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Fiction Funny Adventure

Lyric Bass blows the steam off her mochaccino.

“Are you still looking for the right song for your advertising campaign?”

Brice Bass closes the lid of his laptop. Taking off his glasses, he rubs his tired eyes.

“Yeah, nothing seems to fit.”

“What about Derry Dalrymple’s ‘By the Colour of Your Dreams?’ Great song. Great album. It’s very sentimental and sad yet uplifting at the same time. I think it fits because you’re selling the idea of a theme park where fantasies come true.”

Brice’s boyish features brighten. “That’s perfect! And I love that song!”

“Parents our age will remember it, and the cool teens who follow music all know the tragic story of the Dalrymple brothers.”

“Yeah, they were big, then the older brother, Darren, died,” Brice recalls. “Derry went off to find himself. All he found was trouble.”

Lyric brushes her strawberry blonde hair away from her face. “I heard he joined a commune, that the girls there stole his money and fed him loads of LSD. They say his mind’s been mush ever since.”

“That’s one of the rumors,” Brice replies. “I heard he and Darren had a big argument over touring and Derry pulled a knife on him. Then Derry quit the band and recorded his solo album. Their manager wanted the brothers to stay together, so he got the record company to stop selling Derry’s album and had him blackballed throughout the industry.”

“Well, if their manager backed Darren, he backed the wrong Dalrymple,” Lyric says. “Imagine, you’re in the biggest band in the world, you go out for a steak dinner, and boom…you choke to death.”

“Hey, meat kills.”

“I’d sure like to hear Derry’s album again. It was pure genius. A mixture of James Taylor, Nick Drake, and Tony Joe White, topped off with Derry’s beautiful voice.”

“Yeah. It’s an underground classic,” Brice agrees. “Ten years later and there are a few copies still floating around. They go for thousands of bucks.”

“Wow. It’d be great to have a copy of that album.”

Brice bops into Music Meister, the local record store. Traffic’s “Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys” is playing in the background, and the smell of patchouli fills the air.

“It’s like stepping into the seventies every time I come in here,” Brice says to Boogie Brennan, the store’s long-haired owner.

“Do you have a copy of Derry Dalrymple’s ‘By the Colour of Your Dreams?’”

“In your dreams, Brice. Do you know how hard it is to get a copy of that album? It’s really rare. It’s right up there with the Beatles’ butcher cover or Robert Johnson’s ‘Me and the Devil Blues'.”

“I want to get it for Lyric for Christmas.”

“Great idea. Lemme see If I can order it,” Boogie says, looking at his computer screen. “I’m connected to six rare record dealers, one in New York, two in Boston, two in London, and one in Istanbul.”

“Istanbul?”

“He deals in a lot of rare imports if you get my drift. Let’s see…Nope…Nope…Ha…My contact in Istanbul sold one two weeks ago for three grand.”

“That’s like two hundred seventy bucks per song.”

“Sorry, man. Try E-bay.”

Brice laughs contentedly as he watches the countdown for his auction. His $1,500 bid for a sealed copy of  “By the Colour of Your Dreams” is winning by a wide margin with only a minute left.

Other interested audiophiles make a flurry of bids in the final ten seconds.

“No worries,” he says confidently. “I’m still five hundred dollars up.”

The auction ends. Brice reaches for his credit card, preparing to pay for his prize.

He receives an e-mail with a frowning emoji and a message reading, “You didn’t win this auction.”

The winning bid was $1,501.

Brice steps into Cleveland Rocks, the biggest record store in the city. Situated in a former meatpacking store, Cleveland Rocks boasts a catalog of millions of records, CDs, 45s, and tapes.

In the far corner, seemingly a half mile away is a section entitled “Rare Collector’s Items.”

Overwhelmed by the selection, Brice picks out albums by Miller Anderson, Tim Buckley, and Jim Capaldi.

Brice begins thumbing through the Ds. He contains a yip of joy when he sees the cover for “By the Colour of Your Dreams.”

Surrounded by a cosmic background of moons and stars, a young boy wearing a turban holds a magic lamp. Rising from a stream of white smoke, his arms crossed, is a Derry Dalrymple, playing the role of genie. The album’s title is embossed in gold across the bottom. The photo on the back of the album shows Derry sitting on a stool, intently strumming a guitar.

A bushy-haired woman in granny glasses looks over his shoulder.

“Whoa, that’s a classic. I lost my virginity to that one.”

Brice smiles politely, choking back the urge to laugh hysterically.

