Paperback Writer (Chapter Twenty Five)Paul's wedding is finally here! Can anyone save the Cute Beatle from his horrific fate? Check out this latest chapter of Paperback Writer to find out! Enjoy! And rate and message me please, I don't bite :)
“Testing… Testing one?” Decked out in a black robe, Buzz-Cut fiddles with his microphone. The cellar is looking more ornate than ever. Rose petals have been strewn everywhere. The glow from the candles casts a pinkish light on the faces of those present.
“Testing two?” The crowd fills the spiral of seats that have been placed in circle about the altar. The aisles are lined white carpets.
“Testing three? Excellent?” Expensive sounding equipment has been looped just about everywhere, providing each wedding participant with an excellent audio experience.
“Excellent. Well, the sound’s working fine!” Ringo focused his attention upon Paul, who is still bound to a stake before the central shrine. Tape covering his mouth, the Cute Beatle looks completely out of it, occasionally lifting his head to behold the decorations.
The drummer follows his gaze upwards. Giant portraits of a smiling Paul have been hung from the ceiling.
Just like in my room… wait, what? Did I write that out loud?
“That’s just wrong,” Ringo observes, glumly.
“I know.” George nods. “Talk about fanaticism.”
“No, I mean the pictures. They really got Paul’s nose wrong.”
Having been previously set upon and knocked unconscious by a group of armed brides, Ringo and George now find themselves tied to a column near the altar. Harrison recalls a startlingly similar experience from a few months back, but that had happened while they were in Vegas.
Plus, the whole thing had been one big misunderstanding, involving some confused Greek tourists and a rodeo clown. A few phone calls had resolved the painless, understandable mistake.
This? This was no accident.
This was a fucking wedding.
“So, I guess the deal is, you’re marrying all the people on the right,” Ringo says, “And I’m marrying everyone on the left. Or something like that.”
“Hmm.” George scrutinizes the buzzing crowd. “There are some pretty attractive birds sitting in third row on the left. Can I take the left?”
“No!” Ringo looks appalled. “Hari, how dare you? On my wedding day, no less?”
George notices a sweaty, obese man sitting five rows back on the drummer’s appointed side.
“On second thought, Starkey, you can keep the left…”
“Yeah, I think I will. Wait a minute! It’s that guy from the kitchen!” Ringo observes, recognizing Buzz-Cut. “Hey, caterer-man, let us go!”
“You can call me Pastor Lear. And are you kidding?” the man chuckles. “Do you guys realize how much I’m getting paid for this? Catering, officiating, providing security. I’m raking in the big bucks on this wedding.”
“You can’t marry someone against their will,” George argues, “In a polygamist ceremony, no less. This’ll never hold in court!”
“It’ll never get to court,” Pastor Lear smirks.
“What the bloody hell do you mean by that?”
“Haven’t you realized that the police aren’t going to risk a massive explosion in the heart of a crowded city just to save a few hostages? There’s no SWAT team coming for you boys."
"I wouldn't bet on it," George says, "We are quite valuable to Liverpool's tourism industry. They'll want us back, I assure you."
"Tourism? Haven't you heard? Sadie just got a call from the chief constable. He’s complying for her transportation demands. They’ll get buses, cars, even a helicopter. The cult’ll split, along with you people."
"They'll never get away!" Ringo says. "Not all of them."
"Sure, some might get caught. But not everyone. This group’s a wily one. They’ve got hideouts: they’ve got escape routes. They’re desperate for you. They’ll slip through the cracks: disappear from the world, along with you guys. New, living editions to their already extensive Beatles collection.”
Ringo’s eyes widen with fear. George glowers at the pastor, who stalks off, cackling.
“Don’t worry, Rich,” the guitarist reassures his friend. “He’s crazy.”
“He’s right, though. Look at those bombs over there. The police’d never risk a raid.”
“Yeah … but who needs the police?”
“We do,” Ringo says, solemnly, “Right now.”
