Innocent Experience - Chapter 3 (Part 2) - U2 Feedback

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Old 05-23-2016, 12:18 PM   #1
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Innocent Experience - Chapter 3 (Part 2)

Bono’s head still hurt from his hangover, but he was glad to be back in Dublin. He’d missed this weather. The smell of autumn lingered everywhere. With every mile that passed, Bono grew more and more excited to see his kids. Ali was supposed to pick him up at the airport, but she hadn't shown up. She probably had to go over her parents’. Making a mental note to call her as soon as he got home, Bono had asked Larry and Ann, Larry’s girlfriend, to give him a ride.

When he shut the front door and looked around, the living room seemed larger than he remembered. It was a clear sign that he had been away for too long. A deathly silence ruled the house. He rushed to the bedroom, leaving all his baggage on the bed. I need something to eat… Just before getting to the kitchen he detected weird noises emanating from within. A break-in? No. He had spent almost half his fortune in security. Maybe it was one of the kids who hadn't heard the door. Walking cautiously, he approached the kitchen.

“John?” he called, but there was no answer. “Eli? Is that you?”

No one called back. As he entered the room, he spotted Stout, the family's two year-old German shepherd, licking something off the floor.

“Stout! What are you doing, big boy?” Bono called. The dog met his eyes, staring at him. He walked towards Stout, his eyes widening as he took in the sight of what appeared to be dinner smeared all over the floor.“Oh man! You're in trouble with Ali. Come here!”

Stout stood up on his two back legs, and Bono hugged him.

“Yes, I'm happy to see you again.” Bono crouched down and petted him. “But now I have to clean up all this mess before Ali gets home. I'll play with you later. I really missed you.”

He walked Stout out of the house to the backyard, and went back inside. Where was the cleaning lady when he needed her the most? It seemed like it had to be him after all. Rolling up his sleeves, he went looking for the cleaning tools.

“Dad, is that you?” resounded from the living room. It was Elijah’s voice. Bono smiled- now he had a cleaning buddy.


Overlooking the Liffey from the roof terrace of Edge's room at the Clarence Hotel, U2's manager and three quarters of the band waited for Bono to arrive. Several bottles of Evian filled the wide table along with a bottle of Johnnie Walker. Larry tossed his cigarette into the ashtray and rifled through the pile of photographs that their manager had brought. Shadows were falling, but it wasn't dark yet. While enjoying a cup of tea, Adam had his eyes set on Dublin's skyline during the blue hour. Different shades of orange disappeared below the horizon, while the clouds scattered from the surrounding sky. As Oseary finished a conversation with another client over the phone, Edge could only look at his watch.

Bono was still late.

“As far as I can see, the guy’s good,” Larry told their manager as he flipped through the photographs. “What’s his name again?”

“But is he good enough?” Edge asked in a mumble. He didn’t address to anyone in particular. He just stared at his watch, wishing Bono would arrive soon. The drawings from the night before hadn’t left his head.

After almost a year working as U2’s manager, Guy Oseary had finally gotten the band back on the track. When Paul McGuinness stepped down, they had no clue where they were going. Oseary had some notion of what it was like working with rock stars, so he didn’t run like a chicken with its head cut off when the band’s schedule got hard on him.

For over two years Bono had been giving some serious thought to the idea of developing a scheme alongside Apple. When Oseary took over as the band’s manager, he helped Bono put the idea together. They came to the conclusion that U2 had to use technology, because it was using them. They had to find a way to get their new songs out to as many people as they could. Suddenly, one day, everything clicked. Bono came up with what he called a “beautiful idea”. Edge could still remember what it was like when the singer broke the news to them.

“What if Apple gave the songs to every single iTunes subscriber for free?” Bono asked all of a sudden.

Adam and Larry, who had actually stopped paying attention to the load of rubbish that had been coming out of Bono’s mouth for hours, glanced back at him with matching astonished faces. Red wine spurted out of Edge’s mouth when he heard Bono’s proposition.

“WHAT?! Are you out of your foockin’ mind?” he asked.

“Are you really talking about free music here?” Adam followed.

“Of course I’m not! I’m not up with that shit. Apple will have to pay for our album first.”

“Do you think this is a good idea?” Edge was the next to speak, “I mean… why? Okay, that’s--” he stuttered, “that’s not the question I wanted to ask, but…”

“It’s a better idea than making Turn off the Dark a U2 album,” Larry told Edge as if he were explaining an easy math exercise.He couldn’t help but speak with a trace of smugness. Bono’s latest backlash hadn’t affected him very much this time, which left Larry feeling excited over his new idea. “Have you talked to Tim Cook?”

Bono shook his head, “I haven’t talked to the Apple folks yet. I wanted to talk the whole thing over with you first. I think we’ve discussed this before.”

