By Leslie Wylie
one stroke of the pen, Julie Nichols shed 185 pounds of ugly fat.
The day after her divorce was final, she and her best friend, Pam
Taylor, flew off to London for the vacation they had been promising each
other they would take since 1964.
was August and hot and muggy in London, but the weather did nothing to
dampen their enthusiasm as they raced from tourist attraction to tourist
attraction. They toured The
Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.
They rode the London Eye, saw the Crown Jewels, and fed the pigeons
in Trafalgar Square.
But it wasn’t until the fourth day of their visit that they got to their real purpose for coming to The Holy Land. They paid homage to the London Palladium, where the Beatles’ films had premiered. They worshipped at the site of the Beatles’ final public performance on the roof of the Apple building on Savile Row. If they had been able to, they would have lit candles at the shrine of MPL in Soho Square. Then they boarded the Jubilee Underground Line for the pilgrimage to St. John’s Wood—surely, the most hallowed ground in Britain.
up out of the station, Julie consulted her London map and pointed the way
left, down Wellington Road. A
block and a half later, they crossed over to the other side and made a right
onto Circus Road. Cavendish
Avenue was the first street on the left, and Valhalla was about half the way
down on the right.
though Paul McCartney didn’t really live there anymore, Julie and Pam had
decided that this place would be much more easy to find than his estate in
Sussex. Although they hadn’t
ruled out trying later.
street was quiet and tree-lined. The
brick walls that separated the stately Victorian homes from each other and
from the sidewalk, ran together to form one continuous wall down both sides
of the street. The wall
surrounding No. 7 was about a foot taller than the others, and Julie
wondered to herself how many fans that extra 12 inches had actually kept out
over the years.
were no signs of life in or around the house.
The shutters were drawn, green gate secure. Julie and Pam crossed to the other side of the street to try
to get a better look at the house itself and snapped pictures.
Julie wanted Pam to give her a boost up the wall so she could see
into the courtyard, but Pam refused.
old are you?” her friend asked.
c’mon—I just want to see. Anyway,
who’s going to know?”
sooner were the words out of Julie’s mouth that Pam caught sight of a
shiny black car coming down the street from Circus Road.
on…” Julie began.
Pam hissed. “Look!”
the Mercedes-Benz neared, the MPL tag on the front became evident.
my God—it’s him!”
friends stood on the sidewalk to the left of the gate and watched,
open-mouthed, as it swung inward, as if my magic. They could see Paul’s current squeeze in the passenger
seat, but all they could see of him were his hands maneuvering the steering
wheel. As the car came to a
halt in the now-revealed concrete courtyard, the girls watched from the
managed somehow to raise her camera to her face and began snapping pictures
as fast as her fingers could move as The Love of Their Lives emerged first
from the car.
there!” he shouted, pointing rudely.
“Stop that! This is
Julie had even been aware that he had spoken, she hadn’t comprehended a
word he had said and continued to snap pictures.
continued to shout. “Piss
off! You’re on private
regained her wits first.
on the sidewalk, Paul,” she said in a reasonable tone.
came toward them. His
ladyfriend had emerged from the car and watched with an annoyed expression.
is private property!” he insisted as he got closer.
snapped a picture of his angry face as he reached them.
can’t take photos here!”
we’re on the sidewalk,” Pam insisted, noticing that now he was, as well.
cat finally let go of Julie’s tongue.
visiting,” she said. “I
just wanted a picture.”
don’t fucking care,” Paul hissed through clenched jaw.
“Now piss off!”
have no right to talk to us like that,” Pam said with remarkable control.
have a right to privacy,” Paul told her.
“And you two cows are invading it.
Now get out of here before I call the police.”
are on the damn public sidewalk!” insisted Pam.
raised his hand to her, finger pointed right at her nose.
your fat arses out of here!” he shouted.
got off two quick shots before Paul turned on her.
me the fucking camera!”
reached out and grabbed the strap around her neck and yanked, pulling Julie
a step or two toward him as she fought to regain her balance.
