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Phoenix Chapter Ten: Shopping

Phoenix Chapter Ten: Shopping

A Chapter by SweetNutmeg
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Shopping

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Chapter Ten: Shopping


    

Rogan thought things over the next day. It was Friday and a lot of people would be getting their stuff out of hock, but there should still be plenty of selection. Lou's Pawn was the biggest pawn shop in the area. After work, he caught the bus and headed over to the less reputable end of downtown Shermer. The part of him tuned in to Allison noted that it was nowhere near the Artist's Guild, where he has run into her before.


Rogan nodded to the armed security guard and entered. Lou's was a vast showroom, piled with valuables of all kinds. He was met by a large hunting equipment display and veered away from the rifles and handguns, towards jewelry. Beyond that was the musical instrument section. He zeroed in on the line of amps. He was cruising the aisle when an employee approached. He was a large guy wearing an inexpertly tied bow tie, with a bushy red beard. 


“You need some help, man?” the man asked. “We've got some new guitars today, a really nice Washburn, a couple of Fenders.”


“Thanks, just looking,” Rogan lied. This was the same guy who tried to sell him a bass amp for his guitar. He could do without that kind of help. He inspected the row of amps, checking for trademarks and models. As he was getting ready to give up, he saw the Blackstar combo. It was labeled as 60 watts, with one 12 inch speaker. They got that right at least. It was a bit battered, but appearance wasn't his priority here. Having enough power was. 


He inspected more closely, found the model number and looked it up on his phone. It had a lot of features. The many dials on top told him what he needed to know about performance capabilities. This was definitely a gig-worthy piece of equipment. He looked at the price tag. $375. He checked his phone again. They obviously didn't know what they've had here. That was an insanely low price. He tried picking it up. Heavy. He'll need some help getting this home. Now he just had to try it out.  


He caught the salesman's eye and said, “I'd like to play this one.” 


After a thorough test drive, Rogan decided to get it.


"Can I pay for this today and pick it up tomorrow?"


“Sure, no problem,” said the salesman. He got out a red pen and wrote SOLD over the price listed on the tag. It was close to $400 with tax. That wiped out his savings account. He would just cross his fingers and hope nothing bad happened until he refilled his savings account. It wouldn’t take long, the rent on his room was low and they paid well at Midas.


Rogan walked out of Lou's, stuffing his receipt in his wallet. He looked up and saw the number three bus going by and there was Allison Reynolds, looking out the window. He raised a hand to wave. He saw her recognize him and smile, then the bus was gone. He spent his own bus ride home dreaming about the lovely, now single Allison and where he might see her next.    


Saturday after work, Gary took Rogan over to the pawn shop and helped him carry the amp out to Gary's Jeep. As Rogan humped the amp up the front stairs of the snakehouse by himself, he figured it weighed about 40 pounds. He could carry it by himself, but he sure wouldn’t like to. He would have to keep it at the warehouse. It was too heavy to lug up and down every week, and it was really too loud for home use anyway. So he called Buzz. Buzz said he could grab him on the way over to the warehouse on Sunday before practice. 


On Sunday, Buzz and Rogan carried his new Blackstar amp down the alley and up the steps to the warehouse stockroom. As Rogan got it set up, Buzz and Roy admired the new equipment. 


“Only $375?” Roy asked. “They were practically giving it away.”


Once it was all set up, Rogan plugged in and tried a few chords. It sounded fantastic. He had never played on such quality equipment. He tuned up and started with The Trooper, by Iron Maiden. The lovely sound poured out and he was just getting into the song when he noticed J.D. watching as well. Rogan stopped playing. 


“Nice. Where'd you get it?”


“Lou's.” 


“You are definitely gig ready with that bad boy, but you won't be needing it quite yet. Benny backed out.” 


The other guys all made disappointed noises. 


“He said he'll keep us in mind, he might need us to fill in one night. So we should work up a setlist and practice as if we're going to play soon. If he calls us, we'll be ready.” 


Buzz raised one eyebrow.


“I know Benny,” J.D. explained. “He's as good as his word. If there is a slot, we're first in line to fill it. So we better be ready.”


*** 


Three weeks later, at the beginning of February, Rogan was once again in downtown Shermer on his way to Jewel music on a Friday afternoon. He broke an E string in practice the night before and needed some picks too.  


On the corner of Walnut and Astley, looking across the street as he waited for the light to change, he saw Allison again. His heart picked up, feeling light and sort of swoopy. This time, he waited for her to cross and greeted her when she reached him. 


“Where ya headed, Al?” He turned to walk with her.


“I'm on my way to the Artist's Guild. I need some brushes and paint.” 


“You're always going there. What are you painting?”


“I'm doing Andy's portrait.”


What? Anger and despair twined together in his heart. How could they still be together? Hadn't Andy said they'd broken up? No, he never explicitly said so.  


“Last time I saw you was that day in front of Lou's. Where did you get that big bruise?”


Rogan looked at her blankly. “You don't know?” 


