chapter 28


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I woke up exausted. but the good kindof exausted. like id been thru it
and come out on the other side. it kinda reminded me a the way i wokeup
from the bluesky dream. not the content of the dream, but the feeling
that came out of it. tho now im not sure it was fulfilment afterall. it was
more like, gratitude.

but before i had the chance to think on that too much,
we came to a stop. we reachd our destination.

i mean we parkd.

in the fortywatt lot. dontknow why that suprized me.

andy johnson kayla and frank headed for west washintong.
evrybody else [ including taylor, by this time theyd lettim out of his
shackels ] went arounback, where a light still shone thru the records.
a little thing like five in the mornin wasnt gona stand intheway of lowyoyo
bein open.

Oh my god its b,boody lishus! didja finely figureout jazzs the root a hiphop?

i figured that out the firstime i heard tribe. atleast the firstime i heardem hi.

i have the things you orderd.

i orderd things?

a wileago ydid.

you mean the penguin cafay?

was there anythin else?

that was like— two years ago.


how many did you find?

a,allofem. . .

[ said as if there was no other possible answer ]

cept the comp and the live thing, they werent
issued on elpee. i threw in a simon jeffe solo, n,nocharge. most of its crap but
the two good ones make it worth a lissen.

while todd hunted booty-ds records,
i decided to check if they had any mahalia jackson. mahalias probly my
favrite female vocalist. you cant match her voice for joy carryin capacity.
pain, too, cause she cant be with jesus yet, but she wants it sooo bad.

i imagine she s got it now.

i didnt see a gospel section,
and she wasnt in post-gospel. but i hunted around til i found a divider

Jesus's dick is bigger than anybody's other dick

there was mahalia. bigtime. like a dozen records, including
live at newport which is sposetobe great, but id never heard it cause id
never been able to find a copy.

thats a badass record.

[ bootydharma said that ]

so i heard.

ill get it for you.

ohno dont do that.

whynot? imonna be givin todd money anyway,

i can probly getim to throwitin. plus ive been wantin to scratch with city
calld heaven
for like a year. its nice to meet another mahalia fan, hav you
ever playd around with turntables?

no. i love music, i just never

lernd to play an instrument,

a-l you are the perfect candidate, you should come try out my tecnics, well
lissen to mahalia like youv never lissend to er before.

im only intown till tomoro probly. its realy upto my car.

shit, lets do it tonite!

not tonite booty-d, remember? D yall do it another night.

booty-d gave me his number and said to text im if i endedup
stayin intown an extra day. we talkd about music, i wrote down some
bands he couldnt believ i hadnt heard yet, there were alot of em, there
were whole genres id never heardof, maybe cause they only existed
in athens

–D E E ! D E E ! D E E ! D E E ! D E E !

that was madis unmistakable soprano.

D, it seems, had todd in a headlock.

D, lettim go madi

i will lettim go, as soon as he ansers the question.

w,whatwas the question again? todd

you know perfecly well the question.

todds face was gettin red.

r,refresh my memry.

love or hate, your choice. just take a freakin position.

D  s q u e e z d

todd spoke thru clenchd teeth—

i am... indifrent... to the m,music of...


she lettim go.

i piss on lowyoyo,

she said, and she left.

we left.

todd calld after us—

thanks come again!

At this hour, things had slowd down on
west washintong. there were still peeple out, but you could actualy
go along the sidewalks without pushing them outa the way.

we found andy and johnson outside of xray  [ as for where frank and kayla had gone, no mention ]

what happend to rainbo conection? D askt

[ the loop was conspicuously absent ]

it came to an end.

andy didnt elaborate, but the little recordplayer was nowhere to be seen and the table it hadbeen on was upside down.

there was a question i wanted to ask, but i didnt ask it.

but then johnson askd it—

wherere we goin?

i dunno D quality?

you have a key?

D smiled.

wherd you get it?

todd? andy guesd

D said nothing. she was quite pleasd with herself.


So this place quality orwhatever—

a space. a cavernous, empty, space. no stage, no bar, no items for 
sale, not even storage. just a couch, a lamp, a mannekin, and a piano.

what is this place? i askt

quality D

but i mean, what is it?

whado you want it to be? andy

why dont you just ask it, a-l D who makes

money on this piece of property?

well who does?

nobody D

then who takes care of it?

we do D

athens, she means madi

so the city maintains a wasted—or an empty—space,

in the middl a downtown.

not empty. quality andy if a store or someshit opend up

here, we wouldnt have quality.

not to mention where would todd keep his overflow? johnson

and where would paul and ort live? booty-d

along the back wall, theyd sectiond off four things that lookd like a cross between a room and a cubicle [ they call em roomicles ]  the walls only went eightfeet up, musta been as big a section of drywall as they could get their hands on.

each of the roomicles had a door, numberd 1 thru 4. just
then door 2 opend, and out walkd paul, rubbing his electric hair.

didnt know you were home paul D sorry.

paul squinted.

i didnt know either, i went to get more gummy

salamanders and i musta dozedoff orsomethin,

what time is it?

latethirty D

justbefore sunrise madi

satur day?

friday madi

oh good.

then door 1 opend and ort walkd out,
wearin a unionsuit and eatin from a styrafoam bowl.

