Monday, June 26, 1978
A good night’s sleep cheers me after the letdown of my TV appearance. Maybe I was bit peak-ed from all we had done since Friday: two Casino shows, daily swim lessons, and falling in love with White D. Mike and I lay in bed together, grousing about our personal problems. He is sure his mean old dad will soon appear to drag him home. I worry that Dr Jacques will tell me my recovery is only temporary. Mike agrees to meet Miami Beach, his lawyer, to assure he cannot be kidnapped. I will see my doctor to discuss side effects. Having a plan to fix our problems allows us to go to sleep. ‘Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care.’
No lack of energy when we awake, especially when croissants are at the breakfast table. Thanks to Jim, Freddie’s man of many talents. His concern that we were not totally happy last night is assuaged when we both smile while munching our ‘Continental’ breakfasts. He beams.
We ask Jim to arrange visits to my doctor and Mike’s lawyer. Jim relays the message that Bowie scheduled rehearsal for late this afternoon. We run down to the Lake to swim (and maybe cavort with dolphins?).
We are surprised to see Amar and Emile already there. Something is off with their usually sunny personalities.
“What’s up, buttheads?” as I run up to meet them under Bowie’s willow tree.
My comment is not appreciated. Emile breaks down and cries. Amar looks strickened, unsure how to comfort his friend.
“What’s wrong?” Mike asks.
“Emile is kicked out of my house?” Amar answers as Emile continues to cry.
“What did you do?” I somewhat callously ask. I forget they are only fifteen.
“It’s not what I did at Amar’s but what I used to do before they rescued me,” Emile explains while sniffling.
“My dad says he can’t stay after he spoke with Emile’s dad.”
“So, you can go home?” I conclude.
“Mon pere dit, ‘I am no longer his son.”
I understand what being homeless can lead to. Mike and I look at each other. There has to be a better solution than being homeless again.
“We’ll get Bowie to speak with Amar’s father. Maybe he can put you on probation. Whatever you did doesn’t make you a criminal,” I skirt the issue of his behavior, pretty sure it involves sex.
“Thanks,” Emile sniffs.
Amar is less sure that this solution will work, knowing his father. We all feel deflated.
“I know what we need,” Mike suggests. “Let’s write a song together. What was that you said before the show when Laz was bossing everyone so much.
“Yeah,” Amar brightens up and stands. “You ain’t the boss of me.”
“Let’s put some rhythm into it,” Mike starts to move around, singing the first line over and over.
You ain’t the boss of me…’
I add, ‘I’m not who you see’
Emile sings (brilliantly),
‘To be what I can be
I need to feel free.’
Amar adds his line, from experience at home,
‘You tell me when to come and go’
I fill in the thought
‘I’m tossed to and fro’
‘Stop all your rules
I’m not just your tool’
Mike has a full verse about his dad,
‘You say ‘your house, your rules
My way or the highway’
I’ll see you when I can
This is when it all began’
I create a chorus,
‘Miss me, hah
Need me, hah
Love me, hah
Rid of me, nah’
We all add,
‘You ain’t the boss of me
You ain’t the boss of me…’
All four of us jump around, yelling,
“You ain’t the boss of me
You ain’t the boss of me…”
We all fall on the ground. I look out in the Lake but no White D. Maybe punk rock is not her thing. ‘Skater Boi’
Sometimes different opinions must be worked on.
“Let’s go back to the Lake House and put music to our song,” I grab everyone and pull them to their feet. We literally run up the hill. Nobody is in the practice room.
Mike, Amar, and Emile stare at me as I pull out guitars, bass and a drum set.
“You plan on playing all the instruments yourself,” Mike laughs.
“We have a song, so now we need to have a band,” it seems obvious to me.
“We can’t play anything,” they all complain.
“Well, get over yourselves. Mike you have rhythm; you’re the drummer. Amar you are used to being a whirling Dervish, so you’re the singer; I’ll play guitar; Emile can play bass because anyone can play bass. I’ll show you what to do.”
They all glare at me.
Mike explains, “The name of the song is ‘You Ain’t the Boss of Me.” Stop bossing us around.”
