They flew over the landscape, the stars above them. The sea below them, and a whole lotta unanswered questions between them.
Jimmy spoke up, as they glided along. "So... just a question, if you don't mind me asking?"
"Yeah?" grunted Peter.
"Don't take this the wrong way, Peter... but how did YOU manage to get into heaven?"
"Why, Pagey? You don't think I'm a good guy?" Grant prodded, not looking at Jimmy.
"Oh, no, you're FANTASTIC, Peter. There's no doubt in my mind about that, but-"
"Then what's the trouble? It takes more than a few dirty words and busted heads to send a man to Hell, Pagey."
"I'm still not convinced..." Jimmy said cautiously. "You've never really been an idyllic image of spiritual salvation, Grant."
"Alright, alright, you REALLY wanna know? I'll tell you. Arms racing, Pagey, arms racing. As much as it twisted God's titties to have me in heaven, he wanted me out of Hell even worse."
"Why? WHY? I was in charge of YOU tosspots for twelve years. If I can take a group of fucking drunken, drug-addicted, cross-dressing whoopsies, and turn them into the greatest rock n' roll band ever to walk the earth, imagine what I could do with the entire legion of Hell, and that didn't sit too well with God, see. He couldn't have that."
"Would you have?" Jimmy asked.
"IF you wound up in Hell, I mean? WOULD you have forged the armies of Hell? That's a little... I dunno... intense."
Grant sighed. "Christ, Page, I don't take sides. I'll do favors for whoever gives me a bigger pot to piss in. Buy me a drink, I'll sit up and bark, and I don't give a fuck if you're God, Satan, or Yogi the Bear."
"God must be paying one Hell of a price for you, then."
"Can I ask what that might be?"
"He's letting me come back tonight so I can save your ass."
"Oh. Wait... what?!" Jimmy's head shot toward grant.
Jimmy's eyes opened wide. "Wait... BONZO? But he's-"
"In Hell. Yeah, I know." Grant sighed. "The little shit just couldn't keep himself out of trouble, so I've been spending the last decade working out a way to get the four of you little snots into paradise." Peter sighed, and his face softened ever so slightly. "I may not be your manager anymore, but bloody hell, you're still my boys. You'll ALWAYS be my boys."
Jimmy didn't know what to say. He flew in silence for awhile, clutching tightly to Grant's robe.
"...thank you, Peter. I-"
"Get over yourself." Peter snapped. "We still have two more hours of this shite. Let's see if you can help YOURSELF."
"Fair enough." Jimmy said quietly, still glowing a little. Was there NOTHING this man couldn't do?
They soared overhead, and finally, their flight came to an end when Grant pulled them into a heavy snowbank, just outside of a big, beautifully-lit house.
"This is Jonesy's house!" cried Jimmy. "I haven't... I haven't seen him in... I don't remember how long. Since the Rock n' Roll Hall of fame thing, maybe?"
"He's been keeping busy." Peter said.
"Haven't we all?" laughed Jimmy. "Well some more than others. I haven't seen HIM organizing tours or recording albums. It's like he never leaves the house."
"He's been watching his kids grow up, Page. He's been busy being a father." Grant led Jimmy to the window, and pointed inside. "While you've been out smoking, dragging Robert around the world, and making piss-poor albums, Jonesy's been helping his children find a place in the world."
"You and Robert talk like I don't have children. I have kids."
"He's been spending time with his wife, whom he's managed to stay happy with for 40 years, Page. One woman. 40 years. How many of your children have the same mother? How many Christmases have you all been together?"
"We're... all on good terms."
"Do you KNOW that, Jimmy? Women are shrewd creatures, Page. They can tell you one thing right to your face without batting an eye, and on the inside-"
"What do you know about women, Grant?"
"The point is, Jimmy... "
Grant was interrupted by a great roar of laughter coming from inside the house. They both looked to see Jonesy with a terrific grin on his face, trying to calm his family down, who were all nearly in tears from laughter.
"Okay... alright..." he said, motioning for silence. "My turn then?" His brow wrinkled as though he was lost in some kind of deep thought.
