7 – Blog 26 – Just Kids

Bowie needs to collect Duncan at Amar’s house. We tag along to see how well Project Emile is working to find him a safe place to stay. I hope Amar’s Popa has forgotten or forgiven me for kissing Freddie on stage. We will see. I don’t want to jinx Emile’s chances. Immigrants sheltering local kids may be progress or be a disaster.

Amar’s sisters are falling all over Duncan when his dad, their celebrity heartthrob, arrives to pick him up at the house. David is as gracious as ever. Duncan is perturbed by the unwanted attention. He is seven.

Amar shoos away the girls. I hang back when his Popa appears with Emile, not wanting him to know that I, the deviant, am involved in their rescue of Amar’s friend.

David asks about the girl who was rescued by the dolphins.

“Nous visons elle a l’Urgences,” Amar reports. “She is well and loved her pizza. We all shared.”

“How many slices did Emile eat,” I joke.

He turns red as Amar explains, “He finished the box once everyone else was done.”

“The human garbage disposal,”

Everyone laughs including Emile.

“I spoke with the boy’s father who is fine as long as Emile is safe. He didn’t ask for him to come home,” Popa informs David.

“He never said why he was sleeping by the Lake,” Mike confirms our ignorance of what Emile’s family issues were.

“Well, any friend of Amar’s is welcome here,” Popa consents.

Amar hugs Emile who looks embarrassed, then turns on his 100-watt smile that makes everyone relax.

David turns to me, “Can you go to the Casino and check with Henri about rehearsal space this week for our London show? I have to take Duncan home. His mom calls on Sundays to check on him.”

It would be easier if David asked Henri, but he lets me, the Boss, take care of details. Maybe we’ll get Raclette for lunch.

David asks Amar’s Popa about London, “Is Amar allowed to come with us for our show in London? You are welcome to come as chaperone.”

“We have family in London. I’ll have Amar contact them. They can keep track of our star Dervish,” Popa boasts. Amar looks relieved.

Emile looks resigned that we all will be gone.

Amar turns to him, “You and I will work on your spinning.”

“My relatives can fill in the normal circle of five spinners,” he explains to David.

“The more Muslims the better. The band is from Istanbul.”

We are pulling the show together by keeping the focus all about immigrants.

Duncan waves good-bye, then runs up to Amar’s Popa and formally thanks him in French. Next, he hugs Amar while sticking his tongue out at the sisters. Seven-year-olds!

David offers to drive us to the Casino, but four teens in the back of an Aston Martin is too much. We’re happy to walk. Relieved of adult supervision our teen gang loosens up and we start to swagger on ‘our streets’ of Montreux. No one asks Emile to explain himself. Once he realizes he is not on probation, his infectious smile reappears. Naturally I have to sing. I chose ‘Officer Kumpky’ from ‘West Side Story’

Mike and I know the tune. I play Riff and Mike plays Snowboy and Diesel.  Amar and Emile listen and sing as the Jets. The Broadway gene has come to Switzerland.

‘Riff :

Dear kindly Sergeant Krupke,

You gotta understand,

It’s just our bringin’ up-ke

That gets us out of hand.

Our mothers all are junkies,

Our fathers all are drunks.

Golly Moses, natcherly we’re punks!


Gee, Officer Krupke, we’re very upset;

We never had the love that ev’ry child oughta get.

We ain’t no delinquents,

We’re misunderstood.

Deep down inside us there is good!


There is good!


There is good, there is good,

There is untapped good!

Like inside, the worst of us is good!


 (Spoken) That’s a touchin’ good story.


(Spoken) Lemme tell it to the world!


Just tell it to the judge.


Dear kindly Judge, your Honor,

My parents treat me rough.

With all their marijuana,

They won’t give me a puff.

They didn’t wanna have me,

But somehow I was had.

Leapin’ lizards! That’s why I’m so bad!


 (As Judge) Right!

Officer Krupke, you’re really a square;

This boy don’t need a judge, he needs an analyst’s care!

It’s just his neurosis that oughta be curbed.

He’s psychologic’ly disturbed!

Riff :

I’m disturbed!


We’re disturbed, we’re disturbed,

We’re the most disturbed,

Like we’re psychologic’ly disturbed.


(Spoken, as Judge) In the opinion on this court, this child is depraved on account he ain’t had a normal home.


