around round round round round
Doctor Robert makes his rounds at precisely eight forty-five every night, pockets full of bliss and hat firmly on his neatly trimmed hair as he mounts the dark stages of interchangeable dreary German strip clubs. The atmospheric miasma of them is always the same, sulfurous with smoke of all flavours and slicks of cheap beer, but he is the sort of chap who does everything he can regardless of how distasteful the surroundings are.
It's not an easy job, not even at the best of times. The tumultuous voice that lives at the back of his mind clamours with derision -- for the recipients of his pills and his special cup, for the square ones who refuse, for his own toffee nose and smart waistcoat and the pride he takes in his position -- but he manages to carry on nonetheless, day or night any time at all. The other boys wait for him with their black leather and hair in effectively ridiculous pompadours (not Stu though never Stu thank Astrid for that) and they gather round as Doctor Robert digs into his pocket and doles out the pharmaceutical fruit of the National Health to them. The Prellies disintegrate slightly in their homesick sweat before they each palm them into eager mouths. Energy enough to play through the night now, and some left over besides. It's a good job he's doing.
"Saved some for yourself there, Johnny me lad?" one of them asks, and the Doctor swaps around the back of his mind for the front and tells him in that laconic drawl, "The piper always gets paid, son," before licking up his own dose of pills.
A new and better man, he picks up his guitar.
"I call this one 'Pippin'," George says out loud to nobody in particular, as Ringo is fast asleep stretched out on an arrangement of folding chairs and Paul and John have gone down to the canteen. He realizes making this statement was a mistake when he hears an ominous tikking-tapping noise in response and a pruny, thin voice announces, "That'll be two percent for the Gloucestershire Orchard Recognition," followed by an unmistakable ch-ching.
Trying to ignore it, George frowns and turns his attention to his guitar. He starts picking out a tune with the beat on the one --
"Four and a half percent for Accessing the Downbeat." ch-ching
-- decides to tentatively try out a couple of the tart lyrics John had given him --
"Three percent Lennon Assistance Benefit." ch-ching
-- switches desperately to the lines he'd written himself --
"Eight and three-fifths percent for neglecting to declare a Personal Effects Exemption." ch-ching
This time George can practically feel money trickling out from his wallet, evaporating into the vast nowhere land of the promised and elusive Public Good. The tikking-tapping is momentarily obscured by the skrunch of Ringo's chairs skidding as he yawns and stretches, rolling over to blink at George, taking in the perturbation that's twisting around and across him like wet mehndi. "Taxman's come for you 'gain, hey, George?" he mumbles, thick with sleep, and looks as if he's about to submerge back into his swaying dreamland again except that John and Paul return just then, clattering and clanking.
"Twenty-three percent for Non-Compensatory Working Conditions," that pruny voice sniffs, and George decides it's well time for a break.
Miss Daisy Hawkins brushes the rice from her hands, grains of it sticking here and there to fingertips damp and pink like those on a Caravaggio bacchus. The church uses basmati rice because it's long-grained and cheap, and Daisy imagines that when she cleans it up she can detect a warm, brown fragrance to it. Throwing the rice away feels like an ancient spell to bind and finalize the ritual of the wedding itself; she likes to think of that, likes to think of herself as a part of the whole beautiful thing. "Sort of a fairy godmother to it, then," says the smooth-faced young man who sits in the back pew and watches her with an interest that's detached one day and sympathetic the next. Daisy holds out her hands and watches them pucker with wrinkles, roses fading from the tips and that colour draining into spots that rise on the backs and darken. "One would hope," she says, quietly, as her voice gets tighter and creaky. She is disappointed in the creakiness, the audible evidence that things didn't wouldn't and never changed, and
Father McCartney finishes writing with a flourish of the cracked pen that leaves his fingers streaked with a black that remains deep within the whorls and swirls, and the hound-eyed young man leaning against the fireplace suggests, "The socks now, maybe?" It's a good suggestion, as all of his socks are developing honeycombs of holes through the toes that distract him when he's standing at the pulpit. Father McCartney relocates himself from his second-hand desk to his third-hand easy chair and picks up a ball of socks in various stages of decay, pulling out the worst and picking up his darning needle. The sock slides about in his fingers and under the needle. He'd had a darning egg once, given him by an elderly parishioner, but it's long since gone astray among the detritus that seems to break in waves through his dark house. "It's rather a good sermon, this one, don't you think?" he remarks cheerily, and the young man's mournful blue eyes grow even sadder as he gently says, "Only no-one will hear it," and
Once Daisy Hawkins now Eleanor Rigby sits at her window. She can hear the young man with the cruel mouth rustling around inside the front door, but that doesn't bother her. She's used to him. He brought her a jar, a special jar, one that frightened her at first but that she now reaches for if she ever feels unsafe or unsure. It stays by the door -- that was the place he suggested, and she doesn't like to contradict the young man who after all is clever in that mean way that young people have these days. Outside is mist all around, puzzlingly thick for its insubstantialness, and Eleanor thinks she sees some movement through it. She sits up straighter, heart hummingbirding to life, and before she can get up or say anything the young man has come in with the jar in his hands. He doesn't say anything, just holds it out to her with a curl of his thin lips, and she feels a pang of sadness for anybody so ill at ease with his own desires before unscrewing the top and lifting out her face and
Father McCartney now Father McKenzie brushes the dirt from his hands, flecks of it sticking here and there to fingertips damp and cold like those of the fool on the hill. These funerals depress him. The smooth-faced young man offers an arm and says, "All these lonely people," and Father McKenzie does not answer back.
You say you want a revolution
Happiness is a warm gun
In the land of submarines
There are orange ones and pink ones and purple ones, but the best of all are the yellow ones. They show up best against a sky of blue and a sea of green, and four Beatles can fit beautifully into one as it sails up to the sun and a future brighter than they can ever know.