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Photo by Alasdair Elmes on Unsplash

He had left the recording studio without looking back and was met by a wall of pouring nighttime rain. He couldn’t properly pop open his umbrella because of the rushing winds so he angrily discarded it into a miniature ake behind him. The world was testing his nerves and he was losing. Once the car had started the radio issued a dead signal. The rainwater created a liquid veil over the windshield that instantaneously reformed after each stroke of the wipers. He hadn’t noticed that he was speeding. He wasn’t paying attention and lost control. He screamed just before the car wrapped its metal around a lamppost. The smell of smoke was extinguished by the rainfall. Then it smelled of bacon and eggs.

He woke up in a room that he had trouble recognizing. The essence of everything was not completely lost but remained vaguely familiar. A woman came in holding a tray of breakfast. She was wearing a comfortable looking robe and had a smile as warm as the biscuits.

“Good Morning, Paul. I thought I’d treat you to breakfast in bed.”

My name must be Paul, he thought to himself. But who is she? Instinctively he knew that he did not want to cause distress by admitting that he did not know who she was. She started to notice that his eyes were glazing.

“Are you feeling alright, Paul?” she said. “Did you have another bad dream?”

Luckily he noticed her name stitched into her robe. “I’m alright Linda. The food looks lovely. Thank you.” Her smile lit up the room much like the sun spilling through the blinds.

Could she be in love with me? She is beautiful.

A call came from the rotary phone on the nightstand. Paul answered with a bite of biscuit couched within his mouth. “Hello?”

“Paul. It’s John,” said the voice on the other line. “George, Ringo, and I are at the studio and could use your help. So get out of bed and head on down as soon as you can.” The person hung up the phone.

Who are these people? And what do they need my help for? I can barely remember anything. Maybe they will tell me everything I need to know. I’d better find a way there.

Conveniently there was a notecard next to the rotary phone with an address inscribed on it with the label ‘work.’

“Ugh, Linda. I-I’m going to work.”

“Okay, Paul just be careful while you’re outside please.”

What does she mean by that? He made his way downstairs and upon opening the front door was met with multiple news crews and a large group of people yelling for his attention. The day was indeed making less and less sense for Paul as it progressed.

What is going on? Am I in trouble?

The crowd was inching closer to Paul causing him to dash towards his car. He made it inside of his car as people were slapping their hands on his glass windows. I’ve got to get out of here. I hope that I don’t hurt anyone. When he started the car everybody hopped off the vehicle and he was able to drive off carefully. Paul felt rattled from his day so far. “W-who am I?” he whispered to himself.

He looked down at the notecard to see what the address was, but when he looked up he noticed that he was already there. It was as if his body knew exactly what to do without his mind’s permission. Paul made it into the recording studio after the security guards let him through without hesitation. He thoroughly began to analyze his environment. There were a great lot of musical instruments displayed on metal stands. Most of them looked like warped guitars of numerous sizes. The patterns on the rug were heavily immersive and reminded him of India. His gaze then met that of the guitar player.

“Nice of you to finally join us.” It was the same voice from the phone call.

“Of course, John. You said that you needed my help right?”

The person behind the drums began laughing hysterically.

“What is the drummer laughing for?” Paul asked. This remark noticeably insulted the drummer.

“We only refer to Ringo as ‘the drummer’ whenever he misbehaves,” said the other guitar player through a grin. Paul was then able to work out who was who from the telephone conversation.

“Well George, sometimes Ringo is a hard fellow to read.” Paul may have lost his memory but he still maintains an ability to be quick on his feet with charm.

John came up to Paul. “Listen Paul. I’m afraid I’ve run out of juice and can’t seem to come up with any melodies. I’m fresh out of ideas and was hoping that you could help write a few songs.”

Paul was initially flattered by this statement which was abruptly altered to a state of great apprehension. They want me to write a song? I have no idea how to write a song! I can’t even remember the last time I heard a song.

“We know that you always need your space,” said John handing him a notepad and a pen. “Go ahead you songwriting machine. We’ll just be here.”

A half-hour went by. Then an hour. Then a few hours. Then some more hours until the sun had finally set outside. Paul came back in with a disappointing look on his face as he handed the notepad back to John. After John started reading it he appeared to become flustered. “Paul. This just says the words ‘Number nine’ over and over again. You spent countless hours writing all day and this is what you came up with?”

Paul felt overwhelmed by the silence of the room and started feeling an urge to cry at the overall discomfort of the situation.

