The Writers and the Gallaghers visit….1973?!
“Aaahh!!! Wait! Am I the ginger girl?!” asked Jamie.
“Are you daft? Or have you gone completely mad?” I answered.
“Jamie, what has gotten into you?” asked Kate.
“I just really, really hate Blockbuster. You’ve no idea. Those stores give me chills – and nightmares. I can’t take it! We have to get back to 2016! And not to Texas again! No offense, Kell, nice digs, but I’ve got a lot of shit to do,” he pleaded.
I shot a puzzled look to Kate, who patted Jamie on the back solidly before turning to Gee. “What year is it, love? Would you be a dear and grab frazzled Jamie’s phone and take a gander?”
She fumbled around with it for a moment. “Not really sure…”
“We can’t have…?”
“Where are we?”
“We’re back in the Gallagher house – see?” Kate reasoned, pointing to the layout. Then she glanced to the refrigerator calendar. “1973?! Oh, this is bad. Bad, bad, bad…”
“We’re back home – thank fuck!” shouted Noel.
“Bloody hell; that’s right,” Liam agreed.
Giggling and the thwacking sound of bare feet on tile and linoleum sounded in the background.
“Sh,” Gee said, “Listen. What is that?”
“Oh no! It’s them – Liam and Noel –as kids! We’ve got to get out of here now or we’ll break the space-time continuum! All of us! Now Go!” I shouted.
“What’s she say?” asked Liam.
“Dunno. House looks the same to me,” said Noel.
“Did you see the date on the fridge, mates?” asked Jamie. Noel furrowed his pronounced brow at Jamie in reply.
“I don’t like you very much, Jaaamie,” he said, drawing out the first syllable of his name and standing close to his face.
“I don’t like you very much either!” Jamie huffed back as we all pushed and shoved our way out of the Gallagher house.
Brothers Gallagher in tow (begrudgingly), we walked over to my house. It was vacant in the ‘70s, but owned by my great aunt Lacey. I thought we would try and put things together again once we got to a safe place.
“Who are you lot, really?” asked Liam.
“We’re writers,” answered Kate.
“Writers? A band of time-traveling writers? Now that is right funny. Write for the papers? Books? Poets? Come on then, what?” Asked Noel, eyeing each one of us skeptically.
I scratched my head. Gee, Kate, and Jamie all mimicked the motion. “Well, uh, see, I own a magazine and, um, Gee, Kate, and Jamie write for it.”
“Magazine, you say? Hmph. What’s it called? How do you print your copies?”
I bit my lip and stared over to my friends who were now a puzzled trio, shrugging up their shoulders and mouthing, I don’t know!!
“Uhh—it’s called ‘Fifteen’ and it’s for young ladies. These are my…columnists! We print monthly.” I gulped.
Noel and Liam nodded.
Jamie and Gee glared at me.
“Why don’t you try and explain to them what ‘onine’ means and give them the definition of the internet, eh?” I whispered to them angrily.
“Oh, fuck—if we’re stuck here, we are going to be so bloody old when it really is 2016 again,” Kate groaned.
“Don’t remind me,” I groaned back. “Let’s go to my – er – my aunt Lacey’s house – and try to figure out what to do.”
“Oh my god! Liam and Noel – you’re from 1990, right?” asked Gee.
They looked at each other before looking back at Gee in silence.
“Yes, you are. Right. The point is, you have British pounds!! Because all we’ve got are Euros and those won’t do a bloody thing! We are going to need food and whatnot.”
“Haven’t got any on us, but what the fuck are you talking about? Euros?”
“Listen, Lacey’s got about a million nooks and crannies stuffed full of money – she was a major pill and booze hound, too, from what I remember.”
A roar of approval erupted behind me as we walked on. They cheered, high-fived, and I think I saw Jamie and Liam hug one another? Pills and booze make people THAT happy? I shook my head.
We walked on, scattered conversation making its way through our awkward gaggle, before I looked around me and saw that everything had begun to look the same. And it was getting dark.
“Shit. Must’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere…” I said, furrowing my brow, hands on my hips. “Not going to lie – we are lost…we’re officially lost.”
“Anyone’s phone working? Let’s get google maps up and running!” Jamie shouted. “Ohhhh, riiiight, it’s fucking 1973 and none of that shit works. Amazing! Let’s all of us city folk spend a night out here, with these two fuck heads – ” he glanced to Liam and Noel respectively, “and catch amoebic dysentery. Sound about right to the lot of you?”
