7 – Blog 34 – Happy Grown Up 20th Birthday

“Whoa.”

Where am I? It looks familiar. The white walls. Signs in French.

I know, Switzerland.

“Where is Dr. Jacques?” I ask the lady sitting close to my bed. Why am I in the hospital?

“I’ll get him,” she promises, then leans over and hugs me for a long time. Strange nurse.

I am not seeing clearly. I recognize Dr. Jacques who rushes to my bed.

“You’re awake. Do you know where you are?”

“Jeez, Doc. This is your clinic in Montreux. How did I get here?”

“You collapsed. What do last remember?”

“I was having a fight with that dingbat from Boston. I don’t remember why.”

“And you remember coming from London?”

“We got in last night.”

“Actually, it was ten days ago.”

“What? We were to have a show on Saturday night.”

“It’s all postponed. You were in a coma again.”

“I told that kid not to make me remember old things. What a bozo.”

“Well, your parents are here now.”

“No. That’s what we were fighting about. I told Jack that I may relapse if he keeps wanting me to remember my past. But no, he had to have it his way. Now I’m back in hospital.”

“Jack and I spoke with your parents. They understand how fragile your memory is and are willing to wait until you are ready to meet them.”

“Yeah. I decided that will happen when I turn 30.”

“When did you decide that?”

“When I realized how miserable Bowie is trying to play a teenage space alien now that he is in his thirties.”

“You are so funny. But obviously you are more fragile than we thought.”

“It seems like you are not worried about me relapsing.”

“Well, I examined you when they brought you in. Your brain waves remain strong. So, now it seems your memory is not affected any more than before. My theory is you were in the first coma for so long that all your memories were corrupted, like on a computer.”

“I’ve been called morally corrupt before.”

“When was that?” Dr Jacques is excited.

“That was a joke, like you said, I’m a morally corrupted computer..”

He looks disappointed.

“Here’s the deal. I have a family counselor here to prepare your family on how to proceed slowly so there is not another relapse.”

“Keep Jack away from me.”

“Well, let’s do that and concentrate on reintegrating you into your family.”

“Jeez, Doc. How about they integrate themselves into my life here.”

“They hope you’ll go back to Harvard.”

“Harvard? I was at Harvard?” Dr. Jacques is doing what everyone thinks I need, to be told what my past life was like. “That’s the kind of news that sets me off.”

“Sorry. You’re right. I won’t do that again.”

“Apology accepted, but only because you brought me back from being brain dead. Let’s get it over with. Let’s go meet the parents.”

I get out of bed and find a robe to cover where the hospital johnny exposes my ass. If I am really Ziggy, why would care?

Jack is in the waiting room, sitting with two couples who must be my parents and grandparents. They did not expect me to come out to meet them. I dispose of Jack immediately.

“You. Get out of here. I told you that your constant pestering would put me in a coma, but you wouldn’t stop. Go back to whatever rock you came out from under.”

Everyone is in shock. Jack rushes out the door. When my supposed ‘dad’ tries to defend Jack, I turn on him.

“Don’t defend him,” I order. “I’ll deal with him later.”

My ‘mom’ restrains ‘Dad,’ who looks annoyed. I totally understand but I need to establish ground rules for reuniting with my family. Suddenly fatigue sets in. I have to sit down.

I can tell ‘Mom’ wants to comfort me but that will freak me out. I close my eyes and quickly open them when Dr. Jacques says my name.

“I’m just tired and nervous about this whole meeting.”

The counselor, Elda, speaks up, “That is completely understandable, Laz. Let me suggest some ground rules to keep everyone from getting emotionally overwhelmed.”

“Thank you.”

“These people are in as much shock as you are. They thought you died a year ago last January. Let’s start as if this is just family therapy. The first thing is to go around the group and everyone introduce themselves.

“I’ll start,” I agree. “My name is Laz, short for Lazlo, and I am a zombie.”

Everyone gasps.

“That’s a joke,” I state. “I was dead and got revived. I don’t eat flesh. I eat lots of Wimpy burgers, so don’t be worried. My problem is when I get mad, like with Jack, I pass out.”

“That’s pretty over the top, Laz,” Elda stops me. “Who wants to speak next?”

“I’m Bert,” ‘Dad ‘speaks up. “I am the father,” he refuses to say my name. “I was pretty tough on …”

Elda interrupts, “The first ground rule is we do not talk about anything past the last month.

“Sorry,” Bert looks annoyed. “Susan and I rushed here when we heard he was alive. I was told he had died a long time ago.”

