George opened the door to his apartment. The furniture was already in there, and all the appliances he needed. The two rooms in the place were a bathroom and a kitchen/living/dining/bedroom. The front room was crowded, because it included a twin size bed, a small stove, a refrigerator, a couch, a chair, a small table, a lamp, a stereo, and a small TV. He kept all the clothes he had in the small closet. It was a complete change from the life he had been living before the others died.
All of a sudden, the telephone rang. George picked it up. "Hello?"
"Hello, this is the body shop...We were able to fix your car. We put the door back on, straightened out the fenders, put in some new glass, and gave it a new paint job. There's a big dent still in one door but it's not that bad," the voice on the other end said.
"Uh..." George remembered the car with a painful heart. "Yeah. I'll be down to get it." He hung up the phone and felt a certain anger rush over him. George looked up at the wall, where he had hung a picture of John. The anger grew stronger. It was all John's fault that they were dead. It was his own stupidity and stubbornness that led them to their demise. George approached and was about to punch the picture but then thought better of it. First of all, John had been incredibly inebriated and didn't have a clue as to what he was getting himself into. Also, if he punched the wall, he might, just might, break his fist. He didn't want to end up in the hospital again. George put on his coat and jammed his hands into his pockets, making sure to slam the door as he went to the body shop.
When he got there, the car was waiting for him. It almost looked like new, except for a big dent in the door. George's stomach grew cold as he paid the man and drove off in the Mustang. It was unusually quiet. The windshield wipers slicked back and forth merrily, as if they were happy and didn't know what was going on. George gripped the steering wheel hard and stared intently at the road. When he got home, he went to sleep. There was nothing for him to do anyway. George slept all the next day and half the day after that.
He woke up that day because there was a knock at the door. George answered it, rumpled, unshaven, and in his pajamas. There, standing at the door, was Paul's old girlfriend, Shelley. Even though her mascara was flowing in streaks down her face, she couldn't help but laugh through her tears at the silly way George looked.
"Well, aren't we bright-eyed and bushy-tailed," Shelley said.
"What is it?" George asked, leaning in the doorway. He didn't want to be bothered.
Shelley sighed deeply. "I...just wanted to ask you if you had something of Paul's," she said. "There was something he had that I would like to keep. Where do you keep those things?"
"In that box over there," George said. "Help yourself." Shelley dug in the box for a moment, then pulled out a dog-eared notebook. Scrawled on the front, in Paul's sloppy, harried handwriting, was, "Love Poems". She smiled and said, "This was what I wanted."
"That's all right," George said. "Anything else?"
"Oh, no, not at all..." Shelley stood in the door. "I just wish it...hadn't have happened."
"We all do," George said, putting a consoling arm around her. Shelley tried not to remark on the way he smelled. But she found herself crying in the doorway on his arm. It was one of the first times George had cried too. Many times he had felt like it, but the sight of this nice young lady crying her eyes out because of the ignorance of others was too much.
After Shelley left, George took a bath, shaved, got dressed, and went to the carnival with his girlfriend, Rose. The death of his friends wouldn't mean the death of his social life. Still, as they rode the Ferris wheel, stuffed themselves with cotton candy, won prizes which they gave to each other, rampaged through the funhouse, and snuggled in the Tunnel of Love, this cold feeling was in George's heart that he just couldn't shake. It was as almost as if they were standing behind him, watching him...George didn't want to leave Rose. She was the only one that made him forget this feeling.
He took Rose up to his apartment, just for a look around. He could see the sad look on her face when she saw what condition he was living in. The room was messy and cramped. It was very cold and the faded blue wallpaper was peeling in some places, revealing dank gray concrete. She pulled her coat around her as she sat down on the couch.
"I know," George said, sitting down next to her. "I know it's sordid and ugly. But it's all I can afford at the moment. Besides, it wouldn't do with just one of me in that old house, full of sad memories."
"I understand," Rose said. She looked up at him. Since the incident had happened, his eyes sparkled less and his skin wasn't as rosy. He hadn't smiled often, either. Most of the time he sat, silent. Rose felt sorry for him. She edged closer to him on the couch. "Is there...anything I can do to help?"
