We're Just Different Books to Read

For The Record 

 It wasn't spring yet, that was for certain, but it was light out despite the fact that she was losing daytime quickly - about an hour until sunset by the time she'd pushed open the door to For the Record and started combing the aisles. It felt like that had been only a couple minutes ago but her watch reminded her it had been closer to ten with every twist of her wrist.

 She'd shamelessly swiped her bus card throughout the day, left the car back at the parking lot of her apartment and set out with little in terms of an agenda. Playing with kittens at the shelter, stopping in a boutique or two and managing to narrowly escape the temptation to buy anything she'd have to drag back home. This was different though, too tempting to ignore from the second she'd caught sight of the chalkboard outside.

 A goddamn lucky day - just above freezing (which felt like a victory at this point), no snow except what lingered close to buildings and in gutters. And then this, a weekend long sale on a selection of female led acts and singers in celebration for International Women's Day. As she anticipated it wasn't a lot, picked over for the most part and predominantly offerings brought to the table by small record labels most couldn't be bothered to name.

 And while she wasn't exactly a vinyl elitist or even a record person - supporting a place like this checked all the remaining boxes on her feel-good radar. Careful with each shrink wrapped record as she danced her fingers over the offerings and judged by album art and track list's alone. Probably not the most effective way to find new music but, she didn't mind at the price point of most of the LP's.

 Carefully, she set the two she'd settled on so far between her legs on the carpet and tilted her head back to look at the display shelf. The one right in front of her, a whole cover of black with one the tiniest sized text in a deep blue in the far bottom right. Curious enough, she rocked forward onto the balls of her feet - not too short but still struggling as she stretched out and wiggled her fingers to try to get a hold on the record without pulling on the shelf or making a mess in the process.

Times like this, she wished she was carry and not an expert in napping and hallucinating.


It was nice of his mother to let him go out again. Like, not as a fox that she couldn't control, but as her son doing normal teenager things.

She of course still lingered nearby, having driven him here and all, but she was sweet enough not to hover. He really hadn't gotten a chance to celebrate his birthday — he'd been blind after all and unpredictable and more often than not an animal trying to get out of the room he'd been confined to. This was a... well over three months' overdue sort of treat for him.

Speaking of that animal. It was starting to... deliver images of some sort to him, when it took over (which felt like it happened a little less so far this month). That guy who'd found him and explained what he was — he was starting to understand that to be true. Starting to maybe think he should look for that paper with his number and ask if he had any more information.

In the meantime, he'd picked up some records and was on his way to buy them when he squinted some and saw a girl struggling to reach something. The chattering sounds — what he'd learned to be the fox, apparently commenting on everything — went all on his head, his fox suspicious of any and everyone and wanting mostly to swat at them, whether they were, uh, like him or not. Thankfully, he resisted the urge.

"Need help?" he asked good-naturedly, pausing a few feet behind her. He could have just rolled in and done it for her, but that wasn't his way. Neither was just walking on by.

 "If you don't mind, that'd be great." Yet to give up as she swore the very tips of her fingers just brushed against the cling wrap around the record. Exhaling as she dropped back, gave up and stepped back, finally looking over as she gave him the room to grab it. "Think I'm shrinking, it's a real bummer." Mumbled to fill the gap as she picked up the small stack of records she'd grabbed already, held them to her chest and grimaced as she covered the surface of them as best she could.

It wasn't that she was ashamed per say, just .... she didn't know what she was buying really and if he did - awkward. The last thing she needed was a middle school 'fake fan' moment.

He huffed in humor, finding her kinda spunky. Jamaal wasn't more than a few inches above her, but that would prove to be enough as he neared. The fox chattered and crooned away.

"Here you go," he offered the record once he'd managed it down. "So do you actually have a record player for these things?"

He didn't.

 "Thanks, man." It didn't look half as cool up close, the embossed pattern on the front she'd thought she'd seen, apparently, a trick of the shrink wrap and the light combined. Still, she'd be an asshole to ask him immediately to put it back so - she'd suffer. Maybe it was good, maybe it would be a lesson in not judging books, or whatever.

 "Nothing too fancy, I know people spend like almost a grand on their system, but ..." Her own set-up a mix of Amazon, craigslist adds, and Black Friday deals. "... Don't you?" No judgment, just ... a lot like hanging out at the bike shop without even a frame at home.

A closer look at her (eyes still weren't top of their game) and he realized she had piercings of some kind. Huh.

It was cool she actually did have one. He laughed a little sheepishly and shook his head. "Nah. I mean, we used to, but I just collect 'em for the art now. Kinda feels like it's been going through a renaissance lately."

Big words from a guy who had brand new eyes.

"Uh, Jamaal, by the way."

He held his hand out to shake.

 "Definitely a comeback. Still, there's no shame in what you're doing, I'm - a lot of this," She moved her arm to the side, flashed the cover of the album closest to her body before she tucked the stack against her side again, "I'm just testing because it looks up my ally." Listen to a certain type of music for long enough, you started to notice your personal preferences in all things.

 She took his hand, gave it a gentle squeeze and a quick shake. "Dakota, it's nice to meet you."

That was cool, being willing to try new things. Jamaal appreciated that a lot.

"Dakota, nice to meet you," he said, and about now it was polite to like, move on from having helped a stranger and all, but! "You have a facebook or insta or something? We could swap music recs some time if you're down for that."

For all the fox was chattering in his brain, it was really nice to be able to offer that.

 The idea of sharing her Instagram made her stomach fall into her small intestine. 'Hey Jamaal, look at the potato salad I ate on Thursday, by the way I really like Streetlight Manifesto'. The second best option was clear - the far more quiet one. "Sure we can be Facebook friends - you got your phone?" She shifted her hold on her records and pulled out her own, tapped the screen to life.

"Dakota Mendoza - no fancy spelling. The states, M-e-n-d-o-z-a."

She was down for it. Score for a new friend. "Dakota... Mennndozaaa," he spelled out as he tapped onto his search field (on a new phone his mother had gotten him, thankfully).

"Oop, got a few," he announced, and he turned the screen to her to let her pick who she was and friend herself off his account.

 "Really?" Sounding almost doubtful as she pocketed her phone and carefully took his to scroll down a bit as she looked through one after the other. Interesting, she'd never tried to search herself before. "There," She tapped the button besides one with a photo of her that was a couple years old, a selfie taken in the back of a truck back in Nebraska - the last time she'd updated her location from the looks of it.

 Her phone pinged and she pulled it out, smirked at the name under the notification and accepted it then and there. "That settles it, we're official - your friendship bracelet will arrive in five to seven business days."

He let out a genuine heheh kind of laugh. "I'll be looking forward to it," he nodded, and then lifted his hand (frought with records as it was) in a sort of goodbye sort of wave.

"See you around?"

 "Sure will," And she tried to make a mental note to send him a recommendation or two within a week or so - just a pop in to prove that she hadn't been talking out of her ass. "Have a good one - thanks again for your help." Wiggling just the fingers of the hand that kept her own record stack close to her body.

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