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Laughing Nose
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love at the prompt

Long View Staff

Charlie Watts

Charlie Watts turned, looked me straight in the eye, and lifted his glass of Tequila. "Think if I ever grew up I'd get out of rock 'n' roll, too," he said.

    "Charlie Watts," I said. "What are you doing up this early in the morning?"
    It was 7 AM, and I was getting no sleep at all in the water bed in the Flat. I had been dreaming my nightmare, which had been recurrent for me now ever since the Rolling Stones arrived. Was always the same. Nancy, my sweetheart, making love to some other guy, yet smiling at me with her tender, enigmatic Mona Lisa smile — checks becoming ever more flushed — until I would end the dream and wake up terrified in the heaving, sloshing water bed, aware once again that it was the Rolling Stones playing upstairs on our new and gleaming sound stage, and that I had gotten my wish. I mean, that the Rolling Stones had come to Long View Farm.
    Charlie Watts was alone in the kitchen in the Farmhouse, looking out over the valley toward the east, and toward a sky which was now gray, streaked with orange, just a few moments after sunrise.
    "How'd the practice go last night, Charlie?"
    "Gil," he said, "let me look at you."
    Charlie was swaying slowly back and forth, seated on the wooden bench overlooking the front porch and the deep valley below. There were patches of mist in the low spots in the valley.
    "Let me look at you," Charlie continued. "I want you to tell me this one thing, Gil."
    "What, Charlie?"
    "What . . . and I want you to tell me the truth . . . what are you going to do, Gil, when . . . when . . . "
    "When what , Charlie?"
    "When you grow up, Gil. What are you going to do when you grow up?"
    Charlie said each word by itself. Distinctly, and without any consideration of count, or cadence.
    "Jesus, Charlie," I said. "I'm already forty-one."
    "Know that. Know that, Gil. Know that very well. But the question still remains, what, Gil, are you going to do, when you grow up ?"
    "Think about getting out of rock 'n' roll, for a start. I can now." I was amazed that I had said that.
    "Ha, ha! Watts spoke. Ha, ha. That's already a beginning my good man. A beginning for us to con-tem-plate, the two of us. Out of rock 'n' roll. Which way, Gil? Which way is out of rock 'n' roll? That way? Down past the riding ring? Ha! You really forty-one?"
    "I don't know, Charlie. Sometimes I lose track. That's what it says in the papers — in the articles. I guess that's how old I am."
    "Treated you easy so far, rock 'n' roll did. Unless you have an aging portrait upstairs in the attic. Ha! Knew someone like you once. Looked great, he did. Didn't show it all as much as me. And I've been showing it a bit. But was that bastard ever miserable! You miserable, Gil?"
    "Charlie," I said, "what kind of a thing is that to ask?"
    "Aw, fuck," Charlie said. "Wasn't asking. Trying to say something. Trying to say something to you, Gil, who's just forty-one. Played drums all night, trying to say something in the morning. In Massachusetts. I don't know why they make such a fuss over us. Never did understand it. Still don't."
    "You're the Rolling Stones, Charlie. That's why."
    Charlie Watts turned, looked me straight in the eye, and lifted his glass of Tequila. "Think if I ever grew up I'd get out of rock 'n' roll, too," he said.
    He then rose unsteadily to his feet, acquired some stumbling momentum in the direction of the fireplace, the staircase, and his bedroom two flights above us, just across the hall from Mick's room.
    "G'night, Charlie," I shouted after him.
    "Nite, Gil," he said softly. "Nite, Gil."



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