Note Perfect, part 1

Imagine a world where LSD was the weaker cousin of a more potent hallucinogenic and mutagenic drug, one which really came alive when the music played. A world where the Sixties happened a little differently, and for a hell of a lot longer.

This is the world of Note Perfect, an alternate history story of murder, drugs and rock’n’roll.

Enjoy.
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Note Perfect, part two

The Bandshell at Golden Gate Park, A Decade On
by Jack Hilton
(originally published in Rolling Stone Magazine, July 1980)

To look around the park today, you’d hardly realise what had happened there. The grass and flowers have all grown back, and although there’s more than a few gang tags to be seen, they’re all more recent. Only a small stone plaque, half-hidden by the ferns that surround it, can be seen. And it tells as little of the story as it can. The inscription reads:

To the memory of the 42 people who lost their lives in this place on July 15th, 1970.
“Out here we is stoned, immaculate.”

And aside from a small notation specifying the identity of the donor, there’s nothing much more to go on. Fortunately, the donor’s not a hard man to find, and it’s to his doorstep I go next.

Jim Morrison opens the door (the Door?) wide, just as you’d expect. He’s going a little grey at the temples these days, but he looks like he’s aged maybe a year since 1970, not the ten you’d expect. His full beard hides the marks on his neck, but the distinctive snake-like pattern on the back of his left palm is plain to see. This is him, the former Lizard King, now turned ‘private citizen’ according to himself, and the unofficial ‘Mayor of Haight-Ashbury’ to nearly everyone else. Whichever of these is the case – and it seems there’s an element of truth to both of them – Morrisson remains one of the most vocal critics of the federal government.

“We lost a lot of good people that day,” he says when I ask him about the plaque “and yet that’s all the memorial the cocksuckers at City Hall will allow us.” All this time, and his rage is still very close to the surface. But he’s clean and sober. There’s no alcohol or dope on his breath, his movements are precise and his diction clear. “Every time I see Johnny Densmore’s mother, I feel like apologising to her all over again.”

Morrison’s struggle with the city over a fitting memorial has been a long one, and it remains the most visible of his causes. John Densmore’s death that day pretty much spelled the end of the Doors. Although Morrison, Krieger and Manzarek would all continue to record as solo artists, and even occasionally combine their talents on stage, as they memorably did at the Concert for Bangladesh with John Bonham sitting in for Densmore, the band effectively died that day.

“It’s not just John, though,” Morrison clarifies. “41 other people died that day. Tim Leary got trampled, a lot of good people got trampled. Three of them were yours, weren’t they?” he asks sagely, and he’s right. Three members of the Rolling Stone staff also died in the riots: journalists Gary Mitchell and Hunt Thompson, and photographer Stephen Davidson. “This is just as personal for you guys as it is for me,” he says with a knowing smile, and I can’t deny it. I didn’t know any of the three who died myself, but at least half the people currently working for Rolling Stone did.

“The Sixties died that day,” I say, but the words die on my lips. It’s an easy cliché, a platitude, almost, and Morrison’s face is a thundercloud.

“The Sixties didn’t die then. If Altamont couldn’t kill them, if Kent State couldn’t kill them, if goddam Chappaquiddick and Stonewall couldn’t kill them, neither did this. The Sixties never ended. They’re a long fucking national nightmare, from 1963 onwards, that we’re all still trying to wake up from.”

Perhaps it’s this attitude that has kept Morrison in Haight-Ashbury all these years. From being the hippie capital of the world in 1968, the neighbourhood has gone downhill. It’s not quite as bad as inner city Detroit or Manhattan, but it’s far and away the worst neighbourhood in San Francisco. A big reason for this is that it’s also the biggest ghetto for Noteheads. A great proportion of that number who are too thoroughly marked by the drug to continue to get along in middle America seem to wind up here. And despite the soaring crime rate, and a murder rate more than twice the national average and third highest in the country, the population of Haight-Ashbury continues to grow each year.

