranger, his head jutted forward staring intently into the other’s eyes. He continued to stare for a period longer than is considered polite in Western society. The man straightened upward and backward, his eyes averted. Lennon suddenly sprang, tearing off the stranger’s beret and glasses. The man’s head snapped back. Lennon eyes were riveted on the other’s face. Harrison simultaneously took a sharp intake of breath. Ringo Starr just stared.

21

L. John Perkins

“You must be fookin’ crazy Epstein!” screamed Lennon. “Absolutely, fookin’ crazy. We’re all fookin’ crazy!” Lennon pushed violently past Epstein and his guest, strode through the front entrance and into the night. The night watchman awoke startled as the door slammed behind him. * * * * *

22

— Chapter 2 — Rock and Roll
Tuesday, November 11, 1980
aniel Ferro was absorbed by something that had arrived in the midday post. The envelope was handwritten in sprawling block capitals and bore the London postmark S.W.3. He scanned the contents with a creeping realization of who had sent it. Of the two enclosures, one was a single page of typewritten text. The other appeared to be a grainy Xerox copy of a black and white photograph about four inches square. It showed the upper half of a man in spectacles, smiling but not looking at the camera. His hair was short, swept back from the forehead and neatly styled, The subject was dressed in a tie and dark jacket and a clipped mustache graced his upper lip. His glasses had a heavy top frame with unframed lenses below. There was something familiar about the face. Ferro had been ruminating on the murder most of the morning and his Elton John article was suffering accordingly. Was it the same girl? It was certainly an unusual name. She was also the right age. After abruptly disconnecting himself from the Sussex police’s hotline, he had spent fifteen minutes in thought before calling Geoff Sutton at his London office. He’d wondered if Sutton had heard the news. Presumably Sutton would also have been curious to know if it was their Carmen Venton. After all, Sutton knew her; he’d been at school with her. Also, like himself, Sutton had known she was scared of something. However, on reaching Magno Records, Sutton’s secretary had informed Ferro that her boss had left for the States yesterday. He was on a promotional tour of the West Coast, she’d said, and would be away for about four weeks. The body had only been identified yesterday, the day that Sutton had left for his trip. So presumably Sutton hadn’t heard anything, otherwise he would have surely telephoned. He decided against attempting to reach Sutton in California. He’d no doubt hear from him on his return if the story was still hot. Ferro turned back to the letter. The girl had typed it on a manual typewriter either carelessly or hastily, or both. It contained several spelling and grammatical errors, and significant over-typing. It was unsigned and repeated more or less her side of their conversation of several nights ago—the

D

23

L. John Perkins

same insistence about the danger that John Lennon was in, the same inanity about Paul McCartney’s death fourteen years ago, the same diatribe about the deaths of Epstein and Jacobs being murder, the same links to the Charm Company and a repeat of the plea for Ferro to publish an expose. The only really new piece of information was the photograph. This, she maintained, was an early photograph of a ‘William Remington’ taken a year or two before he was brought in to replace McCartney. She concluded with a warning not to try to contact her. He returned to the photograph. Now that he was looking for it, there was certainly something familiar about the eyes and the high cheekbones. But the general presentation of the face and hairstyle seemed rather staid to be a facsimile of one-half of the greatest songwriting team of the 20th Century. Ferro was intrigued. He could, of course, dismiss the nonsense about the Beatles. However, if it was the same girl in the newspaper and as she had tried to contact him before being murdered, there was perhaps just the glimmer of a story here for him. Was the murder just a chance happening or was it connected in some oblique way with her delusions? He clearly needed more information about the murder without going back to the police. But from where? * * * * *

An hour later Ferro had an idea—a call to Cary Adler, a colleague at The Guardian might solve the problem. He was through to his fellow journalist in a minute. “It’s about that murder report you’re running on page five today, Cary. A Carmen Venton. Her body was discovered in Sussex.” “Oh yeah?” “I need some more information. Background and circumstances leading up to it. Can you help me locate the author of the piece?” “Yeah, hold on…” There was a pause. “Dan—it was originally a feed from Reuters’ wire service. One of our pool staff writers did the piece in today’s edition.” “Is he available?” “Possibly, but he, or she, probably wouldn’t be here on the premises. I might be able to get you a telephone number.” “Hmm. Any chance of getting the original Reuters’ feed?”

24

Two section dates. One story for every ten leads. What’s your telex number?” “Haven’t got one. “Of course Dan. one from yesterday and one from. if at all possible. Um…covered with fresh earth and sticks and grass.” Adler sighed again. “Just paraphrase it for me quickly if you’d be so kind. Due to nature of disposal. Probably injected—” “Curare?” interrupted Ferro.” “Huh! More like fifty with me. curare and potassium chloride in the bloodstream. er…autopsy day after discovery. could smell something…dog dug down and uncovered an arm…body had been dead for about two days. “The what?” “White Bull.” Adler sighed. Probably nothing in it. I’ve got nothing to do today. Let me see…body discovered on Thursday. okay. I’ll go and print it off. You know—writer’s block.” “Oh. was it? Anyway.” Adler was gone for about four minutes. But you know how it is these days. Adler sighed.” Ferro smiled. “There’s about two pages. police treated it as murder from start even though no obvious signs of violence. It was Hemmingway’s expression for the blank page.” “Okay Cary. I haven’t got two deadlines looming at five o’clock that I’m having great trouble even starting!” The White Bull. the 6th of November—that’s five days ago—same date as this first Reuters’ feed…discovered by a rambler and his dog…was very well hidden. “Okay.A Day in the Life “You mean now?” “Yes. I could compose some music for it and sing it to you Also I might just—. Can you read it out to me? You can stick it in the post then. I’m at home. Rambler and dog were on all day wilderness hike. with all the free time I have today. “I suppose I could get it for you. showed cause of death was lethal mixture of sodium pentothal. Hold on. So what’s the angle here Dan? Anything I’d be interested in?” “Possibly. deep in the forest…buried two feet in the ground. wouldn’t leave the site.” He grabbed a pencil and notepad. “Got it!” he said on his return. eh?” Ferro chuckled. er…dog very excited. You better give me first refusal on follow-ups if this thing comes in. Just following a weak lead. er…looks like Thursday last week. Apparently remarkable that it was found at all. “That’s the poison used in indian blow darts!” 25 .

And now I’ve got to get back to work. London Borough of Lewisham. but don’t forget: First refusal on follow-up leads! If anything else comes over the wire on this one I’ll let you know.” “Interesting. Causes muscle paralysis. It had to be! It had to be! He quickly calculated. blond hair. Again he wondered if this was all simply a coincidence. I’ll have this copy posted to you. he realized.E. John Perkins “Right.” said Ferro. S. blue eyes…positive identification on the 10th November—that was yesterday and. Go on. Although as I said it’s just a long shot. age thirty. That’s a long time.” “Aha!” Ferro interjected. He was. Therefore. We’ve got your address on file. he would be considered a material witness by the police. It’s also used during open-heart surgery to freeze the diaphragm muscles.” “Okay. Clearly murder due to the cause of death and disposition of the body…no obvious sexual molestation…” “What about the ID. 26 .” “Okay.” “Great. Stops the patient breathing. “Go on”. Carmen Venton. victim identified as Carmen Olivia Venton. that’s about the gist of it Dan. in possession of two pieces of evidence that conceivably could be of use to the police in this matter—the original telephone call and now the letter. That would mean she was killed only a day after their midnight exchange and the same day as his conversation with Sutton. There’s—” “Hold on. It doesn’t say why here. But he had spoken to her a day before her murder and there was no doubt that she was scared of something.6. You still living in Greenwich?” “Yes. Anything of interest there?” “Hold on a sec. maybe. right.L. “Okay…five feet eight inches. originally from Catford. um…Sussex Police hotline in Horsham is seeking information from the public. completing his scribbled notes. Ferro was conscious of his heart beating perceptively faster. originally from Catford.” Adler paused.” “Thanks Cary! I owe you one!” Ferro glanced down at his notes.” Ferro broke in again. “Yeah. “Took—what was it?—four days for the identification.…injected intravenously. No sexual motive. I wonder why?” “Yeah. A trivial murder for money perhaps? She’d obviously had no purse or handbag on her otherwise the identification wouldn’t have taken so long. “Well. however remotely. age thirty. Cary? Who was the person? Where from?” “Hold on…okay.” ”How did they do the ID? Who identified her?” “Hold on…doesn’t say.

A Day in the Life Ferro shrugged to himself. If it turned into a publishable story then he would be requested to divulge his sources. The second was a set of handwritten notes on an obituary of Punk Rock. A refreshing music rebellion that was only fully recognized and christened in 1975. Journalistic privilege counted for only so much in England after all. wouldn’t it? What was that old maxim? ‘The measure of a man is that which he does when he knows that he won’t get found out’. of course. Punk was all over by 1979. It had first come to light in October 1969. Inserting a sheet of paper in his IBM Selectric typewriter. the start of his third year at college. if it didn’t result in anything useful. Ferro was perplexed. It had not destroyed the music industry but it opened the door to a myriad of new and refreshing music forms. Ferro doubted that anyone would ever learn of their communication so it would be a simple matter to forget it later. He’d only hold on to the information for a day or so until he decided whether to pursue the story. Ferro’s thoughts drifted back to the original ‘Paul-is-Dead’ story. the precursor to an essay he was hoping to sell to one of the UK music papers. On the other hand. it had succeeded. Ferro was not the first to note the end of Punk but he hoped he’d be the first to author an intelligent article on its demise. A 27 . another possible explanation and it was disturbing—had someone else mailed it for her? Ferro was unable to give his full attention to the two articles in progress on his desk. Of course. he typed the words ‘PUNK ROCK 1975-1979 R. then tore the paper out of the typewriter platen and tossed it into the waste basket. Ferro was looking through the notes again when he was struck by a realization.I. He thought for a minute. It had fought and lost but. Something like that. His mind was not on the task. How could she have sent him a letter seven days after she’d been killed? Surely even the Royal Mail couldn’t have delayed the processing of a local letter for that length of time? There was. too much time would have passed to permit him to forward the information to the police. He shrugged to himself again. But that would be effectively destroying evidence. following a lead like this for any length of time with such sequestered information could be problematic as far as the police were concerned. on one level. He grabbed the envelope that had just arrived in the mail and scanned the postmark: November the 10th—yesterday! And it carried a firstclass stamp. One was the Elton John retrospective that had languished somewhat in the past week.P’ at the top of the page and stared out of the window. He was toying with the idea of identifying the end of Punk with the establishment of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government in May 1979.

Following McCartney’s death. John Perkins disk jockey at WKNR-FM in Detroit. of course. She had played it continually during that September of 1956. Just one more lead and. Challenged by Gibb to produce the real Paul to prove he wasn’t dead. He’d been so since the age of eight when his sister brought home a copy of Bill Haley’s ‘Rock Around the Clock’. had picked up a story from the campus newspaper at Northern Illinois University who had originated the allegation. He concluded the list with a hand-drawn calendar covering the dates of the previous two weeks. Just another shot at a job. Michigan. the remaining Beatles had been putting clues on their subsequent recordings and album sleeves so that the fans would find them and the shock of Paul’s untimely death would be assuaged. Was there anything here. On to this he transcribed the notes he’d just taken in his conversation with Adler. entered a bulleted list of the facts he had to hand. anything that might make a story? Intriguing yes. a onetenth chance of a story. at best. Detroit newspapers had taken the story seriously for a week or so and the rumor spread. the story went. the deceased’s Beatles fantasy. He sat back and glanced back down the list. Haley was soon displaced in his sister’s affections by a string of classic 28 .L. the Beatles’ publicist. Finally. Should he research it further or should he just donate it all to Adler? A murder is a murder but there was no connection with music journalism here other than. The disk jockey—Russ Gibb or ‘Uncle Russ’. The newspaper had published a supposed list of clues to suggest that Paul McCartney had been killed in a car crash three years before. if Ferro remembered correctly— was sufficiently stimulated to read them over the air and to improvise some of his own. as he did on all new projects. Ferro looked back at his list.P’ at the top and. he typed ‘CARMEN VENTON 19501980 R. but nothing tangible. Ferro smiled to himself—all nonsense of course! Selecting a clean sheet of paper.I. he clipped the Xerox picture of the so-called William Remington to the back of the notes. Gibb had taken off for London to interview Derek Taylor. Taylor refused and Gibb aired a one-hour documentary on the supposed plot on his return. locally at first and subsequently internationally. It really had nothing to do with rock and roll did it? * * * * * Daniel Ferro was a profound fan of rock and roll.

‘Please Please Me’ and ‘From Me to You’. “What a load of rubbish! Call that music? You can’t hear the words!” His father was apoplectic with indignation. as good or better than their contemporaries of the period. Look at their hair. It had received record advanced orders and was to sell a million copies in the UK that year. A month later. Ferro watched transfixed. The Beatles closed the show and performed five songs to a television audience of fifteen million. his hands gripping the arms of his chair. On his return in September. ‘Twist and Shout’. It was about to become a maelstrom. while British imitators like Marty Wilde and Billy Fury continued to ape the pop pretty boys from across the Atlantic. Part I of Ferro’s conversion was about to occur. tuneful pop songs. and the scene for the rest of his life—his father was sitting bent forward. the British analog of the Ed Sullivan Show. Ferro listened avidly. So did his father but for an entirely different reason. the Beatles were the bill toppers on ATV’s Sunday Night at the London Palladium. “Look at their hair. Ferro took only passing notice. To him they were well crafted. Little Richard. Ferro had thought at the time—released a modest first single ‘Love Me Do’ that reached number seventeen in the UK record charts. in late 1962. A group from Liverpool called ‘The Beatles’—a rather silly name. Before Ferro had left for Italy. It was the song that firmly cemented the Beatles’ position as the nation’s—and Ferro’s—favorite band.” choked Ferro senior. almost thirty percent of the British population. glaring at their fourteen-inch black-and-white television. 29 . but still just pop songs by a band with adenoidal regional accents and intriguing hair styles. But then. Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry. Both reached number one and both caused Ferro to put down his Shadows’ records and listen carefully. Ferro lost his intimate contact with the British popular music scene. Her tastes were even transgressing to Johnny Mathis! The decade of Sputnik and Suez gave way to the sixties.A Day in the Life American rock and roll from the likes of Elvis Presley. for four weeks in the summer of 1963. Then. The Beatles’ ‘She Loves You’ was firmly at the top of the British charts. Like most people in southern England. he had never heard of the song. But he was dismayed at his sister’s transition in 1959 to the saccharine music of Paul Anka and Johnny Tillotson. Two further Beatles’ singles followed in early 1963. On his return. something bigger— much bigger—was stirring in Britain. He was taken to Italy to visit his paternal grandfather’s branch of the Ferro family. he heard it everywhere. During their final number—Ferro would remember the song.

He watched the trailblazers of progressive rock—John Mayall.L. He listened fervently as the British pop and electric blues period were complemented by Motown and Memphissoul from America. Just what had happened. Pepper. But there was no doubt that something had changed. He spent the 1960s immersed in the greatest popular music explosion the world had known. there was an ill-defined shift in the Beatles’ music for Ferro. they were running out of innovative ideas. He followed them religiously from the birth of Beatlemania in 1963 through the psychedelic revolution of Revolver and Sgt. especially. But for Ferro. With his musical leanings. Ferro couldn’t determine. His nights were occupied by listening to Radio Luxembourg as its transmissions faded in and out of the ether. He began his career writing copy for such fast-breaking stories as the Mayoral reception at the Town Hall and the opening of the new library complex. he graduated from the University of Birmingham with a degree in English and journalism and was hired as junior reporter for the local Birmingham Post and Mail. On EasterSunday 1964. School was a distraction to Ferro. The teenage Daniel Ferro savored each course on the menu as the early British Invasion of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones prompted the Folk Rock reply of Bob Dylan and the Byrds. Nationally that night across Britain. the second pirate radio station. Then strangely. Cream and Jimi Hendrix—give birth to the rock movement on both sides of the Atlantic. Part II of Daniel Ferro’s conversion was complete and his life was changed forever. John Perkins Ferro looked from the Beatles to his father and from his father back to the Beatles. after making music for six glorious years. it was the Beatles that stood head and shoulders above all others. Possibly. In 1970. around 1967. dramatically increased his exposure and that of millions of British teenagers to the new musical forms flooding in from both sides of the Atlantic. more a place for social interaction than education and. to glean the latest music gossip. Locally that night. a new musical force appeared as Radio Caroline began broadcasting from an old ship anchored in the North Sea. he was permitted to cover the local popular music scene and he 30 . Or perhaps it was simply that the magnificence of their achievements had inspired so many talented. But he could write coherently and with wit and style. Beatlemania was born. up-andcoming musicians that these former apprentices were now more proficient than their masters. This and the addition of Radio London. Even the staid BBC condescended to devote needle time to this rather distasteful new phenomenon.

His career with the provincial newspaper came to an abrupt end in 1974. A pair of lightweight headphones hung around his neck connected to a Sony Walkman—one of the first to be imported into Britain. spiked in Rod Stewart style. it was the decade that had so strongly shaped his life. he was not sure. Now. Melody Maker and the godfather of them all—Rolling Stone magazine—and quit to go freelance. What had started with the cloying music of Bobby Vinton had ended on a different planet with Led Zeppelin. 31 . the last three of these in London. To Ferro. and over his unshaven chin. weighed up offers he’d received recently from the New Musical Express. at the beginning of the eighties and the fourth decade of rock and roll. Ferro had been a popular music critic and freelance writer of pop culture for six. Faintly. less innovative and exhilarating.A Day in the Life began to review concerts of major visiting bands. The Guardian and London’s Time Out magazine had requested some of Ferro’s music pieces and both had been turned down by his newspaper. Elton John and Punk Rock could wait that long. But the Beatles were gone and it was a changed world. The sixties had been a magic time for Daniel Ferro and millions of his contemporaries. Mirror mirror on the wall. Ferro responded by privately contributing in-kind articles and was reprimanded by his management for breach of contract. The blue-gray eyes in the mirror narrowed in thought. Ferro had discerned a change in the air. He ran his hand through his hair. * * * * * Ferro stared into the bathroom mirror at the thirty-two-year-old face framed there. did Carmen Venton exist at all? And just who were The Charm Company and how charming were they? He’d follow this story for one more day. he could hear the voice of Dave Lee Travis with the BBC Radio 1 afternoon show and the start of ‘The Tide is High’ by Blondie. quite successful years. He considered the situation for two days. or whether it was the transition of an extraordinary musical generation into another. It would remain the decade that will never go away. Whether it was the end of his student days and the start of his career. As the seventies progressed. A hectic journalism schedule still permitted him time to play guitar in a local R&B band.

” interrupted the clerk sullenly. John Perkins * * * * * Companies House occupied number-55. Here lay the details of all companies registered to trade in Great Britain. We’ve got about eight-hundred-thousand companies registered here. City Road in the City of London. were conducting company searches on the main floor with large black binders open on tables before them. If it’s a private company limited by share capital or a publicly-traded company. He returned it to the clerk.” said Ferro. box-frame architecture. “As completely as you can. mostly male and mostly solicitors’ clerks. What type of company is it?” “Type of company?” “Yeah. I’ll go and request the file. “I need some information on a company. We’re just changing over to microfiche so things are in a state of flux. The atmosphere was reminiscent of a library reading room.” said Ferro. Take a seat over there. Then bring it back here. It was midafternoon and isolated persons. “There you are. it depends on what sort of company it is. “It’s called the Charm—” “You fill in one of those. cocked an eyebrow inquiringly. then considerably more information must be disclosed.L. Anyway. Ferro crossed to a booth at the far wall where a bored-looking clerk sat doodling on the counter top. “You’ve just put ‘The Charm Company’ here.” The clerk sighed. an annual return containing details of directors. The man looked up. nodding towards a box of white slips on the countertop. “What sort of information can I get on this company?” “Have you performed a search at the Companies Registry before?” “No. company structure and the location of their registered office. Don’t you know?” “Not offhand.” Ferro complied. type. I’ll call you when we locate it. Is it a private company or a public company?” “Couldn’t tell you. “Well then. All companies doing business in Great Britain must register details here. There’s info on things such as accounts.” 32 . That sort of thing. but neither smiled or said anything. You’ll either get a binder or a microfiche.” He looked down at Ferro’s proffered form. a nondescript building of early-sixties’.

thought Ferro as he weighed the company report in his hand. Gilmartin and a Tai-Kuen Sylburner. Its registered office was given 407b Bay Street. He noted that it also had a branch office in New York. took out a copy of Billboard and scrutinized the U. Its official name was ‘The Charm Company (Bahamas)’ trading in the UK as simply ‘The Charm Company’. Ferro passed over the Articles of Association that appeared to be just formal legalese and stopped at Form 10 which listed particulars of the company officers. John Lennon. dates and 33 . Take a seat again. There were only two directors listed. He was interested to see that its statement of business objectives was given as ‘Management and Project Integration in the Entertainment. there were only about thirty pages in all and the first ten of these appeared to be official printed information on statutory requirements from the Companies Registry itself.” Ferro shrugged and offered his driving license and his NUJ card. “Thank you. So this is the Charm Company.” Ferro was puzzled. London W1. “I’m sorry.A Day in the Life The clerk was back in less than a minute. He took out his draft of the Elton John article and began to annotate it with margin notes. “Identification?” “Yes. To Ferro he looked no less bored than his predecessor.S charts. That was about it. Leisure and Import-Export Fields’. Ferro turned to the first company-specific information—The Memorandum of Association—and saw that he was dealing with a foreign company. Ferro opened his briefcase and extracted that week’s New Musical Express. The original clerk returned and supplied him with a standard three-inchthick black binder together with his driving license and NUJ card. Ferro thanked God he didn’t have a job like that.” This time the clerk was gone for twenty minutes and a colleague occupied his space in the booth. but couldn’t discern the reason for the company name. I need to ask you for some identification. We need proof of identification before releasing certain company information. He reflected that there was not much British music crossing the Atlantic at the moment—Queen. Ferro saw that it also listed their sex. a driving license or something. He gestured towards a set of empty carrels in the reading room where Ferro could take the binder for study. He glanced over both the single and album charts. I’ll return these with the report. rather sooner than Ferro had expected. Nassau. a Parker T. Then he noticed that it had significantly less contents than any of those being studied by his neighbors at adjacent tables. In fact. Bahamas and its branch office in Britain was shown as 339 Grosvenor Street. Leo Sayer.

Or New York for that matter. Tennessee. Parker Gilmartin? He reflected that there seemed to be no constraint on the first names that American parents gave to their male offspring.” Ferro gestured around the reading room.L. Just doing business as a branch. presumably.” he said. He turned back to the company report.D. Sylburner had been born in Heife. There were several other things in the report that were puzzling Ferro. if I can. the company’s registered in the Bahamas in the West Indies. Her citizenship was shown as British. He wondered if they were resident here or in the Bahamas.” “Right. The section also stated that they had held no other directorships within the last five years nor had there been any other directors of the company in this period. There was no accounting information for 1979 or years previous to that. These. Ph. and was still an American citizen. Let’s see…yes. Also. In addition. It’s not registered here. Gilmartin would be in his mid-sixties while Sylburner was about fifty. but don’t count on it.” “So you’d have to go there for the full company information?” “Yes. Ferro sat back and mulled over the names: Gilmartin and Sylburner? Neither were common nor particularly Anglo Saxon for that matter.Sc. The clerk flicked through the binder to the Memorandum of Association. Gilmartin had been born in Knoxville. shall we say—less mature—countries tend to be less exacting in their requirements. if Sylburner was Chinese why did she have a non-Chinese surname? Or was it the other way around? Ferro performed a quick mental calculation. er. Also. “There doesn’t seem to be much information in this report. He took the binder over to the booth where clerk number-two still appeared to be unoccupied. China. why is there no information on their annual returns?” Ferro gestured to the binder. for one thing it means they’re free of many of the reporting requirements of a company registered here in Britain. “But what does that mean?” “Well. The letters B. appeared after Sylburner’s name. “Can you help me with a couple of questions about this?” “Sure. “The section’s empty. Especially compared with the others around here.” 34 .” agreed Ferro. “Ah.” The clerk appeared to brighten at the prospect of having something tangible to do. The binder section entitled “Annual Returns’ was empty. John Perkins places of birth and citizenships. “This is an overseas company.” “I see.

” “So why isn’t every company limited? Surely. there’s the private. unlimited company have unlimited liability. See. unlimited company. What does that mean?” “Well there’s basically three types of company. profit and loss account. there’s no obligation for a private. Basically. “Then there’s a public limited company which not only has limited liability but is publicly-traded. Things like that. If the company goes belly-up. “Okay. the individual members are protected against personal bankruptcy to the limit of their stated liabilities.” Ferro nodded attentively. In the event of the company going into liquidation.” The clerk waggled the divider sheet entitled Annual Returns between his thumb and forefinger. there’s your private. they’d all want to have that protection against debts wouldn’t they?” “Oh. Complexity. “They have no protection. First. Look here.” the clerk continued.” “Well. it’s a way to encourage businesses to be more ambitious. a director’s report. but in a responsible manner. Ferro smiled deprecatingly. “Okay. each member is liable for the company’s debts to any level determined by the legal actions of their creditors. there’s a number of reasons. It has access to the capital markets. you’ll have to educate me here. You know. expense. to take more risks.” The clerk turned to the Articles of Association. “This section’s empty. Go on. unlimited company like this one here.A Day in the Life “That probably means it’s a private. unlimited company like 35 . But the biggest advantage of being an unlimited company this is that they’re free of many of the statutory reporting restrictions that limited companies must comply with. the number of formal requirements you must then follow. Finally.” Ferro thought for a moment and asked: “So are you saying there’s no mandatory requirements for them to divulge their accounts to the public?” “Correct. ‘Limited’ means that the liability of each member of a company is limited to that specified in the Memorandum of Association. private limited companies can be limited either by shares or guarantee.” He pointed to the declaratory phrase. Limited companies on the other hand must send an annual financial statement of the company—stuff like a balance sheet. limited company. “Yes—see here.” He looked inquiringly at Ferro.” Ferro looked down at the page where the other’s finger was pointing “The members of a private. You or I could buy shares in it. I’m with you so far. However.

clearly pleased with his lecture. It looked to be merely a blanket statement of compliance. A thought occurred to him. yes. And you can see they haven’t. John Perkins this one to do that. They also have to be formally audited.” “Okay. it’s not a small or medium company. or its balance sheet total must be greater than five million pounds. Stuff like that. Ferro noted that down on his pad. of course!” “What?” “Well. “So. not absolutely. “And what does balance sheet total mean?” “Um…it’s something to do with the total of their fixed and current assets. “Interesting.” Ferro was busy scribbling notes. there’s even less reporting requirements here in the UK. He noted down the auditor’s company name and address and then asked. So that means this company could be raking in tens of millions a year and this is all we’d know of it?” 36 . There’s just no requirement for them to be deposited here for public scrutiny. either its annual turnover must be greater than about eleven million pounds.” Ferro quickly scanned it. not only is this a private. And. unlimited company’s financial dealings?” “Well.” “I see. no they’re not. like property. assuming the Bahamas’ definition of what constitutes a large company is something like ours. See. investments.” he said. “You said usually have to be reported to the members?” “Yeah. Oh. presumably it’s a large company. but you can get some idea.” smiled the clerk. “Well. You’ll have to go to the overseas registered office to get that information—if they even have it.” The clerk turned to the back of the folder. here’s the auditor’s report.” said Ferro. “So there’s no check on a private. unlimited company but it’s also registered overseas. He saw nothing interesting. they’ll be here at the end…Hmm. “Sort of gives it double immunity eh?” “Something like that. You can tell that because it would have to be stated here” He indicated the blank check boxes. Their accounts have to be prepared and usually have to be presented to the company members. there’s not even any statement of the company’s capital holdings. or its average number of employees must be greater than two hundred and fifty. But a private company can also pass a resolution not to have its accounts laid before the members in its general meeting” “Are the company’s members listed in the report?” Yes.L. You see for an overseas firm. “Look.” The clerk rifled back through the pages to the Articles of Association. “So we don’t know how much money they actually make?” “No.

They don’t have to tell anyone. He couldn’t think of any other explanation. What’s this about?” Ferro’s voice was outwardly calm and measured. He snatched it up. I suppose so. if they get in trouble. These puffs of air were an unsolved mystery. * * * * * Ferro strode out of the building. uniquely characteristic of the London Underground system welled up from the labyrinths below. He shrugged. Did they have some form of automatic tracking on every call coming in to the murder hotline? But that would mean hundreds of call tracings.” “Oh yes?” Ferro was immediately alert. north along the City Road and entered Old Street tube station. He pushed through the ticket barrier and merged with the crush of people funneling towards the top of the escalator. sweet. I wonder if you’d available to answer some questions in the near future?” “ Er…yeah. 37 . He assumed they were due to the movement of trains on adjacent lines but he never seemed to see or hear a train when they occurred. The telephone was ringing as he opened the door to his flat. * * * * * It took Ferro an hour to get home in the evening rush-hour. “Mr. As was the relationship of Carmen Venton to the Charm Company. of course. He thought it took several minutes to trace the origination of calls. Probably why they’re hiding out in the Bahamas!” The clerk grinned. his mind was churning. They could be. Ferro—I believe you may be able to help us with an inquiry we’re conducting. Ferro had always wondered at these sudden. how had they traced his call? He had only been on the line for thirty seconds. Inside. they’re all bankrupt. Ferro? This is Detective Sergeant Jill Pencarver from the Serious Fraud Office at New Scotland Yard. mysterious puffs of air that had no apparent source. however. But. ozone-scented air. Was this connected with his call to the police hotline in Sussex the previous day? If so.A Day in the Life “Yeah. That’s the advantage of unlimited liability. “Mr. notwithstanding all the nuts they’d come up with. A wave of warm.

His mind went back over the events of the past two days—the newspaper article. why were the Serious Fraud Office at Scotland Yard interested in a provincial murder? Wasn’t that the jurisdiction of the Sussex County Constabulary? Or were the Metropolitan Police involved because Carmen Venton was originally from Catford. “Could I speak to Jill Pencarver please?” he asked. Flat One.L. trying to persuade the police to divulge any findings they may have uncovered. It would be a fine balancing act not to disclose too much of his information while. Let me just check. why the Serious Fraud Office and not a Scotland Yard homicide division? Ferro weighed up the pros and cons of whether he’d admit anything to the police or just claim journalistic immunity. I’m free.” she replied. At least you couldn’t criticize the police for their inefficiency. nothing other than the morning telephone call. The last thought caused a sudden tightening of his chest. Greenwich?” “That’s right. I live at—” “That’s okay. his conversation with Adler at The Guardian. at the same time. They must be checking on all hotline callers. “New Scotland Yard. “We have our sources! See you later this evening. “Perhaps I could come over to see you?” “Okay. ‘Would you have a department sir?” 38 . the Companies’ Registry and now this imminent meeting with the police.” “How about seven thirty?” “Er…yeah.” Ferro put the receiver back on the rest and breathed heavily. They’d presumably know nothing about his letter for instance. Ferro picked up volume M-Z of the London area telephone directory. Otherwise how had that letter been sent? So. John Perkins “I’d prefer not to discuss this on the telephone. “I have your address. was it the police who had called just now? Or was it someone pretending to be the police? It would be prudent to find out. When would you like to come?” “How about this evening?” “Er…sure. found the page and dialed the number.” answered the operator.” she interrupted. The girl had been murdered and it appeared that someone connected with her knew about himself. he reflected. sure. Twenty-two Hyde Vale. But. You seem to know everything” “Ah!” she chuckled. Just how much did the police know about what he knew? Presumably. a town within an inner London borough? Then again. the letter in yesterday’s post. that sounds fine. the call to the police hotline.

* * * * * 39 . this is Daniel Ferro again. then: “Yes sir. Ferro. Pencarver here.” “Hold on. We spoke just now. Her “Hello.” She was on the line almost immediately. Ferro?” “Yeah?” “Don’t worry. I’m sorry but I forgot the time we agreed to meet this evening.A Day in the Life “The Serious Fraud Office I believe.” was reassuringly familiar. I’m fully bona fide!” Ferro smiled briefly as he replaced the receiver. fine. Bye!” “Good-bye.” “Half-past seven Mr.” There was a pause. The police seemed to be at least one jump ahead of him today. Is that still okay for you?” “Yes. I do exist. “Ms Pencarver. I’ll put you through. Oh—and Mr. she’s in the SFO. See you then.

The attendant leant towards an intercom speaker. Epstein would have given everything to be back at the Cavern Club in Liverpool on that far distant lunchtime in November 1961 B 40 . He first realized it for what it was as the Beatles completed their previous album in November last year. a fear had been growing quietly inside the Beatles’ manager like a malignant tumor. they had firmly rejected his plans for a second Royal Variety performance and a third successive Christmas show. Other than the important contribution of producer George Martin. He was saluted by a liveried attendant who took his keys and led him towards a private elevator set into the wall of the basement. not Epstein.— Chapter 3 — A Proposal Thursday. it had been the Beatles’ own work. As the doors closed on Epstein alone inside the lift. Epstein’s problem was. He could feel it in the pit of his stomach. Rubber Soul was the turning point between the Beatles’ rock and roll roots and the psychedelia yet to come. At this moment. On their return from the highly successful America tour. And now Epstein was even less involved in the recording of Revolver. their new album. They were now more successful than any other musical artist had ever been. The boys were now capable of exercising a collective veto over his wishes and often did so. Since late 1965. The energy they previously had devoted to stage performances and to Epstein’s publicity events was now being channeled into recording experimentation. quite simple: The Beatles really didn’t need him anymore. even Elvis. They. announced that Mr. therefore. had been honored with MBEs by the Queen last year. if that were possible. It signaled to the world they were transitioning into uncharted musical territory. his characteristic charming smile collapsed into a mask of deep concern. The suffocating adulation that raged around the foursome was causing them to turn inward to follow their own muses. 1966 rian Samuel Epstein negotiated his red Rolls Royce through the entrance to the underground car park of 339 Grosvenor Street in the heart of Mayfair. Epstein was on his way up. April 28. selected a button inside the lift and bade him good morning. It was happening again.

Epstein’s nadir. In the mid-sixties. this song was to feature just McCartney and a string section scored by George Martin. a hopeless fantasy. despite all that. He was listening intently to a playback of a song in his headphones. the numerous press conferences. it would all be very different he reflected. It was the time to change all of this forever. they were not realizing a fraction of their true value. For four years now he had lived and breathed the Beatles. there were many pretenders to the title ‘the Fifth Beatle’. of course. “Welcome to the Charm Company!” * * * * * Two miles away across London. That he could handle. composed his smile. was the peak of McCartney’s creativity. a cigarette burning unattended between his fingers. and strode out.A Day in the Life when he had first seen them perform. Down on the floor of Studio Two. Despite the thousands of miles they had traveled together. perhaps just permitting them to be minor personalities in Britain. Like ‘Yesterday’ from last year’s Rubber Soul . head on one side. This period. his plans for recording and performing. provincial. He would keep them local. but only one individual was truly deserving of the designation and that was George Martin. he was ultimately responsible.” said the secretary standing just outside the lift. He had nurtured the creation of the biggest show business phenomenon the world had ever known. Epstein. The elevator doors opened. as their manager. the Beatles’ 41 . It was. Perhaps trouble wasn’t quite the right word but the situation was deeply troubling to him. His spirits dropped again. Given a second chance. the negotiations with countless executives. Paul McCartney was sitting in the control room of Abbey Road’s Studio Two. Yet he knew that in monetary terms. he had realized that the Beatles were in trouble financially. Epstein lifted his head. And ‘Eleanor Rigby’ was destined to become a further rung on their ladder of creative inspiration. “Good evening Mr. the only thing that now bound him to them was a management contract—a contract that was to expire inside a year. Late last year. His problem was not that time couldn’t be undone but rather the realization that this was a tiger that could never be caged by him. Untold millions of pounds were slipping past them and.

and repositioned them three inches further away from the strings. mouthed in what sounded like a derogatory manner. “Okay.” said Martin. Easterby adjusted the boom stands holding the cello microphones. McCartney. ‘facile’ and ‘inconsequential’. Take it from the second chorus. “Let’s try that again. The octet of musicians on the studio floor were no exception. “Ready for a take?” Easterby grimaced.” “It’s that close miking.” He consulted the score on the music stand. He heard Gerry Easterby click his tongue in exasperation behind him and turned his head to look. So I wonder who’s really inconsequential? But he said nothing. we’ll come down. 42 . The engineer was hunched over the Studer J37 four-track recording console. They seemed intense and passionate as their bodies jerked with the mood of the music. “Okay Gerry. I told you it wouldn’t work. The cellos were evidently causing him problems. He could just catch the words ‘pop’. The eight string instruments were recorded across all four tracks of the one-inch tape. Let’s back off some shall we?” Easterby made a face at McCartney and turned back to the intercom speaker on the desktop.” said Martin into the studio intercom.L. two per track. I’ve got eighth-tenths compression and we’re still in the red. It was causing them some consternation. two faders under the control of each hand. He often wondered why classical musicians never smiled as they played. Their heads beat a staccato tempo but they never looked happy. we’ve got a problem with the cellos. McCartney sauntered to the control room door and looked down on the scene in the studio below. two violas and two cellos. his tongue protruding slightly between his teeth. almost touching them. He was watching the VU-meters with concern. “No George. “All right. Well. They had placed microphones very close to the strings of each instrument. It seemed to produce a recorded sound different from anything they’d heard before. almost spastic in their movements. The maneuvers required the session musicians to retain their playing positions even though they were resting.” McCartney and Easterby were experimenting with a new recording technique. you’re earning the standard union fee of all of five pounds for this session and we’ll make millions on the album. watching this from the other side of the studio was aware of one of the viola players muttering to the lead violinist. John Perkins producer was standing in front of eight session musicians—a double string quartet comprising four violins. thought McCartney. pointed his index finger in the air as a surrogate baton and gave them a two beat introduction.

“Oh shit! I’m late for an important meeting. I don’t want it to sound too syrupy. Let’s try it. with the exception of the viola player who saw no merit in either. “They’re professionals. * * * * * 43 . together with McCartney’s vocals.” said McCartney with firmness. That is. would survive in history as one of the standout tracks on this stellar album. George—you listen and then chose.” cautioned Martin. He was heading for a meeting in Grosvenor Street that would also change the course of history. Vibrato fingering is natural for them. Unlike McCartney. Easterby copied it to an adjacent two-track machine. “What do you think Paul?” said Martin at its conclusion. “I don’t know George. The viola player sighed audibly. “It might be difficult for these gentleman to do that. I’d like to try one more take without vibrato and compare them. ‘Eleanor Rigby’ containing Martin’s score for the double string quartet recorded without vibrato.” McCartney’s growing maturity and self-assurance in music production were clearly evident. calling “Bye” over his shoulder to Easterby as he departed the control room.” The viola player looked across at the lead violinist and rolled his eyes. I’ll go with your decision. I’d like to hear pure notes just to see. Where’s the telephone?” McCartney launched himself out of the chair. permitting McCartney to switch back and forth between the two for comparison. let’s try…” McCartney stopped suddenly and looked at his watch. Martin polled the session musicians for their preference. “Er…that was good.” “But which take do you like?” “I’ve really gotta go. Paul McCartney meanwhile dashed out of the front entrance of Abbey Road Studios.” “So which one do we go with?” asked Martin.” he said at their conclusion. At the conclusion of the second take.A Day in the Life Easterby and McCartney trudged back up the stairs to the control room and they began the first real take. nominally vibrato-less. Well. However. “I can’t really hear much difference. “They can handle it. they could tell the difference and favored the version without vibrato. rewound this and the original take on the four-track and started them both in synchronization.

For example. Jacobs are already here. Starr. Secretaries’ desks were placed throughout the long corridor in the American style. space and vegetation was impressive.L. their lawyer. Situated at one end of the twenty-foot-long cherrywood table was John Lennon. Just milk thank you. occupied by a sheath of papers before him. “Mr. John Perkins Brain Epstein smiled at the secretary expectantly.” “A cigar. one outside each group of four office doors. Coffee would be nice. It was an architectural design of the highest quality and attested to a very wealthy organization. noting that there was always a first time for everything. The perception of light. no…thank you. Lennon was hunched in one of the leather chairs.” Epstein was out of his depth She opened a pair of double doors at the end of the corridor and led Epstein into the boardroom.” said Epstein. conscious of her American accent. McCartney called to say he’s on his way. Please follow me sir. bronzed and. Light filtered in from a combination of natural skylights high overhead and artificial edifices set into the walls. “Can I bring you a drink or coffee.” she said. Most desks were still occupied Epstein noticed.” “Kenyan. Halfway down the table sat David Jacobs. Live plants of all varieties were everywhere. “Mr. Lennon. Harrison and Mr. Epstein?” she said over her shoulder as they neared the end of the corridor.” “Thank you. “Thank you. “Mr. feet up on the table next to a half-empty bottle of pale ale.” She led the way though the cathedral-like main foyer of the Charm Company. Mr. French roast or Kona?” “Er…Kenyan I think. her mouth was oversized. She was tall. Mr.” said Epstein. he noticed. Mr. It was as if the whole interior of the building had been gouged out and replaced with a tropical atrium several stories high. His head was back and he was blowing 44 . blonde. or a Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona? “Er. Epstein? A Cuban Davidoff perhaps. “Cream and sugar?” “Er…yes. flanked on each side by George Harrison and Ringo Starr. I mean no. He wouldn’t have been surprised to see the odd brightly-colored macaw perched in the greenery. good looking in a typical American way. many of tropical species. Gilmartin and Dr Sylburner will join you in the boardroom shortly. even though it was six o’clock in the evening. Mr.

Remember. We’re not bound by anything here today. His thin neck accentuated his disjointed look.” He looked at Starr. This should be an interesting meeting!” “Brian. “ ’S okay with me too. “Yes. Ringo Starr had retained his Liverpudlian accent and phrasing the most. Any thoughts?” Ringo Starr sighed and shrugged his shoulders.A Day in the Life smoke-rings vertically into the air. By craning his body and looking to his left he could see the American Embassy at the top end of Grosvenor Square. George.” he said cheerfully to the room. “ ‘Ello Eppy. don’t you?” He looked down the table at Jacobs. “You’re quiet Ringo. From what you said yesterday it sounded all right. er…very interesting ideas and plans. “Nothing to lose to hear their pitch. Let’s just listen to what they have to say. we’ve got to—” “Nonsense. “I need my drum skins to grow back—they’re worn out!” Of all the Beatles in their three years away from home. One could usually tell it was intended to be humorous by the arching of his eyebrows.” replied Jacobs. “This is only an information meeting anyway. The Beatles’ manager crossed to the large bay window at the end of the room. He typically responded to most questions with a deadpan delivery. But why should it be any different to the hundreds of other offers we get?” He yawned and drew another Dunhill cigarette from its box.” he said with a grin. “Sorry.” he continued. The boardroom was two stories up and overlooked Grosvenor Street. “Good question John. This time they did. “Paul’s on his way. Okay?” He swiveled to encompass Starr and Lennon. They have some.” drawled Harrison.” he said rubbing his hands in characteristic fashion. I’m late. looking up from his papers. 45 . eh?” Starr got up and walked to the window. He always looked a bit disjointed whether standing or walking. “I wanted a break from recording anyroad.” Lennon responded. The latter was performed in manner reminiscent of Groucho Marx. nonsense” interrupted Epstein. “Have you two thought more about our conversation?” “ ’S okay with me Eppy. There was no ashtray in sight. The door opened to admit Paul McCartney. We’re not sure it’s such a good idea. “Well boys. David thinks so too. He returned to the table and took a seat next to Starr. “We should listen seriously to what they have to say. But let me emphasize—these people are very different. “We’ve been kicking this around a bit. One more offer for our future.

Parker. Epstein and the four Beatles watched their solicitor closely. his hand outstretched. please!” interrupted Gilmartin. light gray. The latter was secured by a large turquoise and silver clasp characteristic of the Indian jewelry of the 46 .” He stood up. “Mighty pleased to make you boys’ acquaintances. The leading man walked over to Epstein. glad you’ve got here before we started. Two very tall people.” boomed Gilmartin to the Beatles. He turned towards Jacobs.” He took Jacobs’ hand in a vice-like grip and turned expectantly to the four Beatles. shorthand pad in hand. Also. “About this organization. There’s a couple of things we should get straight before we begin. followed by tall secretary. Like Epstein. John Perkins “Paul. I already know. Considerably larger than life would be more apt. I’ve had some peripheral dealings with them in the past for other clients. three-piece suit tailored. “They operate differently from other companies we’ve dealt with. “Brian! Welcome to the Charm Company!” “Mr. he was dressed in a gray. it sounded like a typical US Southern accent. He was a close personal friend of Brian Epstein. But we must be careful. Also like Epstein. his clients included Lawrence Harvey and Judy Garland. in Saville Row. An imposing figure at well over six feet. Gilmartin” smiled Epstein. In addition to the Beatles and Epstein. extremely professional and extremely thorough. we must—ah!” The six men jumped as both doors to the boardroom crashed open. he was Jewish.” said Jacobs. Jacobs was a prominent show business lawyer in London society. His expression was serious. they deliver on all their promises.” continued Jacobs. They drive hard bargains.” Brian Epstein found himself staring at both Gilmartin and Sylburner. a march of giants. three-piece suit and bolo tie.L. He was dressed in an expensive. naturally. For example. “Parker. followed by two tall men in matching dark blue suits. They’re very good. “David. a broad smile in his face. Gilmartin was at least six feet four tall and razor thin. “Boys. his sexual tastes did not extend to women. a man and a woman. He had always been a mental filer of freak images. However. He turned to encompass the others. Dr Sylburner. A regal precession entered the room. rested both hands on the back of his chair and leaned forward. let me introduce my partner. “I’ve heard a lot about you all!” To the English ears in the room. these two couldn’t really be described as freaks. Gilmartin turned to the woman by his side and spread his hands to encompass her and the original six occupants of the room. “Look lads. Epstein effected the introductions. And they expect you to deliver on yours.

A versatile man he reflected. his pale eyes opened wide and stared intently at Epstein. The Beatles. overlong for one his age which Epstein guessed as early fifties. He sported an elegantly-styled mustache over a silver goatee. why was he needed at this meeting? Suddenly. Epstein and Jacobs were seated on one side. he looked to Epstein like the myriad of other American lawyers he’d encountered on his past trips to the States. double breasted. Her blue-black hair was longer and fuller than the archetypal Asian chin cut. pin-stripe suit. Like many Asian women. 47 . their executive assistant. Epstein considered him rather forbidding and wondered if he was a bodyguard of some sort. New York State and the Bahamas. Only David Jacobs at six feet two inches. With a black crew cut. for an instant. milky-blue eyes. But also rather gorgeous. She was at least six feet and towered over the Beatles and Epstein. she had flawless. Yes.A Day in the Life American South West. was her equal. Epstein watched Mynick as he took a set of leather-bound folders from under his arm and distributed them around the table. elegant silk dress buttoned up to the neck. one at each place setting. But if so. he was the epitome of a Southern general from the American Civil War. buttondown white shirt and knitted tie. It was shapeless in form and oriental in origin. He had a thick muscular neck like an American football player and his large hands were clasped together before him on the table. That Reuther was powerfully built was evident even from beneath his immaculately tailored. His silver-gray hair was swept back behind his ears. very forbidding. He recalled Gilmartin telling him at their previous meeting that Mynick was registered to practice law in the UK. Both men looked to be in their thirties. opposite the two other Charm Company employees. thought Epstein again. Gilmartin and Sylburner had positioned themselves at each end of the long table. He introduced the first as their attorney. pale-cream ivory skin which made it difficult to gauge her age. They stared right through his face and drilled the back of his skull. Sylburner was very tall for a woman especially for a non-Caucasian. The Southern general turned and shepherded the two men in the blue suits into the circle. Reuther did not smile. Reuther turned his head and. To Epstein. Benjamin Mynick and the second as Johnny Reuther. His blond hair was mercilessly cropped and he was gazing incuriously around the room through pale. She was clothed in a simple. The Beatles’ manager glanced across at Johnny Reuther. To Epstein she could have been fifteen or fifty.

Liverpool. I wasn’t. “Well. I was walking round the streets waiting for her to finish when I saw the name Eleanor Rigby over a shop door. She died in Liverpool on the tenth of October. “I’m curious Mr. “Yes.” said Reuther.” Johnny Reuther suddenly ceased his scanning of the oak paneling on the wall behind the Beatles and looked directly at McCartney with his cold blue eyes. especially given their small cadre of loyal studio staff.” Sylburner turned to McCartney. McCartney. “I believe you’re calling it ‘Eleanor Rigby’?” “How did you know that?” said McCartney again. Mr. we heard it somewhere.L. just yourself and a string section. Epstein was surprised by what he had just heard. Epstein was intrigued.” she said vaguely. It was the first time he had said anything other than the monosyllabic greeting when they were first introduced. my girl friend—was in a play there. Quite a coincidence!” 48 . more authentic somehow.” Her soft deep voice was almost accentless. Reuther’s cultured English accent belied his prizefighter physique. “Oh. How did she know these things?.” Reuther continued in languid tones. John Perkins “So. He supposed it wouldn’t harm. Exactly one year before Mr. Paul McCartney shot a glance at Epstein who looked puzzled and shook his head briefly. McCartney. McCartney—where did the title come from?” McCartney hesitated and glanced questioningly at his manager. “I was going to call it ‘Daisey Hawkins’. 1939. Then again. there is a grave with that name on it?” “A grave? No. they were all here to discuss business opportunities that would no doubt involve intimate details of their entire operation. Asher. He nodded at McCartney. It sounded more real. his eyebrows raised Sylburner waved her hand in the air.” Sylburner ignored the question. Almost but not quite. There had been very few leaks from Abbey Road over the last two years. “How did you know that?” asked McCartney. in the churchyard of St Peter’s church in Woolton. “We always have a press blackout on songs we’re working on. But I was down in Bristol and Jane—you know. Lennon here was born. “Eleanor Rigby. Almost a classical piece. “Mr. “Are you aware that.” said McCartney shaking his head.” began the Beatles’ bassist. “We understand you’re recording a new song. Epstein and Jacobs were looking closely at Reuther.

extracted some papers and what looked to be a bible with black soft cover.” He reached into an attaché case. Epstein. David here has had an exploratory meetings with us. She seemed refined. Resting his elbows on the table.” She didn’t enlarge on the statement. “So now is the time to fish or cut bait.” replied Sylburner. “What is your doctorate in?” “Molecular biology. each a thousand million dollars.” he said. but lithe and dangerous at the same time.” Gilmartin indicated the Beatles’ lawyer with a sweep of his hand. He looked intently at the four Beatles over the tops of his fingertips. “Tell me Dr Sylburner. Although his conventional tastes didn’t extend to women. he found her fascinating. Johnny Reuther was not a native-born Englishman. There was a lull in the conversation. She continued in her soft measured tones. * * * * * Gilmartin had evidently decided that sufficient small talk had taken place. Lennon turned to McCartney at his side. “That’s ten American billion of course. “Boys—how would you like to make ten billion dollars?” “How?” said Lennon.A Day in the Life Epstein was still reflecting on Reuther’s accent. waiting several seconds before speaking. What you will hear today is our formal proposal. Epstein was looking down the table at Sylburner. but there was also the hint of something else there. Lennon. Mr. He said ten billion. What was it? German perhaps? One thing was clear. The room looked expectantly at him. “Did you say ten billion Parker?” “Yes. Epstein looked astonished. he pressed his hands together in front of his face as if he were praying. unfazed. Mid to upper class English certainly. “By doing nothing Mr. and began to discuss the song they had worked on yesterday. offered him a cigarette. He swiveled in his seat to encompass all nine people seated around the table and focused on his six visitors to his right.” said Sylburner quietly from the other end of the table. He became serious and commanding and held up one hand for attention. something like a cross between anAfghan hound and a black panther. ‘I’m Only Sleeping’ needed a bridge and Lennon had an idea. His beneficent smile vanished.” 49 . “As you all know. I believe you will find it—shall we say?—interesting.

almost maniacal. Epstein’s management. burning in his eyes “And now the bad news—if you’ll forgive me?” He transferred his gaze to Epstein and Jacobs. The latter two still looked perturbed. are already immortal. the Beatles. Your studio work is reaching into dimensions that have never been explored before. Let’s go through each of them in turn shall we? First. Sylburner continued. Please let us put our case before you respond. “and.” Gilmartin continued. exercised at the discretion of EMI 50 . ah…retire. a fire. You are the most popular group in the world. encompassing only the four Beatles with his gaze. would you please proceed?” Sylburner nodded. merchandising. After you. “You’ll see starting on page three that we’ve divided the Beatles’ present business activities into six categories—recording and record sales. “Here is the good news. I think you will find our summary of your present business structure quite correct. Jacobs and Epstein complied. He started to speak but was interrupted by Gilmartin. signed a contract with EMI Records. “No Brian. You have upcoming American and Asian tours that will be total sellouts.” Gilmartin was still staring intently at the Beatles. First. written works and other composition will continue well into the next century. you will persist in receiving less than a tenth of your rightful earnings for the next decade and beyond. you will only get to spend one-twentieth of that!” Epstein looked resentful. and broadcasting rights and appearances. In July of 1962 you. live performances. As the single most representative symbol of the 1960s. film rights. recording. we’ll summarize your present revenue and operating practices. the Beatles under Mr. “Gentlemen—the portfolios before you contain our business plan and proposal. you have realized less than one-tenth of the potential income due to you. you. You will no doubt continue in this mode at least into the next decade and probably beyond. an album of twelve tracks was to be counted as only six cuts There were three one-year options. song writing and publishing. You are also the four most recognized faces on the planet. John Perkins “Gentlemen.L. smiled fleetingly and continued. the year is 1966. “In the last four years. only one-half of one penny for the same for overseas sales. Under the terms of that contract you received only one penny in royalties per double-sided single.” He looked down the table at his female colleague. including the United States…” she paused for effect. “TK. However. Moreover. If this modus operandi continues. films and film rights. If you would please open your binders to the third page…” The Beatles. the sale and licensing of your back catalogue and that of your recordings.

And. again under Mr. while you two got only eighteen pounds each. Mr. staring directly at Lennon and McCartney. as they say in this county. these profits exponentiated. EMI’s subsidiary in the United States. Then you can claim right of reply. two hundred and twenty thousand pounds. declining the offer of a cigarette proffered by Lennon and continued. And you are 51 . your contract with EMI expires in July of this year and can be…re-negotiated.” Jacobs and Epstein flicked through their portfolios. “TK. Brian. “You will be interested to know that the Rolling Stones are making much more money than you but are selling significantly less records on a worldwide basis. not income. Epstein’s management. Note this was clear profit. most importantly.” She pointed with a finger of each hand to Lennon and McCartney. an English farthing—a coin of such low value that nobody would even bother to bend down and pick one up from the gutter!” She shook her head. at the end of 1963—your first year of record sales—EMI made an after-tax profit at the expense of your labors of two million.” He smiled briefly and looked back down the long table at his partner.” she continued. if you let us put our case in its entirety. But Gilmartin silenced him with an upheld hand. So. “It would be better. This gave the extraordinary deal of fifty percent to James and his partner and ten percent to Mr. There was no comment from the visitors. a music publishing company. Sylburner stared at each of the Beatles in turn. “You were.” “James administered Northern Songs through his company Dick James Music. he took a further ten percent management fee off the top.” She hesitated before the last word and pronounced it slowly and deliberately. Fortunately. Our evaluation of EMI’s total recording profits earned by your labors through April of this year are shown in section two.A Day in the Life which increased the yearly royalty rate by the princely sum of one-quarter of a penny. signed a contract with Dick James and his partner in the creation of Northern Songs. ‘done’!” Sylburner. “You two!” Epstein cleared his throat and took a deep breath in preparation to speak. “For this. In the next two years with the addition of the income from Capitol Records. A quarter of a penny! In other words. “Although you are no doubt unaware of this. smiled briefly. Epstein here. “If you would now turn to the section on song writing and publishing on the next page…Okay? In January 1963 you. it left only twenty percent for each of the composers of the songs. please go on. James claimed a grand total of fifty-five pounds. for every one hundred pounds of song writing royalties.

“Parker. “Page eight.” He looked down at his binder. Live performances. sell from under you the rights to any and all of your song writing catalogue. incidentally. Meanwhile you—Lennon and McCartney.” She leaned towards Lennon and McCartney. “Did I say only?” Well. or about one hundred and eight thousand pounds. gave forty-four live performances in a total of twenty-four cities. six hundred—a record. on your return. NEMS. especially for only fifteen percent of the company each?” The Charm Company’s female co-director looked back up the table at Gilmartin. Mr. “In 1965 you. your remaining profit was taxed at the present draconian rate set by this enlightened country. And. John Perkins bound by contract to this company until 1973. Because of the long standing tax treaty between the United Sates and the UK. “You two are now minority shareholders in your own songs. Northern Songs was floated as a public company. after subtracting expenses and outgoings. of approximately twenty thousand pounds. Epstein’s company. Thus. the Beatles’ tour earnings were only liable for UK taxes and not US taxes. prorated as a fraction of the total tour expenses. “However. about fifty-seven thousand pounds. for the world’s top selling band in what was a record-setting performance.” 52 . “Although you created these songs. Of this. most important of all. Epstein took a further five percent for himself. The total number of tickets sold was fiftyfive thousand. James and his partner. eh?” Gilmartin glared at Epstein and Jacobs.” He smiled grimly. the world’s most famous songwriters—were left with only fifteen percent each of a company that was created because of your genius and that would be nothing without you.” She narrowed her eyes and leaned further forward for effect.” said the southern general briskly. “This concert grossed a total of three hundred and four thousand dollars. took the lion’s share of thirty-seven percent. the Beatles. On the fifteenth of August last year. Silver. That’s another seven long years!” Sylburner turned the page in her binder. for that venue. perhaps you’d take over?” “Right. And the ticket sales were over subscribed by more than a factor of three. you should be aware that Northern Songs can at anytime. “Last year in 1965. you played one show at Shea Stadium in New York City.” He waited until everyone had found the page and continued. you received only about one pound per attendee. Not so good. it gets worse. you do not own them nor do you control them. Let me take just one as an example although the substance of my argument will be the same for all of these venues. you took a share of one hundred and sixty thousand dollars. took seven point five percent while Mr.L. That is. Seems hardly fair does it.

David. “I shall. but should you need future reminders.” very profitable. So you handed the whole thing over to David here and prospective licensees dealt with him directly. You will remember the contract you signed with these companies?” Gilmartin raised his eyebrows towards Jacobs. they were offered half a million dollars for the company by Capitol Records. encompassing the four Beatles only. expenses.” Gilmartin tilted his chair backwards and extended his arms. you—and by you I don’t mean the Beatles yet—I mean the NEMS empire. you—and by ‘you’ I now do mean the Beatles—got just under fourteen hundred pounds. never expecting you to agree to such terms. They just suggested the first number to come into their heads. eight hundred and fifty pounds.” Jacobs was looking grimly at Gilmartin but offered no response. taxes. That arrangement quickly proved to be inconvenient so you. The Beatles’ solicitor sat blinking at Gilmartin and didn’t move for several seconds. To their amazement.A Day in the Life Gilmartin flicked his eyes theatrically upwards. “Merchandising. But…” he paused. “Suppose you enlighten me. Irritating—yes. two hundred 53 . discovered Nicky Byrne. You. “Therefore. Brian. Gilmartin smiled. looked for someone to take on this irritating diversion. One point three percent! Not very good. David. eh?” Gilmartin stared searchingly at the Beatles. NEMS. you did. Stransact here in Britain and Seltaeb in the States. for a concert that grossed the rather mean sum of only three hundred and four thousand dollars and. You. “Thus Gentlemen. and the NEMS commission of twenty five percent.” he responded cautiously. about one point three percent. after the subtraction of the concert fees. of the thirtyseven thousand pounds net of expenses. “Okay—page twelve. “As an opening gambit. there’s a copy of the contract in the appendices. That is. Byrne and his colleagues formed two companies. “The value of this effort can be gauged by the fact that within a week of Seltaeb setting up shop in New York in early 1964. After the Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964. Diversion—yes. a mover and a shaker from the upper reaches of British Society and a smooth operator to boot.” There was a sharp intake of breath from Jacobs but Gilmartin was steaming ahead. Byrne suggested his company take ninety percent of all revenue with only ten percent to the Beatles. By 1963. Three of them looked at the table while Lennon glared suspiciously sideways at Epstein. Gilmartin looked down at his notes.” continued Gilmartin. received a grand total of one thousand. your merchandising through NEMS had got into rather a mess. Beatle goods were flooding the stores in the US—a hundred thousand Beatle dolls.

The Charm Company is a professional organization. * * * * * Thirty minutes later. we make sure we understand what we are getting into. The latter nodded and looked at the occupants of both ends of the table “Parker. meager though they may be. How did you come by it?” Epstein looked serious and rather hurt. Gilmartin and Sylburner had led their visitors through the remaining sections of the portfolio. Yes. Dr Sylburner—you appear to have in your possession a considerable amount of privileged information. “Look gentlemen. That’s proprietary information. television 54 . Mr Epstein?” said Sylburner in apparent puzzlement. That’s just zero point three percent of the income originally generated. NEMS—business arrangements with EMI. You would do the same surely?” This was evidently a rhetorical question for he waved his hand expansively and looked back at the portfolio. All that stuff. thank you. Gilmartin was pragmatic. He turned and spoke quietly to Epstein. The information of our—that is.L. Your names are generating billions of dollars around the world and yet you are only realizing a very small fraction. John Perkins thousand lunch boxes. Beatle wigs produced at forty thousand a day—just think of it! Just think of the cash registers!” He waved his hands in the air. However.” Gilmartin closed his eyes for a moment and then snapped them open. “There’s more. Northern Songs. One of its fortes is an excellent research department.” Jacobs’ mask of concern had increased. On the following seven pages is documented evidence that a significant fraction of your royalties from this and other sources. More on this later. concert promotions and merchandising. “Yes. Before we invest in potential new business areas. are not being paid to you. Can you tell me how you came by it?” “Privileged. Mr Byrne is doing business on a magnificent scale. the poor Beatles here are realizing only a very small fraction of it. ten million dollars worth of Beatles’ merchandise was being sold in the States. “By the end of 1964. Let’s take ten percent of that and deduct our usual UK taxes and the omnipresent NEMS management fees and the Beatles get all of thirty thousand dollars. covering films. It’s not publicly available.

“That’s. “You’ll all be about sixty by then and. performance. We estimate that your earning powers will still be considerable even by that date. Jacobs looked at both ends of the table and said. Please turn to page thirty. “You see gentlemen. please go on. you. We will. some of which appear to be quite. We’ll all be dead!” “No. Mr Lennon. “Your contract with EMI Records is due to expire in July of this year. limited rights on our terms to permit your records to be continued to be released on their Parlophone label for the United Kingdom and the rest of the world other than the United States. the Charm Company will guarantee an income to the four of you. we underline all—business interests connected with the sum total of your recording. Capitol Records can act independently of their U. will sign with the Charm Company as your exclusive management company for all—and. “The Charm Company seeks to acquire all—and we mean all—the business interests connected with the Beatles.” Mynick nodded towards the Beatles. But perhaps you’d now let us have your proposal. glancing down at the portfolio.” said Sylburner. and the shortcomings in their contracts for broadcast performances and rights. “You have some interesting facts and figures here. They pointed out the financing debacles for A Hard Day’s Night and Help. paid to NEMS and the Beatles at the conclusion of these high-grossing films. Therefore. parent company.” She looked across at Mynick.K. the Charm Company will immediately move against all your existing obligations and seek to acquire exclusive control.” Gilmartin interrupted. the Beatles. the same conditions will be offered to Capitol Records. And you also could be immensely wealthy. “Ben. we invite you to sign with us as your exclusive recording management company. the year 2000. After that—” “2000?” interrupted Lennon.” “In order to acquire these rights. In return. In return. will probably all still be alive. the final. er…thirty-four frigging years from now. The Charm Company will then offer to EMI. given the statistics on male longevity in the western world. “Ben. film and appearance rights up to.” 55 .” Sylburner turned to Mynick on her right.” Mynick continued to read from the text. For the United States. you will be alive.A Day in the Life appearances and associated rights. “As your primary contract will then be with us and not EMI. “at the amounts stated on page thirty until the year 2000. Mr Jacobs. On that date. will you please proceed” The Charm Company’s attorney cleared his throat. publishing.” “Yes. er…accurate. and including. again. Finally they sat back and gazed steadily at their six guests. paltry sums.

