chapter 7


 -        -       -    –   - -  -  -  - -– -- low yo yo -- - –   -  -  –   -     -


When i got out of the cellphone booth, jesse was gone. i lookd up and down the block, across the street. no jesse. there were a couple dudes in front a the tatoo shop, smokin cigarets and lookin kinda tuff
but in a sensitiv way. i askd em if they knew where jesse went.

he said ‘not a bar’. so that leaves what? low yoyo and xray?

X-ray, and Yo-Yo-Yo?

they laughd.

low yoyo.

wheres that?

behind the fortywatt.

wheres the forty watt?

right there. . .

[ he jerkd a thum over his shoulder ]

dont get stressdout. its jesse whosevrywhere.

youll run into im.

So there it was, right under my nose.

or right above it.

40 watt club

, said the sign,

and the marquee read—

some shitty band from atlanta

OF COURSE  i started thinkin about neutralmilk—
sposedly you could see em here for five bucks back in the day— but
before i could get too far down that road, i was distracted by the sound
of two men arguing. i couldnt hear what they were sayin, but they
were definatly upset.

i folowd the voices around the corner . . .

into a parkinlot.

dont go thinkin im a good samaritan oranything.
i like to helpout as much as the next guy, maybe more. but for me the
ethics were only a sideffect. i was in it for the thanks.

i didnt see the guys anyway, whoever was arguin. it sounded like they were aroundback.

Low yoyo was kinda tuct away
back there in the alley nexto the dumpster. i didnt see a sign, but
it was obviusly a record store, cause all you could see thru the
storefront window was records.

the door was propt open, and out of it
spilld the voices of two men,  who, now that i could hear what
they were saying   it wasnt exactly an argument, it was more
like ‘spirited repartee.’

you have five copies of it, todd. five. and you

cant even locate one?

d,d’youknow what its like to own ahunred, ahunred,

ahunredthousand of something?

if we cleard half the shit outa here, we might actialy sell

some records. we could stash the rest of it in the warehouse,

itll sell faster on ebay than in the store i bet.

howmuch you wana bet?

i dont want a bet.

you said you wanted a bet. hhhhow much?

i walkd in at this point, tho they didnt stop talking for a second. but let me describe the store realquick—

you know those used bookstores in the french quarter that ve been there since the begining of time and acumulated so many books its hard to walk around? like that. exept records, not books. they werent just cramd in, tho, they were organized after a fashion, but ill get to that in a second. oh and jesse wasnt in here. altho at this point id almost forgoten i was lookin for im.

so the one dude—todd, the proprieter—lookd like mr. magoo
in his younger years, back when he was still playin a lot of tennis. todd
liked to punctuate his points by puttin his hands on his hips and lookin
around as if he had an aproving audience. i gues he did— me.

now the other dude—

dont worry about the otherdude. he was just a dude.

you dont even care do you? cause you dont actualy wana sell records.

you just want to amass them.

then what the hell do i own a recordstore for? and dont forget who

p,pays you

when was the lastime you paid me?


im serius todd.

remember that jjjoy division thing i got you?

thats not money. pay means money.

i p,pay peoplemoney.

people on ebay youv never met. but you dont pay me. and you

dont pay tony either. you keep sayin your goin to, and you keep

givin us more records. well guess what?

dont even think it.

oh im thinkin it. i dont want any more of your records. not even if

their ultra-rare. your gona hafta start givin me atleast a little bita

money or i cant keep workin here.

tho it was obvius that guy had no intention of quitting. you couldnt fire him. youd need a swat team to get im outa there i bet.

i pretended to look at records so i could eavs drop. then after a while i
was lookin at records. it was the way they were organized that drew me in.
instead of band names, you saw strange microgenres like post-gospel
and anti-neutch anti-neutch  .

captain beefheart took up an entire wall. it was organized into
three categories—

beef heart,

beef heart you want, and

beef heart you need

todd spoke up—

d’you realy notwant anymore a my records, or

were you jusbein hh hyperbolic?

i was tryinta make a point.

what is your p,pointagain?

money. thats how you pay people. didnt you

take economics?

i never ww

went to college, i know, you keep

remindin me a that like its a badge

of honor.

around here it is.

well i dropt outa college.

e,evrybody drops outa college.

not everybody todd. just evrybody you know.

a lota the fuckers that come in here have phds,

and they work at the taco stand.

a dude with a phd works at tacostand, whho is it?

not a dude todd, a chick. and its just partime, to

suplement her posdoc.

does she work inthefront or intheback?

you dont know her.

does she come in here?

once or twice.

