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Chapter 27

Chapter 27

My parents are happier than ever since Mariah has been with us. And I've been happier after getting back a very respectful Mariah. I don't know what Joseph did in those four months that he had her, but he set the record straight never for her to be disrespectful again. She's apologized to Michael and even earned the right to her computer after all this time. I'm glad that my sister is finally the kid that she ought to be. Because she's going to be a teenager very soon and after that, adulthood. Childhood only lasts so long, so she should relish in it while she can. I am currently finishing up my first novel, oddly enough, so is Michael with his autobiography. I'm still adding and editing the finishing touches to my novel "Beyond the Dance," meanwhile people are waiting on Michael hand and foot to help him finish his. Sometimes he's excited for his autobiography, other times he is not, but I keep assuring him the fans will love it. He's worried that I'll be upset if I'm not mentioned in the book at all, but honestly I don't care. We are still in our prime. Now I would have a problem if we were in our forties and he wrote an autobiography without mentioning me, but he's still at the height of his solo career. There is nothing for me to be worried about. And besides it wouldn't make sense to mention a marriage in his book meanwhile he's still parading around like he's single. I think it would actually make for bad press and we don't want that. I expect my book to be out either next month or July just in time for my birthday. There's honestly no telling when Michael's book will be out.

The new condo Michael got us is actually nice. "The Hideout" is actually what we've been calling it. It's located in an area so obscure, literally no one could find us if they tried and I love every aspect of it. With Mariah doing well in general, Michael doing well as far as his career and me getting a good handle on mine, things are beginning to look great.

"Babe, come on," Michael waved me over. "Are you ready or not?" I grabbed Mariah's hand and followed Michael into the Medical College. We had traveled all this way to see some bones and while I didn't completely agree with seeing a ninety-seven year old skeleton, Michael insisted after we had watched "The Elephant Man" over and over and over again. He even said it would be a learning experience for Mariah, which of course Mariah was excited about. Especially since she had never been out of the US before. She couldn't wait to brag to everyone how we had dragged her all the way out to London to see the Elephant man. Our entourage included Frank and Bill of course and we followed one of the hospitals trusted doctors to the exhibit. Michael was so excited to finally see the bones of the man he had been idolizing over the past couple of years. He always expressed how he felt some type of connection with John Merrick and while I could see what he meant as far as the gawking, I don't understand how else he may have felt a connection with him. Perhaps it was because John Merrick was considered a freak show and wanted nothing but love and acceptance. But Michael has love and acceptance, so I don't get the connection. We finally approached the glass case and Michael was in awe. Mariah let go of my hand and hurried beside Michael to view the bones as well. "Isn't it amazing?" Michael asked her.

"Looks kind of creepy to me," she admitted.

"But, it's John Merrick, Mariah. Don't you see?! This guy was considered a freak and ugly and unworthy of love and acceptance... He died alone. His story is so sad," Michael couldn't stop looking at the bones in admiration and sadness.

"The movie was boring though," Mariah noted.

"You won't understand until you're older." Frank went to stand beside Michael to view the bones as well. I kept my distance. John Merrick's should be buried so he can finally rest, not put on display to be gawked at like he's been his entire life. I feel disrespectful even being in the same room. "I sure would like to have these bones at the house... Wouldn't it be cool to own them?" Michael asked Frank.

Frank scoffed, "forget it."

"But... hmm..." The wheels in Michael's head were turning and it was as if I could see exactly where he was going with this and I was already against it.

"Uh-oh..." Frank sighed.

"We should make an offer to the hospital to buy the bones just to see what kind of press it's going to get," he told Frank excitedly.

"That is crazy."

"I know," Michael nodded, smiling. "That's why we have to do it."

I cleared my throat, "you mean to tell me you're going to try to buy this man's bones?"

Michael looked at Frank than back at me, "it'd be worth a try. I just want to see what kind of press this is going to get, babe. I wouldn't actually buy a man's bones."

"Even offering to buy them is tasteless! You don't know how uncomfortable I feel even being in this room right now. We travelled all this way to look at a man's bones, Michael... Did you not learn anything from that film? John went his whole life being stared at and you tell me you feel as if you identify with him, but here we are doing the exact same thing you detest. This doesn't seem even slightly hypocritical of you?"

"Shayla," he walked over to me. "I don't want to buy the man's bones... I just want to make an offer. What harm could it do?" He shrugged.

"A lot. Not only will you look crazy, but people will start to think you've really gone mad."

"Yeah, well, people will start to pay attention to me. I just need the press on my side before the album drops, okay? If everyone is looking at Michael Jackson now, once the album drops all eyes will still be on me. It's a win-win situation."

"More like a win-lose. The press won't be on your side if you leak this story. What makes you think they will be? It's a wacky story, not a good one."

"All press is good press," he winked at me. "Didn't you learn anything from P.T. Barnum's book, babe? Read it again and you'll understand exactly where I'm going with this," he walked back over to the exhibit. Michael's obsession with this book and wanting all attention on him for the wrong reasons is surely going to backfire on him one day and he'll have no one to blame but himself. I can't believe I actually agreed on coming out here with him and bring Mariah. But at least we'll be able to do more sightseeing. We may have just come here with the intention of seeing John Merrick's perfectly preserved skeleton, but it also got us out of the country. I just don't want my family to see the mess Michael is about to put out there. Before you know it, they're going to be calling me to ask what's wrong with him.

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