Sully stops short. Bubbles, a half step behind him, her eyes skyward, blunders right into his back. Her Wawa latte does a perfect double back flip before it explodes on the sidewalk.
“Shit, Sully!” squeaks Bubbles, “There goes my coffee! What are you doing?”
Sully, furrowing his brow, says nothing. He sniffs the air. Head swiveling slowly, he sniffs again.
“What is it?” says Bubbles. “Sully?”
“Over there ‘round that next block.”
He cuts through the idling traffic and darts around the corner. Bubbles scrambles after him. As soon as she rounds the corner she sees what this little drama is about. Just ahead she sees a crummy storefront shop, with those folding accordion gates, one of them lazily pushed open. The sign above the door reads, “The Vinyl Solution—Records and Tapes Bought and Sold”.
“Un-fucking-believable.” thinks Bubbles. “He can smell a record shop, around a corner, blocks away . . .”
Clacking her tongue stud against her teeth, she pushes open the sticky door into the gloomy shop. As her eyes adjust to the dingy light, she takes in the layers upon layers of promotional posters, covering everything, creating a sort-of archeological sedimentary strata of pop music. Bits of Elvis could be seen underneath a headless Rod Stewart, topped by Madonna’s ass poking out behind a paint-by-numbers portrait of Beck, with his eyes blocked out by a Radiohead Kid A sticker. Amongst the cacophony of the garish rock and roll boy’s fantasy imagery, Bubbles eyes fall on a stark black and white poster of some jazz guy with a trumpet. The sharp highlights give his black skin the look of burnished metal. Without taking her eyes off the poster, she sidles up to Sully and asks, “Who’s that?” Sully, methodically combing the rows of CDs, doesn’t respond. She bangs the row of CDs down, pinching his fingers between Clouds Taste Metallic and the Soft Bulletin. He lets out a yelp.
“Ow-ow-ow-ow-ow. Bubbles, what the . . . Who? Oh, that’s Miles Davis. He’s cool.”
“Do you have any of his music?”
“Yeah, I’ve got a couple of disks. Kind of Blue and Bitches Brew.”
“Do you ever play them? I’ve never heard you play his stuff.”
“Well . . . you know, it’s kind of chill-out music. Umm, not Bitches Brew, though, that’s pretty out there.”
“Kin I borrow them? I’d like to hear what they sounds like.”
“Um, yee-ah. I guess. Just don’t, like, lose the booklets or crack the jewel boxes. And don’t lend them to any of your roommates. And, hey, Bubs? Have you got a few bucks? I found this import maxi-single of Grandaddy’s El Caminos In the West with two unreleased tracks from the Sumday sessions, which would cost a lot more if I tried to order it online, so I’ll pay you back, you know, soon, and . . .”
Three months later the thing with Sully is like, so over. However, the Davis CDs remain in her possession. He’d sent a couple of huffy emails, demanding the return of his property, but screw it. She figured they were even, considering the constant sponging she’d endured for the thirteen months they were together.
Her relationship with Kind Of Blue, however, had become a different matter. Sometime after midnight, when her roommate’s mindless yakking and banging about has diminished, she settles into the hammock on the porch with a cup of green tea, and the last of the day’s Marlboro lights. She had run speaker wires out her bedroom door, up around the living room ceiling, and through the bathroom to put the speakers in the window by the porch. Though she grooves all day to her iPod mixes, she doesn’t like to listen to dinky, squished-down mp3s of Kind of Blue. The music sounds more three-dimensional, more enveloping, through those big, old fat speakers. She fires up a cigarette, and slowly releases her first drag, letting the smoke rise up and mix with the ephemeral piano chords that introduce the first track. As she gazes to the south, over the tops of the buildings, looking towards the river, the music and the sounds of the midnight city become one.
Bubbles Meets the Prince of Darkness
International Assholes' Day
Bubbles Runs the Voodoo Down
Bubbles Takes a Magic Carpet Ride
Big Brown lets Bubbles Down
Bubbles, Baked and Fried
Bubbles, Biff and Binny
Bubbles and the 99 cent Epiphany
Bubbles' Trip To See the Doctor
The Doctor and the Prince of Darkness Meet Again
The Doctor and the Naked Glory
More Troubles for Bubbles
What a Lame Vacation
In Careless Act, 17 Drown, 3 Survive.