George looked at her longingly for a moment, then shook his head. Rose stared at him with glistening aqua colored eyes. "Are you sure?"
"Gah, Rose, I don't know..." George dropped his hands, frustrated. "I don't want you bothering yourself with me."
"It doesn't bother me." Rose looked up, eyes pleading. "Please- please let me do something. Anything."
"You can't," George said plainly.
"I'm not leaving," Rose replied.
George looked at Rose. Rose glared back, her eyes daring him to make her leave.
Rose stayed there for the night. Nothing serious happened between them. They mainly just lay there next to each other, silent as if the slightest sound from either of them would offset the fabric of the universe. They were both sleepy anyway, and they nodded off quickly. She was mainly there for support. When George did open his eyes in the middle of the night, Rose would scoot closer and squeeze his hand. And it always worked.
George had to wake up early, because he had to leave for his job at the department store. He looked down and saw Rose, her red-brown hair spread across the pillow, arms and legs sprawled across the bed, aqua eyes closed peacefully in sleep. Since the accident, George smiled a true smile. He leaned over and kissed her. Rose stirred, but didn't wake up. George smiled again and got dressed.
There was a knock at the door. George stretched uncomfortably and answered it.
"Mr. Harrison, this is Eva Jones with the London Times..."
"George! Tell us, please..."
"What was it like? How did it happen..."
"Do you think..."
The blinding flashbulbs pained George's eyes as he still tried to figure out what was going on. He pushed past the reporters and went down the hall. They began to follow him.
"Who was that girl?"
"What will become of your musical career?"
"People say that alcohol was involved..."
George clamped his hands over his ears and ran out to the black car, deliberately passing by the Mustang. He drove off before he could be asked any more questions. It wasn't that George wanted to be rude, but he really didn't feel like talking about a pain that still ran deep.
When George got up to his apartment, he heard different sounds coming from it- water running, something sizzling, music playing. He wondered what was going on in there. Surprisingly enough, the door was unlocked. George went inside and saw Rose. She reminded him of a bee, the way bees hummed busily from flower to flower. One moment she was at the stove, stirring something, then she was checking something else on the television, next she was putting something in the sink, and after that putting up a few groceries. The cycle continued. George took pity on Rose, working so hard. She didn't have to when he could have done all that himself.
"Slow down," he offered from the doorway. "It's not like anyone's going anywhere."
Rose looked up at him and all but collapsed on the couch. "No kidding," she said with a grin. "I didn't know how worn out I was until I stopped."
"I'll take over from here, okay?" George said. He went to the counter and tried to finish slicing a tomato. He was not very adapt at it, and tomato juice squirted down his shirt. Rose tried not to giggle.
"Don't mess with the food, and I stress the word "mess". It's a surprise. Just take care of the dishes." Rose got up off the couch.
When the pot on the stove was opened, George finally caught a good whiff of what was in it. Eyes alight, he was instantly at Rose's side. "Is that what I think it is?" he asked excitedly.
"Depends on what you think it is," Rose said mysteriously, closing the pot. She handed him a list. "Could you just pick up these things? I'd go but I have so much to take care of, and I wouldn't trust you alone with what's on the stove."
"You're a real sweetie." Rose leaned forward and gave him a peck on the forehead.
He stood there for a second and then put on his coat, feeling a bit better. He strolled down the black car, passing the purple Mustang. Then, for no reason, George stopped and turned toward the Mustang.
The car hadn't been driven since his birthday, since the accident that took his friends' lives. That had been almost two weeks ago. George itched to drive the Mustang. He hadn't sat in it since the accident, and after all, it was his car...Forget "Ol' Blackie". He was going to drive the shiny purple thing.
George got behind the wheel and ran his hands down the white suede seats. It was a horribly delicious feeling. The steering wheel was covered with the same material. The dashboard was paneled with finished wood. George felt so affectionate towards the car that he felt he had to give it a name. He thought for a moment, then decided on "the Purple Panther" because of the way the engine purred when he started it. George grinned at the thought of how much power lurked under the hood which had a dashboard icon in the shape of a panther. It gleamed silver under the street lamp. Drunk with power, George let out a whoop very much like the one John had given off.