“Yes, we have.”

“Why are you talking this down, Larry?” Edge asked him with concern.

“You’ll do that soon as well, Edge. It’s a no-brainer. If they pay us for the album, they can give it to people for free. Adam?” Larry called out the bassist. He was flicking through his iPhone, oblivious to the conversation. “Adam, are you still with us?”

“Man, everything is so black and white for you,” Adam answered him without tearing his eyes from his phone.

“Okay, never mind Adam,” Bono said. “Should we do this?”

“I’m back!” Adam threw his cellphone on the couch and turned to his friends. He looked at Bono anxiously. What was going on? What new idea had Bono dreamed up this time? He didn’t know, but he liked taking risks.

Each band meeting was all about taking risks. As Edge thought of the drawings from last night, he pictured Bono turning them into U2’s next adventure. But how would he do that? He didn’t know, but he did know Bono. With him, risks were round the corner all the time. Edge wondered if the rest of the band was willing to take it.

“Good evening, folks.” Bono's voice faded in as he entered the room and crossed the terrace door threshold. Edge recognized the portfolio he was carrying.

“Finally,” Larry snorted. “We thought you’d forgotten about the meeting.”

“Something came up,” Bono said, and then addressed to their manager.

“Here,” he said, unceremoniously dropping the portfolio on the table. “This is my new idea.”

Edge settled down in his seat, one elbow resting on the table and his cheek pressed against his fist. Adam leaned forward to take a glance at what his friend had brought. Larry looked at the object out of the corner of his eye. He didn’t want to show his curiosity.

“What is it?” he asked, chewing the inside of his cheek.

“Drawings,” Oseary answered. “Apparently?”

“What? Drawings? Bono, you do realize that we're running out of time?”


“Just what are we supposed to do with those drawings?”

Bono rolled back one of the chairs and sat down across from Edge and Larry. Unlike when Bono had dropped his idea for the Apple scheme, everyone paid attention to him. There was no flicking at phones, or babbling. The four men stared at Bono, waiting for him to step on the next land mine and make everything explode.

“Look,” Bono said. He took a deep breath and leaned forward, resting his forearms on the table. “We've been going back in time while working on this damn album, right? We've had to deal with our past...”

Larry parted his lips to speak, but before he could say a word Bono shot him a daring glance.

“In our own ways,” he said, giving the drummer a long stare before looking away. “And it hasn't been easy.”

He stood up and paced the terrace up and down.

“Where are we going with this?” Larry asked. Their manager's look shifted between the drawings and Bono. Oseary wanted to be sure he understood what was going on. Bono had just dropped that portfolio on the table and said he had a new idea. But now he was just pacing the place up and down like a madman, as the rest of the party grew frustrated with every passing second. Finally, Bono stopped dead.

This,” Bono said, placing his hand on one of the drawings scattered all over the table, “is the heart of our album. This is why we are here now. This is us.”

“I'm sorry, I'm not following,” Adam was confused by all the drawings, scattered like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

“Take a look at them, Adam. Take a look and tell me what is it that you see?”

“May I?” Oseary handed over the drawings, and Adam began to study them. He observed each of them very carefully, taking his time. There was no rush. Judging by Bono's tone, he understood how important they were to him. Finally, Adam looked up.

“You want to use this,” Oseary said. It wasn't a question. He'd gotten to know Bono well in the year he’d spent working for him.


“Wanna take a look, Edge?” Larry asked, before grabbing the pile from Adam's hands.

“No. I've already seen them.”

“Have you?” Larry asked in confusion. He looked at Bono. “How come we're the last ones to know?”

“Larry, not right now. That's the kind of question we can do without. We're discussing business here.”

The heat of Larry’s anger was steadily rising. “Business? Your business you mean. You're treating us like outsiders.”

“Enough with that bullshit, Larry.” Bono could feel himself beginning to lose his patience. Larry's character was like a flick knife. His good sense saved the band from making the wrong decisions most of the times; however, his particular way of seeing life was dangerous when it clashed with Bono’s.

Larry stood up and walked to his friend, glaring daggers at him.

“This ain't bullshit. Edge knew of your idea. We didn't. We've been racking our brains the past few months and you...”

“I didn't know of his idea. I just saw the drawings the night he was drunk. I didn't know what they were for,” Edge tried to ease the mood.

“Guys, let's calm down,” Oseary asked both Larry and Bono. “We can discuss this further tomorrow.”

But Bono wasn't going to keep quiet.

“So what if Edge knew? You know now. I've just told you.”

“Who drew these?” Adam asked.

“A friend of Jordan's.”

“Well, he's very talented.”

“Uh-uh,” Bono shook his head. “It's a she.”

