Part Three: In The Aftermath
16 – Susan Joly
I knew Fatou the moment she wanted to meet me I was completely aware of her and I knew whay she wanted me though I couldn’t understand why and all I knew for sure was for whatever reason I had been chosen to head up the Stones tour from here, while Blue Eyes would be handling it from earth, and that my job was like a type of road manger though not really one. Just an organizer and enabler. Once my role was explained to me, or rather, once I understood my role I signed up and Fatou and I joined Keith, Ron and Charlie, at Ron’s house. Just the five us of.
“It’s like a secret mafia meeting,” Keith chuckled. “So I guess we are moving ahead without Mick.”
“We can’t move ahead without Mick. It isn’t possible.”
“Well, why not, we have everybody else in the world and we can add any damn one pf them we please.”
Fatou interrupted him: “No, again, no. You can’t have anyone you please. They have to agree, because this isn’t like Charlie’s concert, this is happening on earth and in front of an audience. We need Keith and we will get Keith at whatever cost. Blue Eyes is with him, Blue Eyes will get him.”
“You know, I could take Mick’s role for awhile, until he shows.”
“You could, would you be willing too.”
“The thing I, this is more complocated than the boys thing and we have to get tight and really, we need to move everything along. We can’t wait forever. This has to go plus… I have the moves, you know.”
“I bet,” Keith and Ron said at the same time, while Charlie just shook his head. “How are you going to do that, how are you going to suddenly become Mick? I can’t see it. We can’t hearse without him.”
“Of course we can”, Keith interrupted, it’s like we’re doing the backing tracks before we get to the vocals.”
“Even so,” Charlie interrupted. “There is no Stone without Mick.”
“It’s always been about him, with you, always your lead singer, well, I am the soul of this band and I saw we can…”
“I thought there were no arguments in heaven…” Ron asked Fatou.
Fatou repluied “We’re not in heaven…”
And all three said: “We’re in the Aftermath.”
“Of a plane crash that killed us,” Keith nodded.
“Look at me guys,” I had changed myself into a 27 year old Mick and I wanted them to see me because they didn’t know, they couldn’t know, that I could look identical to Mick and yet be obviously not Mick, my aura was completely different and I could see them look me over and the tension in the room just completely relaxed and everything was calm calm calm. Keith recovered first. How much do you sound like him?”
“If you can’t rock me, somebody willl…” I sang a fast bar, just enough.
“Not great but it’ll do the job.” Keith nodded going for a cigarette. “How well do you know the repertoire, kid?”
“Better than you do.” I replied.
“An aftermather. Actually, I am not certain why I’m involved but it should be an original; performance.”
“OK, but no ideas at all. We will tell you what to do.”
Fatou interrupted, “Not quite, there are things you can do here, and things you can take with you on tour, that you aren’t aware and yet you will enjoy a great deal. It will be fun, it will be a blast, you can… well you can do so much, you can choose a song and explode through everything, every stage, every concept. The great musicians here, the Mozarts are playing for this world, they know what they can do so it remains close to its roots, but with you guys, with your past, a song can become a life experience. I am really excited guys. Let us help you and get everything ready for Mick’s return.’
“Well, who can we get to play?” Keith asked.
“Let’s start as a quarter, let’s just start like this.”
“We need a bassist.”
“Yes, we need a bassist. It’s a pity Bill isn’t dead…’
“We could hurry him along, right?” That was Charlie.
Fatou shook her head, “No, that isn’t the way it works.
The boys were sitting behind their instruments, guitar, guitar, drums, and began jamming on some Muddy Waters, “Mannish Boy”, like that, nothing closes to the Stones, aimless, meandering, banging against each other. They played and played, waiting for ignition and it wasn’t happening. With a look from Charlie, they dropped their ages from, their forties to their twenties and picked it up again. I changed by to myself and waited for them to need me but they didn’t want me yet, it was like they were rushing headfirst in the wrong direction. There was a bottle of Black Jack Daniels near Keith and Ron had a huge pitcher of screwdrivers but they weren’t happening.
Keith put an end to it. “Look, we aren’t a trio, it isn’t how we play. We need something.”
They sat there in silence discouraged, quiet. Fatou said “You have the entire world to …”
Ron snapped “It doesn’t work like that,” while lighting a cigarette and we all sat there in silence.
And then I remembered somebody I’d met around the Aftermath clubs many times, he would be perfect. I knew it, I knew it, I new it.
“Ian Stewart” I said.
“Stu,” Keith said and nodded his head. “Yes, Stu.”
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