Ringo Starr has officially become a Beatle, and Brian is suspicious about certain habits and such of the new drummer.
I finally told Pete he had to go. The other boys and George Martin are not fond of him and rather have this other lad, Ringo Starr, to be the drummer of their group. I don’t know much about this Mr. Starr, but I’ve heard his drumming from a previous recording the group made, and he’s not too shabby. A bit loud, but the boys love him, so I think he’ll do. We’ll see where things go from here.
Brian set down his pen and journal. Even though he’d only met Ringo a couple of times, he felt suspicious. Ringo’s tinted glasses were always on his large nose, close to his eyes, as though they were glued to his head, no matter where they went. He carried a small walking stick in his left hand, which he claimed gave him good luck when he needed it.
Now, Brian was expecting the young lad to join him for tea before beginning his first session with the others as an official member of the Beatles. He wanted to have another talk with him; a nice, comforting tea break to get to know one another while casually mentioning business items here and there.
Whether Ringo really was late, or Brian was just extremely impatient, the manager felt a long time had passed when the drummer finally arrived. He let the young man into his office. Of course, as usual, Ringo brought his sunglasses and walking stick. The two exchanged greetings, sat down, and started mingling with each other over tea at Brian’s desk.
Time went by, and Brian remembered one thing he had intended to go through during their little chat. “Ringo,” he started, eyeing his cane once again, “I was hoping we could possibly go through a song or two before the others get here for rehearsal. Would that be all right?”
Ringo bit his lip a little and nodded. “Of course…”
Brian took out some copies of music sheets he had: new songs some of the other boys, mainly John and Paul, had written. “I’d like to hear your opinion on the arrangements made…”
Ringo held the papers up close to him, closer than what seemed to be needed for anyone with normal eyesight. “I think it looks fine,” he replied a few seconds later, setting down the papers.
“Are you sure?” Brian asked. “What about—“
“Hey, Eppy!” A third voice had carried into the room, tagging two other men with it. “Havin’ a little tea party with ol’ Ringo, are we?”
Ringo chuckled, and Brian sighed with a small, forced smile. “Hello, John, Paul, George. You’re early, aren’t you?”
“We thought we’d come earlier as a celebration of some sort,” Paul explained. “Y’know, like a ‘Welcome, new Beatle!’ sort of thing.”
“Oh, how thoughtful,” Brian said.
“Yeah,” said George. “Mind if we take ‘im off your hands to the studio to start?”
No, I’m not finished with him, we still need to talk went through Brian’s mind and instantly passed. “Why not?” he asked simply, and he watched as the lads cheered and scampered down to the studio.
Brian still felt slightly amazed as he packed up a few items from his office before he went home. He was confused about what to think of Ringo. His suspicions about Ringo’s walking stick, sunglasses, and seemingly troublesome reading contradicted with his drumming. He barely had to know how the song went to know the beat and keep up with it. Not only this, but Brian seemed to be the only one aware of the new member’s strange behavior.
The moment was broken again by voices, but none of which had interrupted him earlier in the day. He scanned the outside of the office from his window to find the ruckus coming from two figures in an alley. He couldn’t make out the faces; it was almost 1 in the morning, meaning pitch black filled the visions of anyone looking around. However, both voices sounded familiar, but were too muffled to tell apart.
“‘Ey!” he shouted from the window. “What’s going on here?”
One of the figures briefly looked up but immediately met eyes back with his opponent. With a single swing, he knocked other figure down, and ran into the shadows.
Brian quickly ran down to investigate. When he got to the scene of the crime, the victim was struggling to get up from where he laid on the cement. “Hold on, sir,” Brian offered, “let me help you.” As he assisted the man, who whimpered with pain as they walked, he felt a thin stick of some sort under his foot. He picked it up with the intentions of tossing it out of the way, but when he felt how heavy it truly was, he realized this wasn’t any ordinary twig. The walking stick, it’s the walking stick. But that must mean… “Ringo?”
The other man gulped. “H-How’d you know?” They were now closer to the building in which Brian’s office was located, and the older man now had a good look of the damage: cracks throughout Ringo’s now-famous sunglasses, many of which had caused chunks of one lenses and the rest of the other to pop out; cuts and what would soon become a black eye surrounded his eyes.
“Shit, Ringo…” Brian breathed. “Who the hell was that? Who did this to you?”
Ringo yelped again, and before he could get a word out, Brian was helping him again inside. He led him through some of the hallways until they got to Brian’s office. “I know I’ve got some bandages in here …” He scrambled through drawer after drawer until he found what he was looking for.
Ringo slumped inside the chair he’d previously sat in earlier that day. The impact made him dizzy, and it was nice to finally sit down.
Once Brian found a first aid kit, he started pulling out bandages and a small towel. He left temporarily to dampen it, but came back soon enough.
“Don’t be alarmed, Ringo,” he said, “I’m just going to take off your sunglasses, look at your eye, and place this towel—“
“What? No, no thank you, I can do this stuff on my own…” He shut his eyes tight, followed by a large wince. Brian managed to snatch off his sunglasses and some broken pieces of the lenses.
“Ringo, stop being so stubborn. Let me see your eye!”
“Thanks, Brian, but I gotta—“
“Ringo, I just want to take a look at it! Make sure it’s all right! To—“
It was then that Ringo’s eyes opened; not because of Brian’s pestering, but because of the pain the drummer was causing his eyes and eyelids. He had only meant to open them and close with a snap so they couldn’t be noticeable, but he was wrong. Brian stared into the younger man’s eyes in awe, the first good look he’d seen of them. A beautiful pale blue film clouded both of Ringo’s terrified eyes.
“Ringo…” Brian breathed again.
Ringo turned his head in shame. “You knew all along, didn’t you?” he asked in a shaky voice. “Y-You figured it out…”
“I don’t know how anyone else hasn’t said anything about it… I hoped they’d never noticed… But who knows what they’ve said behind my back…”
“Ringo… H-How long has this been going on? I mean, your…”
“Birth… I’ve been blind since I was born…” He sighed again. “You might as well kick me out while you can… Make up some sort of an excuse so I don’t have to come again and ruin your reputation…”
“Ringo… I couldn’t do that… Even if you can’t see… Your drumming is still utterly remarkable… And the boys love you… It’d break their hearts…” He gave the drummer the damp cloth.
“You… You really think so?” he asked in reply, covering his injured eye.
“I know so,” said Brian. “I even had second thoughts about your… Well… You know… After seeing you drum… And how excited the others were to have you there… I know you’re the man we need…”
Ringo gave a small smile in the direction he was being spoken to, and Brian smiled back. What he said was true; the young lad’s drumming was truly unbelievable, and fans would know nothing about his lack of eyesight. They would have to come up with ideas to hide Ringo’s secret even more efficiently, and would eventually have to tell John, Paul, and George. The three of them would most likely be shocked at when hearing the news, but would be accepting, thinking of a few ideas of their own to help out their friend.
The future seemed bright, even in Ringo’s poor eyes; they glowed a certain blue-grey, like the Liverpool sky after the rain had gone away.