THE KILLING OF JOHN, JOHN, AND JOHN
By Elizabeth O’Neill
Chapter One – LOSS OF A LEGEND
Willie Goodwillie sat in his nightwatchman’s hut, in the middle of a graveyard. He could be described as
rather rotund, well fat, with sausage fingers. His dirty blonde hair was brylcreamed into place, not exactly a nice place, but you know, a brylcreamed place. It was wet, shiny and tidy, his wife called it a greasy fucking mess, or colourful words to that effect, what else could Willie do with it, though? Willie was a follower, so he followed, it ran in his family, brylcreaming, his father did it, so therefore it went without saying so would he.
Mind, his father dressed as a woman also, and he had a beard, but Willie wouldn’t copy that, he was selective. Brylcreme was fine, beard and a dress, definitely not fine.
He was just a couple of hours into a shift, working in a cemetery didn’t scare him as much as it had at the beginning. The people who caused the most problems where usually either underage drinkers or young homeless people not ghosts, they were on the whole very peaceful. God knows why the youngsters would choose to break into a graveyard in the middle of the night. Talk of the Devil, Willie just heard some laughter close by his hut, it sounded just like those very youngsters. He took his torch and walked in the direction of the noise. In between the gravestones Willie followed the laughter, it got louder as he shone the torch on the culprits, who turned out to be a gang of five young boys about his step daughters age, twelve maybe thirteen, stood round drinking wine and lager. ‘Whit the hell ur youse daein in here?’
‘Whit dis it look like?’ One of the youngsters piped up, holding up a bottle of cheap red wine.
‘Yer no s’pposed tae be in here, this is private property!’ Willie stated, stretching himself up to make himself look taller and more authoritive.
‘Who says?’ Another of the boys asked, cheekily.
‘Ah’m sayin this is private property, that’s who!’ Willie barked.
‘You’re jist a fat bastard, thit thinks yer a polisman!’ The ginger haired boy chuckled, taking a drink from his can.
‘Whit’s your bloody name, son?’
‘Ah’m no fuckin telling ye!’
‘His name is Ginger, mister.’
‘Ah telt ye tae keep yer trap shut.’ Ginger said, pushing the boy down.
‘Ah’ll kick yer bloody erse Ginger if Ah catch ye!’ Willie snarled, moving towards him.
‘Aye bit, if Ah ran ye wid nivir catch me!’ Ginger said triumphantly, as he took a can from the carryout.
‘Ye don’t scare me!’
‘Ah’ll tell yer bloody faither oan ye when Ah see him in the pub the next time!’ Willie stated.
‘It widnae dae ye oany guid cause he’s a pissheid, mister.’ Ginger explained, with a shrug. ‘He disnae ken whit day ay the fuckin week it is, so Ah don’t think he’ll be bothered aboot whit you’ve goat tae say!’
‘Aw, right.’ Willie nodded sympathetically, feeling sorry for the boy’s predicament.
‘Dae ye ken ma faither, mister?’ The smallest of the boys asked, worriedly.
‘Aye, Ah ken aw ay yer faithers.’ Willie lied.
‘Here take this batman or fatman, whitiver yer name is!’ Ginger yelled, throwing a half empty can of lager at Willie hitting him on his chest, managing to splash his face with the contents, while the other boys laughed histerically ‘Huv a drink oan us, mister!’
‘Right yiv din it noo!’ Willie sputtered, wiping his face on his sleeve, feeling a lot less sympathy for the boy now. ‘If Ah catch ye ye’ll huv a sare erse the night, so ye will!’
‘If ye touch me, ma faither will kick yer heid in!’ Ginger exclaimed. ‘So yer fuckin warned!’
‘Whit’s yer faither gaunnae dae, he’s jist a pissheid!’ Willie said, making his way over to them. ‘Ye said that yersel!’
‘Well, ma mither will kick yer heid in, if ye touch me!’
‘Ma wife will see tae her!’ Willie said, childishly.
‘Your wife is a prostitute, mister.’ Ginger said, smugly.
‘Well, ma wife is no really a prostitute, exactly.’ Willie tried to explain. ‘Yer oan the right tracks, though.’
