By Elizabeth Darcy
to Becker! Do you copy?”
affirmative: at exactly oh-nine-hundred hours targets commenced journey
towards destination. We’re
all counting on you now, Becker.”
Becker deftly stowed the walkie-talkie device into her rather large purse,
thankfully unnoticed by the throngs of Los Angelinos pressing against her,
sweaty and angry from the sweltering August heat, making their way towards
the grandiose entrance to Union Station.
dashed inside the terminal, found the departures schedule and squinted,
trying to make out the barely comprehensible jargon.
There was only one departure scheduled for San Francisco: the 10:15.
She couldn’t help but grin—how close she was coming to victory!
And wouldn’t the other girls be proud of her!
West Side Beatles Society was a respectable group of high school girls.
At seventeen, Holly was the eldest and often times really did feel
like the mother figure in the gang. They
met each other almost two years ago, in late 1963, after discovering that
they all had two things in common: they
lived in the same apartment building and they all loved the Beatles.
It was at a time before they even really knew
what the boys looked like. They
had fallen in love with that unfathomable sound.
It had changed them in a way they never thought was possible. (Of
course, the pleasant discovery that the boys were also four of the most
gorgeous creatures on the planet certainly didn't hinder their growing
adulation.) They formed the
Society in January 1964 and met every Wednesday evening in Holly's
comfortable bedroom (all eight of them) to obsess about ‘their’ boys.
favorite was Ringo. It was love
at first sight, if you will. She
found everything about him insatiably appealing.
Those deep-set baby blues, his oh-so kissable lips, that winning
smile, yes, even that ‘trombone hooter’ of a nose, she found downright
irresistible! (Especially that
‘trombone hooter,’ thank you very much!) She kept a framed photograph of
him on her desk, a small one in her wallet, and it wasn't uncommon for him
to pay a visit to her in her dreams.
was that love, and only that love that propelled her to go through with her
since the boys first toured America, the Beatles Society had tried their
best to contrive a way to come in contact with the Beatles themselves.
And for the past two years they had failed.
One incident even involved their secretary, Carol, being hauled off
by a gruff policeman after she had made it all the way to the second floor
of the boys’ hotel during the last leg of their first American tour.
was rapidly drawing to a close, as was the Beatles’ American
tour. It was the 30th
of August already, and the lads were leaving for home on the 1st
of September. The club was
running out of time.
really, the plan was simple. Simply
get onto the same train as the Beatles and there you had it! Close captivity
with them with nowhere else to go! Susan Brennan had radioed from out in
front of the Bonaventure Hotel downtown, which meant the boys would be there
soon. Her stomach was twisting in knots: only thirty five minutes and she
would be on the same train as the
boys. . . with her Ringo.
took a deep breath and confidently approached the ticket counter, sternly
ordering one ticket for the 10:15. The
ticketmaster peered at her over his wire rim glasses and scrunched up his
Miss. No seats left."
face turned a ghostly white. "What? No! I-- I have a very important
appointment that I just can't be late for!"
You don't understand, it's a matter of life and death!"
you don't understand that there's
nothing I can do about it! No
seats available, lady. If
it’s that important to you, then take the twelve-twenty into Santa
Barbara. From there you can catch the seven- thirty into San
stared at him, being forced to accept the bitter defeat.
Without another word she turned and slowly walked away.
Oh god. . . what am I going to tell the girls? I can't let them down
like this. . . there just has to be a way. . .
how? It seemed as though she
had really faced a brick wall this time.
She pulled out her walkie-talkie again, hiding in a forgotten corner,
her spirits dragging miserably.
to Brennan. Bad news:
aborting mission. All the tickets for the train have been sold. Am not able to
board the train. I repeat: aborting mission."
was murumuring on the other end, she could hear. After an eternity, Susan
clicked back on.
that, Becker. Best reel in the
line. . ." more murmuring. "Don't worry, Holly. You tried."
know, Sue. I just wish. . .oh well. I'll
see you in a few."
spotted an open seat in the terminal and plopped down, setting the
walkie-talkie to her left, and massaged her temples. Oh what a headache. So
much planning and hoping. . . for nothing.