“No, man. We’ve got Valerie, Brian, and Lennon.”
“Ummm.” The drummer grimaces. His blue eyes are fixed upon the scene unfolding at the far end of the cellar. “Looks like they do, actually…”
Without warning, Brian and John are slammed into the pillar. They are quickly tied beside the other two.
“Hey guys,” Lennon says, sounding bored. “Is there a guest book we should be signing, or something?”
“We’re not just guests, anymore,” George informs him. “This is our wedding too. And it doesn’t sound like the cops will be crashing it any time soon.”
“She said something about setting the building on fire.”
“What?” George snaps. “Is she crazy? How will that help?”
“Ask Brian,” John shrugs. The lead guitarist gapes at the manager.
“The fire was your plan?”
“What? No! I was the only one against the idea!” he protests. “I swear!” Brian glares at John, who is snickering. “Shut up, Lennon. This situation is anything but funny. At best, we’re looking at a marathon of lengthy divorce cases. At worst, we all die in an explosion.”
“Or vanish forever with a cult of crazy people,” George adds, darkly.
“Shh!” Ringo says, as the lights dim. “The ceremony’s starting.” A beautiful organ rendition of ‘Till There Was You’ drifts through the large basement. Paul tenses, eyes snapping wide open. The Beatles watch as Sadie ambles down the aisle in her form-fitting wedding gown.
She is not alone, walking arm in arm with a large, cardboard cutout of Paul. Her fellow brides in the audience cheer with approval as she discards the cutout and takes her place beside McCartney in the center of the basement.
“Stole that from the premier of A Hard Day’s Night,” Sadie giggles, girlishly. “Won’t be needing him anymore, will I?” She peels the tape away from Paul’s mouth. “Let’s get started, shall we?”
“Okay!” Pastor Lear nods. “Are we ready to begin, everybody?”
The attendees howl their response. There is a massive scramble amongst the seats, with guests craning their necks to get a better view of the proceedings. Many of the people weep, some even appear to faint. One girl actually throws herself into the aisle, convulsing with excitement.
“This is looking less like a wedding and more like an exorcism,” George mutters.
“Maybe could we take a rain check on this whole thing?” Paul attempts, weakly. Sadie gently smoothes his tousled hair. “I mean, I’d love to get to know you a bit before… well… we get married.”
“Nice try, babe.”
“Hey, Sadie?” John calls. “Is that your name?”
“Yes, Least-Favorite Beatle?”
“Listen, I don’t want to put a damper on your big day, but I don’t think we’re really adding anything here.” Lennon nods at the rest of the group tied to the pillar. “Why don’t you keep Paul and let us go? You’ll have much more fun if it’s just the two of you…”
“Thanks, Len.” The Cute Beatle blinks back tears. “I just feel so loved right now.”
“It’s not my fault that your wedding sucks, Macca!”
“Here’s the thing, John… I do intend to keep Paul, all for myself,” Sadie hisses, abandoning the microphone. Clicking in her heels, she brushes over to the other Beatles. “That’s why I need you morons. To appease the rest of these stalkers.”
“Devious!” He raises his eyebrows, turning to George. “I like her. She’s a keeper, Paulie!”
“Would you just shut up, John?” Brian snaps, exasperated.
“Whoa. Jealous much?”
“Alright, repeat after me, everybody!” Pastor Lear booms into the microphone. “I, Your-Name, take you, Whichever-Beatle-You-Have-Been-Assigned, for my lawful husband, to have and to hold tight, from this day in the life forward, for getting better, for worse, for baby I’m a rich man, for poorer (as if). Eight days a week, here, there, and everywhere, you will wait to drive my car and when I get home we will exchange words of love and you will tell me why you’ll never have another girl and I will give you all my loving. The end.”
The vow recital descends into a roaring din as each member of the cult belts out the rambling repetition.
“Isn’t it all so terribly romantic?” Sadie murmurs in Paul’s ear. “Do you know who wrote those vows?”