you have a crush.

i do not, shes like eight years older than me.

ssso, my wifes older than me.

by like two years. plus you got your records. i, on the otherhand,


self esteem? is that why youll date a t,twenny year old   but

you wont

shes nineteen, actialy.

that Abbey chick is nine teen?  and shes already

comin in here? shes gona turnout arright. specially since she had the
good sense to dump you. sso whos this olderchick you got a crush on?

can we please just talkabout records?

you can probly guess my test of a good record store—

how much neutral milk do they have?

but this was athens, ofcourse they had it. there were genres aranged
around it, aparently.

still, you gota check.

it had its own section.

and a note sayin—

lots more in back just ask

in the aeroplane over the sea album cover

they had 16 copies  of aeroplane

i picked one of them up. felt the heft

its 180-gram vinyl.

but you probly knew that.

Ill never forget the firstime i heard it.
summer of 99,  id just broken up with my girlfriend of three years   and
was stayin with my friend charles at his place on MLK, sleeping on his
couch. thats where i was when he came home one night around 2 a.m.,
a little drunk with a crazed look in his eyes. in his hands was a copy
of aeroplane.  what we were about to do, he told me, was lissen to
this record. the whole thing, strait thru. without doin anything else.
without even talking.

as soon as he dropt the needle, he leand
over and whisperd—

this is gona blow your mind.

and it did.

and music hasnt been the same for me since.

i almost wana ask you to lissen to it now, if you hadnt
heard it yet. in the aeroplane over the sea by neutral milk hotel. and
not just random shit on youtube while you fuckaround on facebook.
the whole thing.

but speakin of, id been meanin to make a CD of bootlegs and rarities for my cousin. i tookout my phone to program a reminder—

course it wasnt my phone, it was jesses. my phone was in the
other pocket.

sorry man no sell fones.

[ that was dude ]

its not actualy mine.

dudnt matter.

wwhat are you, my henchman now?

[ todd gave me a simpathetic look ]

you said no sel fones [ dude said ]

thats only for outatowners.

you said evrybody.

you knowhat that means.

my instinct was to protest that i was an
out of towner. altho it was quickly overcome by a blush of pride
that id been mis taken for a local.

dude went outside with his tail between his legs, joind the tough sensitiv dudes smokin infronta the tatoo shop.

Just me and todd in here now. i felt exposed. he took one look at me and seemd to understand evrything. atleast evrything a recordstore owner would need to know, which is a lot.

welcome to lowyoyo, lookin for anything special?

not realy.

hhowlong you been intown?

oh, no— im not in town...

you figured out how to be in t,two places at once?

[ his deadpan delivery nearly got by me ]

im just visiting. from texas.

if you found lowyoyo already you got a chance,

i spose your a fan.

of who?


[ was i that obvius? ]

i guess so, yeah.

you dont hafta hide it around here, evrybodys a fan

exept me, you need one a those b,bluerose things?

[ ill explain later ]

actialy, i might.

ill give you one if you come in on the rightday.

give it to me?

wellnot g,give. but let you hav it at a goodprice—  less than half a what it goesfor on ebay. course if you wannit for free we could arrange somethin. if you feel like m,movin some records around.

i turnd him down. i had a feeling one afternoon of work would turn into weeks or even months. a strange feeling i admit, considering i was leavin tomoro.


I left low-yoyo and started walkin down washintong, headin
vaguely for the hotel i think, it just seemd important to keep moving. i
made my way thru the weaving pedestrians and the cigaret smoke and
the buzz, i tried to screen it out   but it somehow got into me, it felt like
i was on drugs for a second

then i crashd.

i guess the 5-hour-energy wore off orsomethin,
cause allofasudden i had to sit down.

but lookit—

a bench. an empty bench!

i pounced on it.

it was a nice bench—rought-iron frame, wood slats smooth from years of bein sat on. a leafy ornamental grew on either side. the word arbor comes to mind.

i propt an elbow on the armrest, put my chin in my hand,
felt my eyelids gettin heavy. a little shut  eye could be just what the
doctor orderd, clear my head. just a few winks acourse, then i can
take care of etcetera. just a few winks first, and then etcetera

the thousand overlapping conversations, the laughter
and the shouts, the music spillin outa the bars, all that i could ignore.
but the one thing i couldnt tune out was kermit the frog, singing rainbow
connection. i think it was a record. the record musta had a scratch in it
cause kermit kept singing—

So weve been told and some choose to believe it,
so weve been told and some choose to believe it, so weve been told and some choose
to believe it

keep scrolling

over and over and over, as i drifted off to sleep