"'House arrest', he said. 'Can't leave New York.' It's so weird, Gil, Abbie Hoffman!""
I can remember 4 AM going by --- jarred awake with a splitting headache in the water bed, in the little apartment downstairs in the barn which we call the "Flat." Geoff and John usually live there, and I --- lest it be forgotten --- usually live in Mick's room. Upstairs on the sound stage I could hear the Rolling Stones playing, and playing very loudly. I felt as though I was in a wartime bunker. Mostly bottom end, I was getting. Boom-boom, ker-blam; boom-boom, ker-blam! Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman. The band was playing 'Sweet Virginia.' That's what woke me up, since I had seen them record this song 12 years earlier in London. I was visiting my friend Gary Wright and his friend Jimmy Miller, who was then producing the band. But now, my head hurt. The eastern horizon was just beginning to glow with tomorrow's sun, and I suddenly remembered why my head hurt so badly, and why I had cracked up the Cadillac only a couple of hours earlier. Too late, too lonely, too drunk. The Stones stopped playing 'Sweet Virginia,' and somehow I fell asleep again, although not for long.
Suddenly it's very light in the room, my head is still hurting, even more, and I hear Kathleen saying, "Gil, it's me."
I groaned. Then I felt Kathleen's cool hands on my back. "Here," she said, "maybe this will make you feel better." I felt the cold air on my body as Kathleen brushed the sheet aside, down, and off, and suddenly I was wide awake. Her hands felt good on my back.
"I can just stay for a second," Kathy whispered, "it's already nuts across the way. Can you imagine, I just took a phone call from Abbie Hoffman! Wouldn't let me off the phone for ten minutes, since he's from Worcester and all. Wanted tickets for the Stones concert at Madison Square Garden. So I said 'What about Philadelphia? That's first.'"
"'House arrest', he said. 'Can't leave New York.' It's so weird, Gil, Abbie Hoffman!"
Kathleen was making the tips of my fingers tingle. "That's great, Kathleen, keep on doing just that. You're onto something there. I never get my back rubbed anymore."
"Oh, shhhsh, Gil, you could if you wanted to. You could get somebody to do it if you wanted.
"So, listen," Kathleen continued, "Bill Graham's coming today. Driving up with Mick Brigdon plus three, can you imagine that? Sheraton-Worcester's full. It's still the concert stage they're talking about and whether or not it'll get built in time for Philadelphia. Also, I found out that theywon't be needing the aviation hangar at Westover, so you'd better call General what's-his-name out there and give him the bad news. Too bad. $10,000 for a month isn't so bad, when you think about it. I mean, there're atom bombs in those planes out at Westover, aren't there?"
"Lower, Kathy. Lemme roll over."
"You stay just the way you are. Don't you dare roll over."
"All right, all right," I said. "So what's going on across the way?"
"In the Farmhouse? Well, they're all still up, I can tell you that. Except Mick, who went to bed about five, somebody said, and of course Bill and Astrid. Haven't seen them either, but they're in the Cottage for sure. But Woody, Charlie, and Keith are up there now, raging around the kitchen, and playing some cassette of Keith's. Fifties rock 'n' roll. Loud. Charlie's going to fall over if he has one more drink. He was sitting on the bench by the window when I came in, swaying back and forth, not saying anything. I had just put little Robert down and got him a juice when Woody said, 'Kathleen, come over here and let's wake you up a bit.' Can you imagine that? Me, getting powdered by Woody and Keith. 'No,' I said, 'I can't do that.' 'Why not?', Woody asked. 'Won't they let you?' So I did just a little bit, you know. Can't hurt. I really like those guys.
"Mick. I just can't understand how he can get any sleep up there, with Keith playing the hi-fi like that. Keith does it on purpose. He must. Funny thing happened, you know! Stu took the fuse out of the pre-amp on his way to bed. Maybe Mick told him to, I don't know. Anyway, I guess Keith and Woody found out, because all of a sudden they couldn't make the hi-fi even go on, at all, so they sent for Chuch, and Chuch came over with a new fuse, mind you, and the next thing you know it's the Big Bopper, Chuck Berry, and all the rest, all over again. We never play records that loud, do we? That Keith . . ."
"Kathleen, are you in there?" It was Jill at the door, with her baby, Joel, strapped to her back. "It's the cows," Jill shouted through the screen door. "Some Stones watchers kicked down the fence, trying to get to the barn, I guess, and the cows all went out through the hole. I'll go down, but the phone's ringing off the hook over there. Mick just buzzed."
"What did Mick want?" Kathleen interrupted.
"Said he couldn't sleep with the hi-fi so loud. Said he wanted a chiropractor to come out sometime today. Said he wanted someone to do stretch and toning exercises with today, and he asked if anyone named 'Prince Rupert' had called during the night from overseas."
"Tell him Prince Rupert called and wants him to call back," I shouted out to Jill. "I took the call myself."
"Well, I've got to go," Kathleen jumped off the water bed, causing it to swell and heave and knock me about. "Who cracked up the Cadillac?"
"I did," I said. "Just a couple of hours ago." .
All original material copyright © Gilbert Scott Markle. All rights reserved.