The Music

—Chapter 15—

Susan’s Invitation


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“Well, we’ll see.” Ruben hung up the phone as Rice entered their apartment. And when he did enter, he paused. Boots cemented to the floor, Rice pointed at Bob Dylan, who was standing very much inside the apartment.

Ruben shrugged. “He’s growing on me.”

Rice began to take his boots off at the door, also in the mood for firsts. “So who was on the phone?” he asked.

“Susan.”

“And?”

More than ever, Ruben wished they were allowed to smoke inside the apartment. “She wants us to go to Cascade.”

“Ha!”

“Yeah, but this time she meant it,” Ruben said. “It’s part of Malcolm’s rehab. He has to have a good time without drugs. So they’re going to Cascade.”

Rice set his boots by the door. He looked at Ruben. The man’s clothes were wrinkled; his hair untrimmed; his face unshaven. And on any other day, Ruben would rock the ragamuffin aesthetic. But something had changed about the graffiti artist. Deep purple rings hung under his eyes.

Rice didn’t like what he wanted to say. To his roommate. To his buddy. But he was trying to be a better person, and sometimes, good people needed to be honest.

“Ruben. Buddy. I think you need to have a good time too.”

Ruben crossed his arms, and consulted Dylan. “What do you think? Is he right?”


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© Ray Underscore Thompson, November 2015