“We're not using these drawings to promote our new material,” Larry resolved after giving them a glance. There it was again, the flick knife.

“Why not?”Bono stepped up challengingly, still facing Larry.

“We've already got someone to do that. And we’re not going to turn him down for some crayon-painter girl. And we have a deadline.”

This new information took Bono aback. “Who’s the guy?”

“A photographer from your friend Heather Hammond's magazine.”

“And you didn’t tell me,” he said calmly.

“We're even, then.” Larry shrugged, tilting his head to the right.

“Larry, the drawings are quite something,” Adam told him.

“Are you even sure she’s gonna take the job?” Larry asked Bono,.

“No, but…”

“Then that’s it. Let’s stop wasting our time. This guy is waiting for us to sign the contract,” he motioned to the photographer’s work.

“Let me see,” Bono said to Oseary, who handed him the photographs. He studied them, taking his time like Adam had done a few minutes earlier. It didn’t take long for Bono to make up his mind. In one swift movement, he gathered the drawings and the portfolio from the table. Still holding the photographs, he faced Larry again.

“I thought you were able to recognize shit when you saw it,” Bono told Larry, angrily pushing the pile of photographs against his friend's chest. "Toss these!"

“Where're you going?” Adam called out as Bono entered the suite, making for the door.


A grimace split Edge’s face at the sound of the door slamming.


The living room was semi-dark when Bono stepped in. Immediately he recognized the silhouette of his wife, standing before the window. She was lost in thought as she watched the Irish Sea. But still she sensed his presence, and turned to face him. Though neither said anything at first, their mutual joy was palpable in the air. It had been so long since they’d seen each other.

"Still up?" Bono asked as he approached Ali.

"The boys are staying at a friend's."

"Yes, I talked to them this afternoon. They were very excited. Something to do with guitar playing and skateboarding, I figure."

"Uh huh," she said, nodding. "I was waiting for you. You left early."

"I didn't even have time to unpack."

Bono gathered Ali in his arms, breathing in the scent of her hair. "I've missed you, honey." He laid a small kiss on the corner of her lips, and she sighed.

Bono’s hands slid to the small of Ali’s back, and she looked into his eyes with a gentle smile. But that smile faded slightly as she noticed something other than joy in her husband's face.

"What's wrong, Bono?” Ali asked, concern creasing her brow.” Did you have an argument with someone?"

"It's nothing,” he said, brushing off her worry and imbuing his voice with warmth.“I'm happy to see you."

"It's Larry again, isn't it?"She had seen the same expression in the previous months. It was there every time Bono told her about Larry’s unusual behavior.

Bono only smiled tenderly as he brushed Ali’s cheek with the back of his hand. He kissed her again. His desire was building every second they stayed in each other’s arms. Ali looked down at the coffee table where Bono had left the portfolio.

"What's that?"

"Something I want you to see tomorrow... because right now-" he kissed her jawline all the way down to her neck- "we've got more important things to do."

Ali giggled mischievously as she turned to take the stairs. Bono watched her hips sway in perfect rhythm as she made her way to the second floor. It was a promising night, he wanted to make worth the wait.


As the sun rose over the horizon, it filled the kitchen where Bono and Ali were taking their breakfast. She looked at the drawings between mouthfuls of her fried eggs. Bono watched his wife closely, impatient to hear what she had to say.

"Hmmm, these are very good," she said, and then clarified upon seeing Bono’s confused expression. "I meant the drawings. I can't imagine why Larry was so negative about them."

"It's because I don't spend as much time with the band as I should. I swear, babe... I'm trying so hard to write those lyrics, it's just... I don't want to go there. I've been having dreams about my mother lately. Not good dreams, I'll have you know."

“Yes,” Ali said, eyeing him."I heard you mumbling in your sleep last night."

"I was probably cursing Laurence.” Bono grimaced at his tea. "Sugar? Ali, I haven't been using sugar for months."

"Sorry. I'll get you another cup of tea." She stood up, but he grabbed her wrist before she could walk to the counter.

"Come here...” Bono pulled Ali against him. His arm wrapped around her waist as he pressed his head against her belly. "I don't need more tea; I just need you."

The hint of a laugh filled Ali’s voice. "I love you too.” She bent over and kissed his forehead. "But I need to get ready. I'm meeting Adi to go over our schedule for next week. And then I'm going to see my father."

"I thought we were spending the whole day together. I'll be back in New York by

"We can go dinner tonight," she suggested, walking out of the kitchen. "I'm gonna shower. Call Jordan and ask her about her friend."

"You think that's a good idea?" Bono asked Ali, rising from the table and following her.

"Yes. Why not? Those drawings are really good. If she's that good as a photographer, you'll have everything sorted out."