‘C’moan run! He’s a fuckin mad man!’ One of the boys shouted, as all the boys decided to make a run for it, leaving their carryout behind. ‘He says his wife’s a prostitute!’
‘No, Ah nivir said prostitute exactly, she’s mair ay a dominatrix type, ken.’ Willie shouted over to the boys, who had suddenly stopped running and were standing at the railings. ‘Yis don’t huv tae be feart ay me, boys.’
‘This guys a fuckin nutjob!’ Ginger warned.
‘Yiv left yer bloody cairryoot behin yis, ye bloody eejits!’ Willie huffed, a little puffed out after running after the boys. ‘Ah’ll jist keep this then will Ah?’
‘Ye better no drink oor cairryoot!’ They shouted back in defience, as they reached the hole in the fence.
‘Jist watch me!’ Willie smirked, opening a can of lager from one of the bags and drinking from it.
‘C’moan mister gies oor cairryoot back.’ The boys pleaded.
‘Ah’ll gie ye it back if yis dae two things fur me?’ Willie replied, looking into the carrier bags.
‘Whit two things mister?’ The boys asked. ‘Ah telt ye, he is a perv!’
‘First thing is, Ah can keep this wee hauf boatel ay whisky here.’ Willie held up a bottle of whisky to show the boys.
‘Aw naw, man.’ One of the bigger boys spat. ‘That’s ma boatle.’
‘Whit’s the second thing ye want us tae dae?’ Ginger asked. ‘Wir no takin oor troosers doon fur ye, mind!’
‘Don’t be bloody stupid, boy. Ah don‘t want oany ay yis tae take yer troosers doon!’ Willie said. ‘Ah’m a happily married man, well a married man, Christ!’
‘Aye, bit yer married tae a dominatrix!’
‘Dae ye even ken whit that is?’
‘Wir no sure, mister, bit he sais thit he kens!’ The boys said, pointing to Ginger.
‘Git yer big brithers tae explain it tae ye!’ Willie said.
‘Whit’s the second thing?’
‘Listen, the second thing thit Ah want ye tae dae.’ Willie bargained.
‘Wir no goin tae yer hut wi ye!’ Ginger added hastily.
‘Ah jist want yis tae go away an Ah don’t want tae see oany ay yis in this graveyard ivir again!’
‘Ye mean, ye don’t want oany us tae take doon wir troosers in yer hut, or oanything, mister?’
‘Aye, Ah wid like yis aw tae take yer troosers doon!’ Willie said.
‘Ah telt ye he’s a perv!’
‘Don’t be bloody daft, Ah’m no a perv!’ Willie laughed. ‘Ah’d take thaim doon tae skelp yer bloody erses!’
‘Mister, dis that no make you a dominatrix, like yer wife?’ Ginger asked, innocently.
‘No, that jist makes me a security guard sick tae the back teeth wi weans like youse coming in tae the graveyard and spoiling ma nice quiet night!’ Willie said flatly.
‘Bit that’s yer joab, mister’ Ginger said. ‘That’s whit ye git payed fur!’
‘If it wisnae fur us you’d be oot ay a joab.’ Another boy commented.
‘Mind ye, wi yer wife being a dominatrix, she’d likely be able tae keep ye.’ Ginger piped up. ‘Ken wi the cash she gits fae the auld punters, like.’
‘God help me doon here?’ Willie asked, looking up towards the black sky. ‘Jist go away boys an don’t come back tae the graveyard, awright?’
‘Aye, awright.’ The boys agreed after some thought. ‘We don’t want tae see you again, eether!’
‘C’mon then, Ah huvnae goat aw night.’ Willie said, holding up the carrier bags.
Feeling a bit out of breath Willie made his way back to his hut. He sat down with a sigh and opened his flask and made a mug of tea putting a nip of whisky into it as it was such a cold night. Willie began to read the ‘Oor Wullie’, his man boobs wobbled like jelly as he chuckled with delight at the humorous Scottish comic. He reached over and switched the radio on and he put the volume up when he heard it was John Lennon singing. He loved John Lennon and his music, he happily tapped his foot in time to the song, until the DJ broke in with the news that the song was by the late John Lennon. ‘The late John Lennon’ Wullie repeated, shocked, choking on his tea and whiskey, The ‘Oor Wullie’ dropped to the floor as the DJ on the radio explained that indeed John Lennon had been shot in New York.