“Don’t we want to have a band? We all perform with the other bands, the Knobs, Queen, David Bowie. I want my own band,” I whine. “This will be fun. Rock n Roll is for kids.”
“You boss around all these adults. I sure don’t want you to be the boss of me,” Mike frowns.
“You’re my best friend,” I beg him. “Let’s try it. If it’s not fun, it’s no good. Do you want to sing ‘ABC’ all your life?”
He sits down at the drums. I show him how to hold the sticks. Then he hits the bass drum with the foot pedal followed by tapping on the high hat until it is time to hit the bass drum again. He even occasionally hits the snare. We start singing the song title over and over as he keeps up the beat.
I pick up Freddie’s Fender Mustang and lay down melody for the verses as Mike keeps banging away.
I look at Emile and hand him a Fender P bass. He just stands there.
“Com’n, Emile. You know how the strap it on. I’ll show you which strings to play,” I toss him a guitar pick while strumming a major E chord. I place his fingers to dampen all but the top string which he plucks in time with my guitar. When it all comes together, Emile’s lousy moods lifts and he beams his 100 watt smile again.
“Okay, Amar.’ I tell him. “We’re ready. Sing!”
The first time is less than perfect, maybe not even imperfect. But we decide we are great. The rest is Rock n Roll history, at least in our minds.
Several Knobs walk in, awakened by the noise in the practice room.
“Oh no,” Billy exclaims. “The kids have their own band. We’ll be dropped from opening act on the tour.”
To have an adult say we are a band is unexpected validation. The “Not the Boss’ band is named and established.
Everyone looks at Emile, the newest troubadour. He grins. Everyone cheers, knowing that the bass player just needs to be cute. Jock promises to help him learn his instrument. Nobody is surprised that Amar is the lead singer. That Mike is the drummer confirms everyone’s stereotype that African-Americans got rhythm.
Jim comes into the practice room to announce that Mike and I have appointments with the lawyer and doctor. We must leave now. He will drive. The Knobs take over showing Amar and Emile how to play and how the sound system works. They are in good hands.
The Boss band is on its way. I figure we can sneak in our song somewhere in the show at Earl’s Court. I tell Jim that somehow, we need to get Emile a passport.
“Why does Emile get to go with us?” Freddie wants to know.
“He’s in the new band,” I explain.
“What new band?”
“The Boss Band.”
“We know who’s band that is,” he laughs. We are a jolly crew on the drive to our appointments.
We accompany Mike to Miami Beach’s office. I tell Miami to do whatever is necessary to protect Mike. The drive to Geneve is long. I snuggle in with Freddie in the back of the Rolls. I notice in the mirror Jim smiling at us. I fall asleep. Life in a Rolls is sweet.
Dr Jacques is happy to see me, although concerned that there may be some unexpected issue. He has me answer a survey of symptoms and concerns.
“Usually, you would see me at the one-month point of your recovery? Is there something bothering you?”
“A reporter investigated you and told me that patients have suffered remission.”
‘Whoa! You are speaking with reporters about your condition?”
“I’ve been performing with Freddie and other bands. I tell people about losing my memory.”
“Have any of your past memories been recovered? Did Freddie show you the file with information of your life before the concussion?”
“Nothing concrete. Sometimes things seem familiar for no reason.”
“You don’t want to know about your past?”
“I ran into someone who knew me in Hollywood. We worked for the same boss. That boss and his wife rushed to Montreux because they said they love me. It was upsetting not to respond back. I swore to stay out of my past life. I am so happy, making new friends and performing every day.”
“This is interesting. Most people insist we provide details of their past. I encouraged Freddie to let you live entirely in the present and build up new memories as they happen.”
“It is like I have no baggage. Do most patients come out of their coma with no memory?”
“A side effect is amnesia. We can tell you what we know about the old you.”
“No. I worry I will fall back into the coma.”
“There have been people who remiss but they all had medical symptoms which we are unable to cure. One died and another is back in their coma.”
“Will that happen to me?”
“Your injury was 17 months ago. Obviously, there was damage to the areas of your brain where memory exists. I will have an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) done in Montreux to see if there have been any brain changes from when you were scanned in the US. I doubt there has been further damage, which was the case when the others ended up remissing. But it’s better to be safe then sorry.”
