The following is the first half of a story I wrote for a creative writing class a few years ago…
“Sheryl, move your ass!” I screamed as I threw myself into the back of the waiting taxi. “If we miss this I’ll kill you!”
With an unattractive scowl on her face and an equally unattractive sloth-like saunter, Sheryl slowly progressed towards the waiting vehicle. She’d just finished telling me for the millionth time how stupid she thought my mission was. I had taken offence to her criticism – especially when she called me a ‘British Invasion-addicted harlot’ – and beyond my angry prodding for her to walk faster, we were currently not speaking.
Sheryl lowered herself into the taxi and smiled demurely at the driver. He started the engine and took off down the narrow street. It was a 45-minute drive to downtown Toronto, and I was becoming increasingly agitated with every passing moment. For the past three months – ever since I purchased two tickets to the concert – I had thought of nothing but this day. If I missed the most important opportunity of my life, I probably would kill Sheryl.
Her high-pitched voice broke into my thoughts. Despite her protests earlier, she still wanted to accompany me and participate in my quest.
“Ok, so explain to me again why this is such a big deal,” Sheryl said. “I mean, they’re just musicians, right? And they aren’t even that good. And seriously, they’re from Europe. Like, don’t people listen to them in Europe? Why do they have to come all the way here?”
I groaned. Apparently we were speaking again. “Don’t be an idiot, Sheryl. They are the biggest band of all time, and they are here to get even more famous. God, don’t you listen to anything?”
“Fine,” she replied sourly. “So what’s your plan when we get there?”
I pondered her question. I’d been running through the step-by-step actions I’d take once I arrived at the arena where the concert was being held, but had yet to voice my plan aloud. Reaching a conclusion, I turned in my seat.
“Our number one priority is to get backstage after the concert,” I explained. “Then, I’ll find him and you will disappear.”
Sheryl rolled her eyes. “Fine, I can do that.”
“Good. This is very, very important Sheryl. My entire life is riding on this. Please don’t ruin this chance for me.”
“I won’t,” Sheryl said. “I just don’t get it. Why is seducing a musician so important to you?”
“Because,” I replied. “Once he sleeps with me he’ll fall in love with me. And then we’ll get married and I’ll move to Liverpool and we’ll live happily ever after.”
The taxi slowed down and I looked out the window to see the imposing structure of the Maple Leaf Gardens Arena. I opened the door and jumped onto the sidewalk, smoothing my favourite green dress. Sheryl said it was the only outfit that made my dark brown hair look ‘marginally attractive,’ and for some reason, I always listened to her opinion. She hopped out of the taxi after me and winked at the driver. Together, we walked up the stairs to the main entrance, handed our tickets to a sullen teenage boy, and entered the arena.
“Alright genius, so what’s your plan?” Sheryl asked as we took in the thousands of teenage girls before us. The interior of the arena was literally a sea of patterned dresses, teased hair and too much makeup. I was beginning to feel claustrophobic. I was also starting to second-guess the effectiveness of my seduction strategy. Every girl in the place would sleep with any one of the band members if the opportunity arose. I was one of 10,000 eager groupies.
“I don’t know what to do…” I said uncertainly. “Should we find our seats?”
“Don’t you want to go backstage?”
“Of course. But he’ll be mad at me if he found out I didn’t watch him play.”
We found our seats – in one of the furthest sections from the stage – and settled in to watch the concert. Suddenly, the announcer shouted, “Introducing… the Beatles” over the loudspeaker. I felt my heartbeat quicken. Ringo emerged from backstage first, and took his place behind the drums. John and Paul came onstage together, and the crowd erupted with cheers. Most girls were either Team Paul or Team John, which was just fine with me.
Finally, when everyone else was situated, George appeared. He wore his guitar over his shoulder and had his usual thoughtful-yet-mischievous look on his face. I reminded myself to breathe. There he was. My future husband and the future father of my children. Right in front of me. We were even breathing the same air.
Sheryl nudged me in the ribs with her elbow. “There he is,” she whispered loudly. “Why don’t you go get him now?”
“Shhhhhh!” I hissed back. “They’re about to start.”
I barely paid attention to the concert. As girls screamed, cried and belted out the lyrics to each song, I simply stared at him. I became so lost in my own little George Harrison trance that I didn’t even notice the concert was over until Sheryl started frantically shaking my arm.
“Gail, we’ve got to go now!” she shouted above the mass of screaming fans begging for an encore. “It’s almost over and you’ve got to get backstage.”
I nodded my head violently and we quickly made our way across the aisle and down the stairs. When we reached the main level, we took off running.
Hours earlier, as we struggled through the crowd to find our seats, I’d located the entrance to the backstage area. It was through a nondescript fence in a corner of the stadium. I only found it because about a hundred girls clung to the chain link like flies. As Sheryl and I approached, I noticed that a very large, refrigerator-shaped man stood guard inside the fence at the gate. I could see a number of girls milling around inside, and they all had a backstage passes around their necks.
“Sheryl,” I said quietly. “We have to get that man to let us in.” I pointed at refrigerator man and Sheryl looked at who I was motioning at. At first, a look of confusion registered on her face. Then, she started to smile and walked purposefully towards the gate. I was left with no choice but to follow.
“Burt!” Sheryl hollered above the sea of screaming fans. “Burt! It’s Sheryl.”
Refrigerator man scanned the crowd. His eyes fell on Sheryl and he too smiled. Moving the gate to the side – while forcing back the sea of fans – he beckoned us both behind the gated wall. The two exchanged a few words, a hug, and a very friendly kiss. A backstage pass was slipped around each of our necks, and just like that, we were in.
I grabbed Sheryl’s arm and pulled her aside. “Who the hell is Burt?” I whispered in her ear. Sheryl just smiled.
To be continued…