"Okay!" Jonesy announced, after a moment. "I've got it!"
"Is it alive?" One of the daughters asked.
"Can it talk?" asked another.
Jonesy laughed. "Well... yes it CAN, but it rarely does."
The family paused in thought, stumped. After a minute, the wife, Mo, asked, "Is it a character on the telly?"
"He's a character alright, but no, I don't think I've seen him on the telly for ages."
"So you're thinking of a man?"
"Does he live in England?"
"I believe so, yes."
"Is he a disagreeable sort of man?"
"He's a difficult sort of man. Difficult to work with sometimes, and difficult to understand."
"You sound like you know him." One of the daughters giggled. "Do you know him, da?"
"I do, yes."
"Is he a cruel man?"
"He can be, sometimes."
"Is he an old man?"
"No older than I am, sweetheart." laughed Jonesy.
There was a pause, and after awhile, the youngest daughter, Kierra, who hadn't said anything yet, suddenly screamed, "I KNOW WHO IT IS! I KNOW WHO IT IS!" She turned to her father, and with a radiant smile, cried out, "It's JIMMY PAGE, isn't it?"
Jonesy laughed, and gave the woman a hug. "You're all getting too good at this. I haven't been able to stump you all night."
"Well you keep choosing obvious answers, da. I suspected it was Mr. Page as soon as you said he didn't like to talk all that much."
"And people keep saying YOU'RE the quiet one." snickered Mo.
Jonesy gave his wife a sly grin. "Oh I'm not quiet. I'm just sneaky."
"Oh you ARE, are you?" Mo laughed, flirting with her husband a bit.
"Oh yes... I'm a real fox, I am." Jonesy said, snatching Mo up in his arms and kissing her. The daughters giggled and looked at one another, as if to say, "Oh there's old dad, at it again with mum."
Jonesy stroked his wife's hair, and gingerly whispered into her ear, "I love you... so much."
"You're so cheesy, da." groaned Jacinda.
"Oh come here and give us a kiss." Jonesy laughed. All three daughters got up from their chairs and gave their father a hug. "Happy Christmas, dad," they said.
"Happy Christmas," sighed Jonesy, somehow managing to envelope all four grown women in his arms. "Happy Christmas."
Jimmy watched all this in awe, his feet numbed in the snowbank. He suddenly felt... empty. "Perhaps... perhaps I should call Jemina..." he wondered. "Just to see how she's doing."
"All that could have been yours, you know." Peter said, gesturing at the family scene inside. "That could be you in there, in that circle, at that table... with your own children and your own wife..."
"Leave my family out of this." spat Jimmy, turning from Grant. "Take me home, Peter... please."
"If you insist." Grant said, waving his hand. The scene slowly started to melt away. Jimmy watched, his eyes fixed on Jonesy and his family as they faded from view. Jimmy felt the ground fall from beneath him, and knew that he would re-emerge in the studio soon.
"Peter!" he cried suddenly. "I need to ask you something."
"Yeah? Make it quick, Pagey. I don't wanna miss my card game."
"The next ghost... I have one more, according to Bonzo... if Keith showed me what has already passed, and you're showing me what IS... will the next ghost show me the future?"
"Seems like a good bet to me." Grant shrugged, already starting to disappear. Jimmy knew he had only seconds left with his old friend.
He shouted out as fast as he could, "The things I'm about to see... are these the shadows of the things that WILL be, or that only MAY be?!"
Grant paused to think. "Well... see... I'm not really sure what to tell you there, Pagey." he said, scratching his head.
"Just... PLEASE... tell me what YOU think then."
"What I think?"
"Well..." Grant began, "I think... I reckon it's something like that one song you guys wrote... the one that gets blokes kicked outta guitar stores."
"Stairway to Heaven?"
"Yeah! That one."
"How's that?" Jimmy asked, barely able to see Peter anymore.
"Well... y'know..." Grant's voice sounded out all around Jimmy. He heard him clear his throat, and sing in a booming voice:
"Yes, there are two paths you can go by,
But in the long run,
There's still time to change the road you're on..."
And Jimmy was alone... and all was silent.