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The Record Shop by Raven Starr
Clive didn’t have to think, he knew what his wife would have done. She would have made him homemade soup. She would’ve catered to his every whim. She was selfless. He dropped his head in shame.
“Oh stop with the feelings of guilt now. You’ve both given your wives the best present ever.”
Roger and Clive exchange a worried glance.
“What is that?” Roger sniffed.
Clive snickered. “Freedom from what?”
Mr. Diabolus lowered his gaze. “Freedom from you from always coming in second to your crazy obsessions. Each time you chose the records over your mate brought you closer to me, closer to your true fate, to your new home.”
“This is madness! You can’t keep us here!”
“Are you sure about that? Who’s looking for you? Your wives? Did you even tell them exactly where you were going? Did you?”
Clive fell back on to the dusty floor in defeat.
Mr. Diabolus laughed. “Don’t look so glum, chum. You’ll get used to it. This is what you cared about most. The Holy Grail for your massive collection.”
“Let me out. Let me go back to my wife and I’ll make her breakfast in bed. I’ll spend more time as a family doing things together. Give me one more chance, please! I’m beggin you.”
“Oh don’t beg dear boy, that won’t help you. How many times did you say the very same thing to her? How many times did you promise to show her you’ve changed?”
“This is my third shot. I wanted to show her how much I love her. I have changed. I can be the man she sees in my eyes.” Clive paused.
“And—” Mr. Diabolus probed.
“I couldn’t fight the call to be here. I told her I’d stay if she wanted me too. I don’t live in New York and I figured since she’s a homebody I could see the sites. It was just gonna be for a few hours I thought. . .”
“Yes, I know exactly what you thought. Let me show you your wife.” The crafty owner pulled out a record and spun it like a basketball on the tip of his ginger. Like a black and white tv full of static the blurry image appeared in the grooves. Clive saw his wife lying in bed. Her body hot with fever. Each time she coughed the bed shook. Her eyes were swollen and her hair was a mess. Their children jumped up and down on the bed while the oldest ducked out to hang with friends. Clive’s heart sank. Here was the woman he claimed to love surely she could’ve used his help, but he was no where to be seen. How wasn’t he there helping her?
“I’m so sorry, my love. I’m so very sorry.”
“Oh stop it. She’s not here you don’t have to act so pussy whipped.”
“I love her, damn you!” Clive shouted.
“Obviously not enough. How much is too much? How long could she stand playing second fiddle to your precious ebony disks? It’s not everyday you get to get see her, stroke her soft tawny skin or feel her breathe on the back of your neck. Three strikes and your out, my friend.”
“Nooo,” Clive dove at Mr. Diabolus but found himself crashing into another row of records. “What the fuck!” Clive stared at his hands.
“The only things you can truly touch are these. . .” Mr. Diabolus tossed him an album. Clive fingered the smooth black surface. He cradled the record like a newborn child.
“So what happens to us now?” Roger asked.
“You stay here and hunt forever and ever and ever.”