A second yank sent her to her hands and knees on the pavement.
He yanked again, and she felt the woven strap burn her neck as he
pulled it off.
It was Pam’s turn to shout. “You
can’t do that! That’s
personal property!” She
wasn’t a Legal Secretary for nothing.
still on her knees on the sidewalk watched through rapidly-gathering tears
as Paul gave her camera a vicious pitch against the brick wall.
fuck off before I call the police,” he growled and turned to go back
through the gate.
hate you!” shouted Pam. “You
had no right to do that, you bastard!”
reply came in the form of a one-finger salute.
Just as the gate closed on him, they heard him snap at his friend,
“get in the house, Vickie!”
can’t believe he did that,” sniffed Julie, mopping at her eyes with a
tissue and at her skinned knees with the corner of a cloth napkin dipped in
Bastard,” muttered Pam.
were seated at a table at an outdoor café on Wellington Road awaiting
nerve-soothing gin & tonics.
turned Julie’s ruined camera over in her hands. The glass lens was cracked and the casing scratched and
I loved him so much,” she finally sighed.
drinks came, and Julie continued to mop at her knees and the palms of her
hands. But her tears had
stopped as anger took it’s rightful place.
him,” she said quietly. “We’re
the ones who should have called the police…”
sipped her drink and set the glass down.
“Why don’t we?” she asked.
looked at her, thinking for a moment. “He
assaulted me, didn’t he?”
what it looked like to me,” said the legal secretary.
the directions given them by their waiter, Julie and Pam found the local
constabulary with no trouble.
would like to press charges against someone for assault,” said Julie when
summoned to the desk.
you have anyone in particular in mind?” Det. Sgt. Barrington drawled.
We know his name and where he lives.”
Well, that will aid greatly in the investigation.”
Sgt. Barrington pulled a lined form in front of him and uncapped a
thought you said it was a ‘he.’”
Yes, he is. Sorry,” Julie
smiled. She leaned toward the
man and spoke slowly and clearly. “Paul
know how to spell it, madam. But
are you certain it was him?”
certain,” said Pam.
you say he assaulted you?”
sir. He pulled me to the ground
by my camera strap.” Julie
displayed her scratched palms. “My
knees are hurt, too. And
this,” she added, displaying the abrasion caused by the strap.
he smashed her camera against a brick wall,” added Pam.
he assault you as well?” asked the policeman.
we will get your witness statement later.”
The sargeant turned back to Julie.
“Go on,” he urged.
that was it, really, but he kept accusing us of being on his property, and
were on the sidewalk—“ Pam
began and was silenced by a look from the policeman.
you certain of that?”
We never set foot inside his yard.”
Julie sniffed back sudden tears.
“And he called us terrible names.
All we wanted to do was get a picture of his house…we never
expected him to show up…”
fumbled in her bag for a clean tissue.
me…” said Pam meekly.
what is considered to be ‘private property’ here, anyway?
Is a sidewalk private or public property?”
is indeed considered to be public property.”
knew it!” hissed Pam, smacking her right fist into her left hand.
gave her Official Statement, then Pam was finally allowed to give hers.
Julie had to leave her camera as evidence, but was allowed to keep
the roll of film inside. She just hoped it hadn’t been accidentally exposed by
Det. Sgt. Barrington promised Julie they would look into her complaint, and that she would be hearing from them within a day or two.
girls were back at their hotel a couple of hours later when the phone rang.
Perry calling for Ms. Nichols,” said a deep voice on the other end.
is she,” said Julie.
Nichols, I have personally spoken with Sir Paul, and he claims you and your
friend were inside the courtyard of his house.
He insists you were on his property, and that he repeatedly asked you
lying,” said Julie. “We
were on the sidewalk outside the courtyard.”
his witness, a Ms. Victoria Remington, corroborated his statement.”
they’re both lying. We were
on the sidewalk,” Julie repeated. “And
he never ‘asked’ us to leave—he shouted at us to leave. His exact words were ‘fuck off,’ if you’d like to
ma’am—I believe that’s stated in your complaint.”
he’s clearly lying. What are
we supposed to do now?”
if you have any other witnesses or evidence showing where the alleged
assault actually took place, we will be happy to reconsider your complaint.