Bono stopped before entering the master bedroom. He remained pensive as Ali entered the bathroom. There was no need to call Jordan, he had Florence's last name. How many girls named Florence Lewis could there be?

"More than 200 hits?! What the fuck?!" Bono shouted with his eyes locked on the screen.

"What's wrong?" Ali had already gotten out of the bathroom and was now getting dressed. She wrapped her hair in a towel as she walked to the study where Bono had been looking for any clue of Florence on Facebook.

"This is insane, honey! There are more than 200 matches for Florence Lewis!"

"You've seen her,” Ali pointed out.“If you look for the ones living in New York I'm sure you'll find her."

"Oh boy! I feel like a stalker," Bono declared, but his eyes didn't leave the screen.

"Then just wait 'til you're back in New York."

"I'm running out of time, Ali. We're running out of time. And I want to show Larry that my idea's not a waste."

"Okay. I still think you gotta relax." She kissed him on the top of the head. "Don't make an obsession out of this."

As Ali got ready for her lunch meeting with Adi Roche, Bono spent almost forty-five minutes scrolling through name after name. He hated computers when it came to reading anything. Straining his eyes wasn't a good idea, and his health didn't help much either. The tiny letters, and brightness of the screen made him want to throw the laptop out the window.

Once Ali was ready to go, she kissed Bono and left. The boys weren't supposed to be back from their friend's until Sunday afternoon. That meant the place was all Bono’s for the next few hours. He had planned to take Ali to Cavistons for a nice dinner. In the meantime, he was racked with impatience. He realized that if Florence had been so discreet about her drawings, she wasn't going to post her photographs on Facebook either.


"Florence Lewis," Bono read, "born in Florida and currently living in New York City."

He remembered Jordan saying something about Florida. It was hard to
see her face in the profile picture, but he kept scrolling down. There were plenty of literature related posts. Apparently she liked Yeats and William Blake. A reference to Songs of Innocence and Experience! How funny, Bono thought. It had been suggested as a potential title for the new album.

He changed from scrolling with the mouse to tap the down arrow key. He squinted at the several posts made by friends. There weren't many of them, but those who posted did so very often, and seemed to be very close to her. There were a few posts about politics, but he could see that she wasn't very interested in that subject. Or she wanted to stay away from it? He couldn't say for sure. He refreshed the page.

"Thank You, Lord, for the Internet!"

Florence was online and she was posting. She had just shared a video: Patti Smith at CBGB: A Night to Remember. Bono was tempted to comment on her post, but he was using the band's official account to go over her wall. He couldn't possibly do such thing. Such an action was like parachuting into a river full of hungry alligators. It would certainly draw the attention of many fans, and that was not what he wanted. He would get the band into a messy situation, and push Florence away from the chance of working with U2.

At last, Bono called Jordan. “I really need a favor.”

"I can't steal anything else from my friend," his daughter joked. "What can I do for you, Mr. Dad?"

"Uhm... your friend, Florence. Do-- do you know if she's on Instagram?"


"And I assume you've seen what she shares."

"She's under the name BelieveOrExplode." Jordan didn't have to be a fortune-teller to know what her father was looking for. Jordan wasn't stealing anything; Instagram was a public site. But Florence kept her profile private. And Jordan was sure that she was going to get very angry for what she was about to do.

“There’s another way for you to see her posts,” Jordan suggested.
Seconds later, Bono typed his daughter's user name and password as she dictated.

"Dad," Jordan pleaded, "please, please, do not post anything. Not even a comment. If Florence finds out that I gave you access to her photos she'll kill me."

"I have to show them to the guys one way or another. Eventually, Florence has to find out that I saw her photographs."

She gave in. "Okay. Do whatever you have to do to show Brian that she's way better than his stupid ass."

Bono smiled. That was exactly what he had in mind. He said goodbye to his daughter and hung up.

As he typed Florence's alias into the search box, his heart pounded. Striking the keys, his hands shook. Bono stopped for a second and stared at the name before hitting the button. Interesting… He had been excited about other photographers' work before, but never like this. The first three photographs he saw made him quiver with amazement. Edge has to see this, he thought as he clicked on the next one. He couldn’t believe the words that came out of his mouth as he closed the laptop and walked out of the room.

"Fuck Larry and his photographer. This is my girl."

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Old 05-28-2016, 11:36 PM   #2
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This is my third attempt at trying g to post a reply. Thank you you for getting it posted. It was worth the wait. Keep on writing.

Sent from my Z970 using U2 Interference mobile app

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Old 05-30-2016, 07:27 AM   #3
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Thanks so much. I've got chapter 4, but it needs some edit first. Thanks so, so, much for reading and commenting.
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Old 06-06-2016, 12:24 PM   #4
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Chapter 4 coming soon on theaters
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