Geez, how late in the timeline AM I? I asked myself. In my own dimension, "Long Title" had been recorded in 1968 for Head. Could I be in 1968 already? Not likely, I said, sneaking a peek at Micky. Judging by his hair, it was early 1967. Unless Peter wrote this song long before it was recorded . . .
I stopped myself from speculating and read the lyrics over again, cementing them firmly in my mind. As I pulled out the first sheet of bass notation and started to figure out the fingering, the door opened . . . and in stepped Isabel.
"Iím home!" she cried. "Whereís Mike?"
"On the beach. But first, Izzy, weíd like you to meet our newest band member. Lenora Dolenz, meet Isabel Evans," Micky piped up from behind his drums.
"Dolenz? You two related?" she asked, shaking my hand.
"Weíre still tryiní to figure that out," Mike spoke up from the doorway. "Len can explain the whole thing to you . . . later. For now, letís go have a welcoming home celebration over at your place."
Isabel fixed Mike with a curious glare. "Oh? I didnít know a writing conference earned me a welcoming home party."
Mike didnít answer, just dragged her next door to her house. They didnít return until it was time for rehearsal.
As Mike slung on his 12-string, he scanned the set list weíd drawn up and then grabbed a pen and added one more song. "Never Tell A Woman Yes." He winked at me, saying, "Just like I was discussiní with ya. Number three on the set list."
I nodded and pulled out my sheet with the music and lyrics for that song and slid it into the pile with all the other sheets of notation on my music stand. Weíd discussed a slightly different vocal arrangement than the recording of the song that I was familiar with.
We started off with "Last Train to Clarksville." Micky and I harmonized on the lead vocals. Next, we switched around on instruments for "Pleasant Valley Sunday." I handed the bass to Davy while Peter moved over to the piano. Mike swapped his 12-string for an acoustic while I nabbed the electric 6-string. On this song, I only sang harmony on the chorus, since I had so much more to do playing lead guitar instead of bass.
Then we did "Never Tell A Woman Yes." I took over piano, while Peter grabbed his banjo, sliding on his finger picks, and Mike took back his beloved 12-string.
"In a dusty caravan was a girl of a golden tan, and she asked me if I was headed to the east. I politely stepped aside and said I did not need a ride, that Iíd rather take my chances with the heat. Well, when she turned and walked away, I saw my big mistake. There were jewels on her body, oh so rare. Had it been another day I just might have rode away with that woman ridiní off to God knows where.
"So, the years, they came and went, and found me liviní in a tent far above a little marble stream. And it may have been the light that shone out through the night that attracted the hand scratchiní on my screen.
"When I cautiously looked out through the night, there was no doubt that the owner of the hand was that girl. So I bid her, ĎDo come in, and Iíll open up a tin if youíll tell me about your trip around the world.í Well, she said," Mike sang.
"If youíll think back to the first time that we passed, Iím sure youíll picture me in all my jewels. And it was shortly after then that I ran into another man and I asked him the same question that I asked you.
"But now he, he didnít refuse, and he took off both of his shoes and climbed aboard my east-bound caravan. And in the twinkling of an eye, he had knocked me off the side and left me there for dead upon the sand.
"And I thought that I was done, lyiní naked in the sun, when much to my surprise, who should pass but this old friend of yours. He said he knew you from the wars, and I told him that I thought youíd headed west.
"Well, he said he should have known, Ďcause you like to be alone. And thatís the time I knew you were my one. So I asked him for a ride just to get here by your side, and stay here above this stream out of the sun," I belted out.
"Well, we sat quiet for a while, then I began to smile, and I said, ĎWell, itís strange, but I donít care.í And some nights when Iím at rest, I wonder if I had said yes, if sheíd have come to me from God knows where?
"Or, would I have been the one to leave her lyiní in the sun, and then ended up with only precious stones? Would the woman in my arms be giviní me her charms if the answer that I gave her wasnít no?" Mike finished.
