Memory Motel: Stones Fighting
The scene faded and Fatou turned to the two boys. “Now aren’t you ashamed of yourselves? This is a closeness that has lasted well past life and continues to this day but you fight and bicker like schoolkids. I am ashamed of you.”
Mick gave Keith a dirty look. “Who said you could change the album?”
“I did, what do you want to do about it…”
“I want to punch in the nose about it….”
“Go for it. I dare you. I double dare you.”
“Will you two stop? Enough with this nonsense. We have work and we have it now… Brian rejoins the group if he wants to, and the band uses everything the Aftermath provides from the nucleus of whatever the Rolling Stones really are. That’s it. Perform straight and let your thoughts develop the way the band looks. Nothing can improve on the way you will sound….”
The two men grew all the way to the 70s, and began laughing together. “Alright, alright…”
“This just in,” Susan interrupted them, “Bill Wyman is here. He just died”
“Can we get him?” Keith asked.
“Do we want him?” Mick asked.
“If we are getting prime Bill, he and Charlie are the best rhythm section we could possibly have.”
“We have Daryl Jones, he has proven himself for decades now… Also, Susan, can we even use Bill. It is hardly fair to throw him in this quickly. We had years and it felt too soon.”
‘I have no idea, it looks a little tricky to me but he won’t be carrying the band, you can use both according to need. Fatou?”
“Let’s ask a higher power, Blue Eyes.”
Blue Eyes, the doggie Blue, was suddenly among them, before becoming the male Blue who went to the South Of France with Mick. Susan explained the situation. “If he is available we need him definitely,” Blue said.
“We are the Rolling Stones, Blue, and we decide who we need.”
Blue completely ignored Mick, perhaps it hadn’t even registered in any formal sense. It is not that God has no ignore, though it has no ego, it is that God sees things through its own sensibility. It invented dissention without paying too much attention to dissention. “Which of you are closer?”
“I am not sure either of us really, he quit in 1993 and seldom speak at all. The last time he performed with us was 2012…. He wanted back in after 2012 but we decided against it.”
“Let’s ask Charlie what he thinks?” Keith added. Charlie appeared and listened to his bandmates. “We have to get him, if this is the ultimate Stones band it should at least start with the initial Stones band.”
“Fatou”, Blue said, “I want you to speak to him. If he wants to, than that is good. If not that’s OK as well.”
“But didn’t we say the Stones?”
“We did, and the Stones are these guys and Ron. Anybody else is a matter of taste and momentum.”
“Still, I’d like to see that early iteration on stage again.”
“So would I, but don’t hold out for divine intervention.”
Blue went back to the Plaza and Fatou left to speak to Bill, as Mick and Keith sat down side by side. “This is our last shows ever, right? This is the legend that is the Rolling Stones in three hours from all periods of our life, performed with the energy of youth when necessary and the wisdom of experience as necessary”, Keith said. “It is not just the Stones the rock or soul or pop band, but all at once. We could have every guest star in the world but we want none. This is about us.”
“Yeah, greatest hits, but we have entire albums that might as well be Greatest Hits, Beggar’s banquet, Let It Bleed… we could just play those two albums…” Mick said.
Keith laughed in a croaky wicked witch hack, “We should do that, no A Bigger Band and Undercover…”
“Yeah, when we get back we should do that, you know. Just play together, just the guys and jam on all the albums we never perform… I’ve been working on a new song… The Aftermath Blues…”
“A Stones blues, you know.”
“I’ve got a riff, just twelve bar blues but then it changes on me…”
“Let me here it…”
Keith picked up his guitar and the room filled with the sound of a classic Keith riff which still sounded like nobody else ever. Mick wasn’t sure if it was an Aftermath effect or just the mood they were in, but it seemed to fill a huge gaping hole in the Aftermath, like a call to arms, or a call to disobey, like the essence of disobedience so central to whatever it meant to love rock and roll. Mick leaned back in his chair and smiled to himself, the words racing through his mind, he edited and clarified them as he spoke, he let them ring through his mind and spark his imagination. As though the one thing that was true remains true, creation. Can you create when you’re dead? Can it begin again. Everything about this place they were in clicked into space, all the youth, the energy, the hope of time without space or distance, how time can be both constant and over way too soon and never over.
Mick felt as though Keith had shown him something about the Aftermath he hadn’t been aware, that it was, in fact, a work of art, a rock song, a tune, and the time’s arrow always forward forever. And that sound could recreate in effect. The distance between what it meant to be alive and what it meant not to be alive was so very close that they merged where nobody could see them merge and Keith’s playing was that merger.
“Will it never end, Keith? Will we always find a way to come back together?”
“There’s a question, my brother. It will end because in infinite time, eventually we willd rift into different worlds, different places, different futures and in 10,000 or 100,000 years will we ever remember all that we went through. I can’t tell, mate. I can’t tell if the echoes of mortality is so loud maybe it overshadows the entire live forever stuff. But for now… you have spent time with Blue –what is it like.”
Mick paused and wondered; he picked at a scab off the eight year old Mick’s lef and then grew into a 20 something man. He put his hand through his thick brown hair. “You would think I’d have thought more about it but really, when you are with Blue it isn’t like other things, he lacks two things we have, self-consciousness and doubt: he is so certain…”
“I’ve seen Blue in three incarnations, if that’s the word and he seemed most like a he.”
“But he isn’t…”
“No he isn’t. Blue isn’t like the religious God, he is a deep thinker in the realest meaning of the word and what he thinks is real is, in fact real, and not just here but there as well. He doesn’t need us to tour, he could just say the universe isn’t ending and if it did end? He could reverse it if he wanted to. But it’s like he invented Monopoly and now he wants to play it but if there are no rules, where is the game?
“You think he would let the Universe end?”
“Undoubtedly, Keith. If we don’t do this and just the way he wants, that’s it, he will close it up and the Universe will come to an end.”
“So what should we do about it?”
“We should play as though our families lives depend upon it and we should understand that God doesn’t see these things the way we do. We should not mistakes its human qualities when it chooses to have them for what we are. That isn’t what happens in the Aftermath.”
“The Aftermath is something that has not revealed itself to us yet, it will maybe one day but not now.”
“Exactly, and you know what else? I don’t think Susan and Fatou, really understand what is going on. “
“And one day we won’t know each other…”
“That’s the thing about immortality, you and I have lived a couple of lifetimes already and I am not sure but forever. I am not sure what will happen to us. Can you imagine a time when we cross each other on the street and everything we’ve done and worked so hard for, we can’t even remember it even happened. “
“I can’t imagine not knowing you, mate. Good or bad, immortality is a dead end street, maybe God has it wrong, maybe it isn’t the Universe that needs to end but the Aftermath. Maybe immortality isn’t such a great idea. God created us because it was lonely and now it isn’t lonely but we are this strange thing that neither exists nor doesn’t exist, like soulful flotsam, we skim and skip, we have no depth because there is no depth and now we want to regain what was lost on the Stones: the old danger, the old concerns, the class structured atom bomb of life and here it is all sort of silly.”
“But you always thought it was silly, Keith. You were always about the music in ways that I wasn’t. I was a cultural changer but you kept it steady with that rhythm guitar. And now, I have nothing left and you still have the music.”
“Perhaps, you’re wrong. Perhaps it is more interesting and complicated than we can see right now. We haven’t begun to explore the Aftermath. There are 1000s upon 1000s of planets with life in the universe and as many planets as there are sentient beings over here. Sometimes they come together and sometimes they work apart.”
“All one giant organism…”