“Again, Bert,” Elda interrupts, “nothing from Laz’s past that he doesn’t remember.

Bert appears perpetually annoyed.

“I’m Laz’s step-mother, Susan,” ‘Mom’ seems nice enough. “Jack told us to read the review of the London show and when I saw the photos, I knew it was our son.”

I wonder where my birth mom is.

“I am Edgar Stone and I am Jack’s father,” the Grandfather type is not related. “Jack has always been impetuous.”

“Jack has impeccable manners but can act impetuously. I am Dorothy Stone, his mother. We are older because Jack is our November Mistake.”

“Yes,’ Elda notes. “But let’s concentrate on Laz now. He needs to find his family and rebuild memories. Without all those memories you share, he has no idea how to emotionally respond to you.”

“’Laz’ put my oldest son in his place when he belittled Jack,” Edgar notes.

“Again, the reason we are in counseling is to learn how to stay in the present with Laz. Stories of the past, no matter how important, mean nothing to him now. Let’s restart by making him feel that he fits in.”

“Sorry, Good advice,” Edgar shuts up.

“I see that we must go slowly in building Laz’s trust,” Elda concludes. “Is there anything you want us to do, Laz?”

“I appreciate how much everyone cares about me, but it will take time for me to care back, other than being polite. Incredible as it seems, everyone here is a stranger to me, except for Dr. Jacques.”

“This is a good start, but more than counseling and therapy is needed. How about we go out to eat lunch. Building memories is not as hard as having to refrain from acting as we normally did before Laz lost his mind. Oops, memory.”

Everyone laughs, even me.

“We can go to le Museum,” I suggest. “I need to get out of this johnny.”

After getting dressed, I walk out with everyone. Jack is sitting in the lobby, looking miserable. Good.

“If you say one word about anything, unless I am about to get run over by a bus, I’m leaving on my own. Otherwise, come with us to le Museum for lunch.”

He jumps up and says nothing. I still do not forgive him.

“Ah, M. Laz,” the owner of le Museum greets our party. “Bien venu a le Museum.”

“Bon jour, M. Iverson. Je me trouve avec ma famille pour votre Raclette.

“D’accord. Raclette, votre préféré.”

“Ici sont mon pere and ma mere, Monsieur Castle and Madame Castle. Aussi, mon ami Jacques Stone et ses parents, Edouard et Dorothée.”

“Je suis heureux de faire votre connaissance,” M. Iverson parle. “I am happy to meet you.”

“You speak French now?” Bert is impressed.

“I live in a French speaking country.”

“Chanterez-vous pour les autres convives aujourd’hui?

“Oh, d’accord.”

I turn around and sing ‘Welkommen’ from Cabaret to my ‘family.’

‘[EMCEE]
Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome!
Fremde, etranger, stranger.
Gluklich zu sehen, je suis enchante,
Happy to see you, bleibe, reste, stay.

Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome
Im Cabaret, au Cabaret, to Cabaret

[Spoken]
Meine Damen und Herren, Mesdames et Messieurs,
Ladies and Gentlemen! Guden Abend, bon soir,
We geht’s? Comment ca va? Do you feel good?
I bet you do!
Ich bin euer Confrecier; je suis votre compere…
I am you host!

Und sagen
Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome
Im Cabaret, au Cabaret, to Cabaret

[spoken]
Leave you troubles outside!
So – life is disappointing? Forget it!
We have no troubles here! Here life is beautiful…
The girls are beautiful…
Even the orchestra is beautiful!’

My ‘guests’ are embarrassed as the other diners give me polite applause. We sit at the table in the window.

“My goodness, uhm Laz,” Susan is astounded at my European persona. “Do you sing in public often?”

“Only to charming guests,” I smile at her.

Bert is not buying my cloying act but keeps quiet.

The usual hanger-ons from the gay club Taboo are hanging around outside and spot me in the restaurant’s front window. Unlike most Swiss people they are as excited as if they spotted a rare white whale, waving and trying to get my attention.

I excuse myself and walk out to meet my fans.

“Pourquoi?” I ask.

“Vous avez récupéré, Laz?” they ask.

“Bien sur,” I hold my hands up. “Mais je suis seulement un chanteur a un band.”

“Nous vous aimons, Laz,” they cry and all hug me.

I point to my amazed guests in the window. “Il y’a mes parents and mes amis americains.”

They blow kisses to my family and disperse.