"George doesn't need alky-hol to get drunk, eh Ring?" John ribbed Ringo and Ringo nodded yeah in agreement.
"Wait'll he finds out about his little stowaways," Paul said, putting quotation marks on "stowaways".
George rounded a corner and decided to take the long way to the supermarket. He saw a drop of something on the dashboard. Aggravated at how anything could soil a car so sublime, George tried to wipe it off. It didn't come off. The stuff had obviously dried. Under the streetlight, George saw that it was blood.
His mind reeled as he remembered his last vision of the one who had sat at the drivers' wheel before him, the one who was drunk and didn't know any better. He hadn't seen John go through the windshield, but he knew that he had. Now the drop was there, a permanent reminder about how things had gotten the way they were. George stopped the car in the selfsame alley the accident had happened in. He got out of the car and walked a little ways.
He didn't know it, but he was being followed. There was a long silence. George began to quiver and his head lowered as his back began to heave with shuddering sobs. Paul came up and tapped him on the shoulder. "
Aren't you supposed to go to the supermarket?" a hauntingly familiar voice asked.
"Yeah, y'know, she's making spaghetti, and you don't want to miss it," another one said.
"So go already," a third added. "Stop being so mushy."
George whirled around. There was nobody behind him. Nobody he could see, that is.
John leaned over to Paul. "I dare you," he said.
"Dare me to what?" Paul whispered.
"You know," John said.
"You want me to...you know?" Paul asked, bewildered.
"Yeah, I think you should, you know, too," Ringo added.
"Go ahead," John egged him on.
"We-ell...all right," Paul said. He took a deep breath and rushed for George, disappearing into the living Beatle's body.
"Oof!" George's spirit came tumbling out. "Hey!!!" He stood up. "I feel kinda light headed."
"That's 'cuz you are," Ringo said.
Paul/George walked to the car and drove off. Not to the supermarket. Not to his apartment. He was headed to Shelley's house. Even in the afterlife, Paul was quite the amorous one.
Shelley answered the door in her bathrobe, her hair wrapped in a towel. "Oh...hello, George," she said.
"Hel-lo," Paul's voice came tumbling out.
Shelley stopped cold. "You- your voice...it's..."
"Changed?" Paul/George placed a hand on Shelley's shoulder. He kicked the door shut and walked over to the phonograph, not taking his hand off of Shelley. He started it up and it began playing 'their song'.
"W- what are you doing?" Shelley asked, nervous. She tried to shrug off his grip. "You're acting like Paul."
"I AM Paul," Paul said. "And I've been meaning to do some catching up with you." The both of them were standing in front of the couch/bed. It was rolled out into the bed because Shelley was about to go to sleep. Paul promptly knocked her over onto it. Shelley pushed him off.
"What do you think you're doing, George Harrison?" she asked indignantly.
"George? What does George have to do with anything? Oh...yeah...forgot." Paul stood up, sheepish. "Sorry." The spirit dove out of George's body. The body collapsed.
"Don't DO that!" George's spirit exclaimed. By now the other three had caught up with him. George got back into his own body.
Shelley was glaring at him when he woke up. "Um..." His face grew red. "I...guess I'll just leave now." The visible and invisible guests left.
George sped to the supermarket, quickly grabbed the things he needed, and raced back. If he was back on time, Rose wouldn't ask questions.
When he got in the apartment, Rose was waiting for him. She seemed a little impatient but good natured about it.
"Took you long enough," she said, taking the bag from him.
"Yeah, well, I..." George scratched the back of his neck. "There was a lot of people there."
"Hmm," was all Rose said. She went to the stove and started mixing things around.
George's stomach was telling him he was starving. His nostrils quivered when she opened the pot again and he made up his mind that he would die if he didn't eat in five minutes. Rose had dinner ready in four minutes and fifty-three seconds. George was one happy guy. Spaghetti was one of Rose's dishes that even the Italians couldn't touch. Where or how she learned her wizardry, he'd never know.