Morrison will acknowledge all this, and clearly takes his leadership role in the community seriously, but he won’t talk about the drug. Not about his own use or about how high the rates of addiction to it remain in his hometown.

But there’s no way to tell the story of the Bandshell Riot without talking about the drug. You know the one. It has a million names, although the one Morrison himself used to use most often was Open Door. Bowie called it Freecloud, Hendrix the Haze, but to most people it’s best known by the name John Lennon gave it in 1965: Note Perfect.

Every official version of the riot that day blames the use of Note Perfect for most of what went wrong. However implausible that may be to anyone with even a passing familiarity with the drug’s more common effects, it’s over-shadowed in the public mind by the long shadow of the drug’s mutagenic effects. It’s never been hard to drive the American public through fear – Joe McCarthy demonstrated that, and Ted Brighton has built a Presidency out of it.

But even to those who sympathise with the Noteheads, it’s hard to avoid an atavistic shudder of fear. Morrison is typically forthright on the subject: “I knew a lot of people, back in the day, who were musants. Nothing serious in terms of powers – that part was always exaggerated by the establishment. Hell, the most common powers, if you could even call them that, were heightened senses, usually hearing, sight or touch. Hardly anyone got anything beyond that, and for most people it wore off when the drug did. The whole scare campaign was bullshit, man. Most of the people who got mutated were more direly in need of medical attention than anyone they ever hurt.”

He sighs as he talks about this, and for the first time I see him as the old man he’s becoming, TK years old, but aging a little faster from his cares. And from his nightmare, the one he’s so certain we all share.

Morrison seems less certain of how exactly we could all go about waking up. “Man, I don’t fucking know. I’ll tell you one thing, though. We need to get the fuck out of Vietnam.” And there it is, in nine simple words. The thing no one will dare say except for Morrison, and one other.

For six years, ever since the re-commitment stalled, the nation’s been walking on eggshells about this. Brighton might have only just hung on to the Presidency in 76, but he’s certainly played it for all it was worth since then.

And maybe it’s only now, ten years since the Bandshell Riot, 8 years since re-commitment, and nine months of Brighton’s second and final term left, that someone can say it without fear of being branded anti-American or accused of communist sympathies. Maybe now Morrison and Kennedy won’t be the only voices in the wilderness.

“Bobby takes my calls these days,” says Morrison with a certain satisfaction. “Time was, a President had no time for a rock star, but now we’re just two veterans of the same war, even if we were on opposite sides to begin with.”

Robert Kennedy’s decision to send in the Army to help disperse protestors in Golden Gate Park – the match that lit the oh-so short fuse that blew up into the Bandshell Riot – has been widely called the worst error of his entire Presidency, with his handling of the Chappaquiddick incident a close second. In 1970, Kennedy and Morrison pretty much defined opposite poles in the public consciousness. These days? Time has mellowed Morrison, at least, who is now more philosophical about the issues.

“We don’t understand the kinds of pressures a President is under. And I don’t believe he could have forseen how bad it would get. The older I get, the more it seems to me that there were good intentions in the majority of hearts that day, they just got waylaid by the confusion in pretty much every head.”

So there you have it. The most famous man on the ground when the Bandshell Riot occurred, and he isn’t sure what happened that day either. How is anyone else ever going to know?

Note Perfect, part three

If you asked most of his friends – the handful who’d admit to being his friends – they’d tell you Eric was a little intense. If you saw him, you’d probably agree – Eric had short spiky black hair, eyes that were perpetually between manic and feral, and his general manner made most people think of amphetamine psychosis.

Eric disagreed. Eric didn’t see himself as intense. He saw the world as intense. His reaction to it seemed only sensible. Proportionate. Sure, he was a little hyper, and his voice was kinda high-pitched, he supposed. But that didn’t make him wrong. And besides, he hadn’t taken any speed since he left the army.

He had hold of something now, something no one else had picked up on. And he knew he was right, now, too. That’s why he had to tell people.

