When he woke up the next morning, he heard water running in the bathroom. He also heard a sweet feminine voice singing. George breathed a sigh of relief. Rose had nowhere else to go, and he didn't want her walking the streets. Not a sweet gal like her. He heaved himself out of bed and got ready to go back to the unrelieved drudgery of work.
On his way to work, he bumped into a man. "Hey, watch it!" George snapped. He looked and immediately bit his tongue. It was none other than...
"Eppy!" George exclaimed. "Gah, I'm sorry."
"It's okay," Brian said. "Haven't seen much of you since the incident."
"Well, you know," George said, not finishing his sentence.
"Say, George," Brian began, "you ever considered going solo?"
George's face flushed. "Nah, I dunno if it would work."
"At least try it," Brian said. "You can let me know when you've made a decision. I'm worried that you're letting your talent slip fast. When was the last time you picked up a guitar?"
"I picked one up just a few days ago when I was moving," George replied.
"No, I mean, played a guitar!" Brian said.
"Uhh..." George tried to think. He looked down at his watch and saw that if he wanted to get to work, he'd better cut the chat and split. "Look, I really got to go...I'll let you know later." George literally ran off. One minute to eight! He probably wouldn't make it. This business life was frustrating. Maybe Eppy was right. Maybe he should go back to music.
When he got back home, George picked up his guitar and began to pick out a few chords. Nothing was really striking him as a song, except for a dumb little thing he had fooled around with for a while:
"Sha la la la I'm all wrapped up in love, Sha la la la just like heaven above, All I can tell you is what I want to do, that's sha la la means I love you."
George sat, stupefied. A kindergartner could have done better. A giggle burst the silence. And it wasn't Rose.
George looked up. There was John.
"Sha la la la!" John laughed. "Sha la la means I love you! Come on, George!"
"Well, I bet you couldn't come up with anything better if your best pals got silly drunk and decided to be so pigheaded when it came to driving!" George burst out in anger. "I could have driven the car that night, Johnny, and if you had just let me you'd be alive now!"
John put up his hands. "Hey, I'm sorry, but everyone's entitled to be a little stupid."
"I'll say!" George stood up. The guitar fell to the floor with a tortured crash, the strings whining in an unknown chord.
John shook his head. "Look, George, there's still a chance. All you need to do is go dig us up and we'll be alive again!"
"Isn't it illegal to dig up dead bodies? Besides, I don't think it would do much-"
"LISTEN TO ME!" For a spirit, John's grip on George's shoulders was pretty strong. "We've all toed the line for you, George. Now it's your turn."
"I- I don't understand..." George looked confused.
"Remember? That nice tie Paul gave you back in '59?" John asked.
"Yeah," George said, "but what's it got to do with-"
"He didn't have any money! He STOLE that tie!"
"He did?" George looked appalled.
"And what about when I helped you out of that mud hole on that rainy day? It cost good money to have my suit cleaned and I got in a muck of trouble!"
"Johnny, what does this mean?" George asked.
"And the time when you had the flu and Ringo went out in the cold-"
"I get it! I get it!!!" George wrested himself free from John's grip. "So I do owe you guys something. But how do I go about it freely? I mean, it's got to be really conspicuous, me digging up the graves of the three dead Beatles!"
"Hmmm..." John thought to himself. "Tell you what. We'll meet you out there midnight tomorrow. If anyone asks, tell them you're not digging up the graves, you're going to plant some flowers around them and you'd like to do it alone because you're sad."
"You think they'd buy it?" George asked dubiously.
"Trust me. People will do anything when their buds die," John replied. "I got to go. Please, don't let us down. It'll be just as helpful for you as it will be for us." With that, he disappeared. George stood in the middle of the room, dumbfounded. What had he just agreed to do?
George turned to the sound of his name. It was Rose, and she looked worried.
"What happened? You look scared," she said. Maternal instinct took over as she came closer. "Hmm...you're pale, and shaking like a poor little dog in the cold! And you're chilled right through to the bone!"
"No, really, I'm fine," George said, "just a little-"
"I mean it! You look sick!" Rose said. "You'd better lay down on the couch."