As of now, however, we can take no further action.
at least he was nice about it,” said Julie to Pam after reporting what the
Constable had said.
was worth a try,” shrugged Pam.
He said I can come back any time to get my camera,” said Julie.
light bulb went on over Pam’s head. “Julie—the
were taking pictures the whole time. Evidence!”
Julie exclaimed. “Oh, God, I
hope you’re right.”
located a one-hour photo developer a couple of blocks from the hotel and
paced the sidewalk until the film was developed.
Luckily, it had not been damaged.
If the developer recognized the subject of the pictures, he didn’t
exclaimed Julie, pointing. “You
can see the gate—he’s on the outside of it!”
was one of the photos Julie had snapped as Paul approached them.
The one of him shaking his finger in Pam’s face clearly showed the
wall and part of his house in the background.
grabbed Julie’s hand. “Let’s
Yes, I can see that now,” said their old friend Det. Sgt.
Barrington. “Well, ladies, it
would seem you have a legitimate complaint after all.”
girls grinned at each other.
Barrington picked up a phone and summoned a constable.
Sir Paul in for questioning, Constable Perry.”
minutes later, the door to the waiting area opened, and Sir Paul McCartney
entered, flanked by Constable Perry and another rather formidable-looking
policeman. Julie gasped when
she saw Paul was handcuffed.
my God,” she whispered to Pam.
escorts brought him before Det. Sgt. Barrington’s desk.
demand to know what this is all about!” Paul demanded.
the sargeant told him. He
turned to his constables. “Handcuffs?”
resisted. We had no choice.”
my,” Det. Barrington admonished Paul.
“Having a bad day, are we?”
and Pam tried unsuccessfully to stifle giggles. Paul heard and looked over at them on the bench.
choked off their mirth, and Pam hunched over contritely, but Julie
straightened up on the bench looked him in the eye.
Paul, it’s us.”
he started to say something else, but was cut off by Sgt. Barrington.
Paul, you do realize you have
been brought in simply for questioning, do you not?”
was not made clear to me.”
Perry looked at Paul then back at his sergeant. “Yes, it was,” he said simply.
said Paul, reasonably, “I’ve already been questioned. Why am I here now? And
can I have these fuck—these bloody things off?” He raised his hands to display the shiny cuffs.
Barrington motioned with his head, and Constable Perry unlocked and removed
them. Paul rubbed his wrists
where they had left red marks.
seems to be new evidence indicating exactly where the alleged assault took
looked startled for a moment, then looked over at Julie, who beamed a smile
not saying another word ‘til my solicitor gets here,” he told the
well,” said Det. Sgt. Barrington. “Take
him to the back,” he told the constables.
solicitor, a Mr. Phillips, arrived, quite out of breath, about five minutes
is an outrage,” he announced. “I
demand to know on what charges my client has been arrested.”
client has not been arrested—yet,” said Det. Sgt. Barrington.
“He has been brought in for further questioning due to the fact
that new evidence has surfaced concerning an alleged assault and property
my foot,” said Julie.
turned to her. “Are you the
one who has brought these outrageous charges against my client?”
I am, and they are not outrageous,” Julie answered. “He was
asked for a copy of the complaint and the investigating constable’s
to be a case of my client’s word against hers,” he said after scanning
the sheets. “What is the
Det. Sargeant handed Julie’s pictures over, and the girls watched with
great satisfaction as the lawyer’s face fell.
I see my client now?” he asked quietly.
know he’s going to do anything he can to keep this quiet,” said Pam
after a few thoughtfully silent minutes.
could get this whole trip paid for…”
what are you going to do?”