Willie sat in disbelief. John Lennon was a hero to Willie, he sang the songs that the ordinary man in the street could relate to. Lennon sang about being a working class hero, Willie saw himself as this working class hero, as for being a hero he had saved a dog from drowning once, the dog in return had bit him on the bottom and he’d had to get a tetanus jag.
Willie suddenly felt very faint and clamy. He wiped his brow with his arm and he reached for a small bottle of insulin and a syringe, he was probably taking one of his turns. He hated being diabetic. He shot the syringe into his leg, and he soon began to recover. Though obviously the news of John Lennon’s death had been a big shock to his system and would take much longer to get over.
Willie wiped a tear away from his cheek, he put down his mug of tea and poured a drop more whiskey into it, it would maybe help with the shock. Then he decided to just drink the whisky straight from the bottle instead, that would be even better for the shock he thought, he took a gulp and raised his bottle up
towards heaven and said, ‘cheers John rest in peace, pal.’
Willie listened sadly to the radio, opening his whisky again and slugging it straight from the bottle, the DJ played one of Willie’s favourite songs by John Lennon. He turned the volume up high, he wouldn’t bedisturbing anyone here, because they were all dead anyway, and now John Lennon was dead too. Feeling a little tipsy with the bottle of whisky in his hand, he decided to have a little party to celebrate John’s life, he began to sing along.
Imagine there’s no heaven,
Willie sang along to the record, he knew all the words.
It’s easy if you try,
Why, Willie thought would anyone want to kill John Lennon.
No people below us,
The world was going mad, what had he ever done to deserve that, it must’ve been some nutter.
Above us only sky.
Some nutter with no talent, probably jealous of John’s success.
Imagine all the people.
The music was starting to get to Willie and he began to feel down, the terrible news had really devastated him, he felt very sad, from his watery grey eyes a single tear ran down his plump cheek. He needed a wee boost, a sugar fix, so he opened a big bag of jelly babies and started to eat them inbetween slugs of whiskey. He bit the head of the first red one and then he went for the legs, his next one a black baby he bit the legs of first then went for the head and washed it down with some whiskey. Just as he popped another baby in his mouth a bright light appeared before him, a man with long hair and in a white suit with little unmistakeable round specks, appeared before him.
‘You know you shouldn’t be eating those, with your diabitus.’ John Lennon said.
‘Whit?’ Wullie was in shock.
‘You know you’re not supposed to be eating those sweets.’
‘Is that really you, John?’ Willie’s face had lit up.
‘What do you think?’ John asked.
‘Well, ye huv goat they wee roon specks oan, an ye huv goat a strong Liverpool accent.’ Willie said.
‘So, it must be you.’
‘Never mind who I am.’ John said. ‘Ah’m here to give you some advice from the man upstairs.’
‘Whit kind ay advice, like?’
‘If you keep eating them jelly babies like you are the now, you’ll be joining me!’ John said. ‘That kind of advice like!’
‘Whit’s a few wee jelly babies gaunnae dae tae me?’ Willie asked.
‘You’ve got diabetes, you shouldn’t be eating them sweeties all of the time.’
‘Being deid disnae sound too bad tae me, Ah’ve no goat oanything tae stey alive fur.’ Willie sighed eating another jelly baby and taking another slug of whiskey.
‘No, don’t, I’am being serious here!’ John spat. ‘If you don’t change you’ll be dead before your time!’
‘Whit huv Ah goat tae loose?’ Willie shrugged his shoulders, and popped another jelly baby into his mouth.
‘You can’t just think about yourself, you have a twelve year old daughter.’
‘She’s no ma real daughter, though’
‘It doesn’t matter, you are all she has.’
‘She’s goat her mither.’
‘That’s part of the problem.’ John explained. ‘Her mother.’
‘Whit dae ye mean?’
‘You need to be here to protect your daughter.’ John said. ‘That is what the big man upstairs told me to tell you, I don’t know anything else.’
