The Chain

Lyle held a sealed copy of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors in his hand. There were dozens of these strewn about his hometown in pawn shops and consignment stores, dusty and warped and fifty cents a piece. This one was $49.99. The vinyl was cream, like the cover, a colour limited to Urban Outfitters. It also came with an exclusive poster.

Amanda held a crop top in front of him. It had a distressed Rolling Stones tongue on it.

“What do you think?”

Lyle rubbed his thumbs on the shrink wrap, staring at and past the tongue in front of him.

He thought of the basement suite he grew up in. A small two bedroom beneath a Sikh family. On weekends, his mom would put on Rumors and disappear into the bedroom with her boyfriend. Lyle would read Goosebumps and listen, flipping the record when he had to, tapping his feet slightly off-time. He loved “The Chain” and how the bass line rumbled through their couch.

Lyle air-guitared into his mom’s room one day and found her cowering in the corner, her mirror toppled over. Lyle’s hands froze in mid air. He met her eyes between the boyfriend’s legs, her face wet. A Rolling Stones sweatshirt hung limp off one of her shoulders.

“Get out,” the boyfriend said.

Lyle cried, face buried in the couch. Later during that time in their lives, the boyfriend, naked and shaking off his penis after urinating, would stand sneering before Lyle, having his bath, and tell him that sometimes men just had to do what they had to do.

Amanda shook the top in front of him.

“Lyyyyyyyle, hello!”

Lyle stuffed the record back in front of Future’s HNDRXX

“Put that shit away,” he said, grabbing the shirt and throwing it on top of a stack of turntables, “you’re going to waste all our fucking money, you idiot.”

Customers turned and stared. Amanda swallowed hard, shrinking. Lyle walked out into the rain and lit a cigarette.