A Cough at the College of the Pacific – 8

Christmas arrived.

My landlady looked in on New O’Brien the feline while I spent the holiday in Rhode Island with my parents. Their Park Street house felt smaller than I’d remembered, but it was still massive in comparison to my small So-Cal apartment.

Dad’s record collection had grown, even in the short few months since my last visit. A recently installed built-in bookcase housed most of the vinyl and reel to reels. While sorting through his latest pearls, I decided to share the story of my failed quest. Seemed only right since I’d inherited the “cough” obsession from him anyway.

“You don’t find it all just a bit too convenient?” he said, after some time.

“What do you mean?”

“What I mean is this: you went out looking for answers and struck out. I get that. It was a long-shot Hail Mary, and frankly, I’m surprised and more than a little impressed by your tenacity. But then, entirely by coincidence, your friend Lien just happens to drop you off in front of a used record shop that just happens to be staffed by a man who just happens to have all the answers at his fingertips. It doesn’t add up.”

“It does if you believe in coincidence,” I countered.

“Do you?” he asked.

Following my return to Santa Monica, I sought to disprove Dad’s suspicions. But neither the Los Angeles Public Library system nor the World Wide Web of 1997 provided the answers I wanted.

NEXT: Our story concludes.