Fortunately, Jim and Vincent were home when he got there. Eric didn’t waste time with social niceties. He limped into the living room and blurted it out: “There’s a killer!”

The silence lengthened uncomfortably. Jim and Vince tried to keep straight faces, but Eric knew they were one second away from laughing their asses off. “It’s true,” he said. “Look at this!” He threw his scrapbook of newspaper clippings and jottings down on the coffee table, atop the Rolling Stone the two men had been looking at when he arrived.

“Eric, what are you talking about?” asked Vince.
“There’s a killer. Someone’s killing us,” said Eric. “They’ve already killed twice!” To Jim, he sounded almost pleading.
“Okay, Eric. Take a seat, tell us about it. You want a glass of water?”
“You got coffee?”
“Water, Eric,” said Jim firmly. Eric wilted and sat.
“Okay, water,” he agreed. Jim gestured to Vince to get Eric his drink.
“Now, Eric, tell us what you’re talking about. From the top.”
“Okay,” said Eric taking his glass from Vince, and draining it a single gulp was Vince sat. “You know Fred Howell?”
“Sure, died in a car accident the other week coming back from Mt Griffith.”
“Right. A single car car accident.” He paused for effect.
“Yeah. So?” said Vince.
“So a man who’d never had a car accident in his life crashed his car?”
“He was an old man,” said Jim.
“Older than you, even,” said Vince, elbowing Jim.
“Maybe he just fell asleep, or had a heart attack, or something?”
“I got his autopsy report from a contact in the morgue. Did you know he was loaded up on Note Perfect when he died?”
“That makes no sense!” exclaimed Jim. “The man was a teetotaller. Hell, he’s the one who helped me detox when I went cold turkey.”
“I know,” said Eric. “I was suspicious already when I saw the accident report, but when I got this it just confirmed my suspicions. He was killed.”
“Okay, I can see a few problems with that idea, but let’s assume it for now. You said twice?”
“Right,” said Eric, nodding vigourously. “The second killing was Delores Nash.”
“I thought she was shot by the kid who stuck her up?” asked Vince.
“I can’t deny that that one’s a murder,” said Jim. “But what makes you think it’s connected?”
“Her assailant was never caught.”
“Her assailant was a kid.”
“No,” said Eric, “that’s just what the police told us. That doesn’t make it true. No one saw the assailant – the police are just playing the odds. Sure, most robberies like that, it’s someone aged between 15 and 25. But this isn’t like that.”
“If no one saw the assailant, how can you know that?” asked Vince.
“Because there was no money taken from the till. Do you know anyone around here who’d do that?”
“Maybe they just panicked?”
“That’s what the cops said. I don’t buy it.”
“Why am I not surprised?” asked Vince.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” asked Eric.
“Just that you’ve always had a problem with authority. You spent more time on KP than anyone else in our unit, and that was just Basic Training.”
“They were lying to us.”
“I know,” said Vince, “but like I’ve been telling you since the day we met, there are smarter ways to fight them than head on.”
“If we can get back to the matter at hand,” said Jim, and the other two subsided. “Eric, I can see you’ve put a lot of thought into this, but I just don’t agree with you. I think you’re reaching too far with this one.”
“I’ll remind you of this when someone else gets killed,” said Eric accusingly.
“And if no one does?” asked Jim. Eric sighed.
“Then I guess I’ll apologise for wasting your time.”

Note Perfect, part four

Confidential Report to President Lyndon B. Johnson, Joint Chiefs of Staff, March 3rd, 1968.

Classified: Top Secret – Sensitive

Leaked as part of the Pentagon Papers, February 1971.

Sirs,

The situation on the ground in Saigon is slowly improving, although it is still nowhere near the standards we enjoyed here last year. The so-called Tet Offensive has vindicated everything Senator Russell ever said about Vietnam, and I hope you’ll pay more attention to him on this matter in the future.

