We must have been doing eighty miles per hour, the big ’62 Cadillac floating along on heavy springs and belching fumes from its rusty tailpipe. Chris Mellow sat beside me on the back seat, the boom box on his lap blasting Double Nickels On the Dime.
“This is a cool car, man,” I yelled to The Driver.
“Thanks, man. My dad gave it to me.”
“That’s where we got the store name,” his girlfriend yelled from the passenger seat. “Daddy’s Caddy.”
“Cool. Is it in Asheville?”
“It will be. We’re still buying inventory.”
“That’s why we drove down,” Chris said.
“What are you looking for?”
“Cool stuff,” The Driver yelled.
“You came to the wrong place,” I said. They all laughed.
“Where do you get your clothes?”
“Goodwill, Army surplus, the mall.”
“Let’s do it!” The Driver said and he stabbed the gas pedal. Chris and I floated weightless for a moment. The boom box hit the floor.
“We have to get a tape deck,” The Girlfriend said.
“Totally. Then we can make a mix tape of Cadillac songs. ‘Brand New Cadillac’…” The Driver said.
“Gen X, ‘Night of the Cadillacs,'” Mellow shouted. The big black Caddy fell silent but for the sounds of gears turning.
“‘Pink Cadillac,'” I said.
“No! No Bruce!” Where’d you find this guy, Chris? I’m just kidding, man. That’s a cool coat.”
At the Army surplus store I found a nice black trench coat to replace my old man overcoat.
“That’s awesome,” The Girlfriend said.
Chris flipped up my collar, looked at me and smiled. “You look tough,” he said.
The driver said, “Check these out! Grenade pins! They could be, like, earrings.”
“We totally have to get those for the store,” The Girlfriend said.
Next stop was Goodwill. They cleared out the old man overcoats, sport coats, and tacky shoes. Chris tried on a cowboy hat. He looked cool.
“John Wayne was a fag,” The Driver said. Everybody laughed.
“He was?” I asked Chris. They all laughed harder.
“Repo Man,” Chris said.
“Oh, man, you have to see Repo Man. It’s the best movie ever. Everything is generic so, like, this one scene the main character is eating FOOD. That’s what’s on the can: FOOD.”
“And that scene with the hold up where it’s like BLOO! BLOO! BLOO! and the blood splashes up on the generic cereal boxes.”
“That movie is totally awesome.”
We piled back into the Caddy and headed to the mall, Husker Du blaring from Chris’s lap.
“What are you doing in this shit hole?” The Girlfriend screamed at me. “You should move to Asheville.”
“Totally,” I yelled.
“Cool coats, though,” The Driver yelled. “Good for the store.”
At the mall I ran into Camelot and bought the Repo Man soundtrack, or more honestly to be seen with my cool new friends. Then we headed to The Limited, where the Daddy’s Caddy crew wiped out the baggy pants we all called Forenzas, big belts, and dangly earrings. Every store we visited there was a shout of “we need to get this for the store,” followed by The Driver peeling bills off of the huge knob in his pocket.
“Where did you get all of that money?” I asked while he loaded up on tabi boots at Pier 1 Imports.
“My dad. He’s helping us get it started.”
“That where we got the name ‘Daddy’s Caddy’,” The Girlfriend said.
“How are you going to make any money?” I asked.
“What do you mean? It’s a store.”
“Well, you’re paying retail for your inventory. Where’s the profit?”
“It’s a store, man. Everything you sell is profit,” The Driver said.
“Totally,” The Girlfriend added.
We said goodbye there, in front of the Pier 1. Chris hugged me and popped my new coat’s collar. “Come see me,” he said.
“Duke, let’s go do some crimes,” The Girlfriend said.
“Yeah. Let’s go get sushi and not pay,” The Driver replied. They all laughed again.
I walked to Cosenza’s. Luigi greeted me: “How you doing, my friend? Calzone? Something nice to drink?”
Graduation was seven long months away.