mmmm , brunswick stew, ladled out

this mornin by lula mae hutchison herself at philomath groshry, she wont reveal the secret ingredient but she will tell ya she learnd it from her grandaddy ike eldridge who got the recipe from colonel avery pomeroy while they servd together in the 44th georgia volunteer infantry. before ike built the groshry they use to serv it outa the back of philomath presbyterian church, they didnt even put up a sign when the stew was on, you could smell it from the old post office clear down to maxwell and sons funeral parlor on walker road, where they liked to say if its dead, well bury it

its like nighta the livin dead in here, i feel like we should run.

on cue, someone started playin the opening theme from nighta the living dead on the piano.

it was taylor. his eyes were closed. he was so relaxd the music seemd to flow outof him.

he transitiond to a lovely melody, it sounded familiar
but i couldnt place it. so i askd.

donknow the name of it taylor, still playin the one they

closed with at titepockets. the first band, the one that

could actialy play their instruments.

he kept playin til he came to a part where he askd,

is this right?

he playd the tune. it was close, but slitely off.

that spillainish trumpet, you remember?

wait, are you justnow figuring this out?

tryin to.

after hearin it one time? while tending

bar? on nyquil?


he tried it again.

you have an amazing memory.

not realy. i just pay atention.

This, i think, is when i first began to suspect that the problem with my memry all along, maybe it wasnt realy my memry. maybe i just wasnt payin atention. or not the right kind of atention. what if the reason my memory couldnt access past events was that my mind never made a permanent record of em in the firstplace?

i been workin on that. i think i m gettin better. if i can remember all the shit im tellin you  i must be, altho they say you never forget your firsday, well i hope thats true.

when the song was over, bootydharma requested layla.

taylor crackt his nuckles and the restofus [ including paul and ort ] sat down and lissend.

i dont care what yall say about eric clapton,φ the piano part of that song is intense, especialy the way taylor playd it. nobody said a word til he was finishd.

the silence persisted for nearly a minute, infact.

til D finely said—

so yall wana look at some records?

todd’s warehouse was bigger than it lookd, maybe twice the size of a large selfstorage unit, minus a ceiling.

there were records, of course. crates and crates of records. along all four walls, two and sometimes three deep, stact well past the topa the walls id say twelv feet high atleast.

and one rickety wooden ladder.

im certain there were records in here which could not be retrievd without atleast tenhours of laborpower and a willingness to risk ones life.

even tho it was goodsized room, because of all the records it was quite intimate for the seven of us. i know its hard to keeptrack so here they are— me andy D johnson madi booty-d taylor.

am i leavin anybody out?

jesse! i almost forgot. when we first went into todds warehouse, D cut on the light and who should we find, bundled up in a sleepinbag in amongst the records, but jesse? i think hed been asleep when we came in, but he gotup to hangout with us.

we sat in a circle on the floor, eight of us, indian style, it was comradic as shit. nearly ceremonial, minus the ceremony acourse. unless the ceremony was to openly marvel at the quantity of records.

well, and to smoke pot.

i watched the pipe make its way around the circle.

when it came to me—

i took it.

one puff, and nearly four years of sobriety went up in smoke. literaly and metaphoricly.

i began to observ what i guess youd call an auditory hallucination. i could hear the records whispring. very softly, mind you. but when you added em all up it was definatly audible. for a minnit there i wonderd if we werent all hearin it.

eventialy andy spokeup—

if church was like this, id go to it.

this is church D were makin it church.

i had to ask—

d you know how many it was hard to say the word in here

r,records, todd has?

in here? D or total?

total i guess.

i have a pretygood idea.

three hundred thousand johnson


more than that?

D was quiet.

justell us andy

im onna hafta plead bartleby on this

one yall, id prefer not to.

why you gota be like that, D? johnson

i dont wannit gettin back to todd.

atleast tell me johnson i dont live in athens,

i can actialy keep a secret.

cant risk it, sorry dudes. if it got back to todd

hed lose it. he can barely keepitogether as it is.

i chimed in—

he knows, i think. i heard im say he had a hundred


todd had ahundredthousan records by the time he was

in highschool dude. hes fiftytwo now, do the math.

and its not a steady slope orwhatever, its a parabola.

ive been to his house jesse theres only like two hundred

thousand records there. unless hes got secretrooms.

how does he live with that many records? me

he doesnt live there andy he just keeps his records there.

he has a house just for records? me

two houses D said that

you could hear pin drop.

theres another house? andy finely askd

D nodded.

and its huge. and its full of records.

[ a moment of silence ]

my god johnson

i would pay to see that booty-d

you dont wana see it, trustme. todd hadnt been there

in two years, he just sends his minions with crates and 

ladders, you cant get to the second story sep thru the

windows, their painted shut, we had to bust em out.

we must be talkin over a 

dont say it D its best not

to hav it out there.

hes just one step away from

complete madness johnson

one small step.

D shot back—

oh but arent we all?

Afterwards, we gotback in the van and booty-d drove around takin peeple to their houses—




when he finaly pointed the van towrd odd hill,
it felt like somethin was coming to an end.  i guess it was— the night.

but something else was just beginning.