Part Three: In The Aftermath
21 – Blue Eyes
We are lying in bed and Mick is playing with my hair, “Blue”, he said. “I’ve seen my Island and I’ve seen the Universe, may I see the aftermath now, please.”
I sighed. “It isn’t a place, Mick, you know that, it is infinite, everytime you you think of something it changes?”
“There are an infinite nmber of worlds.”
“Oh yes and it isn’t spread out it space it is compressedand reachable just by wanting to see it.”
“Everything dies and lives on.”
“Yes indeed, there are entire worlds upon worlds of mosquitos. They are not sure what it means but they are very happy.”
“Yes, humans for instance.” He giggled and I turned into Ron’s Blue Eyesa and licked his face. “And dogs…”
“Everything yes, everything.”
“Well, what can you show me then?”
I changed back into a woman and I took his hand and we went to one of the most popular worlds, “Planet Of The Apes?”
“Should we change into apes.”
“We can though they’ll know we’re not apes, they won’t mind. For a while animals and humans fought but when no one was actually hurt, they gave up and are now on fine terms.”
“Do they have human intelligence.”
“Yes, in peace they evolved. All animals have evolved.”
“Do they know who you are?”
“To a degree.”
We became apes and I took Mick’s hand and we were in this sprawling metropolis. “It’s like an alternative reality”. Mick whispered and I nodded. “That’s exactly what it is alright.”
“Have you ever lived here.”
“Oh yes, I’ve been an ape on earth and in other planets in the universe. And here.”
“How do you keep yourself hidden for everybody?”
“Ha, would you ever think Ron’s dog was God?”
“Why won’t you let people know you…”
I am so sick of these questions and I guess Mick could tell I was tired of it. “It would defeat the purpose, wouldn’t it?”
“I’m sorry Blue… take me somewhere happy.”
“I’m not sure this is happy…”
I took him to a world run and ruled by preteen kids, “What is this, Blue?” Mick asked as we entered a world smaller than normal worlds, a giant playground where things tooks after themselves and the children played all day long. “This is a world for human children with no family here to play all day long and sleep all night. With parents, though imaginary ones, to give them exactly what they need. After time, they get bored with it and move on, they tap in, but for many children, even those with families, they stay here and play out a lifetime. “
We hadn’t turned back to human and the kids took no notice of the two apes wandering among them. Flying, touching, screaming, singing games abounded, kids would shoot each other to see who won, and then just shake off the bullet and play again.
“It’s not like “Lord Of The Flies” now is it?” Mick asked.
The newbies go crazy but they calm down after awhile… that’s the message about eternity, time gives you what life doesn’t, the space to find yourself.
“I don’t like this place…”
“There is some strange things out there, separatist worlds where other species are barred.”
“Except for you”
“Except for me. And that gets boring as well. Assimilation’s occurs through time, it is inescapable… Let’s go here…”
We were in a place very much like London, indeed very much like Diaglon Alley. “Harry Potter…?” Mick smiled. “Next”.
We walked into the middle of cartoon script, a two dimension comic strip land. “I loved that as a kid…” Muick said.
Victorian, England. The smell of the air was so polluted it was unbreathable to the untrained nose, Mick began to gag and fall to the floor. “Blocked your sense of smell” I whispered and Mick started to recovered. All bushy sideburns and eyebrows we stood their in the cold air, a fog descending,. “Come here,” I said. And we hit behind a tree near a bridge. First the patter of high heels, slowly and then faster and faster coming towards us, a woman’s scream and a then a tumble, she picked herself up and began to run some more, but it was too late, right under the bridge a man tackled her, slapped her as she screamed for help. Again and again he hit her, till she was quiet though still conscious. He took out his doctor’s bag, a scalpel, and as she screamed he slit her stomach open.
“Jack The Ripper?”
“What kind of sick man does this nightmare over and over again.”
“Take another look, Mick.”
Mick stared again and than it became clear all at once. “He isn’t real.”
“No, it isn’t him.”
As we watched, the woman stood up and regained her form and then walked away back in the direction she came from.
“Doesn’t it hurt her?”
“Very much so. She will come round it time, she is still playing out fantasies, not ready to cope with the world beyond her own world.”
The footsteps started up again and we turned away into 1885 Indian, a place of so much color and life, such a strange mix of faith and caste and doubt and counter doubt. The world seem to exist outside this world, teeming with life , with people, with degradation and power and the England so long gone it is not quite a memory anywhere else but here. Here it is a never ending present, a never ending now of existence. We walked the stairs, dressed like native Indians of the time, of the highest level of Indian royalty we came upon the world as it was. We are favorites of everyone on our way to a birthday party for the Maharaja.
“Show me a very musical world….”
“Well how about this one?”
Mick looked surprised. “This is ridiculous, how is it possible”. Hat had taken him by surprise was a beach near an ocean where guitars had life. “They aren’t real guitars.”
