John sat up. The car was a wreck. And, surprisingly, he didn't feel drunk anymore. He made a note to tell the National Health that driving like a fool sobered you up. He looked over and saw that George was unconscious. Paul and Ringo were awake. They sat up too.
"Boy, I'm glad we survived," Ringo said.
"I was scared," Paul confessed.
"Let's get out of this car and get George some help," John said. They went out of the door, which had been ripped off in the impact. The three of them went to the sidewalk. A young woman passed by.
"Excuse me," John said. She didn't see them. She just walked by.
Next, a stuffy businessman. "Hey!" Paul cried. Nothing.
Ringo ran towards a schoolteacher, planning on grabbing her by the shoulders and telling her what was wrong. When he tried to, his hands just went right through.
All of a sudden, an ambulance rushed into the alley where the car was crashed. John, Paul, and Ringo ran into the alley too, just in time to see them wheel George into the ambulance. He wasn't covered up all the way, which meant he wasn't dead. There was, however, a big gash across his head. Blood trickled down from his mouth as well.
The three friends looked inside the car and John screamed. There, he saw himself, smashed against the steering wheel, his head cracking the windshield. Paul and Ringo saw that Paul had been choked by his seat belt when the car had lurched forward, because he wasn't wearing it right. A horrible irony. And Ringo was thrown between the two front seats. They weren't sure how that had killed him, but since Ringo's thin spirit was standing there, they knew that it had.
A member of the medical crew passed right through John as he took the body and put it on a stretcher. John felt a sick feeling pass over him. "I don't feel so good," he said. Paul felt the same way when he saw himself on another stretcher, his head hanging at an unnatural angle. And Ringo had that feeling when the beautiful car was messed up and they had to take out the seats to get his body out. That was a nice car, he thought. It didn't deserve to die.
All of a sudden, a bright white light came down. The three spirits felt
themselves floating upward...
George opened his eyes. He was in the hospital. But with a KILLER headache. He lifted his head a bit to look around. It took him a while to realize exactly why he was in there. Oh, no, George thought, where are the others? Turning his head around as quickly as he could without considerable agony, George spied none of the other Fabs. Maybe they're in another room thinking the same thing. Oh, please, oh, please, George thought, biting his lip, oh, please don't let them be...
The doctor suddenly leaned over him.
"Hmm?" George asked.
The doctor hesitated, and George knew it had to be bad news. "We're...not sure about Richard, but...your friends John and Paul are gone."
George's brown eyes got really big. Denial crept into his mind, then the images of Paul's adorable, cheeky smile and the weird look John got on his face when he was crazy appeared. The denial was shoved aside. George shut his eyes tight and bit his lip again. The doctor sighed and asked, "Would you like to see them before they're put in the morgue?"
George didn't know. But something in his mind told his mouth to say yes. The doctor helped him onto a pair of crutches and led him down to the room where they were.
Paul had gone with his mouth open in an expression of pain. His eyes were shut tight and he looked like he was caught in the middle of a scream. George shuddered and wished that Paul was a bit more serene. That was the Paul he had come to know, but it wasn't the last look he ever got. The last impression would be of his face, twisted into the expression as if he was being tortured.
And then he saw John. Despite the horrible injury that had been done to his face, George found that on closer inspection, there was a smile there. John was mocking him one last time. So there, George, John was saying, you didn't need to drive that car. I'm put out of my pain while your miserable existence will continue. It was just the thing he'd say.
"W...w...what about..." George tried to ask.
"Ringo's hanging by a thread, but he's still conscious," the doctor replied.
"Can I..." George didn't finish.
"Of course." The doctor turned out the light and led George to Ringo's
George was taken aback when Ringo's head turned towards him. His eyes, they had no soul. They were just...eyes. Furthermore, Ringo didn't do a thing. He just stared. He was a vegetable. The only thing that signified that Ringo was alive was that his chest moved up and down in breathing. George looked sadly on his friend's face and thought that he was betraying the others by staying alive.
"Um...I'm sorry," was all George could say. "The car you bought...it was really nice and...I wished that he didn't have to drive." It was an incredibly stupid thing to say.
Ringo blinked slowly in response. The movements of his chest became slower. The line on the heart monitor became smoother.
George sighed as the real estate man put the big "SOLD" sticker on the "FOR SALE" sign outside the Beatles' former house. The black car that had been shared by the group was his now. And George had rented a small, seedy apartment on the other side of town. It was only two rooms. And one of those rooms was a bathroom. All the furniture he needed had been moved there. The rest of the possessions of his deceased friends had been shared out between all the people they knew. George only kept a few things. The possession that he kept that would make him the saddest was probably the entire now Ringo-less family of Mousies. He had the rest of the possessions that he was keeping in a big box. Some of the things in that box were copies of some of John's writings, an old recipe for chicken soup that for some reason Ringo held extremely dear, Paul's teddy bear, John's crazy quilt, Ringo's drumsticks, and of course, Paul's little black book. George climbed into the black car and wanted to cry. It smelled like John. He had always driven the car. That smell was still warm and fresh, as if John was leaning over his shoulder, about to make a smart aleck remark if he didn't get the car started. George slammed down the pedal and made his way to Rose Bridge Apartments.
London was usually gray and rainy, but today it was sunny, as if a slap in the face to George. It was the day of his friends' funeral. He didn't really want to go. But his mind pricked and pained him with sad thoughts until he was behind the wheel of the black car, driving to the cemetery. George kept a straight, stony face all during the ceremony and didn't quiver until he went to drop the lump of earth into the graves. It was when he got to Ringo's grave that the first actual tears came. He had a sick feeling in his stomach as he saw the dirt pile up. George went home early, not bothering to attend the post-funeral gathering.
Paul, Ringo, and John found themselves outside a big, fancy club. The sign
said, "WELCOME TO HEAVEN." There was a long list of rules.
1. NO SINNING
2. NO LOITERING
3. NO FLYING WITHOUT PERMIT
4. WALK, DON'T RUN
5. NO OUTSIDE FOOD OR DRINK
6. NO MATERIAL POSSESSIONS
7. MUST HAVE PREARRANGED RESERVATION
8. SATANISTS NOT PERMITTED
9. NO SMOKING
10. NO SHIRT, NO SHOES, NO SERVICE
The three of them walked up to the gate until a bouncer came up.
"You some of those Beatles?" he asked, rather gruffly for an angel.
"Uh...yeah," Ringo said.
"Hmmm..." The bouncer looked at a list. "Ain't there four of you?"
"Sure are," Paul replied.
"Hmmm..." the bouncer said again. "Y'see, we got this rule about bands up here in Heaven."
"What?" John asked.
The bouncer sighed. "The thing is, we're big on unity up here, so you can't get in unless a George Harrison is with you."
The three looked among each other. "So what do we do?"
"You got three choices. Either a) sit here outside and wait until George dies, b) go back there and kill George, or c) go back into your bodies and exist for a while longer," the bouncer replied.
"We'll exist a while longer," the three said in unison. It was better than
being bored and impatient or killing George. And so, they made their way back down