Author's Introduction
Preface by Bennie Strange
Logan Airport
The Briefing
The Red Barn
The Stones Might Come
The Stones Are Coming
The Stones Aren't Coming
The Slender Strand
Twin Cessna 75 X-Ray
Keith Richards
Jane Rose
For Engineers Only
Systems, Inc.
Joe Rascoff
Ian Stewart
The Little Boys' Room
Master of All He Surveys
Paul Wasserman
The Tennis Courts
Bill & Astrid
A Typical Morning
A Typical Mid-Morning
My Friend Mark
The Pantry
The Rock Wall
Fraternity Brothers
The Red Line
Club Owners
A Typical Rehearsal
Rob Barnett
One Sunday Afternoon
Bennie Strange in Worcester
The Show Must Go On
Bill Graham
Little Girls
Steve Morse
The Raging Rose Saloon
The Publicist's Handbook
Charlie Watts
Mick and Freedom
Press Conference
The Strange Afterglow
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Wire-copy news
Stones Cinderella Story
The Tennis Court Fiasco

The Stones Are Coming

"And now you've got Keith Richards, who's supposed to be the biggest drug addict in the world, coming to stay with you. Very cozy. Gil, you're gonna get busted."

    I believe in the power of positive thinking, and that you can make events happen in the world by projecting them as having already occurred. Thus, if you want the Rolling Stones to come to Long View Farm, you imagine with every ounce of intensity you can muster the color, sound, and emotional texture of that eventuality, creating it in your mind as a completed object, which you may then proceed to adore. It is in the adoration of the object that you change the world. You begin by saying to the person nearest you, "Isn't that a beautiful object?" and that person will look where you point him, or her, and will generally approve of your object. Mind you, that same person is sometimes willing to see clothes on a naked Emperor, too, and that's why you can't go around adoring any old object in public, because it amounts to frivolous behavior with the lives of other persons. It's best to really know you want something before you start projecting it as an actuality. Because people may well flock to your side, change theirs lives about, and make your wish come true, for better or for worse.
    Did I really want the Stones to come to Long View?
    My phone rang again, it was still that Friday afternoon, and I had just talked with Alan Dunn, and with Geoff Myers at the Farm. "The Stones are coming," I repeated to myself, and lunged for my pretty red phone.
    "Gil, ba-by!" It was Rory McPherson on the line, a friend of mine for years, also a friend of James Taylor, always worked at RCA in New York. Always wanted to help me out somehow at Long View, but he never did, or couldn't, or something. Rory wouldn't always take my telephone calls.
    "Hey, little buddy, I knew you'd do it. Little buddy, you get ready. You have arrived!"
    "What are you talking about, Rory?"
    "Hey, ba-by, don't you give me that. The word's out, and the whole town's buzzing about it. It's you, man. And it's the Rolling Stones. The Stones, Gil. Baby, congratulations!"
    "Well, thanks, Rory. I'm aware that your friend Bill Beatty at S.I.R. had a lot to do with this happening, if it happens."
    "You got it, baby. You got it! They loved your place. Loved it. The fact of the matter is, Gil, they've got no choice." Rory lowered his voice, and continued speaking in demi-tones. "Woodstock was a disaster three years ago, and there's pressure on everybody to make it work out better this time. Relax, Gil. You've got it."
    Rory seemed to know something about all this after all.
    "Yeah," I said. "I guess maybe it is happening. The Stones are coming. Tell Bill I owe him a favor. Owe you a favor, too, Rory. And let me know if you get any further news, or insights into this craziness."
    "O.K., Gil," Rory concluded. "Hey, you see Nancy and you give her a kiss on the cheek and you say it's from me, and knock 'em each once on the head for me, those two beautiful kids of yours."
    "Thanks, Rory. Say hi to Marilyn for me, too."
    "Baby, I knew you'd do it. I knew it. I mean, I was just saying to Bill the other day, 'You know, Bill, that Gil Markle is really doing one hell of a job up there.'"
    "Thanks, Rory," I interrupted. "I gotta go. Another telephone call. Take care of yourself."
    "O.K., Gil, you, too!"
    Wendy Thurston, who's my secretary and assistant, and who's quick to pick up on things, was waving at me from her office.
    "You've got Mike Forhan on six-eight," she said. "Says he's got to speak with you."
    "O.K.," I thought. Mike is a real old friend of mine, helped me with an earlier business venture in the '70's, got a touch of career burnout, and was now in the business of putting anti-terrorist devices in the wheel wells of privately owned airplanes. A little red light goes on if some guy puts a bomb in your wheel well, and you thus know to take the bomb out before getting in the plane and continuing on your way. Mike's anti-thug boxes were very expensive.
    "What's up, Mike?"
    "Man, you are in one shitload of trouble, let me tell you that. You are in water so hot you don't even know ...."
    "What are you talking about, Mike?"
    "You know damn well what I'm talking about, or you will when I'm through. Sometimes I think I'm the only friend you got, who will tell you things. Gil, are you ever in trouble!"
    "O.K., Mike, I give up, what trouble?"
