Frank Gallagher, Detective to the Stars: the Oasis Debacle – Original Fiction
It was 7:47 in the A.M. when I got the call. Some fast talking professional was jawing their lips ninety to nothing about a stalker bothering their client. I wasn’t a huge fan of idle chatter, so I made like a blade and cut to the quick with this knucklehead. Bottom line: he represented a famous musician from the UK, and wanted my assurance that if hired I would put an end to some super fan that was following him everywhere and causing trouble. I gave this clown my bona fides, hooked him up with my URL, and made with the scouts honor – the whole spiel. Terms were negotiated and agreed upon, and that was that, I was hired. Provided I could make this stalker disappear, I might almost could make rent happen on time this month.
Frank Gallagher, detective to the stars, sounds glamorous, doesn’t it? I got lucky a few times early on and picked up a few high profile clients back in the day: David Byrne, Robert Downey Jr, Sandra Bullock, all of Ryan Reynolds ex-wives, and Brad Pitt… twice. Even had to punch Jennifer Aniston in the face one time for the Pitt, luckily she didn’t press charges, took it out in trade, so I did a job for her as well. Couple other celebrity types too, but that was then. Present times hadn’t been so great for me. The lady and I were on the rocks, my pooch died a week ago, and finding decent paying gigs were becoming fewer and further between, celebrity or otherwise. I scraped by the only way a P.I. can sometimes: infidelity cases. What a way to spend an evening. All night hiding in uncomfortable spaces snapping pictures of fugly disproportionate people having terrible sex. The after show was pretty great too, after all, who doesn’t love confirming somebody’s worst fears in exchange for cash in hand? Such was life. At least such was my life. Worst part? I only had myself to blame. I had wanted to be a private investigator for as long as I could remember. As a child, I overly romanticized it to the point that I bought into fiction as a young adult. The good news? When the case was great, this was the most exciting and engaging profession on the planet. The bad news? When it was helping end marriages, even if deservedly so, it was a pathetically dehumanizing way to make a living. Detective to the stars or not, catching this new client could only be a good thing.
I pulled up the Wikipedia on my latest celebrity, a Mr. Noel Gallagher, who was apparently rock and roll royalty in Europe, Korea and Japan. Apparently he was part of some arena rock outfit named Oasis with his younger brother Liam up until 2009. Looked like they spent a lot of time recording popular music and hating each other’s guts, which sounded a lot like how working with family usually went. Noel’s now got a band named High Flying Birds, doing a quick 6 week tour of America, mostly smaller intimate sets. By all accounts he seemed to have mellowed quite a bit from his early days of drug usage, boozing and late nights, which could only help me. I hated working with the partying type, but a lot of times that came with helping the rich and famous. He arrived in the States about 2 weeks ago, and ever since has picked up a disturbed groupie, possibly female, definitely ugly, who follows him around and has attempted to get him alone more than once. Admittedly, it wasn’t much to go off of, but it was a start.
I cleaned up, shaved, and put my best ensemble on. I always found that it was best to make a good first impression, and since I was meeting this peckerwood in about an hour I needed to get dressed quickly. I ain’t a spring chicken anymore, and getting up and going with urgency certainly was not a positive that I listed on the website. At 42 years young, I had bad knees, lower back pain, frozen shoulder and a wicked bout of plantar fasciitis. Needless to say, I wasn’t getting around anymore like I used to. Just as I had tightened the knot on my necktie, I received a call that indicated that Noel was in a van outside my loft. I snagged my necessities, keys and wallet, off the bar and made my way to the plain van by the front door.
A neatly dressed young lady ushered me into the van and had me sit opposite of Mr. Gallagher. Noel seemed at ease, all things given, dressed in jeans and a simple solid slate gray button down shirt. I extended my hand as a courtesy, and he reciprocated.
“Good morning Mr. Gallagher,” I uttered as a thinly veiled attempt at an ice breaker.
“Morning, Mr. Gallagher,” he shot back at me with a wry smile.
“I hear you’ve got a problem with an over eager fan,” I remarked.
“Yeah, I can’t quite tell if it’s a bloke or a lady. Regardless, it’s a homely soul that wears a dress and a bit of tacky makeup.” He replied.