With hundreds of people swarming around her, she felt strangely
distant and just seconds from bursting into tears.
snapped out of it and focused on a man sitting to her right:
The owner of reddish hair cut quite mod, glasses, and a hopeful
shook her head. "No. . . just disappointed."
he breathed, nodding supportively. "I see. Waiting for someone,
you could say that. . ." she
glanced back down. If only the
man knew what was really wrong. He would have probably laughed her out of
the station. There were
children starving in Africa, scores dying in Vietnam, and here she was ready
to cry because she wasn't going to be able to see a couple of rock and roll
feigned a smile. "You visiting the city?"
visiting," he corrected. She
liked his voice-- softly and sweetly accented. Not thick like the boys'
accents, but still English if she wasn't mistaken. "I'm in the country
. . where are you headed then?"
froze, her interest insatiably piqued.
She slowly turned towards him, giving him her undivided attention.
see. . . " her brain was working over time. "Er. . . ever been
yes. I like San Francisco quite a great deal.
I know this will probably sound strange, but in some small ways it
reminds a little bit of home.”
thought the point of a vacation was to get away from home.
Why would you want to go someplace that's just like it?"
he laughed, "when you travel as often as I do, you're thankful to go to
places where it feels like home."
glanced down at his watch, then up as though her were looking for someone.
er, would you mind doing me a favor? I
have a phone call I have to make-- mind watching my luggage?"
She nodded and he sprinted off towards a telephone booth.
stared at the luggage, biting her lip in deep contemplation.
She had always been the peacemaker of the group.
Honest Holly, they called her-- the type of girl whose conscience
just ate at her even when she told her little sister about Santa Claus,
hating herself for, in effect, lying to someone she loved.
And that's why it scared her at how willing she was to carry out the
plan she was beginning to formulate.
of the man's bags sat comfortably close to her.
Out of one of the pockets, the tip of some sort of white document
stuck out. Her heart raced and
she reached her fingers out and deftly pulled it out. It was an envelope
that had "tickets" scribbled in pen.
You could get thrown in jail
for this pounded in her head as she pulled out the contents. Berkeley will never
admit a girl with a criminal record!
Her heart fluttered as she read the print:
Los Angeles to San Francisco. 10:15.
This is it! This is the answer!
she had to do was get up and walk away with the ticket in her pocket and no
one would ever know the difference. But
if she did, how could she ever live with herself? And what about that sweet
Englishman? He'd been so kind and considerate to her and this was how she
was going to repay him? By ripping him off? How ridiculous! How insane!
But Holly. . . we're talking
about the Beatles. We're
talking about Ringo. Since when
have you ever been sane when it comes to them?
She stood up and briskly made her way towards the platform.
I help you to your seat, Miss?"
was startled, but regained her composure nicely. She nodded to the porter and handed him her ticket.
The porter's smile faded momentarily and his aging eyes betrayed him
bafflement, as did his hesitant speech.
her panicked state of mind, she hadn't notcied the "First Class"
stamp on the ticket. Darn it. . . he was a businessman. Of course he would travel
that's what it says, doesn't it?"
porter tried his best to remain cordial, but he was visibly disturbed. He
bade her to follow and she passed by the seated coach passengers and into a
8B, Miss." The porter
motioned to her seat, his face no longer concerned, but positively
strange, nearly loathsome fear was creeping its way upon her.
She was beginning to realize that everyone in the car was staring at
her as though she carried the plague.
the man who occupied seat 8A.
man with enormous blue eyes beneath a great crown of dark brown hair which
famed his face. . .
mouth fell open and she very nearly had the wind knocked out of her by the
sheer magnitude of what was happening to her.
Her eyes were telling her that she was looking at Ringo Starr, but her mind was scolding her that it wasn't possible.
Her eyes quickly scanned the rest of the compartment, finding three
other men in similar attire, putting to bed any doubts she'd been clinging
to: Paul McCartney was sitting
next to George Harrison in row 7, and John Lennon sat adjacent to Ringo. All
of their eyes focused upon her.
was the moment that she'd dreamt of, fantasized about, pined for with every
ounce of her being. Holly had
memorized speeches, practiced how to act when meeting him, planned out every
second of their meeting should such an encounter actually take place-- and
now that is was actually happening, she couldn't even find her voice.
all the tickets that she could have swiped, she'd gotten herself a ticket to
ride with the Beatles!
what's all this?"
snapped out of her trance by the sternness of the voice directed at her.
A man, immaculately dressed in a dark navy blue suit and polka dotted
scarf, was more than confused.
has a ticked, Mr. Epstein." The porter confirmed.
It's their manager! THE Brian
I specifically requested that--"
come 'ead, Eppy. Don't be soft.
Let her alone, eh? She's not done anythin.'"
speaking up for her!
Holly smiled gratefully-- and at the same time felt an incredible
guilt for putting on false pretenses like that.
