The Northville Review
an online literary journal
John Lennon

Kyle Hemmings

On Dec. 8, 1980, Mark David Chapman fired five hollow-point bullets at John Lennon in the hallway entrance to the Dakota. The gun was a Charter Arms .38 special revolver. The bullets inflicted severe gunshot wounds, causing aortic dissection. The doorman, Miguel Gomez, reportedly wrestled the gun from Chapman’s hands and kicked it across the sidewalk.

Gomez said to Chapman, “Do you know who he is?”

After the incident, Gomez suffered recurrent nightmares about a man resembling Jesus.

The first police officers to arrive on the scene found Chapman sitting very quietly on the sidewalk and holding a copy of J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. In later testimonies of character witnesses, Chapman was fond of frequenting certain uptown bars, preying on single women, claiming that he was “the catcher in the rye.”

John Lennon was rushed to Roosevelt Hospital. In the back seat of a squad car, a police officer asked him if he knew who he was. According to one account, Lennon’s last words were “I’m John Lennon.” Then, he slipped into a coma.


Interview with Stacey X, author of The Autobiography of a Bubble Girl.

“So how did it start?”

“Well, how does anything start?”

“I mean this particular thing.”

“Well, you could point to this and that and make a straight line, but it’s. . . not straight.”

“You mean this just happened out of the blue?”

“No, I mean. . . it just doesn’t happen the way you tell people.”

“You mean the book? They were lies?”

“No. Okay. Start at this point. Or pick something else. I slept with my teachers. Some. Some you couldn’t approach. Then I got into dancing, and there wasn’t a lot of money and I met this guy and we kinda traveled a lot.”

“And he did your booking.”

“Well. . . uh. . . yeah, but not just him.”


“So I slept with lot of celebrities. A few I got to know a little, I mean, you never –”

“The section about Lennon. Not your best lover?”

“Well, he was kinda. . . average. Okay. I was young and it was like, oh, fuck, John Lennon. . . Berlin, I think. Me, doing some modeling on the side. I can’t remember that much. He just didn’t smile a lot.

“Who was your favorite in bed?”

“Well, Elvis was great. Sweet. Gentle. Elvis was someone even my mother loved.”

“Anyone else?”

“I want to say Tiny Tim.”

“Dare you to say it.”

“Yeah, I fucked Tiny Tim.”


John Lennon, during a split from Yoko, formed a liaison with the Japanese actress, Tay Yamamoto. By the time their child was born, Lennon had already gone back with Yoko. Yamamoto’s son later stated that he knew of his father, but did not know him. My father, he said, was a cloud.


In private conversation, Yoko confided to me about John. He had this habit of walking the streets in disguise. He told Yoko that one night he met a very strange man who followed him to Central Park. He described to Lennon how he was a fuck-up, talked about his drug use, the attempted suicides. The stranger explained how once he tried to kill himself by attaching a tube to the tailpipe of his father’s car and inhaling carbon monoxide. The tube melted.

Lennon then recounted how the man got down on his knees and prayed for forgiveness. “Look, mate,” Lennon said, “forgive yourself. It only comes from you.”

Lennon then retrieved a paperback copy of The Catcher in the Rye from his back pocket, one of his favorite novels. He handed it to the man.

At this time, Yoko said that Lennon was working on that part of his autobiography detailing his use of LSD and heroin.

He would get dizzy spells, said Yoko. Flashbacks. I had to hold his head in my lap. The way you do with a little kid.


From the above passage, you can conclude:

A) John was an avid reader of American fiction.
B) Yoko did not fit the Feminist conception of a liberated woman.
C) The stranger must have known that the disguised man was John Lennon.


I didn’t know Mark that well. He was buried in himself. But he was nice to the patients. When I was down, he sang me the words to Dear Prudence. What a beautiful song.


Lennon on how he met Yoko: “She said not to touch one of her sculptures. So I pretended to. Then I pretended that she couldn’t touch me.”


D) None of the above.


In the movie, How I Won the War, John, shot, bleeding, faces the camera and says he knew this would happen.


They fired me for getting into a fight with a nurse. I told them she was the one who’s always starting trouble. I knew she had it in for me. She said that I smelled. Actually, she smelled. Get a whiff of her and you’d know.

So, I decided I’ll do this some other way. The world is full of shit jobs.

I hid the gun in my jacket. John and Yoko were signing some autographs by the limo. I walked up and asked John to sign my copy of Catcher.

He kinda flinched. Flinched or winced. Does it matter? He must have remembered me from the night he gave me that book. Yoko didn`t smile for the photographers.

I followed them to the hotel, whipped out the gun and assumed a combat stance. Yoko screamed. Some asshole started running at me. But I was ordained. Why didn’t he know? John Lennon caught my bullets.

On the sidewalk, I thought about the words to that song, Working Class Hero. Or how the blood, John’s, was like anybody else’s.


That night, Yoko Ono asked that the chanting crowd outside the Dakota to stop–it was keeping her awake. She asked that the crowd reconvene in Central Park the next day for ten minutes of silent prayer.

One participant at the park recalled, “It felt the world stopped. Heavy. Then light, like a balloon.”

About the author

Kyle Hemmings wishes he could play surf guitar like Dick Dale and draw like R. Crumb. On some days, he sings in the shower. He lives and works and daydreams in New Jersey.