7 – Blog 11 – Pre-Show Jitters

With no Mike to keep me in bed, I am up early and surprised to find Jim in the kitchen by himself.

“Want coffee?” he asks

We both settle in the lounge to enjoy the morning caffeine pickup.

Neither of us pursues obvious questions about our household roles. I relate our prior night’s activities at le Museum.

“Iverson is partners with Claude Nobs in reviving the restaurant,” Jim is in the know. “Claude seems to have his hand into everything Montreux. The festival is a big deal.”

“I asked him to be head of the record label that will release Queen’s new single.”

“Yeah. Freddie told me. Be careful with Freddie. He thinks you’re taking over. He now calls you ‘Boss.’”

“Bowie started that. I am bossy. Someone has to be in charge around here.”

“Creative people are control feaks. Then, they start using drugs and get out of control.”

“Is that what happened with Brian May and the boys?”

“They were sick of Montreux. Freddie had been clubbing a lot in London. He needed to get away. Montreux is not so happening.”

“What’s happening, baby.”

“You are so funny,” Jim laughs. “You really don’t remember what you were like before you lost your memory?”

“I seem to have muscle memory, music memory and somehow know who everyone is. I just wing it in dealing with people. I call it New English. I pretend to speak French and it seems to work. I organize shows and run the sound board without thinking about it.”

“Who is the Black kid you found?”

“Amar was at the lake. When the fans saw Mike and me swimming together and acting like school mates, all the other kids wanted a Black friend to be like ‘Young Americans.’ Amar was overwhelmed, so we took him home.”

“’Young Americans’ is meant as criticism, not praise.”

“They think Americans are cool. Young ones, not Nixon.”

“Now they both have dreadlocks and Bowie has a shag.”

“White people with dreadlocks is cultural appropriation.”

Freddie shows up with coffee and plops down on the couch next to us.

“When are you getting dreadlocks, Freddie?” I ask.

“You don’t like my beautiful hair?

“Not very butch,” I comment.

“I can look African. I am from Zanzibar.”

“By way of Pakistan,” I mock him.

“Always a Paki,” he moans.

“Don’t change, Freddie. We love you just the way you are,” I move over to sit closely with him.

He hugs me. “I need to get up early more often.”

“Not enough love at the mini concert last night.”

“Those fans just wanted a free show.”

“They waited hours in hopes you would come out. Then you only sing two songs.”

“Always leave them wanting more.”

“We’ll give them ‘a really big show’ on Saturday night,” I try to sound like Ed Sullivan. Who is Ed Sullivan, I wonder?

“What were you and Jim talking about, Boss.

I wince.

“Jim thinks I’m too bossy for my own good”

“We need someone around here to tell us what to do. Brian and the boys got bored. That’s probably why they left.”

“No sitting around, bored in Queensland now.”

“Bowie’s the one who started calling you, Boss.”

“You’re the boss. I need to tell you what I plan.”

“What have you done?”

“I met with Claude and the others at the Casino. They’re going to set up Knobs Records and release the bootleg of “Another One Bites the Dust.”

“Brian will have kittens.”

“He needs to get here and record an official Queen version. Give Deacy the songwriting credit.

“I’m not worried about Deacon. But Taylor hates disco. He’ll never agree.”

“Well, I play drums if you need me.”

“You want to be in Queen, like the Knobs?”

“I want Queen back together. That’s what you want. You saved my life. I want to make you happy.”

I throw my arms around him. He looks uneasily at Jim.

“What is this, hero worship?”

“You brought me back from the dead. I’m Lazarus. You’re my Personal Jesus, not some mortal hero.”

They both are in hysterics.

“I warned you, Freddie.” Jim finally stops, gasping for breath.

“We need to write a song together, milord.”

More hysterics.

“I’m serious. Come to the studio. I have an idea for a slow ballad.”

They shake their heads but follow me. I look into the storeroom and find a steel string hollow base guitar. It badly needs tuning.

