It was late at night and no, it wasn’t too late, because Hastings was still open in the mall. But it was dark, and I was in my Honda Civic. Maybe my engine was idling. I was on my way somewhere, possibly home, after an uneventful day slinging popcorn at the theater. Someone might have been in the car with me. Could it have been Allen? I doubt it was Ronnie. Anyway, the lot was quiet and I was parked under an amber light.
I had just stopped by Hastings after getting off work, as I usually did, just to check and see what was out and what was new and what I wanted to buy next.
Craig and Ric appeared nearby. For whatever reason, they were in the parking lot, too. They saw me as well, and sidled up to the window. I was pretty sure they were headed over to Ric’s house for practice.
“Nothing,” I said. “Hey, how would you rate that Arcadia album? You have it, right?” I knew perfectly well he had it because I’d seen him reading the cassette liner notes in the booth recently. It was a loaded question; I knew he liked it. I guess I wanted him to convince me to buy it.
It was like I’d lit up a sparkler. “So Red the Rose? It’s great.”
“On a scale of one to ten?”
“I’d give ‘The Promise’ ten out of ten.”
And that was it. But I think about that little exchange almost every time I put this album on.