I’m sure you have already seen many reports on that subject, and while I was commissioned to write another such, I think that would be a waste of your time and mine. Instead, I would like to take this opportunity to lay before you some ideas regarding the problem of drug use among our men here. Considering that we’re sitting next door to the biggest opium-growing area in the world, and that the Agency seems suspiciously present there and here, there’s surprisingly little heroin use – which is to say that by conventional American standards, it’s like something out of a William Burroughs book, but it’s not managing to drown out everything else. Marijuana and LSD are both also incredibly popular, as are, to a lesser extent, amphetamines, but the drug that’s most commonly in use is Note Perfect.

I’m not sure where they’re getting their supplies from, although like the heroin, I suspect our good friends at Langley know more than they’re saying about that. I assume that they’re acting you’re your blessing, although I do think they could benefit from less of a free hand than they currently enjoy – I know that myself and the men under my command could. But what I want to talk to you about today is the opportunity we have here, from a military standpoint.

Note Perfect is a filthy, disgusting drug, but considering it rationally rather than emotionally, I think that it could have its uses militarily. With the right combination of dose and music, men could fight at superhuman levels and shrug off wounds that would otherwise be mortal. Conversely, if we were to contrive for a quantity of it and precisely the wrong music to fall into enemy hands, we could conceivably destroy their effectiveness as fighting men.

I understand that this will require much careful experimentation to determine how best the drug may be used, and that this experimentation may in fact be illegal under United States law. Nonetheless, I urge you to undertake this process of discovery. Even if it should take too long to bear useful fruit in the current conflict, it is never foolish to add to our armoury.

Walter E. Kurtz,
Colonel, Green Berets

Note Perfect, part five

In his bed that night, Vincent wondered how likely it was that Eric was right. He often found the younger man annoying, but one of his most annoying traits was that he was usually right. For a man who seemed to have a capacity for off the cuff ranting that exceeded Jim’s back in the bad old days, his words were usually backed by solid research.
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Note Perfect, part six

For the life of him, Eric couldn’t see what Delores Nash and Fred Howell had in common, aside from living in San Francisco and being dead. So far as he knew, they’d never even met. So there was really only one thing to do: research.

Eric liked people, liked talking to people, but he knew that a lot of people didn’t find the feeling mutual, and grieving families tended to be near the top of that list. So instead of badgering relatives with questions, he hit the library. It was amazing what you could dig up in a decent newspaper morgue if you just had the patience to do it.

It was unfortunate that he would have to go downtown to the city library – Eric hated riding the bus, but it was too far to cycle – but only the San Francisco Public Library would have the papers he was looking for, and maybe not even them. He might have to try the archives at the local area papers’ publishers. But he’d cross that bridge when and if he came to it. Today was simply about research, and only beginning research at that. Well, research and staying out of trouble. Hopefully he wouldn’t get hassled by any pigs – and for once, he wouldn’t go out of his way to provoke them either.

Eric had a higher mission, today. The pigs could wait – it wasn’t like they wouldn’t be there tomorrow, after all. Delores Nash and Fred Howell, on the other hand, were all out of tomorrows, and Eric intended to find out why. He’d written everything he could think of about the two murdered people in his notebook, and he’d work through each lead he could for as long as it took.

And hope like Hell that he found some answers before anyone else got killed.

Note Perfect, part seven

I’m telling you Jack, these kids are fucking crazy. But you know, kids have always been fucking crazy. I know I was. My old man used to tell me so several times a day. And it’s not just me – going back as far as Cain and Abel, kids have always been fucking crazy. I think it may actually be the purpose of being a kid: being fucking crazy.

Here’s the thing, though: crazy isn’t the same as wrong. And you can’t let the fact that someone’s crazy prevent you from understanding that they might know something we do not. Sure, there are a million crazy guys scribbling away out there and calling it art, but every so often, there’s a Dali or a Picasso. Crazy isn’t the same thing as wrong, and these kids, they might be crazy to take Note Perfect, but they’re not wrong about what it does for them. We, you and me, decent, hard-working Americans, we do not know what they hear. What they see. What they experience.

