The Video Shack

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The Soundtrack to Our Youth

Part 5: The Soundtrack of Our Youth

Meredith pushed herself into the middle of the three boys. She interrupted Tom who had his face close to Kit’s ear. She asked, “Why are you guys whispering about all of a sudden?”

Andy took a quick step backward, which caused him to collide with the shelf of westerns that faced the horror movies. Boxes full of styrofoam spilled onto the floor. He fumbled about for a moment in an attempt to catch some of the flying, empty sleeves. Realizing his efforts were futile, Andy dropped to his knees with the intent of gathering up the small disaster he created.

Petra joined him on the floor. Once she had snatched up a couple of boxes then glanced up at him. When she grinned, the line of teeth she revealed were so white they threatened to unravel the space-time continuum.

Meredith continued to prod the two boys still whispering amongst themselves. She hated being left out of a good secret. “You guys are talking about porn?” Meredith took the posture of someone who wouldn’t back down until she was given what she wanted. “What are you being so coy about?”

Still, on their knees, Petra piled several of the fallen boxes on Andy’s outstretched arms. She leaned in close to his face. “Do I make you nervous?”

Before Andy had a chance to collect his thoughts and give the girl an answer, Kit turned the question that Meredith wanted an answer for, back onto Andy: “Where did you hear the name, Jasmine Carmicheal?”

Andy could feel his Adam’s apple ratchet up and down in his throat as he stammered to find something to say. His brain was trapped between two worlds. Petra was clearly trying to get his attention. There was nowhere he would rather place his attention than squarely with her. However, suddenly, Kit had dropped a nuclear bomb on the situation. Andy came to Palace Video with one express purpose. He wanted to find out about the movie that a man at church spoke about the previous night. In the interim, a girl had worked her way in between Andy and his search for answers. This blue-eyed distraction was a welcome surprise. Now he was being forced back into his initial pursuit. His mind didn’t know how to deal with all the stimuli at once. Petra wanted to know if she made him nervous. Kit wanted to know how he learned about an obscure movie actress from the 1970s. Perhaps, Kit had some inkling of what would happen if you pulled on the invisible thread that was Jasmine Carmichael. Perhaps her very existence, her obscure career was a clue to a larger mystery. Andy absolutely wanted to pull that string.

Kit continued, “Tom says you’re looking for one of her movies.”

“Who is Jasmine Carmichael?” The girl with the dark hair who hadn’t spoken much was suddenly drawn into the conversation. For the last several minutes, she had been gazing out the window as though the video store was a prison she was devising an escape plan from.

“Wait,” Meredith interrupted, “are you guys talking about Daphne Carmichael?”

“That’s what I was thinking,” the brown-haired girl said. “You mean Daphne, right?”

Andy struggled to stand while balancing the awkward pile of movie sleeves. He started arranging them out of order on the top shelf. “I thought it was Jasmine Carmichael?” Andy glanced at Kit hoping for reassurance.

“You know you’re the first person who has ever asked me about Jasmine Carmichael,” Kit lowered his voice when he uttered the actress’s name.

“What are you talking about?” Meredith was visibly frustrated by the conversation swirling around her.. “Everybody is talking about her. She has the song of the summer.”

“I’m not sure they’re talking about the same person,” Petra chimed in.

“What are you guys talking about?” The brown-haired girl was showing signs of fatigue. It was a beautiful day outside and the last place she wanted to spend it was inside a video store with a bunch of guys obsessed over movies she never heard of before.

“That’s what we’re trying to get to the bottom of,” Tom explained.

The brown-haired girl asked, “Don’t tell me you haven’t heard Laguna Beach Diner. It’s on the radio five times a day.”

“I listen to even less contemporary music than I watch new movies,” Kit assured them.

“Why do you even work here then?” Meredith argued.

“Could they be related?” Petra said.

“Just because they have the same last name?” Kit answered.

“Who knows, right?” Andy said as he shifted his position in front of the newly arranged shelf of cowboy movies to stand closer to Petra.

Kit said, “Very few people have ever even heard of Jasmine Carmichael. She made a few movies but few people ever saw them.”

“That is kinda weird,” the brown-haired girl said. “That’s weird because Laguna Beach Diner is all about a movie star who died before anybody ever knew who she was. I’m not trying to make any connections or anything.”

“That’s right, it is,” Meredith chimed-in.

“Did Jasmine Carmichael make horror movies?” Petra asked.

“Why?” Andy said.

“This song is all about this scream queen-type movie star who never got her chance to shine. They killed her a hundred times because that’s what they do,” the brown-haired girl continued.

“Maybe I missed something during the guy’s talk last night,” Andy said. “Maybe I spaced out. Because that is strange. What you guys are saying kind of does connect. The guy was talking all about rock music and stuff.”

“What guy?” Kit wanted to know. “What are you talking about?”

“This whole thing. How I even heard her name. It was this thing they had at my church last night. They were warning all the parents about the devil…”

Before Andy could finish Kit jumped in: “What do you mean the devil?”

“You know satan. Beelzebub. This guy goes around to churches holding these seminars called Shock Rock where he gets all the parents worked up about their kid’s music. You see, there is like a whole music connection. It did seem kind of strange he went on this whole tangent about a movie when he was there to talk about music.”

“You said toys too, right, Andy? You said about your sister’s My Pretty Pony?”

“I had one of those,” Meredith said.

“According to this guy,” Tom explained, “My Pretty Pony is satanic.”

“I can’t decide if you guys are out of your mind,” Petra said. “Or I’m super intrigued.”

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