Under the terms of this proposal. if you sign. we are certain that neither EMI or Capitol Records will wish to lose such a lucrative business as yourselves. However. We can. we understand that the Robert Stigwood Organization is interested in a merger with NEMS and we 56 . therefore. He was about to question it but Mynick was continuing. the Charm Company will immediately move to buy the remaining shares presently owned by Dick James and his partner. Also. That is. He reminded Epstein of wartime pictures he’d seen of President Roosevelt. and your concert promotions. He bit down on the holder so that it assumed an upward angle of forty five degrees and tossed his head. now known as NEMS Enterprises Limited.” Mynick continued. There is—” “What if James and Silver won’t sell?” Epstein interjected. He continued to speak with the holder clenched between his teeth. they will sell. In any event. “All rights to the Beatles management under both your company North East Music Stores. extracted a cigarette placing it in a long black holder. Mynick nodded as if anticipating the question “You will note that the Charm Company’s present holdings and our acquisition of your shares.” He bared his teeth. Now. together with the present holdings of the Beatles. “then the other record companies shown below will. yourself and NEMS may enter into any other business arrangement that it desires for these and future artists providing all interest in the Beatles is relinquished. Meanwhile. private. “Copies of the share certificates are included in your appendices. in turn. public. These will be held for four years and then transferred in their entirety to the Charm Company in 1970. be offered your UK and US distribution rights. film and broadcasting. For example. “Should EMI and Capitol Records not agree to our terms. continue as at present. would be sold to the Charm Company. we will also purchase NEMS’ holdings of seven point five percent and Mr Epstein’s personal holdings of five percent.” Epstein looked puzzled at the last remark.L. NEMS Presentations.” Gilmartin continued. The Beatles will retain their holdings of fifteen percent each for Mr Lennon and Mr McCartney and the one point six percent held by Mr Harrison and Mr Starr. “The Charm Company has already acquired eighteen point nine percent of Northern Songs. total sixty-three percent of the shares in Northern Songs. Mr Epstein…” Mynick paused and looked directly at Epstein. of course. “We now come to management and negotiation rights for all performances. John Perkins Gilmartin took a gold cigarette case from the inside pocket of his jacket. The management and promotion by NEMS of all other artists on its roster may. if necessary launch a hostile takeover for their thirty-seven percent.

57 . Ringo Starr was pushing a cigarette packet around on the table and frowning. Mynick resumed. we will multiply their effective worth to you by a further factor of ten. presently retains all rights to management and negotiation for all your performances and appearances in that country. we will ensure your rightful earnings are collected and amassed at their full real value. Okay?” He waited for them to catch up. “If you’d now turn to page thirty-two. This then is our offer to you.A Day in the Life would have no objection to this providing they realize that the rights to the Beatles would no longer reside with NEMS. less that which you from time-to-time extract. Sure. Epstein noticed. “In the United States. Second. Okay so far?” Prompted by four hesitant nods. Third. darted a glance at Gilmartin and Sylburner and returned to the binder. they were just four young men in their mid-twenties from working class backgrounds. bemused and somewhat perplexed by the intrigue unfolding before them in this room. “The Charm Company will move to acquire these rights in total. publishing and performances.” Mynick drew in a breath. “So you’re going to take over the world eh. all the time checking for potential predators.” Epstein made to speak but Lennon got in before him. will be invested by us and combined with the continuing royalty income for the next three and half decades. the Charm Company will acquire all rights to the Beatles recording. as previously stated. Mr Lennon. Our information at this time is that Nemperor will sell. He looked up at the four Beatles and not. Ben—please continue. this effective hundred fold increase in real income. “Gentlemen. “is ten billion dollars. “Very well. Mr Lawyer-Person? So just what’s in it for us Mr Lawyer-Person then eh?” “What’s in it for you.” said Mynick. First. He glanced sideways at the four Beatles who were sitting in silence and looking rather subdued. Nemperor Artists jointly owned by Nat Weiss and Mr Epstein.” snapped Sylburner from the other end of the table. “Taking into account inflation. “Any questions so far gentlemen?”. They were still just kids he realized.” continued Mynick. Fourth. they were the demigods who had conquered the world of popular music and who exuded supreme confidence while on a stage in front of tens of thousands of people. Epstein had several but he decided to reserve them until he had heard the proposal in its entirety. Gilmartin turned to his right. at either himself or Jacobs. The Beatles’ manager was suddenly struck by how innocent they seemed. Mynick looked questioningly at the Beatles. He reminded Epstein of a brighteyed sparrow at his breakfast. Yet here in this office. which our research department forecasts will peak in the mid 1970s.

but even with that ten-fold gain restored. “You won’t be paying any tax. “Ben—the terms for Mr Epstein please. These amounts were preposterously large. John Perkins we project a cumulative worth to you four. Given the preponderance of the song writing by Lennon and McCartney. is the Charm Company’s offer to you. “You are no doubt wondering. This appeared to be an incredible deal. “Of course. clearly stunned by the magnitude of the sums he was espousing. “The original management contract between the Beatles and you. gentlemen. Or rather. But these were to be paid to the Beatles and not to himself. the Charm Company considers an equitable split of this income as fifty five million dollars a year to each of Lennon and McCartney.” said Gilmartin. twenty five million a year to Mr Harrison and fifteen million a year to Mr Starr. your initial total income will be approximately one hundred and fifty million dollars a year. Thus the arrangement between the Beatles and 58 . The six visitors were silent.” Epstein was still attempting to collect his thoughts.” continued Mynick. So what was the catch? And what was this about no tax? These sums of money were enormous. And what about himself? What was in this for him? He was suddenly aware that Gilmartin was speaking to him. with subsidiary input by Mr Harrison. the Beatles. These sums will be guaranteed until the year 2000 at which time all rights revert to you or your heirs. Brian. Epstein was thinking rapidly.” “In fact. “That’s after tax.” “Okay.” “No Mr Epstein. what’s in it for you. this will approximately double in then-current dollars. trying to think rapidly.” Both Epstein and Jacobs were shaking their heads as he talked. that’s before tax. 1962. long playing albums and performances as shown below.” Mynick nodded. yielding an income of one hundred and ten million dollars a year for each of Lennon and McCartney. “and providing you adhere to the required schedule of single recordings.” added Sylburner. 1962 and was to run for five years. fifty million a year to Mr Harrison and thirty million a year to Mr Starr.L.” replied Mynick. His brain wasn’t cooperating at present. That. “In yearly terms under this accounting scheme. of over ten billion dollars in total by the year 2000. Lennon looked uncertainly at McCartney and they both stared at their manager. This was subsequently re-negotiated by you on October first. He suddenly thought of something. By the middle 1970s. Mr Epstein. was signed on in Liverpool on February first. He’d admit that a significant amount had slipped through their fingers in the past four years. Mr Epstein. the Charm Company’s offer still seemed more than an order-ofmagnitude too large.

the Charm Company will pay you a one-time.” He turned the page and began to read. although the Charm Company will then own exclusive rights to the Beatles. “So just what do we have to do?” Lennon was about to continue but Jacobs interrupted him. He looked down at the page. “What does that mean?” “It means you would still accompany them to all major performances. “And. The intervening period 59 . To the appearance of the outside world. “Now.” “In appearance’“ Epstein frowned.A Day in the Life yourself through NEMS would anyway have come up for re-negotiation and renewal next year. “Terms and conditions. yes. your association with this company and the Beatles will cease in its entirety. “Essentially. There are no exclusion clauses…The contract comes into force on Friday. You would act on their behalf at public appearances which they could not attend.” The Charm Company’s lawyer licked his lips. 1966. you will continue to be the Beatles’ manager.” “You mean act as a front man?” asked Epstein. The Beatles will be required to provide the requisite number of recordings and performances in the periods stated. In general. the Beatles.” interjected Lennon laconically. non-negotiable sum of thirty-five million dollars. and on behalf of. the Charm Company is inviting you to sell now all future rights to the Beatles’ management including the remaining year outstanding on this contract. at which time Mr Epstein and NEMS will unconditionally transfer all rights to the Charm Company who then will have sole authority and jurisdiction to act for. We would prefer that nothing should appear to have changed from the point of view of outside scrutiny. his brows knitted.” I’ll paraphrase them for you. All terms and conditions as advanced by us today are final and nonnegotiable…all rights will remain with the Charm Company until the year 2000 at which time they revert in total to the Beatles as individuals or their heirs. Also. will receive an additional five million dollars per year for each of the next four years until the year 1970. as we have just discussed.” agreed Mynick. October first of this year. however. for these services. you would act for them in an external public relations sense.” “This is all a helluva lot of money Mr Lawyer-Person. “Yes. At such time.…contract to be signed within twenty eight days from today…otherwise offer will be withdrawn and never again offered under these terms. This is in accordance with the wishes of the Charm Company. In exchange. what are the conditions? What are our legal obligations?” “These are supplied on the next page.” said Mynick. we invite you to remain as manager in appearance for a further four years until 1970.

the Beatles. He was about to speak but was preempted by Lennon. “However. John Perkins between May twenty-sixth and October first will be devoted to the acquisitions we have discussed. recording artists and performers.” replied Sylburner. this Company has determined that you. “ and we are insistent on that. Mr Lennon. I mean what do we. something for ourselves for a change. have to do?” He leveled his gaze at Mynick and said quietly: “What about artistic control Mr Lawyer-Person?” “That’s easy to answer. “Where does he come into all this?” “We consider your producer Mr Martin to be an invaluable and indispensable member of your team.L..” Sylburner looked at Jacobs.” Lennon raised his eyebrows . “er…sick of it all. As we have discussed. You’ll have our full support when you need it but no direct interference in your artistic creations. the Beatles. we feel that this arrangement is only likely to realize its full potential providing you are given total artistic freedom to continue to make and perform your music as you are now doing. you can become billionaires in the future. it is irrevocable unless we.” “Good and about time! For four years we’ve been nothing but pushed around by middle-aged men in suits. “What about George—George Martin?” said McCartney suddenly. the Charm Company. as you 60 . No. Once this agreement is activated on or before May twenty-sixth. fail to secure the acquisitions so discussed. “So we can do what we like musically?” “Yes. Therefore.” Sylburner interjected with a brief smile. “You should now appreciate that. And get paid what we deserve for it!” He inserted his tongue between his lower front teeth and bottom lip and squinted sideways in a characteristic Lennon gesture. However. offer an enormous financial potential as musicians. “I didn’t mean that legal mumbo jumbo. All protocols to this agreement as shown in section ten are strictly confidential and are to remain so…” Mynick looked up. “Does that address most of your questions Mr Jacobs?” Jacobs seemed concerned over the mention of the protocols. other than the agreement to provide the required number of recordings and performance in the given periods.” said Lennon with a frown. there will be no interference from this company in how you go about your business of music. no. Do this! Do that! Don’t do the other! Say this! Say that! Don’t say the other! I’m getting fuc…” Lennon caught himself in time. after extensive research and forecast projections. This is reflected in the offer we have just made to you. It’d be great to do something new.

” he said to the four Beatles. Johnny.” “Agreed. the Inland Revenue lets you keep exactly one shilling!” He looked closely at the Beatles before he continued.” Epstein was impressed again by the Charm Company’s seemingly intimate knowledge of the Beatles’ business. “Firstly. there’s no reason why Martin shouldn’t continue in this mode. “and because we propose continuing to release through EMI’s pressing and distribution system. he had not smiled once. I’m unclear about your previous statements on income tax. What did this mean?” “Aha!” smiled Gilmartin. are taxed by the British Government at the ridiculous rate of nineteen shillings in the pound. “What do you think?” Jacobs interjected before any of them could answer.A Day in the Life know. who answered for him. He lit another cigarette. Good point. for the two hours that Reuther had been in the room with them. Mynick rifled through his briefcase but it was Reuther. if I may. He also noticed that.” The Beatles’ lawyer glanced down at the notes he’d taken. can you remind us of his present arrangement?” In response. “You are. “Did you hear that—those words? Might be good to use in your new song. be thankful they don’t take it all!” John Lennon leaned over to nudge Harrison. “Well boys. Associated Independent Recording. “Go ahead David. for almost a year now he has been an independent producer with his own studio—AIR. “Because his arrangement is through EMI. That’s a marginal tax rate of ninety five percent. a firewall— between us. his hands behind his head and his long legs splayed beneath the table. In the States. Ben. other than the Beatles. he gets five percent of the Capitol pressing fee through EMI. for every pound you boys earn. other than a negligible initial amount. “Three questions. “George.” He looked at each end of the table in turn. aware that all the present Beatles’ earnings. eh? 61 . He leaned back in his chair. So as George Martin has no direct bearing on this arrangement. Dr Sylburner: I suggest it would be better for this deal if there was—let us say. he has no need to know anything about it. “Martin’s present arrangement is as a freelance producer contracting through EMI records. So. of course. We very much desire that he continue to work with you as your producer on all future records. For the Beatles.” he hissed. he receives a royalty of two percent of retail. “And should five percent appear too small. You said something to the effect that the Beatles wouldn’t be paying tax. “Parker.” Gilmartin nodded. before we proceed further. Gilmartin shrugged. he gets only one percent of wholesale which is about half a percent of retail. should you so wish.” continued Reuther. the holder clamped between his teeth. very quiet up to now. For EMI artists.” He looked serious and rather apprehensive.

“Right. but not necessary illegal. And so?” Gilmartin leaned back in his chair and gestured expansively. avoidance—what’s the difference?” said Jacobs petulantly.” “And tax evasion is only illegal if you get found out.” she replied. Epstein thought. Net gain to you. “Tax evasion is illegal.” he whispered in reply. Ninety-two percent of the Beatles’ total income from all sources will flow through our Bahaman head office via creative transfers. In addition to an agreeable climate and outstanding natural beauty. Tax avoidance is not necessarily illegal.” replied Sylburner steely from the other end of the table. “What do you mean by avoidance?” “It means we use all the methods at our disposal to avoid paying these ridiculous and immoral sums of money.” “Not necessarily?” “That part of our business. capital gains. “The Charm Company’s methods are unorthodox. “And so our company is headquartered in Nassau in the Bahamas.” So that’s why there’s so much money sloshing around. He extracted what looked 62 . “Their marginal tax rate is nineteen shillings in the pound. “No. In fact. “So you see it’s quite simple. This latter amount will appear on our UK audits and will be taxed at the requisite nineteen shillings in the pound. is probably better for you not to know. bank transactions are totally confidential. thereby allowing our clients to keep what they rightfully earn. Jacobs was staring at Sylburner. “Might be useful. is that you get to keep ninety two point four percent of what’s rightfully yours. John Perkins Harrison nodded and copied them down on the notepad in front of him. inheritances or gifts. Mr Jacobs.L. the quintessential feature of these islands is that there is no tax on income. the Bahamas can be considered the Switzerland of the Caribbean in that the accounting and banking laws make financial inspections impossible—illegal in fact!” He drew deeply on his cigarette and exhaled between his teeth. “Morals?” he shouted. innovative certainly. our clients.” Jacobs nodded. estates. Also.” chuckled Lennon to the room. unusual perhaps.” Evasion. it’s all the same morally?” The visitors jumped as Gilmartin sat upright in his chair and slammed his hand down on the desktop. Mr Epstein. “Surely. The remaining eight percent will flow through our London office here.” “But this offshore filtering is surely considered an illegal method as far as the British Government is concerned?” said Jacobs. But what he said was: “This is illegal surely?” “No.

grandiose—business plan here. “There’s nothing in this book which says we have to pay such outrageous sums of money to anyone. much more than they should know. “But I…I thought the bible said we were to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. “That. is our business. I also thought that—” Sylburner interrupted: “What is you second question. “Well. Mr Jacobs?” Jacobs raised his eyebrows. As we noted earlier. However. your management contract with the Beatles is due for re-negotiation and possible renewal in one year’s time. Is that clear?” The burning fire had returned to his eyes. you appear to have a well considered—I might say. They had clearly done their homework on his organization.” She paused and looked at him unblinkingly. deep voice.” said Jacobs delicately. But he was also uneasy. suppose I don’t wish to sell?” It was Sylburner who answered in her smooth. you’ll need all these other parties to agree. Brian.” Epstein decided to voice a concern he’d been harboring for the last quarter of an hour. “And give to God what is God’s. He was struck by the impression that this was a company to be reckoned with. He was impressed. staring at an upside down list of figures. He cleared his throat and ventured: “Er. The Beatles’ manager’s mind was churning. And. it would appear you have no choice. They seem to know intimate details of the Beatles’ business affairs.A Day in the Life to be a flexible-cover bible buried amongst the binders in front of him. If the Good Book doesn’t tell me I have to do it. Jacobs busied the papers on his desk. then I don’t have to do it. This is my guide to living my life. “It is not obvious they will decide to re-sign with yourself and NEMS. And neither do you.” She indicated the four Beatles before continuing. 63 . Mr Jacobs. This is where my moral instructions originate. “An offer that will then have no need to include yourself at all. “All you need to know is that we can—and will—do these things we are proposing. Especially if we were to renew our offer to them at that time. How will you go about it? What if they won’t all cooperate? What if they won’t sell?” “They will. “Mr Epstein. all you care about is the offer that we have made to the Beatles and yourself. presumably.” replied Gilmartin.” The room fell silent. contingent on the fact that we are successful on completing these acquisitions. Everyone avoided Epstein’s eye.” “But how can you be certain?” interjected Epstein. He glared around the room.

be used for future disclosure purposes should that ever be necessary.” Sylburner responded. it is expedient to execute a simple standard public contract and leave all the details of our agreements to the confidential protocols. We must now go away and consider your. seemingly arrogant expression. Forcing a smile. started to speak again but was interrupted by Reuther. ah…interesting offer. It was Epstein who answered. “I thought we had an agreement…” He hesitated.” Jacobs suddenly appeared to understand. “You have never received an offer like this one. you must realize that we receive offers like this for the Beatles all the time. we are not required to release anything. ready to leave.” “Oh. You mentioned some confidential protocols to this agreement. Mynick hesitated for several seconds as if carefully considering his words.” Jacobs grimaced and then nodded.” replied Mynick. “And so?” “Okay…so. gentleman. Mr Epstein. The public contract could. because of the central role of our Bahaman head office in this agreement and our need to carefully. that means we are not obliged to release or divulge any legal documents we enter into with our clients.” Epstein swallowed hard. He looked grim but controlled. “I assume we can take these proposals to look at further?” “Unfortunately not. John Perkins “Well. ah…optimize the income flow for tax purposes. “Yes. “Mr Jacobs. “The Charm Company is a private.” said Epstein. you didn’t put your third question. however. “So these confidential protocols don’t exist as far as the outside world is concerned. if we wish. How are these protocols structured and for what purpose?” Mynick looked questioningly at Gilmartin who nodded. “I believe Mr Jacobs had three questions to ask us. “I think we’ve heard enough.” “Right. What do you think?” This time he looked at all six visitors on his right. He indicated the portfolios on the desk. “Thank you. unlimited company. he stood up and looked about him. 64 . “Of course. He spoke directly to Jacobs.” He took a deep breath and assumed his usual.L. But that means you may have trouble in—” .” “No. You are welcome to return at any time to look at them and discuss them further.” said Gilmartin. “They must remain within our jurisdiction until signed.” Reuther stared at the Beatles’ lawyer.” Jacobs nodded. As you know. Again. there was one other thing.

“But. “David.” interrupted Sylburner. But they’re tantamount to crooks in some of the things they’re proposing. “Look Brian. Details were provided by Mynick. “It’s a lot of money. And what we would be agreeing to. we need to remain and discuss these confidential protocols now. “Of course. Then Ben here can fill in the details. “Let me summarize them for you.” he nodded. David. “An awful lot of money. They take advantage of every loophole they can find. * * * * * Fascinating eh?” said Jacobs. He peered through the car windscreen. “We’ll need to understand what these protocols entail and how they would operate. Of course. and then glanced anxiously to his left past Jacobs in the passenger seat. the protocols can. I…” Epstein bit his lip.” Epstein was attempting to penetrate the swirl of traffic circulating Hyde Park Corner and didn’t answer immediately.A Day in the Life “The Charm Company believes it is in our interest to keep these arrangements confidential Mr Jacobs. “Fascinating and rather frightening. Reuther as usual remained silent although his eyes seem to miss nothing. they’re a rich and very sophisticated organization.” The line of traffic was snarled by something up ahead They were stopped outside Harrod’s department store. Believe me. There’s no way I’d be able to realize a fraction of that for the boys. Maybe not always illegal but certainly immoral. today!” He turned back and faced Mynick across the table. Just what did she imply by that? He rose unsteadily and turned to Jacobs. and will be enforced should that become necessary.” Epstein was floored by her last statement. The meeting continued for a further thirty minutes.” “You’re not seriously considering it?” “Well.” Gilmartin slouched back in his chair and sighed. rest assured. Epstein’s feeling of disquiet was not assuaged. He stepped on the accelerator to glide the Rolls Royce into the stream of cars heading for Knightsbridge. Epstein glanced vaguely at the brightly-lit 65 . I’ve seen them in operation before.” he replied finally.” The Southern general began by outlining the mechanism of the protocols with comments interspersed by Sylburner. He spoke softy but urgently.

I’m always tired. you heard what Sylburner said. Was the Beatles’ lawyer suddenly aware of the possibility of his most lucrative and famous clients riding off into the sunset without him? The traffic ahead was crawling forward in fits and starts. “Also. you need to seriously consider the implications of all this.” “So you are seriously considering this?” “It’s a lot of money. “David.” “Okay. He thought carefully before he spoke again. I…” Jacobs interrupted. the Charm Company plan to take over all the external business interests. He won’t know anything about it. the boys these days. advisor and friend. always frustrated. AIR’s been running for almost a year. “George? He has no need to know. he could just continue in this mode as an independent producer. And. As he’s contracted through EMI and not us. Willowy mannequins with bald heads and ultra short miniskirts stared haughtily back at him. “Wait a sec—there’s a big fly-in-the-ointment in all of this. It’s not at all obvious the boys will re-sign with me next year.” “Brian. and so?” 66 . During that period. you know—there’s no way I’ll be able to offer them anything like the financial deal we heard today.” “What’s that?” “It’s this time-window between May the twenty-sixth when you’re to sign—irrevocably.L. They have their own minds now. And you heard the plan. as your solicitor. She’s got a point. I don’t know the best way to proceed anymore” “So you are thinking about selling out?” “Not necessarily. I should emphasize—and the first of October when you have to relinquish everything.” Epstein glanced at Jacobs. The show at the Victoria Palace had just ended and pedestrians were streaming out between the cars to cross the street. He’s an independent record producer now. John Perkins summer fashion displays in the windows. but—well. And. what about Martin? Will he go for it?” Jacobs cocked an eyebrow. Once they start to move on this campaign they’ll have to finish it. lock-stock-and-barrel on October first. if they’re successful—and they just might be—you’re on the hook to hand over the Beatles. they don’t…rely on me like they used to do.

look at Lennon—he looks like he’s going to self-destruct every day! You’ll have already signed all your empire away but you haven’t delivered the goods. “What do you mean if I can’t deliver?” “Well supposing they all die in a plane crash during this limbo period? Or. I need to go home and think. Are you sure you won’t come and have a drink?” “No. Or would they? What if they decide to do it anyway? What if Sylburner was right and they didn’t re-sign with him? Then he’d be left with nothing. especially without his approval and guidance. “I can walk to the Sombrero Club from here. equivalently. he’d have to agree now or else lose everything next year. It’ll be quicker.” The traffic problem ahead was showing no signs of abating. Epstein reached forward to switch on the radio.A Day in the Life “Well. Well if there’s any chance that you’d do this Brian. He slammed the door and steered the car left into Victoria Road on his way home to Belgravia. But the Spirit of Ecstasy continued to gracefully incline her upper body at eighty degrees to the vertical and offered him no counsel. “Just drop me off. Two passing pedestrians glancing casually into the interior of the Rolls Royce recognized Brian Epstein and stood staring.” “Okay. and most important.” “Hmm. No deal. You’d still have to sell but you’d be left with nothing. supposing they break up and go their separate ways? I mean. I don’t think so. make sure you have an insurance contingency clause inserted in the agreement. Why not take the money? This way. The car made twenty yards when the traffic ahead stopped again. But Epstein was in no mood for public relation niceties. I’ll think about it. He chewed the inside of his cheek. we’re a family. And anyway. Not only would it solve a number of nagging problems that had been troubling him for months but he could invest 67 . rested his arms and chin on the steering wheel and stared intently at the silver flying lady on the bonnet in front of him. no Beatles.” Epstein opened the door to let Jacobs out. If there was any chance that they would.” murmured Epstein vaguely.” said Jacobs. It took them a further ten minutes just to reach Kensington High Street. suppose the Charm Company complete all their acquisitions and you can’t deliver. So just how certain are you that you can deliver the Beatles intact in October?” “They won’t break up—too much going for them. no money!” Epstein frowned. he’d be far richer than he’d ever be by any other route. Could he do this? Should he do this? The Beatles would never go for it. occupied with the traffic jam “If we go further with all this.

He’d still be their manager as far as the public knew and he’d still be able to rub shoulders with the elite of the social world. The traffic was still stopped in front of him.L. he’d still have the Beatles for four more years. Beware indeed! Was this just another London loony? Or was it a soothsayer to be heeded? * * * * * 68 . Beware the ides of March. No. no escape that way. In his rear-view mirror. he could see the poor wretch out in the street accosting the car behind him. There was a misting of rain on the glass and he couldn’t make out the figure clearly. John Perkins in all those ventures that he’d been mulling over—new show business personalities that he could promote that would become bigger than even the Beatles! And. the whole thing was preposterous! It would never work. “Beware! They’re going to get you! Flee! Flee now while there’s still time!” The man’s eyes were wild and staring. Warily he switched on the interior light that showed a man with a dirty face and matted beard and hair. outwardly. here’s Percy Sledge with ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’. hands waving in the air “Beware! Beware! The end! The end is almost here!” Epstein could make out the shouted words through the glass. Epstein jumped violently. Someone was banging on the passenger-side window. Essex. He’d be a fool not to go for it. As he nodded his head slowly in time with the song. But it all didn’t seem kosher somehow did it? “…and just for you Veronica in Barking. He was gesticulating at Epstein. The traffic ahead started up and Epstein pulled thankfully away. to the public at least.” The voice of Johnnie Walker broadcasting the late show from Radio Caroline brought Epstein back from his musings. thought Epstein. a wave of melancholia swept over him. shaken by the incident. The band could anyway breakup during that time and he’d be out of it and rich.

the one he’d bought at the seaside when he was seven. Suddenly. At least he could do a sketch of her main features. He suddenly realized that he’d forgotten to bring a camera with him and swore briefly. Now it was probably time to leave the rest to the police. he’d confirmed it was here. It was fine and granular as though it had been sifted through a sieve. indicative of significant bacterial decay. Ferro turned his head away for a moment and then with gritted teeth began to carefully scrape the residual soil from the arm. Well. his heart began to palpitate as the spade hit something soft and yielding.— Chapter 4 — Woke Up. So there was no doubt it was under here somewhere. Strangely. Fell Outta Bed Wednesday. He knew that the large black region in the lower belly signified that bacteria had eaten through the gut and it would not be long before the bloat inside the stretched. It took him little time to uncover the naked torso. perhaps not. Ferro turned his head to the side and weighed the situation as calmly as he could. the soil was easier to remove now. Ferro was sweating profusely from the exertion. He resolved to continue. The police might suppress the identity from him once the body was in their custody. He had to see the face—had to see what she looked like. shiny skin would T 69 . Then again. November 12. Perhaps he’d got a pencil in the car. Ferro had encountered dead bodies during his former career as a provincial newspaper reporter. The earth was surprisingly hard to move even though it appeared freshly dug. The skin was greeny-gray in color and dotted with black blotches. He dragged the back of his glove across his forehead and continued to dig. Daniel Ferro could feel himself starting to retch. 1980 here is no stench like that of a decomposing corpse. The soil seemed turgid and spongy as if he was digging into a pile of foam rubber and the red spade removed only a small portion at each attempt. A wave of putrescence struck his nostrils and rising bile stung his throat. The skin ranged from olive to eggplant in color and the breasts were black and sunken. He was digging with a red child’s spade. There was what looked to be an engagement ring on the fourth finger of the hand. A few seconds work revealed a left hand and the lower part of an arm.

eyes. Brushing away the soil. there was just a smooth.L. healthy skin. He tried not to breath through his nose as he used the spade like a canoe paddle to rake the earth from each side of the head and then. Ferro recalled that bacterial action in cadavers several days old produced gases that bulged the eyes. and ears—had been cut away. just the earth to remove over the face. unlike the rest of the decaying body. Ferro jumped violently and clapped a hand on the bell to smother the sound. His first thought was that her main features—nose. blank surface. he dragged the glove off his left hand and located the set button to silence the alarm. Would the eyes be bright and staring or would they be sunken and opaque from the action of maggots? But could flies lay eggs in a body buried several feet under soil? He doubted it. hesitantly scraped at the soil over the face. Ferro looked at it blankly and turned back to the task at hand. concerned that the noise might have attracted someone. the remaining face would have been mutilated and not this smooth. remembering how deep in the forest he was. Just one more layer of dirt to sweep from the cadaver’s head…and then he should see…Ferro recoiled with surprise. Because. Then. where the face should have been. At the instant his finger touched the skin. it looked to be comprised of pink. sick to his stomach in anticipation of what he would soon see. He glanced anxiously over his shoulder. of course. With his teeth. He was almost there. And then his spade clanged against a metallic object nestled under the left side of the chin. But then. he saw that it was a clock about four inches in diameter. pink membrane extending from the chin up to the hairline. He cursed the crudity of the red spade. He was resting back on his knees to contemplate the riddle of the face when the alarm burst forth again. He should have also brought a brush and not just this stupid child’s toy. He stared for what seemed like minutes while his mind struggled to make sense of what this could be. He had the clock clamped by his left hand and the clapper 70 . Ferro wondered whether it could possibly be warm to the touch. he dismissed the thought. like an archeologist expecting to uncover a priceless artifact of antiquity. Moreover. He worked very carefully now. mouth. He pulled the glove off his right hand and gingerly extended an forefinger towards the featureless cowl. John Perkins cause the torso to split wide open. Surely the button was in so how could it be ringing? How could he stop it? He inspected the top of the clock and decided to forcibly bend the clapper away from the bell. protruded the tongue and pushed blood-stained fluids from orifices. the alarm clock under the chin went off with a high-pitched trill. Again he smothered it with his hand.

Ferro saw the twisted pair of red and white wires running from the back of the clock to disappear under the body. She was dressed in a two-piece. Also. Her ash-blond hair. A recent Spanish holiday or a sun-ray lamp. was cut to chin length. Ferro snapped awake and sprang out of the armchair. The bell rang for the fourth time. Her face was serious. He was guarded but also curious to know how she traced him so efficiently from yesterday’s brief phone call. Ferro snorted with exasperation and felt the sweat break out on his forehead and neck. let me get straight to the point. the police surely had information on the murder that he didn’t. “Mr Ferro.” She extended a hand containing her police identification. This was England and November after all. pleasantries had been exchanged. secured by something. You were performing a company search. This afternoon. Her eyes were wide-apart and a deep blue against a smooth. She was about to press the doorbell for the fifth time as he opened the door. charcoal-gray suit and appeared to be in her twenties or early thirties. How could the fucking thing still be ringing when he had the mechanism secured in his hands? He tried to lift the clock away from the body but it resisted his pull.A Day in the Life between the thumb and forefinger of his right hand when the alarm rang for the third time. apparently natural.” 71 . His faced was coated with perspiration. sunburned skin. * * * * * Ten minutes later. He wondered how he could get her to divulge some of it. Her mouth was wide but her paleviolet lips were temporarily thin as she was pursing them with concentration. stiff from a crooked sleeping position. wondered Ferro. The clock suddenly gave and came cleanly away. Then he was desperately scrambling backwards onto his feet and turning to run. He shambled towards the front door massaging his neck. Ferro wore a noncommittal half smile and waited for Sergeant Pencarver to begin. “Mr Ferro? I’m Detective Sergeant Jill Pencarver from the Serious Fraud Office. It took only fifty milliseconds for the words ‘booby trap’ to frame themselves in Ferro’s mind. I believe you were at Companies House in the City. He grasped the object in both hands and pulled harder.

You’re…. we would be interested to know why you are interested in them.” she glanced down at her notes. Ferro nodded and decided to put out a feeler.” She looked up at him. What the hell was this? The Companies Registry too? Had they been spying on him for the past two days? At length he slowly nodded. how do you know and why do you care?” She paused for several seconds.L. “Is this the only reason you’re here?” “Yes.” She raised an eyebrow. are looking into certain aspects of this particular company. “Why do you ask? Is there some other reason we’d visit you?” “Oh no. anything you tell us will be in complete confidence and I hope you will treat our chat in the same vein?” She looked at him searchingly. “I’m just curious. Ferro said nothing.” she prompted. “What has this to do with me?” “We. “This is a completely routine call. “We have information that you requested their file this afternoon. “We’ve been doing routine follow-ups on a number of these file traces.” But how.” “I believe you were researching an organization known as the Charm Company. tell me.” She looked surprised by the question. the Serious Fraud Office that is. So the police knew nothing of his call to the murder hotline yesterday. He suddenly remembered the clerk’s request for his identification and the delay in procuring the file. That’s all. thought Ferro. We have what we term a ‘trace’ on certain company files. “Can I therefore ask you to describe your particular interest in this company. and so?” he said truculently. John Perkins Ferro was astonished. He thought for a few seconds and decided. But. that is actually correct. “Yes. Their only link to him was this routine follow up 72 .” Ferro finally understood. Is that correct?” Ferro’s brain was churning What was going on? Had Britain suddenly become a police state overnight? How could they possibly know that? Ferro was getting annoyed. “…the fifth one today for me. but received no affirmation from Ferro and continued. “Can I ask you what you were doing there?” “Oh. looking down at her notes before replying. just performing some research. “You understand that we must follow up each and every lead?” She waited. Of course. It’s a routine procedure and triggered automatically. “Okay. We wonder if you would be able to throw any light on their activities? For example.” He shook his head a little too emphatically. We’re contacted if and when they’re requested.

but this is the eighties and it is seven forty-five at night!” When Ferro returned from the kitchen with the drinks she was standing up removing her jacket. So. “Not on duty then?” he asked with a grin. Ferro couldn’t glean from this whether she knew that fact. of course. “Well. A Mexican standoff eh?” He smiled and changed tack. She had a nice smile Ferro noticed. You can appreciate that surely?” “Sure. beer…?” “Thank you. music branch of the family like himself. we journalists prefer to keep our sources confidential at first. this time quite broadly. Just a piece of background research.” “I see.A Day in the Life through the Companies Registry. if anything should he tell her? “Yeah. But it would be of great assistance to us if—” “Look Ms Pencarver. sure. “Yes. Probably not on the non-political.” “Uh-uh?” He response was non-committal. I really can’t divulge anything of this to you. He wondered if Scotland Yard kept files on journalists. As you know. “As I said it’s just some minor research. you know. the Metropolitan Police. What exactly led you to the Charm Company? What is your interest in them if I may ask?” “Well…” Ferro hesitated. I’ll have a beer. She was looking at him with her eyebrows raised waiting for him to continue. They hadn’t traced his telephone call. “Sorry Mr Ferro. tea.” Ferro leaned back in his chair and put his hands behind his head. Had they run a background check on him? He had no criminal record other than some moving traffic violations on his scooter during his mid-sixties Mod phase. He wondered if they had established any link between the murder and the Charm Company. So what.” “A story?” “Yes. I’m a journalist. “Suppose I ask you first why you. are interested in them?” A brief smile crossed her lips. That explained a lot. Nothing wrong in that is there?” “No Mr Ferro not exactly.” he began. “I was following a story. We need to keep our investigations confidential too. presumably they knew nothing about his connection with the murder. I’m just following half a lead. And.” She smiled.” Ferro interrupted. “So we have a mutual problem then. providing it’s not illegal. “Can I get you a drink? Coffee. But were provincial murders within their sphere of interest? Were they even aware of it? He’d try to find out. The action sent a momentary aroma of perfume in his 73 .

There was no label but scratched in the black dusty plastic was a handwritten number. Pencarver was looking back at the gold disks on the wall when a thought appeared to strike her.” “Popular music?” “Yes. The long wall of the room above the writing desk was adorned with four framed gold disks. facsimiles of the originals and presented to Ferro by certain English rock stars moved by his articles on the subject of themselves.” “Oh. usually for promotion purposes. a sofa. only about two inches shorter than himself. 74 . Ferro rarely saw one anymore.” “So you’re a music journalist?” “Yes. it was rather sparsely furnished: an armchair. Parl. Ferro liked her clear blue eyes and the slight upturned natural smile of her lips. What do you make of this then?” Ferro took it on his palm. Five further piles of albums occupied the floor in front of it accompanied by four large boxes of forty-fives. They were common a decade ago but had been largely superseded by cassette tapes. There were no rings on her left hand he noted. In terms of conventional furniture. She sipped her beer and looked around his living room. A long. floppy object until it caught the light and scanned the annulus between the last micro-groove and the hole in the middle. a television set and an overflowing bookcase was about it.” A silence of several second ensued. a desk. The surface of desk was strewn with that week’s music trade magazines. She was perhaps five feet ten. used for the transcription and distribution of preliminary recordings. “You know about records./PMC7027/4A R5526/4A.L. He thought she was rather nice. The rest of the space was devoted to music paraphernalia of various forms. As she stretched to lay the jacket down. She reached into her briefcase. John Perkins direction. several inches square. He tilted the thin. Like the records albums. A shelf unit occupied the length of one short wall and held an assortment of hi-fi equipment and around two-hundred cassette tapes. took out a folder and extracted a black object. threetier record rack was filled with albums. “Do you write about music?” she asked suddenly. a good fraction of the tapes were promotional copies that Ferro had been given free. She offered it to Ferro balanced on the palm of her hand with the words. and what looked to be a date with a Roman numeral for the month: 16/IX/1966. “Yes. Ferro wondered how to breach this seeming impasse. It was an acetate. he caught the outline of her bra beneath her white blouse.

Ferro was fascinated. Lennon’s harmony vocal wasn’t on the original. Ferro listened intently. Pencarver shook her head and put her fingers to her lips. The words and vocal phrasing from the first part of the record were very familiar to Ferro but. Ferro was intrigued. “Is this connected with the Charm Company in some way?” She ignored his question.A Day in the Life “What’s this? he asked. Ferro increased the tracking weight on the arm to compensate for the uneven surface of the record and tried again. directing him to listen. as an entity. as far as he knew. He turned on the amplifier. To Ferro’s further surprise. Pepper album. and. Ferro was looking back at Pencarver wondering what this was all about when his attention was wrenched back to the speakers. “Where did you get this from?” he asked. It was his favorite song from his favorite album. It was the bridge to ‘Day in the Life’ from the Beatles’ Sgt. But. something very different from the original recording. Ferro was just about to speak again when the second verse finished and was followed. One thing was however clear. every 75 . made the bus in seconds flat…’ There was no doubt of John Lennon’s added voice here. the song continued with a unknown guitar solo and two concluding verses of the same form as the first two but with words that were completely new to him. Where was the piano accompaniment and the rest of the backing instrumentation so familiar from the celebrated original? What was more remarkable was that the second verse had an accompanying harmony vocal: ‘Found my coat ‘nd grabbed my hat. This time. “Play it—please. Ferro knew it intimately. but instead by a vocal bridge sung by McCartney in the vein of the first two verses. it was a song he’d never heard before. There was no mistaking the unique fusion of Lennon and McCartney’s harmonies. placed the acetate on the turntable and lowered the arm. there was something strange here. “Play it. There was no doubt that the voice was that of Paul McCartney of the Beatles and he was singing a phrase that was very well known to Ferro: ‘Woke up. dragged a comb across my head…’. The stylus immediately began to skip over the outer grooves of the disc and a sequence of bumps and screeches issued from the speakers. Tell me what you think of it. Ferro knew every note and every word of every Beatles’ song ever issued. This part was totally unfamiliar to Ferro. not by the expected wordless ‘ahhs’ of the album recording that would segue back to Lennon’s concluding stanza.” Ferro shrugged. fell outta bed.” She nodded her head towards a turntable on the shelf unit. the two listeners were rewarded with the sound of acoustic guitar introduction accompanied by an up-tempo walking-bass in a descending pattern.

“Yes. it’s from Sgt. “So why had the letter and the record been sent to the police?” Based on the events of the past few days. “Who from?” he asked. “It’s from the Sgt.” “You don’t? I thought everybody had a copy. It said that Paul McCartney had been killed and that this was the last recording he ever made. How did you know?” “Oh. I mean did you attempt to trace it?” “No. Here it was again and from another source! What the hell was going on? He phrased a reply. we didn’t.” She drained her beer glass and said. “No. I don’t know if the sending branch tried. “That was the interesting part. I don’t have that album. ”So. Ferro could easily guess the answer. unreleased Beatles’ song.” “Oh really? I thought it sounded familiar. What did it say about the record?” He indicated the turntable with his head. actually there was a suggested connection. They’d received it with an anonymous letter. It’s a brand new.” Ferro experienced an inner tingle. Lennon’s ‘Day in the Life’. I…” She appeared to make up her mind. he knew. He’d never heard this one before and.” Ferro was suddenly very alert. “Did the letter contain allegations about the Beatles and the Charm Company?” She looked at him sharply. Ferro made a face. just a hunch. but only the first two verses. “Well. Pepper is it?” “Yes. it claimed a conspiracy connected with the Beatles. John Perkins aborted attempt and unreleased out-take. Beads and bells and all that. “It was forwarded to us by a different branch.” “What else did the letter say?” 76 . It was a complete.” she said sarcastically but with a grin. I was there all right. So where the hell did it come from? She looked at him for several seconds as if weighing a decision. Pepper album or rather part of it is. “Well. neither had the rest of the world. “Yes. what do you think?” she asked. But the rest of it of it—I’ve never heard it before. I was just always more of a Stones’ fan. Bit strange don’t you think?” Ferro thought carefully before framing his next question. “Um. And the musical backing is all different.” “Had this something to do with the Charm Company and your investigations of them?” She nodded. unreleased and unknown Beatles’ song.L. Where were you in 1967 during the Summer of Love?” “Oh. That’s why it got passed on to our office. it did actually. “Joe Anonymous. They were used as the middle bit of the last track.

He realized she was looking at him. “Interesting. 77 . the anonymous one?” She shook her head. “No. I thought you’d be interested given your music background. “What do you make of it?” “So you’re following up on this?” said Ferro. Well not this letter or the Beatles’ stuff. I just thought you’d be interested given your profession. “Is that the letter. it was done by the sending branch” “Can I see it?” She considered for a moment and passed the sheet across to Ferro. sidestepping her question. “No.” “No. “Do you have the original letter on you?” said Ferro. he noticed. Had the original police transcriber omitted it as pure fantasy? But was it any more fantastic that the rest of her ravings? In any event. There’s nothing in this as far as we’re concerned. As I told you earlier. Pencarver seem to have covered all the salient points in her summary. “You’re investigating the Beatles?” “The Beatles? Oh no. The impostor angle again! His voice was different? Never appeared in public? All the same claims. There was.” “So you’re not investigating this? That’s not why you came here?” He forehead crinkled in puzzlement.A Day in the Life “Hold on. He’d been looking at similar set of phrases only yesterday. I came here to see if you could throw any light on the activities of the Charm Company. Can you?” Ferro ignored her question.” “Did you do it?” “Did I do what?” “The transcription.” Pencarver asked as Ferro handed the sheet back. I just keep it all in the same file. it’s just a transcription of the main points. it seemed that Carmen Venton had been quite an active letter writer before her death. This stuff seems totally crazy to me. no mention of a threat to John Lennon on this sheet.” She sorted through the folder on her lap and extracted a white. The words were very familiar to Ferro. So he said. waiting for a response. typewritten A4 sheet and began to read. don’t you think? Especially that bit about Paul McCartney. “ Um…that this is the last recording made by the real Paul McCartney in September 1966…never released because of his death…managed to filch this to send it for proof…McCartney’s replacement never appeared publicly in close-up after that…no more live performances…easy to tell his later recordings because his voice was different…Charm Company was centrally involved…” Ferro’s mind raced.

in one way it is a big deal. John Perkins “No I don’t. it is my field. And they’ve probably destroyed it by now anyway. I came here this evening to ask you questions and it seems I’ve been answering yours instead and about the Beatles of all people.” “No.” He thought quickly.” As Ferro operated the reel-to-reel tape deck. He turned his head fractionally in an attempt to savor her perfume again. but then again Scotland Yard doesn’t usually trade in the bootleg record market. then shook her head. And. “But look Mr Ferro. he said. “No. Just in case. I’ve never seen it. You know—a woman’s touch and all that. you’re welcome to run it on to tape. I don’t know.“Her letter?” “Well his or her.L. “It sounded like more of a her to me. that was a transcription not the original. Ignoring the implied question. “Oh it just did. I better hang on to this. He noted down the number and date from the center of the acetate and lifted the object from the turntable. Ferro watched her sideways. 78 . “Why do you say that?” She was looking at him closely. “You still haven’t told me anything about your interest in the Charm Company.” He smiled obligingly. And anyway. keenly aware that his notes and letter from Carmen Venton were in the drawer only inches from her hand. “Don’t you realize what this would be worth on the bootleg market?” “No. “if you want a copy. She glanced at some of Ferro’s typed manuscript pages on Elton John and thumbed idly through the pages of that week’s Melody Maker. “Well. Ferro lifted the headphones from his head.” She was waiting for him to continue but he turned back to the reel-to-reel and busied himself with rewinding the tape. “Are you sure you can’t get me the original of her letter?” .” He cursed silently at himself for the slip. So.” Ferro corrected himself quickly.” “Could I get a copy?” “Probably not. stretched and wandered over to the desk. Pencarver got up.” she said gently. She crossed the room to where he was occupied with the tape deck and stood behind him. “I couldn’t keep this acetate could I?” She thought for a moment.” She smiled and sighed simultaneously. Do you do realize that you have here an original and unknown Beatles’ recording?” “Uh-huh?” She seemed less than impressed by the fact. just why should you be so interested in the original letter and the record? It doesn’t seem like a big deal to me. But…” she indicated the hi-fi equipment.

He watched her walk away along his front path.” Ferro nodded. over and above any information they might exchange. There’s probably nothing in all this and anyway it’s early days. They talked for a further ten minutes in the same cautious.” she replied indignantly. Ferro had an idea. Pepper from the record rack. * * * * * An hour later. And by the way—I’d be grateful if you’d treat our chat in strict confidence.” She looked serious. She left Ferro her card. It hadn’t appeared on any album. fair enough. conscious of the slight sway of her body as the pea gravel scrunched beneath her feet. I’m following a story. “That should be worth some quid pro quo don’t you think?” “Yeah. “Look. he started the tape. I’m not quite ready to say anything about this until I can see what’s going on. Pencarver finally stood up and picked up her jacket and coat. He thought she was nice. “Look Jill. he thought. er… Jill. Okay?” “Okay. Okay?” “But I’ve just given you a copy of a priceless Beatles’ recording. comparing the 79 . at the peak of the orchestra crescendo that signaled the beginning of the bridge. “I really can’t give you any information on that. other than the abstraction of the first two verses for the middle part of ‘Day In The Life’. haunting vocals of John Lennon and then. He noticed that she was still looking at him as she took it . Ferro led the way back to the sofa. He listened through the first three verses with the classic. He switched back and forth between record and tape. He placed it on the turntable and positioned the stylus at the start of the last track on the second side.A Day in the Life turned and offered it to her. Can I call you Jill?” She nodded. evidently deciding that nothing more was to be gained that evening. but what about the Charm Company? What have they done to deserve the scrutiny of the Serious Fraud Office? Just what serious fraud have they committed? “I’m afraid that’s sub-judice at present Mr Ferro. This is a very good song. cat-and-mouse manner. So why hadn’t the Beatles released it in its own right? He rewound the tape and located his well-worn copy of Sgt. It would be good to see her again. He set the tape deck to play and listened again to his new Beatles’ discovery.

But Carmen Venton had certainly manage to procure a unique artifact of Beatles’ recording history. at least to the extent of registering her allegations on the Charm Company and forwarding it to the SFO. There was no doubt about it. Pencarver had said that there was no Beatles’ interest as far as she was concerned and that the SFO weren’t pursuing that aspect. So. miss him. McCartney’s voice was identical on both recordings. He wondered what the original letter had said about John Lennon. Ferro usually caught Peel’s ten o’clock. So what the fuck was this all about? He shook his head in puzzlement. And that the unknown record was his last recording. His eyes narrowed fractionally. It also meant that. thought Ferro as he slumped in the armchair. His thoughts drifted back to the Beatles. avant-guarde record show on BBC Radio 1 whenever he was at home. The same phrasing. Just what was their involvement in all this? Ferro vaguely registered John Peel’s voice from his radio in the background. it meant that he had a singularly valuable Beatles’ recording that the rest of the world had never heard. Well this is all very interesting. at the end of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’. John Perkins respective voices in his headphones. 1966 date on the acetate was correct. What were some of these supposed ‘clues’? He recalled that. He repeated this procedure four times. the same slight waver in the voice at another. the same extra intake of breath at one point. Ferro remembered the original ‘Paul-is-Dead’ story very well and the rumors that the remaining Beatles had been putting clues on their subsequent recordings and album sleeves so that the fans would find them. He’d have to check on that but. Tonight he had other things on his mind. How did she come by that? Did it mean that the murdered girl had more than just a fantasy connection with them? What had she said in her letter to the police? That Paul McCartney had died in 1966. it sounded like Lennon said “I buried Paul”.L. He was also getting more than a little fed up with hearing about the Charm Company. and assuming that the September 16. the first two verses of McCartney’s vocals from the unknown recording had been pasted directly into the middle of ‘Day In The Life’. it meant that the unknown recording predated the track on Sgt. although she hadn’t realized it. Ferro seemed to recall that ‘Day In The Life’ had been recorded in January or February of 1967. but what did it all mean? For a start. if so. Probably something similar to what she had said in his copy. the police had in fact paid attention to Carmen Venton’s letter to them. miss him” and “Turn 80 . Then there was the famous backwards words on the Beatles’ White Album: “Paul is dead now. Pepper by some four months.

And. ‘I Saw Her Standing There’. had thought it might be true. For example. Bare feet were a Tibetan sign of the dead. from his new find. the Beatles’ first album from 1963. Ferro now had six representative McCartney vocals on tape—three on reel-to-reel tape from the period 1966 or before. and ran them on to tape. Ferro leaned with his hands on the album rack and stared at the wall. one from each album. and ‘Got To Get You Into My Life’. which was to denote McCartney’s age if had he lived. He switched on the cassette deck. and three on cassette dating from 1968 or later. he couldn’t be sure anymore when the songs involving McCartney had been recorded.A Day in the Life me on dead man”. But. But she had claimed that his voice was different. the license number on the Volkswagen Beetle on the left of the photograph read ‘28 IF’. there was the supposed ultimate confirmation on the album cover of Abbey Road. inserted a blank cassette and proceeded to tape ‘Mother Nature’s Son’ and ‘Let it Be’. Pepper but decided that although that album had been released in June 1967. Ferro shrugged. He got up and crossed to his album rack. He returned to the rack and located the White Album and Let it Be. the picture showed a funeral procession of the four Beatles with Paul as the deceased in bare feet. he’d dismissed it as a hoax. Beatles albums from 1968 and 1970. ‘Drive my Car’. of course. From these. In October 1969 when the story had first broken. followed by Rubber Soul and Revolver dating from 1965 and 1966. But then like the others. He wondered what had initiated the original ‘Paul-is-Dead’ allegations. he’d forgotten which. that McCartney would have been only twenty-seven at the time the cover shot had been taken. he knelt by the boxes of forty-fives on the floor. like many others. Or were they a Mafia sign of the dead? Ferro frowned. he scanned the front cover. he’d followed it closely for two weeks during which he. At the record rack he extracted Please Please Me. he selected the tracks. Why not try an experiment? He de-mounted the tape that contained his new Beatles’ song and placed a blank ten-inch reel on the machine. rifled through the ‘B’s’ until he located the single ‘Get Back’ and transferred this song to cassette to accompany those from the later albums. Ferro knew. He located Abbey Road and. however. framing it in his hands. He considered also adding a track from Sgt. Also. what else had Carmen Venton said? That McCartney’s place had been taken by a stand-in—a ‘double” she had claimed—who couldn’t play the bass guitar at the time but who’s singing voice was close enough to get by. He could now perform a before-and-after comparison. one from each album. eyes closed and out of step with the others. it now appeared that the middle of ‘Day In The Life’ had been recorded 81 . Finally. According to the folklore.

L. John Perkins

some months earlier than the rest of the album. He put on the headphones and compared the two sets of songs, switching back and forth between reel-to-reel tape and cassette tape; back and forth between earlier McCartney and later McCartney. After thirty minutes of careful comparisons, Ferro removed the headphones and slowly put them down. He sat back in the armchair, folded his arms on his chest and stared into space. Well, Carmen Venton had been right about one thing: McCartney’s voice was different in the later recordings! In the pre-1967 selection of songs, it was raw, nasal, resonant. In the post1967 selection, it was smooth, dulcet, almost flute-like in places. Curiouser and curiouser! And, of course, Carmen Venton had been murdered. Altogether an intriguing situation. Anything new on the Beatles was still big news, even now a decade after their demise—providing it could be substantiated. So how could he follow it up? There seemed to be only one lead—the police and Jill Pencarver. Also, in the morning, it might be worth revisiting his old files on the ‘Paul is Dead’ phenomenon. Ferro was struck by a thought. He returned to the album rack and picked up Abbey Road again. He slipped the record out of its sleeve and confirmed the date on the label. Yes—this album had been recorded in 1969. So, if the real Paul McCartney had died in 1966, who was the person with the bare feet on the front cover? Then Ferro smiled to himself. For a moment back there, even he was starting to take it seriously. He wondered what was really going on. * * * * *

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— Chapter 5 — Blackburn Road
Sunday, September 25, 1966
here will never be another band like the Beatles. There will also never be another sports car like the E-type Jaguar. Sprung on the astounded world at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show, it was the last of the street-legal racing cars. It was based on the famous Le Mans winning Jaguar D-type and ridiculously under priced for its features. The two-seater boasted a top speed in excess of 150 mph and, by God, it was beautiful with its utterly distinctive, curvaceous body. There was something so sensual, so unique about its styling that few males could resist its seduction. Paul McCartney for one could not. He had taken delivery of the yellow, 4.2-liter, E-type roadster that morning on a trial basis. Being Sunday, Henlys, the Jaguar dealership in Piccadilly had been closed. But for a probable sale of £1892 19s 6d, their head salesman had been only too happy to make an impromptu delivery run to the NEMS branch office in Stafford Street who had transferred it to McCartney’s house in St. John’s Wood. McCartney had been traveling thirty minutes since leaving central London. Out for a joyride, he was heading east on the A2 into Kent. He hadn’t had a chance to put the E-type through her paces yet. It didn’t look to as if there would be much opportunity on this present road. Little wider than the original, arrow-straight road that the Romans had built from London to Dover, the A2 was now undergoing drastic surgery to a dual carriageway with three lanes in each direction. Even on a Sunday morning with only light traffic, there had been several holdups due to roadworks on the way down from London. Four miles east of Dartford, he glanced at the map spread out on the passenger seat and turned north on the A227 towards the town of Gravesend. Perhaps there was a faster road this way? He looked admiringly through the windscreen along the long sleek bonnet in front of him and over the power bulge designed to clear the cam covers of the XK engine beneath. More sexy he thought, than his present Aston Martin, if that were possible. Yes, he’d get Epstein to pay for this for him tomorrow. Would he keep both of the cars or trade the Aston in for something more practical? A Mini Cooper-S perhaps? He leaned forward and switched on the

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radio. It took fifteen seconds for the vacuum tubes to warm up at which point a voice faded in. He rotated the tuning knob and listened briefly in turn to the offerings of Radios Caroline and London—there’d be no pop music on the BBC on a Sunday morning—and settled the pointer at Caroline’s 259m. He recognized the Supremes’ ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’, and sang lustily along with Diana Ross. By the time the song had finished, McCartney had reached Gravesend town center. There were a number of people strolling about even though all the shops were closed. He was glad he’d resisted the temptation to lower the top a few miles back. He could stomach public adulation only so far these days. The interior of the car was getting uncomfortably hot. McCartney waited until he was a mile outside of the town, stopped the car and attempted to fold the top back. It took him a good ten minutes to complete the task Radio Caroline was playing a Beach Boys’ song—‘God Only Knows’— as he resumed his journey. McCartney wondered how long it would be before they played a Beatles’ song. Although constantly bombarded from every facet of the media with his group’s productions, he never grew tired of hearing the songs, particularly if they were the ones he’d written. ‘Yellow Submarine/Eleanor Rigby’ was still in the charts—number seven, last time he’d checked—but, apart from his new demo single, they hadn’t recorded anything since Revolver. And Lennon hadn’t particularly liked the idea for the new single. Time to get back to the studio to record the next album. Two miles east of Gravesend, he was getting frustrated. This A-road was just too slow for his magnificent machine. The merest touch of his foot on the accelerator was causing the car to cavort like a wild mustang, on several occasions bringing his front bumper to within inches of the car ahead. There had to be a better racetrack than this. McCartney’s attention was suddenly drawn to the petrol gauge that was hovering on empty. He snorted. The fact that he’d only driven about twenty miles from London meant that Henlys had delivered a new car to NEMS with less than two gallons in the tank. Seeing that they were going to realize almost two thousand pounds in sales, they could have at least supplied it with a full tank. A hundred yards further on he drew up on the forecourt of a petrol station. Now what did he do? For the past two years the Beatles had lead a cloistered existence and assistants were always at their beck and call. Consequently, McCartney was not used to performing such a trivial act as filling a car petrol tank. A mechanic looked at McCartney inquiringly while wiping his hands on a rag.

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“Er…fill her up please,” said the Beatle. “Five-star…ninety-five octane?” “Er…yeah, I suppose so.” The mechanic looked to be in his sixties and gave no indication that he recognized what must have been one of the most famous faces on the planet. Paul McCartney rejoined the A226 for fifty yards and noted the Lower Higham Road on his left. Was this a fast county lane where he could really open up the Jaguar to its full potential? He vaguely registered the throaty drumming of the twin exhausts as he accelerated into the turn. Three feet behind McCartney, in the left rear of the E-type lay the petrol tank, just replenished with fourteen imperial gallons of five-star petrol. The stored energy content of this high-octane gasoline was approximately two hundred megajoules, about the same as that of a hundred pounds of TNT. * * * * *

It was an Arthur Greene who was responsible for the ultimate events of this day. It was due to something that Greene had done nine years before. He would never be aware of the ramifications of his act. In fact, Greene would never learn of the existence of the Beatles. He died the same year that Paul McCartney and John Lennon had first met—three years before the Beatles had even settled on their final name. Greene was a welder with Davey and Sons Ltd, at their factory in Blackburn, Lancashire. Too young for the First World War, too old for the Second, Greene had worked for Davey and Sons for forty-one mundane, uneventful years. In April 1957, he was given a new apprentice to supervise. Greene had only a few years to retirement and really didn’t need this added complication. He had never understood why new apprentices were so totally incapable. It took them at least six months to even begin to be useful and, to Greene, this one did not look as if he’d be any different. What did they teach them in schools today? It was different when he was young. And they had respect for their elders in those days! Greene led the apprentice to a spot-welding machine. He looked around for a suitable specimen and settled on a thin metal sheet about three-feetsquare which he picked up from a pile of identical objects. Searching around in the scrap metal on the floor, Greene selected a small flake of steel, the size of a finger nail. Bidding the youth to watch him carefully, he placed the sliver

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of metal in the center of the metal sheet, positioned them both between the pincer-like electrodes of the spot-welder and depressed the operating bar with his foot. There was a spark and a wisp of blue smoke from the machine. Holding the sheet in both hands like a tray, Greene swiveled around to the apprentice to show him the flake welded to the sheet. He inverted the assembly and, with a grunt and a sausage of a finger, pointed to the blue spot that had appeared in the outside of the sheet. The boy appeared to be less than interested in the feat. He peered briefly at the spot-weld, sniffed, and pulled out a comb to sculpt his DA carefully back into place. Greene looked sideways at him with contempt. The youth of today! Good-for-nothing yobs! What was the world coming to? Greene turned his eyes heavenward and tossed the metal sheet back on the pile with the others. He walked back to his bench to roll a cigarette. Later in that year of 1957, Arthur Greene died suddenly in his sleep of a coronary thrombosis. However, his remote but critical role in the history of popular music had been secured. * * * * *

It was nearly eleven a.m. at 24 Chapel Street, Belgravia, and Brian Epstein was still in bed. He’d been dozing fitfully for the past two hours. Last night had seen the usual surfeit of pills and booze. Fun at the time but always a Faustian bargain which inevitably ended with dreamless, Seconal-induced sleep. Both his head and bladder were bursting and his tongue lay in his mouth like a piece of dry pumice. He was going through his usual morning ritual of willing himself out of bed to confront the world of another day. Epstein opened his eyes and looked blearily down to the foot of the bed where his Spanish butler had deposited the Sunday newspapers two hours earlier. In five minutes, he thought, I will sit up and read those papers. In five minutes, he didn’t. There were two urgent messages from his personal assistant, Wendy Hansen, taped to his bedside light. Squinting, he attempted to read them but his eyes refused to focus from his horizontal vantage point. Ten minutes passed and with a sudden decisiveness, the Beatles’ manager reached down and dragged the newspapers to the top of the bed. He fell back on the pillow, rested for a full minute and finally pulled himself to a sitting position. He was sweating. For a thirty-two-year-old man, he was not in good physical shape.

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Epstein was a publicity junkie. In turn he rifled anxiously through the News of the World, The People, the Sunday Mirror, the Sunday Times, and the Sunday Express but, for the first time for as long as he could remember, there was nothing about either the Beatles or himself in any of the papers. He checked through again, more carefully this time. Nothing. The popular music section in the Sunday Mirror was devoted to, of all things, a diatribe against Napoleon XIV’s ‘They’re Coming to Take Me Away Ha-Haaa!’ and its mockery of mental illness. Epstein sighed. No publicity. Well, Lennon was on a filming jaunt in Spain and, apart from his brief visit to Abbey Road to add backing vocals to Paul’s new song, would be out of the country all month. Ringo was secluded at his Surrey house while Harrison was somewhere in India studying the sitar. They were, he reasoned, all out of the limelight. As a group, they hadn’t recorded since June. He wanted them to get back to the studio and record a new album. But Epstein’s time with the group was almost up. In less than a month, and courtesy of the Charm Company, he’d be enormously wealthy. Then he could launch into all those new ventures he’d been planning. There was the new theater-cum-recording studios in Bromley and the bullfighting film he would finance about El Cordobles. But, he was giving up the Beatles. It was the end of an era. A wave of immense sadness passed over him. He rolled over in the bed, reached into the drawer of his bedside chest and extracted a vial of Dexedrine tablets. * * * * *

Natural gas from the North Sea was coming to England. The first major venture in the county of Kent was a pipeline run from the estuary of the River Thames. The experimental sixty-inch pipe came ashore at the Isle of Grain and traveled three miles inland to a switching station. There it culminated in a manifold of smaller thirty-inch pipes, mostly as yet unconnected, which snaked off through the countryside for regional distribution. One of these ran two miles and terminated in a large gate valve at the eastern end of Blackburn Road in the village of Lower Higham. Lower Higham would be one of the first villages in Kent to receive natural gas into the homes. While new flow regulators were being fitted to the houses, Blackburn Road was being prepared as the branching point for the new local distribution network.