I was doing a gig a college campus and a couple of months back, and so I asked the kids there to tell me about it. They said that when you’re on Note Perfect, the music talks to you, and so naturally, I ask them if it talks back. Wouldn’t you? I asked one of them if Note Perfect really was Perfect, and he said, sure, man. You wanna buy some? And I said, I heard it makes your hair fall out. And he said, so you got nothing to worry about, man. And I couldn’t argue with him about that, so he sold me some, and God help me, I took it.

I gotta tell you, I never heard music like that before. I mean, I’ve been at one of those concerts where you feel like you’ve stuck your entire body inside the amp, and you can feel the vibrations in every part of your body. It’s like that, but it’s different. I’ve heard it said that on Note Perfect you can hear deeper notes and higher ones, that you can even see the music, but that’s not it. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about something that lets you feel vibrations in your soul, man. And I gotta tell you, a guy like me, an atheist, who doesn’t believe in souls, that can get a little confusing.

The English language is inadequate to describe what it is – we need words to cover another three or four complete senses before we can even have the language we need to describe the thing. You know, something like you have your sense of gleech, and that allows you to determine whether music is sweyvilish or hostarianish, and all the finer gradations along that spectrum. That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about.

George Carlin, transcript of Vegas show, December 13th,1977.

Note Perfect, part eight

Vincent figured he’d pretty much seen the worst the world had to offer on his two tours in ‘Nam, so there wasn’t much that scared him. There were perfectly rational fears, like the fear that police might decide to abuse their authority, or that a drunk driver might wipe you out while you were walking home one night, but that was different. Those made a certain amount of sense. In fact, there was only one fear Vincent knew himself to possess that he regarded as irrational.
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Note Perfect, part nine

Excerpted Transcript of “Meet The Press”, June 17, 1962.

In what police are referring to as “a disturbing development”, the NYPD today officially confirmed that a new drug was now being sold on the streets of Manhattan. Citing the highly dangerous and addictive nature of the drug, known to its users as Visible Music, NYPD Commissioner Michael J. Murphy today called for the drug to be made illegal.

His call was echoed by his fellow Commissioners across the country and around the world, and at the time of this writing, 23 US Senators and 84 Congressmen have pledged to pass legislation criminalizing the drug. Attorney-General Robert Kennedy said that the matter would be taken under advisement at the next round of Senate hearings, but added that he believes that criminalization of the drug is the most likely result.

The drug was first seen in America as early as 1957, but is believed to have first entered wide use in 1958 at about the time of the United States trade embargo against the Communist state in Cuba. It is described by users as enhancing the quality of experience of listening to music in much the same way that a fine wine is said to enhance the quality of a meal. However, critics of the drug were quick to point out its harmful aspects, which include temporary and in some cases permanent mutation. It is believed that doctors at Johns Hopkins are currently researching a potential link between the drug and cancer.

Senator Storm Thurmond is a staunch opponent of the drug who had led the calls for it to be made illegal; he joins us live in the studio tonight…

Note Perfect, part ten

Eric was sitting in the library minding his own business, his head deep in the newspaper morgue, when he heard the screams. There was a particular quality to them that he’d learned to recognise during his time in Vietnam. Basically, there were two types of scream: fear screams, which were when you learned something and your immediate reaction was to expect things to get worse from there; and shock screams, which were when you learned something too late to do anything about it. This was the latter, so he headed towards it. A trained first aider, Eric never missed a chance to be helpful to people.

The person who had caused the screams was beyond any need of first aid – he could see that at a glance. The actual screamer was one of the librarians, and most likely just needed to lie down somewhere quiet and maybe sip from a glass of water. Eric could see that her workmates had that situation well in hand, so he turned his attention back to the body.

