Chapter Two


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"Hamburg Nights"

"Kiss me, honey honey, kiss me. Thrill me, honey
honey, thrill me. Don't stop. Honey honey." It was the
chipper voice of Gertrude Birmingham, singing with
glee at 1:45 am. Nothing could be more perky than her
slim, pink-painted lips, frilly yellow shift dress,
black girly flip, and twinkling blue eyes. One could
never tell it was a quarter til 2 by the liveliness in
her music and spirit in her eyes. Peppy, cute, and
youthful was she it gave such pleasant vibes through
the dark, smoke immune club. I blinked my eyes, weary,
exhausted, and tipsy. A line of empty glasses sat on
the bar counter, each sitting among a puddle of their
own condensation. Astrid was still sober, but her eyes
were dreary from lack of sleep. Klaus had his arm
around her shoulder, tapping his foot to the peppy
beat. "Was zeit ist es?" I asked Klaus. He looked at
his watch and said, "It is almost time, Trixi. How are
you feeling?"

I slumped my head in my arms over the counter, my eyes
rolling back in my head, and mumbled, "Betrunken und
mde." Closing my eyes softly, I lie there in silence.
"Pardon? I couldn't understand you," Klaus asked.
Astrid rubbed her eyes. "She said drunk and tired. Are
these lads really as great as you say?"
Klaus nodded vigorously. "Ja, ja. Sie are brilliant. I
assure you, ladies. You will be impressed." I felt a
nausiated contraction in my stomach. Groaning
slightly, I rolled my head off my arm to the hard
counter. My warm breath fogged the counter, and I saw
a blurry glare reflection of my nose and mouth. "I
think I am going to be ill," I moaned.

Astrid rubbed the hair from me forehead, gently and
said, "Do you want me to take you to the bathroom?" I
shook my head. "No, I'd rather go alone. Excuse me..."
I pushed my body up and ran to the door that said in
big bold letters, "FRAUEN". There, I found myself
huddled on the tile floor of a small stall, hovering
over a toilet bowl. The stomach contractions
persisted, and I coughed chokingly over the bowl. My
throat ached and nose burned. Instantly, my eyes
dampened and tears streamed down the sides of my face,
beyond my control.

I wasn't foreign to vommiting. It was only two years
back that I was consistantly purging my meals to
retain a slim figure. I feared gaining any weight at
all, and purging felt like an easy alternative to
staying thin. Many nights went by where I slept on the
bathroom floor in the event of uncontrollable
indigestion. My poor eating habits, and constant
binging soon led to bullemia. I needed help. It was a
long road to recovery, one I would never forget but I
overcame the disease in time. I grew to feel stable
with my body but never satisfied. I was oblivious to
how thin I really was; perhaps the insecurity sprung
from my lack of chest. Perhaps I was trying to make-up
for what I didn't have.

Sometimes the temptation to start again would strike
me. I usually brushed off the feeling. I washed my
mouth out with water from the sink and looked at
myself in the mirror. "Dich schaue schrecklich!" I
yelled at my reflection. "You don't look awful," a
voice protested. Gertrude's image stood behind me in
the reflection of the mirror. Her shift must have been
over. "Yes, I do. Look at my eye make-up. It is
smudged and ruined. And I'm quite pale. And
these...look at these. There is nothing!" I stared at
the petite figure abreast me, lost in self-pity.
Gertrude opened her purse and handed me an eyelining
pencil. "You can use this, if you'd like. I though you
Exis liked being pale."

"Not I. It washes me out." I took the pencil and
carefully drew a thick line or coal black to my upper
lid, and then the bottom lid. Gertrude studied how
precise I applied the line and said, "You look
beautiful." I shook my head. She leaned against the
sink. "Trixi, you are beautiful. So you don't have a
blossoming full figure? I thought you artists were
above all that vanity shite." I smiled. It wasn't
often Gertrude Birmingham sweared. She seemed to
innocent to speak profanities. I checked my eye-liner
for any flaws and then handed the pencil back to the
girl. "No one's perfect." I stated.

She smiled cutely, and plopped the pencil back in her
purse. "Would you like a little touch up?" she
offered. I gave her a cross look. "What do you mean?"
I asked, seedily. She rummaged through her purse and
pulled out two pairs of hose. "Something to stuff?"
she suggested. I looked down at my flat chest, and
then up at her hand extending the crumbled up hose to
me. I bit my lip, then grinned and snatched the two
balls of thin spandex and delicate fibers. Stuffing
them down my shirt, I adjusted myself carefully and
asked, "Does this look even?" She studied me carefully
and nodded. "Looks good!"

I felt a loud jangling sound of rythmn guitars and a
hard crashing beat on a drum-kit vibrate the floor of
the bathroom. "What's that?" I said. Gertrude listened
and declared, "Oh thats the new group thats playing
here. They change their name a lot so I'm not quite
sure what they call themselves. The Silver Beetles, I
think. Want to have a listen?" I nodded as the time
had arrived and we left the bathroom, entering the
main room.

The stage was filled with energy as music blared from
the cheap ampliphyers, and people clapped to the
rythmn. Astrid and Klaus had moved up to a table next
to the stage, and I joined them. We watched the lads
for the first time.

The first whom I noticed was a softly chubby boy,
playing guitar left-handed and was jumping fractically
on the stage. It was his jumping that caught my eye.
He laughed and fiddled around on his guitar, playing
riffs I'd never even heard before and messing up on
occasion. His hair was lightly oily and long, and he
wore a light green shirt with black pants. I hadn't
seen so much excitement in a singer for such a long
time. The lead singer was exotic looking, very suave
and very British. He had a pointed nose, and very
slightly over-lapping teeth but a sexy face. His hair
was swept back like Elvis, and he sang roughly, with a
growl in his voice. Then there was a smaller fellow,
sitting on the podium in front of the drums. He was
very fresh looking, like a child. He had very big
eyes, and floppy hair. He played the guitar as well,
and quite well.

The drummer was handsome, but caught me as a shy type.
He never sang, or spoke between songs. He was just
kind of there. I was bobbing my head to the music when
I heard a very off-beat note played on the bass. I
looked up at the chap on bass. He stood in the
backround, half turned away from the audience. The lad
wsa wearing dark framed glasses, and he looked like a
smaller James Dean. He was extremely good looking.
Astrid was mesmorized by their music. I watch
captivated. It was fantastic. The song ended and the
lead vocal began to introduce the next.

"Yeah, alright. How you folks feeling, you bloody
bastards?! Enjoying yourselves? Very good, very good.
This next bit is a favourite of mine, and hopefully of
yours too. We'll sing it but I can't guarantee ya
Stu'll do it right! Innit that right, Stuart?" He
looked at the bass player, who shyed away blushing.
"Piss off" he replied, embarressed. The lead singer
smiled. "Any road, its called Good Golly, Miss Molly
and we're sending this one out to any broad in the
house named Molly! One, two, three!" They burst into
song, and we watched amused.

Astrid leaned over to my ear and whispered, "They are
so full of life and positive energy. Look at that
one." She pointed to Stu, the bass played who was
struggling to play correctly. His fingers trailed on
the neck of his instrument, as he concentrated on each
note. Astrid hadn't even noticed any of his 'sins'.
She studied him as if he were a fine piece of artwork
with complex design and detail. I whispered, "He is
beautiful to look at, isn't he?" She looked at me with
a pretty expression on her face, then down at her
drink and nodded ever so slightly.

The jumping one was looking over the audience, seeming
begrudgingly disappointed at the overwhelming number
of men, over women. He then spotted our little table
up front. He stared briefly, then a smile spread
across his face. He casually walked across the stage
over to Stu and began saying something to him. Stu
listened, then glanced over at us. He looked at Astrid
through his dark-framed glasses and was watching her,
keenly. He didn't take his eyes off her, until a sour
note sang from his bass and he had to correct himself.
Astrid giggled her cute giggle, and I laughed. "I
think that one likes you." She pretended not to hear
me and said, "I like this song."