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it turned. The front of the green box bore its maker’s nameplate: ‘Davey and Sons Ltd. The road excavations for the natural gas pipeline network were arrayed like a string of pearls along the side of this double bend. He grabbed a small stick from the ground. He’d forgotten it was Sunday. Now Trevor had spent an hour yesterday 88 . in quick succession. triangular warning signs about four feet high with red borders. The game was quickly palling. sharp right. He was about to resume his tuneless whistle when he spotted two temporary road signs situated about twenty feet apart and marking the approach of the roadworks around the bend ahead. He was dragging the toe of one worn shoe along the dusty tarmac and he was bored. Lancashire. They were typical white. At its eastern end. hands in pocket and whistling. England’. The eight-year-old was slouching along Blackburn Road. sighted down it and fired off three rapid shots into the empty air. John Perkins For most of its three-quarter-mile length. He had the satisfaction of seeing his ghostly opponents fall dead just as they were about to grab him. The control circuits for the traffic light system were contained in a green box about four-feet high and three-feet wide located at the base of the light at the Abbot-Street-end. Moreover. It was bordered on its southern side by the hedge of Quarrington’s Farm and on its northern side by a steep ditch and a cornfield. although the sound was devoid of any semblance of a tune. He’d just been to the sweetshop and found it closed. terminating in a T-junction with Abbott Street. leaving room for only a single lane of cars. * * * * * Trevor Cranham was Arthur Greene’s unwitting accomplice in the adventures of this day. The second showed a silhouette of a set of traffic lights. Blackburn.L. He’d been banished from his house that morning over a science experiment involving a bottle of vinegar and some baking soda. It was a very remote partnership for Trevor was born the year after Greene had died. The boy suddenly shot a glance to his left and dodged sideways to evade two imaginary footpads. Each end of the single traffic lane were controlled by a set of temporary traffic lights. sharp left and sharp right again. the five shillings that a visiting aunt had bestowed on him yesterday was burning a hole in his pocket. Blackburn Road was long and straight. The first merely warned of roadworks ahead.

It took the boy a minute to drag the surrogate surfboard to the northern edge of the road and position it at the top of the ditch. Empty! Assuming an air of sternness and determination that bordered on ferocity. He sat himself carefully in the center of the triangle. But. The second was a roaring success. young Trevor thought that it would perhaps be better on the next one to have his weight further forward. Besides. As he extracted himself from the blackberry bush where the cavorting sign had deposited him. let alone anyone actually surfing. The two ends of the road yawned emptily back at him. There was no way he’d be able to drag those heavy signs out of the ditch. * * * * * 89 . He pushed off with a shout. Trevor Cranham’s distant partnership with Arthur Greene was complete. In his outings to Brighton that summer. He climbed back up the six-foot sides of the ditch and dragged surfboard mark-II to the edge. Although hardly approximating a hang-ten performance through a surf tunnel. he had never seen anything remotely like these huge. oh boy. thundering waves. Both had been great fun but both his surfboards were now lost at sea. The boy stood in contemplation at the top of the ditch massaging a graze on his right leg and the start of a nettle rash on his left. He was whistling loudly and tunelessly as he turned out of sight around the bend. The sign slithered to the bottom before dumping its passenger. he grasped the top of the first road sign and threw the whole assembly on to its back. He shrugged. had he wanted to try it! He darted a furtive glance up and down the road. the ride on the second road sign fared considerably better. He had been interested by the Hollywood studios and the scenes of Disneyland. balancing against its slight swaying motion and glanced quickly to the right and left. The first ride he knew would have been called a wipeout. But his attention had been riveted by the scenes of bronzed surfers shot in the rolling Southern California waves. turned on his heel and trotted off down the road considerably elated with his feat. The shops would be open tomorrow and he had five shillings to spend. he wasn’t sure that such surf existed anywhere at the English seaside.A Day in the Life evening watching a BBC television documentary on California.

” “Okay. in particular. We don’t welcome hostile takeovers of our interests. Reuther took his Dunhill lighter from the tabletop.” “Yes Johnny.” “Okay. walked over to the empty fireplace and proceeded to burn the handwritten note. “Okay Smithy. They clearly don’t think we’re serious. Not good at all. I’ll call him on an outside phone. willdo.m. Impress on him we need some tough persuasion at the outset. And. All truly successful organizations in this world are comprised of two essential elements—the intelligentsia and the thugs. Anything else I should tell him?” Smith queried.” “Already?” “Yes. Do you want to meet at the usual place?” “Yes.” Smith looked attentively at his boss for instructions. And her fucking colleagues. The Charm Company was a very successful organization because it had Reuther as its thug.” Smith checked in his pockets for the four pennies he’d need for the phone booth and left the room. Then have him meet us later today with his plan of action. Call in the Eggman.” Reuther thought briefly and then said.” “Okay. Johnny Reuther was seated at his desk in the Charm Company’s offices in Grosvenor Street. He was staring down at a handwritten note from Parker Gilmartin. “This is not good. his main lieutenant standing by the desk. “I thought we’d made this clear to her. The former devise policy while the latter enforce it. Gilmartin has warned them repeatedly. It always was in these cases. Reuther looked down again at the note and sighed at the waste of time this would entail.” Reuther raised his eyes to Rodney Smith. “Yes. “Let’s say six p. Have him break a few fingers. John Perkins Although it was Sunday. They’ve had their chance.L. * * * * * 90 . Whether the latter two groups can be classed as thugs depends on the country. He shrugged. I warned them. Fill the Eggman in on the details and tell him what we’ve done so far. He briefly prodded the resulting ash pile with the tip of his shoe and satisfied himself that nothing visible remained. The result would be inevitable. we had. A nation state is a successful entity because the rules formulated by its intelligentsia are enforced by its police and army.

The new Ford Cortina was Norman Spry’s pride and joy. the fact that “Peter is staring at me”. and the strange smell of the new interior which they claimed was making them travel sick. After all. approaching the village of Higham.” 91 . You said you wanted to turn off here at Higham. The Spry children had complained constantly about the lack of leg room. their drive in the countryside had not been a pleasant experience. Keep your eyes on the road!” Spry reluctantly wrenched his head back to the front. He’d been listening on and off to such noises since they’d left home. it was a brand new car.” Spry was still listening to the rattle. Surely. one could expect a brand new car not to rattle? “Well Norman. “Norman!” cried his wife from the front passenger seat.” said his wife. So far. He glanced quickly through the windshield at the road ahead and then glared malevolently at his two children in the back seat of the car by means of the rearview mirror. okay?” “Okay.A Day in the Life “Shutup. “We’re just coming into Higham. They were climbing Gadd’s Hill. “There’s the pub ‘The Sir John Falstaff’. “Yes.” was the reluctant reply in unison. His attention had been drawn by a rattle coming from the front of the car. It was administered at most once a year and always hurt like hell. his head twisted around to look over his right shoulder into the back seat of the car. The head banging threat was invariably an effective deterrent for the Spry children. looking up from her map and pointing to a public house on the right. “Look where you’re going.” “Oh?” said Spry distractedly. Satisfied with a minute of silence from the rear of the car. Okay?” There was no response from the rear seats. Spry transferred his focus to the A226 ahead. He was exasperated. “I’ll stop the car and bang your heads together. “I said.” “Yes.” he hissed. you’ll need to take the next right turn then. Okay. “If I hear one more peep out of either of you two. the inadequacy of the free space between them. Spry had picked it up from the Ford dealership in Rochester only the day before and this morning had been the first chance to take the whole family out for a ride. shutup!” screamed Norman Spry. I did. Spry was an inveterate worrier. It was a rather peculiar shade of green—Apple Green was the official Ford color—but it sparkled in the bright sunshine of the September morning.

downhill towards the neighboring village of Lower Higham. The Davey Company in Blackburn. It was a hooting. his head cocked on one side. The power source in its base consisted of two high-capacity. the Davey Model D15 traffic light control box had operated flawlessly. Unfortunately. clung Arthur Greene’s legacy to the future—a small flake of scrap steel. 12-volt marine batteries. On the underside of the top surface. Spry took the turn and the Ford Cortina headed north. Lancashire was now working on a prototype. Prosser whimpered and 92 . In the outer center of this top surface was a small blue spot barely visible through the green paint. mocking laugh and it went on and on. three feet square.L. leaning against the inside of the hedge that marked the Blackburn Road boundary of Quarrington’s Farm. The voice suddenly broke off in mid sentence and erupted into a laugh. and undetected by the quality control inspector nine years ago. he was listening intently. the current D15 model was not fail-safe. Since midnight last night. mounted co-linearly on a single shaft and connected to a stepping motor activated by an electrical timer. the stepping motor had clicked its command one hundred and sixtyeight times. Against his will. * * * * * For the nine years of its existence. He could distinguish the individual words but not the intent of the message. The top of the green control box was made from a thin metal sheet. but precisely what. Every four minutes the rotary switches had turned. He gritted his teeth. John Perkins The next right was Villa Road. closed his eyes and prayed that it would go away. * * * * * Frederick Prosser was sitting in the grass. it was not clear. This was a new voice and more distinct that the others had been. It sounded as though the voice was commanding him to do something. fail-safe D20 model which would revert to a red light at both ends in the event of any malfunction. making or breaking contact with their green and red lights at each end of the roadworks section in Blackburn Road. The heart of the control circuit comprised two rotary switches.

Prosser continued to stare as the eight-year-old strolled out of sight around the second bend in the road. He half raised himself from his sitting position and then fell back resignedly. “Please. He looked wildly to the left and right for a means of escape. Prosser listened for a few seconds and realized with immense relief that the voice was coming from the other side of the hedge. The vibrations from a passing bus in Abbott Street delivered the coup de grace.A Day in the Life opened his eyes. a poor example of a spot-weld and one that nine years of corrosion was about to end. 93 . He was not having a good day. From the real world! He stood up and peered over the top of the farm’s hedgerow to see Trevor Cranham singing to himself as he shuffled into view around the first turn of the double bend. “Please don’t come back. his back to the hedge and his face a mask of misery. It took the flake of metal just four-tenths of a second to fall to a position a quarter of an inch above the first rotary switch at which precise point in time the stepping motor performed its single shuddering duty and both rotary switches began to turn. due to a one-in-a-billion event. The unpleasant cackle abruptly cut off as if someone had slammed a soundproof door. But what neither Greene or his apathetic apprentice had noticed back in 1957 was that the arc current had traveled only through a small whisker on the outside of the steel flake rather than through the bulk of the metal itself. This time. Simultaneously. It was. He abruptly sat down again. the traffic lights at both ends of the controlled section of Blackburn Road were green. therefore. Prosser put his head in his hands and rested his elbows on his knees. And so. Frederick Prosser had been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic.” he sobbed quietly. please!” The voice changed to that of a child singing loudly and tunelessly. * * * * * Arthur Greene’s demonstration spot-weld had held for nine years. They would remain that way for the next four minutes. the flake completed its journey and became enmeshed in the contacts of the first switch while the second switch completed its operation uneventfully. Fifteen years ago at the age of thirty-one. The voice was starting again. Prosser could discern the intent of the message all too clearly. he’d never been able to escape from these voices in the past so there was no reason to try now.

His right foot snapped off the accelerator and onto the break pedal. With alarm. he briefly registered the gates to Quarrington’s Farm. He was exhilarated and his mouth curled into that characteristic. two hundred and eighty foot-pounds of torque bucked the nose of the Jaguar into the air and it accelerated like a rocket. In less than eight seconds the speedometer passed one hundred miles per hour and the sports car was still accelerating strongly. Although already in high gear doing fifty miles per hour. he was around the bend and suddenly confronted by a temporary traffic light. * * * * * 94 .L. as they flashed by. but the low center-of-mass of the sports car saved McCartney—temporarily. world-famous boyish grin. The wind pounded him like a hammer from the open sides of the car while the turbulent slipstream from the top of the windscreen sucked his hair forward to lash his face. John Perkins * * * * * Paul McCartney entered the western end of Blackburn Road at the same moment that Norman Spry turned into Abbott Street. he snapped the gear lever into second and accelerated past the green light into the single traffic lane at sixty miles per hour. Shrugging off the fear that had momentarily gripped his stomach. The light was green. Any normal family car would have rolled at this point. warning road signs. McCartney flashed a glance to the empty rearview mirror and trod on the accelerator pedal. The latter vibrated unpleasantly as the speed of the Jaguar crashed down from one hundred and thirty miles per hour and McCartney’s body was pitched sharply forward. the back of the E-type continued inertially on its original path wresting a squealing protest from all four tires. they were lying impotently in the ditch. A resonance vibration in the steering column appeared and then disappeared at one hundred and twenty miles per hour. The three-quarter-mile stretch of straight county road beckoned invitingly. Leaving twenty-yard skid marks on the road and the acrid smell of burning rubber in the air. With his arms rigid to control a steering wheel that had become light and skittish. McCartney realized that the remaining straight section of this road was fast disappearing. What he couldn’t see on the other side of the road were two triangular. one mile away. mercifully closed. As he wrenched the steering wheel to the right.

A Day in the Life Norman Spry negotiated the turn from Abbot Street into the eastern section of Blackburn Road. McCartney’s instinct. With the car’s speed hardly lessened. The two cars turned into the center portion of the double bend at the same moment. McCartney’s E-type would have continued unimpeded at its present sixty-two miles per hour had its speed not been reduced to naught in less than a tenth of a second by a massive. It was a final speed of exactly zero but a tremendous acceleration of around thirty g’s. The engine died instantly as the iron grip of the radiator clamped the crankshaft pulley. His attention was distracted by a small boy at the road junction who had taken a stick from his pocket and was sighting along its length at the four occupants of the Ford Cortina. Seatbelts were fitted to this model. carrying the Jaguar’s straight-six engine backwards towards the driver’s seat. fatal as it turned out. The left front wheel of the E-type dropped off the edge of the narrow tarmac strip and locked into a deep rut running away from the traffic lane towards the roadside excavations. In fact. a single file traffic lane and a temporary traffic light. was to brake hard and veer to the left. “Jesus Christ!” yelled Spry to the delight of his children who had never heard their father blaspheme before. reinforced concrete pillar set into the trench. Debris was thrown up in all directions and rained down on the crushed car. Spry accelerated past the light and into the opposite end of the double bend at a considerably more sedate pace than McCartney. Alice Spry screamed the alarm as the long yellow bonnet of the Etype burst into sight at a relative closing velocity of eighty miles per hour. Spry wrenched his steering wheel violently and the Ford ricocheted off the hedge again as it careened around the bend. Simultaneously. McCartney was about one second slower to react. The common wisdom is that speed kills. it is acceleration—the rate of change of speed with time—that kills. There was a scrunch of twigs on metal as the Ford Cortina bounced off the privet hedge of Quarrington’s Farm and a simultaneous clap of compressed air as the two cars passed each other with a clearance of no more than an inch. Spry frowned disapprovingly and transferred his gaze back to Blackburn Road where he noted some roadworks. out of sight of the yellow demon that had nearly killed them all. A shower 95 . His upper body slammed into the steering wheel while his head smacked forward onto the top of the dashboard and ricocheted backwards. the two right wheels dropped off the road as the left front wheel dived four feet into the chasm. The light was green. The car skidded to a halt around the corner. but McCartney wasn’t wearing his. the whole front of the car compressed like the bellows of a concertina.

What the observer could not tell was that both of McCartney’s lungs had been punctured by broken ribs. This one was not. the heavy XK engine had twisted sideways and had crushed the brake pedal to the floor. hung in the air for a while and then began to disperse on the strong breeze blowing in from the Thames estuary. He was dazedly stroking the bright. was now hanging down from the wiring harness and. its frayed copper conductor kissed the rear axial housing. Within a second the whole car was engulfed in flames. It was the urgent grip of his wife’s hand on his shoulder and her wide-eyed look of alarm that broke his fixation. Moreover. A severed blue wire.L. The observer would not have been able to easily discern whether the occupant was dead. An observer at this point would have seen the crushed yellow car lying in the trench and canted at an angle of twenty degrees to the road with its occupant’s head thrown back over the driver’s seat. By now. In view of the trickle of blood running from the driver’s mouth. Norman Spry was on his knees by the side of his new car. Around the corner. The deflagration wave hammered through the accumulated gasoline vapor and the petrol tank ignited. petrol had been flowing under the car for the past minute. On crashing through the front bulkhead. There the scene remained for a minute in the September sunshine until two events conspired to destroy its tranquility. when the rear of the car had slammed down into the bottom of the trench. She was pointing at the ugly black smoke boiling upwards over the top of the privet hedge from a source just around the bend. the cloying odor of gasoline would be all too evident to a nearby observer. ugly scratches that now embellished its apple-green paintwork. almost imperceptibly. previously serving the left brake-light. A huge dust cloud enveloped the wreck. It took twenty more seconds for the blue wire to lazily sag its last inch. he was unconscious but his heart still beat in his chest. John Perkins of stones pinged their way over the tarmac road to embed themselves in the hedge on the other side. a short length of steel reinforcing bar had punched through the petrol tank. was drooping lower as the seconds ticked by. * * * * * 96 . the observer might conclude that his chest cavity had been crushed. his spleen had ruptured and the right lobe of his liver crushed. As graceful as a swan’s neck.

It took him several seconds to focus on what the policeman at the other end of the line was asking him. but what is this all about?” Miller was starting to get irritated.A Day in the Life Gerald Miller. Or rather it was. “Are you sure? Do you have the engine and chassis numbers also?” “Yes sir. It’s in Stafford Street in the West End. The body and its possessions were burnt beyond all recognition. “Oh Jesus. I delivered it to NEMS this morning. “And can you spell it out?” “Yes. Brian Epstein’s organization.” “Hold on. Miller checked the numbers carefully against those on a log sheet. “Yes.” Miller crossed to the hall to retrieve his attaché case and returned to the telephone. I know you didn’t want to be disturbed but there’s an urgent telephone call for you. There was no doubt. his face an increasing mask of concern. His hands were shaking. Miller listened while the policeman continued to speak.” he said finally.” said Miller.” “My God! And the driver that was killed—who was it?” “We’re unable to tell at this time sir. “It’s one of ours. The other driver claimed that the Jag driver was driving much too fast.” * * * * * It was 3:20 in the afternoon when Antonio knocked urgently on the door of Brian Epstein’s study and walked straight in. the sales manager of Henly’s Jaguar dealership in Piccadilly was snoozing in his armchair after a heavy Sunday lunch when the telephone rang. He had stood up to answer the telephone but now grasped for a chair and sat down heavily.” As the policeman spoke. involving a near collision with another car on a single stretch of road.” “NEMS. Apparently the Jag swerved and crashed against a concrete pillar. “Sir. yes. “How did it happen?” “Accident. or perhaps hadn’t noticed that the lights had changed. NEMS. He grasped for a rational comment for a several seconds and then asked.” Epstein. You know. I can read them out to you. sir. He’s sure to know—” “What does NEMS stand for Sir?” the policeman interrupted. “Go ahead. that’s correct. He also alleges that he’d jumped the lights. seated in an armchair with glass of scotch in 97 . yes. sir?” “Yes.

” Epstein broke in. I’m afraid that—” “Oh God. “God. his face alert. Antonio clearly pronounced every syllable in his precise Spanish accent. He says it’s extremely urgent. He listened distractedly as Channing continued to jabber and then interrupted his assistant. he said he was going down to Kent. “Get me Mr Gilmartin of the Charm Company on the telephone. dismissed him with a wave of his hand. vertebrae by vertebrae. “But look Brian. noting that Antonio was hovering by the door. “It’s Mr. Now. “Is he…?” He couldn’t complete the question for fear of what the answer would be. The slight movement of his butler from out of the corner of his eye broke Epstein’s catatonic state. it can’t be. That’s where it occurred—in Lower Higham in Kent. “Mark.” Although visibly distressed. He transferred his attention back to what Channing was saying. “Antonio!” he snapped. his eyes wide. The full implications of Channing’s words suddenly cut through Epstein’s alcoholic haze. “What? When?” Epstein slowly put down his glass wiping his forehead with his free hand. please…don’t let this be!” When Antonio cautiously entered the study ten minutes later. listen! If the police say the driver can’t be identified. staring into space. John Perkins hand. He shook his head in an attempt to clear it and desperately tried to concentrate on his assistant’s voice. no. it could be anyone couldn’t it? Couldn’t it?” Epstein was eager and pleading. covering his face with his left hand. “Yes Mark. Epstein was sitting stiffly upright at the desk. The Beatles’ manager hesitated for a second and then reached over to the desk to pick up the telephone. “Yes. Right now!” * * * * * 98 . when I dropped the car off to him this morning. What’s the problem?” Epstein listened for several seconds and then. “Paul—was it…Paul?” Epstein’s voice was strangely strangled.L. And also. You must talk to him now sir. but…” Channing paused at the other end of the line and took a deep breath. He listened for a full minute as icy fingers of fear gripped his lower spine and began to work their way upwards. was about to testily dismiss his butler when he was halted by the sight of Antonio’s face. His assistant seemed to be in a state of panic. Brian. He’s at Stafford Street. Channing sir.

” And in five minutes they were descending in the lift. “Okay Smithy. If you can’t reach him now. Smith whistled with surprise. get hold of Mark Channing at NEMS.” He found what he was looking for. His intense fifteen minute conference call with Parker Gilmartin and Tai-Kuen Sylburner had just ended and he needed time to think. Smith came up softly behind him. He’s at the office today.” Reuther snapped. knelt down by a bookcase and located the BAA Flight Atlas of Great Britain. listen very carefully. use the radiophone in the car and keep trying.A Day in the Life Johnny Reuther slammed down the telephone. If you can’t reach him now. At the airport—got that? Tell them we’ll need a conference before we head to the scene. try again from the radiophone when we’re underway. We need him badly. We’ll need a flight plan for…wait a minute. Rodney Smith started upright in his chair. He opened it to the map of Kent and traced across the page with his finger.” He strode out of the door to the empty secretary’s bay. Get him to pick up Epstein immediately and have them drive down to Rochester to meet us at the airport. It was a full five minutes before he banged open the door to the outer office. Just get him moving. Make sure he sets off now. Be ready to leave for the pad in five minutes. “Get the car round now. Rochester—got that? And tell Medeiros he needs to meet us at the airport—we’ll give him the address from the radiophone when we’re in route. Reuther filled out the essentials for his assistant. Then get Steve Medeiros on the phone.” Reuther commanded. Okay?” “Okay boss. “What about the Eggman tonight boss?” “Cancel him!” “But we have an evening meeting with him and he—” “I said cancel him. The Bentley and chauffeur were waiting. Johnson will need a flight plan for Rochester Airport in Kent. But wait until you’ve time to get to a phone box. “Finally. I want him to start off for Kent down the A2 now and I mean now! Have him meet us down there.” Smith nodded. “Jesus! So what are we going to do?” “Gilmartin and Sylburner want us to deal with it Smithy and that’s just what we’re going to do!” The lift doors opened into the basement parking garage. Next get Johnson and the helicopter ready. “Smithy. 99 . “This is much more important. As he drummed his fingers impatiently on the button panel. Now get cracking. I don’t care where he is or what he’s doing.

“The body was totally burnt beyond recognition. The police can’t identify the body. Boss?” Smith asked as they settled into the luxurious leather rear seats. * * * * * 100 .” “Uh-huh. And the point is…?” “The point is Smithy. John Perkins “So what about the Press. there were no fucking witnesses. They’re asking NEMS to do it.L. The people in the other car didn’t see who was driving. No one knows who the body is!” But Reuther was wrong on all three counts. There wasn’t time.

“I can assure you it’ll be the biggest story of your life! I’ll call you in exactly five minutes. I’ll call you there in five minutes exactly. Clear?” “Yes. I’m a friend of Carmen Venton’s.— Chapter 6 — Curiouser and Curiouser Thursday. Ferro snatched it up. He felt a tingle of excitement. it was sometimes the harbinger of matters of greater import. I’m only going to say this once then I’m going to hang up. “Mr Ferro. reflecting on the events of yesterday evening and. Leave immediately and do not pick up your telephone to call anyone in the meantime. “Uh-huh. Strange telephone calls connected with Carmen Venton were becoming common in his house.” “Good. * * * * * W 101 . Do you know the public telephone near you at the junction of Hyde Vale and King George Street?” Ferro’s mind raced. Ferro smiled.” Ferro’s mind was still on the discoveries of last night. in particular. on his unknown Beatles’ recording. but what is this about? I can't—” “I’ll tell you on the other phone. This would be one of them. “Yes. Listen carefully. His musings were interrupted by the trill of the telephone.” Ferro stiffened. 1980 ith his hands cupped around his first coffee of the morning. Or rather I was a friend of Carmen Venton. She’s been murdered. standard model issued by the General Post Office. Ferro's phone was a nondescript.” The line clicked. “Hello?” “Daniel Ferro?” It was a man’s voice. November 13. But given his profession.” the caller interrupted. Daniel Ferro was staring into space. There was a few seconds of silence followed by the dial-tone. “Who is this?” “Please just listen and let me do the talking. Usually its ring signaled routine business. Now go. He knew the one.

“Uh-huh. Feeling a trifle ridiculous.” Ferro was noncommittal. There were two delivery vans parked on King George Street. He was about to cross the street when he experienced something akin to the disquiet he’d felt when Pencarver had first called him from Scotland Yard. “Mr Ferro. evidently full of purpose as to its destination.” The man had no discernible regional accent. She told me afterwards about your conversation.” “Okay. he stopped and surveyed the scene carefully. “I’m sorry? Who?” The caller sighed. The kind that you journalists make your living off. A collar-less dog of uncertain lineage was trotting briskly up the hill.” Ferro was going to question the last remark but the caller continued. It was the same voice. The phone was already ringing as he approached the booth.” “Uh-huh. I received it. who are you?” “It doesn’t matter who I am. Was this a trick? But if so why him? Was there some real information here for him? He had no other leads so he had no alternative but to assume this was authentic. “Please Mr Ferro. okay.” he admitted.” “She’d written you a letter following up on your phone conversation. Surely. I…” The man breathed deeply. Don’t play games. “Let me be brief. Just consider me an inside source. “When I learnt about it. you must realize—” “Okay. you had a phone call from a woman called Carmen Venton. I put the letter in the post. The next day she was murdered.L. Nothing looked incongruent. I can’t stay on here long. I assume you’ve received it?” Ferro thought quickly. Ferro smiled at his caution and crossed the street. tell me. He pulled opened the heavy door of the classic. I don’t want to be traced. “On Sunday a week ago. She never got to post that letter because they got to her first. And. “Now. “Yes. “What’s all this to you?” 102 . John Perkins As he rounded the bend Ferro saw with relief that the telephone box was empty. A middle-aged woman was struggling up Hyde Vale laden with two heavy shopping bags. Listen carefully. Carmen spoke to you for about fifteen minutes.” The man paused as if expecting a comment. neither do you. but why are you telling me all this?” Ferro interrupted. okay. I haven’t got the time or the patience. red Georgian telephone box and grabbed the receiver.

It’ll make you famous. “Perhaps.” “What was your relationship with Carmen Venton?” Ferro continued to press. “How?” “I saw it in the paper a week later. I’ve been following it casually since then. I want to get them. just by chance. He felt in his pocket for his notebook and realized he’d left it back in his flat. So. They’re animals and animals deserve to be behind bars.” “Do what?” 103 . “Because. Okay?” The man was clearly irritated. So forget the police.” “Did she work for them?” “Maybe. “Yes. “Correct. but you don’t need to know about that. But tell me. then.” The man laughed shortly. but you can do it. “Police? Carmen tried the police—from a distance.” The man was circumspect “Was she was more than a friend?” Ferro ventured. Ferro caught the sound of labored breathing.” “I know. She told me.” Ferro was silent for a few moments. I know about the murder. I assume you mean the Charm Company?” There was a pause. this is the biggest story you’ll ever come across. why are you calling me about this?” “Because.” “By them. Mr Ferro. and I—” “You know?” the caller interrupted. “You had the letter she was going to post to me. but I doubt that the furtherance of my career is foremost in your mind. Doing some checking here and there. He quickly weighed the options and decided disclosure might be the best way to advance the situation. But that's not important now.A Day in the Life The caller was silent for a second.” “Why was she killed?” “Because they considered her unsafe. They thought she was going to shout her mouth off about the whole operation. “I see. Then very quietly he said. That didn’t work. I’m intrigued to say the least.” “Thank you. But they got her first. But I asked why you don’t go to the police?” “Christ! Surely. “Well look.” “So why don’t you go to the police?” Ferro was struck by the similarity of this conversation with the one he’d had with Carmen Venton. the fact that I'm talking to you like this shows it’s impossible for me to do that. “She was…a friend. I want them shut away for ever. was she more than a friend?” There was silence at the other end.

You’ll get the country’s attention. without McCartney. he had a hundred questions ready for him.” 104 . They’d never have got away with it.” “He must have done. And so who took his place then?” “Someone called William Remington. He was—is—quite phenomenal. They were going to make the third Beatles’ film in late 1966.” “Fire away but be quick.” “The Charm Company?” “Yes. You never saw a live television interview with McCartney after 1966 did you? And you never saw him up close in any press conference after that did you? Go and check. He looked amazingly like McCartney. Splash it all over the place.” interjected Ferro caustically. Look—the Beatles never toured after that. That’s all correct. Publish the expose. I’m gone in five minutes if not before. there was no way they’d do it after that.” “Yes.” Ferro shook his head. Paul McCartney and John Lennon?” “How much did Carmen already tell you?” “She said that McCartney was killed in a car accident in 1966 and that someone else took his place. If this source was genuine.” “But they did! That’s the fucking point! The Charm Company did get away with it. “because I didn’t notice. I’ll need some information. He slotted in seamlessly.L. They already had the script by Joe Orton—it was called ‘Up Against It’. “Okay. Just the opposite in fact.” “All right.” Ferro’s heart gave a jump. Never performed live again did they? It was all studio work from then on. And there was the third film. “Okay. All their television appearances were carefully rehearsed.” “Remington? With one ‘m’ or two?” “One. “But that’s ridiculous! It was just a rumor at the time. not to say the world’s. they got away with it all right!” Ferro shook his head again.” grunted Ferro. Yes. But. John Perkins “Write about it. “But they couldn’t possibly—” “Yes they did. He had nothing to lose. You’ll be world famous and they’ll be goners. This was all insane! He shrugged. First. what’s all this about the Beatles? Specifically. The fucking Charm Company!” “Hmm.

Quite well in fact. that is—invariably had a mustache. And also stubble or sometimes a full beard. But he learnt to play.” There was no acquiescence from the caller. But look at his eyes in that photograph. It’s difficult to tell who’s underneath the beard. “You seem to know a great deal about the Beatles’ secret activities. Lennon was just singing to a backing track. McCartney—Remington. The scar had faded by then.” Ferro shook his head for the third time and stared through the rectangular glass panes of the phone box. But Remington had a scar on his upper lip from an accident he’d had earlier that year. Partially to disguise his face in general and partially to hide the scar.” Ferro thought rapidly. Let me tell you something. Secondly. He couldn’t get on with the Höfner Beatle bass. “What about his singing? How come he could sing like Paul?” “Yes. he was also left handed. And so was Remington. “He doesn’t have a mustache on the cover of Abbey Road. how could you tell who it was? That was the period of his—Remington’s—really heavy beard. And like McCartney. You’ll have noticed that the Beatle bass was never used again after 1966.” “Hmm. It was—it is—softer.” 105 .” “A mustache?” “Yep. A thought struck him. he could sing. So he grew a mustache. He was playing then and that looked like McCartney. Go and take a look at any photographs of the Beatles from 1967 onwards. not as raw. Firstly.” Ferro had noticed that fact. he wasn’t playing the bass that day. Go and look at the photographs on your Sgt Pepper sleeve or the loose ones that came with the White Album. They’re not Paul McCartney’s eyes! Not the original one at any rate. At least it did to me!” “Well Mr Ferro. Had a good voice. “But Carmen said he couldn’t play the bass.” “I assume you mean on the roof of the Apple building in Saville Row?” “Right! In January 1969. Not exactly like McCartney’s but reasonably close. “But he did play the bass with the Beatles again in public after 1966.A Day in the Life “You didn’t and neither did anyone else. This was still simply crazy. he was quite proficient. That’s why the Beatles never performed live again after 1966.” “He couldn’t really at the time. Something occurred to him. Take a look at some stills taken on the roof. When Wings got together a few years later. There was a feed to the roof from the studio below. The other three had recorded those tracks along with some for the Let it Be album earlier in the day.” “That was three years later. He preferred a Rickenbacker bass though.” Ferro eyes narrowed.

Even today their Beatles’ income is enormous and will continue to be so into the indefinite future. “Yes.” Ferro shrugged. I do. they would have been left empty-handed had this got out.” “And what did this.” He selected another question from the many framing in his mind. Ferro raised his eyebrows at this proposition. “Okay. 1966. er…conspiracy.L. Ferro traced the date and the place with his finger on a steamed-up window pane. Does all the muscle work for them. they invested heavily in all aspects of the Beatles' empire. Down in Kent.” There was silence for a few seconds and the caller returned. “You seem to know an awful lot about this.” “Higham?” questioned Ferro.” said the man vehemently. In early 1966. Having paid such large sums for all the rights.” “How?” 106 .” “Reuther?” “Yes. I’ve noticed that peculiarity too. it was a Sunday. Johnny Fucking Reuther. “So just when was McCartney—the original one—supposed to have died?” “September. “Can you spell it?” Inwardly cursing at his missing notebook. I remember it well…Anyway. fair enough. They had—and still have—an enormous financial stake in the Beatles. er. “And if I ever get to that cunt.” Ferro extracted the spelling of Reuther from his contact and then asked. Happened in a village called Lower Higham. he’ll wish he was dead already!” “Who’s Reuther?” “He’s the Charm Company’s heavy. Let's go back to the accident. it was…the 25th of September. They had Reuther deal with it. “Funny you should say that. Exactly where did it occur and how?” “I don't know how it occurred but I’ve told you where it happened. “So what happened after the accident in Lower Higham?” “The Charm Company hushed it all up. Reuther character do about the accident?” “I…he was involved in suppressing it. Hold on.” Ferro nodded. Unless…” “Unless?” “Unless someone like you goes after them!”. John Perkins “Yeah. What is your connection with the Charm Company? “Don’t ask. “So what exactly is the Charm Company's involvement in all this?” “They're the key.” “Do you have a date?” “Yeah.

“Another question—I've got a copy of a new song by Paul McCartney. What do you know about that?” There was silence at the other end. Then. the caller said very quietly. That seems to be true. Pepper album. It’s deadly serious.” “So why would Lennon…Look.” “Where did you get it from?” Ferro thought rapidly. just from a friend. “That's no problem. It’s really got to him. It was mine originally. At length. It's a complete. Looks like it dates from September ’66.” The thought of John Lennon prompted Ferro on a different topic. I. Remember.” Ferro changed tack. So Yoko Ono is in on all this too?” “I don’t think so. she never saw the real McCartney. She may know nothing about it at all. in a voice that was hard and suspicious. right?” “Absolutely not. Tentacles more like!” “Hmm. unreleased song. She and Lennon met after his death.A Day in the Life “I’m not sure afterwards. He never comes out of his New York apartment. “So what about John Lennon? Carmen mentioned him also. “There was only one copy of that acetate floating around. He's threatening to go public with the story after fourteen years.” “What did she tell you?” “That he was in danger. this is all just crazy.” “Oh.” Ferro snorted. Have you noticed how thin he’s got these days? And he’s virtually a recluse. That someone was out to get him. “How did you come by that?” “What. the song?” “Yes. Surely Carmen’s body is a testament to that? Now. so why would Lennon go public after all these years? Why wouldn’t he want it kept a secret?” “I understand he can’t stand the strain anymore. The interesting thing is that the first bit was extracted for use in ‘Day in the Life’ on the Sgt. er…lifted it from the Beatles when I was minding them back in 107 .” “Okay. They've issued a serious warning to him. you were going to ask about Lennon?” “Er. Why?” The caller was silent again. I got an acetate of it. Okay. “Thus is all a fucking joke. I. er…Look that’s all I’m going say there. Things became more difficult for me then. They've got very long arms. “Oh. he said. yeah.” “Yes. Keep his mouth shut or else!” “But Lennon lives in New York doesn't he?” The caller laughed shortly.

did not. fantastic! They’d never have been able to pull off a stunt like that. perhaps at last it had. on the other hand. Ferro. “Yes. crazy. for the second time that morning. John Perkins sixty-seven. Was there anyway he could find out who the caller was? Unlikely—the man had seemed very careful to protect his identity. Or. There’s no problem here. It gave him a hail-fellow-well-met acknowledgment as it passed and continued purposefully on its way. he was going to have to get some hard tangible evidence from somewhere. There were still so many unanswered questions. hold on. They know nothing about you or Carmen!” Ferro gabbled. Ferro. but I’m sure they have no trace to Carmen Venton. It seemed to know where it was going.” “Wait.” “Don’t be fucking stupid!” There was a click on the line and. But she sent it on to the police—anonymously. “to you. his mystery caller cut off abruptly.” “Wait.” he added as an afterthought. * * * * * 108 . “Good-bye Mr Ferro. desperately anxious to keep his contact talking. I’m very disappointed in you Ferro. Give a number where I can reach you. chastising himself for mentioning the acetate recording.L.” “Fucking dicks! Can’t keep their noses out of anything. So how the fuck did you get it?” Ferro was framing a reply as the man broke in “Have you been talking to the police?” Ferro shrugged. He realized that he hadn’t asked anything about Venton’s murder. Nor had he been able to pursue Carmen Venton’s allegations in her midnight phone call about the supposed murders of Brian Epstein and David Jacobs. Surely someone would have noticed wouldn’t they? The story would have got out somehow wouldn’t it? But. But from where? He vaguely registered the collar-less dog totting back down the hill. had was a unique Beatles’ recording and some intriguing rumors from two anonymous callers. Good-bye. Ferro walked slowly back up Hyde Vale. I recently gave it to Carmen as a gift. If he was to follow this story any further. The whole thing was impossible. So all he.

It didn’t take him very long to concede that his mystery caller seemed to be correct. What the fuck was going on? Well there was one sure way to find out.” “Yes. In most of the shots from the period 1967 to 1969. It was not something one would have noticed casually but. don’t worry. And if it is. McCartney sported ether a mustache.” “No. I just need to chat with him in the flesh for a few minutes. close-up pictures of him.A Day in the Life Ferro spent the early afternoon in Foyles’ bookshop in the Charing Cross Road. Couldn’t you tell them you have a staff writer who would like to do a mini-interview or something. but they won’t know that. hint!” “You’re not going to confront him with an expose of some gossip on him are you?” She sounded concerned. Moreover. We’ve just had a directive from the States on not doing anymore gossip articles in RS. many photographed in the classic. All photographs were usually full body shots from a distance. I need this urgently. He removed one copy of each of the nine different Beatles’ biographies from the shelves of the popular music section and took them to a reading table. once pointed out. They might listen to a request coming from Rolling Stone.” “Look Liz. or both. “If so. I’ll need somewhere really big to publish it. from the early-tomiddle Beatles’ period of 1966 and before. there were a multitude of McCartney close-ups and headshots. You’re a freelance.” “But you’re not a staff writer. He shook his head in disbelief. really big.” “See what?” 109 . “Try to get you an appointment with Paul McCartney?” she replied dubiously. after late 1966. Armed with a magnifying glass. there were no clear. Hint.” “What’s this about Dan?” “Not sure. By contrast. I need to see for myself. or fuzzy. beard or stubble. then no can do. * * * * * At Tottenham Court Road underground station. it seemed obvious. “That’s probably an impossibility. I only need fifteen minutes with him. but it could be big. blackand-white style of Dezo Hoffmann and Robert Freeman. he scanned post-1966 photographs of Paul McCartney and compared them with versions taken in early 1966 or before. Ferro found a public telephone and called his editor at Rolling Stone magazine.

He picked it up cautiously.” “Thank you sir. good luck! I can tell you that in the five years that I’ve been with RS. He waited a moment and replaced the receiver. “Thank you sir. Reuther here. Ferro consulted the telephone directory and dialed the Charm Company at its offices in Grosvenor Street.” To Ferro.” “Hmm. is Mr Reuther there?” “I’m not sure if he’s available sir. and what would this be about?” “It’s a private matter and very important. “Hello?” “Good afternoon Mr Ferro.” “Well. Who shall I say is calling?” Ferro gave a false name.” ‘Thanks Liz.” 110 .” Ferro considered the sitation.” After thirty seconds. we’ve never been successful in our requests for a face-to-face with McCartney.” “I know.” “But that album’s almost six months old. Can you at least try?” “Okay. “Yes. Ferro stared at the floor. whether the Charm Company had traced his call and was ringing him back. there was a click and a male voice said “Hello. And I want first rights to the story if it comes off. but don’t get your hopes up.” Ferro caught the secretary’s American twang. They’ve always put us off. This story won’t be cheap!” * * * * * Back in his flat in the late afternoon. He hesitated for a moment. This is Detective Sergeant Jill Pencarver. One moment. McCartney II. irrationally. When the receptionist answered. wondering. he asked for John Reuther.L. So Johnny Reuther was alive and well after fourteen years was he? The telephone suddenly trilled and Ferro jumped. that he issued this year. How he played all the instruments himself—that sort of thing. There was a pause and a voice said: “Mr Reuther’s office. “I know! Tell them that we’d like to do a piece on that solo album. And I hope your magazine is wealthy. His organization’s like a fortress around him. John Perkins “Oh. just see. it sounded like an English accent.

“I was just calling back to see if you’d thought of anything else since yesterday evening.” “Oh yes? And what’s that?” “Do you have—or rather can you get—access to police road accident reports? Ones that happened fourteen years ago? “Road accident reports? Does this have something to do with the subject we were discussing last night?” “Yes. And you said Lower Higham in Kent? That’d be the Kent County Constabulary.” “Such as?” “Such as anything that may have slipped your mind last night. there’s something you might be able to do for me first.” “I see. it sounded like you were offering me one!” Ferro was pleased that she appeared to be acquiescing to the deal. “1966 eh?” she commented. It’ll take a little time—that’s assuming they still have the records. “Um…actually.” “This afternoon?” “Depends on how long this takes to trace. And supposing I could?” “I’m sorry?” “Supposing I could. Ferro supplied her with the accident details he’d got from his telephone contact this morning. Then we can chat further.” “Hmm. I’ll get back to you.” Ferro was about to answer in the negative when he stopped. She was silent for a several seconds. Are you offering me a proposition Mr Ferro?” “Actually. Okay?” “Okay.A Day in the Life “Oh hello! How are you today?” “I’m fine thank you. “What is it you need to know?” she said finally. Or…” she paused. Without revealing the source. “And I enjoyed our chat last night. Probably tomorrow. But. “Or anything that you think might be useful for our investigations. “That’s a long time ago.” “So did I. What would this er…be worth?” “Well then we could have a mutually beneficial exchange of information.” Ferro meant it. 111 . Jill there may be. The question of finding some tangible evidence in all this was very much on his mind. The police might well be his only route.” She sounded cheerful.” he replied.

“Well. so that must be it.” “Nothing else?” “No. that’s all. “Who was the deceased?” “That’s strange! It says the body was unidentifiable. What else is there?” “That’s it. He or she’s not even named here. Only a single paragraph.” “Great! What does it say?” “It’s pretty brief.” “Oh yes?” “It was on the teletype this morning when I got in. There’s a phone number. Two.” 112 . “Was a fatal accident.L.” she said. traffic light malfunction—”” “A fatal accident!” Ferro broke in eagerly.” “Is the second witness named?” “Yes. Only a single driver involved…driving too fast…road conditions good. “I’ve received some information from the Kent police. “Can I get a copy of that text Jill?” “Er…no. “That’s all it says about the second witness. Blackburn Road. busy scribbling notes. Lower Higham. Address is given as Quarrington’s Farm.” “Perhaps you can write it out for me when we meet. It says the second witness saw it afterwards. Er…” She appeared to be scanning the text. whatever that means.” “Any witnesses?” “Yes. not really. John Perkins * * * * * The next morning Ferro was typing up some review notes from a UB40 concert when Pencarver called back. Um…only one accident reported in that locale on that day. The first nearly collided with the driver but saw nothing. you’re in luck. It was a Frederick L. So what’s going on here that I’d be interested in?” He ignored her question. She read both out to him and added.” “Meet?” “Yes—let me follow this up for a while and then we can meet to discuss.” “Can I have the number and can you spell out his name?” said Ferro. Prosser. I shouldn’t let this out.” “Unidentifiable or unidentified?” “It says unidentifiable here. “Uh-huh.

” “He’s not here. It was from Liz at Rolling Stone. but don’t leave it too long.” “Me too. On his second try he achieved a ringing tone. * * * * * At lunchtime. I’m a journalist.” “A journalist? Why do you want to talk to Fred?” “Oh. were unable to grant RS’s request for an interview at this time. there was a message waiting on his telephone answering machine. “Quarrington’s Farm!” It was a woman’s voice. they would be pleased to receive any questions that RS would like to put to Mr McCartney in writing regarding his recent solo album and they undertook to forward them to Mr McCartney for comment. she said. “Mr Frederick Prosser. “My name is Daniel Ferro. Ferro strolled down to Greenwich High Road to get some groceries.” she replied. He wondered if the number was still current after fourteen years and whether Prosser still lived there. please. Mr McCartney’s organization. I thought he’d be able to help with a piece I’m researching. On his return. “I look forward to seeing you. However.” Ferro looked down at his notes.A Day in the Life “When?” “Next day or so.” “Who gave you this number? How do you know Fred?” 113 .” He meant it.” “Okay. Who’s this calling?” The woman’s voice was sharp and suspicious. * * * * * It was late in the afternoon when Ferro got around to calling the telephone number that Pencarver had given him. She observed that he must have a very old number—an extra digit had been added to the dialing code seven years ago. His first attempt was intercepted by an operator. “Could I speak to Mr Prosser please?” “Mr Prosser?” “Yes.

“Are you Mrs.” “A psychiatric hospital?” “Yes. Do you own the farm. He’s not able to live on the outside anymore. Mr.” She sounded neutral and non-committal. He told them all he knew about it then. He’s in Stone House. I’d like to talk to him about it. I’ve read the accident report. We were on holiday in the South of France at the time. I was given this number by a colleague. er…Ferro did you say it was?” Ferro grunted in affirmation. When she didn’t he continued.” Ferro switched to the resigned. It was all over when we got back. we knew nothing about it. Up near Dartford. He’s been there for ten years now. anything. it’s a psychiatric hospital. that he may have not told the police at the time. John Perkins “I don’t. What do you want him for?” “I was given some information that he witnessed a car accident some years back.” 114 . Fred is my brother. “Uh-huh. my husband’s family does. “And when did you say your brother would be back?” “I didn’t. Something. Prosser?” “No. But what’s that to you?” “I just wondered if you or your husband also witnessed the accident?” “No.” “Yes I know.” Ferro waited for her to respond.” A white lie which Ferro immediately regretted.” There was a further silence.” “So you can’t tell me anything about it?” “No. When will he be back?” She ignored the question. “Look. Mrs. Fred’s not well. “He was interviewed by the police about it at the time. “Well look Mr Ferro. “You say you’re a journalist?” “Yes. I work for the Guardian—the newspaper. I’m sorry. “How would you recommend I contact him? Perhaps you can suggest a good time for me to call him?” She hesitated for several seconds. My brother—Fred—don’t live here anymore.L. Quarrington.” “Stone House?” “Yes.” “I see. request-for-assistance mode that usually drew a response from recalcitrant interviewees. “I just wanted to check if there were any other details that Mr Prosser might still remember about the accident. I’m Mrs.” Ferro paused. He’d be in trouble if she were to check. Quarrington?” “No.

“Would you mind if I called in to see your brother Mrs. “Jesus!” he breathed as he put down the telephone. “Is it possible to speak to him there. ten minutes. And he wouldn’t talk to you anyway.” “I don’t know. I’d be very careful. ring him on the telephone perhaps?” “Telephone? No.” She sounded uncertain. His mind is gone. He doesn’t have visitors. he wouldn’t know what to do.” Ferro smelled victory and remained silent. “I don’t get up there as often as I’d like. Just for a chat.” “Well I don’t know.” he said at last. Quarrington.” Ferro pursued his point. I wouldn’t tax him. His star witness—his only witness—was in a bloody asylum! * * * * * 115 .” She came to a decision. It’s not so easy to move about these days. Might do him some good.” “I’d only go for.” “Is he allowed to receive visitors?” “Well I don’t think so. say. “But mind don’t you excite him! He’s very vulnerable.A Day in the Life Ferro’s mind raced. Ten years in a mental hospital? Was it worth continuing with this? Should he drop it? “I’m sorry to hear that.” She provided Ferro with details of the hospital’s location and the visiting hours. I’ve got arthritis you know. Only me. “I suppose it couldn’t harm. Occupy his time like.

As a visible symptom. the curtailment of individual liberty and the suppression of ideas vital to the economic advancement of a modern state. Reuther noticed this and pulled away. the Beatles now contained within themselves a virus that would destroy them in all but name in a far quicker period—less than a year. “What’s the matter?” hissed Reuther. however. destined to last a further twenty years before it would succumb.” He held up his hand.— Chapter 7 — Here’s Another Clue For You All Thursday. But it contained within itself the seeds of its own destruction—the disregard of the rule of law. He sounds just great. increasing the space between them. William Remington tapped the microphone in front of him and said. Johnny. leaning against the wall. It was. By contrast. was closeted in Regent Sound Studio.” He left his hand on the other’s arm longer than strictly necessary to emphasize his point. 1967 n February 1967. for the first time a Beatles’ recording session was underway at a venue other than Abbey Road Studios.” He bent his head and pressed the headphones to his ears as the introduction to ‘Fixing a Hole’ filtered through. He was trying to sound like Paul McCartney and he was succeeding. “Let me hear that harpsichord intro again please. February 9. One of the Beatles. “Okay. Just listen.” I 116 . the Communist Empire of Eastern Europe was alive and apparently well. Epstein turned to his questioner and laid a hand on his arm. “Let’s go for it!” He waited for the introduction to play through again and sang into the large black Neumann microphone in front of him. at 164 Tottenham Court Road. Both men were standing at the rear of the studio. “Of course it’s going to work. but not one of the original Beatles. And he looks just great too. “I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in and stops my mind from wandering…” “That sounds great!” Johnny Reuther whispered to Brian Epstein. Epstein stared abjectly at Remington for several seconds and slowly shook his head. “I don’t think is going to work.

the high cheekbones and that same characteristic cheeky smile.” He turned back to watch Remington. The Charm Company were now firmly in control of artistic direction. He knew the white ones were Seconal and the red ones were Dexedrine.” Epstein looked apologetic.” Epstein briefly shook Reuther’s arm to get his attention and quickly withdrew his hand. “Okay. He grimaced and bent over.A Day in the Life “Yes. Reuther glared at Epstein. all he had to do was to get them to work together. Epstein. I can’t get them to—”. Perhaps if he. From a distance. it wasn’t really his job anymore to suggest ideas like that. Epstein reflected. But what were the blue ones? And he’d never seen the 117 . I’ll need some quiet in here if I’m going to finish this song. “he does. The pain was now gripping his solar plexus like a pair of steel pincers. Yes. menace in his voice. could persuade the other three to grow one too.” “Sorry Bill. Yes. They’d erected an extremely effective protective shell around the Beatles and especially around their ersatz Paul. it’s all very difficult. “Look. “The others will play ball. If they did anymore photo shoots or TV shows. Nothing at all. It really was quite astonishing how much he looked like Paul. Otherwise they’ll get nothing. Then he could take his spoils and run. No longer their manager. the memories were increasingly accompanied by crippling stomach cramps. Reuther’s eyes narrowed. “We put this new arrangement together with great effort and expense. “Johnny. quite astonishing—the arched eyebrows. The thought of McCartney brought back the haunting scenes from the past six months. The droopy. He watched as Remington signaled to the engineer and began to nod his head to the sound in his headphones.” Remington abruptly stopped singing. We’ve had to change everything. it was amazing—it was Paul in all but name. Epstein looked back at Remington. Otherwise…” He paused. longer group shots would be no problem. emptied a selection into the palm of his hands and hesitated. Recently. They won’t play ball with me anymore. Tears suddenly welled up in Epstein’s eyes. They’re fighting me tooth and nail. Zapatista-style mustache that Remington was sporting looked a bit out of place though.” replied Epstein shaking his head again. But it’s the others…the others won’t go along with it. it wouldn’t look so different. They just…” He let his voice trail off. And now it’s your job—your only job—to get them to work with us. Was this just psychosomatic or did he have an ulcer? Or something even more serious? He rifled through his pocket for the ever-present bottle of pills. “You’ll get nothing either. Then again. he’d pass easily.

another member of the band. this song was to embody all the innovations that the Beatles had assimilated in the past two years. I’m…” He choked on his words. but even more if that were possible. Remington halted his vocal effort for the second time and looked inquiringly over at Reuther. “I…I told you. He was watching and waiting for instructions. glanced wildly to his left and right as if seeking a means of escape. blue and yellow pills and popped them into his mouth. But. he pivoted on his heel. “Why are you crying?” he asked curtly. * * * * * Two miles away across London at Abbey Road Studios. also strictly not one of the original Beatles. Reuther noticed the tears in his eyes. at this moment. 118 . Epstein shook his head. Like ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’. still doubled up in agony. And they won’t work with him. Reuther watched this operation and asked. At the noise. The latter’s lips were compressed and he was scowling. The pain stopped as abruptly as it had begun. elbows resting on the rim of his snare drum. I…I can’t seem to cope anymore. “Nonsense! It’s working just fine. banging through the exit door at the rear of the studio. “What’s the matter?” His face registered more derision than concern. I can’t keep it up. was watching John Lennon. John Perkins yellow ones before. Abruptly. It would be judged the pinnacle of their recording career. Ringo Starr was seated on his drum stool. This isn’t going to work. The song that was to become the stunning conclusion to the Sgt Pepper album was presently undergoing birthing pains. Lennon was seated at a table staring blankly at an exercise book containing the handwritten lyrics. he selected one each of the red.L. Motivated more by the color combination than anything else. I’m finding this all a terrible strain. his chin cupped in his hands. It’ll continue to work just fine if you’d just do your bloody job!” Epstein sighed and then sniffed. “Johnny.” Reuther brought his lips down to the level of Epstein’s right ear.

a single-manual Vox Continental organ with its distinctive reverse-color keys. were reminiscent of the altar candles of a cathedral. Johnny boy.A Day in the Life The three Beatles had already completed one take of the song this afternoon and now Lennon had a problem. It’s a serious piece. in the cold light of day. and then to the control room upstairs. seated in the corner. ‘Black Oyster Pearl’ was the official Ludwig color designation. The lyrics then had seemed very profound. 119 . and five Vox valve amplifiers. moreover. He’d finally completed it last night. he had nothing. The polished woodblock floor was crisscrossed by black cables. But. We’re going to try it again. Microphones of various types were interspersed between the sound screens. and then back from the control room to the large Tannoy speakers situated around the studio. Try that.” He looked over at Starr. “Mal. In the rear-center of the studio was Starr’s second Ludwig drum kit with its distinctive black and silver swirled pattern.” Lennon turned to Mal Evans their assistant. Perhaps he should chuck it—this and everything else—and get out. But I want to reserve twenty-four bars for something grand there. the Beatles’ acerbic leader had lost his confidence in the words. “Okay. But like the others. pleased with the effort. Lennon finally looked up from the table. he wasn’t sure that they weren’t just facile and obvious. a Marshall 50-watt amplifier head with the older style perspex name plate. “Ringo. He’d considered them to be poignant and obscure. At present. The two expensive Neumann U47 valve-operated models. But. There were two nine-foot Steinway concert grands. I don’t know what we’re going to do with the middle section. vertically mounted on five-foot stands. it needed a middle section and second. He had to do this song for the money. How about all toms?” “Good. two Fender Twin amplifiers. He’d intended it as a eulogy in music. “Okey dokey. Okay?” Starr nodded. There was an enormous amount at stake here but only if he completed the tasks they’d all agreed to. he had to do this song for himself. No snares and high hats. and more pressing. conducting signals away from pickups and microphones towards preamplifiers and amplifiers. Two problems in fact. It’s our last recording for posterity. I need a more dramatic drum sound on this. he needed the money that would start flowing in quantities later this year. He’d been trying to express his feelings in this song for several weeks and it had been the most difficult songwriting job of his career. They’ll never be another Beatles’ record after this. a Hammond A100 organ with two Leslie cabinets. the most serious thing we’ve ever done—ever will do in fact. First. The floor of Studio Two was particularly cluttered for this recording session.

” “Twenty four bars? Right. “Hey. “As we sort of discussed already. With a nod. I thought you might like to consider using a snatch of it in this song. “Well. “Hello boys!” Epstein beamed at the four persons assembled in Studio 2 as he descended the stairs. He’d be able to help. He waited for the sparse introduction of piano. “I mean. “I’ve got an idea John. you know count them out loud so’s we can hear? Then give us a nod when we’re at the end of it. Lennon looked up to see Brian Epstein leaning against the stair rail. guitar. Bill was just showing me some new stuff he’d written. summat grand—if you get my drift.…like a partnership? For the new album…” Epstein’s voice tailed off as he registered the darkening expression on Lennon’s face. “Well Brian. Okay?” 120 . He’d evidently been listening to the proceedings “Hello Brian. when we go into that section. I think we better—”. This is the last fucking song—ever! And. “Okay.” Lennon looked skeptical.” agreed Evans. So what are we going to do about the middle bit? The twenty four bars and the bit after that? Any ideas?” “I could put a guitar solo in there. more to the point. We don’t want to hear it on the recording” Lennon stepped up to the microphone and waved his hand to the control room.” drawled Lennon. John Perkins Maybe a big buildup and a crescendo or summat like that.” in his headphones. we need something better than that. try it if you like. But keep it away from the mike. “No.” Lennon caught Harrison’s sudden frown and moved to redress. “Well. “Hmm.” He pointed to a white alarm clock on top of one of the pianos. I…” Epstein looked suddenly uneasy. “I read the news today. we don’t want anything to do with that cunt. something bigger. the cocktail of uppers had performed their chemical duties. And then I want to put like a bridge after that. During the twenty minute drive from Tottenham Court Road. take two.L. why don’t I set off that alarm clock at the end of the twenty four bars? That’ll be a signal. Like. His face was flushed and excited and he looked to be in an exuberant mood. can you count the bars out. Anyroad. bongos and piano to play through and began to sing the haunting vocal refrain. he acknowledged the “ ‘Day in the Life’. “I’ve told you before Eppy and I’ll tell you again. What’s your big idea?” said Lennon laconically. Lennon lit a cigarette and looked across at Starr and Harrison. If only Martin were here. Nice to see you here after all these years. oh boy…” At its conclusion. you could…er.” Harrison suggested. There isn’t going to be any more albums. So fucking-well forget it.” a voice interrupted from the top of the steps to the control room.

Lennon lowered his voice but didn’t alter his grim expression. Lennon smiled fleetingly at Mal Evan’s labored counting. like it or not. For two pins I’d chuck it all. Swiss-made tape deck in accompaniment to the song. they never tired of seeing a new composition blossom into life.” In the control room. Then. glanced sideways and lapsed into silence. “We weren’t to know. nothing! The Charm Company holds all the cards now. “Come on. You thought it might but we know it won’t. Epstein seemed to have aged markedly in the past few months. The three Beatles listened intently to the playback of take four of their new song. Let’s go and listen to what we’ve done so far.” He looked across at the other two.” Epstein replied gently. they remained silent and subdued through the first two verses. individually conscious of its significance. plastered with echo. Lennon reached out a hand and patted him on the shoulder. Even after six years of work at Abbey Road Studios. shush! Keep it down!” Epstein darted his eyes up to the control room and back to Lennon. We’ve got to have a new album and. John. Stuart Peterson. “We’ve had this same fucking conversation I don’t know how many times before. Neither said anything “But John. Despite himself. I feel the same way. In fact…” Epstein paused. Unlike Peterson who was pounding enthusiastically on the top of the sturdy. So we…” Lennon turned to Starr and Harrison standing behind him. He hunched his shoulders and dropped his head. the balance engineer. “Otherwise we’ll get nothing from them. It’s not going to work.” George. Brian! Why’d we do it?” Lennon gesticulated with both hands and glanced wildly around the studio.A Day in the Life He glared malevolently at his former manager. “I don’t know.” Epstein was pleading. look. embarrassed by this spontaneous act. he turned and beckoned to the other two Beatles. No money. was manipulating the black chicken-head knobs of the Studer four-track tape machine. surely?” “Fucking hell. Lennon stared at him grim-faced. He was about to offer a rude reply but stopped short.” Lennon sighed. do we fellas?” The other two Beatles glanced glumly at each other and then back to Lennon.” “I know how you feel John. through the 121 . “It was fucking dumb!” “Hindsight is a wonderful vantage point. his face only inches from that of the other. we’ve got to do it with him. “don’t want anything to do with it anymore. You know we’ve got to do this with him. “John. Ringo—you must realize that. To Lennon at that moment he looked rather unstable.

* * * * * 122 . “But hold on a jiffy. He leaned back in his chair and grinned at his colleagues.L. were they? There wouldn’t be any more Beatles’ records.” “Yeah. And what about the bridge after that??” “I’ve been thinking about the bridge. “Is this the one John? It was given a working title of ‘Woke Up. “Er…key of F” “Bingo!” retorted Lennon.” replied Lennon carefully. Last year’s Revolver would have to stand as their final and greatest album. a chronicle of sheer genius. “I’ve got a sort of an idea. “Sounds good John!” said Harrison as the engineer rewound the tape. “Shall I get the tape from storage?” “Wait.” He bit his lower lip and grimaced in his inimitable way and turned to Peterson.” smiled Lennon. was it? They weren’t going to put out any more albums. “There was a version kicking around in a can here in November. John Perkins twenty-four bars destined for Lennon’s vision of “summat grand” and his smile broadened at the sound of the alarm clock at its conclusion. “Speed it up two semitones and it’ll slot right in. I think that was the first line of the song. “That’s it.” Lennon sighed and nodded slowly. scrub Mal or he’ll want a session fee. But his smile lasted only fleetingly. Why was he bothering to record any of this? It wasn’t going to see the light of day. can you locate a song that Paul did back in September last year?” He hesitated momentarily before the word ‘Paul’. “Stu. Fell Out of Bed’. “But we’ve got to fill those twenty four bars with something.” “Do you want me to remove Mal’s counting track first?” “Yes. We’ll use it as an intro to this new section!” * * * * * Lennon was feeling considerably better now that he had something tangible on tape. two-ring binder of EMI data sheets on the desk. What key was it in?” Peterson ran his finger down the sheet.” Peterson sifted through a thick. It was a paper documentary of the Beatles’ recording output at Abbey Road since 1962. Leave the ringing alarm clock on there.

he was confronted by a large chapel built of the same gray and white stone as the main building. His father had told him as a young boy that these towers were where the most dangerous loonies were locked up. a hundred years later. he noted a solid wooden door at its base. Ferro supposed that in reality it housed a water tank or something similar. Stone House was one of those archetypal British mental hospitals built by the dozens in the late Victorian era. Would the inmates have filled it to capacity all those years ago when God and Empire had ruled the hearts of the nation? But would most of them have been able to comprehend the concept of God and. were they still being used in exactly the same way? He headed the car towards the rear of the building. On the other side of the tower. Stark. Passing the tower. why. There had been a rare. A stout padlock secured it. At one end of the building stood the requisite Victorian tower with the round room at its top. bare trees were silhouetted against the forbidding main building. grotesquely huge. folded both arms on the steering wheel and stared up at the edifice before him. D 123 . Ferro smiled to himself. What were the Victorians thinking of. siamesed together in mock-Tudor style. if so. stretching for more than an eighth of a mile parallel to the A226 to Dartford. 1980 aniel Ferro stopped the car inside the gates of Stone House Psychiatric Hospital. Ferro shuddered involuntarily.— Chapter 8 — The Lunatic Tower Monday. Wasn’t this an over-secure lock for just a water tower? Perhaps his father had been right all the time. It appeared to be disused and closed up. The facade was of austere gray stone trimmed with white flint. why did the room at the top have slit widows arrayed around its circumference? He caught himself staring up. But if that was so. The building was huge. November 17. building places like this? Moreover. The single long stretch of roof was broken at thirty-yard intervals by pairs of tall double chimneys. early snowfall that November and patches of dirty slush still remained on the lifeless ground. half-expecting a wild face to appear at any moment.

loose-fitting fatigues. “What?” The noise in the corridor was deafening. antiseptic-laden heat of a British hospital. but tolerable air he had left outside. His nostrils were immediately assaulted with the cloying. He approached a nurses’ station. stretching the whole length of the building. “Frederick Prosser. He knew she must be able to see him as he was standing right up against the table but she kept her head down resolutely checking boxes on the form. their brains had not been created in his image. “Excuse me. “Down there almost to the end. A staff nurse was seated at a table filling in a form. On the other hand. John Perkins would they have cursed him for scrambling their minds? Presumably. clutching their regulation hats— little more than starched folded handkerchiefs—to their heads. surprised that no one had questioned his intrusion into the complex thus far. green and pale-pink uniforms scurried by. Ferro shrugged and drove on.” The nurse looked up. He’d entered it at approximately its mid point and now stood and stared with wonder to his right and left. Female nurses in a variety of blue. at the noisy. But how did you get past them to here anyway?” “I came through the back way. Several large old-fashioned trolleys looking like brown-painted iron bedsteads trundled by laden with tea urns. He waited a full minute to see who would break first. There were similarly-attired patients walking around by themselves. There was about the same population density of male nurses—or perhaps just orderlies. It was him. He continued through a labyrinth of side corridors until he encountered the main corridor. I’m looking for a Frederick Prosser. her face screwed up in irritation. Many patients were being pushed around in wheelchairs and most were dressed in pajamas. a hundred yards in each direction. either along the main corridor or crossing from side corridors. Where can I find him?” “Did you check in at reception?” “Where’s that?” The staff nurse indicated left with her pen.L. then turn left. 124 . Ferro caught himself warily scrutinizing the patients in his vicinity. many of them didn’t look as if they’d last very long on the outside.” He pointed to the rear corridor through which he’d come. He’s a patient. He parked illegally outside of what appeared to be an auxiliary rear entrance and strode inside. while others were escorting patients. propelled by middle-aged ladies. Ferro had no way of telling—dressed in white. Some were leaning against the wall chatting. a stark contrast to the bitter. bustling city within. He reflected that there didn’t seem to be anything to stop them walking out of the building and into the outside world.

