His next attempt was answered almost immediately, and the soft and sultry voice on the other end instantly transported Bootsy back to high school, a time of hormones, discovery, and hot flashes of romance. One of his hottest flashes just happened to belong to one Katherine Dunn, the voice he was positive had just said, “Hello.”
Bootsy had always been skinny, but tenth grade had seen his body mass plunge into the “Scrawny” category. Katherine had been pretty skinny herself back then, recently emerging from a growth spurt which made her the third-tallest girl in their class. She had an abundance of soft brown hair which must have weighed twenty pounds, yet she still came up short of the hundred pound plateau.
Lost in thought, Bootsy became aware of a noise in his ear. It was the latest Katherine, saying again, “Hello? Hello?”
The memories seemed to put his tongue in neutral, but he sifted through the rubble of his past and found it, “Uh, yes. I'm looking for Katherine Dunn?”
The sultry voice on the other end chuckled, “Yes. It's Whitfield now, but this is she.”
“Katherine, hi. This is Jason Teller.”
Her end went dead, and Bootsy wondered if perhaps she couldn't remember him. That would be a kick to his ego, certainly. He didn't expect their brief high school fling to rank very high on her list of Top-Ten Relationships, but it chapped him a little that she didn't even remember his name. He furrowed his eyebrows crossly and opened his mouth to say something no doubt rude enough to require the removal of his foot at some later date, when she responded, “Bootsy!”
“Uh... yeah. Hi.”
“Wow. Long time.”
“Yes, it has been. Uh, how are you doing?”
“I'm well, I'm well. Thing's are actually pretty good right now. My agent is actually peddling my name around New York! How exciting would that be? Broadway! How about yourself? Did you ever make it out of this one-horse town?”
Oh, you know... Same ol' same ol'. Just got out of the slammer, lost my business to an ex-lover – don't ask, and I just beat the snot out of one of our old classmates. So what's new with you?!
No. Of course he wasn't about to say something that asinine.
Instead he answered, “Uhhhh, not exactly. I'm a business owner here in St. Walburgas.”
“Thank you. You ever hear of Original 6 Records?”
“No, I'm sorry. Is it a recording studio?”
He shook his head, forgetting that he was on the phone, “Record store. We provide a niche service.”
“Oh. Like, you specialize in vinyl?”
“Among other things. Mostly hard-to-find and out-of-print kinds of things.”
“Huh,” she said, sounding vaguely interested, “must be difficult to stay afloat during this age of downloads and digital media.”
“Well,” he conceded, “like I said: niche. We'll never be huge, but we do all right for a little hole-in-the-wall.”
“All right. What's with the name?”
Bootsy grinned, a little embarrassed, “It's a little private joke I came up with. Harkens back to a time when there were only six hockey franchises, back when the game was pure.”
“Uh-huh. Just like the music.”
“That's right. There's a purity in some of those great old, forgotten classics.”
"I forgot! You used to have some obsession with some team!"
"The... Blue Jays?"
Right city, wrong sport. He said, "Close enough."
She paused a moment, thinking her response, “So you're kind of like a detective, trying to solve that great musical mystery.”
He chuckled, “Katherine, I think you make it a little more pertinacious than it actually is.”
“Interesting,” she said, “I always kind of pictured you as a bit of a thug – no offense – but it's nice to hear you speak such nice words about the musical arts. You are a multifaceted man, Bootsy Teller.”
Bootsy said nothing. The truth was he was pissed and looking for a fight. Whether or not he was able to convince Dee Dee to give him his store back was actually beside the point; the main thing was there was going to be blood spilled that night, and her assessment of Bootsy being a thug was pretty much dead-on.
It seemed the small talk had run its course, so now there was nothing but an annoying silence weighing down the line. Eventually Katherine cleared her throat and said, “Sooooooo...”
Bootsy got the hint and came around to the point, “It's been really nice talking to you, Katherine, and we should totally get together sometime and catch up. But the reason I called is I'm looking for your brother. There's someone I really need to talk to concerning a rather large business opportunity, and I was hoping he could put me in touch with --”