The man was about sixty years old, and he was lying on his back. Although there was blood all over his clothes, he only hand one visible wound – his throat had been cut by someone who knew what they were doing, from the looks of it, although Eric couldn’t get quite close enough to tell whether the cutter had been left or right handed. He was wearing a badge identifying him as a library staff member, and his name was Robert.

Despite what Vincent so often said, Eric wasn’t completely lacking in human sensitivities. He wandered off between the shelves where no one could see him before adding Robert’s name and the few details he knew about the man to the list in his notebook. It might be nothing, but something about the professionalism of the killing suggested to Eric that this one was connected. In a way, he kind of hoped it was – the alternative, that Robert had been killed by some random psycho, was even less comforting.

Note Perfect, part eleven

Tommy was as good as his word. It took a couple of days, but when he called Vincent, he had a lot to tell him. Vincent suggested that he come over to the house and tell Jim and Eric, too. It’ll save time, he told Tommy, and privately he added, and it reduce distortions. Vincent worried about the contact high effect of Note Perfect. He didn’t take it himself, but he sometimes experienced contact effects from being around Tommy when he had. He didn’t care for them. What is a man, after all, but his choices, thoughts and actions? And what are they but memories? Note Perfect led to making memories that were not perfect, and Vincent didn’t like that at all.

Eric had news of his own when he got in, but the tv had the same news, and all Eric could really add to it was speculation. He readily agreed to hang around for Tommy’s tale.
“We’re only as good as the quality of our information,” he said cheerfully, and Vincent suppressed a shudder. Wasn’t it enough that a thing was true, without having to enjoy it?
“I knew Robert, you know,” said Jim. “He used to work in the library at West Point.”
“That doesn’t seem like a place you would meet him,” said Eric.
“I didn’t, for a while. But his son was a promoter in New York, and I met him through him when Robert asked him to introduce us.”
“Why would he want to meet you?” asked Eric. “No offence, but I’m assuming he was pretty establishment.”
“Was he a celebrity stalker?” asked Vincent jokingly. Jim ignored him and answered Eric instead.
“Not as much as you might think. He was a pretty open-minded guy. Fought in the Pacific, served with the occupation forces in Japan after the war, and got into Zen a bit.”
“Weird combination.”
“Yeah, but he made it work,” said Jim. “He asked to meet us because he kept getting letters from GIs in Vietnam who wanted him to add our records to the West Point library’s collection.”
“Really?” asked Eric and Vincent in stunned unison. Jim grinned wickedly.
“Really. He even brought some of the letters along to show us.”
“Wow,” said Eric.
“Yeah. I never did find out how that all turned out, but I remember we gave him a complete set of our albums, and we all signed them to him, too.”
“Did you ever see him again?”
“Nahh. I knew he’d moved out here, and I always meant to go see him someday, but you know how it is. You always think that there will be more time.”

Vincent was about to agree with him when they all heard the doorbell. Answering it, he was unsurprised to find Tommy there, but a little more surprised that his Mom was with him. They made a weird contrast, the hippy-looking guy and the lady who looked like she’d just walked out of the fifties, but there was no mistaking their relation to each other. Tommy’s Mom carried herself with great dignity, but there was a certain amount of anger leaking out from under it. Vincent was pretty sure he knew what it was about, too.

Note Perfect, part twelve

Eric was surprised that Tommy’s Mom had come too, but he hastened to greet her politely, and ensure that she was seated comfortably, and then asked her if she cared for refreshments. He could tell that the old lady was somewhat surprised at being treated so nicely, but he made sure to conceal his amusement – it wouldn’t have been polite to do otherwise.

