"Listen," Wasserman shot back. "What's the difference between a tube of Crest and a Polish hockey player?"

    "You just drive. Can't have you smoking joints while you're driving, can I?" 
    Mick Jagger was talking to me, from the back seat of the Cadillac. He was leaning forward, into the space between the two front seats and speaking either to me on the left, or to Alan Dunn, on the right. He was puffing on a large cigarette which, on the basis of my occasional experience with these matters, contained hashish. We were on our way to the Worcester Airport, and Mick was on his way to Philadelphia, for an important press conference. 
    "You're right, Mick," I shot back. "Never while driving." 
    "You know," Mick said, now turning toward Alan Dunn, "it's best this way, isn't it? I mean, just me. No Woody, no Keith, no Bill, no Charlie." 
    Alan inclined his head slightly toward the center of the car, and toward Mick, and intoned a humming sound obviously meant to approve, not challenge, Mick's insight. 
    Not much insight was required under the circumstances. Keith had not slept in two days; ergo, Woody had not slept in two days. Not exactly the stuff to put before cameras on the day of the grand announcement; namely, that the Rolling Stones were indeed planning to tour the United States starting just three weeks later, in Philadelphia. Paul Wasserman — press agent for the Stones — had seen to it that there was media coverage of this one event. A bone thrown out for them to fight and fantasize over. Then... under cover again. 
    Charlie Watts would have come along, for sure, had Mick required him to do so. Charlie played in service of the myth. But Charlie was tired and a touch soggy himself. Charlie and Mick alone. That didn't make much sense, anyway. 
    Bill Wyman would have come, too, no doubt about that. Bill was quite keen on the topic of press conferences in general, and had already scheduled several for himself at Long View Farm, and at Mrs. Langevin's, downtown. He also had gotten lots of sleep the night before. 
    "No," I heard Alan say, "wouldn't have done to have you and Bill there alone, either. No, not at all." 
    "Wrote them all a little note," Mick volunteered, "telling them to come. Kathy typed it up for me in four copies, and she slid them under their doors. Thought that might help." 
    "You mean Keith has started to read his mail again these days?" Alan laughed. 
    Then Mick laughed. 
    Then Gil laughed. 
    "You watching the road?" Mick asked. 
    Sometimes I know when to keep my mouth shut, and I did then. We were just gliding up the long hill to the airport anyhow, and I was more concerned over our schedule, and whether or not the Twin would be there as planned. It was, with Pilot Adams and co-Pilot Mahoney circling about the aircraft, kicking the tires, and checking their watches. "Just walk through those people at the gate." I warned Mick. "Radio people. They want an interview with you." 
    "Interview?" Mick asked scornfully. "How many interviews do I have todo in one day?" 
    "Just walk right by them," I advised. "I'll tell them something." 
    "4 PM return, right here," Alan Dunn said in a businesslike tone. 
    "The pilots will call from Philly just after you've left the ground, Alan. Don't worry. We'll be here to meet you." 
    Mick had already popped out of the back seat of the Cadillac, and was sprinting along the gauntlet of well-wishers and reporters toward the airplane. Adams and Mahoney were in motion; the right-hand engine was already spitting pops and puffs of smoke, and the chocks were off the wheels. Alan Dunn jumped into the airplane after Mick, the door swung shut, and the plane taxied out toward the runway with a roar. 
    Wasserman called me later that afternoon. "Well," he said, "I hope this takes the heat off for a while." 
    "Heat off?" I asked. "How so?" 
    "The announcement," Wasserman said. "Mick announcing the tour, and that they're rehearsing somewhere in Massachusetts." 
    "How's that going to help?" 
    "It's the 'Lightning Rod Theory,'" Wasserman said. "Draws off some energy, maybe it'll give you a few days' more peace. Now they've all got something to print. Doesn't really matter what, just so they're able to say something, something to get their editors off their backs. It's when Mick says nothing — when he stays underground — that things heat up and your telephone rings there at Long View." 
    "And so what do I say now when they call, Paul? Still 'no comment,' or am I going to get to read some new lines for a change?" 
    "Gil, you keep on missing the point." Wasserman said. "You don't have to say anything. It's best that you say nothing. Keep on telling them 'no comment,' if they call. Don't worry, you won't lose them, they'll call back." 
    "I know, Paul," I said. 
    "Listen," Wasserman shot back. "What's the difference between a tube of Crest and a Polish hockey player?" 
    "Difference? Seem to be a lot of differences. I wouldn't know where to begin." 
    "Does that mean you're asking me what the difference is between a tube of Crest and a Polish hockey player?" 
    "No, Paul. I definitely am not asking you that. Let me think about it for a few days. You're coming up when, Friday, again?" 
    "Yes. I really wish you'd let me tell you what the difference is... " 
    "No, Paul. Absolutely not. I'm not going to play games. I'm a show business professional, like you." That made Wasserman laugh, and we hung up.


 All original material copyright © Gilbert Scott Markle. All rights reserved.