Memory Motel: When Mick And Keith Never Met
Mick’s Mom, a lovely willowy woman with the remnants of an Australian accent still sliding her syllables though her middle classness and aspirations smoothed them over so the effect was a strange class echo looked at the cluttered floor in dismay. “Boys, you and that rock and roll. Mike, clean up and wash your hands, it’s time to eat.” Mick jumped up and gave his mother a hug. “Will do, Mummy. Look, I’m almost grown taller than you!”
Mick and Keith watched their younger selves in silence, as though the past was a taste they couldn’t get out of their mouth if they wanted, a vision of the past and the future like the snapshot of someone dreaming of the past though they certainly were nothing like that. Mick turned to Keith and whispered “How did this all happen, how did we get from there to here,” Keith shook his head in silence.
There are three ways such success can happen and none of them are through skill as such. Skill is skill but so what? Many skilled rock bands never get out of the garage. There are three possibilities here: chance, coincidence, fate. From Mick and Keith’s distance from their youth it had felt like fate for a long, long time. A meeting on a train, a satchel filled with Chuck Berry albums, a shared obsession, and a dream that became a cultural milestone of the 20th century. Fate. Coincidence: Mich had moved, Keith was there, they had known each other since early school days, the sun had set on the British Empire, the ash of the Aristocracy were merely a symbol, the class wars were being won by lower middle class boys like Mick and Keith, what else were they going to do? Anc chance: billions upon billions of people, of anything, have connected, since the big band and it is all more or less random. That’s all, just random.
“Guys, look at this…” Fatou said and they were in a bar, maybe the mid-1990s, and Keith was behind the bar pumping a pint of half and half, in a rough looking pub, filled but not over filled, mid-evening, and he was chuckling that raspy Richards chuckle, but his speech wasn;t the garbled stuff of present day Keith. Keith seemed perfectly happy, as he spoke to a man around his age, about trouble with the wife. “I would divorce her,” Keith claimed between laughs, “but who else would fuck an old codger like me…” and kept laughing.
“What is this?” Mick asked.
“This is what would have happened if you two had never met. “I think Keith might have been just as happy.”
“Would I still have music?” Keith asked
“Yes, you’d form a band in the early 1960s, a couple of minor hits but nothing really took off, and you drifted into a full time bartender, and later bought the pub from the owner in the mid-1980s, you’d play with your blues band once a month in the pub. It would have been a good life…”
The scene changed and they were in a headmaster’s office in a public school, Mick looked handsome, even with his pants around his ankle and fucking a teenage student over his desk.
“You locked the door, right?” the girl said.
“Yes,” Mick replied.
“Headmaster, I don’t think you did.”
“I promise you”.
“Oh for fuck’s sake…” Mick said, waddling over to the door, he tried the door… it was unlocked.
“Oh shit, Mike…” the girl said.
“I’m sorry, I could have sworn I…”
The girl pulled down her skirt but Mick was there to pull it back up… “No, Mike,” she said. “I can’t get caught…”
“And I can?”
“But you don’t care, Mike, you just like to fuck me.”
“You’re wrong,” Mick said, and a pained look crossed his face. “This is all I do care about.”
“Why? Mike, why me?”
“My life,” he said. Then he kissed her and kissed her again.
“Oh, Headmaster,” she moaned.
Mick turned turned to Fatou. “I’m not happy.”
“No, but that’s you Mick.”
“So whatever this was meant to happen.” Mick asked.
“Nothing is meant to happen, life is random.”
“Even with the Aftermath.”
“It was made to throw a random entity into eternity.” They were back at rehearsals. “Nothing is certain, it isn’t certain you’ll rehearse, it isn’t certain you’ll be great and it certainly isn’t certain that people will be able to hear you perform. It isn’t certain that the universe won’t implode. All you can do is your best, all you can do is be certain that what happened happened, what will happen may happen. And that God is the divener between the two.”