Christopher Sebela

writer, wronger, rearranger

Brian Wilson seemed to be filled with secret fear. One night at the house, it began to surface. Marilyn sat nervously painting her fingernails as Brian stalked up and down, his face tight and his eyes small and red. 

"What’s the matter, Brian? You’re really strung out," a friend asked. 

"Yeah, I’m really strung out. Look, I mean I really feel strange. A really strange thing happened to me tonight. Did you see this picture, Seconds?" 

"No, but I know what it’s about; I read the book." 

"Look, come into the kitchen; I really have to talk about this." In the kitchen they sat down in the black and white houndstooth- check wallpapered dinette area. A striped window shade clashed with the checks and the whole room vibrated like some kind of op art painting. Ordinarily, Brian wouldn’t sit for more than a minute in it, but now he seemed to be unaware of anything except what he wanted to say. 

"I walked into that movie," he said in a tense, high-pitched voice, "and the first thing that happened was a voice from the screen said ‘Hello, Mr. Wilson.’ It completely blew my mind. You’ve got to admit that’s pretty spooky, right?" 

"Maybe." 

"That’s not all. Then the whole thing was there. I mean my whole life. Birth and death and rebirth. The whole thing. Even the beach was in it, a whole thing about the beach. It was my whole life right there on the screen." 

"It’s just a coincidence, man. What are you getting all excited about?" 

"Well, what if it isn’t a coincidence? What if it’s real? You know there’s mind gangsters these days. There could be mind gangsters, couldn’t there? I mean look at Spector, he could be involved in it, couldn’t he? He’s going into films. How hard would it be for him to set up something like that?" 

"Brian, Phil Spector is not about to make a million-dollar movie just to scare you. Come on, stop trying to be so dramatic." 

"All right, all right. I was just a little bit nervous about it," Brian said, after some more back and forth about the possibility that Phil Spector, the record producer, had somehow influenced the making of Seconds to disturb Brian Wilson’s tranquility. "I just had to get it out of my system. You can see where something like that could scare someone, can’t you?" 

They went into Brian’s den, a small room papered in psychedelic orange, blue, yellow and red wall fabric with rounded corners. At the end of the room there was a juke box filled with Beach Boys singles and Phil Spector hits. Brian punched a button and Spector’s “Be My Baby” began to pour out at top volume. 

"Spector has always been a big thing with me, you know. I mean I heard that song three and a half years ago and I knew that it was between him and me. I knew exactly where he was at and now I’ve gone beyond him. You can understand how that movie might get someone upset under those circumstances, can’t you?" 

Brian sat down at his desk and began to draw a little diagram on a piece of printed stationery with his name at the top in the kind of large fat script printers of charitable dinner journals use when the customer asks for a hand-lettered look. With a felt- tipped pen, Brian drew a close approximation of a growth curve. “Spector started the whole thing.” he said, dividing the curve into periods. “He was the first one to use the studio. But I’ve gone beyond him now. I’m doing the spiritual sound, a white spiritual sound. Religious music. Did you hear the Beatles album? Religious, right? That’s the whole movement. That’s where I’m going. It’s going to scare a lot of people.”

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