Instead of starting with the low E 6th string, I start with the top E first, tuning it up beyond its the normal range. I strum the basic A D E chord; with the odd tuning it screams in my ears. I do a three chord progression, screeching, “Save me, save me, save me,” looking right at Freddie.

Freddie laughs but sings it back to me.

“That’s it. I’ll ask you to save me, then you want to be saved and the third time we both sing it together. All we have to do is the verses which show we need each other to be saved.”

“What is it, gospel?” Freddie jokes.

“No, it the trials and agony of rock n roll.”

Again, we are in hysterics.

“Melodramatic but biblical,” Jim notes.

“I’ll write the first verse and you write the second. Then we’ll write the last verse together.

“Okay, boss, go. We’ll finish writing this song in under ten minutes.

“It will be a hit,” I promise.

Freddie sits at the piano and creates the verse melody. We each think and write the lyrics.

I sing what I wrote,

‘It started off so well
They said we made a perfect pair
I clothed myself in your glory and your love
How I loved you
How I cried
The years of care and loyalty
Were nothing but a sham it seems
The years belie we lived a lie
I love you till I die’

Then I sing the chorus.

‘Save me save me save me
I can’t face this life alone
Save me save me save me
I’m naked and I’m far from home’

Freddie sings what he wrote,

‘The slate will soon be clean
I’ll erase the memories
To start again with somebody new
Was it all wasted
All that love?
I hang my head and I advertise
A soul for sale or rent
I have no heart I’m cold inside
I have no real intent’

Freddie sings the chorus,

 
‘Save me save me, save me
I can’t face this life alone
Save me save me save me

‘Oh I’m naked and I’m far from home’

“We need the final verse,” I command.

Freddie writes and we sing to each other,

‘Each night I cry I still believe the lie’

‘I love you ’till I die’

Then the three of us, including Jim sing the chorus,


‘Save me save me save me
Save me save me oh save me
Don’t let me face my life alone
Save me save me oh
I’m naked and I’m far from home’

Songwriters: Brian May

Save Me lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, DistroKid

“It’s called ‘Save Me,’” we all agree.

I turn on the tape machine. We sing and play the song all the way through. I get excited as we finish, throwing my arms around Freddie at the piano. He turns and kisses me. I kiss him back passionately.

“You guys need a room?” Jim scoffs. I hope he is not jealous as I throw myself at his lover. Oh, well. It is rock n roll. We will give him credit as songwriter.

I rush over to the tape player and replay what we created in one take – in ten minutes, a love song

We listen to the playback.

“You know,” Freddie jokes, “I actually believe you.”

“I mean it, Freddie. You didn’t just save my life, you resurrected me.”

My puppy dog eyes do not lie, at least that is how the tale about this song is told. The truth is when the band got back together, we gave Brian the songwriting credit since he is the romantic and the video shows a girl is involved.

“Will you play it at the show on Saturday?” I want to duet with Freddie.

“I thought ‘Get Down Make Love’ is the new song?”

“The point is Queen is having a burst of creativity here in Montreux. ‘Save Me’ is about real love. ‘Get Down’ is about sex. They balance each other.”

“You just want to sing with me.”

“Yeah,” I admit, “But we can’t kiss at the end. I really adore you Freddie, and you need someone to love.”

Jim laughs. “Stick ‘Someone to Love’ between the two new ones. It shows your desperation, ending with you saving a needy teenager.”

“I’m not a pervert.”

“That is why we can’t kiss at the end of ‘Save.’

All this melodrama. It is perfect for rock n roll.

“I need a wake and bake,” Freddie complains.

“Coffee not enough stimulation,” I tease while he hugs me. I stroke his neck.

“Okay, boys. I’ll wake up Billy and the Knobs. They always wake and bake. I’ll get them here to practice the new song.”

Off he goes.

Freddie and I flop down on the couch. Alone at last. I somewhat panic.

“Does Jim ever get jealous when you flirt with others.”

“You mean you?”

“Also, Bowie.”

“We’re the same age. It’s boring.”

“So, you only go for young meat?”

“No way. I prefer older.”

Whew. “I guess Jim need not be jealous.”

