Day Trip.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Mike Nash gets lost after a business trip to Liverpool. He discovers the gates at Strawberry Field and four very familiar faces.

Submitted: July 02, 2014

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Submitted: July 02, 2014

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Mike Nash was lost. And he was sure his Sat Nav had no idea where it was guiding him either. He had left the meeting in Liverpool city centre fifteen minutes ago. Surely he should be on the motorway by now, or on the dual carriageway at least. The electronic female voice told him to take the next road on the left.

‘You sure?’ he asked as he turned.

He was on a long, winding road. On both sides were high walls overgrown with bushes and trees. He felt no nearer home. Maybe the Sat Nav was playing up and sending him round in circles. Definitely something wrong with it. He was tempted to go old school and buy a map.

‘Arrived at destination.’ the Sat Nav chirped.

‘I don’t think so. This isn’t my street.’

He swore at the device. Tapped the small screen. He was not back in Salford. Mike knew he had at least another thirty or forty minutes of driving. The voice repeated that he had arrived. He had no idea where he was. Somewhere in Liverpool presumably. The meeting with the haulage company had finished earlier than expected. He had hoped to beat the rush hour traffic on the East Lancs Road. But here he was, struggling to find the East Lancs Nevermind get home early.

He munched his Greater Manchester postcode into the Sat Nav. Hit the green Go! icon. An egg-timer appeared on screen. The screen went blank. He did what everyone does when their technology plays up. He pushed the on/off button. Nothing happened. He pushed it again. The screen stayed blank. He tried holding it down for a few seconds. Still nothing. He swore again. Threw the device in the glove compartment.

He sighed. Without the Sat Nav to guide him he was totally lost. These days he completely relied on electronic gadgets like his Sat Nav. When he first started driving ten years ago he used to keep a map of Great Britain in his boot.

He reached for his mobile phone. He checked the display. Where normally the time, date and local network would be displayed it simply read No Signal. Cursing the thing, he tossed it into the glove compartment too.

He climbed out of the car. The autumn afternoon was cold. He turned the collar up on his coat. He walked down the street. Wasn’t really sure what he was looking for. Perhaps a petrol station or newsagents where he could purchase an AtoZ and get some directions.

He saw some gates up ahead. As he neared he noticed the red flaking paint on the ancient iron gates. He saw the sign painted on the gate posts.

Strawberry Field. He smiled. He would have to tell people when he was back in the office. He would tell them that he’d got lost in Liverpool and found himself at a hidden landmark on which a famous Beatles song was based. His thoughts were interrupted by the rusty red gates being pulled open. A man in his twenties poked his head around the gate.

‘Alright? I’m John.’

Mike smiled. Was he the victim of some prank? The person looking at him was a young John Lennon. He had the trademark Beatles mop of hair and wore a dark polo neck jumper under his suit jacket. Mike looked around. Nobody on the street. Very strange.

‘You coming then?’ John jerked a thumb.

Mike nodded. He had nothing better to do. If work asked then he got lost on the way back to the office. He followed John through the gates. He wasn’t sure if he was dreaming or was the victim of a hoax. He saw three other men wearing dark suits and thin ties.

‘This is Paul, that’s George. And this is-’

‘Ringo.’ said Mike.

‘Everyone knows our Ringo.’ said Paul.

The four men turned. Rushed down a narrow staircase. Mike followed. A sign on the brickwork said The Cavern. He laughed. I must be dreaming. He reached the bottom of the stairs. This was it. The Cavern Club. The place was packed. Men and women in their late teens and early twenties yelled and cheered at the stage. Smoke hung along the low arched roof of the cellar. Mike pushed his way to the front.

Up on  the stage in their dark suits the band launched into a rock song about a heartbroken boy waiting for the postman to bring a letter from his girl. Mike was amazed at the sound coming from the small amplifiers. John growled the vocals, Paul and George sang the backing track while Ringo thumped out the backbeat. The crowd went crazy as they song went on. Mike tried to take it all in. The energy of the band at the top of their game in the tiny venue was electric.