Mr. Epstein shrugged and reluctantly dropped the matter.
she whispered as she scooted past to her seat.
to it. I usually get stuck
sittin' next to Neil, our roadie, so it's a nice change."
sat down, dying at how close she
was to him. He sat, no, he lounged
in his seat, his elbow on her armrest, every sense in her body acutely aware
of his sleeve that ever so lightly rested against her arm.
got a name?" He asked as he
cooly lit a cigarette.
he said, extending his hand. She
prayed her hand wouldn't shake as she accepted it.
It did, darn it all! He
merely smiled, not saying anything about it.
"Speaking of Neil, anyone know where he is?"
voice spoke up in front of them, "Yeah-- saw 'im just before we got
you see him on the train?" asked another voice.
think so, aye. He's probably
just in the loo."
he said he wasn't feeling too well this morning," said John, and then
in the same breath asked, "Where you from, Holly?"
swallowed hard, not sure if she had to nerve to actually face him. Oh
my God, John Lennon is actually asking me a question! She was just
seconds from passing out. . .
right here in L.A. Just going
up to San Francisco for the day. . ."
class girl, eh?"
. . um, Daddy's really paranoid about me traveling alone."
Well that's not exactly a lie.
train shuddered and began slowly creeping out of the station.
She stared out at the blurring images, her eyes eventually focusing
on the reflection in the mirror. John
was standing over Ringo. His eyes looked up and met Holly's staring eyes.
She turned around and tried not to blush.
you meetin' in San Francisco?" His
arms were folded, his gaze undivided-- focused intently, almost
I have family there" Which
was true. "Figured I'd drop by."
do this often?"
my family? S-sure. It's not
terribly far, you know. I'm
there every other week."
seemed to accept this and smiled at her strangely before going back to his
looked tired, so she decided it best to just leave him be.
The fact that she could smell him, feel him was
enough to send her heart soaring. He
was a living, breathing man, not a glossy photograph. An actual person
who was less than two inches away from her.
reached into her bag and pulled out the novel that she'd packed, hoping to
appear as unconcerned as possible. (Although she did panic when she realized that she had somehow lost her Dad's
walkie-talkie. But even that
seemed unimportant at the moment.) She opened D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterly's Lover-- the novel she was determined to finish even
though her mom called it obscene.
glanced up: the angelic face before her was enough to make her want to cry.
Lady Chatterly's Lover."
let a brief, faint grin show on his plush, kissable lips.
The man was downright gorgeous-- the owner of brown eyes that could
just melt anything they set their gaze upon.
"Racy material fer a girl your age. What're you, sixteen?”
mistake," he laughed. "Good
choice, that one. You'll love
it in the end when--"
nearly flipped out! "STOP,"
she ordered, probably surprising the company with her conviction.
"I've haven't been reading this for the past four months only to
have it ruined now!"
all die," said Ringo blandly.
do not," she scolded and then
paused. "Do they?"
listen to him," said George, who peeked over his seat as well. "He
can't even read."
and Paul fell into hysterics and Holly was beaming. Never in her wildest dreams had she thought such a thing
would have been possible. They
were everything she'd dreamt of and then some.
They were four people.
Flesh and blood, joking like everyday, average Joes.
Only these average Joes happened to be ones she kissed goodnight
every evening. . .
long 'till we get there, Bri?" George whined.
Only thirty minutes until this dream ends.
still be early, then," said George, sounding optimistic.
you gonna go sightseeing?" Holly asked innocently.
"It's a pretty city. . ."
up to Bri here," said John. "We usually go straight to a hotel and
but there's so much to see in Frisco! You’ve
got the Pier, and Lombard Street, oh, and the nightlife is never-ending!
Kind of reminds me of New York, only a bit more mannerly, you
like a gas, but I don’t think we’re gonna see any of ‘at.”
you have to! I mean. . .”
all up to Bri over there.”
hadn’t torn his gaze away from John.
“I told you boys that we would. Tomorrow…”
a limousine window," John muttered.
than through a hotel window," George offered.
this again, lads," Brian pleaded. "I do the best I can under the
given circumstances. You know
very well that you can't go around like normal tourists. Every year we have
the same argument. . ."
because of the fans?" Holly asked.
a regular Einstein, aren't you?" John sneered.
. . what good is seeing the world if you can't experience it? I mean,
no one wants to be stuck in a cage. No matter how gilded it is."
She felt Ringo staring at her and she kicked her self for probably
saying too much. "Sorry--
it's none of my business."
