He had recalled the day that started it all, that fateful meeting. It was October 8th, 1980 when he had heard knocking on his door at around 2:00 in the afternoon. When he opened the door, standing in front of him were two middle aged men, both dressed in modern suits. One of them was a tall thin man with greying hair and a look of seriousness and complexity in his pale blue eyes. The other was shorter and bulkier, with slicked back black hair and a pencil moustache.
The taller one began to speak. "Good evening sir, we are looking to speak with Mr. Lennon"
The man at the door smiled modestly and said "That's me. Please come in and take a seat."
The man led them into a dining room, at which point he sat them down at one side of the table and took his own seat at the other side. The man leaned toward the table and asked "So may I inquire as to what all this is about?"
The short man then took out a notepad and pen from his jacket and began scrawling things down frantically while the taller man prepared to answer.
"Well, Mr. Lennon,"
"Call me John", he interrupted.
"Sorry. Well John, we are representatives of the ALEF, which is the Artist Life Enhancement Foundation. After some research, we have decided that you would make an excellent member of our initiative."
"I'm not exactly sure that I understand, can you please explain?" asked John.
The taller man, clearly the talker of the two visitors took the initiative to respond. "Our goal is to allow artists to reach their full creative potential. We achieve this in ways such as freedom from paparazzi, from financial requirements, access to mind altering substances and whatever else is necessary to relieve all stress from the creative mind. This will unleash the highest possible level of creativity, as there will be nothing to slow down the artist's song writing process."
John adjusted his circle rimmed glasses and replied back "I think that that is a very excellent concept, but I must admit that I cannot imagine how you could accomplish this, and what benefit you may receive from a task like that."
With confidence, the tall man straightened himself and said "We stage your death, simply put. Through doing this, you have the freedom to do whatever you would like as a musician without any concern. Our benefit from this is that we will collect your share of profit from all record sales occurring after your death, including all reissues and anthologies. You will not need to concern yourself with money in any way, as we will provide you with anything that you need."
"This is f--king surreal," were the next words out of John's mouth. "What if I go and expose this proposition to the authorities?"
The man laughed to himself and suggested "Do you really think that the media or the police would believe a rockstar with a history of drug use that happens to say that there's a secret corporation telling him to fake his own death? Trust me, you will be laughed at. Besides, wouldn't you like to play in a band with Jimi Hendrix on guitar and Keith Moon playing the drums? Don't think you're the first person that we have offered this deal to. Many great musicians are waiting for you."
John studied him carefully. The short man was pages into his notepad, still writing very quickly. John then said "If you have connections all these great musicians, then where could they all live without drawing any attention?"
"Well," the man said, "For you to understand, it will be easiest if I tell you the story from the very beginning. It all began with February 3rd, 1959; the day that music died. This, as I'm sure a Buddy Holly fan like you would recognize, is when the plane crash happened that killed three of the most well known rock and roll musicians of the time, Ritchie Valens, the Big Bopper and of course, Buddy Holly.
I worked at a record store at the time, and after that day, the sales of the records those three put out had sky rocketed. There was nothing to compare it to and no way to keep up with the demand for their music. It got me to thinking; what if I could find a way to profit off records sales so astronomical? I knew that if I were to execute something like this successfully that I would have to find a way to make it beneficial to the artist as well. This is when I began to save money so I could find a way to entice musicians.
By the year of 1969, I had saved enough money to buy a penthouse and soundproof it. I then decided that Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones would be a good man to propose the idea to, as he was quite fond of illicit substances. When I spoke to him, I mentioned drugs and women in the deal, as well as local musicians to collaborate with and keep him company from time to time, and he could not say no. He would never have to leave the house, and all of his requests would be delivered right to his door.
This was the first step, a leap of faith. Jones loved it more and more every day, so after a while I decided that it was time to add another big artist into the pot. Jimi Hendrix was very interested in the idea almost immediately, as he wanted to escape the realm of pop music, and this was a great opportunity. A few strings were pulled, and the world considered him dead, although in reality, he had just moved into a penthouse with a bunch of musicians and lovely girls.
Jimi told me that he had always wanted to work with Janis Joplin, so we extended the offer to her a month later. She agreed right off the bat with the offer, so we decided to see how many stars we could round up. The next artist who we saw as great potential profit was Jim Morrison of the Doors. All we had to do was mention the drugs, and he was ready to ditch his life in France and come join the party.
After this, we began arranged for posthumous albums to be released of our major dead' artists, to extend profit. Next, we invited Duane Allman who gladly obliged, and we found ourselves with more money from the combined income than we could have ever imagined.
At this point, it was clear that despite how sprawling the penthouse was, we needed to get a larger location. With our unprecedented wealth, it was no trouble to purchase a private island off the coast of Hawaii. Construction of a mansion and landscaping on the island began immediately, and by 1975, it was ready to be moved into. All the rockstars, enlisted musicians and sex craving groupies were privately escorted to the paradise that was filled with instruments and lovely nature scenes.
This great achievement, coupled with my rising monetary success allowed me to relax a couple of years. At least, before I went for the big guns in 1977 The King. Elvis was reluctant, and it was not until I had shown him the photographs of the gorgeous resort that he had agreed. With his agreement came a blessing and a curse, however. On one hand, the income from his post-death record sales was greater than all the others combined. On the other hand, the conditions surrounding his death were very suspicious and many wondered whether or not he had truly died.
Because of that issue, I laid low for three years, before getting back to it this year by inviting Bon Scott of AC/DC in February and John Bonham of Led Zeppelin last month. That brings us here, to you."
After taking in the story, John asked "So if you were to do this, how would you plan to stage my death?
The short man put down his notepad and spoke for the first time the entire meeting. "All that is required of you is that in exactly two months, on December 8th, you are outside your apartment between 10:45 and 11:00 that night. You will be shot with a tranquilizer, and at the least conspicuous opportunity we will revive you and transport you privately to the island, all other complications will be organized for you. It's as easy as that."
At this point, the taller man came back into the conversation with the final question:
"Well, John, what will it be? A life of paying bills, running away from cameras, working hard and all the other trivial daily tasks, or the opportunity to live without stress, to be able to work with many of the great musical genius' of our time and indulge in all the intoxicants and sex that you can dream of?"
John pondered the thought for a moment, and then he answered. "I'll see you three months from now, just before eleven."
The two men got up to leave and the tall man assured him, saying "You truly will not regret your choice. You made the right decision."
With that, the men were out of the door, and they drove away.
Eventually it had come. December 8th, 1980. At about 10:50 PM, a black car drove down the street to where John was standing. The window was rolled down and a gun pointed out, shooting John four times. He fell to the ground, bleeding. From the backseat, a man walked out with a copy of Catcher and the Rye, and sat by the body.
As the car sped away, the short man said to the taller one, "When you find the right kind of f--kup, you can convince him to do anything."
"That's true. He wanted to experience an asylum, so I suppose we both win" remarked the tall man.
"Damn right we win" remarked the short one. "If that hippy's death does not stop the Rock and Roll movement, I'm not sure what will."
The tall man concluded "I certainly hope it does. Our government relies on it doing so."