“Bewilderment” Part 3: Fame And Fortune
So now The Bewildered are the biggest band in the land and they’re ruling the charts. Our hero, Pete Chronos, has up to now been totally focussed on getting to the top. But now that they’ve made it, he starts to wonder about exactly why it is he is there in the mid-’60s. What exactly should he be doing or trying to achieve? Why him? Was this simply chance, or destiny? At the same time, however Pete and the rest of the band are not exactly short of money, nor attention from girls, and boy, do they make the most of it!
It’s not long before Pete is taken in by a character known as the Mind Expander. Pete sees the various mind altering substances on offer as a chance to seek answers through what he mistakenly believes is a state of heightened enlightenment and clarity. All he experiences is wierdness and despite ending up none the wiser, he persists with his experimentation.
Meanwhile, Pete is introduced to a girl by the name of Melissa, who has been showing up at a few of The Bewildered’s parties of late. It seems that the rest of the band are quite besotted with Melissa, but she takes a shine to Pete. The two of them hit it off and seem to have a magical chemistry, but despite considerable desire on both parts, something seems to make the idea of anything more than a very close platonic relationship seem somehow forbidden to both of them.
The band’s success continues with virtual infallibility, but problems within the group have been developing. Pete, as the chief songwriter, earns more money than the rest, and coupled with his popularity with the fans, being the lead singer, the other members have begun to resent and ostracise him. Arguments over the music and the money become more and more frequent, and this has just caused Pete to turn more and more to the Mind Expander.
Things come to a head when Melissa, Dewey, Hank and Chip arrive at the studio to find Pete unconscious having overdosed. Medical intervention arrives in the nick of time and Pete is saved, but it’s a close run thing. The incident prompts a certain amount of soul searching from the others, asking themselves whether this was an accident, a cry for help, or a genuine wish to die, and how they may have contributed to it.
Will this be the catalyst to a renewed common purpose and unity for the band, or have things gone too far? Find out in the next installment. Check back soon.