As the last notes faded away we looked over at Isabel, who was staring at us in disbelief. "You . . . you . . . you got the sound you wanted!" she breathed.
"Yep. Sure did. Good job, Len. I knew you could do it -- and that you didnít need to practice for it," Mike drawled. I grinned at him and took the bass from Davy for the next song, "You Tell Me." We also did "No Time" and "Words."
Then I took a seat on the black leather chaise, curling up into a ball and rolling up in a blanket, while the guys ran through "Cuddly Toy," "You May Just Be The One," "While I Cry," and then I rejoined them to perform the harmony vocals on "All the Kings Horses" and "Teardrop City." At the end, Isabel stood up, clapping.
"That was your best rehearsal yet! Youíre gonna do great at the Club Cassandra tomorrow night!"
Tomorrow Night? Oooooh boooooy, I silently groaned.
Isabel then came up to me. "The guys made a good choice adding you to the group. Now why donít we go for a walk on the beach and you can tell me all about what I missed here while I was gone."
"Okie dokie." I snagged a jacket of Davyís from the closet while Isa borrowed one of Mikeís button-down shirts and we walked out onto the cooling sands.
"So, how long were you gone? I mean, Mike just suddenly lit up when you walked in earlier, like heíd been really missiní you," I asked.
"Two weeks. How long ago did you get here?"
"Hmm, thatíd do it. I got here a week and two days ago." I leaned down to pick up a tiny pink shell. Iíd been gathering shells every time I was on the beach with the intention of making myself some earrings. I hadnít been wearing any when I arrived, since I was taken straight from bed, but now I was starting to go stir crazy. I liked wearing my own handmade dangly earrings, ones made of beads and other baubles. I loved the way they bounced around when I grooved to music, and not having earrings flying around while I performed with the guys was starting to get on my nerves. I slid the shell into a jacket pocket.
"Gee, they didnít spend much time replacing me," Isabel teased. Her dry teasing tone, so much like Mikeís, utterly escaped me.
"They didnít find me. I sorta found them. I . . . well, I came from another dimension. I donít know how I got here, although I have a few ideas, but I just landed here. The guys have been very generous in letting me stay, teaching me their songs -- Iíd never played bass or guitar before I came here, and Mike has been teaching me to drive the Monkeemobile. Iím going to get my driverís license and get a job as soon as possible so I can help with the rent. Besides, Mikeís still all yours. I like Micky more."
"Funny, I thought you liked Peter more," she said dryly.
"Why do you say that?" I asked as I grabbed another shell.
"You dance around on the bandstand like him. Except . . . I see you bobbing your head a lot more." She gave me a confused look.
"Oh, thatís because Iím used to my earrings flying around when I dance to music. But when I came here . . . I was pulled right from my bed and I have yet to get supplies together to make a pair or two of earrings."
"You make your own earrings?" she gasped.
"Yup. At home I have two huge buckets of beads of all sizes. I make all kinds of earrings but usually I make French wire ones that dangle and are free to wiggle around. One of my favourite designs is a large bead or other object at the bottom of a nice sturdy twisted wire or a headpin with smaller plastic or seed beads in between it and the hook . . . " I trailed off, just now realizing I was rambling.
"Do you think you could make some fancy earrings for me? For a date with Mike?"
"If I had the supplies, yes. In fact . . . I know just the style to make for you." I combed her long black hair behind her ears and sized her up. "Yes, I know just the one to make."
"Really? Well, how about we go to the store tomorrow? Oh, no, wait -- thatís not enough time for you. My date is tomorrow night."
"Nonsense. The style I have in mind doesnít take much time to make. The most time-consuming part is stringing the beads and that doesnít even take much time since I can string pretty fast. Just show me the dress youíre planning to wear and Iíll find the right colours to go with it."
"Really? Oh, that would be wonderful Lenora! Iíll pay for all the supplies."
I laughed. "Itís a deal. What time tomorrow?"
Last updated 13 OCT 98
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