The lead singer began to sweat in all the excitement
of their playing. He too was beginning to scan the
faces of the audience. He then looked at me and
pointed as he sang, "Good Golly, Miss Molly!" My
cheeks went ruddy, and I smiled at him. He winked and
then kept looking around. The song came to a close and
he said, "Not bad, that one. We're gonna take a break,
and we'll be back in a bit. Piss off, you wankers!"
The group laughed, and carried their instruments with
them backstage. Klaus turned to us for our take on

"Just fabulous, Klaus," Astrid said.
"Totally irreverant," I heard myself say. Astrid and
Klaus's smile faded. I, myself didn't know what had
come over me but something inside me was hurt. Seeing
those lads happy, and cheerful must have bothered me
perhaps because I wasn't happy and cheerful. The
aversion towards men that sprung after Gustav had
twisted my heart. I knew if I let myself enjoy their
music, it would lead to a liking of the band, and
then, a liking to them. I had promised myself I
wouldn't date for a while, and the thought of falling
for another person again frightened me. I sat bitterly
in my seat, wanting to cry.

Astrid shifted a little uncomfortably. "Trixi, they
were only joking around. They didn't mean any harm." I
swallowed down hard. Klaus bit his lip. "I am sorry
you did not like it, Trix. I won't have you listen to
them again." Suddenly, I felt like the bad guy. I knew
I liked them, and I hated hurting Klaus's feelings. So
why was I deceiting them? The fear of heartbreak was
so strong with me that it had led to THIS? I had draw
the line down evenly. "Klaus, I much rather enjoyed
their music. I'm just - a little out of it, right now.
I'd love to see them perform again sometime." He
touched my shoulder, "Are you okay?" Astrid gave him a
look, that said she wanted to be alone with me. Klaus
left us quietly. "Whats wrong with you, Trix? One
moment your telling me how beautiful the bass player
is, and the next, you are offended by them. What is
going on?"

"Astrid, you and I both agreed it was best for me to
wait on dating again. I'm afraid these boys will catch
my fancy and..." I started to explain.
"Trixi, its okay for you to like the band without
dating them! I think you're over-thinking this. Enjoy
their music without worrying about heartbreak!" She
read me like a book. And she made perfect sense. I
gave a small smile. "You're right. You're always
right, Astrid!" She ran her fingers through her short
hair and nodded. "I know."

Klaus came back to the table. "Ladies, I hate to
interrupt but the boys just came in from backstage and
I'd like to introduce them to you...that is, if you
don't mind Trixi. You don't have to meet them if you
don't want to-" I shook my head. "No, its alright.
Lets go meet them!" I assured him. He grinned happily
and led us over to the bar counter where the five of
them were seated.

"Lads, I'd like you to meet these two friends of
mine." Klaus said to them. Each of them gazed up at
us, and their tired expressions were replaced by
expressions of arroused interest. "Miss Molly!" The
lead singer said pointing to me. "No, actually her
name is Trixi." Klaus pointed out. He nodded. "Does
she speak English?"
"Yes, we all do. And this is Astrid." Klaus
introduced. The lads all said hi. Then Klaus
introduced the boys seperately. The jumping one was
Paul McCartney, the quiet drummer was Pete Best, the
smaller one was George Harrison, the lead singer was
John Lennon, and the shy bass player was Stuart
Sutcliffe. "Hello." I said quietly.
Stuart was first to extend his hand politely to shake
mine. He said, "How do you do?" And I replied "Well,
thank you." John sneered, saying, "Ah, there you go.
Pullin' the ol' artist charm on the girl. You and your
fancy 'how-do-you-do's! You gotta be a man, boy! Ya
say to a lass, 'Whats a shakin', sweetheart?!' Thats
the way to a bord's heart!" The lads snickered, and I
grimaced. He WAS rather lewd, with a crude sense of
humor. I just smiled and said, "No, I prefer Stuart's
'how-do-you-do's just fine, thank you." John rolled
his eyes. "Bloody hell, you do. But a bird with
class'll like something jazzy. 'What's the buzz,
baby?' stuff like that." Stuart smacked John's
shoulder. "She has more class than you ever will!" The
other boys 'ooooh'ed, awaiting John's witty come-back.
John quirped, "Thats all shite! You wanna see some
class, do you, boy? I'll show ya!" He took Astrid's
hand and kissed it. "How's it hanging, sexy momma?"

She pulled her hand away, and laughed. "If that was
your pick up line, I would never date you!" she
exclaimed. The other boys burst out laughing and John,
remaining his dignity snapped, "Bollix! You know you
want me." Klaus chuckled and put his arm around
Astrid's shoulder, proudly. "No, she is spoken for." I
couldn't help notice Stu look a little upset. 'So he
did like Astrid,' I thought to myself. Klaus kissed
Astrid's cheek and she smiled.

"Are you birds local?" George asked. "Yes, we live not
too far from here. Astrid and I share a flat down
south. Klaus is in the area. We do visit the
Kaiserkeller a lot. How long are you guys signed
here?" I asked. "'Til we can get the hell out!" John
replied. They boys laughed again. "We're playing it by
ear, no set plans. We wanna get started and used to
things here in Germany and then maybe move up a notch,
to bigger and better clubs." Paul explained. I nodded.
"What is it your really trying to do?" I wondered.
"Well, what we really want is to record an album. I
think thats what its trying to get to. We're all keen
on the new sound, you know." Paul continued.
"Klaus has a friend in the publishing buisness. Maybe
he could help you get started," Astrid suggested.
"Yes, I've told them about him. I need to talk to him
about having a listen to the group. You play very
well." Klaus informed. John shrugged. "If Stu can
figure out how to play bass!" he teased. Stuart
ignored him and asked Astrid, "So what is it that you
ladies are into?"
"I'm a photographer. And Trixi is an artist. She
paints very well, mostly abstract works." Stu's face
lit up. "As am I! I love painting, in fact I sold one
recently. Got 65 guineas off it." I raised my
eye-brows in awe. "Thats incredible! Wow,
congradulations. What did you do with the money?"
"Well I spent the dosh on me bass, you see. I wanted
to buy more art supplies, canvases and such. But I
guess John kinda talked me into getting a bass to be
in the group." he told me. John said, "Yeah, thats
right! Screw all those painting biddies, you needed a
bass!" I brushed John off. "I suppose you don't have
any painting materials with you, then?" I asked. He
agreed. "Not much. But I don't think I could find the
time with all our gigs lined up so tightly. We've been
playing for eight hours straight on some days and when
we'r enot playing, we're trying to eat something or
make up all the lost sleep. It can be really tedious."
I awed in sympathy. "That sounds dreadful. Well if you
ever had time, you could come to the flat and paint in
my studio in our attic. I have many unused canvasses
your more than welcome to."
Stuart was smiling and said, "Yes, thank you. That
sounds ideal. I'd like that." Astrid quickly added,
"We'd love to have you. Our flat is always welcome to
you boys whenever you need it." Paul swallowed his sip
of scotch and said, "Grand! We hadn't a place to
shower or wash our clothes, things like that. It'd be
so great if we could-"
"Our home is your home," Astrid said, hospitably.
"When is the next day you get off? We should do
something." I suggested. Stu turned to John, whom had
the schedule down. John pondered for a moment. "We're
pretty booked tonight-er-this morning. This afternoon
we can take off 'bout 3. Then we're back on stage
round 7. How's that?" Astrid said, "That is fine. You
can come round, and we can take care of cleaning your
garments, feeding you, you know. Just a time to relax
off work." Paul and George looked excited. "It'll be
so great to take a shower again," Paul declared. I
laughed. By the looks of their oily hair, it couldn't
have hurt.

"It now time. Time!" It was the grunty voice of Bruno,
the manager. He tapped his watch, and gave the lads a
stern look. "Time band make music. Music is money, you
make music now." His voice was thick with a rough
German accent and his English was poor. "The Gestapo
has found us so we ought to be going now," John
teased. I cringed at the thought of Bruno
understanding him, though I knew it wasn't likely.
"Nice meeting you ladies. Give us the addy to your
flat." I scribbled it down on a wet napkin and handed
it to Stuart. John took my pen and wrote out the names
of each lad in the band. Then, he handed it to me and
said, "Keep that. It'll be worth something someday."

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