“Totally and utterly fucked.”
“Quick! It’s an emergency! Has anyone got a flask?” I asked.
“Kell, again, this is your story. Who’s the most likely among us to have a flask?” Jamie asked me.
“Yea, I got one. Yer not gonna like it though, Ginger…” he muttered, handing it over to me reluctantly.
I took more than a generous swig from it before saying, “Don’t call me ginger.” I handed it back to him. “Now I have to pee. Excuse me.”
An Hour and a Half Later
“Swear I’ve just seen C.C. O’Hanlon back there, swear on my life,” Jamie sputtered as he joined us around our tiny makeshift campfire.
“What—really? Did you ask him for help? Is he coming?!” I asked, hope gleaming in my eyes.
“Fuck no. I’m not daft, even though you called me that earlier today, Kell. He didn’t look too happy, either. Didn’t want to talk to the man while I was takin a piss – y’get?”
“Jamie….” Kate began, sitting close to the fire, warming her hands and rubbing them together while sharing Liam’s flask with the rest of the group. “You’ve got no pants on, am I going insane or is that right?”
“Got to find a blanket somewhere. Need a nap.”
“Bloody great – Jamie’s in his underwear, sleeping under the crotch of his pants – rolling around in the leaves and shit, and I can’t get drunk no matter how much of this shit I drink,” Gee said, pointing to Jamie’s inane behavior, rolling himself over and over again, covering himself in leaves, underwear nearly glowing in the moonlight.
Just as I was about to yell at everyone, a shadowy figure emerged from the brush, holding a flashlight.
“It’s a miracle!” Noel yelled.
“Mum?” asked Liam.
As the shadowy figure moved in closer, murmurs arose from the group.
First, Kate, “Wait, oh my god! It can’t be! Is it…?”
Then, Jamie, “Melissa…? No!”
Then, Gee, “Libbey?! Impossible!”
Then, me, “Melissa Libbey?! Is it you?! Melissa Libbey!”
“Kell, I dunno if it’s her – be careful!” Kate said as I stood up to greet this shadowy person.
The shadow stepped into the glow of the campfire, and then splashed the light from her own flashlight so that it bathed her facial features in light.
“Um, yeah, hey guys. I am here. Hey!” said Melissa, her voice chipper and even. “You guys look like hell.”
“Oh, sweet Jesus! How the bloody ‘ell did you travel back in time with us?!” Jamie asked, his voice coming from underneath his pants. He still hadn’t bothered to move.
“I dunno. It’s Kelly’s story.” She scratched her head. “I think maybe I’m supposed to have been following you or watching out for you this whole time? Maybe? Ask Kelly. She knows.”
“Melissa – I’ve got so much on my bloody mind right now! I can’t think!” I shouted.
“Why…why are you speaking in that god-awful fake British accent?” she asked, crinkling up her nose.
“Shit. Well, I couldn’t go back in time to meet the Gallagher brothers unless the story was set in Manchester, Mel,” I reasoned.
“God, you all look like hell. Except for you two – the young men – the rest of you look like you’ve been in some sort of natural disaster and then bathed in dirt! Gross! They don’t have showers in the 1970s in England?” she asked.
“Kell, you can still be in Manchester for the story to happen – but you don’t have to write yourself as being British, you know.”
“English,” I corrected. She didn’t respond so I continued, “And you can’t critique my own story while you’re in it!”
She rolled her eyes, her enviably clean, curled, shiny blonde locks falling into perfect ringlets around her collarbone.
“Okay – I’ll drop the accent, but my aunt Lacey’s house is still closeby—you coming to help us get there?”
“What the hell else am I doing in Manchester in 1973? Plus, I love Oasis. And I’ve been working six days a week – I need a fucking break!! I’m exhausted!”
“Why’s everyone keep saying the word oasis like it means something?” asked Noel.
“Oh, Noel – we’ve got a lot to talk about,” Melissa said, patting him on the shoulder.
“How are we going to get there?” asked Kate, chin in hands, face placid, words calm.
“I brought a compass. And a map,” Melissa said matter-of-factly.
“Shit, she is good,” Jamie said, “I dunno how you ran SLM without her, really.”
“What’s SLM?” asked Liam.
“Fuck. Nothing, nothing,” I said, shaking my head, glaring in Jamie’s general direction.