“Three hundred dollars is a bargain for that one,” she says.

“Sure is,” Brice says, reaching for it.

The woman snatches up the album. Holding it close to her ample bosom, she says, “Get your hands off my record!”

“You record? I saw it first.”

“Possession is all that matters, John Denver.”

“You think I look like John Denver?” he asks reaching for the album.

“Yeah, and you’re just as wimpy,” she replies, yanking the album back in her direction.

The two dig in, pulling the album back and forth.

“It’s mine!”

“It’s mine, wimpy!”

They pause, looking down at the album. The wrapping is torn open, and the cover is bent, indicating the record inside is mangled and scratched.

“It’s all yours,” the woman says.

Brice creeps down the stark concrete steps into a damp, dark basement.

He passes a group of unkept, scrawny men in leather jackets sipping Demitasse who are examining albums with magnifying glasses.

In another corner, a man with a towering punk hairdo is dropping twenty-dollar bills on a table. He gives a pasty woman with orange hair sitting across from him a pleading glance. Hugging an album, she taps at the table, indicating she wants the man to keep dropping twenties.

Brice walks up to the cash register. He impatiently waits for a few seconds, then rings the bell for service.

A clown comes out.

“Oh Jesus, I hate clowns,” Brice mutters.

“You think I wanna walk around all day in pancake makeup with big shoes honking a horn?”

Looking around the basement, Brice says, “Maybe I’m in the wrong place. This is Honkin’ on Bobo Records, isn’t it?”

“It is, and I’m Bobo, and  I’ve got two ex-wives with Bergdorf tastes, hence the outfit and me workin’ two gigs. What are you lookin’ for?”

“Derry Dalrymple.”

“A popular request,” Bobo says, giving Brice a toothy smile. “I got some real good stuff in the back. Follow me.”

Passing dog-eared posters of John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, and The Band, the clown leads Brice into the back room, where a humungous man with a Mohawk sits in a tiny chair resealing CDs.

“Take a break, Elton,” Bobo says harshly.

The clown rifles through a crowded closet, pulling out a suitcase. Inside are dozens of albums and CDs.

“I’ve got live concerts he did with Darren, demos, unreleased songs, even Christmas messages.”

Bobo grins greedily. An image of John Wayne Gacy dressed as a clown races across Brice’s mind.

“Just his solo record, thanks.”

Rooting through the albums, Bobo pulls one out.

Brice examines the album. A headshot of Derry adorns the cover. A banner with the title in white letters runs across the bottom of the album. Underneath, in italics, is “Former Dalrymple Brothers guitarist!”

“It’s sealed, never been played,” Bobo says enthusiastically.

“I can see that. But the cover is different.”

“It’s the original cover.”

Brice flips the album over. “Are you sure? His solo album was on Island Records. This says Mutha Trucker Records. Even some of the songs are different. I mean, I’ve never heard ‘Round, Round, She’s Very Round,’ or ‘Come Over By the Window and I’ll Help You Out.’”

“Bonus cuts.”

“I think this is a bootleg.”

Bobo’s friendly sales smile begins to fade. “I say the album is the real deal.”

Brice slowly puts the album down.

“Maybe you’d like an album of duets he did with Lady Gaga?”

“No, I’m good.”

“How about with Dean Martin?”

“Ummm, Dean Martin died in 1995,” Brice says.

“So?”

“That was the year Derry was born.”

“He was a child prodigy. C’mon. buddy, I’ve also got five brats to feed.”

“Maybe next time,” Brice says, backing away.

He bumps into Elton.

“You might wanna try eBay,” Elton whispers.

“You mean you crossed the pond in the hope of finding Derry’s record?”, Vic Volta asks. Bald and tubby with a heavy cockney accent, Volta seems more like a lorry driver than one of England’s most successful record shop owners.

“Please tell me you have it.”

“Had it, mate. Can’t keep it in the bins. Soon as I get one, it’s out the door the same day.”

“I thought Derry lived nearby…”

“Sure. That don’t mean he comes ‘ere droppin’ off records like some rock n’ roll elf. Swore off the music business, he did. I hear he don’t even own a guitar no more.”

“Is it true he’s into horses now?” Brice asks.

“You could say that mate.”

“Well, if you don’t have his album, maybe I could go to his farm and ask him for one.”

“You a big fan of ‘is?”

“Why?”

“It’s just that folks who worship some geezers are often disappointed when they meet ‘em.”

