Chapter 15 1999 - You Get What You Give

I checked his watch. Time had frozen and he shook his wrist as if that would make the digital device begin ticking again.

"There's nothing wrong with your watch" Angela said. "Time is moving on just like normal. You get what you give, and when you give your time, time will return to you."

"But it's so boring, standing here waiting for the people to arrive. I know once they get here, then the time will move again. It's just this interminable waiting. I'm anxious to get on with the project."

As if responding to his complaint, the doors opened and crowds waiting outside began to file in.

"Happy Thanksgiving!" was the call as the hungry folks began to take their place at the long tables.

"Everyone take a seat and we will serve you. In the meantime, take this opportunity to visit with your neighbor. They could be an angel in disguise."

Every one of the volunteers took their station, some ready to serve at the tables, some, like I and Angela, serving food to the servers to distribute at the tables. Every one of the thirty volunteers had a job and everyone was eager to do it.

"OK people, let's go!" Shouted the main organizer. "This is it!"

I's job was to ladle soup, while Angela tossed the salad bowl and scooped it up into individual bowls.

Four servers at a time approached the soup station and I hustled to keep up. Soup splashed on the table and Angela warned "Slow down, there's plenty of time and everyone will be served."

Angela carefully placed a salad into each bowl, ensuring that each one had a piece of tomato to add color.

By the time everyone had been served, two hours had passed. I looked at his watch and noted that it had in fact been working and was amazed that the time had passed so quickly.

"What did I tell you?" said Angela. "You gave your time, and it came back to you."

"Wouldn't you think we'd just lost two hours of our lives? We barely remember it passing by."

"The time is lost only if it's wasted. You can't say that we've wasted any here. Look how many have been helped today with everyone pitching in."

"Well, now do we have time to eat?"

They ate their fill as they sat among the remaining assembled guests.

The table conversation covered many subjects, but the inevitable happened, and one of the guests began to ask questions of I about his experience as a big rock star.

“What was it like to be so famous, once upon a time?”

Remembering his days of intense fame, he responded, “Well, it’s not like I’m not still famous. I try to keep a lower profile, but there’s still a lot of recognition when I’m out in public.”

“It’s been more than twenty years since you last toured. I remember seeing the ‘Playin’ Heavy’ tour in 1977 at the Memorial Auditorium, and what a wild time it was!” His eyes glazed slightly as he silently reminisced. “After you stopped altogether, music wasn’t the same. We ended up with junk like Simply Fortescue and Plastic Chase, and so many other groups that, thankfully, have been mostly forgotten.”

They sat silently for a time, continuing to reflect on the decline of music in the ‘90s.

“I actually liked the music of Simply Fortescue,” offered I, “although Plastic Chase was really just out there chasing trends and not really developing their own unique style. While the style of Simply Fortescue did not appeal to the masses, I found them a refreshing change from the dance rhythms that perpetuated in the late ’70s and throughout the ‘80s. Their exploration of atonal dissonance on their Playing the Role of Your Butler release was both controversial and inspirational.”

“Um, thanks for dinner,” was the only response as the guest rose to leave. He didn’t expect the casual conversation to turn into a lecture on musical style of the ‘90s, and figured a quick exit was the only way to divorce himself from a topic that he found personally distasteful.

A few days later, a news item ran on the TV:

A few of the hardcore fans of the ‘70s supergroup Golden Fingers have banded together to suggest, if not demand, that the group get back together. Calling themselves ‘The December 3rd Coalition,’ after the now-forgotten observance of I-Day, they’ve created the web site ’A Most Amazing Man’ and have started an online petition to reunite the group. Many are saying that now is the time for what could be an historic return to the heavy days of the 1970s. More on this story as it develops.

I logged into his computer and brought up the AltaVista search engine, looking for the “A Most Amazing Man” web site. The petition had already gathered over 100,000 signatures, and the site boasted that they expected to get over a million by year’s end.

I was not ready to step into the spotlight again, and the rest of the band had their own lives and interests to see to. As he continued to peruse the site, he noted that the primary author was someone named Roger Linder. Further AltaVista searches revealed very little about him, but the site offered an email address, so I decided to send him a message:


While I am honored and a little surprised to see such a renewed and fervent interest in reviving the seventies popularity of my former band, I must admit that this is no longer a passion of mine, and I don’t wish to influence any further speculation as to the success of your campaign.

I do believe, however, that I have a unique story to be told, and if you’re interested, perhaps we can work on some sort of collaboration in the future.

I Mall, Golden Fingers founder

He hit “Send” and was surprised when a responding email came back within a few minutes.

Mr. Mall,

How excited I was to receive a message from you! I briefly considered it to be a hoax, but am certain that your message was the real thing.

It is I who is honored to be able to rally Golden Fingers fans around the world in support of of a reunion, but it appears that my zeal may go unrewarded at the present time.

I am, however, very interested in a possible collaboration on some biographical material. Fans, and I definitely include myself in perhaps the number one position, have been clamoring to get some insight into your life, especially in the period after your “disappearance” if I might be so bold as to call it that. In the years from 1978 to 1983 there are virtually no references to your whereabouts, your hobbies, passions, whatever it was that kept you busy until your all too brief reappearance in 1984.

Feel free to continue this conversation, and if I may be so bold to suggest, I’d like to get a chance to meet and work with you in person. I’d like to document this process on the “A Most Amazing Man” web site, and I’m sure that fans the world over will flock to the site to read your continuing story.

The number one Golden Fingers fan better know as
Roger Linder

Second thoughts began to surface, as he considered the possibilities of some deranged fan, possibly dangerous, getting too close and endangering the well being of his own person, or that of Angela, whom he had kept from the limelight for many years. He brought her into the conversation.

“I’m not sure what I’ve just gotten myself into,” he told her. “Read this.” She showed her the email.

Her eyes widened at the mention of a personal meeting. Their life over the past twenty years had been one of mostly solitude, and inviting the frenzy of former fans into their home was a sobering thought. “You know, ‘fan’ is short for ‘fanatic’ and I’m not just a little bit concerned in what this could turn into. What do you know about this ‘Roger Linder’ fellow?”

“I tried to search for information on him, but there isn’t much to be found. I suspect that he really is just a fan, perhaps a little over the top, but that his intentions are fully honorable. The web site that he runs has actually been around for a few years, and he doesn’t appear to be hiding any sinister purpose in it. He even has open forums for other fans to discuss their devotion to the band, despite that there is little chance that it will once again be a going concern.”

I collected his thoughts for a few seconds, then declared “I’m going to go for it. Maybe this is the chance for collaboration that I was looking for back in 1986. After all, ‘you get what you give,’ isn’t that a philosophy that you’ve espoused in recent times? If I give my fans what they want to hear, maybe I’ll get a little closure to the Golden Fingers saga. It will be a fine way to end the millennium.”

I turned once again to his computer, and composed another email:


I’ve given the matter some thought, and in consultation with my wife Angela, we’ve decided to arrange for a meeting, and fill you in on these “missing years” that you’re so curious about. I’m not certain that our simple lives will be of great interest, but perhaps there is more to discover that even I suspect.

We will welcome you to the “Mall Hall” in a few days. Please get back to me with your telephone number, and we’ll come to a mutually-agreed date and time to begin our adventure.

I Mall, Golden Fingers Founder and future Biographical Collaborator

With only a slight hesitation, he hit “Send” once again.