That John Lennon was really still UP THERE, folks; and he had more to say, and he had found a scribe to say it through.
Well, if you can imagine it, you know, you got it.
That’s what it’s all about, really.
In which Four Lads from Liverpool Go to Hamburg, Meet the Good Fairy, and Learn how to Bumble.
Once upon a time, there were four little lads fromLiverpool, and they were trying to make a sound, to run their money machine, but nothing except kathunks and cornflakes was coming out.
And their names were George, Paul, Pete, and Johnny—that’s me.
And the machine was coughing up eversofew pounds, but a nice Mr. Man said, try moving it to Hamburg, and maybe it’ll cough up more deutschmarks.
So we did but it didn’t.
And so every night as we bumbled about on stage and made hiccoughs and played hurdy-gurds and slammed pie-faces on one another and fell through floors, all to make a bit of cash. And all we got was bonkers.
And then back we bumbled, to our coldwater closet behind a not-so-even-two-bit cinema.
And Paul would check the money machine and say, “Not so good, lads.”
And George would say, “Well, give it time to perk, ya know.”
So in the dark it burbled and perked, but all we got was cornflakes.
And often we had smushie-face warmth, and tangle-leg goody in our hole in the dark; and what else, you say, could four lads want?
Well, we wanted cash; we wanted lovin’ spoonfuls; we wanted kaleidoscope pie and skyrockets at both ends; we wanted a bit of this, a bit of that—more, please, Mr. God, may we have some more.
But all we got was home, to Pool our Liver.
So Paul kicked the machine and said, “Let us try to make something from the air.”
And George said, “You do it, Johnny. Where’s your wand? Where’s your wand?”
And I said, “Dunno I had one.”
And Paul said, “You gotta have a wand. Didn’t you start all this up? All conductors got wands.”
Oh, yeah. Me wand, me wand.
Everybody’s got one.
Where’s mine, where’s mine?
Clean forgot ‘em.
So I reached up me sleeve and pulled out a wand and waved it and PRESTO. There stood Ringo where Pete used to be.
Well, Paul—he looked severe. “Not good enough. And you’ve got the timing wrong, too.”
So I waved me wand again, and there stood a Fairy Manager and he said, “I will grant all your requests.”
“Doing better,” said Paul.
“Make a wish,” said George.
A wish, a wish. I thought hard. Then it seemed easy. I said, “I want It All.”
“It ALL?” said the Fairy Manager.
“The whole Razzle-Dazzle Upsidedownland,” I said. “Wanna be on top.”
“Well, why didn’t you say so?” said he.
“Give us some Rules,” said Paul. “And give us an eenie-meenie four-face to wear on our front.”
“I dunno,” sez I, “if I wanna be part of an eenie-meenies four-face.”
“If you don’t,” sez Paul, “I won’t play.”
“I like me own face,” sez I, “thank you very much. If I give it up, what then? I dunno, I dunno. Losing me—what’s worth it?”
The Good Fairy considered. “What about a multiply million dollarspounds?”
“You’re on,” sez I.
He rolled up his sleeves. “What do you call yourselves?”
“Us, we’re the Bramble Brothers,” said Ringo.
“Oh, no, that will never do. Wave your wand and make it something else.”
So I did it thus and Presto, I said, “No longer shall we be called Brambles. From now on we shall Bumbles be.”
And then everything changed.
In Which the Bumble Brothers Conquered the World (and Ate their Custard Cakes while they did it)
One day soon after, we discovered what it meant to be Bumbles instead of Brambles.
For we peered down from the elevation of a hotel window and saw a screaming mob.
“Oh, gee-whillikers,” said Ringo, “the folks down there are out of their heads.”
“Do you suppose it’s an air raid?” said Paul.
“Do you suppose it’s a fire?” said George.
“Do you suppose it’s the pope?” sez I.
And our roadie Neil came in and said, “NO! It isn’t a BIRD. It isn’t a PLANE. It’s a Bumble-Brother carnival, and the show is YOU.
Oh, Christ, I thought. You mean all these people are EXPECTING something from me?
From the high tipsy top of Bumbledom, I peered down. The mob below boiled and chanted. They made up Bumble-mantras; they writhed and ipsy-dipped in their ecstasies. Oh, geez. Oh, help.
Then did I want to throw up the sash and shout, holding a piece of not Bumble pie but Humble:
“Hey! I’m just an ordinary man, folks. You’re lookin’ for a guru. You’re lookin’ for a genii. This is just me, Johnny-Bonkers.”