He stares at her, tiredly.
“I’ve got a feeling…”
*Rimshot*! See what I did there?
His head drooping down, Ringo stifles a sob.
“Hang on…are you crying, Starkey?” John laughs at the red-eyed drummer.
“I’m s-sorry, I always go to p-pieces at weddings!”
“Oh dear Lord…” Brian sighs.
“Wait a minute!” Pastor Lear gasps, once the cult has finished its vows. “I nearly forgot… Do we have any objections?”
A stony silence falls upon the basement. Smiling, Sadie clasps a hand over Paul’s mouth. Despite his imploring glares, the other Beatles do not attempt to speak up, afraid of the cult’s possible reaction.
The crowd lets out a collective gasp.
“Who said that?” Pastor Lear demands. “Elaborate upon your objection, please…”
“I objected…” Brian says, slowly. “I object to this… this whole situation, really. I—I mean… you people realize that, aside from kidnapping and harassment, this is polygamy, right?” No reply. “It’s sort of illegal.”
Members of the crowd stare at the manager, their faces contorted with confusion.
“Uh, who the hell is that guy?” Sadie growls.
“What did I tell you, Lear? Kill the spares.”
“Sorry, Sadie. I was so busy with the sound system, I just forgot…”
“Wait a minute! Forget I said anything! I’m totally, totally fine with this. Just… yeah. Ignore my previous statement.”
“Hey, you people!” Stamping her foot, the stalker-bride signals over some guards. “Take that guy and toss him off the bell tower. I will have no more interruptions at my wedding!”
“Please, I take it back! Don’t let it end like this! I can’t die over Paul,” Brian wails, as the guards approach the pillar to apprehend him, “I’d die for John any day! Maybe even Ringo, but please, not Paul!”
“Ta, Brian,” the latter grumbles.
“At least you’re mentioned,” George sighs.
“Now, can we get back to the wedding?” Sadie snaps at Lear. “I believe that Paulie-kins was just about to recite his vows!”
“No!” The Cute Beatle’s expression is fierce as he struggles against the ropes. “I’ll never say my vows. I’m not your Paulie-kins and I don’t love you. I refuse to marry you! You’re bluffing about blowing up the church. You’d never have the guts to kill me, would you?”
“Oh, dearest. You’ve got me. I’d never hurt you, directly,” she says, blankly, “But you see, I don’t need to blow up the church anymore. I have all the weaponry I need here.” She gestures at the other three Beatles. “If you don’t say your vows, I’ll have each and every one of them killed. One by one. Ringo, George, John. I’ll make you watch.”
“You are crazy,” he whispers.
“Crazy about you, darling. What do you say?”
“I—I…” Paul glances at his band mates, brows furrowed with the enormity of his decision. “Well…”
“Don’t do it—” Ringo and George are quickly cut off by Lennon’s bellowing.
“For God’s sake, marry her!” John yells. “I don’t want to die! Not here, at your crappy wedding, surrounded by giant posters of your face!”
“Nicely put, Lennon,” George mutters, as the guards approach them, menacingly.
“I’ll do it!” Paul says, quickly. His face is drained of all color, making the circles beneath his eyes all the more dark. The bassist bites his lip. “Just please, don’t hurt them!”
“Excellent!” Sadie claps her hands and the guards retreat. “Now, can we—”
“Hang on!” Brian cries. The homicidal wedding caterers are dragging the manager out of the basement. “He agreed to get married! You can’t throw me off the bell tower now!”
“Sorry, your death is non-negotiable!” Sadie screeches. “Take him away!”
“Sorry, Bri!” Paul winces. “Oops. Forgot to include him in that little deal…”
“It happens.” John nods, understandingly.
“Skip the long vows,” Sadie instructs the minister.
“Do you, Paul, take Sadie as your wife?” Lear asks Paul. The Beatle gulps, glancing over at his three friends.
“JAMES, YOU MOST CERTAINLY DO NOT.”
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