“He knows me well.”

“Maybe I like older too,” as I snuggle into the rock star.

“That’s a problem you need to work out on your own.” I guess I feel rejected. Maybe it is a relief. My sexuality is strictly hypothetical until I actually feel horny. Dr Jacques’ treatment did not revive that part of me.

The Knobs stumble in, at the beck and call of their master. Joints come out and they wake and bake before learning the new song. Freddie and I are in high spirits; pot only enhances the high.

We wrote ‘Save Me’ in ten minutes. It takes all morning to teach it to the band. Billy tries to be Brian May with sad results. Jock responds to the gospel aspect of ‘Save me’ and is quickly competent on the bass. The percussion is a mess. I finally insist that only high hat and snare are needed. Steve and Tommy cannot coordinate sharing the simple beat. Freddie is comfortable playing just piano on the first verse while I sing. The boys are confused about my taking lead vocals. We decide the save me chorus will have full backup vocals with everyone singing. Freddie is more subdued on the second verse.  Freddie and I finally sing together on the last two lines as a duet.

We record the final version once everyone is on the same page. When we play both the original version of just Freddie and me singing, then the full band version, it is obvious we have a hit.

“Time for lunch,” the Knobs have the munchies.

“We’ll go over the set list after we eat. I think we need to change the order.”

The Knobs moan, knowing we need all afternoon to rehearse twelve songs. They want a pay raise, more than lowly roadie wages.

“If the band gets back together, you all will get bonuses. If we break up, you will be millionaires.”

That is enough to keep them playing all day. I wonder how I get paid. Is being alive enough?

I hug Freddie who has no clue how teens think. The Knobs are jealous. Freddie, my savior, expects nothing less than full worship.

Jim is by the pool grilling hamburgers. They call them Wimpy Burgers.

I call them wimpy Knobs.The Knobs complain we have gone fully American.

 “’We’re an American Band,’” I proclaim.

They are happy to be funk.

I swim to work off excess energy. The Knobs make snide remarks about my wimpy body.

We sit by the pool after lunch to discuss the set.

“Here’s what we have after the two new songs.’

“You mean the new new songs,” Billy complains.

“The point is we are writing songs made while the old band members are lollygagging in London.”

They all laugh at my attempt to sound English.

“Here’s what we had yesterday:

‘Police & Thieves’

‘Queen Bitch.’

‘Another One Bites the Dust’

‘Pressure Drop’

‘Champions’

’We will Rock You,’

‘Fame Medley’

“Get Down, Make Love’

‘Tie Your Mother Down’

Encore: “Fools Who Laugh’”

“’Fools Who Laugh?’” Billy pipes up. “Who wrote that?”

“I did, or, at least I think I did.”

“Well, we better learn to play it. Just what we need. The show’s in three days.”

“No. it’s Saturday this time.”

“Great two days to learn twelve songs.”

“There could be more new ones by then.”

“You expect miracles,” Jock observes. “We just learned to play last week. Now we’re performing a stadium show in three days.”

“Two days. Best get cracking.”

“You’ll never be English, Yank.”

“The name is Laz and I’m New English.”

No one finds me funny.

“I’m also the boss,” I declare.

“That’s right,” Freddie backs me up. “Stop makin’ barney rubble.”

That shuts them up. I have no clue what that means.

“Okay. I think we should start with the new song, ‘Don’t Stop Me Now,’ It tells everyone that we are the new Queen and it is a message for London.”

“Then we’ll do the reggae covers plus ‘Another One..”

‘Police & Thieves’

‘Under Pressure’

‘Another One Bites the Dust’

“Next we’ll do some Old Queen songs

‘Queen Bitch.

‘Champions’

‘We will Rock You,’

Then Bowie will do the mash up of ‘Fame’

Followed by more Queen songs

‘Tie Your Mother Down’

“And for the ending we’ll do the sex and love songs”

‘Get Down, Make Love’

‘Someone to Love’

‘Save Me’

“If we get an encore, Laz will do his punk rock song about fools.”

“We don’t know that one yet,” Billy complains.

“Well, get back to the studio. He’ll teach you how to be punks,” Freddie orders.

“They’re already punks. They just don’t know it,” I dis’ them.

“That calls for another joint,” Jock lights up and passes it around. Dr Jacques will not be pleased.

It does not take long to learn ‘Fools Who Laugh.’ It is a natural for them. I keep making them play faster. After an hour, we are burned. Jim has steaks on the grill. We feel righteously Australian. Jim has even found jumbo cans of Fosters beer. The Knobs rebellion is quelled.

They need to take out built-up aggression. Everyone wants to go back to Taboo.

“I can’t go. That guy that used to know me may be there.”

“Well, you never do anything anyway,”

I am gay reluctant.

“I’ll go see Amar, then.”

Freddie is uninterested in any of these activities. Once the Knobs have run off to get ready for the gay life, I hang back to be with Freddie.

“I can stay home tonight if you need company” I put on my adult pleasing face.

What do you suggest we do?” Freddie is skeptical that we have anything in common.

“We could go for a nice walk. How about going to the lakefront park where we perform and swim with the kids?”

“What if we get mobbed?”

“I bet you’d like that,” I laugh.

“You’ll make me sing.”

“We can do ‘Save me.’ I’ll explain how I am your Lazarus.”

“That’s too personal.”

“We can always do ‘Don’t Stop me Now.”

“Well, let’s hope we can be left to enjoy a stroll in the park.”

I sing spontaneously ‘A Walk in the Park’

“When did you learn a disco song?”

“In Miami?” I guess. “We loved Shake Shake Shake,  Shake your Booty.’

I sing to Freddie;

‘Oh, do a little dance, make a little love
Get down tonight, whoo, get down tonight, hey
Do a little dance, make a little love
Get down tonight, whoo, get down tonight, baby

Get down, get down

Get down, get down, get down, get down, get down tonight baby’

“Now you’re embarrassing me,” Freddie giggles. “I can’t believe I’ve actually danced to that.”

“Get up, Freddie,” I start singing the Booty song

We dance while I sing and rap out the beat on the table. Do we need to go to Taboo tonight?

“Okay, I get the message. We’ll all go out tonight, even Jim,” who looks aghast. “He’ll drive the Rolls to Taboo.”

“No backroom dealings, Freddie,” I warn.

“Yes, boss. I’m all yours.”

“And I will worship you at the temple of rock n roll.”

“The disco? How low can you go?”

The Knobs are gleeful that Freddie will join them tonight. They make a grand entrance, while Freddie and I keep a lower profile.

Freddie wears a fedora that Mike left behind. I lead him by the hand onto the disco floor. We dance ‘til we drop. By then, word is out that Freddie is there. Management gives us a roped off table. We recover with champagne and soon return to the dance floor. My left-footed attempt to moonwalk fails to achieve lift-off. My efforts do clear space around us, exposing the Queen super star to subsequent idolizing. A spotlight shines down on us and half the floor is dancing with Freddie. My disco skills are found lacking but I enjoy being just one of his many worshipers. The Knobs discover our private table, and the champagne bill mounts up. The club manager negotiates free drinks for the table if Freddie will sing a song. It is the perfect venue to debut ‘Save me.’ Freddie sings a Capella while the Knobs sing back up. We really sound like Queen.

Freddie sounds so sweet, and the backup vocals get everyone into the act. The audience is singing the chorus back to us. No one notices the missing Queen members. Free champagne eventually dries up. Jim rescues the sloppy drunks before the press arrives to record misbehavior. We are invited back, “anytime.’ Freddie gets on the mic and ‘invites’ everybody to the Casino show on Saturday.

I drunkenly follow Freddie back to his master suite. Jim is nowhere to be seen and I am tipsy enough not to worry about it. Freddie flops on the queen size bed, face down. I move over and message his neck, shoulders and back, pulling his sweaty tee shirt off and removing his dancing shoes. He looks so small and vulnerable. I run my fingers through his hair, using my nails to scratch his scalp. As the sweaty hair dries, it stands up like a lion’s mane. Running my fingers down the side of his head, he moans, “Keep doing that. It feels so good.”

I roll him over on his back, continuing to rub his temples and running my thumbs over his closed eyelids. His smile is angelic, his goofy teeth barely sticking out his lips. I know he wants to be ravished. I have already kissed him (once) but here it would mean something different. I brush my fingertips across his lips. He sucks in my thumb, greedily squeezing and releasing it. With his mane of hair and feline arching, I see him not as a sex kitten but a fully grown lion. I see he is mightily turned-on. I feel it is his turn to dominate me. I slip off his chest and snuggle into his side, resting my head under his arm pit. He sighs as I have stopped the massage.

“That felt so good. I’d ask how you learned to be so seductive, but I know you can’t remember.”

“Isn’t it enough to worship you, to make you feel satisfied.”

“You know what will satisfy me,” he exposes his desire for me, reaching down to stroke my cock.

It remains passive under his ministrations.

“You don’t fancy me?”  He sounds totally disappointed.

“I worship you. I’ll do anything you want. How can I worship you if I am dominating you?”

“Crap. We’re two bottoms trying to figure it out.”

I feel like crying but it will not help.

“Do you fancy Mike?” he asks.”

“We are best friends. He likes sleepovers.”

“That is so juvenile.”

“We’re both 19, not yet 20 and finally adults. He was never allowed to be a teenager. I can’t remember anything from my past. We’re just kids together.”

“Okay, kid, time to continue the massage. You do that very well. You want me to do you?”

I put my arms around him and hug him as hard as I can. I don’t want anything other than to worship him. Fucking him would be like screwing a spider monkey. I soon am asleep.

I dream the revenge of the spider monkeys; Freddie has long dark hair with buck teeth. When I scurry away from him, I realize I am a spider monkey too.

The next morning, I am pretty despondent about my night with Freddie. Maybe I can blame the Champagne, but I know it is my failure to satisfy his every need. Things I control, the singing, the dancing, the pot, the songwriting, went well. What I cannot control are my sexual feelings plus how everyone now looks at me.

It is Friday. The show is tomorrow. We are a beehive of activity, as the Knobs realize that their playing has to advance to the next level. They get a boost when Freddie finds a story about our upcoming show in the local newspaper. We are lauded for being out and about in Montreux, with positive reviews of our ‘shows’ at Le Museum and Taboo. Freddie’s androgyny is played up as a positive reflection of changing sexual mores. That comment makes my cheeks burn bright red. I feel like a reject in the gay liberation movement. The article even mentions our a Capella pop-ups by the lakefront and the enthusiasm of teen fans. Michael Jackson’s identity has yet to be uncovered.

I miss Mike and call him at the Bowie Castle. They promise to come to Montreux to help with today’s show rehearsals. They promise to pick up Amar so he and Mike can practice their dance moves. They arrive before noon. David is slightly upset that Amar sisters insisted on meeting him. When they recognize Mike, they go crazy. Fame! Amar makes them promise not to tell anyone, but no one believes that Mike’s secret is safe with teenage girls.

Soon everyone is busy rehearsing their roles. The Knobs sound horrid, as they are unable to keep it together. Again and again I patch in musical fixes on the MOOG to cover up their lapses. I remind them that sounding bad the day before a show is normal. When we are on stage everyone will do better and that improvement will reinforce the feeling that we have it together.

“Anyway, no one is there to hear you. Freddie is the star and he is a trouper. Just don’t stop playing. If you screw up, I will mix you out and the MOOG can fill in until you are ready to continue. Never stop and don’t look like you know you screwed up.

My advice is hardly encouraging. Basically, they know that regardless the show must go on.

I ask Amar if he has a list of kids to be on the guest list.

“Oh,” he looks ashamed. “I haven’t had anyone really ask me.”

“Well, you need to let them know that you run the guest list. You’ll quickly have many new friends. Let’s go to the Lake and talk with the kids.”

Bowie agrees to come with us. Maybe he’ll sing ‘Heroes’ again while Mike and I do our dolphin routine. Bowie seems eager to be worshiped by young fans.

