It wasn't long before Frank made the call to several writers in the US about the supposed story. And it certainly wasn't long for the story to take off either. Before you knew it, the phone in our room was ringing off the hook. Most likely my family, Michael's family and of course the press who found out where Michael was staying. All it took was less than a day and the story was already all over the world in a matter of twenty-two hours. The devil works hard, but clearly, Frank Dileo works harder. Michael is, of course, excited that the news took off so quickly. Anything to get his name back in the scene, I guess. Maybe since he's taken some time out of the public eye that when he decided to get back into the public eye to debut his album, he figured the best way to do it was to make himself as eccentric as possible. It's definitely working.
"Shayla, why did Michael offer to buy John Merrick's bones? What's he going to do with them?" Mariah asked me as we walked to Big Ben.
"It's only to get his name back in the media. He isn't going to actually buy them. Even if he were serious about it, I certainly wouldn't allow it. I refuse for our house to suffer from bad juju because he wants to bring a man's skeleton into it," I explained to her. But how do you explain such eccentricities to a child?
"Why does he want his name in the press though? I thought he hated it."
"He does..." I sighed. "It's just for preparation for his album. Don't take any of it seriously, okay?"
"Okay, but... aren't there other things he can do in order to bring attention to his album?"
"Yeah, but you have to take into consideration that he's been out of the limelight for a while now. It's all part of he and Frank's elaborate plan. You'll understand once the album comes out." As quick as I was to tell her that, I wondered if I would even be able to understand all of this once the album comes out. I hope when the album comes out, the public focuses on the album and not all the eccentric stories he and Frank have put out.
"Don't you think all these stories are weird though?" She looked up at me.
"It's... different. He knows more about show business than I do. So, I can't really say if all these stories are weird or not. I guess they're just to drum up excitement. But I will say, everyone certainly is going to think he's weird. You know they're already beginning to call him 'Wacko Jacko.' I wonder what other crazy names they'll come up with," I rolled my eyes. Just before we crossed the street to the most toured clock in the world, I noticed a newsstand that had a copy of a paper with Michael's face on it and of course a photo of John Merrick's remains. I picked up the paper, flipping straight to the page where they discussed Michael. Of course, Frank inserts himself into the story... "Jackson has a high degree of respect for the memory of Merrick... Jackson has no exploitative intentions whatsoever and cares about and is concerned with the Elephant Man as a dedicated and devoted collector of art and antiques," I read aloud to no one in particular.
Mariah took the paper from my hands, "what's it say?"
I took it back and put it back on its rack, "nothing important. Come on. Let's go see Big Ben. You got your camera with you?"
"Yup," she smiled excitedly as she took the camera out of her fanny pack.
"We've gotta show mom and dad how much fun you're having in London!" I managed a smile as we finally crossed the street. Just as Mariah went to pose in front of the infamous clock, a screaming mob ran past us ruining what would have been a great photo. Mariah turned around and made it her business to run with the mob. "Mariah!" I called, running after her only to lose her in the crowd. Maybe the Queen is out today causing such a frenzy. That would be a sight to see. I pushed my way through the crowd to try to find Mariah, but also to see what all the fuss was about. As soon as I got to what seemed like the front, I finally reached a disappointed Mariah. "Don't run off like that again, you hear me?" I warned.
"Sorry. I just wanted to see what everyone was running to."
"Yeah, well, you can't do that. Especially in a foreign country."
"What was up there?" I looked behind her toward the front of the crowd.
"It's just Michael," she shrugged. "I thought it was the Queen or Princess Diana. I wanted to see royalty while we're out here." I grabbed Mariah's hand and like a magnet, I was drawn to where Michael was. Michael and Frank stood in front of Big Ben in all of their splendor and glory as fans screamed for Michael. They were both dressed in everyday wear but wore matching dark sunglasses. Whether Michael was wearing those sunglasses or not, I was able to find his eyes causing us to lock eyes instantly at the sight of one another. The press and fans alike were all gathered around him just to catch a glimpse of my oh so famous husband, shouting endless questions and his name over and over and over again.