But Paul thought it was all just fine. “Show ‘em your wand!” he said. “Your wand, your wand! Wave it through the window and smile.”
“You’re daft,” I said. “Everybody has one of those.”
“Yeah, but they don’t know it. Wave it through the window, smile!”
Sez I, but “But all I did was make Bumbles out of air. They can do it, too.”
He said, “But they don’t want to believe it. They want YOU to do it, John. Why’re you bein’ so mean? Give the people what they want. Smile and make their show; make their day.”
And the people down below chanted.
Okay, I thought. Maybe there’s more to this than I know. Christ, there usually is.
Mebbe there IS a guru here, an uncle, a daddy, a big Santa Claus; and I can lean on him, too; and just relax while he hands out the candy canes and canings.
And so I looked at my Brother Bumbles to see if mebbe the guru wasn’t there in one of them. Sorta hiding, you know—a sneak. The Holy Ghost.
I looked at Paul and saw a face.
I looked at Ringo and saw a silly grin.
I looked and George and saw be-puzzlement.
That’s when I knew, folks, we were in trouble.
Stay tuned for the next installment, in which the Bumble Brothers try to deal with their elevation to the far reaches of humanity and their posts hi in the clouds. Where the air is berry-thin.
In which Johnny Nasty Tells It Like It Wuz where the Bumble B’s Buzzed.
And oh then it came down so very strange and hairy on the legs of all of us little Be-Bumbles. Got a buzz on us, we did, suffered multiply of stings but didn’t wake up scratching in our hives for three-four years.
“After all,” sez Paul, “we’re entertainers, we are.”
Oh, then, we thought, gotta buzz, gotta fly, gotta entertain the world with bumble-be frenzy. We
Took a toot,
Fell on our snoot,
Buzzed the girlies that were ever so cute—
Churned out the fructose and
Slathered it on milktoast.
SPLUNK, just the way the folks liked it in their hammocks and slings. And we burped also those snorty-beanie-bumble sounds that made the world go, “Oh, my, Bumbles”; and when no one could hear, that was all right, too; because we set up our eenie-meenie four-face on the deck and snoozed behind it while it shook its hair and bones.
“Oh, my, Bumbles, you something else,” said the world. “Just keep your mouths shut, please—and let us scream for your wax dummy, and we promise yes we do we’ll make the money machine spit dollarspounds.”
“And let us ENTERTAIN,” said Paul. And let all be upsydaisy nice in Razzle-Dazzle Upsidedownland, that no one will worry whether or not it’s REAL.”
Oh, the Bumble Brothers, catch our show.
We got us a super rodeo.
Falling on our elbows, falling on our ass,
Get up and dust, make another pass.
Oh, the bumble Brothers, sure is keen.
Dancin’ and groovin’ like Hallowe’en,
Sure hope no one catches onto our scene—
Here’s Mr. Nasty and Mr. Clean
Gonna pluck a song right outta the air
Gonna entertain you with their bones and hair
While Bongo plays the drums and Whizzo plays guitar—
Just don’t ask us where we are.
Keeping the beat, catching the tune—
We can always do it better when there’s a full moon.
You think we’re crazy, but what about YOU?
WE’RE getting money. All you get is our goo.
Then one day we woke up as we floated around in the sky. And we saw where we were, and it was hi.
And George said, “I LIKE it up here, mates. Don’ think I wanna come back to earth.”
And Ringo said, “We get so much steak and caviar. It would be ever so nice if we had more kidney pie,”
And Paul said, “Keep the girls comin.’”
And I said, “Where ARE we, folks?”
But nobody cared.
And that’s when I realized we did it all to ourselves. I got the cabbage-head rolling, and it drug the others along.
Oh please Mr. George and please Mr. Starkey
Help Paul and me serve up the Malarkey.
SPLAT, here’s potatoes in your beer, mate; chocolate in your stew—this is just for variety , to help you smile and say, “Those Bumbles, they something”; but here’s what you REALLY want—here’s our Double Bonzo Bumble-Burger—oh, it’ll always be there for you, just the same, just the way you like it—serve it up, serve it up—right?
But what about us, what about us? What about what WE want? What is it? Do we know what it is?
And then the Good Fairy died. And I knew there wasn’t no Santa Claus and I’d made up the Good Fairy and I had to decide what I wanted to make up next.
So I sat down to think. “LADS. Where are we headed?”
And George said, “Higher up. Got me a Godsled—Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna . . .”
And Ringo said, “I’m on drums.”