“Quand serai  le show prochain?’

“A bientot,” I answer.

Gays are great fans. I go back inside.

“You’re famous now?” Bert is a skeptic.

“Just in the minds of street people who hang out here. Bowie and Mercury are the star attractions in our rock n roll circus. Michael Jackson is my best friend; no one recognizes him.”

“Michael Jackson?” Susan asks. “That cute little kid.”

“He’s my age now.  We love each other but not in a gay way.”

Jack looks distressed again.

Bert breaks the rules by blurting out, “You’re not gay anymore?”

My eyes starts spinning. Susan jumps up and holds my head, “Calm down. He didn’t mean that.”

I am not sure she is making sense. I know my sexuality has been everyone’s concern since I came back from the dead.

“Dr. Jacques says my hormonal levels shut down from being brain dead for so long. Any sexual activity is unlikely at this stage of my recovery. Mike feels the same way for himself. We are perfect friends with no drama.” I stare directly at Jack who grimaces.

Luckily the waiter arrives with our platter of Raclette.

Everyone forgets about my non-sexuality. I show everyone how to scrap the melted Swiss cheese off the sliced baguette unto the many varieties of toppings.

“See. Just like pizza, only Swiss,” I explain.

Everyone digs in. M. Iverson brings several bottles of local red wine from Chillon. I go into a long description of my trip to the Chillon Castle and its role in Medieval trade. Jack’s father, Edgar, becomes interested when we discuss business. I explain that it was more than a toll house to collect fares and how it turned into a prison during the Inquisition.

“See all the torture devices on the walls,” I point to the restaurant’s walls. “It’s a Swiss tradition.”

No one laughs at my joke.

“We can go there while you are visiting,” I remark.

“And revisit the Inquisition?” Edgar Stone quips.

Everyone laughs. At least someone has a sense of humor.

As we leave the restaurant more fans close in on us, including several reporters. I agree to answer a few questions but defer to Henri at the Casino as the band’s publicist.

One reporter turns to my ‘family,’ and asks in Esperanto ,  “Ĉu vi ĉiuj estas el Rumanio?” (Are you all from Romania?)

Only I laugh. Everyone else has no idea what the question is. They need to work on their New English.

Back at the hospital, the whole crew from Bowie’s and Freddie’s houses plus Amar’s family are there to welcome me back from my coma. They all look meanly at Jack.

“It’s not really his fault,” I cover for the miserable boy. “He just wanted me to meet with my family. Here they are,” I indicate the adults in the crowd.

They all start talking about me, the me they know since I recovered.

“Let’s go back to Freddie’s,” I suggest. “I want to go swimming.”

Jim brings the Rolls around followed by two limos to take us home. Mike rushes up and puts an arm around my shoulder.

“I’m not going to collapse again. Notice that Jack is saying nothing. Otherwise, he will be banned from Switzerland.”

“Good,” Mike agrees.

The next few days we settle into the regular routine. Swim lessons resume and I reunite with White D. I can feel she is ecstatic that I am back and remains clueless about the relapse. If anything, she is friskier than ever, getting us to swim belly-to-belly together. I know what she wants but I remain passive in that situation. I blame hormones, not interspecies incompatibility. She explains that it is not her fertile time anyway; she just likes ‘fooling around.’ I ask her how old she is.

“In dolphin years I am 17.” I feel like a molester. She explains that dolphin years go by quickly when they are young, then slow down. Old age is a long way off.

“Me, too,” I agree.

 We are in synch. I appreciate why she is anxious about going all the way. We are happy teenagers in love.

‘Click click click,’ I agree.

Our postponed show is scheduled for the next weekend, Saturday, in deference to Muslim Sabbath restrictions. With better communication between White D and me, we plan a Marineland/Sea World extravaganza, with the pod dolphins really putting on a show. Of course, the highlight will be Bowie doing ‘Heroes’, while the dolphins cavort.

The time for the parents to leave approaches. I am more comfortable since they never speak about the past. Bert does try to argue that I should return to Harvard after summer fun is over. I explain that the shows are about immigration in Europe and after it ends I plan to tour with Bowie as his doppelganger Ziggy Stardust. Bert is clueless.

“Nobody should give up an opportunity to go to Harvard.”

“What would I study?”

“There are many choices, even music.”

“But rock n roll is the simplest music. You can’t go to college to study rock.”

“Well, Professor Feldman says you are natural for Business School,” Edgar Stone notes.”

“More school after Harvard?”

“You could even teach.”

