"Not directly,"she replied as she took a sip of coffee and frowned, looking down at her cup. "This coffee tastes like the tears of orphans. Is it Starbucks?"
I nodded, then asked her to elaborate on the statement she had just made. "You just said John Lennon was killed by Bob Dylan. I need clarification. One does not simply make a blanket statement like that and then move along without mentioning it. It would be slander. Or at the very least libel, right?"
"Don’t be ridiculous," she scoffed. "The best compliment in the world would be to confuse Bob Dylan. Are you kidding me? That should be every writer's main goal: write like you're trying to confuse the shit out of Bob Dylan. Can you just imagine him sitting in a cabin or hotel room somewhere and reading that, then looking up and saying … you know, in HIS voice … 'What the fuck does this MEAN, man?'"
She laughed until tears formed at the corner of her eyes. Then she laughed some more. I waited for her to compose herself, then she looked at me and smiled. "What do you want to know?"
I made a face like, “How many times do I have to ask, you crazy hippy?” She nodded and started to explain.
"It’s like this," she began. "Dylan influenced Rubber Soul, by The Beatles, yeah?"
"Sure," I replied.
"Do you know what Rubber Soul did?"
I nodded. "It rocked. Hard. It made me want to dance in my living room the first time I listened to it. It was goddamn awe inspiring."
She nodded like a bobblehead.
"Like a what?" a guy at the next table asked
"Like a bobblehead," I replied.
"Oh. Like a bobblehead," his female companion giggled.
"Yeah," I replied, dryly. "Like a bobblehead."
The guy nodded. "I get it. Like up-up-down?"
"Yeah! Up-up-down," the guys girlfriend said.
I turned back to my conversation parter. "Today’s music is fucking terrible," she said.
"Tell me about it," I replied. "Back to Rubber Soul."
"Right. You said it inspired awe. Brian Wilson thought so too."
"And that’s the guy who wrote Surfin’ USA?"
"Yes. Well, sort of."
"Ah ha!" I screamed. "Sort of. So why should I take him seriously?"
"Because Rubber Soul inspired him to write Pet Sounds."
"What the hell is Pet Sounds, you ignorant slut?" I asked with a grin, already knowing the answer.
"It’s one of the best albums of all time," she said as she rolled her eyes. "And really, if you’re going to make a topical reference, maybe don’t use one that’s like … almost 50 years old. How sad are you?"
"I demand that you explain what Pet Sounds is," the guy at the next table said.
"Well since you demanded I’m not gonna," my friend replied, before turning towards me and lowering her voice. "Pet Sounds impressed the Beatles so much that they turned around and wrote Sgt. Pepper’s, which many people call the best Beatles album ever, or they used to, until that became trendy."
"What's your favorite?" I asked.
"Magical Mystery Tour," she answered. "It’s bliss. And Sgt. Pepper … because it’s brilliant. It hurts my eyes to look at it. Every time I pull it out of the record sleeve I’m afraid I’m going to melt like the Nazis at the end of Raiders of the Lost Arc."
I nodded. I couldn’t disagree with that. "But back to the point. How did Bob Dylan kill John Lennon?"
"You’re still on that trip?" She laughed. "I’d have thought you’d have figured it out by now."
"Clearly you overestimated me," I said, flatly.
She smiled, slightly, and nodded her head. "Bob Dylan influenced Rubber Soul. Rubber Soul begat Pet Sounds. Pet Sounds was responsible for Sgt. Pepper’s, which caused Brian Wilson to lose his fucking mind. That’s how good that album is. Do you understand that? It made Brian Wilson want to write The Perfect Album, which everyone knows is impossible … well, everyone except Led Zeppelin, who did it five times. Anyway, Brian Wilson went crazy trying to write Smile, which he eventually released … and it’s amazing."
"Uh huh. And?"
"And then the Beatles main competition disappeared. Bam. Done. Over."
"So what?" I asked.
"It’s simple," she said, then she started talking about Michael Jordan and the 1992 Chicago Bulls. She mentioned how Jordan’s lack of competition something something something. I wanted her to stop.
"What does any of this have to do with your main thesis?"
She paused, right in the middle of saying that Jordan came back because he needed something to fucking DO to keep him occupied, then sighed, obnoxiously, and said: "The Beatles didn’t have any competition anymore. There was no common 'enemy' to drive them, so they turned on each other. Of course, that was great for a while, but eventually it died too because John figured out exactly who he was, Paul wasn’t really Paul, even though he was, George was playing golf with the Dalai Lama, Ty Webb and Danny Noonan (with Carl as their jock) and Ringo was … well, you know. He was off doing Ringo things, which equates to saying "Fredo was off doing Fredo things," which literally translates to "He was banging cocktail waitresses two at a time." Stop hating on Ringo. Yeah, he's Ringo, but you're NOT Ringo. You should be sad about this. Chicks really dig Ringo, even when they think his name is Bongo."
"Anyway, then they broke up and John was in New York with Yoko when he should have been in England with his friends, because you know damned well he got by with help from them."
"So you’re saying all of this is a matter of circumstance, based on a hypothetical and probably untrue idea of the Beatles as 'close friends' and a fictional recording session that may have put Lennon somewhere else in the space-time continuum?"
"Exactly," she replied, with a smile that reeked of smug self-satisfaction.
"Bob Dylan wouldn’t like you," I told her.
"You’re probably right," she said with a grin as she sipped her coffee.
© Copyright 2016 Thomas Sorrell. All rights reserved.
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