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Donna’s Men

by Michael E. Lloyd

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Book II: Never So Good

Chapter 10: Tomorrow’s World

Christmas Eve, 1963 (continued)

Okay Jane, I’m ready. What did you want to say?

Well, the truth is, Peter, I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be around. You haven’t forgotten what day it is again, have you?

Of course not. It’s ...


Exactly. You had forgotten.

I’m sorry.

It doesn’t really matter. Any more. But it is a symptom of what’s been happening, I think. I’ve been getting very tired over the past few months ...

Well, you are getting very old! You must be about ... twenty-five today. Wow — it’s as if you’d been born around 1939!

Yes. But twenty-five is not actually very old at all, is it? For living people, that is.


Jane, are you trying to tell me you’re dying — again?

Yes, I think so. But not before my time, this time. I think this is all the “life” I am supposed to have.


You can’t leave me now.

I don’t want to, but I think I have to. And to be very honest with you, I feel it will be a big relief as well as a great sadness.

For you, you mean?

For both of us.

24 Hours From Tulsa.

I don’t know what to say.

Then let me speak for a little while, before it’s too late. And I’m not going to get over-sentimental. I have far more useful things to tell you ...

Like what?

Blowin’ In The Wind.

I’ve been listening to a lot more grapevines recently, Peter.

I think next year in Britain is going to be even more “interesting” than this one. If I read the signs right, there will be a new pirate radio station playing pop music day and night, as well as another BBC TV channel. And The Beatles are making a film!

That sounds good. But ...

I’m certain Harold Wilson will become Prime Minister, and the Labour Party will try to make some big changes. About time, I’d say, after thirteen years of the old-fashioned Conservatives.

And a lot of people want to see the death penalty abolished here. I think that will happen too, very soon.

Wow! You do have some amazing insights!

It comes with the territory, brother. And as for the wider world ...

They’ll probably announce that smoking is dangerous to people’s health. Peter, I recommend you never start. In fact I’d be really happy if you’d promise me you never will.

Okay, Jane ...

Thank you!

Now, the Americans are building a new rocket to test a two-man spacecraft. They’re determined to keep Kennedy’s promise of landing a man on the moon by the end of the decade.

And there’s more good news expected. The USA and the USSR seem likely to agree on some major cutbacks in their stocks of nuclear weapons.

But the war in Vietnam is going to get worse. So are the demonstrations against it, especially in the universities.

Martin Luther King’s in line for a Nobel Peace Prize. But there are people on both sides of the divide who advocate more violent protest. So the whole issue is going to take a lot of different turns in the months and years to come.

If I Ruled The World.

And some powerful new business computers are going to appear quite soon. The experts think they’ll become the standard across the globe. That could turn out to be very important in lots of ways, especially for budding young mathematicians like you, Peter!

Wow ...

Is that still all you can say?

Yes. Because I can’t stop thinking about ...

Okay, I think you need something a bit lighter, after all that heavy news. Want to hear about next year’s music scene?

Oh, yes please!

Right. The Beatles will go from strength to strength. The Rolling Stones will suddenly become really popular too, and there’ll be lots more exciting new groups and singers.

And by the end of the year you should be able to buy one of those really cheap little transistor radios over here. Then you’ll be able to walk around with music in your ears all day! Put it on your Christmas list, Peter!

In America, Bob Dylan’s recorded a new album called The Times They Are A-Changin’. It’s coming out next month. The title song is so important. And there will be some wonderful new sounds from the West Coast and Detroit.

Last but not least, an amazing new electronic keyboard instrument is being developed. It’s called a Synthesizer, and it’s going to change the face of music forever!


Swinging On A Star.

Thank you, Jane. That was really fascinating. And surely you can try to stay and enjoy it all with me?

I’m afraid not. Everything’s already starting to fade away, now that I’ve said all I really wanted to ...

All I Want For Christmas Is A Beatle.

But I don’t want a Beatle, Jane! All I want is you ...

You’ve had me with you for more than eight years, Peter. We should both be joyful for that, and not wish for what we clearly cannot have.

I think we should be able to have whatever we want.

Well, I’m sure you’ll do your very best to achieve that in your life. But don’t try too hard ...

Please don’t go, Jane!

Do you remember what I asked you when I heard the very first Beatles song, last year?

You said ‘Do you still love me?’

Yes, I did. And you said ‘Of course I do!’ Well, we both know the title of their latest hit ...

I Want To Hold Your Hand!

Of course! But I still can’t do that, can I, Peter? Not now, not ever. And that’s finally become just too much to bear ...

Jane? Jane? Are you still there?

I’m going now, my dear, dear brother. I’ll always love you. Goodbye. Goodbye ...


Come back, Jane! Oh, please, please come back .......

* * *

It’s half-past eleven, and everyone’s finally gone to bed. They couldn’t understand why I was so quiet all evening.

I’ve just been going back over tonight’s pages and fixing a few of the spelling errors. And trying to sort out the places where the ink got wet and smudged. There are lots of those.

I’m going to read it through again properly now. Because I still can’t believe it’s happened ...

But it has. And there’s nobody I can tell.

I just don’t know how I’m going to live without her. As if things weren’t hard enough already ...

I’ve just looked at the clock again.

Happy Christmas, Janey. I hope you’re at peace. I wish I were.

Donna’s Men continues in issue 401
with Book III: At Home With Robert.

Copyright © 2010 by Michael E. Lloyd

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