“Paul you’re a genius,” said John.

“I-I am?”

“Yes,” said John. “This is some real avant-garde stuff right here. Pushing the boundaries of songwriting. This is a musical revolution.”

“It’s quite brilliant,” said Ringo. “Really.”

“We’ve got to record this right now,” said George.

I can't believe it. I actually wrote a song. And they like it!

Paul sat at the piano and in disbelief hit every note with precision. His fingers danced across the keyboard like a ballet. It’s almost as if he had been practicing every day since he was a child living with his parents. He fell in love with the process. He loved being creative and feeling in sync with John, George, and Ringo. He felt a close kinship to them.

The final note hit and rang across the room. John looked at Paul with a crescent moon smile. “Wow, we really got a good one in the bag. I can feel it. But I must hear it, too. Mr. Martin, please play us back the track ‘Revolution 9.’” Producer George Martin gave the thumbs up and pressed play. As the music played something sinister crept into Paul’s psychological makeup. The heavy rain. The lamppost. The screaming. The horror.

“November 9th, 1966,” said Paul.

George Martin stopped the music. Everyone quietly stared at Paul. A pin dropped in the room.

“What did you say, Paul?” asked John.

Paul rushed out of the door running over instruments in the process. The band was incredibly worried about him. Mr. Martin sighed in disappointment. The shadowy figure standing next to him put out the cigarette he was smoking and headed for the exit door as well.

Paul went for his car but kept seeing it crashing in his mind. He threw his keys and began running aimlessly down the highway. Images of that night came up like camera flashes. The umbrella that wouldn’t open. The veil of rainwater across the windshield. The mangled car on the sidewalk. The images of his dream became sharper as tears streaked across his face. The colors were getting brighter. Linda is crying. Brighter. The band is in mourning. Brighter. John buried the body. A blaring car horn rocks the inside of his skull. “John?!” Crash.

The impact quickly killed Paul. The shadowy man stepped out of the car and looked at his watch. It wasn’t for checking the time. A man’s face appeared on the small, wearable screen. The shadowy man addressed him. “Capital Records, this is Special Agent Billy Shears of MI5. Another failure.”

“How tragic,” said the man on the watch. “What was it this time? Things didn’t get too violent did they?”

“No. He is a considerable improvement from previous models. There was a brief glimpse of hope that he could have been a prime replacement. That he could have taken Mr. McCartney’s place after his tragic death that November night almost three years ago. But then he went into a shock and started to remember. He realized that he was in fact dead. How can someone properly react to that?”

“I’ll make sure that the newer model has a very selective memory. I know that the band continues to be traumatized by all of these trials. However, it all must be done. Beatlemania is not only important to the British economy but the whole world over. Could you imagine the number of fan suicides we prevent by keeping this secret? By containing the hurt to only a few as opposed to billions. We are heroes, Agent Shears.”

“I’ll let Linda know to make fresh biscuits for tomorrow morning.”

“Affirmative.” The man on the other side of the call hung up and arose from his desk. He pushed a button under his desk that in effect opened a secret passage behind the bookcase. He walked through and closed the bookcase behind him. He then descended a flight of stairs and arrived at a door with a metal steering wheel handle that required a security code to gain entrance. After that was a long hallway of heavy sliding doors with lights turning on from above as he walked under them. He then arrived at yet another door, this one requiring a retinal scan. After the door took a whole five minutes to unlock he entered into a room the size of a stadium. As far as the eye could see were rows of large glass containers filled with electrolytes and gestating clumps of flesh. Some looked like tiny embryos while others were fully formed imitations of human beings. The man had his hands clasped behind his back as he walked down the aisles. Then he finally found what he had been looking for. He placed his hand on the glass and gazed at the naked man floating unconscious inside of it. The liquid inside caused the hair of his bowl-cut to stand. “I’d love to turn you on.”

The smell of bacon and eggs. Linda came in with breakfast on a tray. “Good morning, Paul. How are you feeling this morning?” Her warm smile went straight after there was a pause. She noticed that Paul was taking his time to look around the bedroom. This cycle has been starting to catch up with Linda. Every morning she looks into the eyes of a counterfeit husband and has to pretend that she loves him. The real Paul was the only one that she had ever loved. No matter how familiar they all look she cannot love them. But she has to.

“I’m great, Linda. Thank you for asking.”

He then woke up, fell out of bed, and dragged a comb across his head.

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