Ringo protested. "You hit it right on the dot."
turned in his seat to face her. "The problem is that most people don't
respect a little thing called 'privacy.'
You're expected to give, give, give and they take, take, take and the
minute you need breathing room, suddenly you're, y'know, a criminal or
something. People think they
own you-- that you owe them
something since they paid two and nine for your album. . ."
swallowed hard. John
could have easily kept going, but it was Ringo's stern face that stopped
him. He sat back in his chair, the silence suddenly engulfing them.
He really is great at killing a
she began, feeling obligated to speak and choosing her words cautiously,
"let me just say this. As
a member of that cumulative 'they' you were referring to, I just want to let
you know that any sort of pain or misgivings caused to you on our part isn't
the result of a calculated malice, but is the result of absolute,
unadulterated love." She
was feeling the weight of a crushing guilt descend upon her.
"Maybe that's the problem.
That love should be checked
with that little something called respect. . ." she sighed.
"But I suppose the privacy of four individual men doesn't stand
a chance again about a hundred million girls all claiming to be in love with
you. It's a mathematical impossibility."
stare never faltered, and his reply was not was she expected.
"I knew you were a
heart skipped a beat. "W-who
said I was?" She'd been so
very careful to act as cool as possible!
laughed. "Even people who aren't fans will say either 'aren't you those
Crickets or something' or 'can
I have your autograph for my friend' or 'Don't I know you' within about 5 to
nodded. "It's been forty
and you've done none of that."
spoke up. "Which means that you're a very big fan who already knows our
names, is too shy to ask for an autograph and has probably coached herself
on how to act in just such a situation."
was mortified! Exposed! The gig was
up! She was dumbfounded at
their stellar sense of perception. She had no idea what to say.
seemed amused at her confusion. "Look, luv, when you're in our shoes,
you learn a thing or two about the fans.
You can tell the lukewarm ones from the avid ones from the obsessed
could barely speak, her throat suddenly parched. "A-and w-what am I?"
was thoughtful. "You are one of the rare ones. Obsessed, yes, but not one to let her emotions get away with
said John, "you're not the type of fan who would break through a police
barricade, jump on top of us and start making wild love. . . not that
there's anything wrong with that."
laughed, "Aye, but she's smarter than that. Very much so, which is quite admirable, actually."
Ringo agreed. "You're
style is different. You would
think it out first. Put thought
into it-- make a plan.
Let's say, for example, finding a way to get on the same train as the
continued John, "even if the train was sold out to capacity, you'd
still get on-- even if it meant possibly stealing
someone else's ticket."
Oh my dear God. No, no, no, no.
wouldn't it just be a dream come true," said Paul, “if the person
whom you ripped off just happened to be the group’s roadie. . ."
voice joined the conversation at that moment.
"And he was kind enough to forgive you for it and let you sit in
the same cabin with them."
spun around and saw the same man
whom she'd stolen the ticket from! He was grinning from ear to ear and
walked over to her. "I
never did introduce myself, did I? The
name is Neil Aspinall, and I'm the boys' roadie."
Becker had been caught red-handed. She
was praying for someone to just shoot her and end the misery.
She was sweating, unable to breathe -- suffocating
underneath everyone's eyes. All of which seemed to be quite pleased with
in her life had she ever been the victim of such a vicious practical joke.
They had planned this
entire thing-- tricked her into
thinking that she had gotten away with it. For a brief, fleeting moment, she
felt intense an animosity towards every last one of them-- even her Ringo.
But almost immediately, that animosity was again replaced with total
wanted to cry, and indeed, she was struggling to choke back her tears.
d-did you know," she managed to say, barely.
smiled softly. "Well, in
the heat of your oh-so-well devised plan, you left a little something of
pulled out her walkie-talkie. So
that's what happened to it! Oh, you are such an idiot to have left it just
sitting there at the station!
was laughing. "It's the fact that you ripped off our roadie that really
makes the story great!"
was burning with embarrassment. "Oh . . . Mr Aspinall, I. . . I'm so
you're not," he chuckled. "If
you had to do it all over again you'd do the same thing."
you have to believe me when I say that I feel absolutely terrible."
you should," Brian said sternly. "That's a criminal charge, my
girl." Brian could see Holly was on the verge of tears and immediately
softened his expression. "But
we're not going to hold that against you."
authority, stealing from the innocent," said Ringo, "now that's
George agreed. "Someone
you can really trust."
couldn't help but smile.
the Establishment was right after all-- we are
contributing to the moral decline of American youth."
train suddenly shuddered and to Holly's great distress she realized they had
finally arrived in San Francisco. "We're here, lads," Brian said.
hair on the back of Holly's neck stood on edge: there was the most peculiar
sound starting to drift into the car-- even though the windows and doors
were firmly shut. A crowd of
girls had assembled outside on the platform, being held back by struggling
policemen, arms waving, autograph books ready, screaming at the top of their
couldn't believe it! It was a scene right out of A Hard Day's Night, only.