“That’s it? Stay at Harvard for life?”

“Being at Harvard opens up many opportunities.”

“I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but what we now are doing in music is changing the world. We plan to go to the Berlin Wall and demand it be torn down.”

“That will never happen,” Edgar states.

“Is that what Harvard taught you, to forget your dreams about changing the world?”

“Ah, the joys and illusions of youth,” Edgar Stone stops arguing with me.

They agree to stay through the weekend and attend the Saturday show. With added publicity about my health, ticket demand is high. La Plage de Geneve is across the street from the park where the dolphins will be able to hear us play. The grounds are elevated and run toward the beach. 

 It will be just like Woodstock without the mud. It is a logistical nightmare to bring the sound from the hotel patio to the harbor where the dolphins will perform. It is two shows in one. We move the location outdoors near the new geyser we created last month.

We will play in the front patio of le Hotel Residence in Parc Eauxs-vive.

The Castles and the Stones attend one of the morning swimming lessons. When Mike and I swim out to perform with White D and her pod, they are astounded and entranced. I am making the point that I am past needing more education, even at Harvard-level. When Bowie sings ‘Heroes,’ I glance and see Susan swaying in Bert’s arms. Even he seems to be enjoying himself. It worries me that he has so little sense of humor or joie de vivre. I wonder how I survived his parenting. Barely, I guess.

We usually go out to eat in the evening. My bout with coma has made me a local celebrity. My recovery is noted by many strangers who really seem to care. I have yet to learn how celebrity changes everything. It is my secret glee that the American parents experience my popularity. “Popularity Breeds Contempt,” I am reminded by Mike.

Amar’s Popa Mustafa asks if all my parents plus the band crews will attend  a Tunisian feast on Thursday night at the Islamic Cultural Center.

The sisters are on pins and needles for Bowie to attend. He agrees to come, figuring Duncan will enjoy it as well. I call everyone attending my new family. Once we arrive, we find all the Sufi Dervish are there with their families as well as many of the local mosque attendees. My family is bigger than I thought.

Edgar Stone takes me aside, “We plan a dinner for you tomorrow. It will be especially for you.”

“You don’t have to do that, but can Mike come as well?”

“Certainly, and Jack if you do not mind.”

“Of course. He has not broken his word since he put me in the coma.”

“I appreciate you including him. I fear he feels he has lost you again with the change in your relationship.”

“A little patience may be needed. We decided he will continue as guitarist for the Boss Band during the upcoming tour.”

“Where did you come up with that name?”

“Everyone thinks I’m too bossy.”

“Someone has to be. You can call yourself the director if that sounds better than boss.”

“Thanks for the advice,” I feel he really likes me, not just because of Jack’s crush.

Bert Castle joins us, attempting to inform Edgar of my current faults.

“Sorry, Bert. I like the Laz version as much as the old model. What was his name?”

I stop Bert from blurting it out. Training the parents.

The Sufis do a traditional whirling dance. You can feel how they slip into a trance as the whirling gets more intense. Bowie introduces his Berlin band of Turkish musicians. They mix with the Sufis and other Muslims attending. They ask me to help translate between the Tunisians and Turks.

“I wish, but New English doesn’t work with two other languages. I get confused.”

They slap me on the back. “It’s okay, Boss.”

Not all Muslims are Arabic, but they all follow the commands of the Koran/Quran. Westerners do not appreciate how all these different races and cultures work so well together We claim they are primitive, yet when Western culture was in the Dark Ages of the Plague, Islamic culture blossomed. Before sitting down for the feast, Bowie and his band plays ‘Yassassin,’ with Amar shouting out the title before each verse.

Eating with your hands is no problem when you are hungry. I observe that the parents are looking more forward to the planned birthday feast tomorrow. My god, I will be 20.

As we lay back on the couch to go to sleep, I tell Mike that the feast tomorrow is for my twentieth birthday.

“Crap. I need to get you a present.’

“That is not expected. I know you have no money.”

“How about I sing?”

“What song?’

“You know. ‘Ben.’”

“My song. Me, Laz the rat.”

“Me, too,” Mike claims.

We tickle each other and squirm all over the couch. Exhausted we instantly are asleep.

Friday starts as usual with swimming in the Lake and music with David Bowie. White D indicates that all the decent swimmers should participate with her pod. At first the dolphins take charge and are propelling the kids back and forth near the shoreline. Soon dolphins pair up to lift the kids out of the water and several acrobatic kids stand up.  as if they are water skiing. Other kids ride on dolphin backs.