“Can I fly? We are performing in London on Friday.”
“Wow. Your musical abilities are totally intact.”
“I found I can communicate in any language as long as people speak with me. I call it New English.”
“Yes. You are a genius. And it is fine to fly. But if you come down with any symptoms, such as headaches, go immediately to Emergency and have them call me.”
“Is it true that my treatment included water from Lake Geneva?”
“Of course. You were on saline drips to keep you hydrated. We use lake water because the glacial runoff is loaded with granite.”
“So, my brain is infused with granite?”
“It’s trace amounts. It doesn’t build up but acts as a scouring agent to your body. Do you feel any head discomfort?”
“I definitely am hard-headed. They all call me the Boss.”
“Who is they?”
“The zoo at Freddie’s house in Montreux, plus David Bowie’s retinue in Lausanne.”
“Was that you on TV last night?”
“Not the best introduction to a Swiss audience.”
“They said you sing to dolphins.”
“Yeah, since my cure comes from the Lake water. I found a pod led by a female white dolphin.”
“Please leave my name out of any voodoo practices and magic Lake water.”
“Is it true?”
“Don’t doubt the miracle that cured you.”
“Okay.” My love affair with White D is a go.
“Let me ask some psychological questions. Don’t you want to at least contact your parents? They may resent your new life that excludes them.”
“That’s what I feared when I met my old Hollywood boss and didn’t know anything about them. It’s more than awkward. I can’t just make up emotions I don’t feel.”
“I could explain to them that you have no feelings. They should be happy you’re not dead.”
“Weren’t they the ones who decided to pull life support?”
“It’s much more complicated than that, but the American doctors told them there was no hope of reviving you.”
“I don’t really know them and can’t really care.”
“Well, as we have said in the past, your file is with Freddie so you can see it, but we hope you don’t. The new you is much more interesting.”
That’s interesting. Next, I ask Dr Jacques about my lack of interest in sex, as in having sex.
“The simple explanation is your testosterone is very low. No stimulation for the months you were in a coma. Your blood tests show zero testosterone level. It should comeback slowly as normal activity stimulates the sex glands. Don’t worry. There are supplements to replace the hormones but they tend to suppress normal hormone production.
“No thanks, and I have a girlfriend now.”
“You’ll be fine, just don’t get in over your head.”
“Oh, I’m a good swimmer.”
Dr Jacques asks Freddie to join us to discuss my progress.
“After rescuing my band by forcing the other members to return to Montreux, Laz has pretty much done his own thing and ignores me.”
“You aren’t getting along?”
“He’s the sweetest boy but seems to have adopted David Bowie as his new mentor.”
“That’s not true, Freddie. I love you,” I rush over and give him a hug. “You saved me. With the rest of Queen back, there’s not much need for me after training the understudies.”
“Well, you’re the boss,” he jokes. “I guess that’s the name of your new band.”
“No. The band song is ‘You Ain’t the Boss of Me.’”
“I never boss you around. Quite the opposite.”
“That’s the joke,” I explain.
We all laugh. I guess I’m not relapsing. Time to rehearse with my three other bands.
Mike grabs me as Freddie and I arrive late for rehearsal at the Montreux Casino.
“Miami squashed that restraining order and moved up the hearing on canceling Dad’s managerial control to Switzerland since I am working with bands here. I can go to London with everyone.”
I grab him and we jump up and down like little kids. Duncan comes over to jump with us. Amar and Emile frown at our juvenile antics.
“Dr Jacques says I’m fine and the only patients who remiss have underlying medical conditions. I’m getting a brain scan to make sure I’m okay.”
Not exciting enough news to jump around more so we hug and throw Duncan up into the air.
Claude and Henri have rigged up a trapeze apparatus so David and I can fly around the stage at Earl’s Court, in London, on Friday.
“Can we have two wires so both of us are flying at the same time?” I ask.
“Okay, Boss,” Henri runs off to get another trapeze set.
The four kids smirk at his use of our new band’s name.
“What’s so funny?” David asks.
“The name of our new band is The Boss Band,” I explain.
“What new band?” David needs to know.