“Ugly, possibly in drag, clown face, check,” I confirmed. “When’s the last time you saw this goof box?”
“Well, I saw ‘it’ in both San Diego and San Fransisco over the last few days, and here I am in L.A. and the he/she tried to corner me at breakfast.”
“Did it talk?” I inquired.
“In sort of a dark brown voice, d’you know what I mean?” He answered.
“Lola, check.” I said with a bit of a chuckle. Noel wasn’t quite what I expected. He was approachable, relatable and down to earth, as if the sheen of being a rock icon meant very little to him. It was a refreshing change from the other celebrities that I had worked for. “So, you’ve seen this nimrod 3 times in the course of about 4 days, sound about right?”
“Only been approached the one time?”
“I’ve only been successfully approached the one time. He/she/it was caught by bouncers and security guards before ‘Lola’ could get to me.”
“Okay. We should keep me outta the limelight for as long as possible. We can’t let this snapper-head think that anything’s changed,” I advised.
“Too right,” he agreed. “I’ve got a lunch appointment with a friend in 20 minutes. Perhaps you could sit a couple tables down from us.”
“That’ll work. I haven’t eaten yet today anyway, so this works out just about perfect,” I responded.
“So what’s your story, mate?” He continued.
“My story? It’s nothing special.” I answered.
“Oh, come off it brother, you don’t get to be named the ‘detective to the stars’ by being boring. We’ve still got a bit of ride ’till we make it to lunch,” he interjected. “Humor me.”
“Not much to say,” I nervously stated. He wanted to talk, and I don’t do that. I rarely ever talked to anyone, for any reason. I could tell by the look in his eyes and by the way his face sort of shifted to the right, that he was not going to stop this line of inquiry anytime soon. So I spouted this drivel out, “I haven’t been picking up too many cases lately, I’m also having some problems with my lady friend.”
“Girl problems, have you? That’s rough mate,” he replied. “What did you do?”
“Oh that’s rich. Already automatically assuming that it’s my fault, as if women are these infallible creatures incapable of wrong doing. Trust me pal, she did plenty in the hurt department. Yup, she’s like Sean Penn but with breasts, and a vagina, and much more attractive…”
Noel stared at me, completely unconvinced.
“So yeah, I screwed up,” I relented.
“Ha!” He guffawed. “I knew it! I dunno what you did, but I knew you were guilty of something. It’s written across your forehead.”
“My forehead might as well have egg spilled all over it,” I continued. “I’m a workaholic, 24/7, always ‘on’ type o’ guy. For better or worse, I put my job ahead of everyone and everything else. I forgot things, you know, like dinner dates, couples weekends that were planned and payed for, her birthday, our anniversary…twice.”
“Is that all then?” He snarked. “It’s a wonder that she puts up with you at all.”
“It’s not enough that I get this from her, now I gotta get it from you?”
“Hey, I’m happily married to a well contented wife, and I’m a fucking rock star,” he sassed. “I may know a thing or two about juggling work and a lover.”
“Alright rock star,” I relented, “what do you suggest?”
“First thing, cut back on the extra hours! Do your job, then go home to your woman. Second, invest in a fucking smartphone or something mate. They have these calendar apps that you can set appointments in, they’ll even sound an alarm when it’s time for your little special event to start. And finally, take a few days off and spend some time doing stuff with her. Go to the park, see a movie, catch a football match, just do it together. D’you know what I mean?”
I eyeballed him viciously. That som’ bitch made perfect sense and at the same time made me look like some circa 1960s misogynistic prick. Although this was likely because I was a misogynistic prick on some level. “Sound advice,” I replied. “And for the record, I have an iPhone, I just mainly use it for emails and porn.”
“Ah, then fourthly, knock off the porn viewing. Women, traditionally, don’t find that to be a turn on.”
“Figures. I can’t even use a smartphone correctly,” I conceded.
We had a laugh at my expense, and then shortly thereafter we arrived at the lunch spot. It was a cozy little hole in the wall joint named the Confused Taco, where Mexican style dishes were fused with Continental cuisine. Essentially, they sold burger tacos, steak n’ tater burritos, and other such nonsense. Noel met with his friend Tim, where he briefly introduced me.