And Paul said, “Keep the girls comin.’”
Oh, Geeze. “Fellas,” I said, “I don’ wanna Bumble with you no more.”
And George said, “That’s fine. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna . . .”
And Ringo said, “If we don’t Bumble, what’ll I do, please?”
And Paul said, “Now, we really can’t bust this up, mates. What were all of you about, when I was in the next room getting a little? Look, here’s a chart. I’ve written out parts for all of you.”
I said, “I’ve lost me marbles, and I don’t want to play.”
And Paul said, “Oh, but you don’t have to have marbles when you Bumble. It’s better if you DON’T have marbles. Look here. Take this book and be sure you color between the lines. Ritchie, you sit over there, that’s a good boy, hold these prickerdoodles, just like that, smile, look happy. George, here’s your script. Where’s George?”
“I don’ wanna do it between the lines no more,” I said.
“Oh, it’s keeny,” said Paul. “You’ll get half of all the lines you fill in.”
“I don’ wan’ half of Bumbledom,” sez I.
Bumble Brothers sitting in the trees,
Walking on their separate knees.
Won’t somebody unstick us, please?
STAY TUNED for Chapter 4, in which Bumbledom trembles with toss-ups.
In which It All Comes Down.
Oh, here is a tale of terror in Bumbledom. All the screaming meemies hung onto the Bumbles’ tails and cried, “WHAT ABOUT ME? WHAT ABOUT ME?”
And the Big Bad Wolf came round and tried to eat up the Apple. But he said, “ARGGGHHH, this is already rotten.”
And so the screaming meemies inside trembled.
So Paul changed into his Mr. Clean suit and prepared to mop up the block. For much there was of nasty-meenies and wolf slather.
“Something here is rotten at the corps,” he said, “but I will prevail, for my heart is pure.”
He donned his suit of armor and polished up his teeth and went for the tilt. “Have at thee, varlets.”
And his fair dame in the stands said, “Way to go, Paulie! Kick ’em in the kidney.”
And Alice and me,we just peered out of the hole as the white rabbit ran by and said it was berry-late. Oh, my. Oh, my.
And Ringo came by and peered INTO the hole and said, “Doesn’t anybody care? Doesn’t anybody care?”
But I was on a tour of Wonderland. And Blappo Mallarky, Knight of Cleandom, was at the tilt. And George was singing–“Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna.”
“Oh come with me,” said Alice, “and I will show you the mysteries of Muses.” And we did.
“HELLOO, down there.” This time it was Sir Paul at the hole. “We have tilted and done the varlets in.”
“HELLOO,” said Ringo. “Paul caught George by the toe and said it would be so keeny if you come play.”
But all was quiet in Wonderland, where the pies talked and the flamingoes danced. And poor Paul was left holding George by the toe and saying, “What’ll I do with this? It only wants to chant.”
And Ringo said, “Give it an enema.”
And Paul said,”I can’t do that without Johnny Nasty. I never handle crap.”
And George said, “You ARE crap.”
And Bumbledom trembled, and the Bumbles were no more.
Oh sorry, Oh sorry,
We Bumbles in a flurry
Took our happy time dissolving, and you people had to worry.
“What’ll they do? What’ll they do?
Here’s a piece of another, and it fell into my shoe.
They come apart with melodies, and I don’t have my glue.”
In which We make Bumble-Nasty.
“Oh, rub it in your face, rub it in your hair,” shouted all we four, and we made a porridge of Bumble-Nasty and slung it at one another, unh duh three four, don’ wanna be a Bumble no more.
And much of Bumble-Nasty clung to our hair and beards so that every time we went out, the public said, “Oh, YECCHH. They have turned their coats to such nasty little buggers after all, and here we thought their moptops were so squeaky-clean.”
Oh, bein’ a Bumble, it makes a bloke humble,
In the end, that is, when the folks see ya stumble.
For what can last beyond the end?
“Bumbledom! Bumbledom!” yelled the throng. “Give it to us again!”
But Bumbledom was in pieces. So very-very sorry, people, so very-very.
“But, look!” said Paul-Keeny. “Here’s a show for you! Here’s a show! You want a show! We’ll give you one. It isn’t MUCH of a show, but it’s all we have–Dissolve-a-Bumble. See? Look? We’ll let you see how it is. There’sa Bongo at the drums, not drumming. There’s Whizzo at guitars, not guitaring. There’s Johnny Two-Face, in a hole with Alice. And here I am, watch me run round and organize them all!”