“Why would I know? You looked horrible. Were you in a fight?”


“You might say that. Someone punched me. I didn't do much fighting back.”


“But who punched you? Why?” 


“You really don't know?” She shook her head. “It was Andy. Andy punched me and told me I was lying about what happened... what happened that night.” 


Several emotions fleeted across her face before it settled into anger. “No, I didn't know. Somehow Andy forgot to mention that. He didn't believe me at first, but he came around. In fact, he apologized Wednesday night.”


“It's nice he apologized, right after punching me.”  


“That a*s. How could he have--- That was the last thing you needed, after Monday night.” She looked up at him, sorrow showing. “I'm very sorry he did that.” Her anger came back when she continued, “He’s a real chauvinist. I don't appreciate him acting the jealous male.”  


Rogan had a feeling Andy was going to catch it when Allison got back to him. Inside he was gloating at the idea, but kept his face composed.


Their conversation brought them up to the doors of the Artist's Guild. Rogan held the door for Allison and followed her in. She didn't question his accompanying her. He'd never been in an art supply store before. It had an interesting smell of fresh paper and glue and he supposed paints and other chemicals. The place was packed, short, narrow aisles with shelves filled to overflowing. The cracked cement floor was spattered with drops of paint. 


As he followed Allison deeper into the store, he was distracted by colored pencils. The color coded pencils were brilliant in their rainbow display. After touching the unsharpened ends of a few pencils, he continued after Allison.


He found her looking at brushes, which were much less interesting than the pencils, so he drifted down the aisle to the tubes of paint. When she joined him, he asked, “Did you ever paint that sunset on Lake Michigan?”


“Yes. It came out well. You're in it.”


“I am?”


“It's a picture of the four of us, that day we went to the lake.”


“I'd like to see that some time.”


“Would you like to come over tonight? Andy is away on a meet and I don't have any plans. I could give you a portrait of Claire. I did it with you in mind.” 


“Really? Sure, I'd like that.” He could not believe his good luck. His heart became swoopy again and he felt light inside. “Unless... Andy won't punch me again, will he?”


“Not if I have anything to do with it,” she said tartly. She selected three tubes of color and made her way to the cash register. There was a foot high articulated wooden mannequin standing by the register and Rogan adjusted its limbs as Allison checked out. Her total startled him. He had no idea paints and brushes were so expensive.


Rogan held the door for her again and they walked to the number three bus stop side by side.


Allison asked about his trip to Lou's. She hadn't heard about Ancient Doom at all, so he was still explaining when the bus arrived.


“That's wonderful you found a band.” 


“Thanks.” Feeling he had been talking about himself enough, Rogan asked, “What have you been up to?”


 “I'm taking art class in school this year, but I'll be going to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the fall. I've wanted to go there since I was a kid. And I'm taking a few classes at Shermer tech this summer.” She paused. “I wish these headaches would go away.”


“From the car accident?” 


“Yeah. They are killer.” 


Allison pulled the cord to signal the next stop and they got off on the corner. She led the way down a residential side street as they continued talking. When they arrived at her family's modest house, Rogan again felt the swoopy lightness at the idea of being utterly alone with Allison. He found he didn't care if Andy beat the s**t out of him, he didn't care about being party to cheating. If he could woo Allison, he would. 


Allison guided him to her bedroom and he remembered the night-long vigil that started all of this in the first place. Something happened that night, he couldn't explain what, but somehow it lit a fire in his heart, an unquenchable desire for Allison. Her complete trust in him, her beauty, her essence called to his soul that night.


While Rogan was contemplating this upheaval of his world, Allison was flipping through a portfolio. She found what she is looking for and handed Rogan a delicate watercolor picture of Claire. Allison caught everything, the red hair, the button nose, the sprinkle of freckles, the shining brown eyes. 


“This is perfect, Allison.” That summer seemed long ago, a time when everything seemed clear. He had Claire, Allison had Andy, everything fit together. Now life was messy and everything was out of place. He stood looking at Claire's portrait, but thinking about Allison. 


Allison had continued rummaging, now in a drawer of a desk, and came up with some cardboard and a plastic sleeve. She gently took the watercolor from Rogan and slipped it in the sleeve with the cardboard, making a safe package of the picture. She handed it back, then beckoned him to an easel in a corner by a window. 


“This is the one with all of us.” 


Rogan made his way over to the easel, carefully setting the picture of Claire on top of the desk as he crossed the room. He came to stand next to Allison and they both looked at the watercolor of a pier at sunset with four indistinct figures leaning against a railing. 


“This one is you,” Allison said, and pointed to the figure on the end, which was slightly taller than the others. It was identical to the photo he had on his mantle. “And here is Claire.” She pointed to another figure, and before she could let her hand drop, Rogan gently took her hand in his own. When she turned, he covered it with his other hand. Something passed between them when she met his eyes. It was the same open, trusting, dreamy look she had in her eyes when he woke her at eight in the morning, that day so long ago. His heart roared like a dragon and he leaned closer. 


Then she looked down and gently removed her hand from his, took a step back.


Rogan's blood continued coursing hard. He knew what he saw in her eyes. She felt something for him. She wanted him the way he wanted her. He stepped back too, letting her have her space. He could wait. 


He looked at his watch and said, “I'd better go, if I want to catch the next bus.” He picked up the picture of Claire and made his way to the living room. Allison followed, opening the front door for him. “Thanks for this,” he said, gesturing with the picture.


“You're welcome. I'm glad I was able to give it to you. It was meant for you.”




© 2021 SweetNutmeg


Author's Note

SweetNutmeg
Thank you for reading. Any and all comments are welcome.

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Featured Review

Interestingly, seeing the paragraph cut the sentence off right after "...tuned in to Allison" makes it much easier to know that the subject of the sentence is a long phrasal noun and the verb is "to note." And I'm all in for physically using space and format to smoothen the reading process and enhance the experience.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

1 Year Ago

Glad it makes more sense. Thanks for pointing out the confusing-ness.



Reviews

Interestingly, seeing the paragraph cut the sentence off right after "...tuned in to Allison" makes it much easier to know that the subject of the sentence is a long phrasal noun and the verb is "to note." And I'm all in for physically using space and format to smoothen the reading process and enhance the experience.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

1 Year Ago

Glad it makes more sense. Thanks for pointing out the confusing-ness.
Maybe Rogan's romantic life is looking up? Allison confuses me a bit, but that's not unusuall.
"Let's make sure it works before getting excited" -- Rogan would surely have tested it out before buying.
Missing a word--"pours out and he just getting into"
Missing a word--"He tunes up, starts with The Trooper, by Iron Maiden."
"light to change, he sees Allison again" Is this a very small town? He sure seems to see her a lot. Perhaps she could happen upon him for a change.
Missing word--"he waits for her cross"

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

1 Year Ago

Thank you for your careful reading and helpful feedback. I attended to the small things you pointed .. read more
Another awesome chapter I really hope he gets the girl he deserves someone special like Allison. also glad he found a great deal on an amp for his guitar but sad to say his gig was canceled. When will he ever get a break? I always look forward to reading your chapters.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

1 Year Ago

Thank you for reading so far into this story. I'm glad you enjoy it.
*inaudibly screams*

*ahem* Ok. Today is such a good day. One of my favorite artists premiered his new album and you uploaded a new chapter!

The story is moving forward in both Rogan's financial, professional, and personal life. I'm not a fan of Rogan not caring about cheating, but at least they didn't do it.

"Anger and despair twine together in his heart." This is so beautifully worded. I can almost, no, I DID feel it inside my own heart.

The description of the art supplies store is also on point. Exactly how I felt accompanying a friend to one for the first time.

Technical stuff: this is actually a very clean chapter. I didn't catch any typos. However,

1. The part of himself that seems to be tuned in to Allison notes that it is nowhere near the Artist's Guild, where he has run into her before.

I had to read this sentence a few times for my brain to register that the main verb of the sentence was "note."

2. “Thanks, just looking,” Rogan lies. This is the same guy who tried to sell him a bass amp for his guitar. He can do without that kind of help. He inspects the row of amps, checking for trademarks and models. As he is getting ready to give up, he sees the Blackstar combo. It's labeled as 60 watt, with one 12 inch speaker. They got that right at least. It's a bit battered, but appearance isn't his priority here. Having enough power is. He inspects more closely, finds the model number and looks it up on his phone. It has a lot of features. The many dials on top tell him what he needs to know about performance capabilities. This is definitely a gig-worthy piece of equipment. He looks at the price tag. $375. He checks his phone again. They obviously don't know what they've got here. That's an insanely low price. But maybe it is defective or broken. He knows they have a 10 day return policy on musical equipment. He tries picking it up. Heavy. He'll need some help getting this home.

This looks like it can be divided into two shorter paragraphs right before "This is definitely...," but that's just me.

Also, I'd write "60 watts," but then again, I'm apparently also a physics nerd.

3. He catches the salesman's eye and says, “I'd like to pay for this today and pick it up tomorrow. Can I do that?”

There are two spaces between "I'd" and "like."

4. Allison has continued rummaging, now in a drawer of a desk, and comes up with some cardboard and a plastic sleeve...

There are four spaces between "some" and "cardboard."

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wathanya.5KY3

1 Year Ago

The paragraph division is great, by the way!
SweetNutmeg

1 Year Ago

"The part of himself that is tuned in to Allison notes that..."

Is that better? Or do.. read more
Wathanya.5KY3

1 Year Ago

It looks better to me, but I already know the sentence. Maybe keep the slightly simpler way and see .. read more

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Added on August 16, 2019
Last Updated on February 15, 2021


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SweetNutmeg
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***I am on hiatus and not returning reviews.*** I'm here to improve my writing. I love critiques that give me critical feedback, as well as praise. (Although, I do like praise. Gotta be honest.) A.. more..

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Phoenix Phoenix

A Book by SweetNutmeg



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