Jailbreak: Part 4

In The 80's on March 31, 2012 at 10:07 am

We head to the record store. We purposely act pre-occupied, as if we couldn’t be bothered. We saunter into the Trumbull Graf’s like it’s an afterthought- perhaps we ‘veered’ in by accident. (The long haired guys are no good up close- they’re ancient. Twenty-seven if they’re a day)

As we walk by the registers, towards the fields of records and cassettes,under banners of rock posters and hanging t-shirts, we sense we’re being checked out, and we know how to play the game. We make no eye contact, as we’re being tracked by at least a few male shoppers in our age group. We pay special attention to our movements, knowing we’re on display. I venture into the vast collection of records, which are divided by musical style, and in alphabetical order. I  head to ‘S’ to check out the Scorpions, and Saxon, just for Starters.

Darla is quickly caught in a web, and within a minute is flipping through the poster display with some guy who looks like the singer in The Cars. He’s wearing a horizontally striped black and white shirt, black jeans and sunglasses fit for the blind. I think he’s an employee. Blondie’s ‘Heart Of Glass’ is just ending, and the Police’s ‘Walking On The Moon’ begins. I can’t stand New Wave music, but I defend to death anyone else’s right to listen to it. Ok- maybe not defend to death, but I’d at least suffer through a slap or two. Maybe. I think.

I love the sight of album cover art in the afternoon…

I flip through the S’s and pull out some older Scorpions albums, mostly to be seen holding them, as I already own all of their stuff.

“Oh MY GOD! LOOK AT THAT ROCKER CHICK!” I hear someone yell loudly.

I look up.  Oh, brother! Literally. It’s my brother, Rob. He’s pointing right at me, and heading in my direction with his two sidekicks, Steven and Paul. He’s spinning his keys around on his index finger because he’s cocky, like he has the world by the tail. He’s wearing his black satin roadie jacket and fingerless driving gloves. His buddies are from the Norwalk High School Bears football team and are wearing their jerseys to prove it.

“What up, Sissie?” he says when we meet halfway. 

“What’s up with you?” I say, my standard response to the ‘what’s up’ question. Let them go first.

“We’re having a little soirée tonight at the Manor! Everyone’s gone till Wednesday!” he says, putting his keys in his jacket pocket and then rubbing his hands together. “You’re coming, right? Bring some beer!”

‘Everyone’ is my Dad, step-mother and two younger brothers. The Manor is our house- the place I used to live, before moving in with my mom. After the very dramatic Rich incident.

“Where are they?” I ask.

“Mount Snow. Brattleboro.”

Ah…skiing in Vermont.

“Well, good thing I saw you!” I say, ‘otherwise I wouldn’t have known” I say, enjoying the opportunity to act slighted.

“Oh, Annie!” he says, imitating my father, who calls me by my middle name “I already called Mom and gave her the message. You’ll see when you get home!” 

“Oh.” Guess I can’t argue with that.

‘Rock Lobster’ starts to play. Darla squeals. I look over to see she’s still full-on flirting with her new friend.  She’s doing a ridiculous dance holding her nose and shimmying up and down, her free hand wiggling in the air above her head.

Darla is one of those people who can be ‘into’ whatever music is trendy at the moment. I’m much more stubborn, and fight trends like they are cheap knock-offs sent from the Universe to annoy the crap out of me personally. Unless, of course- the trend appeals to me, and then I’m all in. I feel I’m more loyal, (and admittedly  superior)  staying true to one ‘scene’ (like I’m somehow more ‘real’) but others sometimes see it as being close minded. Either way- I’m getting tired of being bombarded with New Wave songs. I glance at the record store clerks working the registers, and note they are both wearing skinny ties. The New Wave isn’t going to end anytime soon, and even if it does- these guys wouldn’t play hard rock if you paid them double and put a gun to their heads. 

The Cars? Or C.A.M? (Clerks Against Metal)

“Are you getting anything here?” I ask my brother, ever interested in other people’s record store purchases.

Paul pipes up: “He’s getting the Debby Boone album!” We all laugh.

“I’m getting ‘2112’ actually…” Rob says.

“Whaaat? That’s so old! You already have that!” I say.

“Yeah, but I lost it on cassette, and I wanna listen to it in the car” he says. Rob’s big on steering wheel drumming and Neil Peart is his guy.

“Well….yeah, I always liked that album.” I admit, and then gift them with some tone-deaf ‘singing’: “We’ve been smokin’ Lebanon….” and then pantomime taking a hit off of a joint. Everyone smiles. (The actual lyrics are ‘Wreathed in smoke in Lebanon’ but none of us know that)

“Who are you here with?” my brother asks. I point to Darla.

“Oh, shit!” Rob gasps, “I think it’s time to go!”

Darla and my brother- much like Jess and Darla- have a love/hate relationship. Something about Darla rubs certain guys the wrong way- I don’t know if it’s because she’s loud and outspoken. It’s somewhat perplexing, because she’s an attractive girl, and -not to be weird- she has big boobs. Which seem to be a feature lots of guys approve of in a tunnel-vision kind of way.

“What time tonight?” I ask about the party.

Rob laughs. “We’re picking up a keg from Pathmark Liquor after we leave here- and I don’t know about anyone else- but the party starts then as far as I’m concerned!” 

Rambunctious energy ensues from the left.

“Roooooob! What are YOU doing here?”

Darla plows into our circle like a freight train, and practically topples my brother down while wrapping herself around him. She plants a kiss on his cheek, which Rob immediately wipes away.  He looks frightened. Me, Paul and Steve look at each other with wide eyes as if to say “What the hell?” Darla releases Rob and proceeds to fake-punch Steve and Paul “What are you JOCKS doing in here?!”-as if sports and music don’t mix.

Darla was a concussion risk.


Darla’s all hopped up. She squeezes my arm (ow!) and whispers “Oh my God! I just met such a babe! He asked for my number!” She hugs herself, childlike with giddiness.

My brother stands there, rubbing his arm, and gives me the split second ‘what the hell?’ eyes. I just shrug.

“Welp! we’re gonna get going now!” my brother announces.

“ALREADY?” Darla yells straight into my ear. I wince.

“See ya!’ I say with a quick eye roll and wave.

Rob and his boys walk towards the back of the store, and I confer with Darla as to  where we can go to buy bodysuits for the gym. We decide to go back to Norwalk, and check out Body Designs. I still haven’t decided whether or not I’ll tell Darla about Rob’s party. I might just want to go by myself so I can spend the night and not have to drive anyone home. We leave Graf’s and walk towards the exit. Darla tells me all about Mr. New Wave- his name is Glenn, he’s from East Haven, blah blah. He’s going to call her tonight. They might go see the Talking Heads in concert. To me, it sounds like torture.


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