“Yes and no, they weren’t originally alive guitars, people thought of them, people wanted to be their favorite instruments. There had been wars of world with drums until they got bored with it. Did you notice? They don’t move, they have no legs, they fly. They have no mouths, they speak via telepathy. It is an interesting world except the turnover rate is very high, people get bored fast.
“People get bored everywhere right, that’s why it happens, because people get bored and rejoin you through their own free will.”
“Conceptually, yes. In reality, there are people who haven’t really returned in a million years, the earliest planets with life on them. They continue t not participate. But when time is infinite, eventually they probably will. If not, that’s fine as well.” We moved on. “This is Jane Austin’s world….”
“The real Jane Austin.”
“Yes, she hasn’t left it since she got here. Happily married, children, reliving her lifespan over and over again but how many times do you think that is?”
“I dunno, 70?
“Actually, she is in the middle of her fourth lifespan…”
“Is that a problem? People want to relive their own lifetime only perfectly.”
“Nothing is really a problem, not in the sense you mean. Infinite consciousness isn’t paradise. Like life, indeed life in the Universe is similar to life here (or maybe vice versa) but. On earth life is about limits and it forces people to fail and succeed in that finite timespan. There is no days off. That means that a life time is a mad rush to get here and everything you get in life is a trade off for something else and that just isn’t true here. Here there is no hurry…”
“Except for me…”
“Except for you, that’s true but that’s also exciting…. Still, while time has its own problems, so does the battle between individuals, people fight, kill each other, wreck havoc but there is no effect to it. Look here…” We were below the service of the earth in a land of worms and then pulled up flying with birds, on the ground in ancient Greece and then the wild west but not the real one.
“Was it like this?” Mick asked.
“No, this is a highly stylized Westerns based on TV shows and 50s movies…”
A big guy in a black hat strode over to us and we left.
We were at a café in German occupied Paris., sipping wine. “Without death it all seems a little pointless, doesn’t t.” Mick complained.
“It does but it isn’t. t has more meaning than the Universe. The hope is it is a steady moving forward of social concepts into one type of thing to another for all eternity for the steady evolution of thoughts that can think of something better, happier, worthier, cleverer. That can save us for eternity…”
“And so you came up with the Stones and death?”
I laughed at then and just then two SS Officers came and asked us for our papers. “Wanna ride this iout, Mick? I asked.
“What do you mean?
“Well, if were Jewish….”
The Policeman interrupted us…
Mick shook his head, “No, I don’t need to experience that…”
“Ten how about this?” I asked. “I think you might get a kick out of this. “Mick looked about him wide eyed. The aindrag in the capital of this world was wide and deep and in an ornage neon well lit populated by grostesque evrsions of popular people and myths. “What is this, Mick asked again?”
“This is one persons world but it gets a lot of visitors. Sometimes people stay for years just wandering around, every time you turn a corner… Wanna drink?” I took him to a Western saloon off the maindrag. A tough crowd with dancehall girls, the place looked past it. Mick felt nervous. “This place is dangerous”, he muttered.
“For us? How is it scary for us?” I asked.
“What is this?”
“Just wait…” I said and then I called out “Lily?”
“Hey”, She said laughing, walking towards me, through the joint. “So you’re back are you? I never know when I’m going to see you, do I? You think you’ll always get a lovers welcome?”
I kept my face straight and cold but not too cold, like frost on a beer mug. “Long time, girl.” I said. “I hear you’ve been busy.”
“A girl has to live.”
“Live or leave?”
She laughed at that. Bent down at tied the laces of my shoes. “Maybe I should be exploring the old west.”
“Never be the other woman, Lily. You know that.”
“Then why did you make me one? Why didn’t you want m?”
“I have business to take care of…”
“It will catch up with you.”
I nodded to her. “I see. Think I’m going save you, girl?”
“Jack sure won’t.”
“Give my friend a drink,” I said. I have something to do.
I walked backstage and Big Jim was shouting with Rosemary, screaming in her face, and Rosemary was in tears, and hitting him over and over again but he didn’t feel it at all. And I felt Mick behind me, watching me. “I am so tired of being your garbage, so tired of the loss and so tired of being alive.” Big Jim shoved her away abd snarled, “Then die bitch, you don’t want to live you can die. Is that good? What do you want. Are diamonds, pearls, money, prestige not enough. What is enough.” And I took out my penknife and I stabbed him once in the back and he crumbled to the floor. I handed Rosemary the knife.
“Let’s go, Mick” I said.
It was the next day in the morning and we stood with a crowd outside on the main drag. Einstein dressed as Robin Hood, Casanova sneaking back through the backdoor, the Sweet Pretty Things, squealing like they were waiting for Justin Bieber. And Rosemary the main event. “Does she know the truth?” Mick asked.
“That she is already dead, I mean.”
“Yes, no, not right this second, right this second she has hidden it from themselves. She also doesn’t know that she isn’t Rosemary, that Rosemary never existed. That she is living out a dream.”