    "The Stones, man, and the drugs. It's the drugs, Gil. Listen, you've had the law looking really close at you out there ever since Stevie Wonder Day, and you know what I'm talking about. And now you've got Keith Richards, who's supposed to be the biggest drug addict in the world, coming to stay with you. Very cozy. Gil, you're gonna get busted. They'll just waltz right in there, knowing they'll find something, somewhere, and that'll make 'em right, do you hear me? These guys wanna be right about you, and so far they're not. They want you to be crooked, Gil, and this'll make 'em right. What's the matter with you? Can't you see what's happening?"
    "Mike, I don't even know for sure that the Stones are coming to Long View Farm. I don't even know that much. So why should we be getting bent out of shape on this other question? It just might work its way out, anyhow."
    "That's just like you. You're a fuckin' asshole. Listen to me, I'm gonna call my cousin Marty right away and fill him in. He's got a friend in the Attorney General's office in Boston. We gotta find out who it is you go to, or who you pay, or whatever, to keep this thing under control. Listen to me, I know what I'm talking about. I'm the best friend you got."
    "I think you are, too, Mike."
    "O.K. then, leave it to me. You're not really from around here, and you don't know how these things work. Politics, man. Listen to me, if this thing works out, and the Stones come and you don't get busted, you should run for Lieutenant Governor, or something like that. Politics, Gil. You've been thinking about that in the back of your mind. I know. I know you better than you know yourself sometimes."
    "Mike, please. I don't think I want to be Lieutenant Governor. I just want all this to work out."
    "You shoulda called me. Why do I have to be the one calling you all the time?"
    "Mike, I just got back from Rome. I'm trying to make this thing happen. I haven't even seen Nancy and the kids yet. Let's let this happen a bit more first. Things will work out all right."
    "I'm still gonna call Marty. Guh-bye." And then he hung up.
    I don't want to dwell too much on the remainder of that Friday afternoon because it was a very confusing one for me. I really didn't know whether the Stones were coming or not. Possibly they wouldn't come at all. Yet there was a full-blown assumption on the part of everyone who telephoned me that day — an assumption that the Stones were indeed coming to Long View Farm. Almost as though they had already come. People were treating it as fact — actively meditating on the arrival of the Rolling Stones. People were projecting it as a "given," and then calling in to tell me about it. There was already a great deal of apparent support for this one particular adorable object. These people were going to make it happen.
    If it was to happen at all. I was confused. I didn't know whether the Stones were coming or not.
    "Gil," Wendy shouted to me. "It's your mother on the phone."
    "Thanks, Wendy," I said, and then I talked to my mother, and told her about the Rolling Stones and what it was likely to mean for me, if it happened, and how crazy it had been for me during even this very afternoon.
    "I'm worried about Nancy and the children on the Cape," she said. "You spend so little time with them — with her. They're your flesh and blood, Gil."
    "Mom," I said, "I love you."
    "We love you, too, Gil," she said.
    Bob Adams showed up with our twin-engine airplane at 6 PM, as planned. Gate Three. One trip for Gil from Worcester to Provincetown. Ice cubes in the tray. Stolni' in the bar. Gil in the cabin, looking out and down at the houses and the cars and the people some 5,000 feet below. I fancied imaginary lightning-like lines carrying energy from one person down there to another. "Rolling Stones are coming." "What?" "Yes." "Rolling Stones are coming." My first really successful meditation on the topic. The Rolling Stones were coming; that much seemed crystal clear to me even before we set down in P-town, in a strong cross wind. Bob landed first one wheel, then the other, just as you're supposed to.
    "Think Mick will want to fly around in the Twin, Gil? Guess so, huh? I tell you, though, now's the time to get that damned attitude indicator fixed. Do you know what nearly happened the other night? Well, I don't even want to tell you. Only, if Mick Jagger's going to be in this airplane, you better get it fixed. Under five grand. But you still owe the radio shop for the transponder and the radar altimeter."
    "Bob," I said, "don't worry about it, we'll do it, go ahead with it Monday. Tentative return Sunday, 6 PM, from here. Better wear the beeper. For all I know I may be summoned to New York in the middle of the night. I don't yet know how these people work."
    "You got it, Gil."
    Nancy was there to meet me, well-tanned, and the kids were with her, too. I wondered if they knew that the Rolling Stones were coming. Well, I was going to spare them that. Nancy would not like me laying any rock 'n' roll trips on her, during the first five minutes I was back. So instead we talked about Abby's new tooth, how tan David was, and Bennie, who was now living nearby, in a teepee. It was only as we were pulling into the driveway of the boathouse, which is right on the Atlantic Ocean in Truro, that Nancy said, "You had a phone call. Somebody Dunn. Alan Dunn, I think he said."
    "Did he sound English?" I asked.
    "Yes," Nancy said. "English."

 All original material copyright © Gilbert Scott Markle. All rights reserved.