(Spoken) Hey, I’m depraved on account I’m deprived.


So take him to a headshrinker.

Riff (Sings)

My daddy beats my mommy,

My mommy clobbers me.

My grandpa is a Commie,

My grandma pushes tea.

My sister wears a mustache,

My brother wears a dress.

Goodness gracious, that’s why I’m a mess!


(As Psychiatrist) Yes!

Officer Krupke, you’re really a slob.

This boy don’t need a doctor, just a good honest job.

Society’s played him a terrible trick,

And sociologic’ly he’s sick!


I am sick!


We are sick, we are sick,

We are sick, sick, sick,

Like we’re sociologically sick!


In my opinion, this child don’t need to have his head shrunk at all. Juvenile delinquency is purely a social disease!


Hey, I got a social disease!


So take him to a social worker!

Riff :

Dear kindly social worker,

They say go earn a buck.

Like be a soda jerker,

Which means like be a schumck.

It’s not I’m anti-social,

I’m only anti-work.

Gloryosky! That’s why I’m a jerk!


(As Female Social Worker)


Officer Krupke, you’ve done it again.

This boy don’t need a job, he needs a year in the pen.

It ain’t just a question of misunderstood;

Deep down inside him, he’s no good!


I’m no good!


We’re no good, we’re no good!

We’re no earthly good,

Like the best of us is no damn good!


 (As Judge)

The trouble is he’s crazy.

A-RAB: (As Psychiatrist)

The trouble is he drinks.

 (As Female Social Worker)

The trouble is he’s lazy.


The trouble is he stinks.


The trouble is he’s growing.


The trouble is he’s grown.


Krupke, we got troubles of our own!


Gee, Officer Krupke,

We’re down on our knees,

‘Cause no one wants a fellow with a social disease.

Gee, Officer Krupke,

What are we to do?

Gee, Officer Krupke,

Krup you!’

Written By

Stephen Sondheim & Leonard Bernstein

We walk into the Casino in high spirits. Henri must work eight days a week as he is there to help us. I refrain from singing that Beatles song.

“Can all the bands rehearse here this week for the shows in London?”

“Shows? We only booked for one night.”

“Not confident we can sell-out two nights?”

“I’ll check with their booking agent. Maybe two shows on Friday night.”

“We’ll need extra coke to do our show twice in the same night.”

“Cheeky. You’re too young for hard drugs.”

“We’ll settle for Raclette today.”

“Anything else?”

“Did David talk to you about a wire trapeze so he can blast off as Major Tom?”

“Yes. And, I sold the movie rights to pay for the wires.”

“I want to fly, too, when I enter as Starman and later as Ziggy.”

“Your needs are insatiable.”

“He needs Raclette,” everyone demands.

“Okay. Okay. Anything else?”

“How about a professional makeup artist for me.”

“Jesus, merdre. You’ll get what you need. Now go out back to the patio for the Raclette.

We continue in high spirits.

“I’m never going home,” Emile declares.

Amar looks concerned.

“You’ll need a passport and family permission if you want to go to London.”

“Merdre, my dad never lets me do anything.”

“We’ll get Bowie to ask. He’s a celebrity. No one ever turns him down.”


“You practice your spinning with Amar. We’ll make it happen.”

His light bulb grin snaps on. He grabs Amar and they spin around the back patio.

“Kids,” we both exclaim.

“Think white D’s out there,” I point at the Lake, “hoping to swim with me?”

“We can sing and maybe she’ll come.” Mike suggests.

“How about Roy Orbison’s ‘Crying?”

“You think she likes my high falsetto?”

“I like it. I know she can tell what’s in my heart.”

“Such the romantic.”

‘Crying, Crying

over you’

No response in my heart and no dolphins out in the Lake. Suddenly my old friend Casper/Spirity speaks to my brain.

“What are you so upset over? You haven’t needed me for weeks,” he seems peeved.

“I was calling for White D, my girlfriend,” I partially explain.

“So you’re straight now, no longer need good old friendly ghost Casper?”

“White D is a dolphin. We love each other.” I speak psychically to my ghost/guardian angel.

“Like you love Max?” I hear a woof in the background.

“It’s different. I feel in love, unlike with anyone else, except for my best friend, Mike.”