"You lay down right now. I'm not letting you up and about when you're in this condition. And I don't want to hear an argument." Rose looked dead serious. She grasped him firmly by the arm and led him to the couch. As she covered him with heavy quilts, plumped up the pillows, and stroked his "sick little head", she softly talked about how cute he was and how someone so cute could not be up and about when they were under the weather. All this time, George tried to reassure her that he was fine and he needed to get up. But Rose wouldn't budge. She went out and bought "sick food"(considered "unneccessary" by George), made a big pot of hot tea ("Really, you don't need to."), and an even bigger pot of chicken soup ("I'm fine, really!"). Then she fluffed up the pillows even more ("Will you stop it?"), put a nice, cold wet rag on the back of his neck ("Please! I really don't need this!"), and gave him a backrub ("Well, maybe I do.") Rose was, as usual, knocking herself out for the less fortunate. George wished she wasn't so nice. Then again, he didn't want her to change, either. Her naive concern for his "illness" was one of her endearing qualities. Soon, it was George forcing Rose to lay down. She had to stop sometime. Otherwise she would forget all about her own well-being. But she still made him stay on that couch, and she woke up with question after question when he made any sign of movement.
George didn't know what he was going to do. Usually, Rose's idea was that if you were sick, you needed at least a day to recuperate when you got well. He had little or no chance of getting out of the room to dig up his pals unless Rose left. Hmm...
It was pretty near midnight the next night, and George grew uneasy. Rose would pounce with medical observations if he made a single move. She had been worse about treatment than the day before.
Wait a minute. Maybe he could use this to his advantage.
"Aaahhaaahhaaaahhh!!!!" George fell off of the couch. "Ooohhh, ooohh, aaahhh!!"
"What is it?" Rose sat up. "Is it your bladder? Your stomach? Your head? What?" She got down on the floor next to him. "What's wrong???"
"My head...it's throbbing," he said. "And I have this deep pain whenever I breathe in. Aaahh!! Oh!"
Rose's eyes grew wide. "Are your legs feeling like they're on pins and needles?"
"Yeah," George said, not knowing what she was getting at but he figured the worse the symptoms the more trouble she'd have to go to. "Ugh!! Aahhh!!"
"Oh, no!" Rose lifted her hand to her mouth. "You've got Michelline's syndrome! The only cure for that is fifty miles away!"
"No, don't go to the trouble," George said. "I suppose...I can make it...aaahhh!!"
"I'm going," Rose said, getting dressed, "and there's nothing you can do about it." She left the room.
"No! Rose, don't-"
The door slammed shut. George stopped. Ugh. He felt like such a rat. But it wasn't like she'd believe him if he told her the real story. George quickly got dressed, picked up a shovel, and ran out when he was sure Rose was gone.
The sky was covered with clouds, and the moon barely peeked through on that cold, eerie, silent night in the cemetery. George shone his flashlight along the rows of graves. The problem was, people were buried in alphabetical order, so he had to go to three different places.
The first place. George took a deep breath and tried to calm down as his shovel stabbed into the ground.
Another light shone in his eyes, blinding George like a raccoon on its way across a country road.
"What do you think you're doing, you troublemaker?" It was a policeman.
"I...was going to..." George's face felt hot. "I was going to plant flowers on the grave."
"What are you doing with that shovel then?" The policeman looked even more suspicious.
"Shovel? Shovel? Oh! Yeah, this thing. It's, uh, a good luck charm," George replied. "I just kinda jab it into the ground and wish good luck on meself, heh heh!"
"Hmmmm..." The policeman walked off with a wary glance. George waited until he was gone, then began digging furiously. About a half hour later, there was a loud clunk when he dropped his shovel. There was the coffin. George bit his lip and opened it.
John almost immediately sat up. George backed up with a screech, and then sighed. "Oh, yeah. Whew."
John stood up and brushed himself off. "Nice nap, that was," he said. "Help me out of here."
George extended his arms and helped John out. Unexpectedly, the two looked at each other, and then hugged. Anyone watching would have thought they were sort of funny.
John picked up a shovel lying around from a previous burial. "Now, let's go free Paul!"
"Dig!" John cried. The both of them obeyed. This time they got done in about fifteen minutes.
"Open sesame," George said as he lifted the coffin lid.
Paul sat up. He grabbed his neck and jerked his head to the side with a loud crack. "Ahh!" He stood up. "So all that's left is Ring, eh?"
"Eh," John replied. He tossed Paul a shovel. "C'mon."
"Hmm, how come they gave him the nickname on the grave?" Paul asked.
"Just dig! Ringo's a-waitin'!" John said. "This should only take us five minutes!"
A flash of lightning went across the sky. Almost immediately, fat raindrops began to fall.
"Gah!" George scowled. "What rotten luck!"
It was a bit harder, digging through the mud. And the rain kept streaming into their eyes as they dug. Feet began to slip on the mud, and once Paul fell flat on his bottom. It took about four or five times for him to get back up. In about thirty minutes, they had come to Ringo's coffin.