‘But why did he send you?’ Willie asked.
‘Because, you sent Him a direct message, you said “God help me doon here?”’ John explained, as he started to fade. ‘And he new that you would listen to me.’
‘Ah ken thit Ah asked fur help, bit Ah didnae think thit He wid be up there listening.’
‘God has always listened to you.’
‘Ah cannae believe thit it’s you John!’ Willie said. ‘Whit aboot a wee song fae ye?’
‘I can’t, I’ve already got a sore throat with all the fuckin mist up there.’ John said, fading.
‘Yiv no been up there long enough yet tae git a sare throat.’
‘It’s long enough, my vocal cords are fucked.’ John explained. ‘It feels as if my throat has been slashed with a Stanley knife.’
‘Is the mist that thick up their?’
‘The smoke in heaven is much thicker than the smoke in London.’
‘They used tae ca London the auld smoke, as weel!’
‘That was in the ‘50s I think.’ John enlightened. ‘It was when the smoke from the chimney’s mixed with the fog to create smog!’
‘We used tae ca Edinburgh Auld Reekie!’
‘Well, it’s fucked up my vocal chords.’
‘Well, that’s no very guid, you’ve goat a gift John, an noo ye cannae use it!’
‘Don’t worry, I’m arranging a demonstration up there on Saturday to protest about the air or lack of it, I should say!’
‘Ah didnae think thit aw that went oan up in heaven.’ Willie said, surprised.
‘Heaven is very heavily polluted.’ John said, almost disappearing.
‘John, come back!’ Willie shouted. ‘Christ, yiv no even hud a wee cup ay tea!’
‘I need to go, Willie.’ John said.
‘Afore ye go, John.’ Willie asked, anxiously. ‘Dae ye huv a message fur oanybody?’
‘Yes, my message is that I’d like to tell Mr Chapman that he is a marked man .’ John said, fading. ‘And if I ever see him again I’ll roll up his copy of “The Catcher in the Rye”and stuff it down his throat!’
‘Ah’ll write that aw doon, but Ah thoat you wir a man ay peace, John?’ Willie asked, feeling surprised.
‘Would you feel peacefull, if you had been shot four times in the back?’ John asked. ‘I had just signed a fucking record cover for him!’
‘Whit wis the album cover?’ Willie asked.
‘It was “Double Fantasy”.’
‘Ah’ve goat it, it’s brilliant!’
‘I’m glad you like it.’
‘How aboot yer real fans?’ Willie asked. ‘Dae ye huv a message fur thaim?’
‘I have a message for the whole world.’ John said. ‘Maybee, it would be better if you didn’t tell anybody, though.’
‘Why, dae ye no want me tae share your message with the world, John?’ Willie asked, dumfounded.
‘Because they will just think you are a fucking nutter.’ John suggested, as he drifted off. ‘I mean who’s going to believe that you spoke to me, I’m fucking dead, are you mad?’
‘Haud oan John, stey!’ Willie jumped up trying to grab hold of John. ‘Afore ye go can ye sign ma “Oor Wullie”?’
‘Who’s willie do you want me to sign?’ John asked awkwardly.
‘No, it’s nothing like that, Christ.’ Willie said.
‘I know that you love me Willie, but I’m not kinky in that way.’ John said.
‘Ah’m no kinky in that wey, eether!’ Willie tutted, showing John the Scottish magazine. ‘Naw, it’s jist a bloody comic, look!’
‘I can’t my batteries are going dead…’ John whispered before disappearing. ‘Duracel hasn’t been invented up there, yet!’
‘Batteries?’ Willie asked confused. ‘They use fuckin batteries in heaven?’
Willie sat in complete shock and looked at his bottle of whiskey, and thought he may have had a bit too much to drink tonight. He also took note of his bag of jelly babies, he was tempted to eat another one but thought about the message he had received and put the bag of babies into his sandwich bag, he would take them home and hide them in his secret drawer, the drawer that no-one was supposed to know about, though he suspected his twelve year old daughter did. If he couldn’t eat them, nobody else would.
The killing of John Lennon, December 8th, 1980.