“Emile was sad so we wrote a whole song around that line Amar sang, ‘You ain’t the Boss of me.’ Now everyone is learning to play instruments so we can be rock stars too.”
“Why was Emile sad?”
Emile is obliviously playing with Duncan while grinning like the Cheshire Cat. I explain that he has been thrown out of Amar’s house.
“Maybe he should just go home,” David suggests.
“Amar’s father spoke to Emile’s parents who say he is no longer their son.”
“What did he do?”
“We don’t want to know but it was because he was living on the streets.”
“Oh,” David knows what that means. “What can we do to help?
“I thought maybe you can speak with Amar’s father to take Emile back. As long as they treat him like they do Amar, Muslim laws will control his behavior.”
“You’re asking me to voucher for Emile. He’s too young to stay at Freddie’s with all that goes on there. When will this new band be ready to perform?”
“We just have one song, ‘The Boss’ song.”
David thinks about how to include a kids band.
“How about when you come down from the rafters singing ‘Starman,’ you stop at the line ‘…let the children boogie’. The Boss band will be set up where you land. You then do ‘You Ain’t the Boss of Me’. Then go into ‘Ziggy Stardust,’ followed by all the degenerate songs from that album. My band will be on the other side of the stage to back you up. You and I will duet the love songs and finish with ‘Yassassin’. Amar, Emile and Duncan will do their Dervish whirling. Then Duncan and I will do ‘Prettiest Star.’ What do you think, Boss?’
“Brilliant. Absolute top of the cherry.”
We wait for the Knobs to finish their planned set and explain the transition to the Bowie set.
“You will do ‘Space Oddity’ with Bowie blasting off into the rafters,” I explain, “then, I descend as Bowie, while the Turkish band plays ‘Starman.’ After I finish ‘Starman,’ the Boss band will use your instruments to play their one song, ‘You ain’t the Boss of Me,’ Then Bowie and I will sing with his band. Got it?”
“Yassir, Boss,” they all agree.
The Boss band next tries to finish their one song but are stymied by stopitis, halting each time someone makes a mistake. Rather than berating their lack of professionalism on the first day in the life of the band, I do a short Irish Jig each time we stop, without saying anything negative. Soon everyone is doing a short jig, while Mike keeps banging out the beat on the drums. It is fun but takes forever to finish the song. The other bands laughs at us and do their own jigs.
Gardiner Brothers – ‘Gettin Jiggy’
By the time we finish the one song, Henri arrives with a second wire trapeze for me. It takes the rest of our rehearsal time for David and me to coordinate flying around without crossing wires.
Time for dinner at le Museum. We plan to do ‘Edelweiss’ from the ‘Sound of Music’ to entertain the other diners. We are a tradition at le Museum.
There must be some Austrians at the restaurant or, perhaps, the Swiss and Austrians share more than the Alps. We get a hearty applause for our efforts.
After dinner, Bowie takes Amar and Emile home. I, the confirmed deviate, abstain from making the case for Emile’s rescue from homelessness. Apparently, the Bowie charm is irresistible; the next morning, both boys are still together, happily awaiting their swim lessons. The only complaint is sleeping arrangements were changed so the two boys now sleep under a watchful eye in the parents’ bedroom. Muslim strictures are accommodating to boys who only socialize with their same gender. Amar’s sisters continue to go slightly crazy every time they see their idol, Bowie. There is no Koran guidance for western celebrity. Bowie is a perfect gentleman.
Next, we need to get travel documents for Emile. Miami Beach assures me Amar’s father can be legally appointed Emile’s guardian. The Swiss Domestic Affairs Ministry will collect a monthly stipend from Emile’s parents to be paid to Amar’s family for Emile’s support. Temporary travel permits are obtained for both boys. Freddie collects my passport from Dr Jacques; it has my old name in it; I refrain from looking at who I really am. Dr Jacques’ question about whether I miss my parents struck a chord. It seems like a waste of time if I remember nothing, not even emotions about my family. I wonder if I have siblings.
The next few days are devoted to putting together a show that has superior production values, suitable for the famed Earl’s Court London venue. If the shows go well, we can organize a European tour to promote tolerance toward Muslim immigrants.
Billy is on pins and needles about his role as backup to Brian May in Queen. It has been his impossible dream to be the guitarist in the band for whom he was roadie for years.
I try to convince him to stay with the Knobs for the long run.
“Do you want to be a Brian May clone or have your own songs in your own band?” I challenge him.
“Fine,” he concedes he is not ready to pen his own songs for Queen, “but I can still dream.”
Ah, to be young and foolish. Whoops, that’s me.
On Tuesday night, after rehearsal, David drives Amar and Emile home. Approaching Amar’s father, he invites him to have dinner with the whole entourage at la Museum. He politely declines.
“We want you to see how we treat Amar and now Emile, so you don’t worry about them being unsupervised,” David argues.
The sisters run up to their idol, begging to come with David to dinner. Their father berates them for being impolite. He is flustered by their disrespectful behavior and agrees that he will eat at le Museum. The boys ride in the back of the Aston Martin while the adults chat on the drive to the restaurant.
Bowie appears with the boys to everyone’s cheers. The wine has been flowing freely. Amar’s Popa is not comfortable with drinking. M. Iverson provides a non-alcoholic sangria for our new guest and soon he is chatting with the adults.
I get up and sing my own version of Yassassin to make Amar’s Popa feel welcome. David is bemused by my attempt to cover his song. He gets up and covers Paul McCartney’s ‘Let ‘em In’ to confirm his commitment to the immigrant cause. Emile and Amar do a short Dervish whirl in the cramped space which makes the other patrons nervous. David taps his wine glass and proposes a toast.
“Please lift a glass in honor of Mustafa Hussein, father to now two of our performers, for raising such a fine son as is Amar and opening his home to Emile. Please accompany us to London this week. We want you to see and be proud of your sons.”
Mustafa stands and raises his non-alcoholic wine glass, “Thank you for everything you have done to give confidence to my son and his friend. Although Muslims do not believe entertainment and performance are always a proper influence on our children, we do know when it is good for them and brings joy to those attending. I will be glad to attend this weekend.”
I wonder what he will say if the European tour comes together. We will be gone for several months.
A small crowd waits for our departure from le Museum. Many are Taboo patrons who stand out in their disco style and fashions. David agrees to sing ‘Prettiest Star’ to Duncan, a song that the boy associates with bedtime as a toddler. They depart for Lausanne. Freddie sings a Capella ‘Don’t Stop Me Now.’ Once finished he and the Knobs head for Taboo with enthralled fans in-tow. Jim taxies Amar, Emile and Mustafa home before we head for the Lake House.
The three of us, Jim, Mike and I, relax in the lounge with brandy and pot that Jim rustles up.
“I guess I can smoke since Dr Jacques gave me a clean bill of health,” I rationalize.
I bring out an acoustic guitar, toke up and do a solo version of ‘One Toke over the Line.’
‘One toke over the line, sweet Jesus
One toke over the line
Sitting downtown in a railway station
One toke over the line’
Songwriters: Brewer Michael / Shipley Thomas N
One Toke over the Line lyrics © Universal Music – Careers
By the time I finish the song, the joint is toast: we are way over the line.
“Randy and Tito would smoke out but not let me try it, due to some religious stricture,” Mike laughs.
“Freddie made me smoke for the first time when I was 35. I got so foolish, he said I was turning senile,” Jim confesses.
“I don’t have any pot memories, or any memories,” I feel so innocent.
“You certainly know how to toke up while playing guitar,” Mike exposes my unremembered guilty past.
I start playing George Harrison’s ‘While my Guitar Gently Weeps’, pointing at Mike when I sing the line
‘I look at you and
See the love that’s sleeping…’
He and Jim move next to me and we sing the whole song.
“You lads are too cute together,” Jim observes as always. “When I was your age, me mates could hardly look each other in the eye.”
“Maybe after a few beers?” I ask.
“Well, there were moments that no one remembers in the morning,” he admits.
“Freddie told Dr Jacques that I ignore him now that Bowie has me singing with him. I didn’t know he was jealous.”
“Freddie’s complicated and not completely grown up.”
“That explains buying my body and raising me from the dead.”