"Open it!" George cried.
The lid was lifted, and Ringo twitched for a moment before he woke. "It's raining!"
"Well, duh!" Paul exclaimed. They helped Ringo out of the coffin.
"Okay, one, two, three..."
"GROUP HUG!!!" The reunited Fabs threw their arms around each other and jumped up and down in the rain. Mud splashed up and got their suits all dirty.
"Oh, gah, what a dry cleaning bill this is gonna be!" George shouted.
"Well, if we're getting dirty, why don't we go all out?" John got down on his hands and knees and began crawling like a dog through the mud. Paul landed on his back and flopped around. Ringo was rubbing mud all in his hair while George grabbed a hunk of mud and smooshed it all over his face. Soon they looked like a bunch of pigs. The four laid down in a circle in the mud while the rain got in their eyes.
"That was stupid," Paul finally said.
"Very stupid," Ringo agreed. "Yet strangely satisfying."
George thought for a moment, then sat straight up. "Rose!" His smile faded. "She's probably stuck in the mud in the road! C'mon, let's go get cleaned up and go after her."
Fifteen minutes later, they were in the Mustang and out on the road. George knew the store that Rose had to go to to get the medicine. She couldn't have gone far, because the weather would have stalled her a bit. And, sure enough, a half hour later, they came upon a black car stuck in a mud hole. George pulled up beside it and rolled down the window.
Rose looked up. Her mouth widened in surprise. "George! You're supposed to be in bed! And-" She screamed when she saw the other three, then fainted.
George got out of the car, opened the door to Rose's car, picked her up, and carried her into the Mustang. She'd come around sooner or later.
"Well, it's good to be back," Ringo said, walking back inside the old Beatle house which they had bought back from Doctor Jibber.
"Think of it as a vacation," Paul said. All of a sudden, the Beatles refocused. John screamed. Paul shouted. George shrieked. And Ringo hollered.
The Doctor had painted the entire house one color! A vile shade of gray blue!
"Paint job!!!" John cried.
They began to pick out other little things.
"He filled me vending machine with carrots and celery!" Ringo sobbed. "And the coffee dispenser only gives decaf!!!"
"My organ! He put SHEET MUSIC on my organ!" Paul shouted. "Where are my comic books?"
"HE CUT MY GRASS!" George exclaimed. "It'll never grow back!"
John stopped at his pit. "Omigod! Look what he done!"
"It's the same," George replied.
"Oh, yeah. Sorry. But do you know what?" John stomped furiously over to his bookcase. "He filled this with ACTUAL BOOKS! Where's me precious volumes! They're gone!"
"Group meeting!" Paul said.
The Beatles all gathered round to see what they could do.
"We could always fix it up," Ringo said.
"Or we could go mess up Doctor Jibber's house," John said, rubbing his hands together.
"Get a new house," Paul offered.
"We could all just move into my place," George said. "Kinda cramped, but fun, eh?"
"Get serious, George," Ringo said. "Let's just fix it up."
"And how about Rose?" George asked.
"She can stay in your old place," Paul said.
George looked down and shuffled his feet. "But...but I'd kinda...y'know, miss her."
"Awww," John said, putting a hand on George's shoulder. "Aww, widdle Georgie wants his giwlfwiend, don't he?"
"Why can't Rose move in with us?" John asked. "That way the two of you can get cozy."
"Get cozy with three of me buds in listening range?" George asked. "What if we decide to, you know? You guys will hear everything!"
"Don't worry, George, when you do something we won't do anything," Paul said with a little snicker.
"Was that supposed to have some kind of disgusting undertone?" George shifted his eyes suspiciously.
Ringo smiled. "She'd be like a nursemaid. It would make you want to get sick or hurt. Rose is a sweetie."
"Rose is a flirt!" John exclaimed. "She'll do anything to anyone if it makes them happy. And she's always so suspiciously sweet to the guys."
"Well, if Rose moves in, I've got to keep my eye on you three," George said.
Paul's face fell rapidly. "Wait a minute," he said.
Everyone turned towards Paul.
"If Rose moves in, she'll ruin it all!" Paul exclaimed. "We're like a family, right? And Rose would just be an outsider. The four of us have got to stick together. And George, whenever you get the urge, you can go visit her. Besides," he finished, "we'd probably drive her insane!"
George chewed on his lower lip. "You just may be right," he said. "Sorry."
"What are you apologizing for?" John asked. "Come on, guys, let's go get some tea and then fix this place up."