“Sounds not quite grown-up.”

“Christ, it’s hard. I don’t remember how I felt about people before I went brain-dead.”

“Well, thanks a lot. I’m stuck here in limbo until you actually die.”

“We promised that?”

“You decided not to know anything about your past.”

A new complication from my past; nothing I can do about it.

“What can I say. How about letting White D know I miss her and am waiting for her here?”

“Messenger for the god?”

“Something like that. You do have powers, right?”

“Watch what I do to your new best friend, Michael Jackson.”

Casper becomes a miniature whirlwind, whipping Mike into the air and into the Lake. Then whipping him back to the patio.

Amar sees the whirlwind and starts spinning. Emile tries to keep up. Casper spins him right into the Lake. Amar spins around Mike, until Mike moonwalks away.

“Cool moves,” I tell Mike and Amar.

Meanwhile, Emile is drowning out in the lake, yelling ‘help’ only gets him a mouthful of water. Choking and sputtering he rises above the waves and is deposited on the shore.

“Stop your mean tricks,” I order Casper.

“I didn’t do that,” he complains.

White D flips into the air just beyond where Emile was drowning. My heart soars. Casper pouts from jealousy.

“You don’t love me anymore,” he complains.

“Go play with Amar and Emile,” I order; he looks about their age.

“You never loved me.”

“I don’t remember you,” is my excuse.

“I taught you everything you know about music. Now you think you’re god’s gift to share with everyone.”

That’s heavy. Then, I figure Casper is fifteen, self-centered and moody. When I was that age he may have taught me guitar, but that was four years ago. I have learned to tap into ‘The Music in Me.’

Casper is not entertained by old fashion rock. “What has happened to you?”

I run into the water and White D nuzzles me. My heart soars. A small part of my heart shrinks from Casper’s disdain. White D pushes me deeper into the Lake where she dives under and flips into the air.

“Click click click,” she tells me ‘ABC’, dropping me off at the shore. I run to Mike and tell him, ‘ABC.’ We stand there and sing to the dolphins

The dolphin pod surrounds White D. They all perform jumps and flips. I see Casper sitting with the dog, Max. Max barks once, hoping for pot.

 ‘Ghosts don’t get high; they are as high as they can be,’ I psychically tell him. He barks twice. He really wants pot. I go sit with them.

Mike comes over, “Did you see me spin into the water and spin back. This Sufi shit really works.”

I sing ‘Daydream Believer’

“You don’t believe me?” Mike whines.

“Just sit here and watch.”

I snap my fingers and Casper spins him back into the Lake. White D picks him up, throws him in the air, and deposits him back on shore.

For the first time Mike looks afraid of me. I pull him to his feet and sit him next to Casper and Max.

“I told you about my Guardian Angel and his dog. They are sitting here with us.”

Mike looks around.

“You can’t see them unless they want you to.”

“I don’t understand why they don’t want me around. Why don’t they toss you into the water.”

“Because Dr Jacques told me to not remember my old life.”

“Did you do something really bad?”

“I have no idea. Dr Jacques told me to live in the present and let go of all the old memories, feelings and ideas.”

“It’s really working for you.”

“Casper promised not to talk about the past. When I saw my old boss two weeks ago, I had a meltdown because I felt nothing about him and his wife. They really love me, but I have no idea why.”

Mike put his arm around me, “I know you really love me.”

Casper put his arm around Mike.

“Wow, I can really feel someone hugging me.”

“Is that better than being thrown into the Lake?”

I watch Mike try to feel Casper; he puts his arm right through him. Casper giggles and moves away.

“Did I scare him away?”

“No, but you did put your arm right through him.”

“You can see him?”

“He’s laughing at you right now.”

“Can I talk to him?

“Yeah. He hears you psychically. I can translate what he says.”

“How did you guys get together?”

“He won’t answer questions that have to do with my past. Tell him about us and why we’re best friends.”

“Okay,” Mike speaks to where Casper was sitting. “I never had any friends growing up. My brothers were mean to me. When Laz came to Bowie’s house in Lausanne, we hit it off right away. We didn’t want to be apart. Soon we became best friends.”

“You are a famous pop star. Casper asks why don’t you have friends?”

“My dad is evil and makes us rehearse every day. When he got all the money from shows and records, we moved to LA and were locked up in a mansion in the hills. I escaped after doing a movie with Diana Ross. Bowie brought me here. Soon Laz came here too.”

“So he’s your first friend?”

“Yup, but we have so much in common. We’re the same age. We love to perform. He sang me a Bowie song last night,” Mike starts to blush. “Then we kissed, but it’s not gay. We don’t get horny.”

“Casper’s giggling,” I report.

“How do you know when Laz needs you?”

“We both hold a piece of each other’s hearts. I just know when he needs me.”

“Cool. How can Laz and me do that?”

“You already feel the same way about each other. Just let your heart grow. It is a muscle that gets stronger when exercised.”

“Like working out together?”

“Like kissing each other last night.”

Casper leans over and kisses me. I blush. Then he kisses Mike.

“He kissed me,” Mike exclaims.

“He’s a shameless kisser,” I confirm

Emile and Amar have been trying to figure out how we all got wet. They look over and see us kiss. Both are shocked, then don’t know what to think.

“Why are you kissing?” Amar is direct.

“Because we can,” I respond. “Come sit with us so we can tell you why we all were thrown in the Lake.”

“We’re not kissing anyone,” Amar declares. Emile vigorously agrees. They come and sit slightly away from us.

“We’re best friends. This is not the first time we’ve kissed,” I confess.

“Yeah. I saw them kiss on Friday night by the Lake,” Emile confirms.

“So you make out all the time?” Amar concludes.

“No. It has to be special,” Mike contends. “It doesn’t get us horny.”

They look relieved.

“Then why do it?”

“Casper says we share a part of our hearts with each other. Then we know when the other needs or misses us. It’s a wakeup call from the heart.”

“I don’t think I can do that,” Amar admits.

Emile looks terrified. We need to make it seem natural for people our age, not fifteen-year-olds.

“Who is Casper?” Amar asks. “The Friendly Ghost? Are you making fun of us?”

“When I woke up, he was with me. He teaches me how to play so many instruments. He sort of takes over until I am confident enough to play by myself.”

“He takes over?”

“I call him my Guardian Angel.”

“Everyone has one them,” Emile speaks. “They keep you out of trouble.”

“Casper is special and he is why I seem special at times. Maybe your Guardian Angel made us find you at the Lakefront when we were kissing.”

“He thought I was a fag and you would help me?”

“He’s your Guardian Angel.”

“Explain how this ghost can throw us into the Lake.”

“Guardian Angels can stop bad things from happening, right?” I explain. “Perhaps they can make good things happen as well.”

“That’s too complicated,” Amar complains. “I’m glad I’m not old like you two.”

Emile nods his agreement.

That hurts.

“Well, we’re not so old we can’t throw you in the Lake ourselves.”

We jump up and wrestle the boys toward the Lake. Max joins in on their side and pulls us back from the water. Everyone is confused until Casper grabs me and tosses me to White D who has been amused by our antics. She tosses me up into the air several times before riding me to shore where she gives me a kiss.

“See,” I joke, “kissing means she loves me.”

“You’re deranged,” Mike exclaims

“Vous êtes derange,” Emile agrees.

“نعم، مختل (makhtal)” Amar nods.

Henri arrives to announce, “Raclette, c’est ici. Bon apetit.”

He confirms that rehearsal space has been set up for use by all three bands. I will call him in advance to advise when we will be there. Recording will be available from a portable device.

We devour the Swiss-style pizza and head for the Lakefront hoping to see some of our friends. Naturally there is a crowd of mostly boys. The girls have to be determined to hang out with so many male teens but those who do seem comfortable. No swim lessons today. Mike and I sit under ‘Bowie’s’ willow tree. The kids who participated in the show last night as spinners want to brag about their performance. I tell them that the show is moving to London on Friday. Excitement ripples through the crowd until they realize how difficult it would be to get all the travel arrangements and documentation for them to attend. It is announced that Amar has family in London and will be going. They all agree to practice with him so he can put on a ‘good show.” Nothing is said about Emile. They all go off to practice spinning in an open area.

“You’ve been quiet,” I observe to Mike.

“I’m worried that me dear ol’ da will try to disrupt the show and drag me back to California.”

“I thought Miami Beach took care of everything.”

“I thought so, but that court order delivered at last night’s show stops me from further performing. Maybe I better stay here instead of performing in London.”

“No,” I vehemently disagree. “We can’t break up the show where we both perform during every set.”

“All I do is dance and sing a bit. You’re doing everything.”

“I’m going to fly like Peter Pan,” I brag.

“And never grow up?”

“Not until I’ve done everything I want to do as a kid.”

“Me, too.”

We hug, which causes a stir and several whistles from the kids.

“Mike thinks he shouldn’t go to London,” I explain.

The kids rush over and tell Mike not to be shy. That’s not the problem, but he agrees to try to make the show.

They cheer him on.

“Now, you want us to kiss?”

“No! But we want to sing,” they decide.

“’Heroes,’” several kids ask.

“How about a love song,” I suggest.

The boys make faces.

“How about the boys compete for the girls’ attention. There must be five boys here for every girl. Let’s have a competition. Divide into groups where four boys sing as a quartet to one girl. Then the girl sings it back to them. We’ll judge which group gets the girl to sing the best.”

“They all start talking at once with questions until one group of four guys agrees and they ask the prettiest girl if she wants to sing with them. Soon everyone is scrambling to form their own groups. A few boys are slow to team up. We tell them it isn’t about who has the prettiest girl, but it is the girl who sings the best. Finally there are only a couple of boys left out, so we assign them to random groups as an extra voice.

“Okay. Go off with your group and practice for 20 minutes. If anyone is really bad at singing, tell them to lip-sych along with the group. Does everyone know Bowie’s ‘Prettiest Star’? Raise your hand.”

Most know the song. Those who do not are told to learn it from the others, even if it is to just do backup vocals. I tell them I will play acoustic guitar to help keep them in tune.

Soon the park is buzzing with activity and a variety of singing styles. Most groups have a leader who winnows out the bad singers and keeps their group on the beat. Most groups concentrate on the boys singing and forget the competition is about which group gets their girl to sing the song back to them the best.

Mike thinks it is so funny to come up with these crazy challenges. Our friendly Gendarme comes over to ask what we plan. Once he understands he suggests the local TV station might like to film the competition. He goes off to call them. There must be little news of interest on Sundays in Church-going Montreux.

After 30 minutes it seems like most groups are ready. I forget about the TV crew.

“Here’s how we’ll compete. After the first two groups perform, Everyone will vote on which girl is the best singer and which quartet of boys sounds best. The winners will stand up here. The third group will challenge the winners and once they perform, everyone will vote. The ultimate winners will be those left standing after the last group.”

They look confused, but one group is anxious to go first. I get them to stand facing the Lake with everyone else sitting on the ground in front of them. I am hoping for a dolphin surprise.

The first group is really cute and passionately sings the love song to their ‘heartthrob’ female songbird as I play the guitar melody

‘Cold fire, you’ve got everything but cold fire
You will be my rest and peace child
I moved up to take a place, near you
So tired, it’s the sky that makes you feel tried
It’s a trick to make you see wide
It can all but break your heart, in pieces
Staying back in your memory
Are the movies in the dark
How you moved is all it takes
To sing a song of when I loved
The prettiest star
One day though it might as well be someday
You and I will rise up all the way
All because of what you are
The prettiest star
Staying back in your memory
Are the movies in the past
How you moved is all it takes
To sing a song of when I loved
Prettiest star
One day though it might as well be someday
You and I will rise up all the way
All because of what you are
The prettiest star’

Songwriters: David Bowie

The Prettiest Star lyrics © Carlin Music Corp

Everyone claps. We tell the girl and the quartet to stand beside Mike and me while their challengers come up to perform next. Mike counts down and they repeat the song.

“Alright, time to vote,” I yell after their girl sings. “Who liked number one quartet?” pointing = to the boys beside us.

Everyone claps, shouts and whistles.

“Who votes for number two,” as I point to them standing in front.

The volume of cheering is similar but slightly less.

“Number one is the winner,” Mike and I agree. “Who likes the number one girl singer?”

Again, the crowd votes with the hands feet and mouths.

“And number two?”

The winner is clearly number one, who stays with her group.

The competition proceeds, with group number one continuing to prevail. After four wins, I declare them winner of round one. They will wait for the finals to be held after the remaining groups have competed. Group six performs and waits for Group seven to challenge them. Group seven wins and Group six sits down. Everyone has performed and the final is between group one and group seven. Before they compete, Mike and I sing the song ‘Prettiest Star’ by ourselves, to ‘inspire’ the finalists.

