Nowhere Man is dedicated to James Mullooly.
Despite being terrible at football, aesthetically challenged, obsessed with emptying dishwashers and incapable of making a decision, James is one of my very best friends.
I love him dearly.
He also refuses to read my blog the lowlife cretin.
Thanks to the Beatles for the loan of their song title…
James had no interest in anything.
He was single, didn’t watch television, read books, go anywhere on holiday, have any hobbies or friends.
Once upon a time he developed a slight fascination with mixing different soda-stream flavours, in search of the perfect fizzy drink, but, even that, didn’t last.
When circumstances forced him to mix with other people he was careful not to enter into conversation with them on anything but the smallest of small talk. He certainly didn’t offer a point of view on any topic under discussion within his earshot.
Planning for the future wasn’t something he bothered with. He had nobody to share them with.
James was a nowhere man.
Until that is, a stray cat turned up in his kitchen and refused to leave.
At first James attempted to ignore his intruder but the cat was adept at combating any kind of silent treatment.
He then tried to pick the cat up and evict it using ‘reasonable force’. The cat was too quick for him though and disappeared behind the fridge where it couldn’t be reached.
A little later James decided to address the cat directly;
“If I give you some milk will you leave when you’ve had it?”
“Throw in some sardines and I’ll think about it” replied the cat.
Momentarily taken aback, but not completely put off by the cat’s skills as an orator, James answered firmly;
“I have a tin of sardines in the fridge you’re hiding behind. If you come out, you can have them and some milk to wash them down with”
“Tinned sardines! What kind of a feline to you take me for? I’m not some alley cat you know”
“Well that’s all there is. Do you want them or not?”
“I suppose they’ll have to do. Add a little pepper and lemon juice old chap”
Ignoring his orders, James set about scooping the tinned sardines into one cereal bowl and pouring some milk into another. Setting them on the floor, away from the fridge but close to the back door, he took a seat at the kitchen table and waited for the cat to emerge.
After a few moments the cat came out from his hiding place and sauntered over towards his refreshments. Surveying the cheap china and discount supermarket food the cat muttered just loudly enough;
“Gastro heaven this is not”
He then tucked right in.
“So are you a girl cat or a boy cat?”
“If I was a ‘girl cat’ I’d hardly be spending time with the likes of you”
“What’s your name then?”
Unable to hold back a snigger, James couldn’t help himself;
“Roland Cat! Were you named after Roland Rat?”
“Yes” sighed Roland, “The idiots I lived with last had a gerbil called Kevin as well, apparently they were big fans of TV-am”
Note: For non UK readers and those too young to remember I’ve included a link below that provides more information on Roland Rat the heroic saviour of a breakfast television station.
“What brought you into my kitchen then?”
“I’m here to sort you out”
“Sort me out, what’s that supposed to mean?”
“You’re a shambles”
“What makes you think that?”
“Do you have a job?”
“You mean, no. What about interests?”
“As I said, you’re a shambles but no matter, I’m here to help”
“And how to you propose to do that?”
“I’ll tell you later, first I need a cat nap. Which way is your bed? You take the sofa”
Several hours later, but no more than eleven seconds after James had finally fallen asleep on a very uncomfortable sofa, he was pounced on by Roland;
“Operation sort out the nowhere man has commenced” announced a well refreshed cat.
“Fuck off” replied a tired and groggy James.
“No need for that kind of language. You clearly need a good breakfast inside you. Jump to it, if I remember rightly the kitchen is that way. I’ll have kippers and a saucer of earl grey tea if you’ve got it.
“I’ve got semi skimmed milk and some fish fingers. Will that do?”
“Lord have mercy on my soul. Ok, make it snappy though. We’ve a busy day ahead”
Once breakfast was completed, Roland set about explaining their objectives for the day;
“First we need to change your name. From this moment on you will be known as John”
Note: from this moment on you may need to suspend everything you thought you knew about the chronology of events in the twentieth century.
“Just do as I say, follow me”
With that Roland and James (John) left the house and walked down the road together in much the same way cats and humans have never done for hundreds of years.
“Where are we going?”
“To meet the rest of the band”
“Yes, Stuart, George, Pete, Paul and you”
“What’s this mythical band called then?”
“The Quarry Men”
“They think so as well, so do you. If it was up to me the band would be renamed ‘The Cattle’s’, very classy name”
With that the two unlikely companions continued their journey from nowhere to somewhere.
As they were nearing their destination they passed a bus stop. Waiting for her ride home was a pretty blonde. Upon seeing her Roland went full on cute cat and sidled up to where she was standing purring like a, well like a cat.
Cynthia loved cats. She also liked the look of the quirky young man who seemed to be its owner. Smiling she introduced herself;
“Hello, I’m Cynthia. Your cat is beautiful”
“Hi, I’m James, I mean John. The cat is called Roland”
“After the rat?”
They both laughed.
“Yes, anyway nice to meet you. Maybe see you around?
“I hope so”
Once they’d turned the next corner Roland whispered to John;
“You’ll marry her and have a son you know”
“Yes, she’s not the love of your life though. When you meet her you’ll never ever, never ever, ever let her go”
“I can’t imagine”
“Yes you can. It isn’t hard to do”
Arriving at the entrance to the basement at the house owned by Pete’s parents they could hear music emanating from down below. It sounded magical despite the drum beat being a little off.
Making their way downstairs the rest of the band seemed pleased to see him. They seemed to know him even if he had no clue who any of them were.
“Hi John, great news. We’re off for a hamburger next week. Are you in?” Shouted a very enthusiastic Paul.
“We’re going to need some new songs as well” added George.
Taking a quick look over at Roland, for reassurance, before responding, John knew exactly what to say;
“A hamburger sounds great. I’ve written a new song actually, would you like to hear the first bit?”
As he opened his mouth to sing with the voice he didn’t know he had the words came easily;
“He’s a real nowhere man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
Doesn’t have a point of view
Knows not where he’s going to
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?
Nowhere man please listen
You don’t know what you’re missing
Nowhere man, The world is at your command”
“I love it” said Paul, “probably best we don’t release it for a few years yet though”
“No problem” replied John, “I’ve one or two other songs we could try first”
With that Roland purred to himself and, while nobody was looking peed on Pete’s drum kit and then left the basement quietly.
He knew Pete wouldn’t be needing it for too much longer, once he’d completed his next mission to bring a young man called Richard Starkey into the band to replace him.
James was no longer the nowhere man. He was on his journey to become one of the greatest of all men. He’d never forget the cat who helped him on his way though, even if it was a cat named after a rat.
As for Stuart well, that’s another story:
You can read my other stories based on song titles by clicking on the links below: