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(How Does It Feel To Be) One of the Beautiful People

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You’re not Ulysses, baby

George had no idea whose plan it had been to build a submarine. It is one of those things that happen when you’re a group, someone says something which leads to something else and then you’re standing there, inhaling paint fumes from a bright yellow submarine. Sure, it looked nice, he had to admit, very cheery, but still. It was a submarine.

He packed his guitar for the journey, hung his sousaphone around his torso, and took a small bag. After all, he didn’t have a lot to bring, the war had reduced nearly everything to nothing. Had reduced the people to nothing. There was no reason to stay here anymore, pretending things would be alright. The war had torn him too, there were no longer any people to be found. John talked about saving the world with love, Ringo’s outlook was cheery despair as always, and as for Paul, well. Some days George wasn’t sure there was room in Paul’s head for anyone but himself.

It wasn’t just the band (they couldn’t agree on a name) on the submarine, it was friends, friends of friends, even children. George wasn’t sure he’d bring his own children on an untested submarine if he had any, but he wasn’t sure he’d leave them in the post-war desolation either.

 

Our only goal will be the western shore

It took them days to find the way out of the sea of green. No one was very bothered about it. The quartet played Bartók, and George wrote some new songs. Paul sat amid a cluster of admirers, like he usually did. George wasn’t very bothered about this, he knew who he was, and what he could do, but when John started sending Paul dark looks he knew it was time to do something. Anything. He wanted to meditate, to stare out through the window at the sea, which looked like nothing he had ever imagined the sea to look, but he had played with his band for long enough that he knew when it was time to distract John. Ringo had nothing to do, so George enlisted his help in navigating, taking care to complain loudly, something John wouldn’t be able to resist.

The sea of green was just green, and the compass didn’t seem to know where north was. It wasn’t the strangest or most disturbing thing that had happened, not by a long shot, but when the green fog cleared George still felt better.

They came to a sudden halt on top of a pyramid.

 

Harmony in my head

The air was faintly blue. George had no idea why, as there wasn’t anything there, nothing at all, except for the pyramid, the submarine and the people who had been in it. They had unloaded themselves, and were now at a general loss, confused, cold, and hungry. The only thing they knew about this place was that it was called Pepperland, in honour of Sgt Pepper, the man who had designed the submarine motor before going off to die in the war.

The quartet set up their instruments and chairs anyway, because they couldn’t stop themselves playing anymore than George himself could. They played a little ditty by Beethoven, and everyone stopped exploring to listen; the quartet really was exquisite. A fragile melody sprung from the first violin, and then George could see it, the flower growing, twining around her chair, the bloom blue like the sky, seeking the music, nodding along with the melody. George looked around to see if anyone else had noticed, but they were all engrossed in the music.

They discovered that you could create anything with music in Pepperland, anything at all as long as it was beautiful. George spent a whole day raising a mountain by song, and went to sleep happy, but with a sore throat.

George, John, Ringo and Paul built a stage they could stand on and play, the band together, as they should. They played a song about long lost love, making it rain in Pepperland. One of the older ladies came by.

“Aren’t you quite the lonely hearts club band,” she said. “Now make the sun shine again.”

 

I believe in peace, bitch

It was completely unexpected. George hadn’t even known there was another people living next to them. He suspected some of the others might have, but he wasn’t sure.

Suddenly, the grassy plains were filled with large, blue, fuzzy creatures straight out of someone’s bizarre dreams. George wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do, but he tried to club some of them with his sousaphone. Around him he could see the rest of the band doing what they could to fend the attackers off, but they just kept coming. In despair George picked up an abandoned trumpet, and blew a short staccato rhythm, to warn the others, and because it seemed the thing to do. He’d watched all the movies about war when he was younger, and marching music always seemed to play a big rôle. Strangely, this did something to the intruders. One of the things, which somehow had the look of a cat about it, pressed its paws to its ears, wailing in despair, and fell over. George had no idea why, but he kept playing, and soon all the blue ones around him (he thought he’d heard them call themselves meanies, but he wasn’t sure) had fallen over, run away or collapsed into little crying heaps.

The rest of the band picked up their instruments, and George changed the trumpet for the sousaphone, and they started playing for real, marching slowly over the plains. People joined in as they passed, picking up the song, and soon all of Pepperland reverberated with it.

The blue ones, and according to Fred they were really called meanies, had all disappeared, run back to where they came from. George was not sure why, but nothing made sense in this place, and that was why he likes it.

He went to bed that night, sleeping in a meadow, curled around some friends he’d found lying there already, and he thought that this was it. No more war, no more pain, just peace and music forever.