“This is Frank Gallagher – no relation,” Noel said. “He’ll be keeping an eye on us while we eat.”
“Ooh, Frank Gallagher, that name sounds familiar. Where have I heard that name before?” Tim queried while he snapped his fingers. “Oh yeah, that’s right, Mr. detective to the stars’. Why’s he here?”
“Remember, I’ve got that weirdo following me all over bloody California,” Noel explained. “Franky-boy is gonna keep his eyes peeled for this fruit loop.”
“And what are you going to do if you find this stalker?” Tim asked me.
“If I find them, I’ll just open a little one-on-one line of communication between me and them,” I answered.
“Aren’t you that guy that punches people in the face all the time,” Tim asserted.
“Punching is a form of communication,” I snapped back at him.
“Fair enough,” Tim said.
“Too right,” Noel laughed.
Lunch started shortly after that transaction. I didn’t catch what they had ordered, but I had a pepperoni pizza chalupa concoction that was strangely not bad. Nothing was out of the ordinary. No out of place jackasses, nobody really paid all that much attention to Noel and his guest. With meals masticated and swallowed, we paid and left the restaurant. Tim hugged me for seemingly no reason, and just like that, Noel and I were back in the van and on the road again.
It wasn’t thirty seconds after the van took off before Missy, my gal, called. I excused myself from any further conversation with the rock star. “Hey baby… I know… I know… Seriously, I know that I screwed up… Look… But… I’m marking these things on my iPhone… It has alarms and everything… But… Just hear me out me… Missy… Damnit… I’m trying to make this up to you… Let me work this case tonight, and the I’m all yours tomorrow… Tonight?… I’m not sure I can make that… I’m sorry… It’s just that… I know… I know… Please, just hear me out…” And that was the end of that conversation. Missy had hung up on me, which was par for the course recently, but also frustrating since I was genuinely trying to bridge that gap. Figured.
Noel razzed me about the call the whole way to the venue. He was actually a pretty swell guy, fun loving, if not a bit full of himself. Much like the restaurant, the location of his concert was fairly low key. I didn’t notice a sign out front, but a modest line of people had already started gathering. Noel looked the line up and down twice, but no sign of our screwball yet. With the help of his team, I whisked Noel away from the van and into the venue.
Noel stepped into a room with his band mates, and I took a walk around the hallways to look for our interloper. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted the flash of a flowery dress as it wrapped around the corner. I picked up the pace and saw a Caucasian like raccoon, ugly as sin, as it stared into my eyes from across the hallway. This was definitely a dude in drag, and man it was not a good look for him. And that wig, what the hell was going on with that strawberry blonde bob hairdo? He gave me the slip around a third turn, but footsteps behind me told the whole truth. He was doubling back to the dressing room where the band was, and he had a massive lead on me. My feet burned like hell, my knees felt like exploding, and at best I was hardly moving faster than your average 60 year old. Fortune favored the tortured man, as our drag queen slipped on his stiletto heel, which brought me within a few mere feet of the perp. He lunged for the dressing room door and was surprised to find my hand already around his neck.
“Look mate, this doesn’t have anything to do with you,” the drag queen argued.
I punched him square in the nose, which knocked him all the way through the door. Stumbling from the ground, the man in ladies clothing tugged on Noel’s pant leg. “Oi! He punched me in the fooking nose,” the cross dresser screamed.
Noel laughed, “found him, did ya? Just had to punch him too, didn’t ya?”
“He made me run. I hate running,” I quipped damn near out of breath.
“I thought the idea was to keep this guy away from me?” Noel asked.
“No, the idea was to get him to stop pestering you,” I corrected him. “I said the first thing, I punched him. Now it’s your turn to find out what this whackadoo wants, so I can get rid of him for ya.”
“Alright you, what’s the big idea…” Noel started until something he noticed that was awkward and hilarious made him laugh uncontrollably. “Is that you Liam?”
“Stop laughing! That asshole broke my nose!” Liam hollered.
“It’s an improvement,” Noel howled, his lungs were still filled with laughter.