“Oh, and I didn’t forget about all of you – I brought a flashlight for each one of you.”
“Melissa’s bloody amazing!”
“I like this one.”
The group had now grown to the seven of us, walking along, Melissa and Gee leading the way, talking shop about compasses and maps and lines and such and how we had just missed the proper turn a mile or so back.
“Knew the ginger was an American,” Liam muttered, taking another swig from his flask.
“I can hear you!” I shouted from the back.
“Don’t ca-are!” he shouted back at me.
“See? Told you. Pricks. Not even bloody famous yet and, still, they somehow manage to be absolute pricks.”
“Jamie! Shut up!” Melissa shouted back into the crowd.
“Really hope Kell was right about Lacey’s house having loads of booze and whatever else…” Kate said.
“Shit. Me too,” Noel said.
After what felt like minutes, the house was visible, finally, and only by our flashlights, as we made our way downhill.
“Nice digs!” Kate said to me, giving me a wink. “Good to be back.”
“Kate’s hair looks amazing,” Jamie whispered.
“I know—it always does,” Melissa whispered back. “Kell—one question—are there enough bedrooms, bathrooms, that sort of thing here?”
“8 total. Two living rooms. Lots of bathrooms. That good enough?”
“Yeah….can we say bitchy?” she sing-song-ed to Jamie, who let out a snort of a laugh in response.
“Worried you and Liam might have to share a bed, now?” Gee asked, evil grin on her face.
“Ugh, no! I’ve got a boyfriend, thank you.”
But she was flushing bright red.
“Okay…Lacey always had a peculiar hiding place for things. Had a bit of a knack for it…Especially with keys…hmm…” I said as I poked about the shriveling garden. I turned over stones like a madwoman, to no avail. Sweaty, breathless and tired, I sat on the crunchy grass.
It was then that I saw it. The evil garden gnome.
“Aha!” I emerged triumphant, keys in hand.
“That garden elf looks like Gary Busey,” Gee said, giving it the stink eye.
“Christ, you’re right! It really does!” I laughed, before making the move to unlock the door and step into the known—that was now the unknown.
The door creaked.
We all clung to one another in a seven-person-hug, squinted our eyes, praying for an empty, safe house.
“’Ello?”Gee asked gently and weakly into the house.
Liam stepped to the front of the group, flashlight in each hand, and yelled, “Hey, motherfuckers!”
He turned around to us and smiled a sweet, boyish grin. “See? All clear.”
Then we all began to file in and turn on the lights.
“Nice,” Melissa mused, milling about.
“Not total crap,” said Jamie, heading straight for the kitchen in search of alcohol. “Wine! Ladies and gentlemen – er – Gallaghers, we have like a hundred fuckin bottles of wine!” He squealed.
“Whatcha into, Jamie?” asked Gee, joining him in the kitchen, all but commanding him to pour her a full glass of red.
Noel and Liam had found Lacey’s sitting room and went straight to the record player, poring over her record collection, whispering lowly and excitedly.
Melissa joined the brothers Gallagher, suggesting records here and there, turning on all of the lamps and dusting off the tabletops, placing vases where they ought to go, rearranging knick-knacks and twirling around as the Rolling stones began to play.
Meanwhile Kate and I had been able to slip away to the upstairs to freshen ourselves the hell up. We felt like death. And were also a little bit relieved to break away from the group and get a moment’s peace as we poked in around in Aunt Lacey’s knick-knacks.
I ran the hottest bath I could stand as Kate was just grateful to sit in a room filled with steam. “It’s a makeshift sauna. I’ll take it.” She sat, back flattened against the wall, closing her eyes, drifting off into the air with the steam.
Once we emerged, refreshed, from Lacey’s cozy upstairs, we found ourselves quite amused at the goings on of downstairs.
“D’ya know yer aunt Lacey was a bit of a stockpiler?” Jamie asked us as we presented ourselves, announced by us each wearing a set of Lacey’s silk pants-and-button-down pajamas. I was in pink, Kate was in blue. We were just so bloody relieved to be out of our other clothes. Filthy, time traveling, woodsy, rotten clothes.
“Lacey’s a full-on, organized hoarder, she is!” Jamie said, presenting cans upon cans of food, endless bottles of booze, and enough Quaaludes for a village.
“No shit,” I said.
“I mean, just look! I’m bloody cooking spaghetti!” Jamie said, proudly gesturing to an oversized pot full of noodles and sauce. And other things, too, probably. I wasn’t a good cook.
“So, let’s see…” I mused. “We can have spaghetti, wine, and a couple of Quaaludes all in the same sitting?”
“Fuck yeah!” shouted Liam from the front living room.
“I quite like it here,” Gee said from the back living room, where she’d turned on the tele and was happily watching gameshows, cuddling up on the hideous velvet, flowery couch.
“I love it here!” Melissa shouted from the front, where she and Liam were doing a weird salsa-type dance to the Rolling Stones’ ‘Gimme Shelter.’
“Come on then, Kell, let’s get in on this!” Kate said, shoving me into the room with the three of them.
We laughed as we spun each other around and giggled, singing our hearts out, our shadows bobbing beneath the prisms on the wall made by the chandelier. The smell of spaghetti was thick in the air and the wine flowed like it would never end.
“Hey, Ginger,” Liam said. “Can I call ya Pink Pajamas instead?”
“Any time,” I said with a wink.
“This might be, like, the perfect night,” Melissa said.
“YOU SHOULD TRY IT WITH A QUAALUDE!” Jamie said, wild-eyed, coming in from the kitchen.
“Gee! Get your arse in here!” Kate shouted, wine glass in hand, blue pajamas bringing out her eyes.
“Yeah!” Liam shouted. “Ass! Here!”
“Come dip your hand into the bucket of Quaaludes!” I shouted, giggling.
Gee ran in and plopped right there on top of all of us, spilling our spaghetti.
“I was only doing as I was told,” she said. “Let’s stay here forever!”
Kate banged her fork on her wine glass. “A toast – to – the writers. The song makers, the dreamers. But most of all, to us. Noel, you turn out to be a huge wanker in 2016; Liam, let’s be honest, you do too. All of us are wonderful people in 2016 – truly, beautiful, spirited, talented people. Sorry boys. I got off track there for a moment. But we shouldn’t lose sight of what’s right in front of us – each other. And pills and booze. But, mostly, each other.”
“Y’know what sounds craaazy?” Jamie asked. “Quackludes.”
“Oh bugger. Give me one of those already!” Gee shouted, laughing.
“Me too!” Melissa yelled.
Liam and Noel just both raised their hands.
I stepped out of the room a moment just to wonder into the master bedroom and poke around while the Quaalude settled in my stomach.
I switched on a few lamps and tiptoed in; and then I saw it.
“Guys! Guys!” I shouted. “Come! Come see! Quick!”
All six of them, Gee, Jamie, Kate, Melissa, Liam, and Noel, piled up behind me.
“What’s it is, then?” asked Liam.
“What’s are YOU, then?” asked Jamie.
“Look, it’s a WARDROBE!” I squealed.
“Shall we?” asked Gee.
And just like that, we became overzealous children on Christmas morning and shoved and grunted our way into the wardrobe, elbowing one another and giggling as we walked through it. We walked past Lacey’s wedding gown, fur coats, and other such heavy things, before we were hurled outward and onto the cold, hard floor.
“Ah, my head!”
“Liam, your foot is in my armpit!”
“Noel’s bloody hand is stuck up my sleeve.”
Then we all jumped with a start.
“Watch your mouths!” said my mum.
“Mum!” I shouted. “What? How? Why?”
“Will the seven of you be joining me for dinner?” she asked sweetly, batting her eyes.
“What happened? What year is it?” Gee asked.
“Don’t you worry. Everything’s right where you left it, girls. It’s October 4th, 2016. And it’s dinner time. I’ll bet we have quite a lively conversation! Oh, and hello, Liam and Noel. Good to see you again, Melissa, Kate, and Jamie. And, of course, lovely Gee. Come on now! It’ll be getting cold!”
We all followed her, dumbfounded.
“Are you still high as a kite, Jamie?” asked Kate.
“QUACKlude,” Jamie said.
Melissa and Gee let out hiccups.
“I want to go back to Lacey’s house,” Liam said.
“And what makes you think we can’t?” my mum asked, holding up her iPhone, which began flashing bright colors.
“Oh bugger. Here we go again,” said Gee.
The room spun, shook and rattled. And we all braced ourselves.
To be continued….
Stay tuned for more installments on our wacky adventure time traveling with the brothers Gallagher!!!