Our singing together inspires the dolphins to return. Seeing White D inspires me to go over the top, ending with a soaring ‘prettiest star.’

The dolphins take over with their leaping and flipping aerials. Finally, they all rush to the lakeshore and beach themselves on the scrabble rock and sand. Their tails flip back and forth as they enjoy the two groups’ performances.

Mike and I cannot agree on which group is the final winner. As a tie breaker we switch the singers, judging that the best  combination will be decided by the ability of the boys to inspire their girl to really belt out the song.

“The final winner is group one’s boys and group seven’s girl.

I had sent Amar and Emile with money to buy pizza for everyone. Emile brings a large pizza up for the winners. Everyone claps. Then Mike announces, “Everyone turn around.”

They turn and see Amar with plenty of pizza for everyone. The cheering ends when one group runs to get their pizza.

Emile brings a box for the four of us. Our friendly Gendarme comes over and we insist he eat on the job.

“Nobody will tell,” I assure him.

“Invraisemblable,” he disagrees and points to the TV crew filming the end of the show.

“How long have they been there?” I ask.

“Assez longtemps,” he laughs. “You’ll be the top of the news hour tonight.”

“If they complain about you eating pizza on the job, tell them, ‘bonnes relations publiques.’”

He takes a second piece.

I walk a piece over to White D, still flopped on the beach. She chews a small bite and spits it out.

“click, click?” I ask if it is ‘not good.’

“click click click click,” (I love hearing you sing).

I love White D.

She rolls back into the Lake and the pod follows here away from Montreux. I feel sad. She flips into the air waving her tail at me. Is she flirting?

Mike comes over and puts an arm on my shoulder.

“Missing your lady?”

“She misses me, too.”

He gives me a quick kiss to the cheek. He is not jealous.

By the time we get back to the house, Jim is cooking on the grill. Two pieces of pizza is not enough to quench my hunger. The steaks look great.

“Can we bring the TV onto the deck. I think we’ll be in the news tonight.”

“Oh, did they film at the show last night?”

“I don’t think so. They were at the lake this afternoon with a film crew.”

“Oh, your celebrity star is rising.”

“It’s about the kids. We had them singing a Bowie love song.”

“Which one? ‘Panic in Detroit’?”

“No,” I laugh. “The boys sang ‘Prettiest Star’ to the girls.’

“Did you sing it to Mike?”

“At the end, yeah.”

“You two are so cute,” Jim is our fairy godfather.

After steaks and freshly grilled veggies, the TV is brought into the lounge. Jim announces that Mike and me are on the TV news.

“What did you do?” Freddie scoffs.

“Just what you taught me,” I retort. “How to keep the spotlight on us.”

“He’s lying,” Mike burst my bubble. “It’s all about the kids.”


“And Emile.”

“Are they hooking up?” Freddie has a nasty mind.

“Emile is living at Amar’s,” Mike reveals.

“It’s sure to happen, then.”

Freddie has us sit on either side of him. He puts an arm around us both. We settle in for our TV debut.

“Why am I so excited?” I ask. “We were just singing at the Lake. Why is it news?”

Acting blasé, they just shrug. Mike does wink at me.”

The nightly news comes on, in French, of course. They start with the weather which I know from being outside all day is great. Maps and charts confirm this ‘news.’

“Prochain Woodstock à venir pre du Lac Geneve. Mais d'abord s’il vous plais notre  ads.” 

“What?” I complain. “We were only singing. No amps, no half a million hippies, no drugs.”

“How boring,” Freddie agrees, patting me on the back.

Suddenly we are on the portable TV: kids sitting around a tree while a small group sings. There is no sound on the tape. It switches to Mike and me singing just vocals, as dolphins are jumping in the Lake in the background. Next up our friend le Gendarme explains what is happening and speaks about the swim lessons. Finally, the last shot is a close-up of Mike and me singing, followed by a publicity shot of Mike in the Jackson 5. His non-secret identity has been blown.

“You can turn it off,” I am dejected. ‘Fame, what’s your name, is not all it is hyped up to be.’

“Lesson learned,” Freddie speaks from experience.