. . it was real.
She noticed that John seemed to be getting irritated suddenly.
He looked out the window, then scoweled at Brian.
"Dammit. Who let it out, Bri? I thought that you said this
did, John. No one was to know.
I don't know who let it out."
glared at Holly.
now, wait a sec: I know that I
haven't exactly made the best first impression, but since we've decided to
start over on a clean slate, I'm tellin' ya that it wasn't
me!" she protested.
kept their stares.
"I mean it!!"
peered out the window-- the faces all converged upon each other and it
seemed for a moment to resemble a Picasso painting: everything blurring
together into a mass with no real definite order to it.
that's what it looks like. . ." Holly was thinking out loud.
She'd seen the madness first hand before at concerts-- even
contributing to it. But seeing
it from the other side was a most sobering event.
How could living this ever make them happy? Seeing that spectacle
outside their train every single day of their lives-- unable to go where
thet wanted, be who they were-- unable to really breathe.
And when she studied their faces, not one of them held a smile. They
suddenly appeared tired, disappointed, and probably really not
wanting to go through that hurricane again.
The silence was engulfing and Holly felt compelled to speak up.
know. . . this is probably really naive of me, and you'll probably all
laugh, but I'm gonna say it anyway. See.
. . my Grandmother always used to tell us girls that , well, it always is
darkest before the dawn. And
even when you think that things in your life couldn't get any worse, well,
they really are getting better all the time."
better all the time," Paul repeated.
snickered. "You're right, Holly. It is naive.”
Paul admonished, “It is a nice
thought at least."
ready, Mr. Epstein." A security guard had appeared, with about four men
behind him-- showtime had arrived.
lads. Let's go." Everyone
reached for their bags and overcoats ready to leave. "Oh, Miss Becker?
I do hope that this will put an end to your thoughts of leading a life of
crime. Might I recommend going
into medicine or law, eh?"
laughed and shook his hand, thankfully. "I'll keep that in mind,
bade their farewells as they passed, Holly's eyes lingering upon Ringo's
figure. Her heart was aching--
she didn't want to see them leave. She'd
never felt such happiness in her life as she had felt in their company. . .
not just because they were 'The Beatles' but because she'd actually felt
like they were friends. Friends
she wanted to stay with her as long as possible.
was the last in the entourage, and he turned back around one last time
towards Holly and waved, beaming. Her
heart fluttered and she waved in return enthusiastically.
screams outside intensified as the boys made their way and Holly gazed out
the window as they pushed past the crowds, trying to make a getaway. She
sighed, suddenly alone in the car. As
the minutes passed, the screaming began to decline and her heart sank to the
floor: they were gone. Out of her life forever.
reached for her overnight bag, trying to focus on other things: getting a
cab to her cousins' home where she could spend the night. She exited the train, walked slowly in no particular
direction, fumbling around in her bag trying to find her cousins' street
address. What she pulled out
nearly gave her a heart attack!
was a note, folded up, with her name scribbled on the front in messy blue
pen. Her hand shook as she
opened it carefully:
Now that your name's been
cleared of theft charges, how about celebrating?
If you're interested, we're staying at the Union Hotel. . . but then
you probably knew that already, didn't you!
Darcy is twenty two years old, lives in southern California and is currently
attending college, majoring in Art with a concentration on Graphic Design.
She absolutely loves to travel (an expensive but rewarding hobby) write
(mostly historical fiction) paint (portraits, mainly) and of course spend as
much time as humanly possible listening to/dreaming of/thinking about the
Beatles. And speaking of the
Beatles, she feels that they are the only subject she is going to expound on
in this ‘bio’ because it’s probably the only thing you’ll find
interesting. She has been a Beatles
fan since November 1995, with the release of the Beatles Anthology and hasn’t
been the same ever since. Their
influence is the biggest one in her life, hands down. She shudders to think
how cold and empty her life would be if it hadn’t been for those four lads
and their music—the music that in effect, saved her life.
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