At the end of the song the band took a bow. Paul thanked the crowd. They left the stage through a narrow door. Mike dashed after them. Went through the door.

He emerged in a swaying train carriage. The countryside rolled past outside. He saw the Beatles further down the train. He joined them.

‘Alright?’ he said.

They all said hello. Ringo gave him a wink.

‘Managing to keep up then, you swine.’ said John.

‘Don’t mind him.’ said Paul.

‘Yeah, it means he likes you.’ said George.

‘What do you do for a living?’ asked Ringo.

‘I work in an office.’

‘Exciting as it sounds?’

Mike laughed.

‘You should do what you love.’ said John. ‘What’s your passion, son?’

‘I write stories.’

‘Then that’s what you should do.’

‘Maybe you’re right.’

‘Here, Paul, he wants to be a paperback writer.’

They were now standing on a cold Northern high street. Rain started to fall. As he strolled along with the others he saw a fireman rush out of the rain into a barbershop. They passed a pretty nurse. She had a tray of poppies for sale in her lap. Paul dropped a coin in her collection pot. Gave her a wink.

They cut through a graveyard. Mike saw a vicar wiping the dirt from his hands as he walked from a grave. He read the name on the tombstone. Eleanor Rigby.

He followed them out through the cemetery gates. They climbed on board an old fashioned coach. It reminded him of the coaches he used to go on school trips on as a child. He grinned as he saw the writing on the side of the coach. In large rainbow coloured lettering it read Magical Mystery Tour. He climbed on the coach.

A real mix of people stared at him. Old and young, there were some real characters on board. He took a seat near the Beatles. He noticed John was now wearing round glasses and Ringo now sported a drooping moustache. A man with a white coat and cap and a manic grin picked up a microphone.

‘Ladies and gentlemen, welcome on board this mystery tour. You really are in for a treat.’

The crown cheered and clapped as the bus drove off down the street.

Some time later the guy spoke to the people again.

‘Ladies and gentlemen, on your right you will see something really quite extraordinary.’

Mike and the others looked out the window.

No way, he whispered.

Outside where the English countryside had been was sea blue. And floating in the painted backdrop was a cartoon yellow submarine. Animated faces looked out through the windows of the submarine.

The Beatles got to their feet. Headed to the front of the coach. Mike shuffled after them. The doors slid open. They filed out.

Mike and the four musicians were standing on a busy main road. The submarine and even the coach were nowhere to be seen. John, Paul, George and Ringo now had longer hair and different clothing. Lennon’s suit was now glowing white. Paul was walking in bare feet. A zebra crossing stretched out in front of them. They strode across in single file. Mike did the same. The flash of cameras stung his eyes for a second. Everything went white.

When his vision adjusted he was in a large room. He was surrounded by unusual ornaments and cardboard cut-outs. The cut-outs were all famous characters ranging from Edgar Allen Poe to Marlon Brando. Mike pushed his way through the strange landscape. He saw the four lads standing in front of a wreath bearing the name of the band. They wore shiny military style uniforms. The whole scene looked strangely familiar. Just as it occurred to him where he recognised the scene there was another bright camera flash. He closed his eyes. The world became a white screen.

When his vision cleared he could see red iron gates. The sign on the post read Strawberry Field. He went back to his car. The bizarre images still swam through his head.

He tried the Sat Nav again. The voice told him it was recalculating. Then told him the way back to Salford. As he drove he couldn’t get the strange experience out of his mind. He noticed a vinyl record store. He pulled over. Climbed out of the car. Headed for the record shop. The store had a hushed feel almost like a library. Mike went to the display. Found the collection of Beatles records. The faces staring back from the album covers were those he had just seen. Then he saw their most iconic record cover. That was it. Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. All the cut outs, the strange scene. There was Oscar Wilde, Poe, Brando. Then he saw his own confused face staring back among the faces.


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