Vincent seemed a little over-awed by the woman, or perhaps afraid. Whatever the reason, he was clearly having trouble getting to the point and asking her about Delores. Eric decided to take over for him.
“So, Mrs.Carter,” he began, “Tommy tells us that you knew Delores Nash?”
“That’s right,” she said. “It’s a terrible thing, what happened.”
“It is,” agreed Eric. “Did Tommy tell you why we wanted to know more about Mrs, Nash?”
“Yes, he did. And I want you to know that I’ve heard about you, Eric Boucher. And I don’t believe any of your paranoid nonsense.”
“Okay,” said Eric. “I suppose we can agree to disagree about that. But if that’s what you think of me, why did you come?”
“Because as wrong-headed as you may be, you three misfits are the only people who seem to care about getting justice for Delores.”
“The cops certainly don’t,” agreed Eric. Mrs. Carter began to cry.
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Carter. Sometimes I speak without thinking,” said Eric.
“No, no, it’s not that,” she said. “It’s just- I hear all the things that Tommy and the rest of you kids say about the police, and I just tell myself that you’ll all grow out of it one day. But something like this happens, and it makes me wonder if you weren’t right all this time. They really don’t care, but they were happy enough to accept free coffees from her the day before she was killed and every day before that.”

No one said anything for a few minutes. No one knew what to say, thought Eric, Tommy least of all. He was staring at his mother in gap-mouthed astonishment. Everyone has hidden depths, buddy, thought Eric.

It was Jim who finally broke the silence.
“So, you knew Delores before she opened the store?” he asked.
“Yes, we worked together during the war. Afterwards, she married a GI from some small town in Iowa, and he moved out here. When he retired from the army in 1962, they opened the store together.”
“Yeah, I think I remember him from when I first came here,” said Jim. “John, wasn’t it?”
“That’s right. John Nash. He was a fine figure of a man when we met him.”
“He wasn’t in bad shape then, and he must have been pushing sixty or so. I remember thinking that he looked like an old weight lifter the first time I saw him. He was a very muscle-bound man for a guy his age.”
“And that all came from after war. He was a beanpole when we first met him, but his family ran to fat, he said. He used to spend hours working out – he always said he was trying to keep ahead of it,” she said, and smiled fondly at the memory.
“He, uh, passed away a few years ago, didn’t he?” asked Vincent. Mrs. Carter nodded.
“Heart attack in ’74.”
“I suppose that ran in his family too?” asked Eric.
“No,” she said. “I remember asking his brother about that at the funeral, and he said that John was the only Nash to have a heart attack since before the Civil War. And there was no history of that on his mother’s side, either.” She hesitated, then asked: “Is any of this helping?” Eric, Vincent and Jim exchanged somewhat sheepish glances.
“It is, yeah,” said Eric. “Every little detail helps to build a picture, and suggests more places to look for other details. It’s a very slow process,” he added apologetically. Mrs, Carter patted him on the knee.
“I’m sure it is, but I think I can trust you boys to see it through.”
“Yes ma’am,” they chorused. We sound like obedient schoolboys, Eric thought, and the look on Jim’s face suggested that he was thinking the same.

Note Perfect, part thirteen

British singer found dead in hotel room,
Atlanta Constitution, March 2nd, 1972

British singer David Bowie was found dead in his hotel room in the early hours of this morning, discovered by room service staff. Although police have released no official statement regarding the cause of death, pending the results of an autopsy, this reporter understands that Bowie had apparently taken a massive dose of Note Perfect. Although witness accounts were sketchy at best, it is known that Bowie’s body was horribly mutated. One witness described him as possessing extra pairs of arms, although this has not been confirmed at this time.

Guitarist Mick Ronson, who plays lead guitar in Bowie’s backing band, was the last person to see him alive. The two were working on new songs in Bowie’s room last night, but Ronson claims that he left Bowie at about 2AM, and that, although there had been some drug use, Bowie had certainly not taken a large enough dose of anything to kill him at that point. Ronson and many other personnel on the tour are currently being questioned by police, although it is unknown what charges, if any, will be laid against them.

Bowie is survived by his wife, Angie, and their son, Zoey. If his body is released by police in time, he will be flown back to London to be buried next Tuesday. The remaining dates of his current American tour have been cancelled.