After dinner, George thought to turn in. So did Rose, but in a different manner entirely.
"I said, let's go to bed, not to sleep, but to bed," she said after a while.
"Well, what else do we do?" George asked.
"Think hard." Rose stared deep into his eyes.
George thought for a moment. "Do you know how thick the walls are here?"
"Why?" Rose asked.
"Because," George said, "I don't want everyone on this floor knowing about what we're doing."
Rose drew a blank for a moment. Then she started laughing. "Oh! I didn't mean that much," she said, trying to compose herself. "I just wanted to, you know, cuddle. Nothing like THAT."
Darn it, George's mind said, not realizing that he said it out loud too. Rose gave him a funny look but she wasn't mad. In fact, she had a little satisfied smile.
"That is-" she said, running a hand down the side of his face, "I can always change my plans."
"Ooooooooooooooooh!!!" Paul, John, and Ringo looked at each other.
"I bet that by tomorrow, George is going to have..." John sucked his lips in tight to suppress laughter.
"Scored?" Paul said, ribbing him.
"I don't know about you but I don't want to watch this," Ringo said. "I mean, come on, it would be disgusting. It's one thing actually doing it yourself, but watching someone else? It makes you jealous and sickens you as well."
"Speak for yourself," John said.
George thought for a moment, then gave a little smile. "Where is that light switch?"
"Don't turn out the light! Aw, maaan!" Paul cried. He felt a sudden fear and then said, "Do ghosts always glow in the dark?"
"Only when they want," John whispered back. Suddenly, everything went dark.
"Gah! I can't see," Paul complained.
"Good. I never really desired to see George naked," Ringo said huffily.
A pair of giggles arose, one feminine, one masculine. There was a loud thump, and then the feminine giggle grew louder.
"I'm sorry but I have to see what he's doing to her!" Paul cried. He and the other two began to glow. Two heads poked out of a lump of blanket that had fallen on the floor.
"Wha?" George squinted, and then gasped. Rose screamed, put on her clothes, and ran out.
"What the heck are you doing here?!?" George asked. "Look what you did!"
"Sorry, but we just wanted to watch," Paul said.
George's jaw dropped. His face grew disgusted. "You little pervert!" He stood up, for he was relatively dressed. If you call a pair of boxers dressed.
All of a sudden, Paul, John, and Ringo began laughing hysterically.
"What?" George demanded.
"I- I never seen him in his boxers before!" Ringo exclaimed.
"Such a scrawny little thing!" Paul said.
"Careful, you'll fall through that crack in the floor," John hooted.
George stopped. All of a sudden he remembered...
"Wait a minute," he sputtered, "you- you guys are supposed to be..."
"Dead?" John offered.
"Deceased?" Paul put in.
"Off the biological clock?" Ringo added. "Six feet under? Pushing up daises? Gone to meet our Maker? Meeting St. Peter at the pearly g-"
"ALL RIGHT ALREADY!!!" the other three shouted.
"Anyway," George said, when everything had quieted down, "you have no business in my personal life, whether you're dead or not. Aren't you supposed to be in Heaven anyway? That is, all except you, Johnny."
"Heh heh heh," John said.
"This is where you come in, George boy," Ringo said. "Y'see, they're big on unity up there in Heaven, and they won't let bands in unless all members are dead. So either you let us kill you or go dig up our graves and let us go back in our bodies."
V"Or we could wait here till you die," Paul put in.
George didn't know what to say. "Uh- I'll have to think. I don't really know what to do about this. You guys can hang around here, I guess, but go haunt somewhere else when Rose and I are...you know."
"Unless she comes back, you won't be doing that for a long time," Paul said.
John developed a falsetto voice. "Oh, George! You naughty boy! You bad, bad, bad-"
"Shove it," Ringo said.
"Ooooooh," Paul said.
"Don't worry, George," John said, "until you make up your mind, we'll be right at home here. You won't even know we're around."
"I have some serious doubts about that," George replied.