A Day in the Life “Back way?” The nurse’s face was still screwed up in reaction to the din in the corridor. He couldn’t see anything. he rapidly extended his hands and arms and swiveled sideways. What the hell was happening? His mind churning. He stopped suddenly at a large door. He found himself in a maze of corridors all with same high ceilings and faceless walls of faded yellow-cream paint. I’m a consultant psychiatrist.” He opened it and stepped back indicating that Ferro should precede him. You’re not too far away. Seeing none. “Took me a few months when I started here.” “Yes. “Here we are. “Yes. Ferro assumed. His right hand contacted a fixture of some kind and he continued to turn until he was facing the door. for a suitable escort.” She looked to her right and left searching. she sighed and said. “Almost there now. I have a private practice in Dartford. It took Ferro just a minute to get lost. The doctor strode briskly through two more corridors with Ferro in tow. The room was 125 . He was smartly dressed in a dark suit and stripped tie. he was jolted by a shove in the back and stumbled forward into the darkness. I’m going that way. And you shouldn’t be here unescorted. I spend about two days a week here.” he said cheerfully. As Ferro stepped forward into what looked to be an unlit corridor. “Yes. He felt up and down the doorframe until he encountered a hinge.” said Ferro to the man’s back. reception’s down there. He’d followed the nurse’s directions but couldn’t see any sign of a reception desk or main entrance. He heard the door bang shut behind him and the simultaneous click of a bolt on the outside. I’m looking for the reception desk. Follow me and I’ll take you straight there. “As I just told you. The question had been put by a pleasant-faced man of about Ferro’s age.” The man had a clipped. It’s by the main entrance I believe. “Can I help you? You appear to be lost.” “Are you a doctor?” The man smiled briefly. Hurry up!” Her head was back down looking at the form but she continued to stab the air with her pen. Turn left near the end. cultured accent “This is a difficult place to find your way around. Thank you.” Ferro reflected that the doctors seemed to be a great deal more helpful and polite than the nursing staff at this hospital.” Ferro wheeled around. It was pitch black inside. “Yes. traversed across the door with the flat of his hands and located the light switch on the other side. “Well you shouldn’t have.” his guide replied over his shoulder.

Ferro turned back and pounded on the door with his fists. “Now then Tommy! What’s all this about?” “I got him! It’s okay now nurse. I tricked him and locked him in here. “So who are you?” As Ferro briefly explained the situation to the nurse. The shelves on each side were stacked with sheets and blankets. I got him. “You know better than this! And you know you shouldn’t be down here anyway. “Who are you and what are you doing in the linen store?” Ferro was about to explain when the doctor broke in excitedly. he was glancing sideways at Tommy. evidently pleased with his accomplishment. This is the third time this month. “I’m going back. shoo!” “Okay. He’s very dangerous you know!” “Tommy!” she said reproachfully.” said the nurse.” “Yeah—back to the fucking lunatic tower I hope. 126 . It’s nearly tea time. “What the hell’s going on?” exploded Ferro. Tommy. The latter was grinning broadly and looking backwards and forwards from Ferro to the nurse. I’ll be up there in a minute. Tommy.” Tommy said as he scurried obediently away. We’ll have to get the doctor to change your medication. The doctor was standing by her side. Ferro followed behind as he had with Tommy. “It’s okay nurse. It was opened immediately by a nurse in a blue uniform.” she said shaking her head. back to your ward. He was trying to escape from the hospital.” growled Ferro uncharitably under his breath.” Tommy’s smiled abruptly vanished. She turned back to Ferro. Follow me. he stayed a few feet further back. “Sorry about that. Go on. however.” She swept away in the direction that Ferro had come from. They’ll direct you. The nurse nodded and turned to Tommy. This time. Go back to your ward. I’m glad you came to my aid. The nurse ignored his outburst. “Tommy. I got him!” The nurse turned sideways to Ferro’s guide. John Perkins flooded with light and he saw immediately that the corridor was in reality only a deep linen closet. “You won’t tell Nurse Bunting about this will you?” He hopped nervously from foot to foot. You shouldn’t be in this area without an escort anyway. rapidly scanning their faces. “Well Tommy. “I’ll take you to reception. Now hurry up. Just in case.L.

127 .” She indicated a man slumped in an armchair. it was a sign of stress. The chair was facing a blank wall and he was staring at the floor. “He probably won’t acknowledge you.A Day in the Life * * * * * Ward 17B was decorated in the same depressing yellow-cream color as the rest of the hospital. A relative are you then?” “No. disheveled sweater was pulled on over his pajamas and he had a red slipper and black sock on his right foot. she’d lift her head briefly. He had large features. About fifteen patients occupied the large dayroom. At the end of each six-foot traverse. A gray. Other than the pacing tiger-lady. but don’t expect he’ll talk to you. You never know though. The watchers seemed oblivious to the problem. Ferro was struck by the impression that he looked immensely sad. drop it again and repeat her steps. “Fred Prosser? Yes. I’m…” he groped for an answer. Isn’t that nice?” The man made no indication that he’d heard the nurse and continued to stare at the floor. oh Fred!” sang the nurse brightly as she crossed the floor. Good luck. “I’m a friend of his sister’s.” She waggled her head in a manner reminiscent of a bird and skipped back to her unattended tray of drugs. apart from heavy green curtains over the window and silver-painted radiators. A black-and-white television was blaring its message at high volume in the corner. Three people appeared to be watching it but there was something wrong with the set’s vertical hold because the picture scrolled continually round and round.” “Isn’t that nice! I’ll leave you to it. he’s over there.” she said cheerfully. A female patient of about sixty in a nightdress was pacing ceaselessly up and down in the center of the room. “He doesn’t usually. thick lips and the extended ear lobes of the elderly male. no one in the room had moved for the past two minutes. “You’ve got a visitor. Frederick Prosser looked to be in his sixties with white hair and bushy white eyebrows. His face was deeply lined and there were dark circles around his eyes. The depressing scene quickly palled for Ferro. Ferro recalled having seen caged tigers in the zoo perform similar maneuvers. The other foot was bare. “Fred. Most were seated on an ill-matched assortment of couches and chairs dotted around the well-worn carpet and were staring abjectly into space. He sought out a nurse who was dispensing medication in small paper cups. there was nothing to brighten the monotony of the decor. Paint was peeling from the walls and. He knew that in the case of tigers.

John Perkins He squatted by the side of Prosser’s armchair. “What do you want Mr Ferro?” It was the barest of whispers.L. But even he doesn’t know anything about the accident. She said it would be okay to visit you. Ferro. momentarily distracted by the horsehair stuffing extruding from the armchair’s upholstery in several places. Prosser’s eyes flicked sideways for a moment although his head remained fixedly pointed to the floor. Mrs. looked up sharply.” He extended his right hand at the level of Prosser’s chest. “I’m trying to get some information on a car accident that happened fourteen years ago—in September of 1966. discouraged by the lack of response. Prosser was still staring at the floor. Ferro let his hand hover there for several seconds and finally withdrew it. He tried again. 128 . “I’m a journalist. “She said you wouldn’t mind a visitor. The mention of the police had triggered a severe reaction in Prosser. Bigger than this chair! And he’s very intelligent. I wonder what you actually saw?” “He’s a big spider you know. I understand you may have witnessed it?” Prosser didn’t reply. never looking at Ferro. “Mr Prosser?” Prosser suddenly chuckled. his arms wrapped around his head and his eyes screwed tightly shut. “Mr Prosser. “Mr Prosser? I’m Dan Ferro. So. “Er…the police told me you witnessed it. He shifted his position in the chair slightly but his head remained in the same fixed downward position. And neither does anyone else. Quarrington. He only comes out when the others are asleep!” He chuckled again. The police also said—” Ferro stopped in mid sentence. how do you know about me and the accident?” Ferro was momentarily thrown by the juxtaposition of the spider and the question. Ferro wasn’t certain that he’d spoken at all. “Er…I talked to your sister. can you hear me?” Embarrassed by the expanding silence. My sister told me.” At the mention of his sister’s name. Prosser continued to stare at the floor through Ferro’s wrist. His lips barely moved and he remained head down. “Oh that’s nice! Er…about this accident. “Pardon?” “I said what do you want Mr Ferro?” Ferro was now watching Prosser closely. “There’s a spider living in that wall. What do you want?” Ferro quickly opened his notebook and glanced through it. I wonder if you’d mind me asking you some questions…Mr Prosser?…Mr Prosser?” Ferro’s let his voice trail off. staring at the floor. Ferro waited several seconds and then prompted. Ferro looked away. I’m—” “I know who you are Mr Ferro. He sat bolt upright for a second and then collapsed into a foetal position.

A Day in the Life

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The September sun was beating on his head, but Prosser didn’t dare move his position. He cautiously pressed his back against the privet hedge and continued to stare rigidly at the grass in front of him. There was a blessed peace. No voice, no commands, no visions. Just the sound of a song thrush—a real thrush he was sure—warbling in the ash tree to his right. If he stayed just like this, he’d be safe from them. They couldn’t get him if he didn’t move, didn’t look up. If he looked up, the voices would come back. They always did. The sound of a car—no, two cars—began surreptitiously to encroach on his tranquility. He barely noticed them, entranced by the song thrush. Despite his previous intentions, he darted a glance to his right and saw the thrush stretch its speckled throat upward and outward, preparing to begin another stream of melody. It would not get to do so. The sudden shuddering squeal of tire rubber on tarmac caused Prosser to start violently. He dropped his head to its customary position, cursing himself for his folly. It was starting again! The skid stopped abruptly and Prosser’s body arched backwards in fright in response to a thunderous crash accompanied by the cacophony of breaking glass and buckling metal. Projectiles peppered the hedge behind his back. The thrush flashed across the periphery of his vision like an arrow. Surely this had to be real? It couldn’t be inside his head, could it? He remained fixed in position for a few seconds uncertain of his diagnosis, and then he was up and staring over the privet hedge to see the road enveloped by a swirling dust cloud. It hung in the air for almost a minute and then began to clear in the strong breeze until only a fuzzy mist remained. His eyes opened wide with surprise as he focused on the yellow object in the trench directly across the narrow lane. The driver was asleep, his head thrown back across the seat, his mouth open. Prosser grinned and listened for snoring but heard nothing. He leaned on the hedge and continued to stare. The car seemed to be in a terrible mess. Also, something about the driver looked familiar. He’d seen him before somewhere. Where was it? He wrinkled his nose. What was that smell? Sickly sweet, almost like perfume. Suddenly, his eyes caught a flash as the flame front snaked along under the chassis and the car exploded with a ‘whump’ into a bright orange fireball. Prosser’s eyes opened wide with delight and a slow smile grew on his lips. He’d seen similar things earlier this morning—a raging inferno of fire.

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L. John Perkins

They had appeared to him when he’d been behind the hedge with his eyes tight shut. They were pretty. This one was different though. It was much more spectacular. The thick tongues of flame were rushing upwards to curl over the top of the car and merge into oily black smoke boiling into the air. Prosser gurgled with pleasure and broke into delighted chuckles as the wall of flame rose to engulf the whole car. Then his laughter died in his throat. Something wasn’t right. This wasn’t like the ones he’d seen earlier today. It was far brighter and he could feel the heat on his face and bare arms. Before there had been no feelings, only pictures. He frowned. What was that smell? Before there had been no smells. This was an acrid smell of burning rubber and oil and something else— something vaguely familiar. What was it? Yes, he remembered now. It smelled like the pig they had spit-roasted at the summer fete that August. He whimpered and shook his head. He didn’t like this at all. Something was wrong here, something very wrong. This was too real. Suddenly, the voices were starting again. They were calling to him, calling his name in fact. He turned and sat back down behind the hedge. He lowered his head, screwed his eyes tight shut and pressed his hands to his head. The voices were screaming in his ear. * * * * *

“Fred! Fred Prosser!. Come on now. Oh Fred!” The bird nurse stopped shaking Prosser’s arm and turned to Ferro. “He does this now and then. It’s a sort of a trance-like state. He sees these visions or something. He gets quite upset sometimes.” She turned back to Prosser. “Fred, oh Fred!” She gently pulled Prosser’s hands away from his ears. Prosser’s eyes slowly open. He looked dazedly at the nurse and dropped his head to stare at the carpet again. “Okay,” said the nurse. “He’s recovered. But don’t get him excited like that again.” She waggled her head. “But, I…” began Ferro. The nurse, however, had already skipped away. Ferro was just about to try to talk to him when he realized that Prosser was mumbling. His lips hardly moved and he was barely audible. Ferro craned closer and positioned his ear towards Prosser’s mouth. “Drinka pinta milka day!” “I’m sorry?”

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“And now here is the ten o’clock news and it’s Reginald Bosenquet reporting.” “What?” “Tide with the blue whitener washes whiter!” “Hmm,” said Ferro. Five minutes ago, the old man had seemed quite rational. Now his mind seemed to be a trash heap of memories of advertisements from the television.” “Mr Prosser. I wonder—” “Yes, yes,” interrupted Prosser. “He was a phoenix all right. A phoenix he was. But he went in reverse. Ha ha!” “Phoenix? Reverse? What do you mean?” “The accident, the car accident,” said Prosser impatiently to the floor. Then he chuckled. “He was a phoenix but he went in reverse!” Ferro was suddenly alert. Prosser had mentioned the accident! He thought rapidly and asked, “Went in reverse? Who went in reverse?” “The driver!” Prosser chuckled to himself again and continued. “He went into the flames whole and came out in bits. A phoenix in reverse! Saw it all I did. He was hot very hot. Smelled something awful he did.” The old man wrinkled his nose in disgust at the memory. “Who was hot,” Ferro broke in, “the driver?” “Yes, yes. Of course it was the driver. There was no one else around was there?. He should’ve kept that car cleaner than that. It was all messed up. It was supposed to be yellow but it was all black and crushed. Him, with all his money ‘an all!” Ferro felt his heart beating in his ears. He opened his notepad, scratched a few words and asked, “Who was it, who was the driver?” “Him. Seen him on the telly.” “Who did you see on the television?” “The television.” Prosser appeared to be musing. He suddenly smiled and said, “This is the British Broadcasting Corporation, and we proudly present ‘It’s a Knockout’! Tah da dah da dah!” Prosser chuckled again and fell silent. “You said ‘from the television’,” prompted Ferro. “Yes,” said Prosser at length. “I told you. I seen him on the telly. I knew him didn’t I? Ferro grasped Prosser’s arm and shook it eagerly. The driver—you say you knew him. Who was it. Who did you know?” Prosser stayed silent for several seconds staring at ground and then continued. “Yes, yes, that’s it. That was him all right. Tah da dah da dah!” “That was who? The driver—did you know who it was?”

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“The Esso sign means happy motoring, so stop at the Esso sign!” Prosser chanted. He lapsed into silence. His gaze never wavered from the spot on the floor. To Ferro, the scene was reminiscent of the frustrations he’d experienced with an Ouija Board. It always skirted around the periphery of questions that were put to it. Prosser was just like an Ouija Board—sometimes responding, sometimes not, but never delivering a cohesive answer. Ferro’s attention was suddenly riveted on Prosser. The latter appeared to be wheezing but Ferro suddenly realized he was singing in a whispering voice. “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” breathed Prosser unmelodically, “ Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeeaah!” He stayed on the last syllable twice as long as the others. Ferro knew those words only too well. “Mr Prosser, listen.” He urgently gripped Prosser’s left arm. “Do you know who the Beatles are?” He stressed ‘Beatles’ slowly and deliberately. Prosser nodded. “They was good boys. I used to like their songs I did. Yeah, yeah, yeah! We all live in a yella sub’rine, yella sub’rine, yella sub’rine!” The old man smiled to himself as he sang in a whisper. He seemed to be singing directly to the floor. “My sister didn’t like them. Couldn’t hear the words she’d always say. They were all right in my book!” “Mr Prosser.” Ferro paused, took a breath and said, “Was this one of the Beatles you saw that day in the car accident?” Prosser suddenly looked irritable. He screwed up his eyes and scowled at the floor. “I told you it was didn’t I? It was the good looking one.” “The good looking one? Which one was that?” “You know, the good looking one—he was always on the left on the telly. Always had his guitar t’other way round to the others. He was left handed you know.” Ferro’s ears were singing. “Was it…” He couldn’t say the words. “It was Paul,” said Prosser suddenly. “Yeah! That was it. That was the one. Paul! Used to waggle his head he did. I seen him on the telly. Yeah yeah yeah, oooh!” “And what did you see that day? What happened to him?” “Oh he died! Burnt to a crisp he was. Burnt to a cinder. Oh yes! A reverse phoenix all right!” Prosser chuckled, apparently delighted at the memory and rocked back and forth in the chair. He still didn’t look at Ferro. Ferro was astounded. A hundred questions formed in his mind. “Mr Prosser, are you sure about this? Are you sure you can remember that well? It was fourteen years ago.”

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“I’m quite sure Mr Ferro. I would have recognized him anywhere.” Prosser seemed to exhibit moments of startling clarity intermixed with his ramblings. “So there was a fire?” “Oh yes!” “What caused the fire?” “It was the holes.” “Holes?” “Yeah. The holes in Blackburn Road. There was thousands of ‘em.” “Holes?” Ferro shook his head. This was all becoming curiously familiar but why? “What do you mean, holes?” Prosser was silent. Ferro tried another tack. “Did you tell all this to the police?” At the mention of the police, Prosser scowled and clamped his mouth shut. “Mr Prosser…? The old man’s rheumy eyes were heavy and protruding. He said nothing. Ferro tried again. “Mr Prosser? Did you tell this to the police?” “The police! I hates the police,” Prosser suddenly spat out. “They were always unkind to me. They had me put in here you know.” He dropped his voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “They’re always watching me in here. There’s cameras everywhere. There’s microphones too!” “So what did you tell them?” “I told ‘em nothing. Let them find out for themselves I said.” “So who did you tell about this?” “Dunno. Can’t remember. Didn’t tell the police anyway.” Prosser seemed pleased with himself. “What happened afterwards?” “What do you mean?” “What happened after the accident?” “Well, there was a lot of people came down in the afternoon to sort it out. Milling around the farm they was. They didn’t bother with me.” “What did they do with the body? Who identified it?” “Now there’s a funny thing! I always thought that was strange.” “I’m sorry—what was strange?” “Yes, yes, that was very strange. I never understood that, did I?” The old man was talking to himself.” “What didn’t you understand?” “They paid old Ned to do it.”

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“Ned?” “Yes, Ned Nexsen. He used to work at the farm during harvest time.” “I see. How do you spell Nexsen?” Prosser supplied the information. “Thanks. And what did Ned do exactly?” “He took the body away after it all died down. Had it buried for them.” “Them?” “Yeah. The people that came down. One of them insisted he be buried prop’ly. Ned told me afterwards.” “I see. But why did Ned help them?” “Oh they paid him. A fair bit of money it was too.” Having been engrossed in Prosser’s answers, Ferro suddenly realized that the old man was talking animatedly and lucidly. Also, Prosser had ceased to stare at the floor. He was looking around the ward and his gaze came to rest on the tiger-lady, still pacing ceaselessly in the middle of the room. “So what did Ned do with the body?” “What?” Prosser was still staring at the tiger-lady as if he had never seen her before. “Ned—what did he do with the body?” “He had it buried. I just told you.” Prosser seemed to be getting irritated. Ferro thought quickly. Tread carefully; tread very carefully. There’s a goldmine here! Don’t lose it. “Yes, you did. I’m sorry.” Ferro tried to look suitably apologetic although he knew that Prosser wasn’t looking at him. “How did he have it buried? Where?” “Took it to Cowling. To the churchyard. He knew the sexton there.” “Churchyard?” Ferro prompted. “Yes. He’s buried in the churchyard in Cowling.” Ferro was aware of his heart thumping. “Cowling? Where’s that?” “It’s a village. Got some very old graves there it has. Charles Dickens used to go there you know, to the churchyard.” “You said Cowling. How do you spell it?” “It’s ‘Cow’—as in moo—‘ling’, C-O-W-L-I-N-G.” Ferro scribbled it down in his notebook. He looked up. “And where is Cowling?” “It’s—” Prosser stopped and suddenly wheeled around to face Ferro. It was the first time that he’d looked at Ferro directly. He stared intently for several seconds and then spat out, “You’re from the police!” “No, no, I’m not. I’m a journalist.” Ferro shook his head earnestly.

134

A Day in the Life “You’re from the police. He’ll probably have recovered by then.” said Ferro urgently.” said Ferro fervently. “Oh dear. gave a superior smile and waggled her bird-like head. “That’s enough for today. The goldmine was disappearing rapidly. “Mr Prosser. Should he appeal to a higher authority—the ward sister or a doctor? “You can come back tomorrow if you like. “Mr Prosser—Fred.” Ferro grasped Prosser’s elbow and shook it gently. You’ll have to go. Prosser maintained his pose and began to whimper. She had her hands on her hips and looked determined. Anyway. I kin smell it. You’ve upset him again!” she said reproachfully. The high pitched noises were sufficient to attract the bird nurse. it’s time to go. You’ve bin spying on me all the time! You’re the one that operates the cameras and the microphones in here!” Prosser suddenly looked very frightened.” Ferro was agitated. He…anyway.” he said shortly. Visiting hours are over. Ferro would like to have smacked it hard with the flat of his hand. “Okay. Come along now!” She stood between Ferro and the still whimpering Prosser. pressed his elbows to his side and began to rock gently in the chair.” “We’ll he doesn’t look fine to me. Here he was on the threshold of some possibly momentous information and the door was being closed on him. weighing up the nurse in front of him. “Believe me!” Prosser clapped his hands to his ears. There was no problem.” Ferro thought for a few seconds. “It’s no good. visiting hours were over five minutes ago. It was like reading a murder mystery where the last page had been torn out. crossed the ward sidestepping the tiger lady and strode out of the door. He turned. I only need another five minutes. He’ll be like this for hours now. His head went down and he screwed his eyes tight shut. I’m sorry. he was talking to me just fine. * * * * * ‘He’s buried in the churchyard in Cowling…he’s buried in the churchyard in Cowling…he’s buried in the churchyard in Cowling…’ The words were 135 .” “I didn’t. “But he was telling me about…er. I’m not from the police.

scanned its 136 . Thus. if Prosser’s Cowling had a village church. a farmhand from Lower Higham in Kent. He was puzzled. The index of the Reader’s Digest Atlas of Great Britain was open before him. he twisted his head to look back over his right shoulder. The only thing that could still be seen of Stone House Psychiatric Hospital above the trees was the lunatic tower. Ferro sat back and reflected. Surely Ned Nexsen couldn’t have taken a body all the way to Yorkshire? How could he have done that? Also. These were detailed. Was Prosser’s Cowling too small to show on this map? Unlikely. There they were—two villages named Cowling. one near Rippon and one near the city of Bradford. large scale maps of Great Britain.L. After driving for half a mile. how would Nexsen. He’d go back first thing in the morning and ask him. He rifled eagerly through the atlas and found them to be the two adjacent pages of the north riding of the county of Yorkshire. the index showed that one of the Cowlings in Yorkshire had a population of only forty-five people. Moreover. Was there any vestige of truth in anything the old man had said? And where was Cowling anyway? Ferro had never heard of the place. There were just two entries showing for Cowling and directed him to two consecutive page numbers. But there were just the two entries. Ferro reasoned. Ferro turned back to the index. Prosser had just told him the body of Paul McCartney was buried in the churchyard in Cowling. Ferro crossed to the reference shelf. both in Yorkshire. He returned to the map of Yorkshire and traced the grid references with his fingers. pulled down the weighty Times Atlas of the United Kingdom and. He turned back to the index and double-checked the entries and the page numbers. The north riding of Yorkshire was at least two hundred and fifty miles from Kent. But Prosser had implied it was somewhere nearby. it surely must be large enough to appear in the atlas. have known the sexton of a church all the way up there? There must be another Cowling. The situation was fantastic. Perhaps it was a mistake in the index—a printer’s omission. John Perkins ringing in Ferro’s head as he turned west on to the A226 towards London. * * * * * Seven o’clock that evening found Ferro seated in the Greenwich Public Library. balancing it with some difficulty on a lower shelf.

It had to be.” She waved towards the newspaper racks across the library. She stood with her head on one side. Her ash blonde hair was wet—he could smell it—and the tip of her tongue was protruding just beyond her crystal white teeth. But supposing Prosser was right but had got the village wrong? Ferro returned to the index of the atlas.A Day in the Life index. deep in thought. He located them in turn. Perhaps it was just a fantasy. I was driving up through Blackheath and on impulse turned into Hyde Vale to see if you were at home. He sat back down. Cowling. After all. Her presence was a soothing balm to the frustration of the events of the day. In an indefinable way. He sat back and folded his arms and looked up straight into the eyes of Detective Sergeant Jill Pencarver. if it existed. “Hello. Yorkshire? Surely not. I’m not at home at present. Then he said. He knew from his own literary studies that Dickens had lived and worked in Kent. I was curious to know what information you had to trade after our phone conversation yesterday. they were all ‘Cowley’ not ‘Cowling. both in Scotland. Oxfordshire. half smiling at him. and a Cowpen in Northumberland just north of Newcastle. Prosser’s condition presumably predisposed him to such ramblings. And anyway. and shuffled back through his interview with Prosser. Ferro was very pleased to see her. He was disappointed to see that it also confirmed only two villages named Cowling. When I found you weren’t at home I dropped in here to look at the theater listings. He looked through the streaming panes. It’s just a coincidence. None of these villages seemed to match. All far away. both in Yorkshire. 137 . “It’s Dan and I didn’t know you lived around here Jill. Therefore.” The detective raised her eyebrows. He noted that Prosser had also mentioned the connection with Charles Dickens.” Ferro smiled and stood up. There were also four Cowleys. one each in the counties of Devon.” “I don’t. Ferro was frustrated. “Well. He looked at nearby names starting in ‘Cow’ and discovered two Cowies. Ferro turned back to his notebook on the table. Mr Ferro.’ Prosser had been instant about the name and the spelling. Gloucestershire and Middlesex. Fancy seeing you here!” For a moment he was nonplused. All three were even further away than Yorkshire. Sleet tore at the windows of the library. “But how did you know I’d be here?” “I didn’t. had to be in Kent somewhere. Drops of water were trickling down Pencarver’s raincoat.

said. “And do you have a significant other in your life?” “Significant other?” “Yes. Do you have a significant other in your life?” “No. Brilliant—Jill’s acceptance of a date. That was a long shot. It’s to celebrate the completion of a new album by Queen. “Jill. John Perkins “So any leads that my office would be interested in?” “Well. I have information on this case that you might be interested in.” She hesitated. “I’ll make you a deal.” “Are you married?” “No. But he’d brought it off! They chatted for a few minutes more and made arrangements for Saturday. and then. He toyed with it for a couple of seconds and decided to try it.L. We’ll share information. so I’ll ask you. et cetera—you know. given that he’d just asked her out and she’d accepted. A bold idea had formed in his mind. You’ll get to meet Freddie Mercury. “Uh-huh. Well it so happens that there’s this party on Saturday I’ve been invited to. Frustrating— Prosser’s intransigence. Their A&R manager’s hosting it at his home. “Well neither do I at present. “Yes. Not surprising. and reflected on the events of the day: Fantastic—Prosser’s story. Baffling— where the hell was Cowling? He began to idly fantasize about Jill and what 138 . He sat with his elbows on the library table. It’s the record company’s representative who looks after the artist. If you come with me. Surely it’s worth it from that point of view at least?” She continued to look at him directly and shrugged. Ferro sensed a change in her demeanor.” replied Ferro. Thank you. with a half smile.” Her half smiled widened.” Ferro looked directly at her. I’ll tell you what I’ve discovered. “Saturday evening? Okay. Stands for ‘Artists and Repertoire’. Can I ask you a question?” “Sure.” She looked at him quizzically. That would be nice!” Ferro felt an inward surge of exhilaration. Okay?” “A&R manager?” She was stalling for time. “Why do you ask?” He ignored her question. boyfriend. “What about you?” “What about me?” “You asked me.” said Ferro. he reasoned. “Queen will be there. yes and no. So why do you ask?” He grinned. A&R. chin cupped in his hands.

but Prosser intruded on his thoughts. It was surely destined to make his afternoon even worse. his ex-wife. After leaving the library that night. late November sun.m. He’d press him further about Cowling. It was 3 a. There were four messages waiting on his answering machine. a contrasting mix of beauty and the beast. informing him that his child maintenance support payments were late this month and not to forget that he’d agreed to take his daughter to the zoo on Sunday. He popped four aspirin tablets washed down with two pints of water and crawled back to bed with the curtains tightly drawn to block out the headsplitting brilliance of a rare. when he got home.m. So what time had he agreed to pick Zoe up from her mothers’ house on Sunday? He couldn’t remember. he’d go straight back in the morning. * * * * * But in the morning he didn’t. that is. * * * * * 139 .A Day in the Life they might do. He’d go back to Stone House tomorrow and see Prosser. He’d need to take a decent. It was sparsely attended and what little there was of an audience was unresponsive. Yes. At 7 a. when he staggered out of the pub and 3:30 a. Number three was from Claire. The first was from Rolling Stone who had bitten on his obituary of Punk Rock and wanted an outline by the close of business today. The second was from his editor at the Melody Maker who urgently needed his review of last week’s UB40 concert to meet this Friday’s publication deadline. Better press him gently this time. large-scale map of Kent with him and get Prosser to locate where all this occurred. Ferro groaned and decided to put off the last message until later.m. he’d gone to the Golden Lion in Fulham where his band were playing a Monday night gig. Assuming. He stayed in the pub drinking illegally after hours with the band and selected clientele.. It was midday when he couldn’t stand the pain of his bladder any longer that he dragged himself out of bed. he woke with a severe hangover. that Prosser had recovered.

L. Claire 140 .. John Perkins Daniel Ferro had met Claire Fitzgerald in his third and final undergraduate year at Birmingham University. a clique more determined by accents than by common interests. Claire wanted to get married and have the baby. He didn’t possess the membership qualifications. In particular. and should have gone to Oxford to read modern languages but somehow didn’t quite make the grade. He quickly realized that theirs was not a match made in heaven as far as her parents were concerned. she been spellbound by the volume of the band. After all. She played classical piano and flute and went to the opera. He was twenty-four. it was a case of a match not made within the environs of London society. She was only twenty-two. The rock and roll of the late Sixties was rather alien to her. Claire had been raised on a diet of classical music. Claire began a Master’s degree in linguistics. a healthy Zoe Rebecca Ferro was born in September 1973. Ferro had played guitar in a local band and Larfin’Gas became a respected local phenomenon. the energy of the sweating audience and the almost tribal nature of the event. Too young. Their relationship became permanent as he began his journalistic career at the Birmingham Post and Mail. she was a cultured girl with a clipped accent from the other side of the tracks while. They found a flat in the Moseley district and. Claire Fitzgerald became pregnant. much to the displeasure of her parents. with no concept of fetal alcohol syndrome. He spent a miserable three days at her parent’s country house during the Christmas of 1971. To Ferro.A. While at University. his third. she’d not even started hers. scotch and. Claire had been educated at Cheltenham Ladies College. too early in their careers. moved in together. undefined sense of exhilaration in her soul. however. Claire attempted to integrate him into the public school circle without success. Claire and Ferro had met at one of his gigs and they were attracted by a sort of mutual fascination for each other’s lifestyles. he was a rock guitarist from a parallel dimension. unsurprisingly for those days. Then. They dated casually at first during her second year at Birmingham. Ferro was not only part of this exotic universe but was a member of its inner circle. Fortunately. he had said. There. The following morning she had awoken. She had only attended her first rock concert during her second year at Birmingham at the late age of nineteen. ears still ringing and a strange. to Claire. Her father was a prominent barrister and an old Etonian. She was from social stratum higher than Ferro’s. in the same month that she graduated with an M. To her. While Ferro began his second year of probation at the local newspaper. Ferro was for termination. They spent long nights discussing the situation supported by marijuana. She moved in the upper-class public school circle at the university.

He saw Zoe every other weekend now. It was certainly a sufficient condition for separation. Moreover. crossed to his desk and leafed through his notes for the Punk Rock essay. With regard to the future prospects of Daniel and Claire Ferro as a couple. As did his activities with Larfin’Gas which continued to play concerts around the Midlands and up as far as Liverpool and Leeds. Their wishes were both realized—separately. Claire wanted to move to the country. * * * * * Ferro switched on the coffee maker. the ‘irrevocable breakdown of marriage’ was sufficient grounds for divorce alone. the baby was a mistake. He cradled his head in his hands and swore inwardly never to drink beer again. For Friday night gigs in the North.A Day in the Life became a full-time doting mother. forewarned and considerably wiser. But. he bypassed the reception desk 141 . He left the raising of Zoe in Claire’s hands but became increasingly guilty of that fact. His second career as a freelance music writer now meant odd hours and significant periods away from home. rather brittle girl with the immaculately styled hair and the cut-glass accent. Ferro still loved this tall. Birmingham was not the optimum base for Ferro as an aspiring freelance rock and roll journalist. He began to draft the outline for Rolling Stone but thoughts of Jill Pencarver intruded on his labors. Claire claimed that he seemed to be more concerned over the safety of his guitar locked in his car outside Old Trafford Football Ground than he was about deserting his family for the whole of Saturday. he’d typically stay overnight if United were playing at home on the Saturday. This time. His head was still pounding and the smell of brewing coffee was making him nauseous. It was a promise he was to break the following Saturday with significant consequences. as the new English divorce law now recognized. He wanted to move to London. * * * * * Three long days later Ferro returned to Stone House Psychiatric Hospital. Ferro became a husband and a father— some of the time.

Ferro was relieved to see that neither of the two nurses in the room were his nemesis. He approached the older of the two nurses.” Ferro felt a tightening in his chest. “But surely. here?” The nurse nodded. clutching a newly purchased OrdinanceSurvey map of Kent under his arm. I’m a…an acquaintance. The nurse was watching him. This is a National Health hospital you know. Had he been the precursor of this event? 142 .” “How? How did he do that?” “Well it turned out that he’d been secretly hoarding them for months. “Suicide? But how?” he said at length. He did it in the middle of the night.” Ferro looked derisive. “I suppose you don’t know?” “Know? Know what?” She took a deep breath. Is he here?” “Are you a relative?” “No.L. this time over by the window. the bird nurse. you don’t allow these people the ability to hoard their own medication?” He was angry with the nurse. He couldn’t see Prosser anywhere. “He overdosed on his medication. waiting. “Is Mr Prosser around?” Her inquiring smile vanished and she looked suddenly serious. Fred Prosser. She dropped her eyes. “Fred Prosser? Mr Prosser? A man of about sixty?” The nurse nodded again. “I’m afraid that he committed suicide. The tiger-lady was still pacing.” “Suicide! What. The usual collection of patients were dotted around the day room. “Mr Prosser?” “Yes.” “I see. “I’m sorry but we don’t have enough staff to keep watch on everyone twenty four hours a day.” The nurse hesitated and bit her lip. He died two days ago. Ferro was grappling with the information. We found a number still unused. “I’m sorry to tell you that Mr Prosser is dead. “Dead? Dead? How?” The nurse looked embarrassed.” “Overdosed? On his pills? How could he get to hoard his pills? Aren’t they monitored carefully? Don’t you keep a watch on these people?” Ferro was angry. And somewhat guilty at himself. John Perkins and headed straight for Ward 17B.

How did it happen?” “I’m afraid he took an overdose of medication.” Twisting sideways to look behind Ferro she nodded. “Poor soul. “Probably died quickly but with hellish hallucinations.” “I see.” She looked at Ferro waiting for a response and then added defensively.A Day in the Life “Well. “No. “Well he’d attempted suicide several times before. Why do you ask?” Ferro shrugged. “Yes. He was very sly you know. “I’m afraid it’s true.” “Hmm. “Anyway. She sighed and hunched her shoulders. Perhaps you’d like to speak to him?” Ferro turned to see a man in a white coat. He appeared to be listening to their conversation. Was it his. It was Fred Prosser. I wasn’t on duty that night. “Fred must have been deceiving us all the time. His star witness was dead—apparently the only person that had seen this possibly incredible event.” “What was the drug?” “Chlorpromazine—you know.” Look here’s the doctor. Fred Prosser?” She smiled wanfully.” was all Ferro could reply. Ferro was still trying to come to grips with the situation. “Was he a relative of yours?” The doctor looked to be an Indian or Pakistani and had a marked accent. His goldmine was gone. How many did he take?” “The autopsy showed he must have consumed about eighty tablets. we try to make sure they take them. 143 . fault? Had he pumped him too hard? Prosser had seemed very frightened at the end. And he’d died the day after Ferro had visited him. Ferro’s. Poor old Fred!” She clucked her tongue and shook her head sadly. Determined people will inevitably succeed in the end you know. “You are sure? It was Prosser. A profound sense of loss pervaded his body. No doubt about that.” “So this is negligence by the hospital?” Ferro raised his eyebrows. I’m sorry. This time he succeeded.” “Hmm.” said the doctor.” The nurse’s guarded stance suddenly collapsed. We typically prescribe it for schizophrenics like Mr Prosser. brandname Thorazine.” she retorted. A succession of consequences reeled through his mind.” The doctor seemed eager to impart the information. just a…friend. How does it work?” “It controls the release and uptake of dopamine—that’s a neurotransmitter in the brain. Chlorpromazine is a psychotropic medication. You must know that if you’re a friend. “Just curious. Did he die quickly?” “Probably.

He wouldn’t talk to me after that.” Ferro considered for a second and decided.” “Pardon?” “Ned died about five years ago. “He was quite upset after you left I understand. He was paranoid. I’ve just heard. “Yes. How did you hear?” “I’m at the hospital. Fred told me about a Ned Nexsen who works on your farm. Fred was a tormented soul for most of his life. I’ve just heard about Fred.” 144 . He’s in a better place now. He remained silent for a respectful lull and then continued. yes. Look. he’d do that. Quarrington. So she’d heard about his visit.” “I see.” “Oh yes? How was he then?” She didn’t sound that surprised. she sighed. the journalist. Ferro left the ward stunned.” “Yes. He wasn’t meant for this world you know. I called in to chat to Fred. “You can’t. The day before he died. it was only three days after Prosser’s death. Unless you have access to the afterlife.” He decided to say nothing about how the meeting ended. We spoke previously. John Perkins Ferro questioned the doctor for a further five minutes and was supplied a few supplemental answers in a polite but ultimately uninformative manner. “After chatting quite amicably with me for half an hour.” At the other end there was silence. he suddenly decided I was the police and clamed up. Was it too soon? Too much of an affront? After all. crossed to the telephone and leafed through his notebook for the number. I’m very sorry. Would she talk to him? He shrugged. Did she hold him responsible? “Er. Mrs. Where can I get hold of him?” She sniffed.” She sounded tired and detached but not hostile. depressed voice that Ferro recalled from a week ago. “I called to see him the other day you know. At length.L.” He continued hurriedly. It was as he was crossing the main corridor that he saw the public phone box.” “Actually Mr Ferro. It was his illness. “Thank you Mr Ferro. There were a couple of things Fred told me that I didn’t understand. “Quite communicative actually. I’m very sorry. I wonder if you can help me?” “Told you? What were they?” “Well first. “Mrs. Quarrington—this is Daniel Ferro. it’s all a sort of relief really. Incurably so. She answered in the thin. He told me a number of interesting things. “Look. your brother.” agreed Ferro.” Ferro’s bowels contracted fleetingly.” “Right.

lung cancer.” “Did Ned have any relatives or a family.” “Are you sure? Fred knew of it.” Ferro was deliberately oblique. He was a bachelor.A Day in the Life “Dead? Nexsen’s dead?” “Yes” Ferro swore inwardly. “So is there anyone else I could talk to about the accident?” 145 . Ferro cupped his hands around the mouthpiece to shield out the noise. What do you want to know about Ned for?” She sounded suspicious. Where is that?” “Cowling? How do you spell it?” Ferro obliged.” Ferro wedged the receiver between his chin and shoulder and thumbed through his notebook. he never married. I didn’t even know old Ned was involved. Investigative reporting was not his field. “Oh yes?” “Do you know how Ned was involved? Did he see it? What happened when the police came?” “I’m sorry I’ve no idea. A brown tea trolley trundled past. He wondered if a professional would approach this differently. I think I told you before—my husband and I were in France when it happened. He thought quickly. We didn’t get back until three weeks later. She was older than him.” “Quite sure. “Another thing Mrs. “Never heard of it. Interviewing Prosser’s sister seemed a rather different task to complementing a rock star on his or her latest album release.” “What did you say?” It looked like tea was beginning to be served in the hospital and the corridor was bustling. Fred mentioned a village called Cowling. “A village—Cowling. Quarrington. Yes. “Fred said he had knowledge of the accident.?” “No. Cowling? There’s no such place around here.” Ferro glanced fleetingly at the now redundant map of Kent in his hand and wondered if there was anything else he could ask her. He had a sister that lived in the village but she died some years before he did.” “No other Nexsens around your area?” “None that I’ve heard of. I don’t recall any other family. He tried one last time. “How did he die?” “Cancer I think. He was about seventy you know. It was all over.

It was also fourteen years ago. I know nothing about the bloody accident. for a fleeting moment. it was a village that didn’t exist. John Perkins “Look.” She sounded impatient and irritable. His star witness with an impaired mind filled with absurdity and the occasional nugget of startling information was dead. bit through his coat. Ferro felt like the man who. It was finished. had held the winning lottery ticket in his hand. His other potential witness had been dead for five years. His spirits were as bleak as the November day. “I know nothing at all about it. All gone. The east wind.L. ‘He’s buried in the churchyard in Cowling…’ But like the mystical Scottish village of Brigadoon. It happened while we were away. only to see it slip from his grasp and slide down a drain.” * * * * * Daniel Ferro shuffled through the gates of the Victorian mental hospital. * * * * * 146 . I can’t help you further. Over. I’m really sorry. And then there was Cowling. conveying a frigid air mass from the far distant Russian Steppes. He could still hear Prosser’s voice.

” “But John. “Look at ‘Penny Lane’ and ‘Strawberry Fields’ for example. February 18.” “That wasn’t our choice. Belgravia. peacemaker.” His tone was conciliatory “We had some fun. The record’s a smash on both sides of the Atlantic and they only had it released a week ago. You know there’s nothing for any of us if you quit now. they’ve done a great job in protecting you from the world. “The Company are fully capable of making money from you in the short term without any assistance from you three whatsoever. We can’t go back. They’ve persuaded the press that you deserve peace and B 147 . “They’ll recover their investment in you over the short term and you won’t see a penny.” Epstein smiled wanly. Epstein had taken the carving chair at the head of the table. We didn’t want the fucking single released!” “Quite John.— Chapter 9 — The One and Only Billy Shears Saturday. What’s it to be then?” The three Beatles were seated on one side of a long dining table in their ex-manager’s Georgian house in Chapel Street.” Lennon shrugged but made no reply. William Remington was positioned across the table from them. “It was nothing to do with us. “Brian—look.” Lennon scowled. the Beatles are over. an apprehensive enlistee facing a court marshal of three generals. We wowed the whole world for a couple of years there. John Lennon sighed. He was attempting to play the role of facilitator and. We’re done. “So gentlemen. at the present moment. If you’re done then you’re also broke. made some great music. Two life-size David Bailey portraits of Epstein overlooked the proceedings from the lounge’s west wall. 1967 rian Epstein raised his hands to encompass the four people in front of him. Look. It’s all down to you four now. So cooperation is the key. But that only proves my point. But the big money for them—and for you—is in the long term. that’s it in a nutshell. Ringo Starr and George Harrison shifted in their seats.” Epstein continued. did some really good stuff. But…but it’ll never work like this.

You need to hear them. or nothing. Lennon brightened. “It can’t harm to hear the ideas. It’ll be seen by over three hundred and fifty million people.” He turned to his former manager. In front of those cameras. The four of you get to perform one live song.” Lennon grimaced. John. “No.” “Okay. So. I thought you could do the same thing at the end of the song. Here’s an idea.” Harrison pointedly ignored the newcomer. It’s got to be all four of you. I thought you could—“ “It’s called ‘Day in the Life’ now. perhaps sustain the last E-chord to fade out? What d’you think? There was no reply from Lennon. Why don’t you get some studio musicians in and do an orchestral crescendo. I understand you were looking to fill the twenty-four bars before the bridge. “So what do you think?” Remington was eager. eh?” He indicated his partners on either side. Okay.” “Well.” He turned to Remington.” 148 . you know ‘In the Life Of’. “So Eppy. Anyway. It’s a program that’ll be beamed all around the world using those new-fangled satellites orbiting the earth.L. The Company was firm on that. Imagine that!” Epstein was enthused. Don’t worry. for a start they’ve sold the BBC in having you in this special documentary. We could consider it a sort of partnership couldn’t we?” He looked searching at Lennon. “They’re going to be very careful about individual head shots and close-ups. we’d—” “Oh. “I could be of help with the orchestra you know. “So we three get to perform a live song or two on the telly.” said Lennon truculently. “Why don’t you tell John about the idea for his track that you were discussing with me yesterday. I’ve seen the plans. Otherwise the BBC don’t get the deal. I’ve listened to your rough take. it’s about your new song.” William Remington looked smug. “John. tell us about their wonderful money-making plans then. “I only have one songwriting partner and he’s dead. Epstein shook his head. You see the Company gets to specify the art direction and camera positions. “It won’t work. Have them all slide up the scale and then bang down again at its conclusion. “What else Eppy?” “Well Bill here has lots of ideas that sound interesting.” Remington nodded. John Perkins privacy. ‘Day in the Life’. it’ll work. if you’d only work with them on their new game plan…what d’you think?” George Harrison broke the silence. Our World the BBC are calling it. They’ve shielded you from live interviews.

the name’s not important. with your…looks and stuff. “The Charm Company?” asked Starr “Yes. I wanted to be an actor—still do actually. “I was born here in England. “I was lucky enough to get a bit part in a Toronto show a week after getting off the boat. Played some theatres in Ontario and Quebec. a brief history of myself. A minor public school. But I needed some real money so I went to work for The Company.” “Damn fucking right!” This from Lennon. The three Beatles did not. Ringo Starr had said nothing. I decided to include you in my stage act. “First. I hightailed it to Canada. He’d been staring across the table at the stranger to their circle. Did a great Lenny Bruce!” Remington grinned. Got some residencies as an impersonator with some songs thrown in. I got into a spot of trouble in my final year. you’d bound to have been noticed by the press. Standing up. And some club comedy and a few songs. I drifted down to New York. Our interface should have been much smoother over the past three months. But he dropped his head and bit his lower lip for several seconds.” Remington didn’t elaborate. My parents immigrated to Canada when I was ten. “Gentlemen. During the ten minutes that the meeting had occupied. Went to school in Cheshire. “First. that is—owe you a better explanation of all that’s going on. musical and otherwise. “Go on Bill.” Epstein rubbed his hands together eagerly. “And how come none of us knew about you? Surely. I did you very well even if I say so myself. “The following year I saw you guys on the Ed Sullivan Show. “I admit now that we—the Company and I. Quite a lot of trouble actually. “In sixty—what?—three. “Then what?” prompted Harrison. but impersonations mostly. I played the clubs there.” Remington seemed about to answer. “So where’d you come from anyway? How did they find out about you? Remington made to speak when Starr added. supporting himself on the tabletop.” He stared hard at Brian Epstein before continuing. Did all conventional characters. Abruptly he leaned forward to stab a finger in Remington’s chest.” “In the music field?” “In a peripheral way. 149 . let me apologize for the fact that we all got off on the wrong foot in this business.A Day in the Life A painful thirty seconds of silence resulted as Lennon stared pointedly up at the second floor balcony. Or was supposed to finish school.” Remington began.” He paused before continuing.” He looked slightly sad as he said this. he leaned forward. Left me here ‘til I finished school.

He shook his head. It’s my specialty.” This was said by Remington in accentless standard English. but he switched abruptly. if you want to hear me talk like one of the most famous sons of England’s most famous northern seaport I can be as genuine a scouse as you could wish for!” Lennon’s hand flew across the table to clutch at Remington’s collar.” Brian Epstein hurried to fill the awkward silence. “How d’you do it? And how come no one noticed you on the streets? Surely everyone would have thought you were Paul and asked for your autograph?” “Oh I didn’t look very much like this then. you wouldn’t necessarily have notice that I looked…hmm. A very different Remington from today but.” and of course…Paul. the alltoo-familiar eyes. wack. You’ll stay as broke 150 . His hair was short.” Harrison drawled at length.” The other four. “And of course. No music. Tell them about how you can play guitar and your songwriting skills and how you’re now learning to play the bass. most importantly no money. swept back from the forehead and neatly styled. He was dressed in a tie and dark jacket and a clipped mustache graced his upper lip. no songwriting and. extracted a small photograph and laid it on the table. even in this unfashionable guise. it’s all gone. raising his forefinger. hold on. “The Paul thing I mean. In those days.” It was said with evident admiration. Either you drop this antagonism towards Bill and we work together or we all walk out of here right now. Lennon made to rise from the table but was pulled back by Epstein. high cheek bones and impudent grin of their departed colleague filtered through. “Well you don’t have an American accent.” Grim faced.” “But you’re so…so fucking good. “This is what I looked like in those days—in the street I mean. listen to me and listen very carefully” The Beatles’ exmanager was speaking very softly.L. “Actually. Everything. I have any accent I choose.” Remington reached in his pocket for his wallet. It was Remington. John Perkins Especially John here. This new persona is courtesy of The Company—a rather good makeover don’t you think?. “I’ve had enough. Very well I might add. there was no doubt of that. Gone was his usual prissy manner. smiling but not looking at the camera. “Don’t do that! Don’t ever do that voice when I’m around. And if we walk…” he paused. It showed the upper half of a man in spectacles.” Harrison interrupted. “if we walk out of here. “John. “Go on with the story Bill. Lennon included. craned forward to peer at the black and white photograph.” he nodded deferentially towards Lennon. It was taken in the States in sixty-four. His glasses had a heavy top frame with unframed lenses below.

I needs your real name. “However…if you work this out—if you all work together as a team—then the money flows and the world is your oyster again. What’s you real fucking name? If we’re to get this show on the road. Taking a long draw on his cigarette. “It is.” John Lennon leaned back in his char and placed his feet up on the table. The first of its kind. “Is Remington your real name?” It was a surprising non-sequitur. “Okay Mr Billy Shears. A full minute later Lennon swiveled to face the interloper. or rather it was.” Remington glanced at Epstein. It will be considered a concept album by the world.” “Hmm. 151 .” * * * * * “Therefore. which is it to be?” The eyes of the room were focused on John Lennon. The latter was frozen at the sudden turn of the proceedings. but that doesn’t have anything to do with—” “What’s your real name then? “It’s not important. as you can see. His eyes slid down to Remington. er…Shears.A Day in the Life as you are now and all you’ll be able to do is go back to Liverpool and work in the docks. let’s all hear these wonderful ideas that you’re supposed to have. The Company will see to that—even if they leave you capable of working at anything. Simple as that. his fingers drumming on the tabletop. But I don’t—“ “William Shears?” Lennon interrupted. You’ll never work in show business again. He smiled expectantly at the three Beatles across the table. the whole thing becomes one seamless pastiche. No gaps between the songs from beginning to end. The other’s chest was heaving and he was breathing deeply.” “Look Mr Man-That-Never-Was.” William Remington paused in his narrative. He looked each side from Harrison to Starr and back again and then stared out of the window. he blew the smoke in a vertical column towards the ceiling. “Er…no it isn’t. So. Remington was momentarily at a loss. “Yes.” Epstein looked ominous.

I don’t think so!” “But John.L. look. “I think you could be a little fairer.” “Fair? Okay. The press all said so and I want to do more psychedelic stuff on anything new I’m doing. so we prance around as Sergeant Pepper’s—what did you say?— Lonely Hearts Club Band or summat? And the whole world falls about laughing. And you.” Lennon was slowly shaking his head. “We’re all dressed up like a bunch of fucking prats in poncified army uniforms.” “Okay. “Highly appropriate! Highly relevant that would be! And how about you Ringo?” He turned sideways to Starr. Billy 152 .” “I’m not so sure John. I’ll be fair. “It might work. the idea here is that we make the whole album like the band really exists. “Anyway. We’ve got Indian sitar music next to a vaudeville song about being sixty. “Still sounds bleeding stupid to me.” “A bleedin’ Indian sitar song on a 1920s music hall album?” Lennon rolled his eyes. “If we do this right. “So let me get this straight Billy Shears.” “Explode is dead right. I’ll summarize shall I?” Lennon leaned back in his chair and placed his hands behind his head. You want us to dress up as members of a 1920s vaudeville band and prance around like dicks? Sergeant—who was it again?” “Sergeant Pepper. All the tracks run together so nobody will be able to find them on their record players. ah…monochrome output so far. That might fit on there.” Epstein said reproachfully. And as for monochrome—that’s a fucking insult.” commented Lennon scathingly. let’s have a circus horse dancing a waltz shall we? Jesus Christ!” The room looked glumly at John Lennon. our last album. as though Sergeant Pepper and his musicians were really doing the record.” “Pepper? As in salt?” “Yes. the album will explode on the world in dazzling color. You know. I’ve got a new sitar piece—you know the one that Ravi played on with me.” Harrison said cautiously. “All around our ears. John Perkins Lennon was first to the offensive. We can dub in sound effects and stuff.” Remington shrugged. “It sounds good to me. I thought we could open with the sound of the orchestra tuning up and the audience noise as they’re taking their seats.” said Remington patiently. “I’m sure you’ve got some even better ideas! A fucking song about the circus perhaps? Yes. ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ was the best track on Revolver. I just know it’ll work. It’ll be a departure from your imaginative but.

” he stabbed a finger in Remington’s direction. this’ll be the Beatles’ finest hour and no mistake!” * * * * * 153 . a girl who’s runaway from home. “want us to include your songs about fixing a leaking roof. and a fucking traffic warden? Yes.A Day in the Life Shears.

As they ascended Haverstock Hill. She was dressed in blue jeans. he wondered how this evening would end. he’d had a couple of relationships. By now the temperature in the car had stabilized.” She was silent for a second and then added. he leaned forward to wipe the condensation from the car windscreen. It’s a brain-sex thing. 1980 o what made you join the police?” As Ferro asked the question.” Ferro grinned savagely and ducked a pretend punch thrown by Pencarver from the passenger seat. “It seemed like a good idea at the time. I left school with three A-levels and they had this accelerated entry scheme. In the warmth. November 22. Would they kiss? Would she want to? Or was this just business on her part and how would he know? Since he and Claire had split up four years ago. He thought she looked great. “And it’s certainly better than your profession!” “What’s that?” “Rock and roll has to be the most male-dominated bastion around. a black leather jacket and four inch heels. he could smell her perfume and her newly washed hair. What underwear was she wearing? “S 154 . Ferro turned onto Chalk Farm Road heading north to Hampstead.” “You’re right! But there’s a clear reason.” she agreed.— Chapter 10 — The Unicorn Saturday. white blouse. Her jacket was open and in the light of a passing street lamp he caught the swelling of her breasts beneath her blouse. “But it’s better than it used to be. He’d collected Pencarver from her flat in Camden Town five minutes ago on their way to the party. an intoxicating cocktail.” “For women?” “Pardon?” “Are the career prospects that good for women? It seems like a male bastion. He glanced sideways at her. Women just don’t know how to groove. he was not at all clear if there was any interest other than professional on her part. Good career prospects and job security and all that.” “Yes. Jill Pencarver smiled. But in this case.

The judge imposes a fine of five hundred pounds. “It’s okay Dan. It’s all hypocrisy. this diversion was interfering with his real livelihood. nor any particular interest.” Ferro had never met the members of Queen. when a warning bell rang.” 155 . “Um. Now. He found it exciting that Pencarver was slightly corruptible. They’re freer thinkers than most of the population They’ll. downs four martinis and gets shit-faced. But if there’s a raid by the Old Bill. They had reached Hampstead Lane when she turned to business. anyway.” “So you’ll have no problem then?” “No.” “That’s good. er. When he’d first proposed this date in the library. make sure you get me out of there fast!” Ferro smiled. “So. However. be…” “Be smoking all sorts of fun things?” Ferro smiled. “If you think this will be a conflict of interest for you. a mixture of sex and police. The Serious Fraud Office has no jurisdiction over narcotics. Moreover. this date—as a date— looked rather good.” “And. And so?” “Well. After Prosser’s suicide. We can go somewhere else. Ferro continued. Jill. his trail had gone cold.” “Will do. and then goes home to his wife to complain about the irresponsibility of the younger generation getting high. the choice was easy.” “He puts his feet up. “Right!” She didn’t reply. the law regarding cannabis is stupid. You promised me you’d tell me what you know. he really didn’t care any more. we don’t have to go. “ “You think so?” “Yup. He had no further leads or ideas where to go. High by any other name.A Day in the Life What did she look like naked? Did she have a police truncheon in her handbag? Did she possess a dildo in the shape of a truncheon? He was deep into these musings. or three months for the second offense. “But let’s have a drink first. And what does the judge do then? “You tell me. But given either that or a night with Pencarver somewhere else. He had two articles past due. Look at the poor sap convicted of possession. Ferro had been unsure of just how much he would confide in her.” he replied cheerfully. You realize this is a music biz party we’re going to?” “Uh-huh. Dan. you know musicians.

“One for you too Jill?” “Please. as A&R manager. Come with me. If they don’t.” “EMI?” she said as the queue edged forward towards the bar. “Well. There were a few knots of people in the large hall. they returned to the main lounge where a catered bar was doing brisk business. I wonder why it’s not in the other room? Anyway. you can come too. let me pour you a pint. “The Beatles were on EMI weren’t they?” “Right. They joined the queue. then you make money. John Perkins * * * * * It was a show business party and Ferro had intended to be fashionably late. He turned back to Pencarver. Dave—Jill Pencarver. looking up at the cathedral ceiling. I’ve discovered something in the other room that’s better than all this cocktail shit. “Daniel Ferro! How the fuck are you?” Ferro smiled at both the newcomer and the expletive.” “Do Queen make money?” “You betcha! They’re on EMI and the company makes millions from them.” 156 .” Linsell turned to Pencarver. He walked two paces and turned back to Ferro. Ferro led Pencarver to the kitchen but finding nothing to drink there. you get fired.” she observed to Ferro. you mollycoddle the stars on your roster and pander to their every whim. You seem much too nice to be with Ferro here.” Linsell put his arm around her shoulders and extracted her from the queue. I’d like you to meet the most foul-mouthed hooligan ever to walk this earth. He wheeled around. “Okay Dan.” Linsell led them to a small anteroom and pointed to a metal beer keg in the corner. about twenty in all.” “A pleasure to meet you Jill. “Jill. “Look what I’ve found. “What is it?” “It’s Boddington’s bitter my old son.” “So what have you learned about the Beatles and Paul McCartney?” Ferro was about to reply when he was interrupted by a tap on the shoulder.L. But it seemed they were not very fashionable because the function had barely begun when they arrived at the house. This is Dave Linsell. “The music industry pays well. Neat eh?” “Great!” said Ferro. If they bring in the money.