Brice pulls his rented Land Rover up the long muddy driveway, noticing that “Dreamland” is a modest horse farm. A trio of strong workhorses stands in the parched field, kicking at the ground. The main house and barn, which has a distinct lean to the right, could use a new coat of white paint.

A seventyish, grey-haired man wearing a wrinkled green raincoat and matching boots walks toward the car.

“I’d like to see the owner,” Brice says.

“Name’s Micky Finn. You’re lookin’ at him.”

“I thought Derry Dalrymple was the owner.”

Finn chuckles. “Derry? Hell no. Derry can barely saddle a horse and remember why he’s doin’ it. I let him muck out the stables for a few shillings and sleep above the barn.”

“Are you sure we’re talking about the right man? I’m talking about Derry Dalrymple.”

“Yeah, I know, the legend,” Finn says. “Say, you’re not one of those internet music reporters, are you?”

“No.”

“Good. Fella came here five years ago and wrote what amounted to an obituary about Derry, real nasty. Made him out to be a drug addict. You’re not from a record company either, are you? Derry ain’t signin’ no contracts. He’s through.”

“No, I came here to ask him for a copy of his album.”

“You have some cheek.”

“I’m willing to pay whatever price he wants. Please, I’ve come all the way from Cleveland, Ohio. That’s the home of the Rock and Roll Museum, you know.”

“Oh, in that case…” Finn says sarcastically.

“Please, Mr. Finn. It’s not for me. I want to give it to my wife for Christmas.”

“All right. I’ll leave it to Derry to decide. Follow me.”

Finn leads Brice across a set of imposing hills to the outskirts of the farm.

Sitting against a tree eating an apple is Derry Dalrymple.

The clean-shaven, keen-eyed, tousle-haired rock god Brice idolized is gone, replaced by a fat, balding, bearded, watery-eyed shell.

“You take yer pills today, Derry?”

Derry looks up, nodding endlessly, like a doll with a spring for a neck.

“This man came all the way from America to see you.”

“…What happened to him?” Brice whispers to Finn.

“Darren looked out for him, took care of his taxes, got him his royalties, told him when to eat, sleep, and play. Then he died. Darren wasn’t around to tell Derry not to drink until he passed out or down fistfuls of LSD like candy. Shame. Derry was such a gentle soul with a real gift, even as a kid. He used to come here to ride our horses. He wrote a lot of his most famous songs underneath this very tree. When he had his breakdown, I thought he might like to come home.”

“…Mister Dalrymple…”

“Derry. Mister Dalrymple was my father.”

Brice smiles nervously. “I’m a huge fan of yours…”

“…By the Colour of Your Dreams…”

“Yes, that’s my favorite song. My wife, Lyric, still has a photo of you hanging in our den.”

“With Darren?”

“Yes.”

“I miss my brother.”

“I wanted to ask you if you wouldn’t mind giving me a copy of your solo album.”

“…Bad memories… Darren pushed me to make that album, said it was time I spread my wings. Did you know I was about to record the song ‘By the Colour of Your Dreams’ when I got the news Darren was dead? My manager said I should use my grief and do the session. All I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and die, but I did it.”

“Maybe that’s why it has such an effect on people. You can hear the emotion in your voice.”

“I never wanted to feel that bad again,” Derry says. “That’s why ‘By the Colour of Your Dreams’ was the last song I ever recorded.”

“You saved the best for last.”

“I did it for Darren, not me.”

“I know the album means a lot to you,” Brice says. “I’d be willing to pay whatever you want for a copy.”

“You can’t buy back what you’ve lost.”

“I understand.”

“Do you?”

“My wife means everything to me. I don’t know what I’d do without her.”

“Yes, you do understand.”

Lyric shrieks with glee as she tears the wrapping paper off the album.

“By the Colour of Your Dreams!” she shouts. Throwing her arms around Brice’s neck, she kisses him. “And it’s signed! ‘To Lyric, Brice’s muse, from your admirer, Derry Dalrymple.’ Wow! Did you meet him while you were in England?”

“What’s left of him.”

“Well, this calls for champagne. You get the bubbly and I’ll turn on the stereo.”

Rushing into the den, Lyric rifles through their record collection, finding the copy of “By the Colour of Your Dreams” she bought for $1,000 dollars while Brice was in England. Smiling, she hides the record in the closet.

November 24, 2022 14:51

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2 comments

Wendy Kaminski
01:09 Nov 29, 2022

I really enjoyed the weave of this journey - and especially the unexpected twist. :) Thanks for a great read!

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02:29 Nov 29, 2022

Thanks for your comments!

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