I’m not going to blackmail him, if that’s what you mean,” said Julie.
was talking out-of-court settlement,” said Pam. “He’s loaded. Go
shook her head. “I don’t
want his money—I just want an apology.”
a new camera, at least?”
least,” Julie smiled.
minutes went by before a policewoman stuck her head out the door to let
Julie and Pam know they were wanted in the back.
for it,” Pam whispered as they got up.
Phillips and his client rose from their seats at a heavy, scarred wooden
table in a small, spartanly-furnished conference room as Julie and Pam were
escorted in. Laid out on the
table were Julie’s pictures and her broken camera.
The policewoman left, closing the door behind her.
flickered a contrite smile at them as Phillips dragged two chairs over to
the end of the table for them.
uh, Ms. Nichols, is it?” asked Phillips, looking up from the complaint
folded his hands on the table in front of them.
Nichols, what will it take to make these charges go away?”
of the corner of her eye, Julie could see Pam watching her intently.
took a deep breath and looked straight at Paul.
apology for starters,” she said, and Paul nodded, smiling slightly.
new camera, of course… Autographs…”
She was on a roll. “A nice
picture of you—smiling—with us…”
He nodded again and was smiling more.
your pardon?” he said, smile gone.
like to have a drink with you,” explained Julie. “To give you a second chance to make a better first
impression. Preferably, on
neutral ground somewhere?” She finished with a smile.
just looked at her for a moment, then a smile formed around his mouth and
eyes. “Done,” he said.
focused her smile on Mr. Phillips. “Okay,
that’s it,” she told him.
scribbled her “demands” on a legal pad, then said, “we would ask just
a couple of things in
return—that we be allowed to keep the photographs and negatives.
There is just the one set, I trust?”
all yours,” said Julie.
He made a checkmark on the pad.
“And we would like you to sign a release absolving Sir Paul of any
further liability in this matter.”
looked over at Paul. “Done,”
she said and was rewarded with a wink that turned her insides to jello.
that would seem to be it then,” said Phillips, scribbling again.
“I shall have the release drawn up for you to sign tomorrow.
My secretary will contact you at your hotel first thing in the
morning to arrange a time and place.”
spoke up for the first time. “What
about the other stuff?”
don’t we just meet up at my office at, say, three o’clock tomorrow?”
parties being in agreement, the meeting broke up and handshakes exchanged.
Mr. Phillips went out to begin the necessary paperwork for Paul’s
release. When Julie shook
Paul’s hand, he held onto it.
was a very ballsy thing to do,” he told her, smiling.
thought it was pretty ballsy of you, too,” she said.
well, as the man said—I’ve been having a pretty bad day.
I’m very sorry I took it out on you.”
that my apology?”
suppose so. Why?
Should I have been on my knees?
You didn’t specify.”
she thought, if I had, it would have been: naked, in my bed.
mental picture made her smile, and she said, “no, that was just fine.
gave her hand a final squeeze then let go.
see you at three tomorrow for the rest of your ‘stuff,’ then,” he
happy foursome came back out to the lobby to be greeted by a fuming Victoria
Remington, perched on the edge of the bench, ready to spring.
went to her, planted the shadow of a kiss on an unresponsive cheek and
slipped an arm around a body that didn’t want to be held but knew it had
settled, dear,” he said with exaggerated pleasantness.
“I just have to sign a few things, then we can go.”
two lovebirds retreated to a corner of the lobby, speaking in hushed, tense,
tones, while everyone awaited the paperwork-processing.
guesses as to why he’s having a bad day,” observed Julie.
“And the first two don’t count.”
muttered Pam—Paul had been forgiven.
could freeze water on her ass,” said Julie, sneaking a glance.
was flirting with you,” said Pam after a moment.
That wink? The hand
He’s just making sure he’s officially off the hook.
Once that release is signed, it’s business as usual,” replied
peeked over to the corner at the same moment Paul peeked over Victoria’s
shoulder. He didn’t dare wink
at Julie, but instead nodded ever so slightly.
It was like an arrow through her.
signed at last, all parties departed. Mr.