I don’t think it’s that great.” Linsell looked right and left in a theatrical manner and then whispered conspiratorially behind his hand. It’s a soundtrack album. indicating the keg. We used a bunch of different ones. synthesizers. how long have you two been together?” he asked. I did most of the keyboard work on this album. standing between the conversationalists.” “Haven’t seen them yet. “Better go steady on that. It’s not what you’d call a typical Queen album. “So what do you Dave?” “I’m a keyboard player. Was there a lot to do?” “Fair bit actually. Pencarver didn’t take the unintended bait. “Actually. “Yup. smiled to himself. Pencarver had barely touched hers. “Or let me drive home?” She looked at Ferro with a questioning smile. “Are Queen here Dan? I’d like to meet them. Do session work mostly these days. he glanced up from his task to see both Pencarver and Ferro looking at the floor. us sessions players did most of it.” “Oh. there was a lot of synth work. Being a soundtrack album.” She turned to Ferro.” “Really?” Pencarver looked interested. You know.” Ferro drained his glass at the same moment as Linsell. 157 . And you played the synthesizer on it.” “You don’t sound very disappointed?” “ Well I get no percentage of the album.” “I see. Just the standard session rate when I did the work. This is good bitter. Pencarver changed the subject. Funny thing there. “Is it a good album? Is it going to sell millions?” “No.” said Pencarver. Sensing the silence.” “So this is a soundtrack album? What from?” “It’s from the Flash Gordon movie.A Day in the Life Linsell worked the pump on top of the keg and tilted each pint glass as he filled them. synthesizers actually. “So. Queen were commissioned to do the soundtrack. Plus all the free coke I could snort down!” Ferro. “I liked the early Queen stuff. “Same again Dan?” asked Linsell the surrogate barman. Did you ever read the covers of the early Queen albums? They always carried a label which said ‘No synthesizers’ and they were proud of the fact. ‘Killer Queen’ and all that.” “Well.

snorting Coca-Cola is not good for the mucous membranes you know.” Linsell looked up sharply. “What do you do to keep your head above water?” “I’m with the Metropolitan Police. “You’re not a cop?” “I’m afraid so. I knew I’d find you two in here with the beer. Queen’s A&R manager.” “I’m sure it isn’t. Except…” “Except?” Linsell prompted.” “Old queen?” mouthed Pencarver wordlessly to Ferro over the top of her glass.” 158 .” “Huh.” Linsell grinned. wrestling with the logistics of her last remark. He turned to Ferro. You know. Then he added. David. Their host ignored the comment. The old queen’s so flighty these days. Thought you’d like to take one with you to listen to. If she drove home. “Of course. “No. “Except that it’ll rot your teeth worse than cocaine would.” Linsell looked at Ferro. “It’s his party after all. “Touché! And now let me—” He was cut short by the entry into the anteroom of a man and woman. you old reprobates! Welcome to our humble abode. if she were to drive to her flat.” agreed Ferro. she presumably wouldn’t let him drive himself to Greenwich which also would mean…Ferro began to see some interesting possibilities in this keg of Boddington’s Cream of Manchester Bitter. He should be here!” expostulated Linsell.” Linsell appeared nonplussed. would it to his place? If so. accompanying a mock frown. “So. Jimmy Shannon? He’s brought some white labels of the new album. John Perkins “Okay. “Daniel. “ It’s better if you drink it. she’d have to drive past her flat in Camden Town all the way to Greenwich to drop him off. Then she’d have to take the car back to Camden Town.” Ferro introduced Pencarver to their host and his wife. “Freddie not here yet then?” Linsell asked. Jill.L. Dan. Freddie’s gone there first I believe. Ray Davies has something on tonight also. Ferro put a finger to his lips. None of them have arrived yet.” said Linsell occupied with pouring the beers. shook his head. arm in arm.” replied Pencarver with a smile. Unless she were to stay at his place which would mean…Similarly. “Is she serious?” “Absolutely!” “Oh. “Jimmy’s in the other room.

her nose in the air.” she replied distractedly. and clutched his shoulder.” Ferro watched Pencarver as she crossed the room. I’ve got all his albums. “Mmm. * * * * * Ferro was drunk.A Day in the Life He began to steer Ferro by the elbow but Linsell intervened. “Dan. Now they were a real Mod band. “Pungent odor! Somebody’s spilt oregano on the stove top!” She was in the process of turning to Ferro with a smile when she stopped. She possessed the kind of casual beauty that differentiates the naturally attractive from the overblown model. look!” she said excitedly. Especially his early stuff with the Faces.” said Pencarver. Before Stewart joined. Ferro had lost Jill Pencarver somewhere in the melee of partygoers and was standing unsteadily in the bathroom with his head bent over the toilet bowl. “You know. They seemed to be the only guests aware of its existence. I don’t know him. “So can you introduce me to him?” “Not really. “Hey Dan. really drunk. He had rejoined David Linsell in the anteroom to continue the attack on the keg of Boddington’s Bitter. Steve Marriot and company. why?” “I think he’s great. The air was thick with smoke and the hubbub of conversation. I’ll just go and say hello myself. “Sure is.” “I actually preferred the Small Faces myself. stared.” Ferro replied.” “Uh-huh. His head was spinning and he swayed gently from side to side. Ferro accompanied by Pencarver followed their hosts into the main lounge. The queue for the bar was significantly longer than before.” “Okay. feet astride and hands supporting himself on top of the cistern tank. Now. at half-past midnight. He looked sideways into the bathroom mirror and was struck to see his reflection skate to 159 . It had filled up appreciably since their departure. Let me fill you up before you go!” Clutching his third pint of Boddington’s bitter. He wondered if he would get the chance to tell her so. “Isn’t that Rod Stewart over there?” He looked to see where she was pointing.” “Do you know him?” “Not personally.

he reached for a towel to dry his face. He turned to the sink and splashed cold water over his head and neck. John Perkins the right as his eyes drifted to the left. oblivious to the fact that it was sodden from constant use that evening. Ferro craned forward and scanned the map. He took one hand off the toilet tank and with a middle finger rapidly wiped both eyes. Not daring to turn to face the wall. his chin on his chest. about eighteen inches by a foot in a dark wooden frame. And there.L. There. his nausea forgotten. But. Not an auspicious start to a first date he thought grimly. where were the M2 and M20 motorways running from London to the Kent coast? And where was the Dartford tunnel under the River Thames? And why was the map dotted with symbols of churches? He wasn’t aware that there were that many churches in Kent. He remained there for five seconds and then slowly raised his head up to stare at the ceiling again. Hanging over the toilet bowl. And the picture at the opposite 160 . Above the toilet tank hung a picture. They seemed to be everywhere. There was something strange about it all. if this was a map of the county of Kent. on the wall. He noted Rochester Castle but the bridge across the Medway looked nothing like the Rochester Bridge he knew. He recognized one as a picture of the River Medway at Rochester. At the corners of the map were four inset drawings. right in front of his eyes was the magic word—the word that had haunted his thoughts all week. He rocked back on his heels. Supporting himself on the tank. He blinked rapidly and re-focused on the spot in front of his eyes. Then slowly. he allowed his head to drop until he was staring down the bowl. “Cowling!” breathed Ferro through clenched teeth. The word blurred and reformed. The word danced before his eyes. His eyes wouldn’t cooperate. He could see the towns of Canterbury and Ashford. when his head froze in the forward position. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Ferro was on the downward leg of the fourth of these maneuvers. very slowly. in the top center of the map was a dot with the magic word next to it. he breathed deeply and stared up at the ceiling with his neck arched back. It was a map on faded yellow bond paper and showed the outline of the county of Kent together with parts of Essex and Sussex. It was small and of an ancient design. shook his head and made a desperate attempt to focus on the object above the toilet. With his knees locked against the toilet bowl. Dan Ferro was a master at the art of vomit circumvention. Like a Muslim genuflecting to Mecca. he turned back. He hated the act of retching and had developed an elaborate ritual to thwart his stomach and esophagus as they were conspiring to go into reverse. And there were Dartford and Rochester.

Augustine. Two things happened in quick succession. And then he saw something at the bottom right hand corner of the map that caused him a sharp intake of breath. as far as he was aware. There it was! He folded it clumsily and sprinted back into the house. It showed the old buildings of the Greenwich Naval College. He noted with excitement that there was a symbol of a church by the name. it had never been used as a hospital in his lifetime. He strode along the hall and yanked on the handle of the bathroom door. There it was in the north center of the county! It was equidistant from the towns of Gravesend and Rochester. His heart beating rapidly. Nothing. “Ah Dan. And this ancient chart was revealing the secret of the village of Cowling. But. thought Ferro irritably. Ferro scanned the title box which contained the word ‘Kent’ in Gothic script and the legends ‘Lathes of St. He shook his head—1856? So he was looking at a map of Kent of more than a century ago. He was familiar with this and would jog around it at the weekends. why the fuck wasn’t it on any other map he’d consulted in the last week? Why had it disappeared out of existence? Ferro wrenched open the bathroom door. only a few miles away. His host appeared from a side passage with a familiar person in tow. Scray. Shepway. the gleam from the interior dome light barely adequate for the task. come on. If Cowling was on this map. The village church! And there. “Where the fuck did I put it?” In desperation he grouped around blindly on the floor and felt under the front seats. he crossed to his car and opened the rear door. Aylesford.” he hissed to himself. and about three miles south of the River Thames. was the village of Lower Higham! So Cowling then was only a few miles from where Quarrington’s farm is now! Certainly close enough for Ned Nexsen to know the sexton of the church! He was exhilarated but also perplexed. about eight miles he figured. “Shit. and out through the front door. Barely noticing the stab of frosty air in his lungs.A Day in the Life corner was labeled ‘Greenwich Hospital’. Let me introduce Freddie Mercury!” 161 . Someone was in there. Come on. He bounded through the hallway. and Sutton-at-Hone’. packed with bodies. He waited a full minute with increasing exasperation and then rapped on the door with his knuckles and rattled the door handle. What the hell were ‘Lathes’? He knew that Aylesford contained an old priory but it was just a small inconsequential village. It was a date and it read ‘1856’. Where had he put it? Was it still here? He scrabbled around on the rear seat and parcel shelf. The door was locked.

” Pencarver smiled and her eyes crinkled with pleasure. The village did exist.” He stood to one side and with one hand in her back gently propelled her forward. Fucking great eh? Cowling and Cooling. when I’m sober. He considered her for a few moments. Inside the bathroom. an ‘o’ instead of a ‘w’. Ferro glanced quickly from Queen’s singer to Pencarver to the yawning bathroom door and back again. he located the same two towns and performed a triangulation with his left forefinger. But now I’ve got something even more important to do. however.” He grabbed Pencarver by the arm and propelled her back into the bathroom. John Perkins At that moment. He then indicated the corresponding point on the map on the cistern tank below and said “Cooling. cold from the outside air. He was experiencing a rush of exhilaration. “Hello Freddie. On the modern map spread out below. He wheeled around to face her. there was Prosser’s lost village and it was called—Cooling! Not Cowling but Cooling ! Only one letter different. put both hands on her shoulders and said “Jill. “At this moment. for now. I’ll be able to articulate this better but. and noted the adjacent towns of Rochester and Gravesend. but a difference he’d probably never have discovered but for this amazing stroke of luck. Pencarver’s bright blue eyes were inches from his. Mercury and his host looked at each other with puzzlement. But its name had been changed. tomorrow.L. Pencarver was about to say something but Ferro silenced her with an upheld hand. Then with a quick smile he said. and smoothed it down on the toilet tank. put his right forefinger on the village of Cowling. I have something just as important to tell you. The past five minutes had wrought a remarkable change in Ferro’s cognitive abilities. I’m very pleased to meet you. On the outside. He unfolded the large-scale OrdinanceSurvey map of Kent. what’s going on?” So engrossed was Ferro in his discovery that he’d temporarily forgotten Pencarver behind him. Why? And why had Prosser used the old name? “Dan. And there it was! On the modern map in all its glory. “And so?” 162 . He pointed to the top-center of the map on the wall and said “Cowling”. She made to speak but Ferro put two fingers to her lips and continued. The same place with different names!” She looked briefly from one to the other and turned back to him. He looked up at the old map of Kent on the wall. So Prosser wasn’t crazy. He slammed the door and shot home the bolt. I just want to tell you that you’re gorgeous. the bathroom door opened and out stepped Jill Pencarver.

and even more specifically to Cowling or Cooling. Their lips met and their tongues explored.” It was recorded in the year 808. King of Mercia gave the manor and church to his servant Eadulf. he began with the telephone call from Carmen Venton that had come in the middle of the night. the Garden of England. has a cold and bleak climate and is situated between the estuaries of the Rivers Thames and Medway. 1797).” “A drive? Okay. She smiled. Specifically to Kent. I order you to accompany me for a drive in the country tomorrow morning. He held them there for a few seconds and then slowly withdrew them. her eyes never leaving his. he turned her slowly around and. St James’. Still holding her upper arms. and it is as unhealthy as it is unpleasant. the present church. he sat her down on the only available seat in the room. She tilted her head slightly to her right. listen. Edward Hasted said. depending whether you’re from the nineteenth or twentieth century. checking that the lid was closed. Ferro stood away and held her at arms length. The arcades in the chancel were constructed in the 13th century…’ 163 . Detective Sergeant Jill Pencarver with the beautiful eyes. “It is an unfrequented place. or Cooling.A Day in the Life “And so. * * * * * ‘The population of Cooling has fluctuated between a hundred and two hundred people over the past two hundred years Down the centuries. He did the same to his right and leaned slowly forward staring into her shining eyes.” Oblivious to the impatient knocking from the outside of the bathroom door. the roads of which are deep and miry. its name has been spelt in various ways from Colinge to Cowling to Cooling—the latter only finally adopted as the definitive spelling in the past fifty years. Thus the church foundations date from the Saxon era. In his definitive history of Kent (ca. but—” Ferro silenced her again with two fingers to her lips. Cowling. She was breathing fast and he could see the glint of her teeth. The root is derived is from the AngloSaxon meaning “Cula’s people”. that Coenwulf. dates from the 14th century. “Jill. although the chancel and nave were restored in the 19th century. Listen carefully to what I have to tell you.

Pip encounters the transport convict Magwitch. Ferro had been too drunk to suggest a more exciting contingency. An outstanding feature of the long chancel is the arcading of six Early English arches on Pubeck marble shafts. Prosser’s departing words were still in the forefront of his mind: ‘He’s buried in the churchyard in Cowling. Could he persuade her to let him? Now. and now he needed to find the churchyard. She was intrigued by his story and offered some interpretations of her own. bribery and tax evasion. John Perkins Ferro rested the guidebook on the countertop of the small village-storecum-giftshop. Ferro wasn’t at all clear. When the party ended. discovery and romance. Her new information had confirmed Ferro’s own researches but had not extended them appreciably. But to what. ‘…The fame of St James’ lies in its churchyard as it is believed that Charles Dickens took this for his opening scene of “Great Expectations”.L. where the hero. at two o’clock on Sunday afternoon. This had to be the place. It was certainly on his. Prosser had mentioned him and his connection with churchyard. This morning. corrupt business practices. 164 . each decorated with exquisite…’ With growing excitement. Pencarver had spent much of this morning’s ride going over what Ferro had told her in the bathroom last night. questioning here. Ferro looked back at the passage on Charles Dickens. He stared out through the shop window at Jill Pencarver seated in the car outside. So it looked like that Fred Prosser had been using the old name for the village! Perhaps both names had been in use when he was a boy. How much was Pencarver still holding back from him? He would like to take a look at Scotland Yard’s files. She’d also told him more about her department’s investigations into the Charm Company. or Cooling. Neither of them had alluded to last night’s kiss on the drive down but Ferro was sure it was on both their minds. she had driven over to collect him on their way to Cooling. last night was a blur of excitement. In Ferro’s mind.’ Well he’d found Cowling. He looked back down at the guidebook on the countertop. The Serious Fraud Office were investigating their affairs in several areas including allegations of fraud. they were in the village of Cooling on a voyage of discovery. probing there. they’d agreed that she would drive Ferro’s car back to her flat in Camden Town and that Ferro would continue on to Greenwich in a taxi.

” she sniffed. You realize that it’s all confidential. It’s an ongoing investigation that we. But it’d be more than my job’s worth if this should get out. I shouldn’t have divulged it to you. He felt the need to protect her in more ways than one.” she continued. An attached. red-faced woman behind the counter standing belligerently with hands on hips. you can’t miss it.” “I want you to promise that you won’t tell anyone else about what we’ve discussed.” But he was out of earshot. he added.” As he handed over fifty pence. The stuff I’ve told you about the Charm Company. “Please Dan.” Ferro was silent. “And can you tell me where I can find the village church.” She sought his hand on top of the gearshift lever and squeezed it briefly.” Ferro thought for a moment and said. Pencarver looked sideways at Ferro.” replied Ferro.” “Sure. But Pencarver was different from his normal contacts for a story. “I’m trusting you with this information because I think we can be mutually beneficial to each other.A Day in the Life “Are you going to buy that or are you just going to stand there all day and read it?” Ferro looked up at a fat. thank you. She was more than just an ‘informed source’. “I understand. the Serious Fraud Office. old-fashioned bell on a coiled spring gave a tinkle. I also don’t want to see it all appear in print somewhere next week. can I trust you?” “Yeah. Ferro shut the door on the dusty little store. “It’s been empty for five years or more. I’ll take it. “Yes. “Hey—but it’s not used anymore!” she called after him.” “Thank you. He wondered at the fact that people could be so rude and stupid. The Charm Company I mean. He smiled ingratiatingly and said. So. He was weighing up both journalistic privilege and the momentous import of the story if any of this turned about to be true. “Is that all?” “No. But he needed her help. * * * * * As they drove along the narrow country lane. With the guidebook in his hand. “Dan. nodding her head to the right.” Ferro nodded earnestly. need to keep absolutely secure until we know whether we’re going to act or not.” “Cooling church? Down there and around the bend. “You can trust me. He responded by turning his hand over and gently 165 .

out of sight.” Ferro nodded. bitter wind was blowing.” said Ferro withdrawing his hand and glancing sideways at her. “There’s one other aspect to what I told you last night. They’ll be sure to tip them off with some clumsy approach or another. The churchyard was about seventy-five yards square with the church located in the north-east corner. That makes it more difficult. Your secret’s safe with me. I was thinking about that after you dropped me off last night. He looked around with 166 . But in this case. Dan. It’s probably nothing. yes. it’s a world-famous personality. In between was a flat. Ferro shivered and pulled his collar up around his ears. and with scattered black.” Ferro smiled and sought her hand again. “Can you do so without revealing your sources?” “In principle. “And you suggest the Charm Company is behind this also? All this Beatles’ stuff? Sounds crazy to me. look. A sudden look of concern came over her face. there’s also this new stuff you’ve told me about John Lennon. The murder inquiry’s being handled by the local Sussex County Constabulary. me too. Across the river he could see Shell Haven oil refinery. If there’s any inkling of truth to that. I’d be in real trouble if I neglected to pass it up the chain. They continued in this surrogate embrace for several seconds. I really should report that. John Perkins manipulating her fingers. but from which a keenly-felt. There’s the church!” They parked the car by the wall of the churchyard. You realize that I’m a material witness and that I’m holding back crucial information from a murder investigation?” “Yes.L. windswept desolation of marshes intersected with dikes and gates. brown and white knots of feeding cattle. It’ll mean a premature end to my work at Scotland Yard. I doubt if anyone would take it seriously. If they get any sniff of any Charm Company connection. So.” He frowned. And you know what? I’ve decided that it’s best to hold it close to my chest. Then again. don’t worry about that. “Jill. “The information about Carmen Venton and the murder. a Manhattan skyline of fractionating columns and tanks.” “Yeah.” She bit her lip and looked at him sideways. “You know Dan. they’ll be all over my turf with their bloody great boots. both staring resolutely ahead through the windscreen. He led Pencarver through the lychgate. Ferro looked north at the ribbon of lead about three miles away that was the River Thames. We’d probably have to discontinue the investigation. He was about to continue when his attention was diverted. You don’t need to report it to anyone else. Beyond was the estuary to the North Sea.

he turned towards the church. here. He could see the dust hanging in the air as it scattered shafts of sunlight penetrating the large stained-glass window over the altar. Resisting the pull of the scattered gravestones. he deceased ye 11th day of June Ao Dni 1611’.” The exterior of St James’ church was constructed of Kentish ragstone that had weathered badly giving an uneven appearance. a tingling at the base of his spine prompted him that something akin to this was the reason that they had come here. looking at one of a knight in armor. Look. He strolled along the side aisle. Here and there. thinking how gorgeous she was. looking up at threadbare tapestries depicting faded scenes.” Her face was alight with her discovery. “Let’s look inside for a minute. He thought she was indicating three church brasses set in the floor showing the outlines of some figures. Gent: who tooke to wife Mary Woodeare who had issue by her one sonne & three daughters. “No. It’ll get us out this wind. musty smell characteristic of old churches. As he looked back at the epitaph in the floor.A Day in the Life mounting excitement without any idea of what he was searching for. He looked up 167 . melancholy world that had remained unchanged for the past hundred years. The window depicted the ascension of Christ and the Disciples. Ferro’s nostrils detected the damp. neat. Ferro was struck by their mournful. they were transported into a silent.” She was pointing to an ancient brass plaque set into a step across the aisle. It displayed what appeared to be Elizabethan-era script where each letter ‘s’ looked like a lower-case ‘f’. were hung the battle colors of long-forgotten campaigns waged in foreign fields and accompanied by the honor roles of sons of the parish who had fought and died in them. The lower walls were coarsely banded with knapped flints.” he said. “Interesting. reverent expressions given them by fifteenth-century artists and by the disproportionate halos encompassing their heads like space helmets. “Come on. Entering through the south door. Pencarver knelt down and blew the dust from the channels of the engraved letters.” he said. “Isn’t that lovely!” Ferro stared down at the epitaph. “Listen to this: ‘Here lyeth Buryed the bodee of Thomas Wodyeare late of Cowling. “Yeah. “Look at this!” Pencarver was standing in the center of the nave beckoning to Ferro. A rectangular Norman tower stood at the west end with an external stair turret and was stoutly buttressed at its base. the purpose of which could no longer be determined.” He looked back at Pencarver’s smiling face.

” It was Sunday and what Ferro had forgotten to do was to take Zoe to the zoo.” They looked briefly at the landscaping in the north and west sections of the churchyard and then turned to its main extent on the south side of the building where the graveyard was arrayed. John Perkins and saw through the six-foot-thick wall of the church to the beckoning churchyard beyond. Here was: “William E Gray. Ferro approached it slowly. But other matters were to intervene and Zoe Ferro would receive no call from her estranged father that evening. They passed through collections of graves whose occupants had departed this earth in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. They strolled through an area of very old graves.” The last grave was set off from the others by several yards. Ferro scanned each one with deliberate care. like ten stone lozenges. Ferro was struck by one collection. heavily-weathered and mostly indecipherable. This had to be it! 168 . called to a higher life. It was commanded by a headstone with three winged cherubs at the top and accompanied by ten small body stones. none of whom had survived beyond the age of seventeen months. Some were completely smooth. “Nothing. The inscription on the headstone was a testament to Alexander and Georgina Comport. He’d ring her as soon as he got home. He absolved his conscience with the excuse that the research for this extraordinary business took precedence over his routine life. It was the final plot in the graveyard. They continued to the final section of the graveyard. a curious mixture of ancient and modern graves. The body stones were for the ten infant Comport children. 1887-1952. Also Fred Muggeridge called to higher service 1971.” he replied.” he said. most composed of white marble.” There was: “Fanny Muggeridge JP. others contained script. rotting gray teeth in gums of green grass.L. It was the lingering thoughts of the dead children that caused Ferro to smack his upturned forehead with his hand. each about two feet long. But Claire would be mad that he’d forgotten. he looked at each one carefully. And poor old Zoe would be disappointed. These were all newer tombstones. “Shit!” he hissed through clenched teeth. “Come on. The excitement of last night’s discovery had driven the appointment from his mind. Let’s go outside.1943. “What’s up?” questioned Pencarver. “Just something I’ve forgotten to do. Even though they were at least a hundred years older than Ferro’s quest. Also his wife Sarah Ann 1879-1960.

deliberately flattening the mole tunnels as he went. But as the wall disappeared from view. pulling at Ferro’s hand that she still held. He approached them with trepidation. looked fully at the inscription: “George H. “We didn’t look behind the church. Ferro peered at the epitaph: 169 . “I guess I really didn’t expect there to be. The first carried a bright white marble headstone. “Wait a second!” Ferro was looking back at the churchyard wall. An empty feeling occupied the pit of his stomach. Suddenly.” She nodded sagely and looked up at the sky. He could feel his heart thudding in his chest.” Ferro sighed deeply as a wave of disappointment swept over him. Reunited. They had reached the end of the graves. Its only markings were patches of moss. “He was a schizophrenic after all. he steeled himself. he saw that it seemed to take a sudden eastwards turn to clear a large support buttress at the south east corner of the building. “Anything?” “No. poor old man. The second and third graves were only a few feet apart. “It’ll be getting dark soon.” With Pencarver in tow Ferro crossed the grass. It ran directly behind the rear of the church apparently leaving a confined space of only a few feet. Also his loving wife Sarah 1874-1950. He glanced back at Pencarver a few yards away and then looked idly at the church. I suppose so. Time to go?” “Yeah. Ferro could see houses in the village beyond the wall.” “Yep. Pencarver came up close to him and grasped his hand. He looked back at Pencarver. dark gray stone as the ancient graves at the front of the churchyard.” Pencarver made to walk back through the graves. And his improved parallax showed him something else: There were three more graves back there. There might be some space back there. “Well?” she said looking him in the eyes.” “Come on then. Then he shrugged. It had been worth a try. It was of the same weather-roughened. Beyond was twenty yards of grass. His new line-of-sight confirmed his hunch The churchyard wall was recessed at the rear of the church leaving about fifteen yards of intervening space. bumpy with molehills and then bare earth to the churchyard wall. Any message that the stone had wished to impart to the twentieth century had long been erased by the elements.” He smiled fleetingly and squeezed her hand. Spearman 1876-1949.” He paused and then added.A Day in the Life He walked twice around the plot deliberately avoiding eye contact with the headstone. The first he came to was very old.

John Perkins “In loving memory of the Rev. 1942. And for the second time that month. they were as featureless and smooth as the surrounding marble but they danced before his eyes in a manner reminiscent of the word ‘Cowling’ on the old map last night. “Come here!” She came at once. Pencarver looked serious. “This person certainly died the same day as the date in the accident report—25th of September. “What does it mean?” “JPM—James Paul McCartney. her eyes wide with concern at his crouching form. Aged 43. Ferro twisted on his knees and sought Pencarver “Jill. “Dan? Are you okay?” “Look!” He pointed at the inscription. for Nine Years Rector of Cowling. Wm. She scrutinized the words and looked back to him with a puzzled expression. however. he was stone cold sober and there was no doubt about the message in front of him: “J. May he rest in peace with God. Liverpool. each about a foot square in crosssection. flat bed with bare earth piled in the center. What he saw there caused his frame to go rigid and a thrill of excitement to course through his body. But what about the birth date? Is that correct?” 170 . he experienced that strange flight reflex that compelled his eyes to scan the periphery of the scene. 18th June. There was no headstone and the beams met at the corners in raised plinths. Its rectangular outline was defined by marble beams. 1966. It’s his full name…” Ferro’s voice tailed off in a choke. rather than looking directly again at what he really couldn’t believe he had just seen.L. But he always used Paul. Don’t you see. It was a simple. This time. each about eighteen inches high. Born Walton. That was his real name. Ferro supposed it to be of about the same vintage and walked around to its base to read the brief inscription arrayed along the white beam.” He was surprised that the grave was more than eighty years old as the marble looked almost new. He crossed to the third grave. It looked to be constructed of the same white marble as Reverend Leaver’s grave next door. his middle name.P. He dropped to his knees and brushed the black letters with his finger tips. Henry Acome Leaver. fell asleep Dec 9th 1897.M.” With a buzzing in his ears. From a tactile perspective. 1966. “Jesus fucking Christ!” he breathed through clenched teeth. Jill! he called in a strangled voice. Died 25th September. as if alert for some encroaching danger.

copied the epitaph from the Reverend Henry Leaver’s tombstone. He added the location of the adjacent two graves and. that he found her incredibly erotic. Ferro drew a sketch of the grave in his notebook. “Dan this is it! This is what we came here for. word for word. I know that. They remained at the gravesite for a further thirty minutes. He looked quickly at the grave to his right and then stared into her eyes for several long seconds. I…” He slid his arms around her waist. scanning from one to the other. Hand in hand. “The place of birth is correct too. Ferro drew back his head. He rose from his knees and turned to face Pencarver. effusively. Next. At length he said quietly.” He mind was racing and his legs were becoming numb.A Day in the Life “It’s the correct year all right. He was born in Walton Hospital. “Jill. they walked slowly back through the churchyard in the gathering gloom of the winter evening. “Okay. that his coat was open and her breasts were pressing into his chest. turned his head to look back at the graves. I forget the actual date. her eyes wide with excitement. Then he remembered the unicorn. and that he had pins-and-needles in his legs from his previous kneeling position. “Jill. attempting plausible rationalizations in which neither had much conviction. he carefully copied the inscription. almost brutal. Pencarver smiled and lent sideways to kiss him on the lips. and then added with concern. Her hands were still around his neck. “You’re shivering!” Ferro was shivering but not only from the wind. Let’s go home. When we’ve finished here. They kissed deeply again. character for character. She looked intently into his eyes.” Ferro was talking rapidly. It was a kind of emotional fatigue and he shivered uncontrollably for several seconds. for good measure. Their hard. She massaged the nape of his neck and ran her fingers into the hair on the back of his head. Ferro returned the kiss and. To my place?” He raised one eyebrow in query and pressed her body to him. The next thing that Ferro knew was that they were locked in an embrace.” she breathed at last. We’ve found it!” She threw her arms around Ferro’s neck. kiss lasted for forty seconds and their tongues lingered in contact as their lips parted. still stunned by the events of the afternoon. I can look it up. * * * * * 171 . that an erection was hardening rapidly in his pants.

“It is a real one daddy. * * * * * 172 . there’s a unicorn!” she hissed excitedly. “Look daddy. And. Ferro had inquired about it later but his German was not good enough to really pursue the investigation. tossed its head and disappeared into the mist. covering a Fleetwood Mac concert. darling. there was a dazzling white horse with flowing mane. he didn’t know. There didn’t seem to be any fastenings that he could see. Ferro had never believed it was anything other than a fake circus animal. as he and Pencarver left the churchyard through the lychgate. He supposed it had escaped from a circus but no one in the village seemed to know anything about either the unicorn or any traveling shows in the vicinity. The Ferro family had stayed at a small Gasthoff in the village of Ismaning ten kilometers north of the city. until this moment. On the Sunday after the show. “Yes. Ferro had been in Munich. for him. But.” Ferro scanned the creature’s head trying to determine how the horn was attached. The River Isar at Ismaning is about twenty-five yards wide. he reentered a world that would. John Perkins Four years ago in 1976. Ferro had taken his three-year-old daughter for an early morning walk along the River Isar. Ferro looked across to the other bank to where his daughter was pointing. clearly startled. “But it’s not a real one. he didn’t know what he believed in anymore. Sure enough. It’s a real unicorn!” At the sounds the creature’s head shot up. West Germany. And jutting out of its forehead at the requisite angle was a long fluted horn of yellow-white ivory. Unicorns are mythical. Zoe danced up and down and clapped her hands with excitement.L.” he said. Claire and Zoe had accompanied him. * * * * * What made Ferro suddenly think of the unicorn after four years. Now. It stared fixedly at them for a several seconds. be inexorably changed for ever. Ferro had been lost in his own thoughts when Zoe tugged on his sleeve.

But more than anything. it was a year distinguished by that most famous of summers and by the defining event in the history of postwar popular culture. He was sitting in a sweltering trailer parked outside the front door of EMI’s Abbey Road studios. We’ve had to link all four cams at the back of the studio through one control snake. Look at the result.” Reuther purred. while a thirteenth monitor showed merely white static. The producer turned to Johnny Reuther.— Chapter 11 — Early Bird and Lana Bird Sunday.” “Well it’s not working at all at the moment. The momentousness of the day was. thirtyone!—bloody countries receiving live transmission. Two banks of six monitor screens level with his head were displaying live television images from around the globe.” “Ah. and I can’t get a hardwired feed from a studio twenty yards away. It’s making our jobs ten times as difficult. It was a year marked by the discovery of the first neutron star by radiotelescopes at Cambridge University. with thirty-one—count ‘em. It was a year marked by the sticky death of Napalm rain. lost on the producer in charge of the BBC’s Outside Broadcast unit. “You’ll see it’ll all work out for the best. “Trouble?” asked the man by his side.” The producer indicated four sub-monitors designed to display the raw feeds A 173 . The producer was exasperated. more than seven-hundred-thousand times since the birth of the Christian era. to that magic Sunday of June 25th in the magic year of 1967. wiping the sweat from his forehead. Pop music was about to come of age. “We’ve got five bloody continents linked by simultaneous satellite transmission. What the fuck’s going on?” He drew back from the microphone. “Of course it’s trouble. This has all been considered carefully. It was a year marked by the tragedy of the Apollo-I launch pad fire. I don’t understand why we can’t have two close-up cams right by the musicians. Trust me. 1967 nd so the world turned. June 25. however. How they agreed to this studio plan of yours I can’t imagine.

Typical of the tenor of the time.” Reuther continued. John Lennon had just smoked a joint in the toilet—real potent marijuana buds rather than the black waxy cannabis resin he’d usually sprinkle in with regular tobacco—and was feeling at peace with the world. John Perkins from the local studio cameras. Even after months of grudging familiarity. “But remember. it really wasn’t an illusion anymore was it? It was almost the real thing. He’d been worried that this event would be a real risk to their security. You are the BBC after all. He was out of sight of most of the room but Lennon could see him from his vantage point. But don’t worry. If they could carry this off then anything was possible. the Warsaw Pact countries had withdrawn en masse only five days before. Brian Epstein was seated on a piano stool behind a sound screen. The likeness was amazing. One showed flickering images of indecipherable forms. Broadcast incongruently two weeks after the Arab-Israeli six-day war.” The producer looked closely at Reuther to see if he was being facetious. I have full confidence in you. That’s in the contract. Britain was to contribute a segment showing the Beatles at work on a new song in the studio. “No full head shots or close-ups. In the corner of the studio. As he stared at William Remington across the studio Lennon shook his head. he was still sometimes caught unawares by the illusion. Although. This was all Eppy’s doing wasn’t it? He thought 174 . of course. ‘All You Need is Love’ would become the anthem of 1967. more than anything there was Billy Shears. And. a song especially written for the occasion. To the letter!” * * * * * It was six minutes to local show time. The national networks of eighteen countries had contributed program material while a total of thirty-one countries were transmitting the program live. The other three displayed white static. fucking amazing. But now he was confident that the Charm Company had done their usual superb organization job. “You’ll get them working.L. depriving the worldwide audience of an additional hundred-million viewers. This was to be the acid test. whichever way you looked at it. I’ll be here to make sure you follow the agreement. His head was cradled in his hands and he was sobbing quietly. Our World had been broadcasting globally for the past ninety minutes.

beamed up to the orbiting ATS. Camera one pan back. Not a full partnership exactly. Pepper. more importantly. it was being hailed on both sides of the Atlantic as their greatest work to date. “Trudy. Transmission tape rolls in thirty.” The producer looked up at the main central monitor to check that Cliff Michelmore. ready with the tape. Okay? Here we go—three. and back down to the awaiting world. Lyrics—Lennon was now willing to acknowledge—that were contributed about equally by Remington and himself.S. and then back to Michelmore watching carefully for the signal—the smile and inclination of the head—that control was to be switched back to him. Lennon nodded to himself. It might all just work after all! * * * * * At 9:35 and thirty seconds. He glanced at the digital clock at his side. A taped segment. His teething troubles earlier in the day had been resolved but he was still sweating. Early Bird and Lana Bird satellites. the local producer adjusted his headset microphone. they were ‘the Beatles’ Waste Land’ the magazine declared. the anchorman back at the BBC Television Center. no headshots remember. Even the staid Times of London had spewed grandiose praise for the album and Newsweek had compared the lyrics to those of T. go!” In close succession.A Day in the Life they’d be able to pull it off with Remington. Eppy had been right about Remington. hadn’t he? But why was Epstein crying again? He always seemed to be crying these days. he had to admit that Remington had been right about Sgt. was concluding his introduction to the world viewing audience. Yes. He’d had been right about Remington. one. 175 . Ready cameras two and three. He felt a stab of cognition as he looked back at the surrogate Paul. its thyratron tubes glowing a ghostly green in the semi-darkness of the trailer. Released barely three weeks ago. recorded at 5:00pm that evening as the Beatles were preparing for the evening’s entertainment. but certainly a crucial joint contribution. Camera four standby. No—their greatest work ever! There was no way they’d ever top this masterpiece. a female assistant to his right hit the tape transport switch followed by the local and main transmit buttons on the console before her. the world’s press had insisted. And. two.Eliot. “Live in two minutes thirty. GMT.

L. love.…” For this apparently spontaneous song had in fact been carefully rehearsed and recorded five days previous. Lennon gazed unsteadily across at his colleagues. Surely it was Paul sitting there. two. He blinked rapidly to clear his head but the scene continued to shimmer. A Rickenbacker bass guitar was balanced on his knees. “Pull back four. all except Ringo Starr. ready? Tape finishes in ten. one. Two active. Their combined voices—Remington’s and his own—soared in his headphones as he mouthed along with the words. at that moment there was no doubt in his mind. It was Paul! * * * * * 176 . The odd but effective 4/4—3/4 time signature of the song had been the latter’s idea and it was working very well. But. Remington was resplendent in a pink caftan jacket. A silver mist began to form in front of Lennon’s eyes. Yes. fourteen professional session musicians in formal evening dress lifted their instruments and the first four bars of ‘La Marseillaise’ blared forth in Abbey Road’s Studio One. began to mime the words “Love. We’re going live in fifteen seconds” The producer looked to each side of him. Only the drums and orchestra were live that night. The THC of the Mexican sin semilla gold had worked its magic and everything looked just great. June 25. Switch to two. Ready two and three. just like…just like…who was it again? John Lennon shook his head and squinted across at his partner. John Perkins Johnny Reuther and Rodney Smith were seated directly behind the producer in the broadcast trailer. seated on high stools in the middle of the floor. Four active. love. 1967.. They were watching every move of the four BBC staff in front of them. Three. go!”” At exactly 9:38pm on Sunday. “Okay team. it was not plugged in to anything. Their recorded harmonies blended perfectly. although a cable ran from the instrument across the studio floor. Break a leg everyone! Here we go. The Beatles. especially Billy Shears.

— Chapter 12 — Bad Apples Monday. He walked through the lychgate intending to enter the building. She was on a late shift and not due at New Scotland Yard until mid-afternoon. strangely. He spent twenty minutes inside the church but there seemed to be no information there later than the turn of the century. He leaned on the steering wheel and stared up at Cooling Church. well-maintained. in particular. Ferro smiled at the memory of last night. but he had a job to do. bizarre. it hadn’t all been a dream. It was still fantastic. Ferro was about to leave this ecclesiastical Marie Celeste by way of the south porch when he spotted a notice on the back of the main outer door. Ferro could have stayed in contemplation by the simple grave for the rest of the morning. 1980 or the second time in two days. The start of a new relationship made everything appear in a different light. Daniel Ferro parked his car by the churchyard wall. but there was nothing but four yellowed notices all dating from the previous decade. November 24. He pulled himself up and walked back to the south door of the church. It told him all he needed to know. It was just as they had left it yesterday. he shot a complete roll of film at the gravesite after which he sat down and slowly shook his head. He was looking for the names of the church officials. People in the street seemed good-humored and congenial. he’d left Jill asleep in bed at his flat. It F 177 . inconceivable. But the siren call from behind the church was too strong. Ninety minutes earlier and with great reluctance. The building appeared to be disused and abandoned but. Pulling a 35mm camera from his bag. incredible. impossible—whatever one wished to call it. And here was this beautiful old Norman church framed in the sunlight of a crisp November morning. Common objects assumed a hue and a sparkle otherwise perceived only under hallucinogens. Was it only yesterday that he’d last entered that building? The two events that had occurred in the meantime made it seem like half a lifetime ago. the vicar or rector and. He edged around a 13th-century square marble font sited incongruently in the porch and scanned the notice board he’d seen in passing yesterday. the sexton.

I think…yes. died in 1969. The sexton from 1958 to 1976—that’s when the church was closed—was a George Hammer. I’ve got it.” she said on her return. Right. that’s correct. let me see. Let me see…” More rustling. here we go—in 1935. I need info from this century if you don’t mind. okay. “Yes sir. The binder for each church contains pretty complete records. Let me look it up in the records. Looks like he died in office. um…Oh dear! He. “Oh. say the past twenty years? Say the vicar and the sexton?” “Yes. He was there to 1969—that’s right through your 1966 period. “Does it list the sexton for that period? The midSixties?” “Um. “Yes. The church and churchyard are administered by this trust in perpetuity because of their historical and architectural interest. you know—and the fact that there are eight parish churches in that area.” There was silence then. here we are! A new vicar was appointed in 1961. a Reverend Alan Cox. And now for the big one. Was every one of his potential witnesses dead? They seemed to have dropped like flies after that period. The ones for this church go way back to…” She paused.” “I see. “Yes.” she said in answer to Ferro’s questions. There was the rustling of paper in the background. Ferro fed two separate twenty-pence pieces into the coin box. John Perkins took him ten minutes to find a telephone in the village and a further minute to reach the sole paid employee of the Redundant Churches Fund in London. the vicar was the Reverend Harold Lake.” Ferro broke in. attempting some scribbled notes in his notebook perched on top of telephone. “ Ah. Okay. Would you like it? 178 . There’s an address here for him. here it is. And what about the sexton?” he asked.” Ferro prompted gently. we probably do. “Actually 1966. It says due to the small population of the Hoo peninsular—that’s where the village of Cooling is located. Then he. He cleared his throat and asked “And do you list the church officials who were in residence over. It hasn’t been used for worship since then. St James’ was formally declared redundant in 1976. “Okay. they go back to 1320! Isn’t that fascinating? Do you realize that Edward the Second was on the throne then and he was the—” “Actually. “Yes.” Ferro groaned inwardly.” In the two minutes she was away. He—” “I’m looking for the information around the mid-sixties. Reverend Cox that is.L. “St James’ in Cooling is now under the care of this trust.” said Ferro. Who was there then?” “Oh. It may take a little while. “Okay.

A smell of frying onions wafted through the entrance. I’m a journalist” “A journalist? From a newspaper?” The man watched him carefully. I understand you used to be the sexton of St James’. “You’ve been most helpful.” said Ferro closing his notebook. “I’m looking for George Hammer. er…” “I’ll make a donation next time I come in. * * * * * Number 14 Randall Lane. He was leaning towards Ferro with his head rotated by forty-five degrees as though he was deaf in his left ear. I’m afraid not. “Who are you?” His voice was low and suspicious. Kent. He was short and hunched over.” “Any telephone number?” “No.” “That’s me.” “Great. And. you know. If you feel you could.” Hammer nodded earnestly. We’re located at the offices of St Andrew’s church in Queen Victoria Street.” “My pleasure. er…Sir?” “Yes?” “This trust exists solely on the kindness of public donations. Mr Hammer. “My name is Ferro. small terrace cottages.” “Any other information about the sexton?” “Er…no. Cooling.” “That’s right. They looked to have been built well before the turn of the century and were in generally poor repair.” Ferro promised. that’s it. As he knocked on the door Ferro wondered if George Hammer was also dead like the rest of his witnesses of fourteen years ago.” said Ferro smiling broadly.” The man didn’t smile back. if was still alive.A Day in the Life “Please. His hair was thin and mostly white. “What d’yer want?” 179 . did he still live here? There was a shuffling and a creaking from within the house and the door swung open. Cooling. Ferro gauged him as being in his mid-sixties. And. was in the center of seven. “Were you the sexton in 1966?” Hammer took a step backwards and drew his head down into his shoulders. Please stop by and visit us next time you’re in London.” “It’s 14 Randall Lane. “Ah. “Hello.

” “I got some of the story from Fred Prosser. “You know Fred?” As he asked the question. the other half was lit by the sun outside. And that favor is buried in St James’ churchyard. “In September of 1966. “I have information that in September of 1966 you performed a favor for Ned Nexsen of Lower Higham. The eye in the illuminated part of the eclipse stared balefully back at Ferro.” Hammer didn’t elaborate “Well. It was confirmed by someone else. “Look Mr Hammer.” A mirthless smile flickered on Hammer’s lips.” “Let’s see yer identification then.” “Confirm what?” asked Hammer slyly. This’ll be between me and you.” Hammer didn’t move.L. Get him off balance—go for the jugular. acknowledging the veiled threat.” “I know. The police will never need to know anything. the body of someone killed in a road accident was buried at St James’ in a plot at the 180 . Hammer scanned it carefully for about twenty seconds. I just need some information. I’m a journalist. I’ll keep it completely confidential.” Hammer was motionless just inside the house.” The change in Hammer was complete. Half his face was in deep shadow.” Ferro said soothingly. er…” Ferro was looking at Hammer’s hard. He’s dead. I’d just like you to confirm it. brushing Hammer’s shoulder. Ferro decided to come to the point. made to say something. Look. I just want some information. “So when did you talk to Nexsen then?” “I didn’t. I. “Yeah. “Mr Hammer. John Perkins Ferro paused for a moment considering his approach.?” “As I said. The door swung as far as Ferro’s toecap strategically placed on the door sill and rebounded with a shudder. “And so…. Suddenly he stepped backwards and tried to slam the door shut. “That’s all. He stared intently at Ferro for several long seconds. Ferro took out his wallet and offered his NUJ card. Fred told me what happened. suspicious face and decided a conciliatory gesture was in order. That’s all. Ferro silently prayed that Hammer didn’t know about Prosser’s suicide. It would make him much less likely to talk.” The second statement was a lie. “Who are you?” “I told you. I just need some information.” “What’s it to you?” “I need it for a story I’m following. I wanted to see if you knew.

he wouldn’t have let…” Hammer trailed off.” Hammer added determinedly.” Hammer shrugged.” “What was the name on the certificate?” Hammer shook his head. But burying a body without documentation in an unmarked grave is monkey business isn’t it?” “I’m sure that Ned had a death certificate.” “So what?” replied Hammer defensively.A Day in the Life eastern end of the churchyard. what did the Reverend Cox have to say about it?” “He didn’t know about it. what have you to say in response?” Hammer shrugged. We ordered new marble and redid the grave. “I said. “Well. What did the Reverend Cox have to say about it all?” Hammer looked uneasy.” “Did you actually see the death certificate?” “Er…I suppose I must’ve done. behind the church. That’s all I needed to be legal. He was the rector of St James’ long ago. seemingly surprised at Ferro’s knowledge. “Couldn’t tell you. He stared back at Ferro but said nothing. “Surely it’s not an easy thing to do? Burying someone in an undocumented grave is not an everyday occurrence is it?” Hammer hunched a shoulder. He said nothing. Then we. “So. content to let him talk.” “And who signed it?” “Couldn’t tell you that either. we were redoing the Reverend Leaver’s grave.” Ferro was silent. watching Hammer. His grave was in bad repair. “Can’t say I do. “He was dead wasn’t he? He died in an accident.” “But you don’t recall any of it or what it said?” “Nope. There weren’t no monkey business in his death. er…used what was left over to make a new one next door. “It wasn’t an easy job was it?” “Who paid you both?” 181 . did he” replied Hammer at length “Why not?” “Well. the headstone and surrounds and stuff. Mr Hammer. “A favor?” “What’re you getting at?” “I understand you and Ned got paid rather well for it. “So what?” he said truculently.” “Not in the accident maybe.” Hammer’s eyebrows shot up. “Anyway it was all a favor to Ned.” Hammer shook his head. That operation was performed under your supervision in collusion with Ned Nexsen. “Some doctor or other I suppose.” “Hmm.

Looking through you.” * * * * * Driving back up the A2 to London. this Reuther?” “Where? What d’yer mean. almost eager to offer the information. Nah.” Ferro’s heart sank.” “He?” “Ned said it was a he.” “What was his name?” Hammer shook his head. that weren’t it. Always looking at you sideways. more like. To Ferro. where?” “Which company or organization?” “Couldn’t tell you. John Perkins Hammer looked at the ground. You couldn’t tell though. “So who is it buried in the grave?” “I dunno. Ned and I. She would finish work at 10 o’clock this evening and they’d planned a late dinner at Ferro’s flat. Never trusted him.” “Where in London was he from.” Hammer shook his head. I don’t know. It were just a lump of burnt meat. but last night’s memory of Jill and the scent of her body intruded. selecting a name at random. “So you’ve no idea who it was?” “No way we could’ve known. You couldn’t’ve told who it was. He appeared to be considering his answer. was there? He was terrible burnt. He reflected on the interview just conducted with Hammer. “Who paid you Mr Hammer?” The shoulders hunched again. Shocking! The face was all gone. “Yeah! That were it! Strange character if you asked me. Here goes the big one. he thought. “We never knew. 182 . never trusted him. “Some bloke from London. Couldn’t miss those eyes could I?” Ferro paused before he put the next question.” “Was his name Baldwin?” Ferro asked.” “How about Reuther?” “Reuther? Reuther?” The old man suddenly nodded. Ferro’s thoughts were a mixture of Cooling and Jill Pencarver.” “So you’d recognize him again if you saw him?” “Oh yes.” Hammer continued. “Strange eyes.” Hammer seemed to be relaxing.” Hammer spread his hands.L. he seemed as if he was telling the truth. “I forget. “Nah. “Strange chap though.

” “Do you?” “No. It was nearly midnight. implicitly. the Charm Company again.” Ferro looked sheepish. “Actually. Scotland Yard’s not ready to proceed yet. We’ve built it up bit by bit but we’re not ready—that is. “Oh. she’s great. I was supposed to see her yesterday. She was lying propped up on a pillow on Ferro’s bed. They don’t think we’ve completed our homework yet. * * * * * “So tell me about your daughter. “Zoe?” Ferro smiled. They’re correct. “You realize you could prejudice my whole operation by doing that?” “How?” She sighed. “Look Dan. if not sooner. the Director of Public Prosecutions. Great genes!” “Do you see her much?” “Well she lives with her mother—Claire—at Claire’s parent’s home down in Esher.” 183 . Ferro was lying flat next to her.A Day in the Life He dragged his mind back to George Hammer’s information.” Pencarver stretched languorously and pointed a toe at the bottom of the bed. I’ve been devoting the majority of a year of my career to this case. Or was it a bad penny? Anyway.” Pencarver was silent for a moment and her eyes crinkled with concern. It’s time to get a response from Mr-Fucking-CharmCompany-Reuther on all this business.” “DPP?” “Yes. The DPP wants more flesh on the bones. Take her to the zoo. Turning up again just like bad apples. “Yep. I forgot.” “Hmm.” His face clouded. It’s going to take us at least another month and now here you go barging in. you intend to go into the lion’s den then?” He nodded. yesterday wasn’t an ordinary day in several ways was it? So I do have an excuse.” She paused.” “When?” “Tomorrow. I see her every couple of weeks. I mean. “So. “But events got in the way. it was time to pay them a visit. staring at the ceiling. talking of zoos. So. it was Reuther and.

The Serious Fraud Office’s case will be for fraud. Just in case. “I’ll miss you Dan. you’d be doing me a great favor if you’d let this lie for a while. Well I circulated a keyword brief about it this afternoon. Did you mention the Charm Company?” “Oh no. your investigations had nothing to do with the Beatles. Mine are to do with the Beatles and Paul McCartney.” “What’s a keyword brief?” “It’s just a few keywords which other police services can key off of in case there’s a match with cases they’re following. I also copied it to Interpol. And so do you!” She emphasized the last word. “Okay. you might blow the whole thing wide open. Need to keep all that secret. Okay?” Ferro remained fixated on the ceiling and said nothing. You said so. You can see that can’t you?” He shrugged but didn’t reply ‘So really Dan. okay!” She looked down at him. by the way.” 184 . But if you go and barge in now. That’s what we’ll nail them for—if and when we get sufficient evidence. Probably nothing to it. I won’t be back in London until sometime next week. Yours were for tax fraud and stuff like that. Be interesting to see if anyone picks up on it. They’ll know someone’s on to them. I know. “Well. She sniffed. “Okay. You remember our discussion yesterday about John Lennon?” “What? The stuff about him threatening to go public and that he’s been told to keep his mouth shut?” “Yes. But look—your allegations about the Beatles—they’re a revelation to me. tax evasion. eh?” “I see. bribery and extortion and in a number of circumstances. “Oh. have it your way.L. John Perkins He was silent for several seconds and then said.” “Yeah.” “I’ll miss you too. You’re right in one way. They sound pretty fantastic actually.” There was silence for a minute when a thought appeared to strike her. Because this potentially affected more than just Britain.” She paused for a moment and said.” “Is that the case you’re following up in Scotland? In Glasgow?” “Yep. I told you yesterday I had to report it up the chain. “Hey—don’t forget I’m leaving tomorrow night for a week.

They haven’t since the sixties.” “Uh-huh. These people are not amateurs. But for Christ’s sake be careful.” They stared into each other’s eyes and Ferro realized there was no doubt about it.” Pencarver put her head on one side and the other as if she were weighing odds. A thought occurred to him—a faint hope but worth trying. She was slightly corrupt. “Look Dan. “I’d hate to lose you.A Day in the Life There was silence for several seconds and then Ferro added. about the Charm Company. It’ll ruin the case we’ve been building for the last year. He. she didn’t always toe the party line. “Suit yourself. And Dan—” She turned her head and looked down at him. I’m a journalist. Finally she shrugged.” “I won’t. smiling. “Of course not silly. No one wears stockings anymore. “Anyway. It’s standard operating procedure in my business. in love with a cop of all things! No more driving above the speed limit.” Pencarver adopted a sober expression. No more cannabis resin. * * * * * 185 . “Are you wearing stockings Jill?”. No more knocking on people’s doors and running away—which he still did at rare opportunities. It’s just that I don’t want you to forewarn them that we— the police—are gunning for them. Johnny Reuther and the Charm Company could wait until tomorrow morning at least. But. I’m covering a Roxy Music gig at the City Hall. get their reaction.” Ferro’s erection stiffened in his underpants. Daniel Ferro. Not to work anyway.” “But Dan?” “What?” “I’m not wearing any panties either. I just want to shake them up a bit. The contour of her collar bone stood out on her smooth white skin He could see the outlines of her nipples beneath the bodice of the slip. She wouldn’t care.” “Oh…Shame. of course. I’ve got to go up to Sheffield next Monday for a couple of days.” “Really?” “Really. They won’t know the police are on to them. He was falling in love with this girl. His gaze dropped from her eyes to her body graced only by a white minislip.

he’d requested a meeting with Parker Gilmartin. Mr Gilmartin. Her ivory skin was flawless and her shining black hair. about an acre in surface area.L. Ferro had enough of being given the run around. er…Ferro is it?” She smiled in greeting. he was informed was ‘on travel. Ferro was struck by her height. why. and her voice was deep and velvet. she seemed almost like a man in drag and rather sexy in an ill-defined way. sir. “Yes. John Perkins “Dr Sylburner will see you now. even Ferro’s inexperienced eye detected originals by Jackson Pollock and Roy Lichtenstein. Finally. her hands were large. Ferro had telephoned the Charm Company for an appointment with Johnny Reuther. “Mr. It would have been hard to ascertain her age from this observation but Ferro recalled from the Companies House records that she was close to fifty. Was every secretary in the Charm Company from the States? If so. almost masculine. around six feet one or two he gauged. 186 . What can I do for you?” Sylburner was still standing by her desk as she said this. it appeared that ‘Dr Sylburner’s calendar was full for the next two weeks and that if he’d cared to put his request in writing and the reason for his intended visit. particularly for an Asian. showed no hint of gray. Strangely. To Ferro. Her expansive office was stunningly and expensively decorated in a mixture of black and chrome with vivid flashings of blue reminiscent of an ancient Egyptian palace. “Now Mr Ferro. She was taller that he was.” She indicated a chair facing her black onyx desk. He’d asked Sylburner’s secretary to pass on a five-word phrase to her employer and left his number. and how did they all get around the work permit restrictions? Earlier that morning. It appeared that Dr Sylburner had a cancellation later this afternoon and could squeeze in a fifteen-minute appointment. at his request for an appointment with TaiKuen Sylburner.” “Please sit down. A long picture window looked down into Mount Row below implying. Please follow me. cut to chin length. then an opportunity might open up with her in December’. On being told that his intended interviewee was ‘out of town’.” Daniel Ferro followed the secretary through her outer office and wondered at her accent. It took just fifteen minutes for his telephone to sound its clarion call. that the Charm Company’s offices occupied the whole block between Grosvenor Street and Mount Row and thus were much more extensive than he’d first thought. Of the five large pieces of art adorning the walls. Daniel Ferro. Ferro realized. out of the country and wouldn’t be back until next week’.

“It seemed my brief message was of interest to you. “How did you know I’m a journalist?” “Ah. you can’t be serious?” “Yes. This appeared to strike a resonance. Thirdly. Mr Ferro.” “Brief message?” She looked puzzled. I am always interested in such things. “Yes. she laughed shortly.” Ferro caught the delicate oriental lilt in her accent. “But surely.” “Ah!” She smiled briefly. I told your secretary that I needed to talk to you about Paul McCartney and the Beatles.” She didn’t elaborate. “This is a joke of some sort?” “No joke. Thus. That. “The explanation is simple.” Ferro looked it. Finally. But something Sylburner had just said was niggling at the back of his mind. I’m serious. Ferro pursed his lips. was brought in to take his place. “Let me come straight to the point. that all news and evidence to this fact was suppressed by your company and a substitute. in 1966.” “Well it got me an immediate appointment with you this afternoon.A Day in the Life Ferro looked at her directly.” As Ferro was talking. the Charm Company became centrally involved in the management and financial dealings of the Beatles. We take the time to know all our guests. from a business viewpoint. a double in fact. Mr Ferro. they had checked up on him after his phone call this morning for the appointment. Sylburner’s half smile turned to a frown and then to an increasing looked of incredulity.” 187 . Did they do this for all their visitors or just those who might pose a threat? “What is your interest in the Charm Company?” She looked at him half smiling.” “Resonance? I don’t follow you. just a simple question. You are a music journalist. he reasoned. I’d like your reaction to the following allegation. Paul McCartney and the Beatles are still big business in this world even ten years after their demise. a carefully contoured left eyebrow tilted down towards the bridge of her nose. that in the same year. Paul McCartney of the Beatles was killed in a car accident. a slight inability to pronounce the letter ‘r’. Secondly. The Charm Company has interests in the entertainment business. So. He realized what it was.

Mr Reuther is a member of our staff. John Perkins “Let me get this straight. “I’d appreciate your response to my assertion.” “So. Johnny Reuther.” “Who were these sources?” Ferro ignored the question.” “Perhaps it was possible for such an operation to be run without your knowledge. Her half-smile had disappeared. They had—still have—worldwide recognition. 188 .” Ferro licked his lips. “How was Carmen Venton connected to your company?” “Who?” “Carmen Venton. “Well actually there is one other thing.” She was looking directly at him.L.” “Certainly. Not only would we have noticed but so would the rest of the world. But rest assured. it’s an extensive organization. we have never had any business connection with the Beatles. “I’m a journalist. Nothing of what you allege could have happened here without my knowledge and the knowledge of my partner. We both know every detail of its operation. By an associate perhaps?” “Impossible. To be sure. And they were clearly the biggest entertainment phenomenon of the 1960s. But look—although this company has entertainment interests. In this business. we get lots of tip-offs and rumors. In this case. “Yes.” She shook her head rapidly three times. Johnny Reuther couldn’t have been involved without your knowledge?” “Reuther?” “Yes. They all seem to add up. Mr Ferro. What makes you ask this question?” Ferro considered a moment before replying.” “Hmm. “My partner and I are joint directors and owners of this company. And now if there’s nothing else you wanted to discuss…?” She smiled politely. “I don’t know who you’re talking about.” She shook her head.” she frowned. I’ve received several such tips from independent sources. It’s patently absurd!” “So you deny any knowledge of this?” “Of course. You say that Paul McCartney of the Beatles is dead—died in 1966 I believe you said—and that this Company was involved in some way?” Her half smile had returned. “It’s a ludicrous allegation. He works here doesn’t he?” “Yes.

” “Yes. if you’re serious. “Is this the first time you’ve been asked about all this? In fact.” “Uh-huh. these were all characterized by imagining causal relationships where none actually existed—in other words.” said Ferro. Or was this just her oriental inscrutability? A thought struck him. Let me point you for examples to the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ or to the ravings of Adolph Hitler against the Jews in ‘Mein Kampf’. It’s absurd. you’re wasting my time and yours.” Sylburner interrupted by holding up her hand.” “So how do you account for my information? Is there anything you can add?” Her returning gaze was flat. however. Mr Ferro.” She shrugged. “Then there was the huge conspiracy supposedly behind Lee Harvey Oswald in the Kennedy assassination. “I’m trying to determine just where you’re coming from with all these ridiculous allegations. Conspiracy theories have had a profound influence on world affairs in the last hundred years even though they were all without foundation. conspiracy theories.” Ferro was puzzled by the fact that she didn’t seem overly intrigued by his claims.” 189 .A Day in the Life “So you’ve never heard the name Carmen Venton then?” He paused and then added deliberately. Ferro remained silent.” “Really?” “Yes. She appeared to be looking through Ferro rather than at him. In such cases it was better to let the interviewee talk. you deny all this. If it’s a joke. on the record. “Yes. wondering where she was going with this. And. “It sounds like the name of an opera. It would seem that you and your sources of information are in the grip of a conspiracy theory. then you and your informants are seriously deluded. Finally she spoke. I do have something to add. Sometimes they filled the silence with an indiscretion or two. “or the fact that she’s dead?” “Carmen Venton? No. if nothing else just out of sheer curiosity. Sylburner. “So.” She looked grim. of course. sat impassively with her arms folded and said nothing. Either way.” “Conspiracy theory?” “Precisely. have you ever—” “Mr Ferro.” “And so?” “And so. I don’t see the point. incurious. Mr Ferro. He would have thought she would want to know more.

pulled out a set of photographs and spread them on the desktop in front of Sylburner. “Do they?” She scrutinized the photographs apparently disinterestedly for several seconds and then asked. “Where were these taken and how did you come by them?” She sounded almost bored. standing also. nodded and replaced the receiver.” 190 .” said Sylburner. John Perkins “Really?” “Yes. making a mental reservation about Fred Prosser and his giant spider. and the dates check out.” replied Ferro sidestepping the question. An idea struck him. picking up the telephone. “Then presumably. would have dismissed their claims out of hand. “Excuse me.” she said in a steely voice. “JPM. She listened for a second. Otherwise. “I’m sorry. “Yes.” retorted Ferro. “I’m sorry I can be of no assistance to you. The conspiracy theory has been called the secret vice of the rational mind. This is where he is buried. really. Ferro was about to demur again regarding his sources when there was a buzz on the office intercom. Mr Ferro. “Pictures of McCartney’s grave.” For a second Ferro was stumped for a reply. I have another appointment waiting.” “Oh. “Of course not.” “Grave?” “Yes.” She smiled at her slight. “So you have nothing further to add?” asked Ferro.” “I see. “What are these?” she asked. It’s all quite ludicrous. was it ?” She sounded uneasy.L. registering that she had just said ‘was’ rather than ‘is’. And one that will not be consumed with fantasy. Our time is at an end.” She stood and gathered the photographs into a pile and pushed them across to him. I’m sure that you. “But where? And what makes you think this is the grave of the supposedly dead Paul McCartney?” He responded only to the second question by pointing to the black inscription on the white marble. James Paul McCartney. He reached into his briefcase.” he replied.” “None of my sources harbored conspiracy theories and all of them were rational. as a reputable journalist. “they’ll have provided you with tangible evidence. It was his real full name. Where were they taken?” “In a graveyard.” “JPM? Who’s JPM?” Sylburner looked puzzled.

“Er.” she said very quietly. “Nancy. You remember that keyword brief I circulated yesterday through Interpol—about Lennon? Well. “So what have you been up to today?” He thought quickly and decided to say nothing about his visit to the Charm Company on the assumption that it would probably irritate her. “Find Mr Reuther and get him on the telephone immediately.” “Really?” “Yeah. Her smile remained fixed until Ferro had disappeared down the hall and then vanished instantly. At 9:30 p. do not distribute’.…” She paused. this is marked ‘In strict confidence. guess what?” She sounded breathless and excited. Have him call me back as soon as you find him.m. Top priority.A Day in the Life She crossed to the office door. er. She smiled politely as he crossed her secretary’s outer office. “Dan. they picked up on it!” “Wow. nothing much. interesting! What did they say?” “They’re requesting clarification and a detailed report. “Good-bye Mr Ferro. wheeling round to face her secretary. Ma’am. Then locate Mr Gilmartin. I’m just—” Pencarver interrupted. Pencarver called from Scotland Yard.” “Yes.” “What does it say?” 191 .” replied the Texas accent.” There was the briefest pressure on his proffered hand. “What?” “Er…Dan. He’s in the Bahamas this week. * * * * * It was eight o’clock when Ferro arrived home that evening. I shouldn’t be telling you this.” “Who?” “The New York Police Department. and get this! They’ve sent us some info from their end.” “What’s it say?” “It. indicating that he should precede her. “What?” “We just got a telex from the NYPD.

” “I’ll miss you too. that’s the plan now. I gotta go. But it depends how it goes. “I love you too. “What does it say?” “It states that they. I’d really like to see it. requests us to keep this in the strictest confidence. This is an under-cover operation so you won’t be able to reach me.” said Ferro through clenched teeth. who made the request? Lennon?” “Er…hold on” She was silent. “Dan. Don’t forget I’m covering that gig in Sheffield on Monday night but you can get me here the rest of the time.” There was a moment’s silence before Ferro replied. You’re back next Wednesday?” “Yes. Also. the NYPD.” * * * * * 192 .” “Okay.” “What are you going to say?” “Don’t know yet. That was my boss.” “Great. Anyway. I haven’t got time to respond to this until I get back from Scotland next week. I won’t be here after tonight remember.” “Wow! How about that! So. And Dan…” she hesitated. I’ll see when I return. It actually says ‘A request has been received…’ Doesn’t say from who.” “Uh-huh.” “Right. What else does it say?” “Well there’s a…hold on!” Ferro caught the sound of muffled voices in the background and a rushing noise like the air in a seashell.” “Bye Dan. We’re off to catch the night sleeper to Glasgow in a couple of hours and we’ve got to complete the prep work. I assume it originated from Lennon or his household. I’ll ring you when I can. Can I get a copy of the NYPD’s telex?” “Maybe. He believed he knew what was coming “I love you. yes. “Doesn’t say. Interesting eh?” “Right! What else does it say?” “It asks us—that’s me I guess—to furnish them with a report detailing the facts from our end. have received a request for police protection of John Lennon and a request for regular surveillance of his domicile. I’ll call you. I’ll see you next week sweetie. presumably Pencarver’s hand over her telephone mouthpiece. She returned in a minute. apparently scanning the text.L. John Perkins “Do you promise this is off the record and you won’t use it in any way? Journalistically I mean?” “Yes. “I…” “Yeah?” Ferro prompted. I’ll miss you.