Their rides end when the dolphin jump into the air and flip the riders off their backs. Mike and I are floating next to White D as we watch the spectacle. I explain to her that on Saturday evening we will be playing at the Geneve Harbor and want her pod to perform. She agrees and we think up tricks to wow the crowd. I can hardly wait.

All the bands gather at the Casino for dress rehearsal of the upcoming show. No high wire trapeze for this outdoor show. Because sunset is the earliest the show can begin (Muslim Sabbath), we will need extensive lighting. When I mention the dolphin exhibition in the harbor, the lighting issues become complicated. I suggest we do it before the show starts as the band and dolphins are not Muslim. I am shouted down because Muslim fans will be excluded from watching until sunset.

“How about glow rings for the dolphins?” Mike asks. “It will be spectacular.”

We run out behind the casino to the patio above the Lake. I call for White D who is there quickly, as if she knew in advance that I needed her.

‘Click click,’ she lets me know it will work. I worry that having the rings around their bottle noses will impede their breathing.

“Click,” no sweat she says.

The rehearsal goes well. Queen will not headline as the theme of the show is Bowie’s ‘Heroes.’ ‘swimming with dolphins,’ and “Yassassin.’

Mike, Jack and I go with the parents to their hotel for the dinner party. They have balloons and presents for a celebration. Each parent speaks about their joy and relief that I am ‘back’ and are impressed at how mature I have become. Before they start talking about the ‘old’ teenaged me, I give a short speech of thanks.

“You probably know that I was extremely worried about meeting my parents and Jack’s. I was sure I would be unable to respond on an emotional level when I had no memory of the emotions I felt about family. But you have been so good to follow my rules about not speaking of the past. It has been wonderful visiting with you. I am sorry that the bands are so busy preparing for our summer tour.

“I am speaking to both sets of parents here. I can feel the kindness and pride Jack’s parents feel about me and my recovery. You are remarkably understanding and caring. Thank you, all of my parents.

“Before we go out to eat, let’s talk about future plans. Having no memories of my past makes it hard to plan for the future. Freddie’s band Queen was in shambles when I woke up. After succeeding to get them to reunite, we planned a summer tour to promote David Bowie’s song in support of immigrants. Working with prominent popular musicians is a great opportunity and challenge. Our shows in London proved we are ready to go on the road. The purpose is more than selling the record ‘Yassassin.’ It is an effort to reach out to marginalized people everywhere. Besides playing songs, I will replace David Bowie as the space alien Ziggy Stardust, a role he has outgrown. Teenagers feel like they are aliens before they find their own way of growing up. I guess you remember me as one of those teenage aliens, never knowing what to expect.”

The parent group all nods in agreement.

“First, I want to formally invite Jack to be guitarist for the Boss Band. He has overcome his need to drag me back into my teenage self, one I don’t remember and obviously don’t need in order to be an adult. What do you think, Jack?”

He looks surprised, but turns to his parents.

Edgar answers first, “I don’t mean to bring up the past, But hear me out. Jack has not told you this, as prescribed, but he was suspended from Harvard after pot was being sold from your dorm room.”

Whoa, Jack the dealer?

“It took some negotiating but Harvard accepted him back last fall. I am not against him spending the summer touring with the bands. Sounds like fun. But, he has to promise to return to school in the fall.”

“Jack, you were a dealer? Did you need money?” I have all these questions but do not want to go back there, even if I was not involved.

“It was hell. I let Robby stay with Minehan and me. Everyone turned against him for lying and someone reported the pot to campus police.”

“Living life on the wild side?” I ask.

“I was an emotional mess.”

“We’re not going there,” I shut him down, fearing he blames me for his misbehavior.

“You want to join the band?” Mike interjects.

“Just for the tour. I belong at Harvard.”

“We want you to return, too,” Bert adds. Are all dads impossible?

“We’ll see,” I am not getting into an argument here. “I have committed to touring with David Bowie for at least several years. Freddie is my savior, so I owe him whatever he wants. This is a career opportunity to kill for.”

“We’re still your parents,” I can see Bert likes an argument.

“Yeah, and Happy Birthday to me,” I add. “I’m twenty but must do as I’m told.”

“You have a lot to learn, son.”

“You’re not my dad. I don’t remember you except for the past few days. You were doing so well until now.”

“Calm down, Bert,” Susan rushes to the rescue. “He isn’t saying he won’t go back to college. He has a whole summer to decide.”