“A right zombie yer are.”
I attack Mike and pretend to bite him on the neck. Jim is petrified that I actually may be undead. Mike corrects me, “Zombies don’t suck your blood; they eat your flesh.”
“Your flesh is too BBQ’d for me,” I joke.
Mike is insulted.
“It’s for the best,” Jim reassured him. “One zombie is too much as it is.”
I sing the ‘Monster Mash,’ without guitar accompaniment.
‘…The zombies were having fun (Wa hoo…)
The party had just begun (Wa hoo…)
The guests included Wolfman, Dracula and his son
The scene was rockin’, all were digging the sound…
Now everything’s cool, Drac’s a part of the band
And my Monster Mash is the hit of the land
For you, the living, this mash was meant too
When you get to my door, tell them Bowie sent you’
We dissolve into pot-induced hilarity
The Knobs and Freddie must be having fun, too, and do not come home before Mike and I fall asleep in Brian May’s room. I half-believe Jim stays up with coffee to greet any post-clubbing hangovers.
My dreams feature the ability to fly, inspired by the trapeze act Bowie and I practiced at rehearsal. As I soar above the stage I loosen the straps that hold me up and fly free. That is, until I look down and see Mike worried that I am going to fall. Naturally my dream has me dropping like a stone on top of him. I wake up with my arms wrapped tightly around Mike. He is wide awake. With a startled look he demands, “Are you making some sort of gay statement?”
“No. No. I just dreamt I was flying without the wires. The second I saw you, I fell like a stone.”
“You’re still stoned,” he accuses me, unwrapping my arms from his body. Then he wraps me in his arms. We go back to sleep.
Jim has croissants ready when we arise. He appears completely normal and boring, until he winks at me. The English, so repressed and so funny about it.
Swim lessons are subdued until White D shows up. She may remember Bowie from his ‘Heroes’ song that refers to swimming like dolphins. He and I prepare to swim away from shore to meet her pod. Mike begs me to carry him on my back. His swimming abilities have improved but he is still a beginner.
White D swims to Bowie as I am swimming slower with Mike on my back, Bowie latches onto her dorsal fin. The two races off together. I am jealous until the pod of blue-nosed dolphins surrounds us. Nudging us from behind, both of us have two dolphins propelling us after Bowie and White D. Mike looks terrified, so I reach over and hold his hand. By this time we are miles out from shore.
‘Click click click click,’ I desperately try to tell our dolphins to keep Mike safe.
‘Click click,’ “okay,” they promise.
We relax, giving in to the pleasure of riding dolphins. I feel I’m still stoned from last night’s pot. So much the better.
We turn around when the sound of the fisherman’s boat is heard. The boat is chasing us to shore. Now I am calming the dolphins.. They should leave us stranded far from shore in order to escape the fishermen. White D and Bowie are swimming next to us. She tells me to find help keeping the dolphins from being hunted. I promise to speak with our favorite Gendarme.
We are deposited on the shore by Bowie’s Willow tree. I run up to the policeman and show him the pod of dolphins being chased by the boat, now close to shore. He runs to the water’s edge and starts loudly blowing his police whistle. The boat’s captain sharply turns away and heads back to the middle of the lake. White D and her pod are safe, for now.
The Gendarme explains that it is illegal to hunt the mammals in Montreux and any other city or town on Lake Geneva. There is no jurisdiction in the middle of Lake Geneva where the Swiss and French border meets. The fishermen argue that they have a right to ‘fish’ there, but that includes shooting dolphins with rifles. It is barbaric. The danger to White D overwhelms me and my emotions boil over.
“I will stop it,” I exclaim. “We will play ‘Heroes’ at Geneve’s Lake Lighthouse. The dolphins will come and entertain the crowd. The people will know that dolphins must be protected. They are not cattle to be made into burgers.”
“We’re supposed to leave for London tonight. We need at least a day to let everyone know we are playing for the dolphins,” David is worried about logistics.
“We can fly on tomorrow morning,” I beg him with tears in my eyes. Tears really affect him.
“Okay,” he gives in with a single tear running down his downy cheeks. “Just don’t cry. I want to save the dolphins too.”
Mike and I go in Bowie’s car to the Casino to make arrangements with Henri. He calls a quick press conference where we announce our intention to play at the Geneve Lighthouse that evening before sunset. We predict surprise guests to prove our intention to ‘Save the Dolphins.’
“I’ve been to the Danish Faroe Islands and protested the killing of Atlantic dolphins at Skalabotnur beach in Eysturoy. It is inhumane that we kill intelligent animals for meat,” Bowie establishes his credentials as animal rights protector.
We call the rock radio stations in Geneve and do interviews about the special appearance. Bowie’s celebrity gets the word out.
Henri contacts the authorities in Geneve and receives assurances that we can play ‘just one song’ on the lakefront. Henri promises security to keep the fans on shore while we play in the middle of the bay. He immediately starts moving equipment to Geneve, taking it by boat to avoid transport through the city. We will boat out to the lighthouse at 7 pm, before sunset. The show is on. I pray that White D’s pod will be there as an extra attraction but say nothing so as not to jinx my prayer.
On the drive back to Freddie’s we stop at Amar and Mustafa’s house. Bowie suggests that Amar and Emile attend in white Sufi robes, to dance along the walkway to the lighthouse.
“I will contact my other Dervish friends; we all will dance in our white robes,” Amar confirms.
It all comes together and at 6:30 pm we gather at a marina on the Lake in Geneve Nord. It takes two trips for everyone to be at the lighthouse. As we arrive, a huge cheer erupts from the crowd on the banks near the lighthouse. Bowie waves and receives a thunderous ovation from the crowd. I am about to pee my pants from anxiety about White D coming. My heart tells me not to worry.
Bowie steps to the mic, “Thank you for supporting a sanctuary for dolphins in all of Lake Geneva. We hope the dolphins know we want them protected. You are our Heroes.”
I look out into the lake without seeing a single dorsal fin. I have not given up hope. This is for you, White D.
He starts slowly, pointing at the crowd, our heroes. He whispers as the guitars come up and looks out into the Lake. His voice echoes out of the speakers on shore coming back at us in the Lake
‘I, I wish you could swim
Like the dolphins, like dolphins can swim
Nothing will keep us together
We can beat them, for ever and ever
Oh we can be Heroes, just for one day’
Just as Bowie sings ‘like dolphins can swim,’ White D comes flying out of the lake, high above us, at the point by lighthouse. As she splashes back into the water, the whole pod comes out of the water, flipping in all directions. The initial shock at their appearance is replaced by a thunderous roar.
I run into the water and climb on White D’s back. She dives underwater and comes flipping straight up as I cling precariously to her back. As I slip into the water, she turns and pushes me from behind (literally so I rise out of the water with both arms upraised and singing along with Bowie
‘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
‘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, for ever and ever
What’d you say?’
With my hair colored to be Ziggy Stardust and my tall, slim physique I must look enough like Bowie to fool the crowd. They are screaming his name and shouting praise for this dolphin special effect.
As the song ends, I am deposited at the lighthouse and rush up to embrace the real Bowie. The crowd is stunned at our trick and the noise drops. To my horror I hear the engine of that evil fisherman’s boat coming around the far side of the lighthouse. He heard of the dolphin rally and came to ruin the show. The pod is herded close to shore, I see a sailor in the bow of the boat raise his rifle to start the killing in front of the thousands who came to protect the dolphins. It is a disaster. What have I wrought? Where is White D?
Suddenly from the other direction comes a white Swiss Coast Guard cutter, bearing down on the fishing boat with horns blaring. The rifleman backs off and lays down the weapon. The dolphins are saved. I think I am going to faint. The fear of going into a coma keeps me wobbily on my feet. Mike grabs me, holding me up.
“You are such a wimp,” he whispers.
I laugh and collapse into his arms. I never lose consciousness.
‘Click, click click,” she tells me to watch her.
White D swims toward the cutter, diving underwater and shooting upwards further than I have ever seen her do. As soon as she hits the surface, a water geyser shoots up over 30 meters in the air. It still does so today, all these years after France and Switzerland jointly prohibited any dolphin slaughter in Lake Geneva.
Mike hugs me so hard I may still pass out.