“I have to speak with Freddie. Get your swimsuits on and we’ll leave in ten.”

Freddie is drinking coffee with Jim in the lounge. As I approach, Jim decides to go to the kitchen. I plop down next to Freddie.

“Can we talk about last night?”

“When you drank too much Champagne?” he excuses my poor bedroom performance.

“You know what I mean.”

“It’s okay, Boss. I  usually avoid going for kids.”

“Don’t give up on me,” I hug him and won’t let go.

“Jeez, Boss. I thought you wanted to do it. If you’re confused, you can work it out. I am crazy about you, not need to rush matters. Alcohol can help ease inhibitions but I have yet to see you act inhibited.”

I relax and kiss him tenderly.

“Hey, we’re going to take Bowie to swim at the Lake and find kids for the guest list tomorrow night. Bowie promises to sing ‘Heroes’. You could do a duet.”

“I guess I should find out if I have any teenage fans.”

I find a notebook and pens to write down the names for the guest list. Freddie shows up in a pink Speedo. I am jealous but know he needs the spotlight. David is slightly more modest in black trunks.

Rock n Roll sinks to a lower ring of Dante’s hell.

It is still before noon when we arrive. The local kids have come to expect us in the early afternoon. Most were skeptical that we are part of Queen, but the appearance of the two stars quickly convinces them we are authentic.

“Is nobody coming to our show tomorrow night at the Casino?” Freddie asks. “Amar has a list of who gets in free. Just give him your name.”

The crowd hesitates, then surrounds us, besieging Amar, who scribbles away.

David asks, “Do you want a song, mates?”

The girls all squeal and get David and Freddie to stand on the wall above the Lake. They start singing the normal intro to ‘Heroes,’ as a duet to each other,

‘I, I will be king
And you, you will be queen
Though nothing will drive them away
We can beat them just for one day
We can be heroes just for one day

And you, you can be mean
And I, I’ll drink all the time
‘Cause we’re lovers, and that is a fact
Yes, we’re lovers, and that is that

Though nothing will keep us together
We could steal time just for one day
We can be heroes forever and ever
What d’you say?’

Mike and I are now in the water and on cue start our tandem butterfly, undulatating with my dolphin kicks. Several kids dive in with us and show that they have been practicing our moves. Soon there are several dolphin pairs going up and back in the water behind the singers, who continue singing ‘Heroes’ to each other.

‘I, I wish you could swim
Like the dolphins, like dolphins can swim

Though nothing, nothing will keep us together
We can beat them forever and ever
Oh, we can be heroes just for one day

I, I will be king
And you, you will be queen
Though nothing will drive them away
We can be heroes, just for one day
We can be us just for one day

I, I can remember (I remember)
Standing by the wall (By the wall)
And the guns shot above our heads (Over our heads)
And we kissed as though nothing could fall (Nothing could fall)’

Bowie and Freddie kiss. All the girls scream. Gay boys faint. Straight boys laugh. Gay acceptance surges in Switzerland. Freddie breaks away and runs into the water in his pink Speedo to join us. Bowie keeps singing.

‘And the shame was on the other side
Oh, we can beat them forever and ever
Then we could be heroes just for one day

We can be heroes
We can be heroes
We can be heroes just for one day
We can be heroes

We’re nothing, and nothing will help us
Maybe we’re lying, then you better not stay
But we could be safer just for one day
Oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh, just for one day’

Writer(s): David Bowie, Brian Eno

As the song ends, Bowie runs into the Lake. The crowd surges forward and we have about one hundred non-swimmers in the water. I know the gendarmes will not be far behind. The four of us join Amar who is still writing names with a long line waiting to sign up for the show.

I take over for Amar, asking that people willing to dance come to head of the line. Mike and Amar start their dance routines, getting the dance volunteers to join them. They are soon moonwalking to Geneve.