“Grrrh,” Pops does not like to be told what to do. Maybe he is my dad after all.

“Let’s just all agree to disagree, at least for now,” Dorothy is the queen of manners.

Everyone nods. Jack looks sad. Nothing new there.

I change the subject, “Did you enjoy your trip to Chillin Castle?”

“I do not know how people survived during the Inquisition?” Dorothy has the floor. ‘Living in a castle was no bed of roses in those days.”

“At least we don’t put people in prison for not agreeing with the authorities,” I smirk.

“At least not in Switzerland,” Edgar agrees. “Ask your friend Amar’s father why he came here from Tunisia.”

“At least he had a choice. Was he persecuted there for his Sufi beliefs?”

“That is more of a religious issue. But fundamentalist factions threaten to impose their own version of Islamic law on all citizens in their countries.”

“Amar could be imprisoned for dancing?”

“Listening to rock and roll, too,” Edgar knows the score.

“We plan to take the tour to Turkey,” I am concerned. “Will we be subject to persecution there?”

“Turkey has a secular constitution,” Edgar is the foreign affairs expert. “They had a revolution called ‘The Young Turks’ who banned discrimination for religious reasons.”

“Great,” I am relieved. “The young shall inherit the earth.”

“That’s not exactly what the Bible says,” Bert interjects.

“We preach understanding and cooperation,” I contend.

“Good luck,” Pops pipes up.

Nothing new about these arguments. I am getting depressed.

“Well, I have good news,” Susan changes the subject.

“Want to come on tour to spread the news.”

“It’s not exactly news unless you are family and friends,” she beams. Pops is slightly embarrassed.

“I’m pregnant,” she announces. “Laz, you have a baby brother or sister coming next spring.”

I am floored by the announcement.

“I thought I was past the age of childbearing,” Susan is excited. “The news that we had not lost you, Laz, seems to have turned on my maternal instincts.”

I jump up and make her dance around the room.

Then I get serious, “Sorry. Sit down. Put your feet up. Can I get you something, best non-alcoholic?”

Everyone laughs at my change of heart. Maybe I have family feelings after all.

“Oh, Laz, you’ll make a great older brother,” Susan hopes.

“I’m too old to be a brother.”

“Nobody’s too old to be a brother,” Mike observes, our expert on brothers.

“Looks like we have two reasons to celebrate,” Edgar announces, and we all go down to the Hotel restaurant. I promise no impromptu singing. Mike and I nudge each other. The restaurant is tres chic and grand in a pre-modern fashion. No Raclette on the menu but there is Swiss Steak which I remember looks like a waffle. I wonder if it comes with chicken. I go for the Del Monico which I attack voraciously. Everybody is watching me, wondering how much steak a zombie needs.

“As long as I eat meat every few hours, I get no cravings for live flesh,” I jokingly announce.

Only Mike gets the joke. I have turned my family into zombies. Good thing I ordered a steak.

I turn to Edgar about the business side of the tour.

“Everyone tells me that the music business is no place for someone my age. Any advice on how to keep our tour from foundering for lack of a business manager?”

“Someone has to play the bad guy when dealing with shady concert promoters and someone has to keep the books so the bands know they are not being cheated.”

“Come over here Jack,” I order the sad sack. “Your dad is giving us good advice.”

Jack perks up and moves to the other side of his dad.

“How much did we make on the record sales in London?” I ask him.

“We sold 2333 45 singles at £1 each plus 40 autographed singles at £2 to £5 each for a subtotal of £122. Total sales amount was £2455. We paid Abbey Road Studio £1227.50 for recording and pressing. Miscellaneous expenses were £5.25. Total profit was £1222.25.”

“Where is this profit?”

“I gave it to Henri, the Casino Publicist for safe keeping.”

“Who told you to do that?”

“Mike did.”

“Excellent bookkeeping. Deficient accounting,” I rate Jack. “Mike come and tell us where our profits from London are.”

“Jack gave them to Henri,” Mike answered. “Why? You need money?”

“It’s everyone’s money. I can’t spend it without everyone’s permission.”

“Oh. Here’s what’s left of what I took.” He empties his pocket with a variety of coins and bills, English, Swiss and even American. “Take out what I spent from my share.”

I shake my head. Too many hands in the cookie jar.

“Well, it looks like you are learning as you go,” Edgar notes.

“We’ll figure it all out before this week’s show.”

“The boss never lacks confidence,” Edgar advises.

“You got that right.”

Next: