Mountainscape with a white cloud rising from behind dark storm clouds.

For him, “knowing someone” was in those days a major attribute of cool. It offered mystery, worldliness, and a sanitary bad-boy reputation. It was an association born from film noir, from the detective crawling through the city’s underbelly, flirting with femmes fatales and talking to friends on the other side of the law. The image of cool.

Those were also the days of cassette tapes and, like for anything in fashion, there was the cool option and the nerd option. Cool were the cassettes with metal tape costing twice as much as the six pack of cheap generic cassettes the nerds were using. It was supposed to be about quality but the packaging, gold lettering on dark backgrounds, advertised status.

In his memory, it started as an explanation of his new tapes. Logically an explanation that was never asked for. He wasn’t going to dethrone the acknowledged cool kid of the class (Bill, who had a ’77 Trans Am stocked with a large collection of music on metal tape cassettes) but he knew someone.

His French background meant that he passed as a Cuban-American. It also meant that he hated Lady Marmalade and was tired of telling people that he did not eat baguettes at home. Exotic at age when it feels weird.

Music was another avenue to cooldom. His fascination had started after he had embarrassed himself by announcing to the son of the sportscaster, two years late, the break up of the Beatles. Since then music magazines were his text books. His taste was guided by five star reviews and bands mentioned in hallowed tones.

He didn’t do it for the money. It was just enough to pay for a movie with popcorn. He did it to prove his words.

He picked up the five blank cassettes for Bill and stopped by the music section. The long plastic sleeves of the pre-recorded cassettes were supposed to stop shoplifting. He found that they helped avoid suspicious lumps in his coat. The store detective stopped him as he was leaving the area.

He got a monologue. The store detective told him he had been watching someone else. They’d walked away. Looking around, he saw someone looking at Mott the Hoople‘s All the Young Dudes. They weren’t all that well known so he always feels a little bit of kinship when he sees another fan. He’d seen them live at Ohio State back in ’74 and they were his favourite band. It had taken him a few seconds to even realize something had happened. Like in a magic trick, it was there until all of sudden it was like it had never been there. If it had been any other group, he probably would never had noticed that anything had happened but Mott had his undivided attention.

The store detective said he was doing him a great favour. Because he was a minor but mostly because of his taste in music. He’d been stopped before leaving the store, therefore he could still claim he was planning on paying. He was told to never set foot in the store again.

The next day he gave Bill his money back. He told him that word on the street was that his connection had been caught.

3 thoughts on “Connected”

    1. Thank you Dale. 🙂
      It’s one of the few songs that gets stuck in my head with just the title as the trigger. Most I have to listen to.

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