Phillips back to his office to continue counseling the rich & famous.
Julie and Pam back to their hotel to clean up for an evening out.
Paul and Victoria back to Cavendish Avenue to continue the fight that
had started this whole thing off.
the dot of three o’clock the next day, Julie and Pam were led into the
inner sanctum by a comely blonde secretary.
Paul was slouched in a chair behind his desk, on the phone, long legs
crossed, feet on the desk. He
flashed a smile when the girls came in—quite a change from the previous
day. His lawyer was laying
papers out on the conference table and came over to greet them.
offered them tea, which they declined.
The threesome took seats at the table as Paul finished his telephone
conversation. He came toward
then, hand outstretched. He was
wearing a yellow golf shirt, light gray trousers, and the ever-present black
trainers—classic business casual.
he greeted them, shaking first one hand then the other.
“Thanks for coming.”
was trying to take it all in—the contemporary furnishings, cream-coloured
carpet, paintings—his own?—on the walls.
Wurlitzer juke box. An
upright piano against one wall—in the event of sudden inspiration, no
got the how-are-you’s out of the way, and Mr. Phillips took over.
He explained to Julie what it was she would be signing—in effect
denying that the incident had ever taken place and forbidding her from even
talking about it. The document
also specified what she would receive in return—apology, camera,
autographs, photo, drinks. No
legal stone was left unturned. With
that, she had no quarrel and gladly affixed her signature in triplicate.
Paul did likewise, and Mr. Phillips handed Julie her own blue-backed
doesn’t count as my autograph, does it?” she asked, examining the
love,” Paul laughed. “I can
do better than that.”
seem to be having a better day,” Pam observed.
I am—much better, thanks.”
it seemed, was the solicitor, who beamed a smile all around as he snapped
his briefcase shut.
there is anything else you need, Paul, I’ll be off.”
can’t think of anything,” said Paul.
He turned to Julie and Pam. “Can
you?” he asked.
couldn’t either, and Paul walked Phillips out of the office.
said Julie. “Can you
believe—twenty-four hours ago, we were in a police station pressing
charges against Paul McCartney for assault…”
that was a lot a trouble to go to for one lousy picture of his house,”
I don’t even have anymore,” Julie pointed out.
we go back and try again? Maybe
he’ll break your arm this time and you can get him to autograph your
cast.” Pam snapped her
fingers. “I know what you
forgot to put in the release.”
he kiss your boo-boos and make them better.”
Then she giggled, and put the phrase to the tune of “Hey
Jude”—“…kiss your boo-boos and make them better…”
were both giggling at Pam’s cleverness when Paul returned with a large
package in his hands.
so funny?” he asked.
really, believe me,” said Julie. “Just
Pam trying to be funny.”
thought it was pretty good,” Pam offered.
looked from one to the other and just shook his head.
bringing the digital camera for your
smiling—“ he grinned at them “—photos.
We’ll make a few copies that I can sign for you.
that moment, his suit jacket, which was hanging on a clothes tree near the
desk, began to emit a high-pitched distress signal.
emitted a sigh. “Sorry,” he said as he got up to answer.
The office—where else would I be?…
Yes, I did, but you weren’t listening, as usual…”
and Julie looked at each other.
in paradise,” said Pam quietly.
get out of here,” suggested Julie. She
caught Paul’s eye and motioned toward the door.
he continued his conversation—something about meeting someone for dinner
later—he nodded, pointed to a clock on the wall and held up five fingers.
the outer office, the comely blond looked up expectantly.
on the phone,” Julie told her. “Mobile,”
she added when the secretary checked the multi-button instrument on her desk
as if she had missed something important.
well—make yourselves at home then,” she smiled. “I’m sure he won’t be long.
Would you like tea?”
thought Julie. ‘Pretty and
nice… Glad to know he can at least pick decent employees…’
girls thanked her and declined, and she went back to the trade paper she had
been glancing through.
and Pam inspected the artwork, photos and awards adorning the walls until
John Hammell came in, brandishing the digital camera. He introduced himself; they did likewise, and he headed for
the door to Paul’s office.
on the phone,” said the secretary and added with a knowing look and
slightly exaggerated voice, “the mobile.”
said John, picking up the meaning immediately.
“We’ll just wait here then.”
and Pam raised their eyebrows at each other, also picking up the meaning.
They all sat down, and John asked the girls if they would like tea.
minute or so passed, then Paul’s door opened.
“Sorry about that.” He
stood to one side while John, Julie and Pam passed, then went out to the
secretary’s desk. Julie heard
him tell her to hold all his calls, emphasizing the word “all.”
She guessed the mobile phone had been switched off.
photos were taken—Paul with both girls, then each individually—with
Julie and Pam having final say on the keepers.
Then John was dispatched to have them printed up, and Paul and the
girls sat back down at the table.
could use a cuppa,” he said. “Would
you like one?”
girls smiled at each other, and Julie said they’d love one, thank you.
Paul placed the order and sat down again.
the deal off if we don’t get to have that drink for a few days?” he
but how many days is ‘a few’?” said Julie.
“We have to leave on Sunday.”
made an apologetic face. “I’m
afraid I’m going to be out of town starting tomorrow til next Tuesday at
the earliest. And I’ve got
this bloody dinner tonight…”
that’s okay,” Julie smiled. “I
just threw that in as a bargaining chip I could negotiate with.”
he smiled back. “It wasn’t
a bad idea…”
eyes held Julie’s for a moment longer than necessary, and her heart gave a
delicious little leap. ‘He is
flirting with me!’ she thought, tearing her gaze away.
noticed the exchange and let a decent interval pass before changing the
uh, Paul,” she said, “what in the world did you have to do yesterday to
end up in handcuffs?”
looked from one to the other with an embarrassed little laugh.
uh, was rather verbally abusive to the cops…”
right, you’ve got me,” he grinned sheepishly.
that was it?” said Pam a moment later.
not exactly.” He seemed to
squirm uncomfortably. “I sort
of…gave one of them a shove…and he sort of…fell off the step.”
that’ll do it all right,” said Pam.
just couldn’t believe they had brought you in in handcuffs—just for
questioning,” remarked Julie.
if I had bothered to get my head out of me own arse long enough, I would
have heard them say that. Still,”
he added, “the state I was in
yesterday…I may not have anyway.”
he shrugged. “It’s not like
I haven’t been handcuffed before.”
He smiled, “anyroad, handcuffs aren’t necessarily a bad thing
under the right circumstances…”
directed a surreptitious wink at Julie, whose heart hit a 7.1 on the Richter
Scale. But she held his eye and
delivered a wink of her own right back at him.
was about to ask them if she should leave the room when the tea arrived.
was much tamer over cups of tea—Paul asked them where they were from, what
they did for a living, how they had been enjoying their holiday, etc.
They asked him about Arthur, and he proudly showed off a walletful of
John was back with their own photos. Paul
signed them and slipped them into MPL manila envelopes.
Then he apologized for having to rush off to a meeting, so goodbyes
were said, hands shaken, cheeks kissed, and it was all over.
settled into seats on the underground train, clutching their envelopes, and
Julie’s new camera, tightly.
believe he’s interested in you,” said Pam.
Julie smiled and shrugged. “Just
a little innocent flirtation…it’s not like he’s ever going to see me
weeks later, Paul and Victoria’s break up hit the news.
week or so after that, Julie’s phone rang one night.
tell me,” she smiled. “You
have a new set of handcuffs you’d like to try out.”
I was thinking we could start with drinks…”
Leslie wrote her first fanfic at age eleven, and it was
truly awful. Undaunted, she continued writing between gigs at
elementary and high school. Combining business with pleasure in her
Junior year, she wrote a term paper entitled "John Lennon: Author
and Composer," which would have earned her an "A" but for a
sloppily-done bibliography (she ended up with a B+).
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