The police arrive in time for the dancing, expecting naked swimmers to arrest. They are confused as to what law prohibits dancing to no music in the park. I explain that we are recruiting dancers for Saturday night’s show at the Casino. We add several younger gendarmes’ names to the guest list. They politely ask us to cease and desist before calling us a public nuisance. The police captain is informed by younger staff that there are two actual rock stars participating. When word reaches the captain that they kissed each other, we quickly depart.

We walk in on Jim cooking more Wimpy burgers poolside. The Knobs are jealous that they missed another Lakeside performance.

“You snooze, you lose,” they are not mollified.

Bowie’s appearance perks them up. We agree to practice the ‘Fame’ mashup after lunch. David will take the lead, allowing me to go to the Casino and coordinate the set-up for the show, plus press coverage.

Henri meets us and has croissants brought out. He knows how the handle me.

“Let’s talk about the press first,’ I start. “They all know about Freddie and the Queen drama.”

“Yeah. There will be a write-up in tomorrow’s paper, detailing the issues as well as the popularity of the new song. I delivered a copy of the tape you did to the three local radio stations. They’re playing on regular rotation.

“Perfect. It’ll drive Brian May crazy, the old hippie.”

“Mon dieu, vous estes trop arrogant.’

“Bien sur, merci,” I laugh. “But you trust me, votre confiance.”

“Mais, oui. Quelle est la prochaine?”

“Next? We have to trust toi, you.”

“Obviously, I work for you, Patron.”

I turn to Mike and let him know Henri needs to know his real identity, to protect it. He nods.

“You’ve met Mike before,” I turn back to Henri. “But you haven’t really recognized him. He is Michael Jackson.”

“Mon dieu. M. Jackson, C’est mon plaisir,” Henri becomes even more subservient.”

“Hi, Henri. Can you keep it a secret that I am in Switzerland?”

“Que vous dites.”

“The other part of the secret has to do with the record we are promoting and you are issuing on Knob Records.”

“Oh, dear, do I need Miami Beach to deal with plagiarism?”

“No, but we cannot have Mike shown as the songwriter, even though he wrote it.”

“He can sign a waiver. Bands do that all the time, not realizing they are giving away future earnings.”

“Just don’t tell anyone.”

“Anything else?”

“Money. How much will the Casino pay us for the show.”

“That’s easy. It’s a fifty/fifty split of the ticket sales.”

“How much will that be?”

“All tickets are thirty Swiss Francs. We’ll easily sellout all five thousand seats once the publicity gets out tomorrow.”

“Jesus, that’s CHF 75,000 for the band.”

“You seem surprised. Usually, the bands squawk that they should get a bigger split.”

“It’s more of a cause-driven concert, to prove to the other Queen members that they better get back here.”

“What if they show up? London is barely an hour away.”

“Have security escort them backstage. We’ll deal with them there and maybe they’ll rejoin the band for the finale on stage.”

“There’s more money if we record and film the show.”

“It’s definitely not about the money. You can put out a bootleg recording. When people find out the David Bowie and Michael Jackson have teamed up to help Freddie save the band, it will be priceless.”

“Why not have the original Queen rerecord it?”

“Like a cover of themselves?”

“If that’s how you look at it, maybe we have to wait until the dust clears to see where everyone stands. If we jump the gun someone is sure to sue.”

“What you don’t know is I played all the instruments as Bowie produced it in his home studio.”

“Anymore surprises?”

“How many tickets have you sold. We need to allow for the guest list you authorized.”

“It’ll be a sell-out after the word gets out tomorrow. How many on the guest list?”

“Already over 200.”

“What?”

“We told the kids at the Lake we want them to dance in front of the stage. By tomorrow there’ll be 250 on the list.”

“Where are they going to sit if we have a sellout?”

“Pull out seats down front.”

“I’ve already sold out the front row seats..”

“Well, you can work it out. Front row will have to start about Row G.”

“Merdre. This is a disaster.”

“You’re President of our record company. Make an executive decision.”

Mike and I get up and leave. Henri is already on the phone.

We walk to le Museum and make reservations for the whole crew that night. I tell M. Iverson to serve their Swiss specialty, ‘Raclette.”

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