It was hard to gauge exactly what was going on here. I got the distinct impression that Liam wasn’t normally in drag, and what with the blood that flowed from his nose, his face all made up like Tammy Faye, and the tears that streamed down his face, which really brought the Tammy Faye imagery home, it was difficult to believe that he would put himself through that unless he was desperate for something from Noel. Out of kindness, and also because I really and truly probably just broke this dipwad’s nose, I picked Liam off the floor.
“Who is this tosser?” Liam inquired as he pushed me away from him.
“That’s Frank Gallagher, the P.I. that I hired to find this fruit in a dress that was stalking me all throughout the golden state,” Noel explained.
“Would you look at that, we’re a gaggle of Gallaghers – some relation,” I joked. It fell flat, but I had to try to.
“Shut it!” Liam bellowed at me as he turned his attention back to his brother. “Do you know how hard it is to talk to you? You don’t answer your phone and you’re always out doing stuff. You won’t talk to me! I had to do something to get your attention!”
“But I don’t want to get the band back together, Liam,” Noel sighed.
“How d’you know that’s what I wanted to talk about?” Liam challenged.
“Because it’s what you always want to talk about. Look, we’re not the Blues Brothers, we’re not putting the band back together, we’re not on a mission from God, okay? I’m happy with what I have now, with my current band, my wife and my family. We don’t fight, don’t party, don’t stay up till 4 AM every night. I just have a good thing going here and I don’t want to lose that just so we can sell out a few stadiums and make a quick bit of bank.” Noel explained.
“Think of our fans!” Liam pleaded.
“Our fans will do just fine without Oasis. This isn’t about the fans, this is about you. Your little Oasis tribute band has folded up shop and now you don’t know what to do with your life. Look mate, the champagne supernova is over” Noel stated. “You’ve just got to get on with your life. Spend time with your children. Write a blog. Produce a solo album. Whatever you do, do it for yourself and quit worrying about anything else. The world’s moved on, don’t you think it’s time you moved on with it?”
“Dunno. I suppose.” Liam mumbled. “I just want to go back to the way it was.”
“Man, I never want to go back to that,” Noel declared.
They spoke for a bit longer, apparently for the first time as brothers in years. That worked for me. The case was resolved, and that meant that I would get paid. I stuck around for the gig, it was a good set, Noel was relieved and it showed on stage. I attempted to dial up Missy a few times but she wasn’t taking my calls. After the show ended Noel and his team settled up with me, he even tossed in a copy of his latest album on CD, old school. He asked about Missy, and I let him know that it looked grim. He whispered a plan in my ear that sounded insane, but I was desperate enough to try anything. We shook hands and exchanged contact info. He was adamant that I let him know how “the plan” went. Goodbyes were said and we went our separate ways.
I hated this plan. I hated it so much that I got damn near black out drunk before I worked up the nerve to try it. So there I was, in a poncho and sombrero, last beer still clutched firmly in hand in front of Missy’s home just minutes before midnight. I took one last swig of my beer and rang the doorbell. I reluctantly stepped away from the door and directly in to the yard light as I began to sing, “today is gonna be the day that they’re gonna throw it back to you. By now you should have realized what you gotta do.” My confidence had been bolstered by social lubrication, cuz at this moment I was hollering. “I don’t believe that anybody feels the way I do about you now!”
The door opened and Missy stared at me, jaw agape. “Continue,” she instructed.
“Back beat the word is on the street that the fire in your heart is out. I’m sure you’ve heard it all before but you never really had a doubt. I don’t believe that anybody feels the way I do about you now.”
She had been slowly maneuvering towards me, as I made it to the bridge we sang together, “and all the roads we have to walk are winding. And all the lights that lead us there are blinding. There are many things that I would like to say to you but I don’t know how!”
As she made her final advance, she lost her balance, and I had no spare balance left to save us. We crashed, flat on our backs, on her grassy front lawn. We laughed as we crooned in unison, “because maybe… You’re gonna be the one that saves me, and after all you’re my wonderwall!”
I’m certain that Noel would love to hear that his plan went marvelously, and I may someday tell him, but it wasn’t gonna be tonight. I had a lady that deserved my undivided attention, and I wasn’t gonna let outside obligations, not even the neighbors that we woke up with our God-awful singing, get in the way of that anymore.