He smiled his famous hundred-watt smile, "Mariah!" Beckoning her to come over to him. Mariah looked up at me as if to ask what the big deal was but listened to him anyway. As soon as she walked up to him, he embraced her tightly, which only caused the crowd and cameras to go crazy. As I watched this scene unfold, all I could wonder was what was going through Mariah's mind as Michael pointed at different cameras instructing her to smile. She was uncomfortable at first, but whatever magic he or the crowd used, made her relish in the delight of what was going on around her. As far as I'm concerned, this is nothing but a publicity stunt, because had Michael really came to view the infamous clock tower, he would have made sure he would not have been seen. I watched as Mariah and Michael worked the camera with charm. A charm I never knew Mariah even had. It was as if she was made for the camera. I wouldn't be surprised if she ended up making a career out of show business. I looked around at all the fans that just wanted a photo or a picture with him. Much to their dismay, his focus was on Mariah. Whatever they were talking about had Mariah laughing and smiling, which I'm sure would make for great headline photos. People pushed past me as I stood there in awe. They must have thought I was hogging all the space from them getting a chance to even look at Michael... Frank nodded at me as if to pass a secret code that I honestly didn't even get and tapped on Michael, whispering in his ear. Michael nodded as well, kissed Mariah on the cheek, hugged her and sent her back to me. It took her a while, but Mariah got back to me talking a mile a minute. "I love you!" Michael called out to the crowd and began walking toward a limo which only made the crowd follow him. I don't know how he's going to get into that car safely, but I'm sure he will. I felt like I was watching a scene from a movie. This is surely something you only see or hear about on television or in the news. But I literally witnessed it all. It's different seeing Michael in front of an audience performing his songs to a sea of fans. But to see him just doing an "everyday thing" just to get followed by a mob of people. That's something you don't see every day...
"Shayla, did you see me?" Mariah asked me excitedly. "I was smiling at that camera and this camera and this camera. Michael told me to make sure I smile at every camera. If they catch me not smiling, the press would have a lot to say about it. He told me I did such a great job, Shayla!"
"So, what were you guys laughing about?" I wondered.
"Would you believe Michael just told me to laugh for no reason?" She laughed.
I smiled. What are the odds? "I believe it. Do you still want a picture in front of Big Ben?"
"Um, no! I'm more excited to show mom and dad I was in the news than to show them a picture of me with an old clock."
I frowned at the sudden change of plans, "well, let's get a photo in front of it anyway. That's what we came here for, isn't it?"
"Yeah, but..." she shrugged. "I'm going to be in the news all over the world. That tops Big Ben. Don't you think?"
"I think you're going to regret not taking a picture in front of the clock. Who knows when you'll ever be able to be here again?"
"I mean, yeah, but..."
"Come on, Mariah. I know you're a big-time star now. But let's take the picture," I teased.
"If you say so. I think mom and dad would be much more excited to see me in the news than anything though." We walked back to our original spot to take pictures. Just as Mariah was starting to pose, four people with microphones and cameras ran up to her.
"Hi, my name is Melody Jermaine with Channel 4 news, I was wondering if you'd be interested in doing an interview for us about your encounter with Michael Jackson?" The red-haired newscaster asked her.
"Um," Mariah looked at me. "You'd have to ask my sister..." Both newscasters looked at me.
"Miss," the blonde newscaster asked. "I'm Brandon Keele. Is it okay if I interview your sister for Sky News?"
"What for?" I wondered.
"Her encounter with Michael Jackson!" Melody reiterated. "She was lucky enough out of a crowd of fans to be chosen by Michael himself as he came down to view Big Ben. I just want to ask her about what it was like."
"What kind of questions will you be asking her?"
Brandon began, "what it was like? What did they talk about? Did he seem normal? With the elephant man's bones in the news with Michael, does she think he's weird? Stuff like that."
"Well, he is normal. Doesn't he look normal to you?" They looked at each other. Both journalists were getting irritated with me and I could tell.
"He looks normal, but he doesn't act normal," Melody explained. "Is there any way we can get an interview with your sister?"
As if I wasn't already bothered that they sought after a child for an interview, they definitely just pinned the nail on the coffin with that blatant disrespect towards Michael. I shook my head, "no."
"No?!" Brandon gasped. "But, but, Miss! This could be an opportunity of a lifetime for your sister!"
"We're not interested," I grabbed Mariah's hand and led her away from them. But they only followed.
"She's the only one he talked to out of that sea of fans! She could shed a light on how weird Michael Jackson may or may not be?"
"We're not interested in your tabloid trash. Come on, Mariah," I hurried along with Mariah in tow. But alas they continued to follow, shouting more questions at us. With today's plans now ruined, what else could we possibly do today without someone spotting Mariah as the little girl Michael "chose?" Who knew such a normal day would suddenly turn into a madhouse?