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turn me on, dead man
i'm back, and brother do we need to talk ...
by tim lockwood

It's ironic, really. For years, people have been saying Paul's dead, Paul's dead, it happened in a car crash in November 1966, and he was replaced by a bloke named William Campbell, and there are clues all over their subsequent albums, reverse lyrics, the Abbey Road cover, and all other manner of assorted rubbish. Truth is, he's still alive and still has the damnedest time with idiots who see conspiracies behind every lilac bush. Hell of a note, and him a widower now on top of it.

On the other hand, when I was supposedly gunned down in a New York street by a deranged autograph seeker, no one questioned it at all. Millions of you wept your eyes out, and I understand some of you still do from time to time. I'm touched by it, really. Humbled, more like. Maudlin displays are a trifle embarrassing, but still, I'm really amazed. As a young lad in Liverpool, I never pictured the sheer legend that the Beatles would become. Me and Paul were just mates who liked to play music and write and have a good time. I don't think either of us knew where it would lead us. Those were great times, before we were famous. Living in Germany for a while, trying desperately to make a livelihood out of a hobby, those were the days.

I suppose you're wondering how I manage to still be taking in breath twenty years after the events that led to my death. It was quite simple, really, and I won't go into the details because I've given my word to quite a few people who still have reputations to uphold, standing in the community and all that. What you should ask is, why did I disappear this way? And all I can say to that is I was entering mid-life crisis, as it was called then, and desperately needed my solitude. A cliche, it is, but I know no other way to say it. You folks, you fans, you meant well, but I couldn't get a moment's peace. On top of it all, Yoko and I had started to drift apart spiritually. I loved her dearly then, and still do, but time has its way with you. All your life experiences eventually ferment inside you, and suddenly your soul is a wine of a flavor you never expected. But don't you worry, I've kept in touch with her since then, and the boys too. They know it wasn't about them.

No, I've been around the whole time, and so has Paul. And damn, we're nearly sixty. Can you believe it? I'm eligible for the senior discount now. My days of stirring up the muck are behind me now, long behind. You shouldn't take it that I'm not interested in what happens in the world, though, not for a minute. There were plenty of times I was tempted to pop my head out and offer my opinion.

The Berlin Wall, for instance. Watching that monstrosity come down was a dream come true. It validated everything I had been trying to tell everyone back in the heyday. Somewhere along the way, the long-haired kids who had been listening to the words grew up and finally did something about it.

And the Internet. What a coup! Taking a top-secret Defense Department communications tool and turning it over to the people so that nothing is secret for long. Of course, you've got the sinister ones who have their place out there, too -- the polluters, white-collar criminals, predators, hackers and whatnot, and I've come to believe over the years that the best you can do is point out the evilness of such people and their ideas, because you can't quite scrape them off your boots -- but mostly the Internet seems to be limited only by the talent of the people who are out there, and the substance of what they have to say.

Of course, not everything has been all tea and crumpets. There have been wars held in places where they were held only to secure some valuable asset, while people in other countries were starving to death because a national leader was stealing their food, but they couldn't attract anyone to come to their defense because they didn't have something of monetary value.

Compassion for a suffering fellow human is in short supply overall, and you know what I'm talking about. For instance, I had a great deal of respect for Princess Diana. There's a woman who made it her mission to use her royal standing to do something about AIDS research, and to remove the stigma of the disease by actually touching the people wasting away from it. The world will miss her more than I can explain.

The generation we talked to back in our day, we were saying to them, "give peace a chance." I don't hear anyone saying anything like it now. For that matter, no one really stands out, and no one likes to take a stand. No one's being challenged on their beliefs. That's all we were after, really. We weren't saying, you know, we're right and you're wrong and that's final. We were saying, how do you know what you believe? Why do you believe it?

I have to be moving along shortly before I'm noticed, and I've talked too long already. So how about a little parting advice from an old man who wasn't so old not that long ago. You've got the right to remain silent, but don't do it. Speak out. Loudly. Often. Say important things, but say them in a provocative manner. Out of a hundred people, ninety-nine will think you've gone completely off your nut, but if you reach the one who's listening, it's worth it.

One last thing -- the compassion thing I was talking about, it pays forward, if you know what I mean. You show some kindness to someone -- several someones -- and it gets passed on. Ordinary folk such as you and me can do it, 'cause it doesn't take any special skill. All it takes is acting on the impulse to do it.

Look, my ride is here. Listen, I wasn't kidding in the song when I said that all you need is love. Love is the feeling that propels the compassionate action which passes the love to someone else. You take care, and maybe we'll meet again someday, and we'll talk some more then ...


My life is an open book. A comic book, about a superhero with the amazing ability to make his nose hair grow. Oh, and someone's torn out the order form for the $2.99 X-ray specs.

more about tim lockwood


black and white, heart and soul
by tim lockwood
topic: writing
published: 7.23.01

yon thoroughfare
an ancient ballad for the modern commuter
by tim lockwood
topic: writing
published: 9.27.00


sigbjørn olsen
5.30.01 @ 2:59a

Heh, neat story :-)

Perhaps a bit long for flash fiction, but then again, I'm not sure if you intended it to be flash fiction. I've never really figured out the topics system anyway :-o

tim lockwood
5.31.01 @ 12:45a

Thanks Sig!

I'm not sure I know the exact definition of "flash fiction" but it was the only selection that contained the word "fiction" so I went with it. I would have preferred something like "Short story" or "General fiction" but hey, you go with what you got.

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