Oh, Christ, Paul. Just Let It Be.
Poor Paul. He did so love Bumbledom. All the thousand-meenie finger-strokes for being the Princeliest Bumble of them all–all this and more had he. And a piece of every pie we smeared onto every sheet, had he. And a Bumble-Bread buttered on both sides every day with his porridge and his berry-berry nices.
In which the Bumbles Try not to Bumble.
Oh, it is hard for a Bumble, once being a Bumble, to be anything else. For wherever you go, folks expect you to Bumble.
“Excuse me, sir,” said Mr. Man, sticking a microphone in my face, “when may we hope to see you Bumbling again?”
“Not,” sez I, “by the hair of my chinny chin chin.”
“Hello there,” said the multiply moneymen on the tellyphone. “If we give you a double dozen multiply dollarspounds, would you set up your eenie-meanie four-face one time again?”
Till at last Paul came out and muttered through his whiskers, “We stomped it.”
And the people looked and saw our face was gone, just like our marbles and fruit-burps; and it was all dissolving.
Oh, my. Oh, my. Flutters and fall-aparts.
Fee fie fo fum. I smell the end of Bumbledom.
But we won’t let them tumble down.
Be they alive or be they dead,
We want their jam, they need our bread!
Then up rose a hairy beast called They, and it was made of snaps and clippings and a belly-bad appetite; and its voice thundered like Moses so that all who heard cried, “Yowzah, yowzah.”
And “Let us,” said They, “take many big darts and lances and an atom bomb or two and heave them on Alice in the hole. For something there is, new in Bumbleland, and I see only she.”
Ka-boom. Alice tried to run and hide her head, and all about splattered the flak.
Meanwhile Goldilocks grabbed her Knight’s arm and said, “The three bears it was that et up all the porridge. And we mean to have some back.”
“Bears?” sez They. “We didn’t know there was any.”
But this looked like a story, so off lumbered They, taking its swipes; and behind bayed its slaveys, taroo, taroo, on the hunt.
“Excuse me, sir,” said Mr. Man the Second, sticking a microphone in my face, “are you one of the three bears?”
“Dunno,” sez I. “Since I quit being a Bumble, I haven’t figured out WHAT I am.”
Oh, flutters and fumbles, and my stars, and morning glories not a-glorying and dawns not a-dawning. For Johnny be Nimble wasBumbledom’s mythmaker. A metaphor of every mouthful made he; and could it be he didn’t know how to make himself? Could it be that all was not as it appeared, when all were happily Bumbling?
The good folks clawed on the glass. “Please, Johnny Wonderful! Please tell us how and who–but, especially, where-all and why-is!”
“I can’t make you a myth,” sez Paul, “but I can make you a SHOW.”
And all the good folks sat down and wept.
“We want our Bumbles back!” they wept.
So I went out and tried to explain. “Good people, the Bumbles are no more.”
SPLAT, they hit me in the face with some mud.
“GIVE US ALICE,” they chanted. “GIVE US ALICE!”
Meanwhile, all was sick behind the scenes of fallen Bumbledom. It was all sweeping up pieces, and not a very pretty sight. Pieces of Bumble-people whimpering and falling, arms and legs and other stick-out-’ems all over the floor.
“You did this to us,” they cried.
And then we did feel sorry. But what could we do? We had made Bumbles from nothing, but they only last a little while, and then there’s nothing to do when they start dissolving.
And oh all the poor eenie-meenies, traying to cling to so many dissolving Bumble-backs; and the screams of all fraught the air.
Oh, the Bumble-Tree, the Bumble-Tree,
What a lesson for you and me.
Don’t try to hold on to a parody.
When a corpse is dead, just Let It Be.
In which It is Ended
So they all went off and did their do.
Paul and Goldilocks went away and happily ever after lived they, making many Bumbles of joy. Alice B. Not Toklas took her Bumble off into where all Bumbles and berries and everything grew and showed him the roots, and at that marveled they. Rigno played drums and enjoyed being Ringo. So would I, were I he. And George et his pie in the sky, and a happier man you never saw.
So all were happier being Not-Bumbles than they ended up when they were Bumbling, see?
And if there’s a moral to this story, it IS: Don’t Bumble unless you wanna tumble.
Oh, give us our bees’ knees,
Give us our fields,
Give us our motion picture reels.
We shall not tilt another night
Till all the Bumbles are out of sight.
If you want a Bumble, get your own glue,
Stick it to yourself, and be a Bumble, too.
There’s plenty of the pickle-pie for all of you!