Smith caught the slight lilt in Reuther’s speech. I understand.” he snarled. Reuther placed the tips of his fingertips together and stared at the ceiling. “Yes. In fact. Yes…Yes…But Brian you’ve got to get a grip on yourself. He was shouting into the mouthpiece of his office telephone. Now listen carefully. “Our loose cannon has finally broken away. “The cunt cut me off. The deal was made and that’s that…What?…Well. tough shit!” Smith could hear the stream of high-pitched invective from Brian Epstein at the other end although he couldn’t make out the words. very carefully indeed. And you need…” Reuther’s expression was grim. Reuther was Hungarian by birth and like Epstein. “Yes Brian…Yes. “What?…No!” Reuther shook his head vigorously. Moreover.” he said with a sigh. But there’s nothing you can do about it.— Chapter 13 — The Eggman Wednesday. 1967 rom across the office. F 193 . I know. Smith wondered if his boss was originally from Germany. Johnny Reuther’s normally austere but serene exterior was showing signs of strain. Something about Reuther’s accent betrayed the fact that he was not native-born. Smith had once inquired about it but had been met with a frigid glance. Rodney Smith was watching his boss with trepidation. held the receiver away from his ear. He glanced across at Smith and raised his eyes to the ceiling. he hated Germans and everything German with a passion. I repeat. “Absolutely not. A partial ‘v’ sound when it should have been a ‘w’. he was Jewish. “Brian. If you dare spill any of this to—” Reuther stopped abruptly. You’ve got to stop this! Okay? Look you must…What?…Jesus Christ!” Reuther had placed the call fifteen minutes ago and Smith had gathered the gist of the conversation from his one-sided vantage point. August 23. He stared at it briefly and then looked over at Smith. As Brian Epstein had a year before. That’s impossible. you will not. it’s going to be okay. “More trouble?” Smith looked concerned. you know it…Brian. not do that.

But. he expected to encounter many more. French and English. ending up at a Russian refugee camp on the Hungarian-Yugoslav border. more than three-quarters of a million Jews who had seemed safe from Nazi persecution became extremely vulnerable. 1945. And. two days after the unconditional surrender of all German armed forces to the Allies. staring down at him in a peculiar manner was an officer dressed in a khaki uniform of a design that János had never seen before. It was just that this one looked just like David—his son David who had been killed when a V-1 dropped near their home in London six months before. the refugee camp had never been quiet. it was quiet. he’d seen hundreds. János’ parents succumbed to typhus one month later. But in 1944. By the age of eight. usually called by the diminutive Jancsi. even in his near-death state. Major Reuther ignored British Army standing orders that penicillin—the rare and recently issued wonder drug—was to be used ‘…only for British troops. not for the native populations or their victims…’ and. On May 9th. John Perkins * * * * * Johnny Reuther had been born János Puschitz in Budapest. his bowels streaming with bloody mucous. direct German control was imposed on the country and the SS began to implement plans for the destruction of Hungarian Jewry before advancing Soviet forces could enter eastern Hungary. 1935. First. In the two months that he’d spent here. very quiet. in the past month in his role as British liaison officer to the Russian medical corps. young János. And. he was conscious of two strange things. In the early evening. they were permitted to continue as they were deemed useful and profitable to the state. His parents were of Jewish decent but were non-practicing. he awoke from a fainting spell to find himself lying on the ground outside his hut and unable to rise. lavished special care and attention on this unusual child who was able to converse with him in halting English with a thick Hungarian accent. Suddenly. over the next week. In fact. Second. It wasn’t that Major Charles Reuther of the British Royal Army Medical Corps hadn’t seen dying children before. In March 1945 the Puschitz family fled southwards. 194 . in the decontamination of this camp. Hungary on January 26. as his father’s factories were involved in manufacturing for the war effort. nine-year-old János Puschitz contracted severe bacillary dysentery. His father was the owner of three factories in the greater Budapest area. was passable in German.L. He spent the day doubled in agony.

in concert with streams of other RAMC officers. It was a human trait that Johnny Reuther would exploit fully in his future career. eh?” Parker Gilmartin looked gravely over the top of his half-frames at his executive assistant. more trouble from Epstein. “Yes Smithy. our loose cannon has broken away. they had hung their heads so as not to catch the eyes of the guards and had prayed that whatever was coming—the boot in the ribs.” He grinned broadly with a Cheshire-Cat smile. dwelt on the horrors of the past year and continually pondered on why the European underclass had abjectly submitted to such barbarous treatment under the Germans. 195 . * * * * * Reuther ceased the scanning of his office ceiling and gazed intently at Rodney Smith. Major Reuther returned to England. Why hadn’t they all rushed the soldiers and broken free? He was to gradually conclude that the reason was simply because they were human. Charles Reuther. as János Puschitz had now become. he asked himself.” he repeated. “It’s time to deal with Mr Brian-Fucking-Epstein. resigned his commission and returned to private practice as a physician. Why hadn’t they revolted. The crowns on his shoulder epaulettes were sufficient authority to discourage awkward questions. One month later. the rifle butt in the head—would befall someone else. From the vantage of his new English home. they would silently beg. In August.A Day in the Life In June of 1945. Even though the European war had been over for a month. Do it to them and not to me! Their aim was simply self-preservation for the immediate present. With very few exceptions. János was officially adopted by Charles and Evelyn Reuther and began classes at a local private preparatory school. It remained on Reuther’s lips for seconds after it had faded from his cold blue eyes. * * * * * “So. John Reuther. the administration of cross-channel sea traffic was still in chaos and he managed to smuggle the boy across with him. Do it to him or her.

A year ago he was extremely secretive and cautious about his actions in that area.” “So you think we have no choice?” Gilmartin looked at him grimly. I never did think he had much stomach for this deal. No go I’m afraid.” she nodded. her six-foot frame filling the window as she surveyed the traffic filling Grosvenor Street below. Epstein’s in this up to his neck.” “What about getting him back to that psychiatrist?” interjected Sylburner in her deep velvet voice. “This has been their most successful year. But their success. “You’d think so. I’m afraid so. the three appear to resent him strongly. All this. before he goes to the media and splashes it all over the newspapers. He surely must realize that any public revelations will reflect just as badly on him. “And so Johnny is correct—he has lost it. “But these days he’s always dosed to the eyeballs on pills and brandy. “ Well. “So what’s your prognosis Johnny?” Reuther smiled mirthlessly at the word he’d heard his adoptive father use countless times. But now he just doesn’t care.” “Even blackmail? Surely he’s an easy target for that. The British authorities don’t like fraud and tax evasion! So you see he has really lost it. even with the new arrangements! The Beatles are gods.L. “I think that it’s now just a matter of days. are more popular than Jesus.” Sylburner gave a humorless half smile Reuther nodded. He’d be the first to go to prison. everything’s been tried that might work with him. They’re quite independent of him. With her long fingers she stroked the window pane in a curiously sensual manner and then swiveled to face Reuther. He’s extremely bitter.” “And so he thinks he can take his revenge by going public?” glared Gilmartin “Yes.” boomed Gilmartin. In fact. their continuing success under our management has nothing to do with Epstein. You see the strange thing is.” Sylburner purred. Also. He’s totally irrational. Lennon was quite right—they are more popular than Jesus!” “That’s just it Parker. These days you’ll find him prowling around in Piccadilly Underground 196 .” “But.” Reuther glanced briefly at Tai-Kuen Sylburner seated next to Gilmartin and continued. and in particular. perhaps less. he was undergoing some form of therapy on his own volition but he quit earlier in the year. He’s lost it. “The Beatles. John Perkins “Yeah Parker. my God. “We’ve tried that. savagely tugging at his goatee. or what’s left of them.” She stood up from the table and glided over to the window.

and Geoffrey Ellis from the NEMS office. August 25.” Gilmartin looked sideways at Sylburner.” said Sylburner softly. he’s attempted suicide before. * * * * * Two days later was Friday. “This is your department. But he’d left it too late. Not 197 . But. “But Johnny.” Sylburner sniffed. “How?” She raised a carefully sculptured eyebrow. “Very well. 1967 and Brian Epstein was sprawled in an armchair in the sitting room of his house at number 24 Chapel Street.” replied Reuther. “Some. So there’ll be a precedent to point to. “I’m afraid not. Reuther narrowed his eyes and looked from Gilmartin to Sylburner and back again before shaking his head. He was staring at the wall.” Reuther smiled briefly. “Surely we could consider something else? Something less vulgar perhaps?” She wrinkled her nose.” “So we have no choice?” Gilmartin repeated his question. once in late 1966 and another early this year. “Not if you want to be sure.A Day in the Life looking for a quick pickup. It seemed that everyone had other plans for the Bank Holiday. “Make it look like suicide. it meant that his only house-party guests would be Peter Brown. apart from that. It’s so…inelegant.” he said at length. There was still the possibility that the boy Epstein had met in the dark alleys of Soho earlier in the week would be coming down later in the evening. He’d never have done that a year ago. his country house in Sussex. his assistant. Just do it. She nodded almost imperceptibly. It was the Friday before the Bank Holiday Weekend and he was bored. “I’ll have the Eggman—” “Please Johnny. palm outward. Belgravia. But. as you know. It’s what we pay you big bucks—very big bucks—to do. In that half an hour he’d made phone calls to various friends inviting them down for the weekend to Kingsley Hill. It was four o’clock in the afternoon and he’d only been up for thirty minutes.” Gilmartin interrupted with his hand upright. Restless and jittery but also very bored.” “And the risks?” Reuther shrugged. It was his department and he excelled at it.

picked up the phone again and dialed a number known to only three people. He was involved in getting the Beatles off to Bangor. 198 . along with Johnny Reuther. a voice answered with a monosyllabic: “Yes?” “He’s just left. “He’s on his way. North Wales this evening for their Transcendental Meditation studies with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. * * * * * At 5:05 p. Working for the Beatles wasn’t his job any longer. Got it. Well it wasn’t going to remain shut for much longer! * * * * * At 5 o’clock. But strangely. Epstein climbed into his silver Bentley convertible outside his five-story Georgian brick house. His secretary Joanne Newfield was standing at the curbside to see him off. And he knew that Peter Brown would be very late going down to Sussex. Reuther’s secretary had called Epstein to ask him if he would see to it.” he said into the mouthpiece. Thanks. he reflected. Epstein shook his head miserably. Just what had got into the Beatles’ heads these days? All this meditation nonsense and those mind-altering drugs! At least his pills were prescription drugs for his health.L. He consulted a small black book taken from his inside pocket. it was a stupid bloody idea anyway. “Okay. After twenty rings. Shepherding the Beatles around like this was now a function that the Charm Company exclusively performed. His job was simply to keep up appearances and keep his mouth shut. But. It was going to be a boring weekend. It was almost like old times. Rodney Smith received a call on the radiotelephone in his car. The top of the Bentley was down and he waved to her as he pulled away on his way to Sussex.” said Smith. He replaced the handset into its cradle between the front seats and steered the Austin Westminster to a halt at the side of the road.” The voice on the other end replied with a curt “Okay” and cut off.m. John Perkins an exciting prospect given that.. these were the people he interacted with on a daily basis.

. At 9. Peter Brown arrived followed by a telephone message for Epstein that the subject of his anticipated amorous rendezvous this weekend had other plans and would not be able to make it down. It took Epstein two hours to reach his converted Georgian farmhouse in the village of Warbleton near Heathfield. Epstein announced abruptly that he was going back to London. Apparently. It contained a young man finally procured for Epstein by one of his London agencies. Epstein left the table to telephone the numbers of London escort agencies from which male company was available at a price. dinner was served to Epstein and his two dinner guests. Epstein waved him away with impatience and steered the car unsteadily down the drive. Several times. He 199 . At 8:30 p. Three double brandies served by his Austrian country butler did nothing to assuage Epstein’s restlessness. It seemed however that the services of such young men were in great demand in the capital that Friday evening and all were spoken for. the crowd control police had mistaken Cynthia Lennon for a fan and had prevented her from boarding the Beatles’ train as it was departing for North Wales. * * * * * It was at 10:48p. that Rodney Smith pushed Button-A and heard his four pennies fall into the coin box in the pedestal of the public phone box..m. Geoffrey Ellis was already there but Peter Brown was still occupied in central London. his Bentley was passed by a London taxicab heading in the other direction heading towards Kingsley Hill.m.m. * * * * * The Bank-Holiday-weekend traffic escaping central London was making the A22 slow going. Brown walked him out to the Bentley concerned that the brandies and the Claret consumed at dinner would make it dangerous for his employer to drive back that night. Sussex.A Day in the Life Smith hit the receiver rest three times to get a new dial tone and proceeded to dial Johnny Reuther’s private number.m. Twenty miles outside of London on the A22 near East Grinstead..00p. At 10 p.

Familiar with the effects of Seconal on the body’s reaction times. * * * * * At 12:15am. the young man would have saved Epstein’s life—at least for the time being.” Again came the single “Okay” and the line went dead.” said Smith slowly and deliberately into the mouthpiece. “Change of plans. Brown advised him to take the train down to Sussex. * * * * * 200 . At midday. Peter Brown received a telephone call from Epstein. For the second time that evening he registered the single “Yes?” before proceeding. They confirmed that he’d arrived shortly after midnight and had gone straight to bed. He also told his assistant that he was still feeling very tired.L. Present plan is canceled. Late in the afternoon. having had nothing to do to earn his twenty-guinea fee. The young man was nursing a crippling hangover. Had he arrived at the country house an hour earlier in the evening. concerned by Epstein’s inebriated state on his departure. Meanwhile. Brown was to wait all that evening for a telephone call that never came. John Perkins waited the requisite twenty rings—some ten to twelve more than any casual caller would have held on for. “He’s on his way back to Chapel Street. * * * * * Brown and Ellis arose late in the morning of Saturday. Stay where you are for further instructions. August 25 just in time to see their temporary guest of last night departing for London by way of a local taxi service. the rent boy from the taxi was finishing off Epstein’s decanter of brandy in the library. Epstein agreed and undertook to telephone just before he departed for Waterloo so that Brown could meet him with the car at Brighton station. Ellis called Antonio at Chapel Street and was informed that Mr Epstein was still asleep and had requested not to be disturbed. He told Brown that he’d been sleeping all day but was considering returning to Kingsley Hill that evening. I repeat canceled. Geoffrey Ellis telephoned Chapel Street.

He was weighing up the possibility of taking a taxi to Piccadilly Circus and picking up one of the ‘Dilly Boys—coarse individuals to be sure and usually unwashed. That can be done. Time for a shower and a shave before his blind date arrived. eh sir?” “Yes. Reuther was listening to Rodney Smith at the other end of a telephone. But before all that.m. “We’ve had a cancellation sir.” said Reuther. The usual address?” “Yes please. Epstein’s restlessness had returned. “Good evening. I’ll have him there before nine-thirty. There was no one available from any of his five choice agencies before at least midnight. That would be delightful. “I look forward to meeting Timothy in the next hour.” “Very good sir.” He replaced the receiver and rubbed his hands together with excitement. “That’s it Smithy. A young gentleman would be available within the next hour? Would that be convenient for you?” “Oh yes. Who will it be this evening?” “Timothy. He made a snap decision not to return to Sussex and began his wellworn routine of telephoning the escort agencies. Epstein strode down the hall and picked up the telephone. yes. Smith was repeating the urgent instructions he’d just been given. He waited impatiently for his butler to answer and then realized that tonight was Antonio’s night off. * * * * * At 8:35p. This is Peter again. but still warm young male bodies—when the telephone rang. he had a very important telephone call to make. sir. Then what?” 201 . Peter. You’ve got it.” “So tonight will be a new experience.” “Oh yes.” “Timothy? I don’t know Timothy. “Okay Boss.” Epstein babbled. Epstein’s early evening sedatives were wearing off and he began pacing the hall with increasing anxiety.” said Epstein eagerly. For the second night in a row he seemed to have left it too late..A Day in the Life By eight o’clock on Saturday evening. recognizing the voice of his contact at one of his escort services. sir.

In the meantime. Anything else?” “Yes. Epstein’s on his own until midnight at least.” replied Reuther. Epstein’s perversion was about to prove his downfall he reflected. likely to be an overnighter. Otherwise just stick to the main plan. Reuther was aware of all of Epstein’s trysts over the last year. Reuther replaced his receiver with a sneer. to make it look like a robbery. that sort of thing. * * * * * At 9:20p. therefore. Reuther himself was almost asexual—almost.m. indirectly to the Charm Company. He would then quickly masturbate and walk out. Which was most of them. a London taxi drew up at the curb several doors down from number 24 Chapel Street. The effect of the three small tabs of Methedrine he’d taken at eight o’clock was now at it height and he could feel his heart pounding in his chest. I’ve gotta go Boss. ransack the cupboards. On an infrequent basis he would lift the toilet seat.” “Got it. This was to be Timothy Anson’s third and last appointment this evening and. He was looking down at his hand again when a shadow fell across it. Knock stuff over. But it made sleeping difficult afterwards. kneel and lick the rim of the bowl with his tongue. His only sexual gratification was obtained in public lavatories and in a solitary performance. He sighed. “Timothy?” 202 .” “Okay. not returning to repeat this ritual for three months. This is a better idea and a better place anyway. The passenger paid the driver and scanned up and down the street for the address written on the back of his hand. There’s not much time.” Smith cut off. was a curiously moralistic reaction. he’d been advised.. In the last six months. John Perkins “Then. It always made for great sex even with clients he didn’t fancy. The other’s inclinations were well known to him. for him. the more it pleased him. a course of erythromycin would usually stem any throat infections that ensued. He strongly disapproved of them in what. he had bailed Epstein out of two incidents which otherwise would have proved highly embarrassing to the Beatles’ empire and. “have him carry out the plan we’ve already discussed. feces tracks and pubic hairs. The more urine stains.L. tell him if there’s a problem.

“Good. You won’t want to get involved will you?” Anson’s mind raced. He did note that the man was carrying a small bag. Just some punter called Brian or something. Fuck this Methedrine lark he thought. “Okay.” Anson turned on his heel. pulled on a pair of thin leather gloves and quickly scanned the bag’s contents. “We know why you’re here. He reached into his bag. But why were the police here? They seemed to be warning him to stay clear. we’ll arrest you so fast your feet won’t touch the ground. The man watched Anson’s departure for ten seconds and then looked carefully up and down Chapel Street. We have a stake-out in progress at the place where you were going.” “Good. “Er…no.” hissed the man. He didn’t offer any form of identification. Never again. He nervously hopped sideways two steps. He turned and began to walk rapidly towards Belgrave Square. There was a streetlight behind his interrogator and he was unable to make out the man’s features. “Yes?” He could feel the jitters starting in earnest. So you need to get on your way. Now get going. he snapped the bag shut. “Haven’t a clue. And you saw nothing okay? Otherwise. Apparently satisfied.A Day in the Life Anson’s head snapped up to confront a well built man about six feet tall blocking his path.” “Brian who?” Anson shrugged. “Couldn’t tell you.” Anson replied uncertainly. “The place you were going. There was some cross traffic in Grosvenor Place but no activity in his vicinity. Had his client come out into the street to meet him? “Metropolitan Police. A reasonably trivial fine but it would be considerably worse for a second offense. I’m going. “Er…yes.” “I wasn’t here. He’d been busted once before this year. I don’t” The man nodded and shifted his position. 203 . keeping the street light over his left shoulder.” said the man perfunctorily. strode swiftly towards number 24 and rang the bell. “Who were you going to see?” Anson glanced down at his instructions and up again. Now!” There was menace in the last monosyllable. okay. “Who lives there?” “Who? What d’you mean?” “What’s the name of the person who lives there?” growled the man impatiently.” nodded Anson earnestly. “Wait!” Anson looked back.

he went through the formalities of attempting to find a pulse in the carotid artery. the couple had noted that the double doors to his bedroom suite had been closed and locked and they had gone to bed. Nevertheless. After a hasty discussion with his wife. Antonio telephoned down to Kingsley Hill in Sussex but the Austrian butler there informed him that Mr Brown and Mr Ellis had gone for a lunchtime drink at the local pub. Epstein’s secretary. sotto voce “Wonderful! I’ll be right down. “It’s Timothy.L. Antonio and Taylor hammered on the locked door of the bedroom suite and repeatedly buzzed the bedroom intercom. Antonio and his wife Maria were becoming increasingly concerned. the lock to the bedroom suite was forced. The doctor approached the bed. * * * * * At 1:15p.” As Epstein was opening the door. They had heard no movement from his room this morning. They’d had no face-to-face contact with Epstein since the morning of the previous day. she was well aware of what Antonio’s call might portend. * * * * * By midday on Sunday. The receptionist at Dr Norman Cowan’s answering service informed her that Dr Cowan had gone away for the weekend and that she would send a replacement over as soon as she could. the Eggman gave a final glance up and down the deserted street. while Newfield attempted to reach Epstein’s doctor. On returning from their night-off in the early hours of the morning.” said the visitor.m. Newfield called Alistaire Taylor and immediately left her home in Edgeware for Belgravia. Antonio’s next call was to Joanne Newfield. He knew immediately that Epstein was dead from the cold. Having nursed Epstein through his two previous suicide attempts. John Perkins “Yes?” A voice emanated from the intercom speaker by the bell-push. Following a hurried consultation.. the same time as Taylor. he turned to 204 . clammy feel of his forehead. After ten seconds. the substitute doctor arrived. She arrived at 12:40p.m.

The doctor drew back the sheets and bent over the body. He heard Maria screaming as she was led away by her husband. “I recommend you call the police now. he shook it and inserted into the deceased’s rectum. turning the top grayish white and darkening the underside. Then. the body had been dead for about twelve hours. A day or so later. from this evidence. First the eyelids stiffen. He extracted the thermometer and jotted down its reading. The doctor examined the color of the resulting livercolored stains on Epstein’s right side pressed to the bed and noted down his estimation that. Maximum rigidity occurs within twelve to fourteen hours. He snapped his bag shut and took a final look around. The stiffness of the corpse confirmed the doctor’s previous estimate of the time of death. there seemed to be no obvious outward sign of the cause.A Day in the Life the knot of people hovering in the open doorway and grimly shook his head. Under ‘Cause of death’ he wrote ‘Unknown’ followed by an arrow and the word ‘Inquest’. blood settles into the lower extremities. silently. he flicked the eyelids with his thumb and attempted to manipulate the arms. neck and jaw to gauge their stiffness. the thermometer suggested to him that death had occurred before midnight last night. As he passed the four distraught people in the outer room. scanning for any visible signs that might indicate the cause of death. They’ll probably want to take a look at this. he motioned that they should withdraw. Finally. After six hours. and was lying on his right side. As body temperature drops about 2. rigor mortis sets in due to protein coagulation.5oF each hour after death. Taking a thermometer from its case. the muscles slowly relax in the same order.” * * * * * At University College. He drew a pad from his bag and noted down that Epstein was dressed in normal street clothes. In a dead body. the Indoctrination Course for the Spiritually Regenerated was in full swing under the tutelage of the 205 . To him. North Wales. He shrugged and extracted a form from his bag. He scanned the labels of the four bottles of pills on the bedside table and then stepped across to the dressing table to examine five further bottles. Bangor. followed by the neck and jaw and finally the remaining muscles of the limbs. not night attire. he said.

Said he had a fantastic story for me.L. he…he called me yesterday evening. Based on evidence from the police pathologist. After a considerable time. Belgravia. “Sorry—haven’t a clue. As I said. John Perkins Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. 1967. sir?” “Oh! Er…” The reporter appeared flustered. what was your business with Mr Epstein this evening?” “Well. He is expecting me.” Inspector Evans withdrew his wallet and held his warrant card under Reece’s nose. one of the participants decided to stroll over and answer it * * * * * At 6p.” * * * * * The inquest was held at Westminster Coroner’s Court on Friday. At 2:30p. “Nothing wrong I trust officer?” “Again sir. the telephone outside the meeting room began to ring and ring. “And you are?” the police officer asked perfunctorily “Reece Meades from the Daily Telegraph. a potassium- 206 . I…I’m not at liberty to discuss it here. “What would this be about. Called me at home in fact.” The newcomer smiled. I’m a journalist. The door was opened by an Inspector Evans of New Scotland Yard. it was determined that Epstein had died from an overdose of Carbitol.m.” “And what would this be concerning. He wouldn’t tell me anything over the phone. he is expecting me. “I have an appointment with Brian Epstein at 6 o’clock. He promised me it would be the scoop of the decade!” The policeman’s eyebrows shot up. that evening. “Really? And just what this fantastic story?” Meades shook his head. Mr Meades?” “It’s a private matter.m. September 8. a visitor arrived at number 24 Chapel Street.

The Coroner. It had not been detected by the doctor in his cursory inspection but had been discovered by the pathologist. had been incautious in his dosages. phenobarbitone. It was noted as an anomaly. that had been causing Epstein’s stomach cramps. a hypodermic syringe had never been issued to his patient. As far as his doctor was aware. Traces of Carbitol had been found in the tissues at the injection site. being in an evidently drowsy and confused state on the Friday and Saturday. * * * * * 207 .A Day in the Life bromide-based sedative prescribed by his doctor in place of the more standard barbiturate. opined that Epstein.’ One anomalous finding was noted in the appendix to the Coroner’s report: There was a small hypodermic mark on the inside of Epstein’s right thigh. Weighing up. and then discounting the evidence for suicide. he recorded a verdict of ‘Accidental death from incautious self-overdoses. for the reason that Epstein had been prescribed Carbitol only in tablet form. Gavin Thurston.

” “What?” “Smith and I worked on him for two days but he wouldn’t budge. “I know so. 1980 ou fool! You stupid fool! A grave. “It has to be Medeiros. November 26. After a moment’s scan of the architrave he shrugged. How could you be so bloody stupid?” She shook her head. This reporter’s sniffing around. “Well that’s mighty strange considering that he was Jewish and McCartney’s family was Catholic.” he said patiently. He raised his eyes slowly to the ceiling. “Well it bought Epstein’s silence at the time.” “He’s not the first we’ve dealt with on this subject by any means.” Sylburner frowned. “has tipped him off.” “But this one looks different. We had him work on Beatles’ liaison remember? He and Venton shacked up together. And someone…” she paused. He’s done his research. He’d never have got this far on his own. Reuther set his mouth in a firm line but didn’t reply. It worked didn’t it?” “For the last fourteen years maybe but not anymore. Reuther sighed and raised his hands. looking sideways through the window of Sylburner’s office. He shifted uncomfortably in his chair. leaned forward and looked directly into Reuther’s eyes.” “Think so?” Reuther raised an eyebrow. “Look.” Reuther shrugged. So who told him about that bloody bitch?” “Fuck!” breathed Reuther. “it was the only way we could get Epstein to cooperate.” “Medeiros? Steven Medeiros? Used to work for you? “Yup. “A grave! For all the world to see. And Johnny—he knows about Carmen Venton.” “Y 208 . He was absolutely insistant on a Christian burial in an English churchyard. A bloody grave! Why the hell didn’t you tell us at the time?” Sylburner’s eyes blazed.— Chapter 14 — Felonies and Misdemeanors Wednesday.

“ So that’s how she…hmm. And now this bloody grave! Jesus Christ!” Reuther held up a hand. “Now look—you’re damn right you’ll deal with them. “Okay.” “Do you?” “Yup. So. Parker is furious. presumably to accommodate the coal smoke from the steaming black behemoths of the past.” “I see.” Reuther looked up and smiled thinly. Medeiros had it coming anyway.…. Medeiros has disappeared but we’ll find him. An hour and a half to kill! He stared up at the classic Victorian architecture of the station.” Reuther’s voice trailed off. I need to think” He looked down at the desk with furrowed brow. Not to mention Medeiros. er…a disagreement. so we deal with them. We’re going to employ a two-pronged approach!” * * * * * The following Monday morning found Ferro sitting disconsolately in the buffet at King’s Cross railway station. An imperious female voice from the public address system had just announced that British Rail regretted that the eleven-fifteen InterCity service to Leeds.” She dismissed the question with a shake of her head. and marveled at the unsupported arching roof that had to be at least a hundred feet high.m. stopping at Northampton. I’ve often wondered what he’d do. He’ll be in tomorrow. don’t worry. Leicester. Nottingham and Sheffield.A Day in the Life “I see. He’s flying back today.” She furrowed her brow. Sylburner waited ten seconds and said: “And look Johnny. Sylburner breathed deeply and shook her head slowly “So it looks like he’s been talking to this journalist. all wrought iron and blackened glass. Or had the Germans bombed this all to hell in the war and was he was looking at just a 1950’s reconstruction? He barely remembered the magnificent steam trains 209 . Lennon in New York and now this bloody journalist in London. “Lennon’s already taken care of. was delayed by mechanical failure and would be departing instead at twelve-thirty p. We’re fighting a two-front war. Nosey-Parker-Journalist.” Reuther nodded. I know what we’re going to do about Mr. make sure you have a plan of action for us first thing in the morning—for all three of these irritants. He was let go. So what happened to him?” “We had a. “A moment if you don’t mind Dr Sylburner.” “Did he? Why? Oh never mind. And.

“A grimy. “Not a pleasant place to visit. 210 . Ferro smiled in resignation. “Right. overweight mother laden with bags and two similarly-proportioned children eyed the spare seat at Ferro’s table for two. I suppose not.” Ferro looked up briefly. Ferro contemplated his empty cup of espresso.” He reached across the table. Ferro spread his newspaper wider on the tabletop and lowered his head to scrutinize what appeared to be a particularly interesting item on the center page.” stated the stranger perfunctorily. A sweating. banshee screeches. metallic smell that he recalled from his childhood. “Is this seat taken?” Ferro looked up. “But which. John Perkins that used to depart from here. slamming train doors. Take it.L. But strangely this. therefore. “No. The station was teeming with travelers heading north at the start of the week. “Traveling far today?” “Sheffield. The woman snorted a brief “harrumph” and turned away to continue her search for seats. drab in their uniformity but twice as efficient and certainly more environmentally friendly. lean jaw and muscular neck. He dropped his head again. smiled and returned to his newspaper. Please. dragged his overnight bag to the floor by his feet and folded his newspaper to accommodate his half of the table. It was a smell that said ‘travel’ and it still evoked a sense of excitement in his soul. The noise inside the cathedral of a building was a cacophony of voices. There was a fragment of memory that the last sentence had been said with a slight accent.” He glanced briefly at the man’s expensively-tailored suit and noted a tie secured by what appeared to be a diamond stud. A man was indicating Ferro’s bag on the spare seat. blonde but graying at the temples. slightly irritated. and pigeon chatter. He was halfway through an article on the Guardian’s arts page when the man spoke again.” smiled Ferro. The seat contained his overnight bag. The buffet was crowded and there were few spare seats. “No. industrial city of the industrial north. He took in the stranger’s close-cropped hair. and every other mainline station in London retained that sooty. must be a vibrant city for rock and roll journalism in order for you to travel there?” Ferro looked up sharply. whistles. weighing the odds of losing his seat if he was to go and get another one.” Ferro looked up. shunting engines. Long ago they had been replaced by the modern diesel-electrics.

” Reuther smiled thinly but said nothing. I know. Perhaps that’s where you should concentrate your future efforts. “Good morning Mr Ferro. It is a pleasure to meet you at last. That’s what started him off on this adventure in the first place.” Ferro’s mind raced. dismissing Ferro’s question. And full marks for tenacity. But I don’t think I arranged to meet you here. The stranger smiled but only with his teeth.” “Sure. He paused again before saying. “I thought we might have a chat. Ferro tried another route. But first tell me how you traced me here. But why contact him here? Why not just call him at home? “So Mr Ferro. “Yes. How the fuck had they traced him here? Had they been following him since he visited Sylburner six days ago? Surely not. Did that mean he needed to be careful? After all. It means perseverance and fortitude. “We’re a private organization. took a breath and opened his mouth.” “I’m not. “So what can I do for you?” “For me?” Reuther appeared puzzled. Then he folded his arms and sat slowly back in his chair and smiled.A Day in the Life It was as Ferro was glancing at the pale blue eyes that his diaphragm began to contract and his heart thump. Mr Ferro.” Ferro ignored the patronizing remark. We don’t welcome investigative journalists. chat away. “Mr Reuther I presume?” “Well done Mr Ferro. I write for music magazines. His milky blue eyes bored into the back of Ferro’s skull and his heavy eyelids clicked like camera shutters. He knew viscerally who this was. He made a deliberate show of folding his newspaper and smoothed it down on the table top. Reuther was silent for a moment. “Well I may be mistaken. “Well it’s funny you should suggest I stick to music journalism because that’s just what I’m 211 . “So what do you want?” Ferro’s voice was coldly polite. there had been a murder. Was Reuther warning him off? It certainly sounded like it.” “I’m sorry?” Reuther was watching him and didn’t reply.” “Yes. Ferro took a deep breath. And Jill had told him to be very careful with this organization. Your train has been delayed I see. “I believe you’re researching the Charm Company.” “Tenacity?” Ferro was puzzled.” It was a statement not a question.” Reuther waved a hand briefly.” Johnny Reuther smiled but again only with his teeth.

Presumably your colleague. And after ten years. “She did Mr Ferro. Should he back off. “But alas. the blue narrow slits of his eyes were fixed on Ferro’s. They opened up America to English popular music and changed the face of that music forever. you know that. “Look Reuther. but he was also uneasy.” Reuther leaned even further forward. “information?” Ferro smiled briefly. “And just how did you come by this supposed. Then he shrugged and. He covered what he’d learned of the period from early 1966 to mid 1967 and his recent discoveries. But I would like to hear your side of the story. outlined the facts in his possession. Ferro suddenly recalled George Hammer describing Reuther’s eyes and the fact that he’d never trusted him. as he had for Sylburner earlier that week. and there was irritation playing at its corners. Ferro felt his anger rising. He leaned over to Ferro. the Beatles! England’s greatest success of the postwar period. It’s a common syndrome of tabloid journalists.” “So what can you tell me about the Beatles and your company?” asked Ferro. He made no mention of his sources nor of the murders. He looked levelly at his interrogator for several seconds. When circumstances make it impossible for them not to!” It was said in a whisper. but sometimes they do. will have told you I interviewed her recently?” Reuther nodded briefly.” Reuther suddenly swiveled in his seat. not theory—regarding Paul McCartney.” Reuther looked scornful. “Ah. Ferro wouldn’t have been inclined to trust Reuther even if he hadn’t known his reputation. ignoring the slight. “Suppose you tell me what you think you know and how you know it. and she diagnosed you as suffering from a conspiracy theory complex. He didn’t seem to be expecting an answer. Now!” Reuther spat out the last word. They ceased to exist—what?—some ten years ago. He appeared to be soliloquizing. get up and walk away? But then he’d lose a chance to tackle what was the biggest 212 . “Oh. Mr Ferro. they can’t be worth bothering with. his face only inches from Ferro’s. the Beatles are no more. the Beatles. “Journalists never reveal their sources.L. Reuther’s mouth was hard and thin. I know all about your company.” Reuther’s gaze was fixed over Ferro’s shoulder. John Perkins doing. Dr Sylburner. can they?” Reuther turned and looked up to the roof as if bored. its involvement with the Beatles and the conspiracy—fact.

Then. Mr Ferro. this world is run by just a few very clever people. He decided to be hard-nosed. Mr Ferro. there are those for whom corruption is a way of life. however small? Have you ever taken illegal drugs? Have you ever stolen anything. they don’t care. apparently conciliatory. includes you. Let us test your susceptibility to felonies. Second. there are a few—a very few—who are incorruptible. “Very well. And what your company has done—and is still doing—are felonies. there are misdemeanors. what would you say?” 213 .” His voice was flat and bored. say. “Are you threatening me?” he asked quietly. “Look Mr Ferro. or retained something you found when you knew you would never be caught?” Reuther held up his hand to intercept Ferro’s attempted reply. can we? As to breaking the law. and who will—let us say. “as the Americans say. There are the few that can—and do. First. The rest of humanity—the swarming masses—sit at home and are content to let it all happen. If we were to offer you.” “And so?” “And so my company is comprised of clever people. The Charm Company is a wealthy organization—a very wealthy organization. “Please. have you ever cheated on your income tax. “Yes. At length he said.” Reuther lent back in his seat and placed his fingertips together.” Ferro shook his head. me and most of mankind. five hundred thousand pounds to walk away from this and forget all about it. let me educate you on the law. he said. And then there are felonies. If you should say no to any of these. It’s the way things are done. “You may have heard it said that there are only three types of people in this world.A Day in the Life story of his career.” “And that includes manipulating the Beatles and breaking the law?” “Ah. This world wouldn’t operate otherwise.” Reuther looked shrewdly at Ferro for several seconds.” “No. just three types. the Beatles again.” “And the third?” “The third group.” “And you include me in this group?” “Without question! Have you ever driven above the speed limit? As a self-employed person. Mr Ferro. We get things done. you would be a liar. We can’t seem to get away from them.” retorted Ferro. As long as they get their three-square-meals a day and the television. bend—if the opportunity arises and they know they won’t get caught. And the apathetic masses that can’t be bothered—and don’t. “But surely. Reuther shrugged and didn’t reply.

“Don’t be stupid Ferro. More than he would probably earn in a lifetime.” A sardonic smile flicked around the corners of his mouth. But Reuther had anticipated the action. A pulse was pounding at his temple and he felt his bowels contracting involuntarily. Perhaps only five thousand if our contract man was hungry for a job. very good business.” Reuther continued.” Reuther continued languidly. “You have. “You see. therefore. And then. The fact that this would be—as you cared to instruct me—a felony. all our consciences would be clear because there would be no question of tempting you to commit a felony. has already been dismissed from your mind. he was out of his seat and three paces back before Ferro had gained his balance. I don’t believe—I know. do anything he pleased.” Ferro had no idea what Reuther meant.” sighed Reuther. Note carefully I said would do.” He pointed over Ferro’s left shoulder. I believe. or just have fun. “In fact. In the same movement. a daughter. He pushed down on the tabletop with his palms. is seven years old and lives with your estranged wife at your wife’s parents’ home in Foxborough Lane. Ferro darted a quick glance around and registered a fleeting impression of two men in open gray overcoats. It was illegal wasn’t it? But he could retire on that. Then he turned slowly to 214 . he swung around the table with his hands outstretched. “it would cost—what?—ten thousand pounds to have your daughter watched. He could also— Reuther interrupted his reverie. “By now.” Ferro was suddenly very alert. “So you’re offering me a bribe of half-a-million pounds?” Reuther’s lips suddenly compressed and he leaned forward again. his eyes cold slits of hatred. He swung back breathing heavily and stared intently at Reuther. you are asking yourself what you would do with half-a-million pounds. Five hundred thousand pounds? That was half-amillion. I’m afraid I’m not. “No. “Look. But it was a bribe. Mr Ferro. an enormous sum of money. travel the world doing freelance work under his terms. if you get my drift. of course. He could travel with a band and he wouldn’t need to earn any money. He frowned in puzzlement. John Perkins Ferro’s mind raced. would there?” Ferro felt his face burning with anger. Esher. Ferro breathed hard. Zoe Ferro. levering himself onto his feet. You see there’s a much cheaper way to accomplish the objective. In a deft movement. Your daughter. impressed by Reuther’s intellect despite himself. That’s only one percent of your bribe and. his pupils black pinpoints in the blue frogspawn of each iris.L.

just supreme indifference. but you have no tangible proof whatsoever. You can’t guard your daughter forever.A Day in the Life confront the two men behind him. He picked up his overnight bag and made to push past Reuther. It was getting too dangerous and it was time to get out. “One second!” At Reuther’s command.” Reuther’s voice betrayed no anger. he’d be saying goodbye to the biggest story of his career. You may even go to the police. Cheap. But were the Surrey County Constabulary the right police force? 215 . So he really was on to something big. small-time hoods in cheap suits. And now he was in too deeply. And he still needed that crucial piece of tangible evidence that would deliver up the Charm Company. Ferro thought. Otherwise. the situation was getting very nasty and very personal. but held slightly away from their bodies. We have infinite patience and infinite resources at our disposal. his gaze fixed on the ticket windows in the distance. For the tenth time in two hours he considered contacting the police down in Esher. Ferro reluctantly stopped. “You may try to guard you daughter. His family had been threatened. He shook his head. The four eyes were watching him incuriously. This will be your only warning. His glance flicked to the neighboring tables where it seemed that no one was watching or had realized anything was amiss. Do not meddle in our business any further. if he walked away now. He had canceled his trip—Sheffield and Roxy Music were no match for this—and he needed time to think. They were a couple of yards away.” * * * * * Two hours later. He was still seething over the confrontation at King’s Cross Station. Ferro was slouched in an armchair in his flat. Whether this was an empty threat he didn’t know but he couldn’t afford to take the chance. His brain was reeling with the things he should have said or should have done but didn’t think of at the time. but they both looked to be in excess of six feet in height. No. But. why bother with him? The Charm Company clearly felt threatened by him. He considered the situation for several seconds and decided there was only one way out of this. The incident with Reuther surely confirmed beyond all doubt that they had everything to hide. They’d researched him thoroughly and knew all about him and his personal life. “You are becoming an irritation. And remember this. Their hands were hanging flexibly at their sides.

“Dan?” “Yes?” “Hi Dan. They did agree to take a message and would pass it on if she called in. Ferro jumped. But it wasn’t. they informed him she was away from London and unavailable. They weren’t going to be back until around Thursday. I have a person-to-person call from the United States for a Mister Daniel Ferro. There was the zinging sound of atmospherics on the line and an American voice said: “Transatlantic operator. on Monday evening. Ferro telephoned Pencarver’s office at New Scotland Yard. * * * * * At five p. Was this the Charm Company at work? “That’s me. He really needed this to be Jill. Claire had said something about going away with her parents in the early part of this week. he’d have to inform Claire about the situation. As expected.” Ferro experienced a moment’s disquiet on hearing the American accent. John Perkins Surely. Then he remembered that after chewing him out last week for forgetting to take Zoe to the zoo.” 216 .” he said cautiously. He called his in-law’s number in Esher but there was no reply.” The operator sounded reassuringly far away. still undecided on how to proceed. “Go ahead caller. the telephone rang.m. any action against those bastards at the Charm Company would have to be initiated by the Metropolitan police here in London? If only Jill was here. He was rather relieved that Claire wasn’t there to talk to.L. she’d know the best way to proceed. This is Geoff—Geoff Sutton. She wasn’t going to like this one bit. He’d been in an agitated state all evening. that evening. She’d been away six days now and it was strange that she hadn’t called him as she’d promised.m. Well if Jill wasn’t around. * * * * * At just after eleven p. and was dozing fitfully on the couch when the call came.

Christ though! Murdered!” Sutton was clearly distracted by the news on Carmen Venton.” “New York?” “Yeah.” “How?” “The police found the body in the woods.” “You’re joking?” Sutton repeated. Geoff!” said Ferro with sudden comprehension. have you heard about Carmen Venton?” “Carmen? What about her?” “She’s been murdered. But I do. Well.” “What! You’re joking?” Sutton’s voice echoed down the line. Her body was discovered a few days after we last spoke. indicating a satellite routing of the transatlantic call. she told you that Lennon’s life was in danger—you know. She’d been injected with some from of lethal cocktail of drugs. but… Christ! Murdered! You’re not kidding?” “I’m deadly serious. “Okay. what’s this about Lennon at your end?” “Er…right. It’d been buried for some days before they found it. ‘Where the hell are you?” “I’m in New York City.” “Yeah. “Geoff.” “Oh. “Who?” “Geoff Sutton. Got in yesterday from the West Coast. “No joke I’m afraid.” “Injected? Who did it? Do they know?” “No. Hey listen—you remember that conversation we had a month ago?” Sutton’s voice was animated and excited. “Yeah…?” “Well you’ll never guess what! You remember telling me about Carmen Venton and her midnight conversation with you about Paul McCartney and John Lennon? Guess what I’ve just found out here about Lennon?” Ferro ignored Sutton’s question. he was supposedly threatening to go public with that crazy story about Paul McCartney?” 217 . But first.” “You do? Who?” “I’ll tell you in a minute.A Day in the Life Ferro was still half asleep. “Remember I said she sounded scared when she called me that night? And then you said you also thought she was scared when you saw her in the pub at home the week before. Ferro was cautious. From Magno Records.

responding to the other’s queries and objections. rather—all about this?” “So why doesn’t Lennon just go to the police?” Ferro asked. “Paul McCartney’s dead? But that’s just fantastic. Sutton was incredulous. that’s just what you told me before I left on this trip. And guess what? “What?” “He let slip that Lennon’s running scared. Actually. Apart from the occasional request for clarification Sutton listened intently at the other end. “That’s the funny thing.” “Quite well. John Perkins “Right. Lennon’s been warned to keep his mouth shut. Dan? And how does she know— or how did she know. Lennon has approached the police but he hasn’t told them everything apparently. I’m flying home on Tuesday next week. a plan was half-formed in his mind.” Ferro spent fifteen minutes outlining the essentials of the story. how long are you there in New York?” “Another week.” He went back over the evidence with Sutton. So whoever is putting the strong arm on Lennon is well known to him.” “Right. But it all seems to stack up. I had a drink with this record producer last night.” agreed Ferro. this isn’t just some idle threat from a crazed fan.L. What’s going on here Dan?” Ferro was silent for moment. When he replied.” “And you say he knows Lennon well?” “Yes. But first I need your solemn word that none of this goes any further until I say. Took him out to dinner last time he was in London. Lennon’s feeling incredibly frustrated. Ferro concluded with a summary of his confrontation with Reuther that morning. You’re never going to believe this. we’d be considered firm friends. “Just what I thought at first. But that’s what Carmen told you. Someone is threatening him— Lennon I mean. At length Sutton said: “It just sounds fucking incredible. According to this producer. right? So what’s going on. Some sort of business deal he has to get out of. It can’t be true. What about all the Sgt. Geoffrey my old son. Turns out he knows Lennon really well. I suppose that after last night’s drinking bout. Funny thing is. We got pretty wasted. Why?” “Pin back your ears.” “Well.” “And how well do you know this record producer? The one you saw last night. It can’t be. Pepper work and the White Album and all the stuff after that?” 218 . “Geoff.

” “What over here? In New York?” “Yes.” “Jesus. Do you want the telephone number?” “Yeah. what’s the time there? “It’s six-thirty in the evening. Geoff.A Day in the Life “It appears that a little. You can’t hardly see his face because of the beard. And so?” “So. you’ll never get near him. Then he said.” “I’m at the Salisbury Hotel on West 57th. But they never knew the real McCartney remember. very importantly. And Carmen Venton is dead because of it.” Ferro replied. Geoff. of Sgt.” “But. He’s sporting a heavy beard.” 219 .” “Incredible. He’s the key to all this. Remember.. But take a careful look at the footage. What else do you need?” “I need to see Lennon. “In person. Next.” “I’m sure he does. like I’ve never needed anything in my life. a very little. They didn’t enter the picture until after his death. I have something that Lennon will be very interested in.” “But it’s all true Geoff. I need this. what about Linda McCartney or Yoko Ono then? Are they supposed to be part of the cover-up too?” “I don’t know. McCartney Mark-II. They may know nothing about any of this. Do you know how many interview requests he gets a month? And I hear he turns them all down. I need you to get me an introduction to Lennon through this producer.” “What’s that?” “The evidence I’ve accumulated over here in London. He’s the last link in the chain that I need. But. “Okay.” “Incredible! But…so.” Ferro copied it down. i. Believe me. Now what?” “First I need the address where you’re staying and the telephone number.” “Uh-huh. for argument’s sake let’s say it’s true. And note also that there’s simply no close-up head shots. Can’t be!” “Looks like it is. No way. Pepper was McCartney—the real McCartney—from outtakes and unreleased recordings prior to October 1966. We’re five hours behind you.e.” Sutton was silent for several seconds. But your record producer friend can get near him and he can do the introductions for us. It’s just opposite Carnegie Hall.” “Er…so what about that impromptu performance on the roof of Apple Corps in January 1969? “Remington. without revealing the details to your friend. All the rest was Remington. “Okay. Can’t be.

m. The sight gave him little pleasure.L. Ferro was on the phone to a sales representative from Trans-World Airlines.” “Okay. I’ve never been to the States before. And how’s the Charm Company tied up with all this again?” “I’ll tell you when I see you.” * * * * * The next morning. I’ll try. I’ll need to check on flights in the meantime. As soon as you can. then why should he bother Lennon with this?” “Just tell your producer friend to say the following three words to Lennon: ‘The Charm Company’. Tourist visas could be had while one waited— providing one didn’t mind waiting several hours.” “Is your US visa up to date Dan?” “Don’t have one. But this producer’s not going to be impressed by you. As the long line inched forward with excruciating slowness. Call me back as soon as you can set it up. And remember. If I don’t tell him anything. not a word to anyone. * * * * * At three p. John Perkins “I’ll try. providing that seats were still available. Got that?” “The Charm Company? That’s it?” “Yeah. on that Tuesday afternoon. 220 . Ferro spent three hours at the visa section of the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square. for two hundred and ten pounds and could be had by presenting oneself at TWA’s North Kensington terminal on the day of departure. standby. It appeared that round-trip tickets to New York were available. through the glass front of the building and down Grosvenor Street where he could just discern the bronze and gold facade of the Charm Company’s offices. She informed him that chances for standbys looked good all that week due to the early December lull before the Christmas rush. Ferro had ample time to stare past the motionless US marines in their dress blues. Have him say that to Lennon and see what happens.

I’ll put you through.” “Yes. Is there any way you can get a message to her as soon as possible and have her call me back?” “Jill? But she’s here—in the office. we just got back. I…” She trailed off with a sigh.” Her voice sounded tired and listless “Are you okay?” “No. Not really. “It was a really bad week up there. Five minutes later he dialed New Scotland Yard and asked for the Serious Fraud Office. “Jill?” “Oh. How could Jill be there at Scotland Yard and not have called? “Yes.” said the returning voice. Dan…” “Jill! Where have you been? I’ve been trying to reach you for the last two days!” “Yeah. “What happened?” “I can’t talk about it now. “SFO. The second was a concert review for the New Musical Express. Look. He’d made several abortive attempts to tackle the two articles lying on his desk.” There was a click and: “Hello?” It was Pencarver. At least I think she’s here. I appreciate she’s away from the office and not in direct contact but it is now extremely urgent that I talk to her. One was the Elton John retrospective. Where the hell was Jill and why hadn’t she called? He desperately needed her council on what to do about Reuther’s threat. The latter was past due but he couldn’t seem to concentrate today. “I’ve found her.” “What’s up?” he asked with concern. I’ve left messages for Jill Pencarver over the past couple of days to get her to ring me but I haven’t heard anything. We’ve just got back.” 221 .” “Why didn’t you call?” “I told you. Ferro was perplexed.” There was the sound of the receiver being placed down on a surface and footsteps disappearing. Hold on.A Day in the Life * * * * * Two hours later. Ferro was staring at the telephone again. She’s here. barely touched in the past two weeks.

an Italian. “In the past week I’ve only had time to cat-nap.L. Tomorrow lunchtime. * * * * * When Ferro arrived at the restaurant the next day. Where and when?” “How about one o’clock?. I know it” replied Ferro cautiously. She was dressed in a fisherman’s-knit sweater and her hair was pulled into a topknot. Don’t worry. considerably frustrated. As he sat down he noticed the dark circles around her eyes. I’ll survive. Please. And I got to bed this morning at six a.m. We’ve got a whole shit-load of stuff to get through here. I’ve really got to go. John Perkins “But. “When tomorrow?” “Say lunchtime?” “Are you sure I can’t see you tonight?” “Absolutely positive. She smiled fleetingly when she saw him.” She sighed. See you at Gino’s at one tomorrow. I had a three-hour sleep coming back on the train yesterday. He sat with the receiver still in his hand. “Okay.” “So what happened in Scotland?” “I can’t talk about it Dan. and wondered what had happened to Jill Pencarver in Scotland. “Yeah. It’s at the junction with Buckingham Gate. There’s a restaurant near here on Victoria Street—Gino’s. “Okay. Okay? He shrugged. “Why can’t you tell me? I thought we were…soul mates?” 222 .” Ferro frowned. Then I had to get up to meet you.” Ferro was silent for a moment. I need to talk to you urgently. I haven’t. What time do you finish?” “This is going to be an all-nighter I’m afraid. “Looks like you haven’t slept for days!” “Actually. Pencarver was already there. Sometime tomorrow?” “Tomorrow? What about tonight?” “I can’t do it tonight Dan. She looked like she’d just got up.” Ferro frowned. Not properly anyway. “Okay. are you okay? What happened to you?” “Look Dan. I can’t talk about it now.” Ferro sighed resignedly.” Ferro heard the disconnection click at her end. “But I need to—” “Dan. The operation is still going on. I’m okay.

I’ll look after it. “Have you informed the police?” He shook his head. You and I have—” A thought struck him. It was the first overt sign of affection she had displayed.” The waiter looked from Ferro to Pencarver. Now. Don’t worry. She was about to respond when a waiter arrived to take their order.A Day in the Life She reached out to briefly squeeze his hand. “Dan. “This didn’t have anything to do with the Charm Company did it?” She turned to look momentarily at a passing waiter and then turned back to Ferro with a bright smile. Detective Sergeant Pencarver. It’s your word against theirs. She stared at the floor and sighed again. He hadn’t taken either of their orders. Your family has been threatened. Where does your wife live?” She took a pen from her handbag and copied down the address. It was a fucking disaster and I…well I just can’t discuss it. I’ll see if they’ll put a watch on your in-laws’ house. “No. “That’ll be the Surrey Constabulary. Ferro was not in the mood for this. sniffed and walked away. “No. He turned to Pencarver across the table.” She chewed her bottom lip in deliberation. and neither can the Surrey Constabulary unless you tape-recorded your conversation.” She patted her bag but looked puzzled.” “Can you move against them today?” Ferro raised his eyebrows “Us? You mean the SFO?” She shook her head. He concluded with a summary of the telephone call with Sutton in New York. not yet. “There’s no evidence. When Ferro repeated that he only wanted coffee. “It’s just I can’t talk about this case. 223 . Pencarver’s eyes widened with concern as the story progressed. tell me what you’ve been up to. “But for Christ’s sake Jill. What do you advise me to do?” She looked worried.” Ferro shrugged and proceeded to recount his impromptu meeting with Reuther.” “Hmm. “Have you got your warrant card on you?” “Yes. this is serious.” “Tell me about it!” She looked at him closely. “So. “This is not good. the waiter put his hands on his hips and began to lecture him belligerently on the lunchtime rules of the restaurant. I’ll report this to the police in Esher. Ferro only wanted coffee but was told that he must order from the lunch menu.” He sniffed.” Her brief smile was replaced by a frown. other than you. “Well show it to this clown and let him know we’re on official police business. “No.

It was just an address at a precinct in Manhattan. 224 . “God. interesting! He’s from Magno Records here in London.” she nodded. “I dashed off a brief report last night. And in the first of these I’m relying on you and the police.” “Sutton? Yeah.” “Oh. just a brief summary of what I knew from you. “What did you say?” “Oh. yes. No. I see. We’re keeping the SFO’s interest in them top secret. I’ll look after it. They’ll want to be assured that there’s a real chance of harm to your family and not an idle threat. it’s probably not wise to leave and. I don’t…” She seemed lost in thought. Who did you send it to by the way?” “Send it to?” She raised an eyebrow. do you have any real chance of getting to see Lennon?” “No and yes.L. smiled briefly and suddenly yawned. “I don’t know what they’re likely to do. John Perkins “See if they’ll put a watch on the house? Won’t they definitely do it?” “Not necessarily. You know more about this organization than I do.” He reflected for a moment and replied. Why do you ask?” “I may need it if I go over there?” “Go over there? What do you mean?” Ferro told her briefly about Sutton’s contact and the possible meeting with Lennon. Seems to be another confirmation. have you replied to the NYPD about their request in this case?” “Yes. tell me about your friend in New York.” Pencarver looked at the floor and shook her head. And speaking of New York.” “Did you mention the Charm Company?” “No. of course not. “Anyway.” “No I meant who at the NYPD?” “Who?” “Yes. “Is that wise? I mean to leave the country with this threat to your family? And anyway. Don’t worry. Pencarver looked concerned.” She looked back at Ferro. is there a real chance of harm?” Ferro shrugged. “You should be able to tell me.” He nodded. there may be a chance of seeing Lennon.” She reached for his hand again and looked at him directly. “The New York Police. He’s got another connection to Lennon. A stakeout is an expensive and time-consuming proposition. I’m tired! Now. Which department? What were their names. “So. “Couldn’t say. You remember they wanted a clarification of my keyword brief?” “Yes. remember?” “Uh-huh.

the police.” “Okay!” Pencarver stood up decisively and pushed her chair back.” “So who is it?” “A Lieutenant McWhirter.” “Maybe. I can’t. “Look Dan—this business with the Charm Company. You really need to stick around.” Her eyes were bright with concern. Her head was within six inches of his and she stared into his eyes. I warned you they’re not amateurs. “This is going nowhere and I’ve got to get some sleep. I’m too close. The first was from the New 225 . Your confrontation with Reuther confirms it. “Suit yourself. Please. But don’t blame me if they won’t talk to you.” She shrugged. For me?” Ferro shook his head. We’ll get them. There were two messages waiting for him on his machine. This is the story of the century.” They sat in silence for several long seconds. Jill!” Ferro was becoming highly irritated with Pencarver this morning. Let us. “Anyway. if I remember rightly. I’m dead. Let this drop. He grimaced “But Jill. I’ll see you!” She lent over to kiss him briefly on the cheek. who was the person you’re in contact with at this NYPD precinct?” “This is supposed to be confidential Dan!” “Christ Almighty. She leaned forward and sought his hand across the table. “Sorry Jill. It’s too dangerous. Pencarver looked distinctly unhappy. “Please Dan. turned and strode out of the restaurant. But don’t let on I told you!” “McWhirter? Thanks.” Ferro pursed his lips.” She massaged the back of his hand with her fingers. Let us handle it. * * * * * It was mid afternoon when Ferro arrived back at his flat. It’s a Pulitzer Prize for certs!” “Huh! A Pulitzer Prize awarded posthumously won’t mean anything. I’m sure they won’t. “Who is your contact? I might need their help in New York. do it. “I really don’t want you to get hurt.A Day in the Life She looked worried. “I can only do so much here Dan. You need to drop this now. scanning from one to the other. I’m so close. In fact.” she said derisively.

He glanced at the clock and judged he had about ninety minutes to complete his edits and rush it to the NME offices by taxi. 226 . he rose and called Pencarver’s number again. * * * * * That night in a burst of creativity. the hotel operator reappeared on the line. New York. after twenty rings. Ferro had to get to New York by tomorrow evening. Yes! TWA had flight number 324 from London Heathrow to JFK. Could he do that? Ferro grabbed his notebook and leafed through it. It arrived in New York at 4:10 p. distinctly different from the double burr-burr of the British telephone network. departing at 2:15 p. Sutton stressed.L. Ferro completed his long-delayed. he tried her number four times during the evening but it just rang. and filled with the anticipation that.m. It seemed that Mr Sutton was out and would he care to leave a message? Ferro was amused by her Brooklyn accent and the fact she sounded like she was in the next room rather than three thousand miles away. at this time tomorrow and for the first time. He retired at eleven o’clock with his alarm set for four thirty a. He was put through to Sutton’s room but. He was intrigued to hear the single. John Perkins Musical Express informing him that they wouldn’t be able to take his concert review unless it was delivered by close of business this afternoon. He wouldn’t be available after tomorrow. There was still no one at home. every day. He left a message for Sutton that he was arriving tomorrow and would be checking into the Salisbury hotel in time for both dinner and the opportunity to interview a Beatle afterwards. article on Elton John. But Sutton’s message also warned Ferro that this was Lennon’s only time slot for the next three weeks. He carried his notebook to the telephone. consulted the directory for the international access code for the US and dialed Sutton’s hotel in New York. His contact had got Ferro an appointment with John Lennon at nine o’clock tomorrow evening at Lennon’s apartment in the Dakota on West 72nd Street. Thus. Impatient to find out what Pencarver had done about contacting the Esher police. But at midnight. long American ringing tone. It was from Geoff Sutton and he sounded very excited. The second message drove all thoughts of domestic journalism from his mind.m.m. unable to sleep with the threat to Zoe on his mind. he’d be in the country that gave birth to rock and roll.

alternatively. Ferro glanced at his watch. he learned that his regular editorial contact was out of the office but was due back at any time. He could take the latter to the NME offices on the slim chance that they’d accept it for publication this week. In any event. the temperature had dropped well below freezing. found Ferro outside the TWA air terminal in North Kensington. if it sold. She invited him in to her office. Ferro found a public phone box and called New Scotland Yard. he would need to be at airport check-in no later than two hours before his flight. Ferro consulted his watch: Three hours to kill before he needed to leave for the airport. December 4. Yes. On arrival. Soho. The odds were they’d decline it but he’d have to start somewhere. Ferro exited the NME offices. He was the seventh in a queue of ten cold people.m. got him a coffee and began to scan 227 . The agent informed him that he could return at eleven thirty to take the TWA shuttle to Heathrow or. Would he care to wait? Another glance at the watch: ten forty-five. it would earn him a considerable amount of money.m. stamping his feet in an attempt to keep warm. The doors opened at seven thirty a. on Thursday. Ferro was about to give up when Liz returned. decided he had just enough time and hailed a taxi to Rolling Stone’s London offices in Greek Street. Anxious to check on Pencarver’s progress in arranging protection for his family. In his luggage he’d packed both his Elton John manuscript and the delinquent New Musical Express article. Overnight. he was informed. he could make his own way to the airport. all presumably seeking standby tickets for today’s flights. At eleven-ten. He hoped it would be warmer in New York.A Day in the Life * * * * * Seven a. Of course. He’d still have an hour or so to drop by Rolling Stone’s offices in an attempt to peddle the Elton John retrospective there. Jill Pencarver was not in the office today and would he care to leave a message? He called Pencarver’s flat. No reply again. They were unable to take his late copy but the associate editor had detained him by discussing some upcoming jobs he might wish to do for them. No. he’d wait. * * * * * At ten minutes past ten. and Ferro secured his ticket in less than twenty minutes.

L. He’d popped out to get some lunch unaware that anyone was waiting for him. Liz looked up from the article and informed him that it just so happened that RS was planning a feature piece on Elton John for publication early in the spring and were in the process of doing the photo shoots and commissioning a writer. He made for the lift accompanied by Liz and was making his good-byes when the elevator doors opened and the features’ editor stepped out clutching a paper bag. decided there was no chance of making the TWA shuttle from the air terminal and that he’d now have to take a taxi directly to the airport. She hadn’t considered Ferro as a candidate but now wondered if Ferro’s manuscript might fulfill the role for their US parent company. Would they care to wait? Ferro calculated rapidly: Ten minutes to cut the deal with the editor. At twelve-fifteen and no sign of his prospective appointment. Ferro decided he could wait no longer. subject to Ferro’s agreement to accommodate any rewrites or additions as may be requested by RS’ head office in New York. climbed in and turned to grasp the handle intending to slam the door. surprised but pleased that she would read it on the spot. after an agonizing five minutes. It would take— what?—forty-five minutes by taxi if the traffic was good. so he had to leave here no later than eleven-thirty. was able to flag one down. Ferro. He threw his bag into the back of the black Austin cab. thirty-five minutes to Heathrow by taxi (he’d ask the cabbie to step on it) and he’d still make the flight with ninety minutes to spare. What he saw through the window caused him to freeze in semi-crouch position. 228 . She suggested he discuss preliminary terms with her boss right away as the decision on the author would be made in the next week or so. The features’ editor was in a meeting and would be available at noon. At twelve thirty-five a provisional price had been agreed. That still gave him an hour and fifteen minutes to catch his flight. Ferro. Ferro darted a glance to his watch: Ten minutes to cut the deal and thirty minutes to Heathrow (he’d have the cabbie drive on a prayer and a door handle). agreed to accompany her to her boss’ office. He invited Ferro and his editorial assistant back to his office to discuss Ferro’s article. Considerably less than the two hour security minimum but he assumed that adequate margin was built into that requirement. At eleven thirty-five. excited by the prospective assignment but anxious about the time. John Perkins his manuscript. Nothing! He walked rapidly up Greek Street and. Ferro flew out of the front doors of Rolling Stone magazine and urgently scanned for a taxi. At twelve-forty and with only one hour and thirty five minutes to get to Heathrow to catch an international flight.

” he said with deliberate casualness. and tennis shoes and not the business suit she usually wore to the office. Then he stepped out of the doorway and strode briskly down Greek Street away from Soho Square. over his shoulder and down Greek Street in the direction she had come from. “Jill?” She glanced slowly to her right. She looked back at him.” 229 . A pulse was pounding in his head. “Dan!” She was dressed in jeans. “I’m catching a flight in an hour. came up by her side and caught her elbow.” He changed the subject. “Hold on. He scooted his rear end back on the seat and crouched lower so that only his eyes were above the bottom of the window and continued to stare. He stared through the window of the half-closed rear door. He swung his head around to face the driver.” hissed Ferro urgently.” Ferro snapped. an anorak. Reuther nodded. in the shadow of an arched doorway stood Jill Pencarver and Johnny Reuther in urgent and animated conversation. I’ll be back. Just walking.” Leaving his bag on the back seat. leaned out of the doorway and scanned up and down the street.” He turned back to the window and let the air hiss through his teeth. fancy seeing you here.” he said quietly. No answer. “Oh…not much. “You’re not serious? Why?” “Just following up on what we discussed. Neither Reuther or Pencarver had looked out into the street in the direction of Ferro’s taxi. “Keep your meter running. He watched as Pencarver smiled and reached out to touch Reuther’s arm. “Jill. He caught up with her at the entrance to Soho Square. Pencarver stepped out and walked away in the opposite direction. Then I expected you’d call. For there. did a double take and swung around to face him.” She was standing on the curb with her back to Soho Square. “Where are you going?” “New York. What the fuck was Jill doing with Reuther? Why hadn’t she told him about this meeting? Was she working undercover? He decided to find out. Her gaze slid from Ferro’s face. Ferro bounded out of the taxi in pursuit of Pencarver. Ferro sat there stunned. Ten seconds later. “Stay here. “What are you up to?” Pencarver didn’t smile and appeared to catch her breath. Start your clock if you need to. You know.” “New York?” She looked alarmed.A Day in the Life “You wanna shut your door mate?” asked the driver through the communicating window panel. “Give me a second. “I tried to reach you last night. Then he turned briefly to the driver who was watching his passenger’s antics bemusedly and breathed.

“I slept all afternoon and then had to go back into the office in the evening. She reminded Ferro of a rabbit frozen in the headlights of an oncoming car.…. Her head came up and she looked searchingly into his face. who are ‘they’? What the fuck is going on?” She continued to scan his face.” she sighed. Her gaze dropped to the road and she seemed to be scanning the litter in the gutter. what did you see?” she asked sullenly. I’m sorry!” she choked. “Everything. Please!” “Jill. buried her head in her hands. “Er…sort of. what the hell’s the matter?” Ferro was outwardly composed but icy fingers of fear were creeping up his spine. Afraid she would fall. Ferro caught her by the shoulders. Suddenly she looked up. his mouth set in a firm line. “I’m so sorry!” She shook her head miserably. He grasped her wrists and attempted to pull her hands from her face. And stop playing fucking games with me Jill!” Ferro’s voice had a dangerous edge to it.” Ferro was outwardly calm and continued to speak in measured tones.” She didn’t smile.” He indicated her jeans with a wave of his hand. “Dan. I did work on the stuff we talked about…but what’s this about New York? I don’t—” “Are you working today?” he interrupted. “Why were you talking to Johnny Reuther just now?” She took a sharp intake of breath and her eyes opened wide. I suppose not. and another thing. her eyes ringed with red. She sat down heavily. Now! If they see you with me. But you haven’t answered my question.” He grasped her upper arm. “Well?” Pencarver suddenly closed both eyes tightly and began to sway. “That cunt Reuther threatened me and he threatened my family and I want to know why the hell you were talking to him.” She didn’t elaborate. “Oh Dan. Jill. “Have you been following me?” “No. er…” She shook her head briefly. you’ll…” She broke off and scanned the street on each side.L. “Oh. “I . He looked around and steered her to a wooden bench five yards away at the edge of the grass of Soho Square Park. You’ve got to get away from here. 230 . “Well?” he said grimly. “I…” Pencarver shook her head again. John Perkins “I know. “Not your usual work clothes. “Go! Go now. her gaze fixed on his. Why were you talking to Reuther?” “So. “Jill. “No.

was really a member of Big Brother’s inner party all the time. He was suddenly visited by a startlingly-clear vision of Winston Smith. his underground contact. Pencarver sniffed hard and stood up abruptly. If they know you’ve gone there he’ll go for you too.” “The Eggman? The Eggman? Who the fuck is the Eggman? “I think he’s been contracted to make a hit on Lennon. “Dan. “But be very careful and leave no trail or any indication of where you’re going. Your life may depend on it. looked at him sadly for a long moment. stay well away from New York. Also.A Day in the Life Ferro was afraid—really afraid—to ask the next question. Listen very carefully. Get away!” She squeezed his hand hard. confronted with the fact that O’Brien. He swallowed hard and said haltingly.” Although he was half expecting it. flung open the taxi door and crashed into the back seat. “They got me a long time ago Dan. have they got to you?” For a long moment she looked him in the eyes. Then she dropped her gaze to the bench and said quietly. “London Airport—Heathrow. and strode swiftly away in the direction of Oxford Street. He dashed back across the street. So don’t go anywhere near New York. They’re going to kill Lennon. They may’ve sent the Eggman to New York already. “Jill. He shot a glance at his watch: Only an hour and twenty minutes to the departure of his flight—the only flight—that would get him across the Atlantic to John Lennon in time to see him this month. Terminal Two” he gasped “And drive like the fucking wind!” * * * * * 231 . She was already ten yards away and walking rapidly. the protagonist in George Orwell’s 1984. Now go. the revelation caused Soho Square to spin around Ferro’s head. Get out of London now!” She was speaking fast and urgently. It could be any day. Ferro looked from the departing Pencarver to his waiting taxi at the top of Greek Street and back to Pencarver.

threatened or actual. It was a quiet day in what no doubt would be a quiet week.” “Shit!” Meredith sighed and shot a glance through the window contemplating a possible escape route. Godfrey. Stan—er. “What do they want?” He looked at her anxiously. I forgot. “No idea. Certainly exotic compared to that of an insurance loss adjuster. “Jesus Christ. I already told them you’re here. But the intervening years had been characterized by a frugal existence of considerable boredom interspersed with occasional bouts of violence directed against him. placed his feet on the desk and clasped his hands behind his head. “Stan! There’s a call for you.” “Well please remember in the future.” Meredith blanched.” “Oh yeah. And it was proving difficult for her to call him by his adopted name. you used to be Stan when I knew you before.” Deirdre had been in Meredith’s employ for only two days. Deirdre! I’ve told you repeatedly. She shrugged.” “Just tell them I’m not in the office. Five years ago when he’d started The Godfrey Meredith Private Detective Agency. given his meager income. Lie for me!” “Sorry.” “Well. December 16. He’d never been able to retain a secretary for more than a few months and. another quiet week in a chain of such weeks. It’s Godfrey. I keep forgetting.” “Police?” The private investigator sat upright in his chair and dropped his feet to the floor. His musings were interrupted by the appearance of his secretary’s head around the office door. What did the police want this time? G 232 . private investigation promised an exotic career change.— Chapter 15 — The Last Link Monday. the police are on the phone. Tell them I won’t be back ‘til…next week. “Anyway. had never been able to employ an individual with much intelligence. 1968 odfrey Meredith leaned back in his chair. Deirdre carried the considerable stigma of having known him in his former life when he was plain Stanley Bindle.

I don’t think I—“ 233 .A Day in the Life He’d had several run-ins with the police and never under pleasant circumstances.” “It’s okay Mr Meredith. suppose to know that his client was the boss of a major London crime syndicate? The police had interviewed him for days afterwards and with considerable suspicion. puzzled.” “Fire away. He’d then stormed over to Meredith’s office brandishing the same implement—a textbook case of attempting to kill the messenger. We wonder whether you can shed any light on the matter. The telephone on his desk trilled briefly. What did you mean—was a client of mine?” “Mr Jacobs has been found dead. We know he was a client of yours. He reached forward for the receiver. With much hard work Meredith had tracked down the individual in a remote part of Wales.” Meredith looked sternly at the instrument in his hand. “I’ll put them through shall I?” Meredith nodded resignedly. Meredith. “Wait a minute. There had been that case of the client who’d hired Meredith to snoop on his wife’s extramarital adventures. Hove?” “David Jacobs. surely you appreciate that my clients and their business are confidential and that I can’t possibly be expected to—” He stopped.” “I believe you are familiar with a David Jacobs of Number Two.” “Oh yes?” “I’m interested whether you can help us with our inquiries. Then there was the educated gentleman who’d sought Meredith’s assistance in locating a missing person. I’m afraid so. This is Detective Inspector Foster from the Brighton CID.” “Dead? Dead?” “Yes. His body was found a week later floating in the Thames. “Godfrey Meredith here. took a deep breath and said airily. “Look here inspector.” “Dead? How awful! How? When?” The inspector ignored his questions. So how was he. “When was the last time you were in contact with Mr Jacobs?” “Er… I’m not sure. the husband had stabbed his errant spouse with a kitchen knife. How may I be of assistance?” “Mr Meredith. Princes Crescent. you say? David Jacobs? Let me think. accumulated over many cold afternoons in a tree outside a bedroom window. They seemed to treat private investigators with disdain. When Meredith had presented the evidence.

He stared unseeingly through the window for ten seconds. tracked’.m. you’re correct.” “And what did Mr Jacobs want to see you about?” “Well I don’t know if I can remember. It appears that Mr Jacobs had an appointment for 11a. Listen. get R and E. “If I remember. “Yes. It was three days ago and Jacobs had been in an anguished state. You see I—“ “Mr Meredith. He was talking very fast. It was one of only two appointments he had arranged for last week.” “Really? Let me check my appointments calendar.” the policeman interrupted. his mind racing. John Perkins “I believe he had an appointment arranged with you for the day before yesterday. almost incoherent at times. “Surely you can remember a conversation that happened only three days ago.” “Do you usually arrange appointments for Saturday.” the policeman interrupted.” “They? Who’s they?” 234 .” Meredith put down the phone and made a noise of brushing some papers around on his desk. he picked up the handset. “we found his diary with your appointment in it. They’re all after me’.” “Frightened?” “Yes. Finally. Mr Meredith?” “Er.L.” sighed the policemen. “Yes. “And did Mr Jacobs show up for the appointment?” “No he didn’t actually. So what did he want to see you about? And what or who does R and E stand for?” “Well inspector.” He could recall of course. I don’t know what to—“ “And today. He’d pleaded with Meredith to see him immediately but the private investigator was taking the afternoon off. no not usually. David Jacobs was discovered hanging from a beam in his garage yesterday.” Meredith remembered it only too well. And when was the last time you were in contact with Jacobs?” “Er. He called for an appointment and I—“ “You mean Friday.” “Perhaps but I don’t really see—“ “Okay Mr Meredith. The following words were written by the entry: ‘See Meredith urgently. he sounded very frightened when he called. the thirteenth of December. on Saturday morning.” “I see. let me see if I can recall. it was last Friday. He said something like ‘I’m in terrible trouble.” “Oh dear! How awful.

I made him an appointment for the next day— Saturday. but we’ve done it. “All done boss.” “Well Smithy?” Reuther raised his eyebrows as his assistant entered the office and closed the door.” Meredith shuddered slightly. Said he had to come in to discuss it immediately. rubbed his hand together and stared at the ceiling. He didn’t show up. I’ve followed some very famous people for him you know. That’s what I thought until this conversation. “The last link in the chain has been excised! It’s taken us two years. “And were any of his famous people involved this time? Any with the initial R or E perhaps?” “I don’t know. He never said.” “No problems?” “None. good. “The Eggman is a most capable individual is he not Smithy?” 235 . We’re in the clear from here onwards. And please bring your files on other cases you’ve done for Jacobs with you. * * * * * “Mr Smith’s here to see you. I must let Gilmartin and Sylburner know. The police are treating it is as suicide as we planned.” “Did he? I wonder why. Mr Reuther.A Day in the Life “He said he couldn’t tell me on the phone. Shall I have him come in?” Johnny Reuther smiled at his secretary.” “Good. I’ve done work for him in the past in connection with his showbiz clients.” “So you don’t know who ‘they’ might be?” “No idea. He sounded very scared though. “You said he was found hanging in his garage? Was it suicide?” “Well it appeared to be suicide.” Reuther nodded in satisfaction.” He leaned back in his chair. Rodney Smith approached the desk. Clean as a whistle.” Meredith took advantage of the pause.” Meredith looked superior. “Yes please Jodee. And see we’re not disturbed. This line of work was really too squalid for his sensitive disposition. I think you better come in to the police station Mr Meredith to make a full report.

for Reuther immediately picked up the telephone and began to dial.L. John Perkins It was a rhetorical question. * * * * * 236 .

Britain had done well in the past twenty years in selling it back to America. he reflected. December 4.— Chapter 16 — The New World Thursday. and that quintessential ingredient originally known as race music—the rhythm-and-blues of the black ghettos.your tray tables are closed. This is where its first stirrings had been heard with Wynonie Harris’ ‘Good Rockin’ Tonight’ and Jackie Brenston’s ‘Rocket 88’. This is where it had germinated from an intoxicating cocktail of country. living quasi-museums of the art form. 1980 his concludes the in-flight entertainment…headphones to…on the ground at New York’s Kennedy Airport in ten minutes…. The big plane circled lazily eastward over the island on its approach to JFK. everything he had imagined. But this is where it had come from in the first place. Despite the drama of the morning. and where Elvis Presley. It was stunning. and Greenwich Village sprang into Ferro’s head. it was impossible to subdue his excitement as he stared down at the country that had given birth to rock and roll. slid up his window shade and leaned forward with eager anticipation. blues. the Harlem Apollo. Scotty Moore and Bill Black had chanced upon it in the Memphis studios of Sun Records. * * * * * “T 237 . Texas swing. The descending Boeing 747 suddenly cleared a layer of cloud and there was the island of Manhattan from ten thousand feet. and bring your seatbacks to their upright positions…fully completed your customs declaration forms…not a US citizen…your I-94 immigration forms…” The flight attendant’s voice in his headphones drew Ferro awake. the Brooklyn Paramount Theater. They were all down there somewhere. He rubbed his eyes. Visions of the Brill Building. Sure.

What was it? For a few minutes in the middle of the flight. UK emigration and the ridiculously long walk—in his case a high-speed run—from the departure lounge to the boarding gate. a very precious mole indeed! How long had she been turned? Was she working for them when she first contacted him? If so. But she was the first that he’d been very close to. he thought for the hundredth time. And every ten minutes or so. Or was she aware of what Reuther was up to all the time? She’d said she’d 238 . could he trust anyone else in her office? He felt very alone. There had been something else niggling at the back of his mind. Should he call the SFO in London as soon as he landed and make a full report? But who should he call there and would they believe him? And if Jill was bent. Jill had promised to look out for them and contact the police in Esher. In fact. when it came to him—Claire and Zoe! In the restaurant that lunchtime. he had been distracted by the white wilderness of Southern Greenland from thirty-seven thousand feet up. But was her professed concern real at the time? It certainly had seemed so. Luckily. He’d flown through check-in. And that stung mightily! Fucking bitch. Through her. such contacts could be useful tools in his profession.L. That would certainly explain some things. John Perkins Ferro’s taxi had arrived at London’s Heathrow Terminal Two with half an hour to spare. they had access to all of the confidential operations of the Serious Fraud Office and New Scotland Yard. He was entranced by a group of icebergs that had broken away from the main ice shelf. Jill was by no means the first bent contact that Ferro had dealt with. why did she give him the McCartney acetate recording that had seduced him into this deadly research in the first place? Perhaps she wasn’t privy to all the inside dealings of the Charm Company and hadn’t realized its relevance. had she? Certainly. She’d never seemed interested or concerned about any Beatles’ connections. he’d returned to same thought: Jill was bent—a fucking crook! So how much did it cost the Charm Company to buy her? Was it around the half-million pounds they didn’t offer him? Of course. she would have been a much more valuable fish to land. TWA agreed to classify his bag as carry-on luggage. He’d boarded the Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet with sufficient time to stare suspiciously at the flimsy. riveted fuselage and wonder how it would ever hold together in the air. her situation explained her coolness to him this week after his meeting with Reuther. But if so. the Charm Company would have known of his every move for the past three weeks. He’d spent the first part of the flight in stunned disbelief over the morning scene with Jill in Soho Square and the second on its implications for his future mission.

Ferro was reduced to dragging his bag forward with his foot as the non-citizen’s line inched forward towards US immigration. for the twentieth time that hour. he had to assume. so did the Charm Company. That was an immediate phone call to make when he landed. Very careful. beckoned languidly to the person in line behind Ferro and. it made his appointment this evening even more important. Why had she warned him? In any event. He heard the UK ringing tone 239 . no. The officer flicked through Ferro’s ticket to check there was a return stub and stamped his passport. But would she have done that? It didn’t seem likely. Mr Ferro. And what else was it she had said? ‘They’ve sent the Eggman to New York already.” “Whaddaya do for a job?” “I’m a journalist. “What is your purpose in the US. scanning Ferro’s passport. glanced up at the large clock on the wall. The man was about sixty and paunchy.” “I assume you’re not going to do any journalism here? “What?” “I assume you’re not going to work while you’re here?” “Oh. Ferro passed through customs without a word spoken and immediately sought a telephone. “Welcome to the United States. There was a large badge on the sleeve of his crisply pressed uniform which read ‘Immigration and Naturalization Service. But she had warned him that they were going to hit Lennon very soon. And what was he now going to do in New York? And should he even stay in New York given the Zoe situation? Pencarver knew he was here.” Ferro smiled. * * * * * The baggage trolleys in the arrival hall were locked together. It took five minutes with the aid of a patient Bell System operator to determine how to call Claire collect. “Oh. Therefore. Having had no time to change any English money at Heathrow. just visiting a friend for a week. Mr Ferro?” asked the immigration officer laconically.” He yawned. US Department of Justice’ but the armpits of the white shirt were sweat stained. Enjoy your stay. He reminded Ferro of William Bendix.A Day in the Life take care of it all.’ The Eggman? Just who the fuck was the Eggman? He’d have to be careful.

“Yaw waddago t’irland. there was no way she could contact Claire tonight. Ferro grimaced. Yes. No. Somewhere near Cambridge she thought. Three characters immediately accosted him and he couldn’t understand any of them. many seated on piles of luggage with others trying to thread their way through the melee. Claire had taken Zoe with her. The sidewalk was overrun with people. Claire and Zoe were not there. It was answered by his mother-in-law. No. The answer was evident as all three scattered at the approach of an airport policeman. * * * * * 240 . Just what did he mean by that? Ferro replied that he couldn’t tell her on the phone and. After accompanying her husband and herself on a trip earlier in the week. in the evening back there. she informed him in a polite but aloof tone. but she wasn’t sure. its license plate said ‘New York State’ so presumably the plane hadn’t been inadvertently diverted to Haiti. Ya alwatir comwiva me. Okay? You wanna? Okay?” It took him a minute to decipher that they were separately offering him rides into Manhattan. Claire’s mother’s inquisitiveness got the better of her. despite the seriousness of the situation.m. John Perkins and looked at his watch. Could she take a message for him? He told her that it was extremely important that Claire call him as soon as she returned tomorrow as she may be in some danger. Well. He left her his number at the Salisbury Hotel. the size of a boat. No. As he pulled away from the airport. It was almost ten o’clock after all. Ferro wondered why they were constantly looking around as they attempted to bargain with him. He decided to take the legal but expensive route of a yellow cab but the driver was no more a native English speaker than the others had been. grinned at the image of his estranged mother-in-law squirming with curiosity three-thousand-miles away. He walked out of the main entrance of the terminal and straight into what looked to be a third world country. all seemingly attempting to go in different directions. Claire had continued her travels to visit a friend and wouldn’t be back until tomorrow. Ibe goog Senore. his mother-in-law didn’t know where the friend lived. Ferro looked though the taxi window at the back of a neighboring Buick. It would be 9:30 p. The street outside was choked with stalled traffic. He and Claire’s mother had an icily civil relationship.L.

It was from Geoff Sutton and had been written at 8:30 a. he asked her.m. There. Had Mr Sutton come back. He was just south of the United Nations Plaza. No reply.A Day in the Life Twenty minutes later. * * * * * Seven p. exited the airport terminal. Ferro was to learn that. His first time for a real American hamburger and his first interview with a member of the Beatles! At 7:10. He was searching for a taxi to take him to the Hotel Olcott on West 72nd Street. newly arrived from Honolulu. entering Manhattan via the Queens-Midtown Tunnel. found Ferro seated in the lobby of the Salisbury Hotel in anticipation of the night’s adventures to come. The cab shot from the tunnel exit like a cork from a bottle and Ferro was confronted with the spectacular nighttime vista of the world’s richest eighteen-square-miles of real estate. They joined the stop-and-go traffic of 42nd Street. Chapman was a homicidal sociopath. He found his room on the fifth floor and. unlike European hotels. called Sutton’s room. its world famous outline delineated with Christmas lights. he asked the receptionist to call Sutton’s room.m. turned right onto Avenue of the Americas and finally left onto West 57th Street. He spent the next fifty minutes thoroughly engrossed with a remote control and seventeen TV channels. on the off-chance. that morning. guests in this country didn’t deposit their keys at the desk when they went out.m. It said that Sutton had appointments all day but would meet Ferro in the lobby at seven o’clock for dinner before they headed to their rendezvous with Lennon at the Dakota at nine p. was the Chrysler Building and about half-a-mile to his left he could see the Empire State Building. There was a message waiting for Ferro when he checked into the Salisbury Hotel. It was nearly six. a young man named Mark Chapman. There was no reply. fourteen more than he had left behind in London. to his right. 241 . Ferro checked his watch. * * * * * Ferro’s cab driver took the Long Island Expressway through Queens.

returned to his sentry box and brought back a clipboard. but his contact was late. * * * * * But Ferro was never to see the oak-paneled lobby of the Dakota. Ferro took the elevator to his friend’s room. she had no idea when Mr Sutton had gone out and whether he might have returned. he tried Sutton’s room for the last time. No. he’d mentioned that the appointment would be at Lennon’s apartment in the Dakota on West 72nd Street. Yes. could he go straight up? The doorman smiled patiently and indicated the three knots of people standing aimlessly around the entrance. the doorman said shortly. but Ferro had no idea who that was.. Or perhaps they would be replaced by a new group of Beatles’ fans from somewhere else in the world. Could he see the names of other prospective visitors for the evening? No. Perhaps Sutton had meant the lobby of the Dakota after all. He would have surely seen Sutton returning. but not particularly surprising given that Ferro had been in the lobby for the past hour and a half. he strode out of the hotel and flagged down a cab to Central Park West.m. It still said to meet at seven o’clock in the lobby. He was unable to get past the doorman. he could not. They’d probably still be there tomorrow. At 8:50 p.L. there it was—junction of West 72nd and Central Park West. These people also claimed they needed to see Mr Lennon. Yes. Could the doorman check under the name of ‘Sutton’? The doorman sighed.. He’d re-read the note from his colleague several times. So where was Sutton? In the message that Sutton had left on Ferro’s machine yesterday. He consulted his New York guidebook. No reply. he told the doorman. after having called Sutton on the house phone several times. Would the doorman please just call Lennon’s apartment upstairs. by now considerably anxious.m. he told Ferro.m. but he really did have an appointment. 242 . At 7:30 p. He had an appointment with John Lennon at nine o’clock. They’d been there all day. That was—what?—a mile from here. there was no ‘Sutton’ on his list. Ferro was still seated in the lobby at half past eight. Ferro insisted. At 8:45 p. So the visit was presumably arranged under the name of Sutton’s producer friend. John Perkins Consequently. or five minutes by cab. He pounded on the door to no effect.

“No. Sutton had said Lennon wouldn’t be available from today onwards.m. and mildly amused. wondering which one housed John Lennon and whether he realized that his life was in serious danger. He let a further ten minutes pass and called Sutton’s room. He checked in with me for messages 243 . Ferro shambled to the bathroom preoccupied by his mission. He listened as the circuits clicked into place—whether satellite or undersea cable he had no way of telling—and heard the familiar double-burr of the ringing tone of his homeland. He returned to his heated sentry box and slammed the door. and experienced a curious tinge of homesickness. But the doorman’s patience was exhausted. the blades made one-fifth-more oscillating cuts for each pass of the shaver over his face. on his first night in the United States. he went down to Sutton’s room and hammered on the door to no avail. Back in his room he dialed the offices of Magno records. Friday morning in London. He looked at his watch—it would be 11:30 a.m. Ferro’s jet-lag had awakened him half an hour ago and he’d spent that thirty minutes wrestling with the implications of last night’s abortive operation. Did that mean he was leaving town? Was there any chance he could get to see him in the daytime today? Without Sutton’s contact. At 6:30 a. He was to discover that it made shaving more efficient in the U.m. “I haven’t heard from him for a few days..” replied Sutton’s secretary in response to Ferro’s questions. And so. He registered the English accent of the receptionist as she announced she was putting him through to Sutton’s office. at 9:30 p. a frustrated Daniel Ferro was reduced to staring up at the forbidding gothic frontage of the famous Dakota. No answer. So where the hell was Sutton? Had he not returned at all last night? Could he have left New York and returned to London without informing him? Surely not. the following morning. * * * * * At 5:20 a. it was completely dark outside. For five minutes he was distracted.m. even though he’d only been away for a day. It was buzzing at 60-cycles rather than the 50-cycles of the British Isles.. by the tone of his electric shaver.S.A Day in the Life they would confirm his visit was bona fide. He scanned the lighted apartment windows of the eight-story building. he doubted it would be any easier to get past the Dakota’s security guards.

um…last Monday. “Who was the producer?” If she had this information. that’s right—Sunday.” “Okay.” “And where is he today?” “Well. the portal to Lennon was open again. I know that. here’s the details. Do you think there’s a problem then?” “I don’t know. Then he was to visit a music publisher in Greenwich Village. “He was supposed to be at Electric Lady Studios at 1:30 p. I flew in from London especially. It’s on—” “Yes.” “That’s funny. um…he’s due to be at Polydor Records. But you’re the second person to call me from New York asking where Geoff is. I hope he’s all right. Anyway. four days ago. I meant where is he supposed to be this morning—his appointments?” “Oh. the thirtieth of November. He hasn’t called since. “Yeah. yesterday for a meeting with someone from Warners to look at a band.” she said concernedly. the night that Geoff arrived in New York from California. Why?” “Well he told me that he’d had a drink that night with a producer.” Ferro puckered his lips in thought for a moment and continued: “Look Sally. John Perkins when he first arrived in New York. that was—what?—last Sunday?” “Yes.” “Yesterday? So he didn’t arrive there eh? What about his afternoon appointments yesterday? Where was he supposed to be?” “Hold on. “I’m staying there too.” “Did he arrive at those places?” “Couldn’t tell you.m. I need to find out whether he actually saw them or not.” “Hmm.” Ferro had completed copying down the information on Sutton’s appointments when a thought struck him. That was. He missed an appointment yesterday morning at CBS Records with the head of their East Coast operation. But I was supposed to meet him here last night.” “Uh-huh?” “Well. he’s staying at the Salisbury Hotel. “Sally.” There was a pause.” Ferro interrupted. 244 . He never showed up. let me look.” “So you don’t know where he is today?” “I can look if you like.L. “He’s usually very reliable.” “I am?” Ferro was puzzled. They called me later to see if he was still coming. who was that?” Ferro asked eagerly. can you give me the names and telephone numbers of all these people on his list for this week.

Ferro wandered down to Sutton’s room and. Sorry. Ferro looked around the room. “No.” Ferro grimaced. the first of December. “I’ve got nothing on his calendar for that day—the day he flew in from LA.” “Have you any idea of who that producer could have been? This is very important!” “No. none of Sutton’s business contacts on Ferro’s list were the producer—Lennon’s friend—from Sutton’s first night drinking session. sorry. found the door open. The portal to Lennon had slammed shut again. 245 . * * * * * At 10:30 a. Ferro had contacted everyone on Sutton’s New York calendar and had determined three things: First. He noted Sutton’s suitcase in the corner. “ “No idea? Can you think of anyone?” Ferro said desperately. So who was the mystery producer? And for the hundredth time. She spoke no English and he spoke no Spanish so they were reduced to communicating by gesticulation and nods of the head. Sutton had made all of his planned appointments prior to yesterday morning. where had Sutton got to? Ferro began to get seriously worried. was confronted by a maid. he’d missed all of yesterday’s appointments. to his surprise. * * * * * By late morning. Second. He also noted Sutton’s routine belongings dotted around the room. Third.” “So you’ve got no information on anything for that first night?” “No. I haven’t a clue. The first item for New York is a concert he was going to attend the next night.m. He began to get worried. He gathered that Sutton’s bed had not been slept in and that he’d not returned last night.A Day in the Life But his hopes were dashed when she replied. instead. He strode in to berate his colleague and ask him where the hell he’d been and..

His remaining hair originated from a parting just above his right ear and was plastered across the top of his otherwise bald head. “I expect there are many.” nodded Ferro earnestly. was overweight. like half the population of New York. Ferro hesitated. At the entrance to the hall. “Do you realize how many people go missing in this city every day?” Krakowski made quotation marks around the word ‘missing’ with two fingers of each hand . the crowning glory was the detective’s shoulder holster. Ferro returned his attention to Krakowski. “Excuse me. The detective looked to be in his early to mid-thirties and.” The policeman looked bored. He was now seated at one of about thirty desks in the detectives’ hall. Just how much did he want to divulge to the New York Police? Krakowski’s telephone rang. Five of these were ladies in an assortment of Spandex tights.” replied Ferro. Evidently.L. picking up the phone and proceeded to spit “Yeps” and “Nopes” into the mouthpiece. The butt of a revolver peered out from the top of 246 . Ferro had walked into the 18th Precinct—Midtown North—of the New York Police Department at mid-afternoon and asked to speak to a policeman. “but this is different.” “Suppose you tell me how different. He was mopping the beads of sweat that constantly formed on his forehead. “Well you’re free to file a missing person’s report but we don’t act on those until five days have past and then the chance of success is minuscule. the obligatory hookers that graced the police stations in American TV cop shows were an authentic feature. Typewriters were clattering. five-inch heels and ultra-short miniskirts. each with what looked liked a lawbreaker in tow. a desk sergeant was acting as a traffic cop to about a dozen uniformed patrolmen. It was slung below his left armpit and secured by straps that ran over his shoulder and down his back.” Krakowski stifled a yawn. John Perkins * * * * * “So your friend’s been missing for a day?” Detective Ernie Krakowski leaned back in his swivel chair and placed his right foot on his desk. “Yes. But to Ferro.” “Yes.” “Hmm. His shirtsleeves were rolled up and a tie hung at half-mast below an open shirt. telephones were shrilling and the noise level was intense.” he said to Ferro. There were at least twenty simultaneous conversations in progress in the large. but as I said this case is different. smoke-filled room.

“Is he a Limey like you?” “Yes. Ferro was fascinated. And this is the second time we’ve busted you this week.” 247 . noisy. Anyway.A Day in the Life the kid-leather holster. And anyway. Ferro listened to her diatribe. Krakowski slammed down the phone. about your friend. “Okay! Now. beaming kids. “Yo keep yo fuckin’ gorillas under control. Coming from a country where the police do not carry guns. Control of prostitution in New York City seemed to be a big game. “Given this fuckin’ zoo I wish I could’ve gone wid him!” “No. wife and four cherubic.” Laila grinned back and dismissed him with a wave of her hand. Surely. he decided to go home early. his stuff’s still in his hotel room.” Ferro shook his head. I know all about your constitutional rights—life. They evidently were on friendly terms. the fact that he’d arranged to meet Sutton last night and the evidence of Sutton’s missed appointments yesterday. the pursuit of happiness. Ferro wondered about the name—Krakowski? Polish Catholic extraction perhaps? The photograph was surrounded by four satellites—individual portraits of the Krakowski children. “He’s not gone back to London. To him it was all just like the movies—trashy. The youngest girl looked to be about Zoe’s age. The detective pursed his lips.” Krakowski suddenly grinned and indicated the room around them with a sweep of his hand. liberty. Ferro glanced back around the room. Couldn’t stand the pace over here in New York. but somehow very exhilarating. One of the prostitutes at the entrance was haranguing the desk sergeant. ‘S free country ain’t it? Ah’m free to walk around this city am ah not?” The sergeant smiled. What’s so special about him then?” Ferro outlined his trip so far. slightly dangerous. She was an attractive black girl with large and marginally-covered breasts. and all that. how dare you! I was jest excercis’n ma con’stution’l rights. “Yes Laila.” “So. But the Founding Fathers didn’t mean prostitution. the detective couldn’t work all day with that encumbrance swinging about his body? And why did he need to wear it in here? Was one of the hookers likely to pull a Derringer from her handbag? Or were gangs of Mafiosos expected to burst into the hall from time-to-time to fight a pitched gun battle? A photograph of the detective’s family positioned in the center of the detective’s desk showed Krakowski. I’ve checked.

What’s different?” Ferro was silent for a few moments. It showed a plastic bottle of what looked like dish washing liquid next to a can of furniture polish. John Perkins “Hmm. “Yes. He reached across the desk and prodded Ferro playfully in the shoulder. Ferro smiled in puzzlement.” “Yeah. “Perhaps you don’t have these in England?” Ferro smiled.” “I just love it when you Brits say exshually. I know. “Okay. They’ve sent someone over here to get him.” complemented Ferro. What about him?” Ferro looked serious. He was silent for a moment and then looked back at Ferro. but they’re not called that. Back to John Lennon and the Beatles. The furniture polish and dish soap!” Krakowski’s grin faded. He’s received threats. eh?” He began to share Ferro’s puzzled expression. Krakowski beamed. “Sure.” “John Lennon? Of the Beatles?” Krakowski looked interested. “Met my wife at that concert you know! Marci. “Don’t you see? Pride and Joy.” Krakowski chuckled briefly and then frowned.” Krakowski’s eyebrows shot up. “We do. “From some nut or something?” “No.” “Get him? You mean a hit-man?” 248 . “Thank you. Do you want to see another picture of my pride-and-joy?” Ferro had no choice. Thay have different brand names. You said that this is different. “Nice family. Outwardly legitimate but crooks underneath. a Bahaman company.” He pointed to the family portrait on the desk. I’m following a story back in England that impacts John Lennon. “I’m not quite sure I see…” “Pride and Joy.” The detective’s eyes seemed glazed.” The detective reached into his desk. “I loved the Beatles. pulled out a crumpled photograph and offered it to Ferro in a cupped hand. I’m a journalist. Pledge and Fairy Liquid don’t really cut it do they?” “Oh!” Krakowski looked crestfallen for a few moments and then rubbed his hands together. far from it. “So who’s the outfit?” “It’s a British—actually. “Well it seems that Lennon’s life is in danger. “Pride and Joy! Pride and Joy! Good eh?” Krakowski grinned broadly. there. The former displayed the commercial label ‘Joy” while the latter said ‘Pride’. He lives in New York these days.L.” Krakowski stared into space over Ferro’s shoulder. Okay. a very clever. “Look. to make a long story short. Saw them at Shea Stadium in ‘65. Actually. and very ruthless organization.

“So. Sutton’s missed appointments of yesterday and the fact that Sutton had not returned to the hotel last night.” He reached into the desk drawer. from Sutton’s friend over here and also from a police contact at Scotland Yard” As he said the word ‘police’.” Krakowski interrupted. Which precinct?” “I don’t know. “Spell McWhirter and Sutton for me. Without Sutton I couldn’t get past the security guard at Lennon’s building—the Dakota. I only have his name.” 249 .” “Requested protection? Has he indeed? And how would you know that?” Krakowski was watching him closely. But er…” Ferro flicked through his notebook. Ferro grimaced He didn’t consider Pencarver a police officer anymore. “It’s being handled by.A Day in the Life “Yes. extracted a sheet of file paper and began to scribble some notes. What can you do about Sutton?” “Which branch?” “I’m sorry?” “Which branch of the NYPD is dealing with Lennon?” “I’m not sure. He removed his feet from his desk and leaned forward in his chair. Sutton was going to escort me there. And did you get to see Lennon?” “No. “Why would the London police know about this?” Ferro shrugged.” “Hmm.” “Okay. In particular. I know the Dakota. “I see.” Krakowski thought for a few seconds. um…a Lieutenant McWhirter. He looked back up at Ferro. Lennon was given the message that I knew about this organization’s dealings in London and he agreed to see me. It’s on—” “Yeah. Krakowski’s forehead wrinkled in puzzlement. have the police been informed about all this?” “Well it seems that Lennon has filed a request for protection with you guys here in the New York. “Hold on. He’s disappeared. my friend Geoff Sutton—the person I’ve come here about—he got me an appointment to see Lennon last night. what’s your role in all this?” “Well. “Tell me more. “It’s a long story. “Well.” “Disappeared?” “Yes.” “Really?” Krakowski was animated. Gone!” Ferro took a further minute to explain his activities of that morning. But he never showed up.

a Lieutenant McWhirter? All in all it seemed unlikely. or she. therefore. Otherwise it would be incriminating to her paymasters and. subject to the jurisdiction of the FBI? But then again did McWhirter exist at all? Now that he thought about it. Hookers intrigued Ferro. in reality. But what about all that stuff about the keyword brief she said she’d sent? So was there. why would Pencarver have ever contacted the New York police about her knowledge of the threat to Lennon? Surely.” “She?” “My contact at Scotland Yard. Krakowski returned in five minutes and the shake of his head confirmed Ferro’s suspicions. be a member of a regular New York precinct or in some special division? Was the threat to murder a foreign national a federal offense like kidnapping and. Checked that also and a couple of other inter-governmental agencies. “Sorry.” replied Ferro hoping Krakowski wouldn’t press him for details. she would have protected the interests of the Charm Company and said nothing. therefore. careful to emphasize the English spelling of his friend’s first name. Tempting erotic fruit but forbidden by law in the puritanical US. John Perkins Ferro complied. no luck. “Okay Mr Ferro.L. 250 .” “No Lieutenant McWhirter?” asked Ferro with a sinking feeling that anticipated the answer. Are you sure about the name?” “That’s what she said. Laila was now arguing with a uniformed patrolman while two of her colleagues were comparing wristwatches. Krakowski completed his scribbled notes and stood up. He wondered again where Sutton had got to and whether Krakowski would return with an accident report on his friend. Ferro swiveled in his chair to resume his enjoyment of the prostitute circus. Or something worse! He turned his thoughts to Lieutenant McWhirter.” “What about the FBI?” “Nope. to her also. No McWhirter of any rank for that matter. Would he. “There’s no Lieutenant McWhirter in the NYPD. probably wanting to get the booking completed and return to work. So we have a missing Geoffrey Sutton and a mystery Lieutenant McWhirter.” Krakowski disappeared through a door at the end of the hall. Stay here and I’ll check both these out.

” Ferro interjected. at least to us here in New York. Lennon is a prominent citizen of this city. I need to check further on this from our end.” Ferro sighed.” “Well.” “Yes?” replied Ferro turning around. 251 . My home number’s on the back. One more thing.” “ Well hello Daniel! And what a cute accent! Yo from England?” “Yes I am. of course. “Hmm…Look Mr Krakowski—” “Ernie!” “Ferro shrugged. You can come in then to make a full report. About Lennon. And I know yours is Laila.” Ferro walked over to the desk sergeant at the entrance to the hall. Extracting a business card.” He reached into his pocket for his wallet. What do you suggest I do now?” “Well about your friend.” Krakowski looked down at his watch and bit his lower lip. Now. look Ernie. about the other matter. Call me there in the evening if you need to. I was supposed to see my boss at four and I’m ten minutes late. So. And he’s an idol of mine. Now. you can fill out a missing person’s report on your way out.” “Mine too. That’s good news though. “Okay. “Oh. “And are you busy tonight hon?” Ferro ginned and was about to reply in the negative when Krakowski came up behind him. where are you staying in New York?” Ferro supplied him with details of the Salisbury Hotel. “Here’s my card.A Day in the Life He didn’t. She eyed him up and down appreciatively and drew her shoulders forward to deepen the alreadyimpressive vee between her breasts. he wrote something on the back and handed it to Ferro. I’ll call you if anything shows up. well.” “Unless. leaning against the wall.” Her smiled broadened. I’ve checked the incident reports for the past forty-eight hours. Dan. And I need to know more about all this from you. “What’s your name?” “Daniel. “But not now. “Hi hon. so we’ll pick this up again on Tuesday.” “Right. Call me immediately if anything turns up or if anything else occurs to you.” she grinned. Deposit it with the desk sergeant and tell him that I need a copy. they’re both connected. “Yes. I’m out of town on Monday. That’s potentially much more serious. Now. Laila was still there.” Krakowski nodded briefly. possibly. “Good. “Nothing on your friend either. No matches for that name or description. “Anyway.

he didn’t have any enthusiasm to go sight-seeing. “She said you tied to reach her before and—” “You took this message?” Ferro interrupted.” “And leave her alone.” 252 . “It’s from your wife. It was Jill of course. Her mother had seen them earlier in the day. What was it? He smiled humorlessly with realization. “Your wife was worried. You might catch something really nasty. She’s very worried.” * * * * * It was almost dark as Ferro trudged along West 57th Street towards the entrance to his hotel. I took it earlier. She also said you left a message yesterday that she needed to call you urgently.” She reached behind the counter and handed him a folded piece of paper.L. She said that there were two men outside her house in a car. He sighed at the frustrations of the day. Moreover. He grabbed the paper and scanned the handwritten note. No sign of Sutton.” She twisted her head and followed his finger.’ But look. “What does this word say? I can’t read it. the police had no information on the matter and he was stumped on how to proceed. An insidious depression that had been with him all the time on this side of the Atlantic. The receptionist looked up as he entered the lobby “Oh. “Around midday I guess.” Ferro pointed to the note. He’d also spent a whole day in New York and hadn’t done any sight-seeing. His coat collar was pulled up to his ears and his shoulders hunched against the icy wind skating across the Hudson River from New Jersey.” “When?” She looked up at the clock and back to him. John Perkins “Please don’t think of leaving New York without checking with me first.” “Had she called the police? The local ones in England I mean. “It says ‘outside. Or at least they were when she called. And there was something else at the back of his mind contributing to his gloom. let me tell you what she told me. Mr Ferro! There’s an urgent message here for you.” The receptionist looked concerned.” “Okay. They’re still there.” “My wife?” Ferro was immediately alert. “Yes.

It took two seconds for the relays at the New York Telephone Company to click into place.” Ferro dashed up two flights of stairs. just rang and rang. * * * * * 253 . “She didn’t say.300 miles above the mid-Atlantic and three more seconds to activate the United Kingdom’s STD switching network. There was no answer. But she needed you to call her as soon as you got back. He grabbed the telephone and dialed Claire’s parents’ number. The telephone at 22 Foxborough Lane.A Day in the Life The receptionist shook her head. along the corridor and burst into his room. Esher. a third of a second for the signal to bounce from the geo-synchronous satellite positioned 22. But all this advanced technology was triggered for nothing. three seconds to establish a satellite connection. Surrey.

It had taken some minutes to communicate his concern but eventually they’d agreed to send a patrol car to investigate. he really should go now. There was a momentary delay. An hour ago. How could the American public watch this crap? He scanned twice through all seventeen channels and. In fact. “Dan. But that would mean throwing away any chance of interviewing Lennon. You’ve got to get out of there right—” “How did you get this number?” Ferro’s voice was icy cold. December 5. he might as well return to London. It took five minutes for it to dawn on Ferro that this wasn’t a spoof. The telephone jolted him awake. it’s Jill. listen! It’s really urgent. Now he was unsure what to do. he realized he’d omitted to give them his number in New York. After he’d rung off. What the hell should he do? * * * * * A Ferro’s biological clock was still five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and thirty minutes later he was asleep on top of the bed. he’d reached the local police station at Esher. with the help of international directory assistance. “What?” 254 . his heart thudding.m. “Hello?” he said. He shook his head in disbelief.— Chapter 17 — The Second Amendment Friday. switched off the TV and stared at the ceiling. massaging his eyes with a thumb and forefinger. Daniel Ferro was sprawled on his bed watching television. If Sutton didn’t show up soon. He’d tried Claire’s parent’s number five times in the past two hours without success. unable to find anything of any quality. given this latest situation with Claire. It was serious. He’d tuned into a channel where a comedian was doing a fair parody of an evangelical preacher. 1980 t 7:15 p.” “Jill?” he replied incredulously. a hiss of static and then: “Dan.

A Day in the Life

“How did you know where I was?” “Oh, from Magno records. We got the info from Geoff Sutton’s secretary. You called there this morning and left your number. Have you found Sutton by the way? Never mind, forget that for now. Listen, you’ve got to—” “We got the info? Who’s we?” “SFO—Scotland Yard. But you’ve got to—” “Don’t fuck with me Jill,” he interrupted for the third time. “You’re the last person on earth I expected to hear from.” “Dan! Shut up and listen! You’ve got no time, so listen. Okay?” Ferro breathed heavily. What the hell was going on? What did she mean, ‘no time’? He said nothing. “We—Scotland Yard that is—are moving against the Charm Company maybe later today or tomorrow. We’re arresting all of ‘em. You’re in the clear with us now. Dan, I was so so pleased!” Pencarver’s voice wavered. “But they know where you are—your hotel. It’s not safe to stay there. Get out as soon as possible. Don’t wait to pack your stuff. Get out now!” “What…Jill—what’s the fuck is this?” he shook his head attempting to marshal his thoughts. “What are you playing at?” “I’m not playing Dan. I’m deadly serious. Get out. Find somewhere else to stay tonight. Call me at home after you get settled in. You got my number? He hesitated and contemplated slamming down the receiver. But he desperately needed to talk to her, to hear her voice. And something she had just said puzzled him. “What did you mean just now by I’m ‘in the clear’?” “For Christ’s sake Dan! I’ll explain it all later. You’ve got to get out of that hotel. The Eggman’s in New York. We know he’s going for Lennon. And we believe he’s going for you too! They know you’re there! We’ve put an urgent request in to the NYPD but they’re refusing to play ball for some reason.” “Who is this Eggman?” asked Ferro dourly, but he felt a tingle in his spine. “You haven’t got time to ask these questions Dan. Now please—” “How does he know where I am?” “Reuther’s controlling him.” “Reuther? Where is he?” “We’re just about to arrest him along with the others.” “Arrest him?” “Yeah. I’ll tell you about all that later. Now listen—have you got my number?” “Maybe.” His voice was hard with suspicion

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“Okay. Listen carefully. I know these all seems crazy but you’ve got to trust me after all we’ve been through. First, I love you. I love you very much…Dan?” Ferro said nothing. “Secondly,” she continued, “and just as important at this minute—get the hell out of the Salisbury. Get to a safe base, then call the New York Police in the morning to request protection. They’ll probably have you come in. Hopefully our request will be processed by then. They’re watching Lennon too.” Ferro set his mouth in a hard line. “They don’t know anything about Lennon.” “Who don’t?” “The NYPD.” “Course they do. I’ve been on the phone to them for an hour today about it.” “Lieutenant McWhirter doesn’t exist,” he said quietly. “Who doesn’t exist? “Lieutenant McWhirter. The name you gave me of your contact in New York. There’s no such person.” “McWhirter? No, it’s not McWhirter. It’s a Lieutenant Norris. He’s coordinating it all over there.” “Norris? You said McWhirter,” Ferro said suspiciously. “I did? I…Oh, I see! Norris McWhirter! Get it?” “What?” “Norris McWhirter. He’s the editor of The Guinness Book of Records.” “I know, “replied Ferro dryly. “What the fuck’s that got to do with anything?”. “So, I must have mixed up the names. It’s Lieutenant Norris. Not McWhirter. My mistake, sorry! Anyway, try and contact him when you call the police. Here’s his number. Got a pen handy?” “No.” “Well find one—quickly!” Ferro was thinking rapidly as he copied the number down. Was she possibly on the level or was this just another scam? Should he mention Claire? He decided not to. “Look Jill. Why the fuck should I—” “Dan, you haven’t got time to discuss this with me, let alone argue. Please! You have to trust me on this one. Get out of there now, then call the police and then call me tomorrow. I’ll tell you everything then. Okay? Now go! It’s not safe for you to remain at that hotel. Please!”

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She sounded so desperate that Ferro felt almost inclined to believe her. “Okay, but just tell me why you —“ “Dan! You’ve got to go. Please! Call me tomorrow. I love you!” Ferro’s mind was churning after he’d replaced the receiver. Was she possibly—however remotely possibly—on the level about all this? He was desperately tired. This wasn’t real. It couldn’t be. He considered the situation as rationally as he could for five minutes. Suddenly he was on his feet and rapidly stuffing clothes into his bag. He grabbed his passport from the drawer, checked his pockets and dashed out of the door, along the corridor to the elevator. That was a mistake; he should have taken the stairs to the fire exit. The elevator bell clanged as the car arrived at the ground floor lobby and blended with the ting of the bell on the reception desk. Ferro’s view of the unattended desk was partially obscured by the back of a stranger dressed in a long, black wool coat. He was about six feet tall with square, massive shoulders and he turned slowly to face Ferro as he exited the elevator. All Ferro could see of the man’s face was his eyes sandwiched between a maroon wool cap pulled low down on the forehead and a red scarf wrapped tightly around the mouth and nose. Like a reverse raccoon, the eyes gazed incuriously at Ferro for a second. In that brief moment, Ferro registered that the whites showed all around the almost black irises which imparted a mesmeric quality to the stare. “Yes, can I help you?” The receptionist appeared from a side room and the quasi-masked stranger swung back to face her. Ferro turned and made for the main entrance. “In which room might I find a Mr Ferro?” Ferro’s spine contracted and the skin on the back of his neck prickled. Although the voice was muffled, there was no doubt to his experienced ear that this had been said with a London accent. In five strides, Ferro was through the main door and into the street. He turned left and sprinted wildly along the sidewalk, his breath condensing into white streams in the cold New York night. He spotted a taxi for hire stopped at the junction of the Avenue of the Americas, threw his bag into the back and collapsed on the seat. “Drive! Quick as you can. Any way. Now!” Ferro’s heart was thumping wildly as he looked through the rear window at the deserted entrance of the Salisbury Hotel. He sucked in a breath. The Eggman! The fucking Eggman! It had to be. Arguably, a miss was as good as a mile but that was just too close! He sighed and bit his knuckles. The taxi continued along West 57th, turned right on Fifth Avenue and Ferro’s pounding heart began to subside.

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And then, despite being thoroughly shaken by the events of the last ten minutes, he experienced a curious lift to his spirits. Jill had called to warn him. Possibly she had saved his life. And then there was Norris McWhirter and The Guinness Book of Records. Was there any chance she was telling the truth? * * * * *

Three hours later, Ferro was staring at the telephone in the bedroom of his new hotel, and cursing the impotence of the instrument when the intended party was not available at the other end. Ferro had requested the taxi driver to find him a cheap hotel somewhere in the vicinity of West 72nd Street and had been deposited at the Hotel Olcott. He was amused to realize that it was only just up the street from the Dakota— only 200 yards from John Lennon. From his new room, he had called Claire, Jill Pencarver and Ernie Krakowski in turn. There was no answer from either Claire’s or Jill’s number. Ernie Krakowski’s wife was at home but had informed him that Ernie was out on a case and wouldn’t be home until very late. He rang the Serious Fraud Office at New Scotland Yard but Jill wasn’t there either. For a moment, he considered leaving his new telephone number for Jill but dismissed the idea. He had no real basis to trust her; just a nascent hope. His next call to the number that Jill had given him for Lieutenant Norris brought the first good news for Ferro that evening. A desk sergeant at the other end informed him that Lieutenant Norris was only in the office from eigth-thirty to five and wouldn’t be back until Monday morning. It was information that caused Ferro to smile. So Lieutenant McWhirter didn’t exist but Lieutenant Norris evidently did! He made a final call that night to the local police station in Esher, Surrey. His police contact from earlier in the evening informed him that they had sent a patrol car to check on his in-law’s home. The house appeared to be shut up and deserted. The constable had strolled around the grounds but had seen no signs of forced entry or anything amiss. They’d woken up the neighbors but they didn’t know anything either. The policeman was sorry. Ferro was welcome to call back and make a full report in the morning but there was really nothing more they could do for him at this time.

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*

*

*

It was nearly midnight when Ernie Krakowski called back and woke him. Ferro provided the detective with a sketch of the night’s activities: the warning call from Jill, the existence of Lieutenant Norris in the NYPD, and the black farce of nearly colliding with the Eggman—assuming that’s who it was—in the lobby of the Salisbury. Krakowski took down Ferro’s necessarily limited description of the potential assassin and the details of Ferro’s new hotel. He advised Ferro to keep out of sight this weekend and to call him immediately if anything else came up. The detective also informed him that he’d be out of town all day Monday but that he’d set up a meeting with the precinct captain on Tuesday. He requested that Ferro join them to make a full and complete disclosure of the case. * * * * *

At 10:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, Ferro was standing in a gun shop in Greenwich Village feeling rather foolish. The proprietor was watching him carefully over the top of a large glass display case. “Are all these for sale?” Ferro indicated the rows of handguns arrayed like gleaming black and silver pearls on a backcloth of blue velvet. “Yes sir.” “Can I buy one?” “Yes sir.” The man looked puzzled. “And ammunition?” “Yes sir.” “How much are they?” “Depends on which one you’re interested in. They range from around eight-five for the twenty-two-caliber Bauer here,” the owner indicated a small, nickel-plated, four-inch automatic, “to over six hundred for the ninemillimeter Heckler and Koch.” He pointed to a large back semiautomatic at the front of the case. “It’s the P9S Competition Model.” “Oh yes?” Ferro nodded sagely. “Yes. Adjustable trigger, trigger stop and rear sight. Comes with four and five-and-a-half-inch interchangeable barrels.”

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Ferro struggled for an appropriate response. “What’s the magazine capacity?” he said at length, trusting that it was what one would ask in such a situation. “Nine-shot magazine plus one in the chamber.” “I see.” Ferro nodded sagely again. But what he was thinking was: This is not real! Earlier this morning, he had considered heeding Krakowski’s advice and staying in the hotel all day. What were the odds? New York was a city of seven million people. If he walked around all day, he might see at most a thousand at close quarters. So it was at least one-in-seven-thousand that he’d bump into the Eggman. And anyway, did the Eggman even know what he looked like? Had the Charm Company supplied him with some sort of photo ID of Ferro? Or had the receptionist noticed him leaving the elevator last night and pointed him out in response to the Eggman’s question? And had the Eggman got a good look at Ferro the second before? In all, it seemed pretty small odds. And so, at 9 o’clock on Saturday morning and following two hours of repeated, but fruitless attempts to reach both Claire and Jill, Ferro had taken the Broadway-7th Avenue subway down to Greenwich Village. The novelty of scrutinizing every approaching person in the street for the build of the Eggman soon wore off. And anyway he was on a pilgrimage of sorts. He spent half an hour in Washington Square searching for the spirits of Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie and their Sunday-afternoon song swaps of the late 1940s and, instead, found two drug dealers, a group of winos and a few halffrozen street people. He scanned the coffee houses on MacDougal Street and, to his delight, down a few basement steps he found the Gaslight where Mississippi bluesman John Hurt was rediscovered, still alive and strumming in 1963. He searched in vain for the Bitter End where manager Albert Grossman had brought together Peter, Paul and Mary in 1961. But he did locate the finishing school of Bob Dylan—Gerde’s Folk City—where Dylan, Joan Baez and other disciples of Woody Guthrie had gathered to spawn folk-rock even as their mentor, Guthrie, had lain dying in a New Jersey hospital across the Hudson. He’d strayed onto Christopher Street, three blocks east of Washington Square when he saw the small shop with a sign that proclaimed ‘Franklin Brothers - Gunsmiths.’ And, on a whim and half an idea, he’d entered a world alien to anything he’d left back in Europe. For here was graphic evidence of the functioning of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. What was it again? A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free
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a pose he seen many times on American TV shows. and extracted the gun. Ferro was momentarily annoyed.” “Pardon?” “Carrying a concealed loaded handgun in New York City without a permit is an offense. “It’s a copy of the Walther PPK. As long as you don’t carry it loaded.” “Oh.” With the deft motion of an expert. “What about that one?” Ferro pointed in the middle of the display case. he clicked on the safety an slid back the top slide.” So he could buy it but it was illegal to carry it without a permit. The Walther would set you back around four-fifty. But the man continued to stare solemnly at Ferro and the deadly black instrument in his hand. almost to himself.” “I see. The Second Amendment said nothing about requiring a permit from the mayor in order to be able to bear arms did it? He shrugged to himself. threeeighty auto. “SIG-Sauer P230. the proprietor would collapse with laughter. he extended his arm in order to squint along the sights.” “And I can own this legally in New York City?” “Yes. Ferro was certain that if he were to mimic the sound of a shot. Takes about four to six weeks. The man—a Franklin brother perhaps—unlocked the case from the rear. Gun control seemed to be a good idea to him and yet here he was on a Saturday morning in New York. It may be granted if you have special need.” he commented. seriously considering procuring an instant handgun for personal defense. Ferro smiled at the irony. the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. he sighted on the butt of a World War II rifle across the shop and squeezed an imaginary trigger. double action automatic. 261 . Feeling slightly ridiculous. Bending his knees slightly. It was heavier than he expected and slightly oily. So it was illegal. He reversed the gun and offered the open-chambered piece to Ferro who took it gingerly in both hands.A Day in the Life state. He brought his left hand across and grasped his right wrist. but only if he was caught. “How much?” “Two hundred ninety-nine. That’s a good price. Something like that. How do I get a permit?” “You apply for it through the mayor’s office. Just how many illegally concealed handguns were out on the streets of New York anyway? And personal protection was a case of special need wasn’t it? Ferro transferred the weapon to his right hand.

“My license?” “Yes. In one respect it was a ridiculous idea. “Okay I’ll take it. “Thank you. I’ll need it for identification and registration purposes. is it sir?” The proprietor raised an eyebrow as he slid the black automatic across the glass counter top. “Then. with the mental reservation that it would all but wipe out his Barclaycard Visa credit limit. From England. sir.L. he’d only need the gun for a few days at most and then what would he do with it? He couldn’t take it legally into England and attempting to smuggle it through UK customs would probably result in a jail sentence if he were caught. “I fear we have been wasting each other’s time. Would the shop buy it back from him? Ferro procrastinated for twenty seconds and suddenly made up his mind. He snapped the slide shut and placed the gun delicately back on its velvet bed in the display case. I’m afraid not. It had taken the decision out of his hands. he’d be safer on the streets of New York with the Eggman looking for him. Will there be anything else. sir. So the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed providing you’ve got a New York 262 . I’ll need your driver’s license. in another.” “What?” “I’m afraid we can only sell guns to legal residents of New York State. sir?’” Ferro strode along Christopher Street considerably perplexed.” he said. “It’s the expiry date—my seventieth birthday. And there could be only one possible reason that the thug was seeking him.” the man smiled obsequiously. But he was also slightly relieved.” “Are you also a resident of New York State with a New York driver’s license?” “No.” Ferro shook his head. But also. The man was still studying Ferro’s license on the counter top “It is a driver’s license is it? What does this number mean?” Ferro followed his finger. “What’s this?” The man examined the folded green document with puzzlement.” “Oh!” Ferro was despondent.” “A driver’s license that doesn’t expire until the year 2018 and doesn’t even have a photo ID on it? Not a particularly useful document. John Perkins Ferro’s resolve swung from one extreme to another. “It’s my driving license. “I’m sorry we couldn’t be of service to you there. Ferro shrugged. But. reached into his wallet and pulled out his British driving license.

no Sutton and the situation at Claire’s parents. surely? Four times yesterday and once this morning. The paper must have weighed three pounds but Ferro had quickly realized that most of the bulk was due to advertisements. Surprised. After leaving Greenwich Village yesterday. a lover. he made for the subway. he’d tried her number at New Scotland Yard. He’d scanned the entrance hallway of the Brill Building half-hoping to spot Leiber and Stoller. He shouldn’t still be in New York.A Day in the Life driver’s license and a permit from the mayor! Less than impressed with the Bill of Rights. hash browns. No story was worth this sacrifice. bacon. The high point had been an evening visit to CBGBs in the Bowery where he caught an impromptu performance by Talking Heads. and now possibly a co-conspirator again. slumming in their postpunk commercial success. he must go home. he’d whiled away the afternoon as a tourist. * * * * * The next morning found Ferro scanning the voluminous Sunday edition of the New York Times at a diner near his new hotel. The officer had a message for him from Detective Sergeant Pencarver. toast and coffee— all for $3. a crook. It was too dangerous and he was needed back home. Could he 263 . or Phil Spector. The duty officer wouldn’t say where she was but then asked if he was a Mr Ferro. if only he could reach her to find out what the hell was going on. But all the while he’d been haunted by guilt. Where had she got to now? In the past two weeks Pencarver had become a will-o’-the-wisp in various guises—a confidant. but knowing all the time that it had been twenty years since they’d all been there. With no leads. unarmed. but was now sitting disconsolately staring out of the diner window. Each page of the main section carried only a few column-inches of news with the rest occupied by displays of Macy’s one-dayspecials and the like. He’d looked at the outside of several Broadway theaters and strolled though the sex industry of Times Square. He was out of ideas. Ferro answered in the affirmative. he’d tried reaching Jill at her home without success. sausages. Just before leaving for the diner this morning. He was blasted by a gale-force wind at the top of the Empire State Building and frustrated by bureaucratic international tour guides at the United Nations Headquarters. Goffin and King.15. He’d just enjoyed one of those ridiculously good-value American breakfasts—eggs.

believe me. He continued to stare impassively up West 72nd Street towards Central Park. Simple as that. New York City. Again he considered leaving her his number at the Olcott. and had requested that Mr Ferro call her there. there’s always a limo waiting for him. He’ll go out rarely in the evenings but. Especially with the Eggman around. “So. “He’ll want to talk to me. Leaving late afternoon and returning around 10:30 p.” The doorman inclined his head fractionally. Sergeant Pencarver would be at home later today at 5:00 p. John Perkins leave a number for her where he could be contacted? Ferro demurred.” continued Ferro quietly. it was a different doorman from that of last Thursday night. The last few days he’s been going to the studio.” hissed the doorman. “And when he does. purchased a New York Yankees’ baseball cap from a rack at the check-out. when is he likely to come out?” “Depends. if he does. looked decidedly unfriendly on this bleak Sunday morning in December. Ferro was standing in the covered entranceway to the Dakota and had just accomplished something that he’d always viewed with distaste in the past—bribery. In that case he was informed. To a casual observer. “All I need is to know when Lennon is likely to come out. He really must go home now. His depression deepened as he stared through the window at the trash and graffiti in the street outside. And fortunately for Ferro. Or could he? He checked in his wallet and noted three twenty-dollar-bills. I need five seconds to say something to him. * * * * * Twenty minutes later.m.m. The three twenty-dollar-bills were firmly secured in the white-gloved fist of a Dakota doorman. “He occasionally goes out to Cafe La Fortuna for a cappuccino and to read the papers. Ferro shuffled up to pay his bill and. He pulled the dark blue hat with the superimposed ‘NY’ badge over his head. But he decided against it.” The doorman swiveled to take in a loitering fan 264 . or so. Okay?” The doorman nodded almost imperceptibly. supposedly the world’s most vital and exciting metropolis. There was nothing to do here. it appeared he had nothing to do with Ferro. Perhaps there was a way. He couldn’t get to Lennon.L. on a whim.

Stay there. He was painfully thin and his thinness 265 . it’s all right! I’m Dan Ferro from England!” he whispered urgently to Lennon.” Lennon scooted out of the back seat and led Ferro to the front of the vehicle. two figures were striding out of the building heading for the car—two figures of immediate familiarity to Ferro and to at least half the population of the world. Ferro grimaced. I get off at midday. He stopped dead. “I knows this bloke. He turned back to Ono and supported her arm as she climbed into the limousine. The chauffeur rounded the vehicle and grasped Ferro by the shoulders. “Will you still be here this evening?” Ferro asked. Ferro couldn’t help grinning broadly at the figure before him. I’ve been on since four this morning. You know. A black stretchlimousine had just turned into the entranceway of the Dakota. His sixty dollars was going to run out in an hour. Lennon swung open the rear door. He was dressed in a black leather jacket. “No. A uniformed chauffeur was climbing out of the driving seat. should I try coming back at—” He froze in mid-sentence. startled at Ferro’s approach. about the Charm Company?” Lennon was now completely inside the car. “John. “I’ll jest be a sec. It was a young man in his midtwenties. and had placed a foot in the rear of the limousine when Ferro arrived and stepped between Lennon and Yoko Ono following about three yards away. He was clutching a copy of Lennon’s Double Fantasy album under his arm.A Day in the Life behind Ferro at the entrance to the building. “It’s okay Harry. “Mr Lennon! John!” Ferro was running across to the limousine before giving it a second thought. light blue jeans and an oversized cap set at a jaunty angle.” The doorman seemed adept at talking quietly out of the side of his mouth. “We had an appointment the other night. laconic Liverpudlian drawl from inside the car. Satisfied. Simultaneously. The doorman watched the situation for a second before turning his back to stare across the street. John Lennon looked up. A real Beatle in the flesh! Lennon was an inch or so shorter than himself. So. pulling him roughly aside. the doorman turned back to continue his unseeing scrutiny of Central Park. Where was you the oother night then?” Despite the situation. scanned from Ferro to the doorman still occupied with the imaginary situation on the other side of the street and then darted towards the car.” came the famous.” Lennon returned to Ferro in front of the car and looked at him shrewdly. “So Mr Journalist. luv’. Or at least I think I do. “I see.

Bruce Pearlstein.” “So where is he then?” “I don’t know. I couldn’t get in. It’s my friend. I couldn’t get in here. “Look John. “Look.” began Ferro too gushingly. Then he sighed and dropped his shoulders. Ferro wasn’t sure but there seemed to be something akin to fear in the other’s eyes. He’d anticipated this conversation for days but now was unsure how to proceed. “What story?” Lennon asked again. What if Lennon flatly denied any of it? Then he’d be at an impasse.” “What story?” said Lennon truculently. Without him. He said you had some information for me. His stuff’s still in his hotel room. who’s disappeared. “And what?” Lennon was looking at him searchingly. He was the one that told me about you. glanced out into the street again.” “Disappeared eh?” Lennon frowned. he looked almost frail. He hasn’t done a bunk. the one who made the contact with Pearlstein. “Well?” “It’s a real pleasure to meet you John.L. He shifted his gaze to take in the loitering fan in the street behind Ferro. John Perkins seemed to accentuate his already long nose. I know that. I didn’t know Pearlstein’s name you see. “Yeah.” “Was he the record producer who set up the meeting?” “Yeah. But my contact— the one I was supposed to come here with—he’s disappeared. “The other night. Gone was the chubby. He looked back questioningly at Ferro. but I’m worried. Lennon scanned the young man for a second or two and returned to Ferro. I know the whole story. Ferro hesitated again. “Well. Ferro took a deep breath. “Disappeared how?” “I don’t know. Thursday. “Bruce Pearlstein?” “Pearlstein?” Ferro looked puzzled. Mr Journalist?” said Lennon his head jutted forward slightly. He stared at Ferro waiting for him to continue. I was here.” “Have you tried to trace him?” “Yes. There were creases around his eyes. And…” Ferro hesitated. About Paul McCartney. To Ferro. Have you?” “Ah! Then that’s the missing link. saucy Lennon of the mid-Sixties. Then I—” “Who’s disappeared?” Lennon interjected. What is it?” 266 . He switched quickly. Pearlstein said you had some information for me or summat. He hasn’t been seen since that morning.

Again his eyes settled for a moment on the young man with the record album leaning against the wall. I know all about your involvement—the Beatles’ involvement— with them.” He spelled it out. We’re late!” 267 . I know about the deal you made with the Charm Company fourteen years ago. the Eggman’s here.” The change in Lennon’s demeanor was immediate.” Lennon made no acknowledgement. I know about the Charm Company’s unsavory organization—had a nasty encounter with them in fact. “In particular. I could write the story for you. I’m a journalist—a music journalist. “So…look John. Right?” Lennon look at him silently. “They wouldn’t dare! They couldn’t. He looked directly at his fellow countryman and said. He stared at Ferro waiting for him to continue. “And so?” “And so John.A Day in the Life Ferro decided to drop the frontal assault.” Lennon shrugged. I could be your conduit to the world.” Ferro gave a humorless half smile. “Okay Mr Journalist Ferro person. They threatened to…but I didn’t think they’d…and where’s the fucking police when you need ‘em?” Suddenly. Dan Ferro. Perhaps we might consider a deal here.” Lennon stared hard at Ferro and then swiveled to encompass the street over Ferro’s left shoulder. in New York. he smacked his fist into his palm. At least I think it was him. Finally he said. The offer didn’t seem very appealing to him. Better to pursue what he knew would concern Lennon at this moment. “What’s your name again?” “Ferro. “But I need to hear your side of the story. A very good one. Suppose I was to—” “John!” came a shrill voice from the limousine . “So how come you’re mixed up in this?” “Well I’ve discovered the secret—your secret. It seems we’re both on his list and we both need to take care. ah…break free. “So where is he and how do you know any of this?” “I don’t know where he is at the moment but I narrowly avoided him the day before yesterday. “The bastards! The fucking bastards. “Okay John.” Ferro continued.” His gaze shot back to Ferro. I have some information about the Charm Company. And I believe he’s out to get you. “The Eggman?” He was clearly startled “Yes. “Come on. I also believe that you are about to. At length he appeared to make up his mind. what’s caused this latest situation between you and them?” Lennon stared at him for several long seconds.

I don’t ever go out.” “Enough?” “Yep. I don’t own my own publishing.” he began hesitantly. Contrary to what everyone and their mother believes!” Ferro was dumbstruck. We’re not permitted to. um…but that they—the Charm Company—have vetoed it?” Lennon nodded slowly. “You mean to say that you would all perform together again even with. They won’t risk it. shaking his head. “Coming luv!” called Lennon.L. “you finally broke up because the Charm Company wouldn’t let you perform together live anymore? You mean it wasn’t um…?” He inclined his head slowly towards the limousine. even with their new addition but they were ‘not permitted to. “And so. “Why are they gunning for you?” Lennon considered for a moment and then shrugged. He nodded up at the Dakota. Can you believe that? Not permitted!” He spat on the ground in disgust. I’m not allowed to do anything. Lennon smiled wanly.” Ferro prompted. Not allowed to do anything without their say-so. I’m a hermit. The very few times I’ve been on stage myself—illegally they say—they’ve threatened all sorts of things if it ever happens again. “But what about Double Fantasy? That’s just been released. I can’t write without their approval. Ferro couldn’t believe it. He couldn’t formulate a response. I can’t perform officially. all love to do it in fact. But we can’t. Fucking crazy huh? We’d do it.” 268 . “Now where were we?” “I need to know what’s happening now. “Yep. “’Cos I’ve had enough. “I won’t be a second. partially obscuring her eyes. It had nothing at all to do with her. Her thick. unkempt hair framed her face in the shape of an ‘A’. The last decade’s been a fucking nightmare.” Lennon continued. “I’m a fucking recluse. I don’t do anything. “No Mr Ferro. in case you and the rest of the world haven’t noticed. John Perkins Ferro looked around the side of the car to where Yoko Ono’s head was protruding from the rear window. I’m shackled to my prison tower”. And the world would love it too. The Beatles would be willing to get back together again. They’ve refused point blank to let us perform together live again. And the Beatles—the Beatles are not permitted to get back together again.’ “Do you mean….” He looked back at Ferro. I’ve been a virtual prisoner.” Ferro was astounded. Everything has to be controlled and approved by them to the letter. Ferro stared at the second long-term collaborator of Lennon’s life.

The world was at your feet. fucking priceless. Had it done independently. But what the fuck use is money?” Lennon waved his hand expansively at the building looming above them. And I’ll regain my soul—whatever the consequences!” “But what about the Charm Company? They’ll never let you—“ “Ah. not directly. John? Where’s he from.” Lennon straightened up to his full height. Usually as a threat. Like a good Catholic. He chewed a forefinger and stared at Ferro. And just after they’d leaned on the immigration service to get them to grant my green card as well.” “But you had everything back then. no.” “So why did you do it?” “The album?” Lennon looked puzzled. It’s time to tell the world—a public confession if you like. You’re in real danger. “Is that where you got the words for ‘I am the Walrus’ from. I negotiated that album all by myself. eh?” he said acidly. Do you know him?” Lennon shook his head. They won’t dare!” “But John.A Day in the Life “Yeah. But I know of him. “They must have paid you a bunch of money. “Why did you sell out to them originally?” Lennon shrugged. inches from Ferro’s face. I’m filthy rich. I’ll repent to the world. fuck the Charm Company! I’m a world famous personality. Bastards!” Ferro couldn’t stop himself. They…” Ferro paused. I can afford any bleedin’ thing in the world I want.” This gave Lennon pause for thought. it’s time to buy it back again. They’re mad as hell. “No. And that—I realized too late—was priceless.” Caught the Company totally by surprise. John?” Lennon stared at him grimly.” Lennon grinned suddenly.” Ferro shook his head vigorously. “So just who is this Eggman character.” “Money! Huh! They paid us more money than you’ll ever imagine. “I own a quarter of the apartments in this building. 269 . “I sold my soul—my soul of musical freedom. “No. An act of contrition. I don’t. “It seemed a good idea at the time. that one. The last straw so they said. “And now Mr Journalist. But…” he paused and leaned forward. “I’m bigger than they are. they have dared. The Eggman’s here in New York. “Let’s keep our eyes on the fucking ball. The most expensive real estate in New York.” Lennon said arrogantly. His presence was always dangled over us.

I’ll see you tomorrow night. Suddenly the young man from the street appeared in front of him offering Lennon’s new album and a pen with both arms outstretched.” Lennon replied. Come over at eleven. “I was going away but I’m not now. tomorrow night? Can you come over here tomorrow night? It’s important to me if you can. The fan grasped the now-valuable album to his chest and stared intently as Lennon’s limousine backed out of the entranceway.” Lennon glanced from Ferro to the limousine.” Lennon looked back to Ferro. to the street and back to Ferro. okay. “So how would you like to proceed on this? How can I help?” “Well.m. “At once! I’m not going to wait any longer.” he hissed. Eleven p. I need you!” Lennon moved to the rear door of the limousine. Okay?” Lennon’s stare was hard and aggressive. I could really use you. “Then I can go back to the police. She looked decidedly angry. She doesn’t stay up late. we can’t talk anymore now. “We’ll be in the recording studio until about ten thirty tomorrow evening. I’ll tell the front desk you’re expected.” he smiled. Ferro shrugged. “She knows nothing about any of this. * * * * * 270 . So. “Mr Lennon. He took both proffered objects and signed his name with a flourish on the back of the album cover. What do you think?” “Sure. “Okay. We’ll talk after Yoko’s gone to bed. John Perkins “Okay.L.” Ferro nodded fervently. first I need to know everything you know.” said Ferro hurriedly. “Nothing at all. can you autograph this for me?” Lennon looked at him sharply and then relaxed. Don’t be late. Okay?” “Sure. We can…work this out together. And I need it to stay that way. Not now. Um…” He searched for a moment. “Look. And we’re not going to be back here tonight.” “Okay Mr Journalist Ferro person. “Okay. you and I can—“ “John! John! Come along now!” Yoko Ono’s head was back out of the limousine’s window. And meanwhile. He had no reason to regard the fans that loitered at the entrance to the building as threats. Not then.

There’s a fearsome echo on the line.” “I said what about Reuther?” “He’s due to arrive there tomorrow. or rather. “We’ve been trying to move on the Charm Company. They bought me off.” “Mop up what?” “The Charm Company.” Ferro frowned.” Ferro nodded. “Right.A Day in the Life At midday. That’s why we’ve had to wait. you’d gone to the Charm Company Offices to confront them—you saw Sylburner. I’ll be there to identify them though. actor extraordinaire.” she replied. I infiltrated their inner sanctum. Ferro finally reached Jill Pencarver. But the Sweeney are leading the operation. they thought they had.” “We? Who’s we?” “Well it’s our—the SFO’s—job. and the scene afterwards in Soho Square? What the fuck was that all about?” “Ah ha! That was Jill Pencarver. Monday night—they’re all down at Gilmartin’s place in the country. “What?” “The week before last—you know. double agent and Jill Pencarver. They do all the dangerous upfront stuff. on Friday night and yesterday night. “So where the fuck have you been?” “Working.” “The Flying Squad?” “Yeah. I lied to you in the restaurant. Meanwhile. Sylburner and all the sidemen in one go.” “Hmm…” Ferro hesitated. when I was working undercover?” “Right. and so?” “You should be honored to know they considered you a real threat. “Trying to mop up. Down in Wiltshire. That was the Charm Company I was with.” “So what’s been going on?” he asked suspiciously.” “Well. I’ve hardly slept for four days. But now we’ve decided to wait ‘til they’re all in one place. So we can get them all in one go. Then we nab them all at once.” “Uh-huh?” 271 . He was disinclined to trust her.” “What about Reuther?” “What? I can’t hear you very well. And we’re having a hell of a time. Jill and now…the…the day I left for the States? When I saw you talking to Reuther. That got me in direct contact with Reuther. Tomorrow night. “Okay. They’ll go in first—tie up Gilmartin.

He was furious I was involved with you. It still sounds fantastic. “Right! And that day in Soho Square was a test. I’ll have to write it up very carefully. “So that’s why you were so cool later that week!” he asked finally. “…you thought if you told me you were working for them then I might spill the beans that I was too? It was a test?” “Right. And I was so pleased later when it was confirmed you were clean. John Perkins “And so they framed you. He didn’t want to think about it. But I’ve really got to go. I’ll be back around ten o’clock my time. I had to try to find out Dan. We’ve got a final planning meeting for tomorrow night’s operation and I’m late. I had to know.” “Hmm. Stay in your new hotel and call me later okay?” “But is that what you meant by ‘I’m in the clear’ on Friday?” “Right sweetie. five days later the evidence passed across my desk. Just what would he have done if Reuther really had offered him half-a-million pounds at Kings Cross Station? He shook his head. really. By coincidence. My boss is having a hard time believing any of the Beatles’ stuff.” “Whoa! Hold on there. I wasn’t sure of you. They tried to implicate you in the conspiracy—Reuther at work again. I refused at first but he told me I had find out if it was true. So how did you finally find out?” “Look Dan it’ll take too long to explain now.L. “What was true?” “That you’d taken an enormous payoff. exactly! I thought it was worth a try. In fact you really threw me for a minute turning up like that out of the blue. Especially as I’d just been meeting with Reuther. And look—I’m going to need a full data dump from you about all this Beatles’ intrigue and the Charm Company. “You’re kidding? How did you know I’d be there?” “I didn’t.” “You’re kidding “No. I sat on it for two days. Or tried to. Then I took it to my boss. We didn’t know they were involved in any of this ‘til I met you. Let me get back and publish my exclusive first!” 272 . I need to hear all your news about Lennon. I’m so glad it wasn’t true Dan. I couldn’t believe it—couldn’t believe you’d been turned. Let’s have a long chat then. I’ve got to go. I’ll need to submit a new report immediately.” Ferro shook his head in disbelief.” Ferro’s mind raced. I just did it on the spur of the moment.” “So you…” Ferro slowly shook his head. Told me to break it off immediately. I didn’t know what to do.

I told you I’d look after it. wait. Bye!” “Hold on. Just while we’re cleaning up the Charm Company. After you told me about Reuther’s threats to you.” “The Sweeney? You sent the Sweeney down there? You mean to say they were police all the time?” “Yep.” She chuckled again. Anyway. “You know? How do you know?” “I sent them down there. after keeping a watch on the house for a while. “How come the local police in Esher didn’t know about it? I’ve talked to them several times.” Pencarver replied. Talk to you later on.” “I bet she is. I’ve been having kittens about it for the past two days!” “Yeah. Now I’ve got to go. “Well it would’ve surely helped me if they’d known.” “Oh did you?” “Yes. from the Flying Squad actually. to a safer place for a few days. I got a message from Claire on Friday that the house was being watched. we all thought it best to move the family—your wife and daughter and your in-laws. “By the way. forget that! There’s a bigger problem. They kept an eye on the house from the outside for a morning. Claire. I love you. and we determined you were kosher after all. okay. “Wasn’t their concern was it?” Ferro snorted. in a car outside. I still need to know about the Eggman. I’m really late.” “You moved them?” Ferro was incredulous. Your mother-in-law is particularly interested to talk to you about it all. They’d have meddled anyway. We moved your family to a safe house ‘til we completed the arrests. What’s he likely to—” Ferro grimaced.” “We didn’t need to involve them. They were from Scotland Yard.” “Yeah I know. A very nice lady. I had the Flying Squad sent down there. making a mental note to delay the call for a day or so.” “Who were?” “The watchers. I also got to meet your wife. There’s trouble at Claire’s parent’s house in Esher. well it’s all right now. “You clearly have good taste in women Daniel Ferro!” * * * * * 273 . But he also was feeling immensely relieved. I’d give them a call later if I were you. “No.” She laughed shortly.A Day in the Life “Okay. Then I couldn’t reach her or her parents since then. Two men she said.” Ferro said darkly.

Ferro wondered if the nascent authors of New York City were capable of any adjectives other than four-letter words. only on the condition that none of it be published? Then where would Ferro’s loyalty lie? To the leader of the greatest band that ever was. So Ferro’s estimated odds of one-in-seven-thousand were low by at least a factor of seven. No one spoke. The odds were more like one-in-a-thousand. In an hour or two all would become clear. a curious mix of humanity. And. Ferro had been formally correct in his estimation that New York City contained around seven million people. Finally he would get to interview John Lennon. Brooklyn and Staten Island. But would the ex-Beatle tell all? Suppose he just needed Ferro’s help in exposing the Charm Company today but refused to talk about McCartney on the record? And even if he talked. in Manhattan. and Ferro was heading north on a subway train to his rendezvous with Lennon. one-in-athousand chances come up around a thousand times a day. It was 9:30 p. For. even if he agreed to fill in the gaps of what had transpired fourteen years ago. the subway car was about two-thirds full. In a little over an hour he would be at the end of a quest that had consumed his life for the last month. was unseasonably warm in New York City. At Times Square almost half the car got out to be replaced with a fresh set of characters for Ferro to inspect. Two days ago. the Bronx. He was excited but very apprehensive. John Perkins The evening of Monday. December 8. There were also a couple of decided oddballs. At 9:32 p. Queens. would he allow Ferro to publish it? What if Lennon confided in him and agreed to an exchange of information. Ferro had spent the early evening in Greenwich Village and was now heading uptown inside the belly of Manhattan on the Broadway-7th AvenueLocal.m.L. or to the publishing of one of the greatest exposés in history? But hadn’t Lennon said it was time to tell the world? Ferro shook his head. vandal-proof fiberglass seat and the eyes in each swaying head were fixed sightlessly on the floor.. Ferro was about to win big time. Was this the melting pot in gestation or had these people been here for generations? The bright lights of the car highlighted the graffiti sprayed over the advertisements and across the cream-colored ceiling. Each body was fixed to a hard. And then he could get the hell back to London and blazon his story worldwide.m. He was idly scanning each new occupant when he was confronted with a feature of the laws of probability—the property of large numbers. standing five yards down the car and holding the overhead 274 . However. In the island of Manhattan itself at this time on a Monday evening there were less than a million people. this population was distributed between the five boroughs of Manhattan.

He was gazing in Ferro’s general direction and the whites of his eyes showed all around the almost black irises. Desperately he wondered whether the receptionist had noticed him and had pointed him out to the Eggman as Ferro had walked out of the entrance. ivory look to the oval surface. chanced a quick glance. He was dressed in a long black wool coat with a red scarf hanging loosely around his neck. Of all the luck! Of all the minuscule odds! Suddenly his stomach knotted—suppose it wasn’t luck? Suppose the Eggman was following him? If so.A Day in the Life rail to brace himself against the pitching motion of the train was a man about six feet in height and almost over-square in build. He bit hard on the inside of his cheek. his heart sinking. Should he attempt to slip away at the next stop or should he stay on to the terminus? Christ— which one? * * * * * 275 . pulled the peak of the baseball cap down over his eyes as casually as he could. He hadn’t bothered to check when he’d got on as they all shared a common route to his intended stop at 72nd Street. but the face in the hotel lobby on Friday had been obscured by the scarf and a now-absent cap. He dropped his head and. domed-shaped head was shaven close to the scalp. Ferro raised his head a fraction. And had the Eggman registered any impression of Ferro as he had left the elevator? Ferro’s brown jacket—the one he’d been wearing in the lobby—was now balled up on his lap. He felt his bowels contract and his heart began to pound. offering a silent prayer for his impromptu purchase at the diner yesterday. Ferro gave a fleeting mirthless smile as he stared rigidly downwards. There couldn’t be much mistaking those eyes even unframed by the scarf and cap. Was it him? The outward clues matched. Which train was he on? Was it the number-1 to 242nd Street in the Bronx or was it the number-3 to 148th Street in Harlem? And there also appeared to be a number-2 to White Plains Road in the Bronx. imparting a smooth. he had to remain in the lighted car where there was safety in numbers. and looked back at the floor. The man’s high. And there was something else that his quick snapshot had registered. The Eggman! The fucking Eggman! His thoughts flashed back to the lobby of the Salisbury Hotel. He leaned slowly forward to cloak the article with his arms. Ferro froze in his seat. But how long could he stay here? Where did this train terminate? He tilted his head fractionally until he could see the subway map out of the corner of his eye.

Suddenly. Before the work on his recently released LP.L. he stared down the car at the back of the Eggman as they both swayed in unison to the motion of the accelerating train. he’d re-entered the studio today to start on some new songs. The Eggman hadn’t moved. Buoyed by the album’s success. * * * * * 276 . but risky. * * * * * The darkness of the tunnel outside was interrupted by flashing images as the train rattled into 50th Street station. that he probably hadn’t been recognized in the hotel lobby. Reaching for the overhead rail. Ferro looked back at his watch—an hour before he had to see Lennon at the Dakota—and decided three things: that he probably wasn’t being followed. his eyes were swiveled sideways watching the blackcoated figure inside the train from beneath the peak of his baseball cap. it would confirm he was being followed but he would still be able to re-enter the car via the end doors. Ferro was up and out of his seat. his heart thumping in his chest. John Lennon was working at the job he knew and loved so well. Double Fantasy had only been released two weeks ago. Now they were coming thick and fast. All the time. Two latearriving passengers dashed for the doors. The doors hissed open and several people got on. Ferro chanced a look at his watch and then squinted back through the train window. John Perkins Two miles away in a recording studio on Lexington Avenue. it had been five years since he’d written a song. The compressed air cylinders under the train hissed and the doors along its length began their leisurely closure in concert. If the Eggman now got out. and that he had just enough time to to execute an audacious. They were his songs—illegal songs—and nothing to do with the Charm Company. Lennon was back! The music industry was delighted. The Charm Company was not. Thirty seconds passed. He jumped back into the car through the end doors as they rattled shut behind him. plan of action. There was a shouted warning from the platform conductor that the train was about to depart. He stepped out through the center doors and walked deliberately down the emptying platform towards the end of the car.

“Bottom floor is occupied. Doesn’t seem to be any one guarding the front.” “Hey. glanced at his watch and depressed the talk button on his radio.” he said softly. “See anything. Blue Team standing by.” “Maybe. If they’re there they must be well hidden. Moving out to you anytime. but it doesn’t harm to be careful. “Roger Gold Team.” She craned her head between his shoulder and the window frame. sidling up behind him.” Taylor hissed. December 9. The latter’s response contained a question.” The Chief Inspector looked to his side. No one outside the house. keep out of sight of the window. What’s the status of the armaments?” D 277 . The grounds of the old manor house a quarter-mile distant lit up like a Christmas tree—albeit a putrid green one. There’s someone active in the second floor bedroom. sir? We’re in total darkness. Taylor directed a hooded pencil flashlight at his notepad on the table.” Taylor repeated the message to his Yellow Team. “Roger Gold Team. Go minus thirty-minutes. sir?” whispered Jill Pencarver. Taylor scanned for several seconds then lowered the binocular-like object and switched it off. one room still has a small light on. “No action outside. eh Sergeant? Especially your Reuther chappie. Reuther was heading here this morning to meet them—if our information was correct.” There was a crackle of static from the instrument followed by.— Chapter 18 — Sweeney Todd Tuesday. “Surely they can’t see anything up here. Couple of cars in the driveway. 1980 (Greenwich Mean Time) etective Chief Inspector Taylor of the Flying Squad raised the Bushnell image intensifier to his eyes and pointed at the blackness through the open window.” Pencarver crossed her fingers in the dark. Maybe a table lamp.” “They should be sir. “Well let’s hope they’re all there. “Gold Team to Blue Team—pigeons are in the roost. Good job there’s no moon. “I can’t see a thing. The mosquito whine of the high voltage power supply ceased abruptly. Yellow Team standing by.

There’s only sidearms “What? You’re kidding me?” “No. The Cat-A section’s not authorized.L. Arrayed in gray foam rubber cut-outs inside the lid and affixed by Velcro straps were twelve Smith & Wesson Model-59 semi-automatics. Where do you want them?” He indicated the suitcase. John Perkins “They’ll be with you in five minutes. “Here sir.” As Taylor was signing his name. “Hoadley. He was carrying a stout. “But we requested this Cat-B and one Cat-A cache of six automatics!” “This is it sir. Withdrawing a clipboard from inside the case. Okay. Sorry sir. The newcomer strode across the threshold. he offered it to Taylor. where are the autos?” “This is it sir. Taylor frowned. Inching the door open. he opened the door fully. you’re late. Just unload ‘em. he was scrutinizing the contents of the case. One case. Cat-B release only. he peered at the warrant card offered by the person outside.” The young detective constable stood to attention and stared at the ceiling. “Well Jill.” “Shit! You’ve got to be kidding?” “Perfectly serious sir.” Pencarver looked concerned. The detective sergeant by the door activated a red safe light on the table. manipulated the combination lock on the suitcase and opened the lid. Satisfied. Only just in time. Look at the authorization” Hoadley directed the flashlight to the clipboard in Taylor’s hand.” Taylor thought for a moment and then looked up. That’s all there is. The young policeman unlocked the handcuff from his wrist. sir.” “But where are the automatics?” “This was only a Category-B release Sir. we’ll take them from here. “Sign here please sir. The bottom of the case contained a set of shoulder holsters each with outer pockets holding two spare 14-round magazines. plastic-shelled suitcase secured by handcuffs to his left wrist. it seems we only have sidearms tonight.” “Is that a problem?” She raised an eyebrow. “D-C Hoadley.” He indicated the floor in front of the safe light.” As he spoke there were three long raps on the door followed by three short ones. There’s no automatic weapons—no Ingrams or H-and-K’s. “Where are the rest? “Rest sir?” “Yes. 278 . He’s on his way up now. “Is there a problem sir?” “Hmm.

He signed for this release. “And this time I need every bullet accounted for in your reports tomorrow!” “Do you need any extra flak jackets sir?” Hoadley asked.” “Is that…” Taylor shone the flashlight at his notepad. sir. “Are they pussycats Sergeant? It’s your case after all. “They’re only an hour or so away. we either cancel it for tonight or go with sidearms. Right Jill?” “Sir.” “Not really sure.” “But this request was made yesterday—priority.A Day in the Life Taylor shrugged. It’ll be light by then.” Looking over at the couch. “Keith. What do you think Dennis?” He looked across at the oldest of two policemen seated on the couch. sir.” This to the policeman at the door. The other thought for a second and shrugged. four each for your teams.” Hoadley interjected. A couple of them might be armed as we said in our report. he said. So I’d go for it sir. “I’ve got them in the car. Only a chiefsuper. Anyway. “Dennis. Taylor bit his lip. “We’ve also got the Bushmasters in the car—for the backdoor hinges if we need them. You said they weren’t going to be here after night. They seem to be pussycats to me.” Pencarver nodded. one each for you and me.” Taylor turned to Pencarver. “Might be.” 279 .” “No.” He indicated the suitcase. We can’t get ‘em released tonight.” “What about Bristol Center sir?” Hoadley asked. not for a Cat-A release. No evidence of anything else. Okay.” “Hmm…” Taylor made a snap decision. “um…Reuther and Smith?” “Right. Do we know what we’re up against in there?” He turned back to the case. “not at this time in the early hours. “There wasn’t one on duty tonight anyway.” Taylor shook his head. I know it was short notice but this was a one-night-only job. it’d take young Hoadley six hours to get to London and back. So it’s our only chance to get them all together. “Okay. Probably only handguns if that. “It’s too late now. Lenny. let’s do it. “So what happened to the Cat-A I wonder?” “Category-A’s require the authority of a deputy commissioner sir. But they’re not going to be here after tonight.

” The tension in the room had risen markedly since the firearms had arrived. Routine planned jobs like this are always a real pain. “Okay Jill.” “Yeah.” Taylor smiled shortly.” Pencarver made quotation signs around the words ‘wait here’ and rolled her eyes. Make sure they’ve got ‘em all.” Taylor patted his chest. We’ll see you later for the I. “I’m just on loan to the Flying Squad for three months. ‘fraid so.” “Expert…or just courier?” Realizing that was demeaning. we might need you later. Armaments expert actually. “But this is the burden we bear for not having our police armed. the four members of the Flying Squad strode from the room. At least for a planned operation like this. “I would say it’s worth the price. I’m just here to do the I.” Hoadley adopted a superior look that was lost on Pencarver in the dark. Keep it set to that and don’t change it. That’s why I have to wait here. Chief Inspector Taylor looked across to Pencarver. you’re not with the Sweeney then.” she responded testily.” He indicated the remaining guns in the suitcase. And you need to keep an eye on these. Pencarver hurried to add: “So do we always go through that rigmarole to release guns for Sweeney jobs? Seems like an incredible impediment to getting anything done. “No. Anxious to be in action. Two minutes later at 2:45am GMT. Sarge?” Detective Constable Hoadley asked.D’s once they’ve rounded them up. the three subordinates sifted rapidly through the contents of the suitcase. “Hang around here. Serious Fraud Office. we’re fine.D.” “Not yet you’re not. In real emergencies there’s the ARU’s—armed response units. “How about you?” “Special Branch actually. Channel C on the radio. Accompanying them were ten Smith & Wesson semi-automatics. John Perkins “No. Let’s move out. Wait here. * * * * * “So. sir. wouldn’t you?” 280 . “What time are you due back Hoadley?” “I’ve finished for tonight.L. we’re all set. I’m heading home.” Pencarver grimaced at the word ‘routine’. four-hundred-and-twenty rounds of 9mm ammunition and four thudding hearts.

“Pencarver here sir!” “Okay Jill. Meet us outside the front door.A Day in the Life “Maybe. “Jill? Are you there?” It was Taylor’s voice. Make your way up to the house. The silence was absolute. What were they doing? If only she could switch the radio to the A or B channels.” * * * * * For the hundredth time Jill Pencarver glanced down at her watch and. What was that? Was someone running in front of the trees down by the road? She stared intently. “Now we wait. There was a snort from behind her as Hoadley adjusted his sleeping position on the couch. remembered she couldn’t see the numbers in the darkness. Taylor and his men had been gone for at least thirty minutes. She inched up the heavy old sash window and thrust her head into the frigid December night. Then at least the operation chatter would keep her in the picture. maybe not…So what happens now Sarge?” Hoadley cocked a thumb towards the window. 281 . Just her eyes playing tricks in the dark. Pencarver’s eyelids were drooping when a crackle from the radio caused her to jump.” “Roger sir. See you at house. The countryside was inky black. You can tell us when you get here. The drive up to the house was a curving two-hundred yards. for the hundredth time. Be there in a couple of minutes. “And wait.” He was breathing heavily. There seemed to be a writhing mass of shapes down there. Don’t come in until we tell you. We’re done here. She shook her head. She pushed the transmit button. She peered towards where she knew the old manor house must be.” replied Pencarver. “Did you get them all sir?” “Hope so Sergeant.” * * * * * A lone Flying Squad constable at the iron gates glanced at Pencarver’s proffered ID and waved her through.

L. She looked about her and then back down the drive. “Get down. her eyes wide. get down!” he hissed. Jill Pencarver was diving to her right for the driver’s door as the passenger-side safety glass erupted into a thousand sparkling diamonds. she was alarmed to see. but we screwed up. Cautiously lowering the window all the way. One got away. Should she go in. What was happening? Pencarver looked about her wildly. She was about to shrink down to the floor of the car when a shape appeared outside the passenger-side window. Her wheels skidded slightly in the gravel as she pulled to a halt outside the double front door. “We did. Where was everyone? It was strange that no one had come to meet her. A body flashed by the right side of the car. the older of the Flying Squad detectives from the room. Smith’s second shot punched a hole the size of a dinner plate in Pencarver’s back. held a gun. then rubbed rapidly at the condensation on the glass and stared straight into the eyes of Rodney Smith. or should she stay here as instructed? The inside of the car was steaming up. * * * * * 282 . His right hand. Browning selfloading shotgun to his shoulder. He was six feet away and was bringing a sawn-off. It was Dennis. “What’s happening?” she hissed back. she wondered. He motioned urgently with the flat of his left hand. He’s armed! Get down and stay down!” He took off running across the drive and dove into the shrubbery on the far side of the house. A full minute passed and still no one had come out of the house. “I thought you’d got ‘em all?” He shook his head rapidly. John Perkins The downstairs rooms were flooded with lights but there were no signs of activity at the front of house. she peered out. She cracked the driver’s side window an inch and registered footsteps pounding across the gravel. She considered for an instant.

It sorta fits your general description of your friend Sutton. I’ve got—” “How d’you know it’s him?” Krakowski interrupted. ran into the Eggman.” “Dan. “I was on the subway this evening. slow down! You Limeys always talk too fast. listen!” Krakowski broke in. come on! Answer the fucking phone!” Daniel Ferro hissed to himself and drummed his fingers impatiently on the shelf of the payphone. Please get him. I’d like you to assist with the ID in the morning if you feel up to it. I’ve followed him. Look I’ve—” “Oh Dan—hey. There’s no doubt. And I’ve got to meet Lennon in less than an hour. it’s very late. I followed him out of the station. I’m sorry kid. “When we talked the other evening you said you didn’t see his face. it’s Dan Ferro.” “It’s him Ernie. This was all too much. He didn’t see me. “I had a call from the station an hour ago. I was asleep. He’s in a cafe just around the corner. Of course it may be nothing to do with your guy. Now. I need to speak to him now. Anyway. He let it ring twenty times and was just about to slam it down when there was a click at the other end. 1980 (Eastern Standard Time) ome on. December 8. She sounded disoriented. what’s up?” Ferro took a breath. I’ve just seen the Eggman again.— Chapter 19 — A Day in the Life Monday. Um…can I take a message and have him call you tomorrow?” “This is an emergency. “Yes? Er. I shadowed him until he got off at 66th Street. On the subway.” There was a brief pause. A body was discovered this afternoon. He’s in a cafe round the corner.” “So what’s he look like? His full description?” “C 283 . hello?” It was a woman’s voice. “Hello?” “Ernie. Let’s hope so eh?…Dan?” Ferro swallowed heavily. Forget that for a minute. then. don’t think so anyway. Can you—. “Er… listen Ernie. We’re all in bed. but it might be bad news. “I need to speak to Ernie Krakowski urgently” “Er.

very well built. And where’s the cafe where your Eggman is?” “Er. “But. it’s on Eleventh Avenue. He indicated the direction that Ferro had come from with his thumb and returned to Monday Night Football beaming in from the West Coast. shaven.” replied the clerk slowly.” “Oh. “It’s just around the corner from 66th Street here. “The name changes at Central Park. Quickly! What’s the nearest cross-street?” The clerk shrugged. early forties maybe. um…” Krakowski paused.” replied Ferro. “Excuse me. Meet me on the corner of 66th and West End Avenue. We’d have nothing to hold him on.L. Okay?” 284 . I’d be interested to see what this character looks like…Okay! I’ll be there in under ten minutes. He made a play of moving a toothpick to a different position in his mouth. Flattened nose—looks like it may have been broken or perhaps he was a boxer. late thirties. unless he’s actually committing a crime. Don’t do anything foolish. if he’s who you say he his. egg-shaped head. Over six feet. look. So can you send a patrol car or something? I can’t wait around for very long.” “What’s the address?” “Er.” Ferro placed the receiver on the shelf and crossed to the clerk.” “Eleventh and West End Avenue are the same street. He looks fit and very nasty. 66th Street and I need—” “West or East?” interrupted Krakowski again. Ferro fantasized beating him over the head with the butt. “What?” he said at length.” “Huh. “The cross-street here. So I. muscular jaw. Wait for me to get there. what’s the nearest cross street to here?” The clerk reluctantly withdrew his eyes from a football game blaring from an out-of-focus television on the counter and eyed him coldly. “West. John Perkins “Oh. Ferro bounded back to the payphone and imparted the information to Krakowski. “Er… West End Avenue I guess. hold on.” “What’s the cross-street?” “Er. “Okay.” “Dan. um…We really can’t do anything here. Mounted on brackets on the wall behind his head was a pump shotgun.” said the detective. I’ve got to get to the Dakota to see Lennon. Where are you now?” “I’m in a drugstore. apparently in thought. And stay out of sight. Large. Lean.

“Right. Where the hell had they 285 . Ferro heard the door of the cafe open and close. Keeping against the wall. John. He chanced a quick glance around the pillar and then shrank back in his doorway.A Day in the Life “Okay. then we’ve got to go. “Okay. I’ve got to see someone. On the sidewalk stood the Eggman and another man of about the same height in conversation. meybe once more. The track that Lennon was about to record would appear on his Milk and Honey album. Ferro felt his heart begin to pound. * * * * * At the Lexington Avenue recording studio. The table where the Eggman had been seated just a few minutes before was now empty. Krakowski would be here in a few minutes and their chicken had flown the coop. Want to try it once more? Perhaps let the ending chord sustain rather than cutting it off?” He watched though the glass partition as John Lennon disconnected the guitar strap from the acoustic slung around his neck. He scanned the almost empty cafe for only a second before cursing under his breath. Ferro shook his head.” He turned back and smiled at Yoko Ono seated on the floor in front of him. That’s good. * * * * * Ferro crept into a unlit doorway next to the Chestnut Tree Cafe on West End Avenue. Or had he just gone to the bathroom? Should he wait for Krakowski or go after the Eggman? But in which of the four possible directions would he have gone? Apart from a truck cruising slowly by on adjacent West 66th Street and the background rumble of Manhattan at night. the area was quiet. But that record would not be released until February 1984— more than three years from now. he snaked around an adjoining pillar to peer through the end of the cafe’s plate glass window.” Ferro replied. From his closeted position. the engineer leaned forward in his chair and switched on the intercom mike over the mixing board. Lennon turned to glance at the clock on the studio wall. He put down the phone and wondered for an irrational moment whether he could ask the clerk for a loan of the shotgun.

checked his watch and quickly calculated. They were negotiating the crosswalk with 66th Street. A muttered discussion was in progress outside the cafe. and worth staying put for the moment. his back to the mailboxes ready to hit out and run as they came by. But could they outrun him? The Eggman certainly looked as if he was in shape. as the light turned green and they crossed the street. It would take ten minutes to walk there and Lennon was due back in less than half-an-hour to meet Ferro. He clenched his teeth. Here they come. The other man was now replying in a softer voice. It took him less than thirty seconds and the keyword ‘Dakota’ to decide what was being discussed. he’d read somewhere that it helped one’s hearing at low volumes.” from the Eggman There was a scuffle of shoes on the sidewalk. he breathed more easily. cocked his head to one side and opened his mouth slightly. About one-in-three. Ferro calculated. or cross the street. Surely they weren’t planning to hit Lennon tonight? He bit his lower lip. thought Ferro. Let’s get it over with and get out of this fuckin’ city. Ferro confirmed they were heading in the general direction of the Dakota. In two minutes. the conversation ceased with a muted “Okay. But.L. John Perkins come from? He flattened himself against a row of mailboxes set into the wall and began to think rapidly. he was struck by the observation that one of London’s most hardened criminals was waiting patiently for the green walk signal even though the intersection was empty of traffic. he peered cautiously around the pillar at the backs of the two men now some fifty yards up West End Avenue in the other direction. He could make a break for it now. After half-a-minute. 286 . He watched them closely from his hidden vantage point for a further minute until his attention was diverted by a Chevrolet Malibu station wagon. Ferro strained his ears and began to pick up the odd word. With the element of surprise he’d be twenty yards away and running before they reacted. After ten seconds. Ferro leaned slightly forward. balled his fists and stood in a fighting stance. They were only—what?—six blocks from 72nd Street. Ferro hadn’t been born within the sound of Bow Bells but he was enough of a Londoner to detect the broad Cockney accent of the Eggman. It was all too possible. His entrance was recessed about six feet from the sidewalk. If the Eggman and his companion were to walk past. It was surely the voice he’d heard in the hotel lobby the other day. or walk down past his doorway. And suppose he had a gun? What were the odds they’d discover him if he stayed put? They could either walk north up West End Avenue. they were sure to see him unless they were both looking out into the street. As Ferro’s pounding heart began to subside.

a black standard limousine pulled up outside the studio on Lexington Avenue. they’re out of sight. “No.” Krakowski thought for a moment then crashed the column shift into gear. we’ll go round the block again as they move up in this direction. * * * * * Two miles away. Three minutes later. He turned back to Ferro in the passenger seat. He glanced at his watch. I’m going to head up Amsterdam Avenue—that’s the next parallel avenue over. He had to be outside that building in twenty minutes otherwise he wouldn’t get to see Lennon tonight. When we see them. And where’s the fuckin’ backup? I called it five minutes ago!” He reached across Ferro and 287 .” But it became clear as they came within two blocks of the intersection with 66th Street that their quarry had disappeared.” The detective took 65th Street to Amsterdam Avenue. He wondered if the Eggman and his accomplice were of the same mind. Behind them followed the studio manager. * * * * * “I could follow them up West End Avenue but they may’ve cut through if they’re heading to the Dakota. He was beaming at the backs of his distinguished clients and had come to see them off. Ferro was looking down the two blocks to the Dakota. headed north on Amsterdam and turned west on 72nd Street.A Day in the Life It had turned from 66th Street into West End Avenue and was cruising slowly in his direction. “They must have turned off. As they were crossing the nonright-angle intersection of 72nd and Broadway.” said Ernie Krakowski distractedly. Krakowski turned left on West End Avenue and headed slowly south. “Shit!” spat Krakowski. He was peering back over his left shoulder through the rear window of his station wagon. “Okay keep your eyes peeled. “Right. Then we’ll come back down this street. John Lennon and Yoko Ono strolled out of the main entrance hand-in-hand. past them. “Can you still see them?” Ferro shook his head.

“We’ve got six nd fuckin’ cross streets between here and 72 and three avenues—this one. They were stopped at a red light at the intersection with 69th Street. If you’re correct and they’re heading for the Dakota.L.” “Isn’t that a bit risky?” “Yep. That should get ‘em deported. He fiddled with a Motorola transmitter mounted under the dash and unhooked the microphone. Krakowski flicked on the dome light and checked the street map on his knees. we can’t. P-9. John Perkins pulled a street map from the glove compartment of the car. Ferro scanned the intersections with 67th and 68th streets and turned to Krakowski. But I could make a pretext for a search with you as a witness. uncovered head clearly visible in the streetlight. I can throw ‘em in the can. I’m not aware of any request P-9. they could’ve taken any one of a dozen zigzag routes. conscious that his language was reminiscent of a TV cop show. Krakowski headed north up Amsterdam Avenue. Fuck!” He chewed on a finger for several seconds. “That’s why I’d rather get them before.” For the second time in five minutes.” Krakowski shrugged. “I’m going back up Amsterdam and then down Columbus. You and I might have to bend the truth a bit about the reason for the search. He was alone. Then. Keep your eyes peeled at all the cross streets.” “I called for backup ten minutes ago.” Ferro suddenly stiffened in his seat. Thirty yards ahead. We’ll need to get our stories straight. Or…” “Or what?” “Or we could shadow them right to the Dakota and arrest them in the act of whatever you think they’re going to do. the Eggman was crossing Amsterdam Avenue mid-block.” “Suppose you shake them down and they’re clean?” replied Ferro. they’re hardly likely to file a complaint. “Then we warn ‘em and let them go. Go ahead. Can you repeat?” 288 .” The radio responded with a crackly voice cloaked in static. “What’ll we do when we find them? Can you or the backup car stop and search them?” “Officially no. “Dispatch. if they’re carrying concealed weapons. “There he is! That’s the Eggman— look!” He pointed through the windshield. Amsterdam and Columbus. Come in. “P-9 to dispatch. Where is it?” “Er…I’ve only just come on shift. his smooth. After all. if they’re who you say they are. They watched as he strode across the street and entered an alleyway.

Believed to be heading for the Dakota on West 72nd and Central Park West. Satisfied. Just shadow and report. pulling up ten yards short of the alley. the empty alleyway ran fifty yards into 289 . “ “Roger P-9. an alley off Amsterdam heading east.” As they approached the alleyway Krakowski said quietly. Last time was mandatory range practice nine months ago. note that Broadway intersects between Amsterdam and Columbus. the cylinder fell sideways to expose its six brass eyes. “P-9. make sure they come this time! Leaving car to pursue on foot. Got it this time?” “Roger P-9. But keep an eye behind us just in case. “Nope. “What about the other man?” “I dunno.” There was a pause.A Day in the Life “Fuck!” shouted Krakowski. P-9 out. Krakowski peered around the corner into Bryce Court. Update in ten.” “Okay. Shall I instruct backup to cruise Broadway in the vicinity?” Krakowski looked down briefly at the map. long black overcoat.” “Roger P-9. Never used it in action—yet!” He smile briefly. no lights. between 69th and 70th. Ferro watched as the detective reached into his coat and extracted a revolver from its shoulder holster. Shut the door gently. With a flick of Krakowski’s wrist. We’ll take the lead.” With his hand raised to halt Ferro three yards back. he beckoned to Ferro. If anything happens. “Yes. Lit only at their Amsterdam Avenue end. “Come on. Satisfied. He’s entered Bryce Court. I copy.” “Roger P-9. Request immediate backup. Other instructions?” “Don’t approach if spotted. six foot. Maybe they’re separated. Let’s go. Following suspect on Amsterdam. “Okay listen good. One moment.” Krakowski replaced the microphone and gunned the car across the intersection. Again! Need unmarked car. Okay?” Ferro nodded his assent. What location point?” The dispatcher was frigidly polite. Suspect is Caucasian male. “Now let’s be careful and keep out of sight. let me handle it and do the talking. he flicked the cylinder closed and spun it with his thumb. “Mid-block between 70th and 71st on either Amsterdam or Columbus. “Do you use that regularly?” asked Ferro wide-eyed. then. bald shaved head. “Fucking incompetent department. Backup may be there by then. We’ll follow him through to Broadway.” He rolled his eyes at Ferro and glared at the microphone. If nothing goes down have them move towards the Dakota on West 72nd in fifteen.

They were nearing the end of the buildings and Ferro could see that they were approaching an open area forming a junction with three other alleys. downward movement of his left hand. The Eggman was hurled sideways into the edge of the wall while Krakowski staggered backwards. and bounded on both sides by the blank walls of two ten-story buildings. The Eggman came striding round the corner of the building and ran fulltilt into the detective. John Perkins murky darkness. Do it now!” Clasping his hands behind his head. Krakowski stepped carefully forward. about five yards in width. recovered his stance and brought the gun up to eye-level with both arms outstretched. The detective put his finger to his lips and made a slow. It was narrow. conscious that he was taking deep breaths and that his heart was slamming against his ribs. Staring grimly at the gun. “Get your hands up. placed his elbows on the ground for support and rolled his body onto the dusty asphalt. focused on his chest from three yards away. He glanced backwards from time to time. And keep out of my line of fire. his back to the wall. the Eggman slowly went down on one knee. If he tries anything. He was looking back at Ferro when the whirlwind hit him. his outstretched arms forming a triangle as they met in interlocked hands at the revolver’s butt.L. his head on one side still staring malevolently at Krakowski and the gun. He lay still.” commanded Krakowski to Ferro. the Eggman brought his hands slowly up level with his head. The blade gun-sight never wavered from the others’ chest. “Keep back from him and reach over. evidently to signal caution. kick him in the head—hard!” 290 . “Search him. The detective spread his legs to broaden his stance and spat out. “Down on the ground! Face down. He shuffled slowly in an arc around the Eggman. until he reached the maneuvering space of the junction. He then raised the hand to halt Ferro and inched slowly forward. Now! Hands behind your head. the gun in his right hand pointed at the ground. The Eggman scanned from Krakowski to Ferro and then fixated on the snout of the 2-inch Colt Police Positive Special. Now!” he shouted. He looked longingly behind at the lighted civilization of Amsterdam Avenue and ran into the back of Krakowski who had stopped just before the junction. Ferro followed a pace behind. Krakowski paced deliberately sideways towards the end of the building. “Now!” shouted Krakowski again.

He felt the vomit rising in his throat and his knees began to shake. We have to perform one of your so-called felonies. The ungainly sausage of a six-inch silencer attached to a heavy semi-automatic was pointed at Ferro’s head. Reuther’s gun hand flew into the air. but I really shouldn’t lie. 291 . He gave it no conscious thought but in a split second. Where the fuck had Reuther come from? What was he doing here in New York? He was supposed to be holed up at Gilmartin’s country house in England. He could feel the hairs prickling on the nape of his neck as he experienced that unique sensation of having a loaded gun pointed at his head.” “Reuther!” breathed Ferro. and Ferro was running wildly around the corner into the adjoining alley. Ferro glanced towards the Eggman who had half-risen and was reaching into his coat. metallic thud like the sound of a sledge hammer hitting a rubber pad. Then. A newcomer strode around the corner of the building. he saw Krakowski move on the ground. good-bye it is!” Ferro watched fascinated as with what seemed like infinite slowness. “I’d like to stay to chat. Twenty yards ahead on the right was a dumpster piled high with trash. his left hand flailing towards the wall for support as he fell backwards. Ferro flashed a glance at the crumpled heap of Krakowski on the ground next to Reuther. Au revoir. Johnny Reuther’s smiled vanished. out of the corner of his eye. He couldn’t believe it. He stumbled for a second at the intersection and made a blind grab for an object on the ground. “Look out!” shouted the Eggman from his semi-prone position between Ferro and Reuther. “So. he’s moving!” The detective had attained a kneeling position and threw his arms around Reuther’s knees in a rugby tackle. The detective’s coat was open and he see could a red spreading stain across the front of his white shirt. registering five more heavy metallic coughs of Reuther’s gun in rapid succession. or should I say good-bye? Yes. Krakowski’s frame was hurled forward as if it had been hit with a baseball bat. thrusting him backwards. sidestepped the staggering detective and watched as he collapsed to the ground. A pulse pounded in his ears and he clenched his teeth with brutal force as he tried to anticipate what was about to come. his right brain had weighed the odds—two guns to zero—signaled to his motor cortex.A Day in the Life Ferro had only moved one step when he was startled by a loud. the silencer trained down from his head to his stomach. but we have another pressing appointment. “Look out. “We meet again! I’d like to say it’s a pleasure. He crashed into the wall near the prone Eggman and rebounded back into the open area. then tore along the alley in panic.” the stranger smiled. Mr Ferro.

It still seemed to have some backwards movement. a silenced gun in his right hand. Questions screamed for an answer in his head: How did it work? Did he need to cock it? Was it a double-action revolver? Where was the safety? Was it on? Did revolvers have safeties? How could he tell? Did Krakowski leave the safety on when he was covering the Eggman? Surely not. John Perkins Hurtling towards it in a crazy zigzag dance. He’d read somewhere once that revolvers have a half-cock safety position. He sank behind the solid steel wall of the far end of the dumpster and stared at Krakowski’s revolver secured in his grasp. They were only yards away on the other side of the dumpster and approaching at considerable speed. Was it the first or the second position? The full-cock fire position had to be the second one didn’t it? He shook his head in desperation. And. but could he be sure? With a shaking left hand he covered the hammer and applied pressure to the trigger with his right index finger. His arms were outstretched and the revolver was riveted on the center of the 292 . shattering pain of a bullet in his back at any moment. he expected the slamming. the odds were not in his favor. A second later. He could hear Reuther talking urgently to the Eggman. He thumbed it further backwards and heard a second click. He felt a click and in the dim light stared at the hammer positioned out half-an-inch from its stop. The Eggman strode past the end of the dumpster slightly ahead of Reuther. With a sickening feeling in his guts. He rubbed his eyes with his jacket sleeve. That meant it was double action didn’t it? Otherwise it wouldn’t operate. at two-to-one with a gun he didn’t know how to operate. Reuther passed the end of the dumpster and scanned sideways straight in to the eyes of his quarry. Ferro was wedged between the dumpster and the wall. He felt the hammer press backwards into his left palm. He wiggled the hammer’s serrated edge. he knew this would be a fight to the death. Which click-stop did it need to be on for Christ’s sake—the first or the second? What the fuck was the difference? Perspiration was dripping from his forehead. Ferro inched back the hammer with his thumb. Then he realized something: They were making no effort to conceal their approach even though they knew he must be along here somewhere. Ferro resolved to shout at them to put down their guns but he knew in an instant it would never work. He was staring intently into the shadowed doorway of a building on the other side of the alley. would it? All these deliberations took less than five seconds and in the sixth second he heard Reuther and the Eggman approaching. With infinite precision.L. Surely that meant they didn’t know he had Krakowski’s gun.

igniting the nitrocellulose propellant and the 125-grain slug was launched on its journey towards Reuther’s neck at a velocity of 850 feet-per-second. In blind fury. It was like a cannon going off in his ear. Ferro stared at Reuther’s prostrate body for ten long seconds and then shuffled over to the Eggman. Neither could miss at that range so lives were now to be determined by fractions of a second. He could feel blood running down the right side of his face.A Day in the Life Eggman’s back. dimly comprehending it was covered with blood. There was a thud from Reuther’s silencer. It had vivid red lips and was growing bigger by the moment. Licking vaguely at the salty liquid. He staggered sideways from the blow. he explored with his index and middle finger. he felt for its source and discovered his right temple was swimming in blood. He jerked the trigger and the gun bucked in his hand. the shot seemed impossibly loud in the confined space of the alleyway. It entered his larynx at the moment he fired causing his hand to jump impulsively upwards. looked down. It was trickling into his eye and mouth. Johnny Reuther was on his knees clutching his throat and emitting a curious muffled howl. His breath coming in labored pants. the mercury fulminate detonated. The bone felt soft and spongy and he was sickened to feel 293 . he warily rotated the other’s head from its face-down position. and the firing pin to fall on the cartridge’s primer. He wondered why his hand was so heavy. the hammer to strain back against the main spring. With his toe. Ferro was desperately tired. His mouth was open but the bubbling cry was coming from the second mouth in his neck. With his left hand he pried the hot gun from his fingers and tossed it in the open dumpster. a simultaneous deafening clang from the dumpster and something slammed with massive force into the side of Ferro’s head. In a millisecond. saw the revolver was still in it and that the skin of his blood-streaked fingers was white from his desperate grip on the butt. There was a trickle of blood from the mouth and the Eggman’s eyes were wide open and staring. The Eggman’s spine erupted into a volcano of muscle and bone splinters and he pitched forward onto his face. the locking sear to disengage. He dropped his head and brushed his right fist against his temple. Gingerly. The other was only two yards away and was swinging his silencer to bear. Ferro emptied the remaining four shots into Reuther’s kneeling form and continued to pump the trigger until he vaguely registered the empty clicking sound in the echoing alleyway. Even in his frantic condition. Ferro swiveled to Reuther. Ferro pulled on the trigger and it took a fiftieth of a second for the ratchet pawl to rotate the chamber.

The whole left side of the detective’s face had been shot away and the quantity of blood around the body was astonishing. He wiped the right side of his head with his hand and gazed blankly at his bloodsoaked palm. An intense steam hammer pounding in his head. left eye. his ears singing from the gunshots. John Perkins blood pumping from the well between his two fingers. He’d just saved John Lennon’s life. a rear entrance to a building. A buzzing in his ears was getting louder by the second. Krakowski was lying face up with arms outstretched but his legs were buckled up under his back in a peculiar contortion. he grasped the wall for support and steeled himself to look around the corner. On his left was a doorway. And Krakowski’s face looked strange as though he was wearing a mask. He could easily make it 294 . He needed to lie down and sleep. The watch face was surrounded with an encroaching penumbra of blackness. Then he remembered something—something important. He vomited noisily and heavily against the wall. From five yards away and even in the dim light. raised his left arm across his body and with great effort concentrated on the luminous dial of his watch. Seventy-five yards ahead he could see the streetlights of Broadway but it was as though he was looking at them through the wrong end of a telescope. a grinning rictus sardonicus embedded in what looked like a mass of cow’s liver. Wasn’t there something he should be doing? He executed a right and a left and stumbled along a long dark alley heading east. His eyelids flickered and closed. The wound extended from the neck up to the scalp but Ferro was struck by the pathetic normality of Krakowski’s sparse. It was even worse than he’d feared. There was an invitingly smooth stretch of white concrete across the doorway. Had Reuther’s ricochet punctured his skull? Ferro staggered back along the alley. he was visited by a vision of Krakowski’s office desk where the satellites of his children’s photographs surrounded the family portrait. He shook his head but his visual field seemed to be contracting in real time. He still had time. Ferro could see the dark shadow of a liquid lake around the body. He smiled to himself. Through the mists. At the junction. There was something wrong with his vision.L. Ferro slowly took the five steps necessary to determine that the mask was actually where Krakowski’s face wasn’t. All his strength had gone. He was confused as to where he should be going. The concrete was like a delicious cold feather mattress. combed-over hair on the other side of his head. left ear and the flesh were all gone leaving the teeth. Ferro dragged unsteadily through the viscous pool around the body and stopped at the junction. The nose. He lifted his head from his bloody pillow. The green numbers drifted in and out of focus. Twelve minutes to eleven.

As Lennon started to turn. He smiled and strode forward. colloquially known as a Saturday Night Special. There was something in his hand. It was too small to be a record album this time. Ferro was still smiling when the fissure finally ruptured and a massive hemorrhage flooded his right cerebral cortex. * * * * * 295 . It was a cheaply-made. He staggered forward. Jose the doorman left his sentry box and stepped forward to open the rear door of the car. * * * * * The New York Police Department would never solve the riddle of the three bodies in the alley. Their only potential witness was suffering from severe brain damage. John Lennon got out first and preceded Yoko Ono towards the doorway of the building.A Day in the Life to see Lennon at the Dakota and tell him all about it. * * * * * One minute later at 10:49 p. and just three short blocks away. After all. The twenty-five-year-old fan was standing at the same spot he had occupied yesterday. tottered up the six steps to the building and fell on to his left side on the floor. “Mr Lennon?” he called out.m. Just one more example of the Second Amendment in action. Mark David Chapman was looking down bemusedly at the faintlysmoking gun in his hand. it was only just around the corner. He was of no use whatsoever. imported thirty-eight-caliber revolver. the man fired five rapid shots. the black limousine pulled into the entranceway of the Dakota. three in the back and one in the arm. Four bullets hit Lennon.

* * * * * T 296 . the room’s attention was focused on the ceremony taking place in the middle of the floor. At 11. he turned on his heel and strode along the crimson carpet. 1997 uesday March 11th. He rose to his feet. The ballroom of the palace contained around three-hundred and fifty people. The crowd had begun to assemble outside the gates of Buckingham Palace three hours ago. William Remington.30 am. variously. a. was a typical late winter English day— an overcast sky with the depressing leaden color of a baking sheet. As he passed through the double doors. March 11. to entertainment. The heavy implement dated back to the year 1059 and the reign of Edward the Confessor. After five yards. bowed low and paced solemnly backwards from the Queen’s presence. Billy Shears. diplomacy.” commanded Queen Elizabeth II. She turned to hand the ceremonial sword to the equerry by her side.a. All eyes were on the kneeling musician. “Arise Sir Paul McCartney. 1997. a hint of sleet in the wind and a temperature hovering just above freezing. charity and political contributions.k.— Chapter 20 — Her Majesty Tuesday. winked at a liveried footman standing stiffly to attention by the exit. including one-hundred and thirty distinguished individuals recognized in the New Year’s Honours List for their services. Many were occupied in stamping their feet and hugging themselves in an attempt to stay warm.

” The girl grimaced. Never says anything. Shakespeare.” She indicated three patients in wheelchairs motionless by the kitchen garden. 2008 o how long have you been a student nurse then. From then on it was an adult babysitting job—the removal of feces tracks from the dayroom floor coupled with skirmishes with the occasional violent psychopath. “Although I should’ve chosen a normal hospital. “S 297 . It would be someone else’s responsibility then. While these visions did appear. The staff nurse frowned. “Oh…about six months. The noblesse oblige of her Florence Nightingale calling had worn off in less than year. Okay?” “Oh. “Let’s get those bodies moving first.” “Like it?” “ ’s alright I suppose. shall we dear? It’s nice and cool over there. They’ve been in the sun too long as it is. I’ll deal with that in a minute. August 28.” She beckoned to the girl.— Postscript — “If we shadows have offended. “Whoops. “Now. That you have but slumber’d here. She brightened. “He’s weird. I remember him from last week. A Midsummer-Night’s Dream Tuesday. This place is weird. There was a sudden vibration on her belt. Just stares all the time.” She squinted sideways. her eyes screwed up against the August sunshine. There goes my mobile. Think but this and all is mended. dear?” The girl thought for a second. “Okay.” The student nurse pointed.” She peered downwards at the cell phone on her belt. now!” She waggled her gray head in a manner reminiscent of a bird. She knew what the trainee meant. she’d be retiring next year. Let them worry about these pitiful people. “Where to?” “We’ll wheel them over to the shade of the tower. She herself had spent her whole career at this psychiatric hospital. You take the man on the right. “Know what I mean?” The old nurse looked at her sadly.” W. So what’s wrong with him? Loony like the others I suppose?” She giggled. Come on. No more bedpans.

” The girl smiled wanly. It’s like he’s trying to communicate with me by telepathy.” The staff nurse bit her lower lip. He’s been here for—what?—more than twenty years. Fragments of brown sepia were appearing. at least for a few seconds. a head injury. Always trying to get him to talk. He stared intently at the round room at the top of the tower and at the slit windows cut into its walls. The pain would keep him marginally sentient. Every day he wakes up it’s a new world for him. Hold on! Hold on! He had to hold on otherwise they’d fade away like they always did. He doesn’t know who I am if he hasn’t seen me for a couple of days. He clenched his teeth and sawed his right wrist into the sharp metal cross-brace on the side of the chair. she is. But funny thing though— in the last few weeks I’ve caught him looking at me intently. sad case that. He’s got no long-term memory or much short-term memory for that matter. “So what’s he in here for then?” “Ah. And his lips are moving all the time. The strange flashes were reeling through his mind again. They juddered across his 298 . She comes now and then. Doesn’t know where he is either. And he has a grown-up daughter.” “What’s wrong with him?” “Had some form of accident.” “Oh! So he can understand what you’re saying?” “I don’t know. It had worked before. “I wonder what’s troubling him poor thing?” * * * * * The man in the wheelchair was staring vertically upward at the tower and his mouth was moving wordlessly. He seems to understand sometimes but he can’t talk back. Just that he’s been here forever.L. He’s never been able to speak since he came here. Then suddenly it’s all gone and he’s back to staring in space. ghostly silhouettes in a developing tank.” “Poor man. John Perkins “Sorry!” The trainee looked appropriately contrite. The window slits began to march in a line and intersperse themselves with the sepia images. “Mmm.” “Fancy that! So who is he? Where did he come from?” “I don’t really know. Very occasionally his wife comes—I think it’s his wife— ‘bout once a year. “I suppose he doesn’t get many visitors then?” “Not really.” “Fancy!” The girl’s eyes were round.

The flickering photographs stabilized into a moving picture.A Day in the Life vision like frames from an eight-millimeter movie projector with a faulty Geneva escapement. He’s buried in the churchyard in Cowling!” The man wrenched his head to his left. His mouthed gaped. There were four faces on the film. “Here…quickly! Come here quickly!” It was the first time he’d spoken in twenty-eight years. * * * * * 299 . “He’s buried in the churchyard in Cowling. He knew who they were! With a sledgehammer blow the movie soundtrack roared into life. “Hey…nurse!” he croaked.

.

he now lives in California. He is also a professional musician and rock-and-roll junkie with a parallel career as a keyboard player in Jukebox Heroes. He is a physicist performing research in nuclear fusion and has authored numerous scientific papers and several popular press articles in this field. one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s preeminent bands.— About the Author — John Perkins holds a PhD in nuclear physics. . Born and raised in England.

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