“You’re the Jack Of Hearts”
“In an imaginary world within an imaginary world.”
“Wait for me by the river, I’ve got something I have to do.”
I walked into Lily’s room, where she seemed to be packing, lost in thought, lost in doubt about the inevitably of songs and people, of a father who left her, and a lover and hiswife. And mostly me, the person who could and would not ever save her.
“It had to happen, you know?” I said, half tempted to awaken her to the truth of her situation, though she’d become aware of it shortly. Lily sat on the side of the bed and cried and cried and I sat next to her and held her while she cried.
“Why that, Blue?” Mick asked me. I shrugged. “Did you know I spent 100s of 1000s of years as a Dinosaur on earth. I was very happy there, it was a wonderful life. I remember now, the raw and simple rage and urges, and also the families, the packs, the conquest and power and the smell of the earth and the feel of the grass, towering over the trees. Sometimes I go to the Dinosaur land but it isn’t the same. Maybe that is a flaw in the concept, right? Plus, we are meant to achieve happiness and yet, that flaw is so deep that we want to give up life. The transition so long and painful, we don’t want it.”
“Is nobody happy.”
“Some of the extreme religious folks are You can’t imagne how overjoyed those Arab kids are when they open their eyes to find themselves surrounded by 70 virgins…”
“Pleasure is strange, Blue…”
“You’ve spent your career dealing with that concept. With refusing to get on the train to Dachau.”
I feel like I was, I may mean am, a hedonist. My concept o, well, not life, but you know what I mean, is to pursue what brngs me happiness. To express the complexity of that happiness in as many ways as I can manage for whatever reason, by whatever means. I want to look in someones eyes and understand the inner struggle between what they have and what they have. And I want something I didn’t have in the end. Youth.”
“You haven’t seen your family.”
“I needed, I need to stop being that man for a while.”
“You haven’t seen your family here yet.”
“I was going to at some point….”
“Here, let me introduce you to someone,” I said and knocked on the door of a large comfortable looking home in a Cornwall, England, near the sea. It looked like the turn of 18th century. A lovely woman opened the door and I said, “Hello there, Mrs Jagger. Is your husband home.” She smiled sweetly and lead us to the scrupulously clean and tidy resolutely middle class abode. A maid took our coats, and we sat down. asked us if we wanted tea. Mick did say anything while all this was going on. He just waited.
Finally, Mr. Jagger came in and gave me a warm handshake and a kiss. “What a pleasure Blue, thank you so much and…”
He turned to Mick. “Mick, this is your Great Grandfather David Jagger.” I said. They both looked stunned for a moment. “My goodness,” David said. “I heard you were here but I didn’t expect… have you seen my son?”
“I haven’t seen any of the family…” Mick replied.
David was quite stunned. He turned to his wife. “Sidwell, this is my Grandson Mick.” David decided he was too young for the role and added 20 years. “I’ve followed your career with equal measures pleasure and perplexity, Mick. Though I always saw some of myself in you. That fire to succeed, that inner glow. I would hope I had them as well.”
“I know your history as well David,” Mick answered. “It is a miracle you made it through…” He nodded at his Grandmother. “Yours as well, Sidwell”. Sidwell walked towards her Great Grandson and held out her arms, and as she hugged him he began to cry, a child again, literally (or as literal as though can be” he was seven years old, being mothered by this ancestor he never knew.
David turned to Blue, “This has something to do with the bet?” he asked?
“Not specifically. You know I need your sons help and so things that should happen very slowly are being rushed and I wanted him to know…” I paused.
“You wanted him to know he isn’t alone, that some of us love him above everything, who love him as their own whetehr he was famous, infamous, saving the Universe or saving himself. That some of us here belong to him, the way myself and the Missus do.”
“Is that what you need to hear son?” David said to Mick. “Because it is very true. I am for you and I know you don’t have to go with Blue, let the Universe save itself if it is worth saving. You can stay with us. Be a child again. This is a wonderful place to be young.”
I expected this to happen but Mick deserved to know this and needed to know this. He deserved to feel what he needed to feel, that he wasn’t what I needed him to be.
Mick turned tome and said. “One more choice, right?”
“You had to know.”
He turned to his Great Grandfather. “I will come back if you’ll have me David. Once this last tour is done…”
“We will be waiting for you son, we will be watching with the rest of the Aftermath and we will be on your side…”
“You’ll tell my parents I’ll see them soon?”
“Yes we will”
simultaneously self-effacing and egomaniacs
essentially a disco remix of “Rocket Man” featuring one of the the UK’s biggest stars…
“I literally really need you to jump up and down”
Friday night might kill us but Thursday evening is a blast
it just isn’t the triumph she needed after six years
an impressive sonic ride.
a high-spirited Post Pandemic anthem
a memorable band who were never better than here
almost Pink Floyd-esque