The Cassette Store - Sample

The Cassette Store

By: David Serra

The old VHS store remained open despite the years that followed. I was twelve at the time when Dad and I were running errands at the town’s hardware store. He needed new tools to fix our air conditioner and I wanted to get out of the house from being cooped up for almost a year. The pandemic had consumed 2020 and this year was on and off. My family and I still wore masks when we went out and everyone around us was growing impatient and aggravated.

“Dad, when will this end?” I asked while he was checking out.

“It’ll get better soon, Brandon.”

I could tell by the tone of his voice that he was getting fed up with the restrictions as well.

On the way back home Dad decided to stop at the old VHS store, not surprisingly the parking lot was near-deserted.

“We might as well have a look since we have time to spare before dinner.” Dad said.

Putting on our masks we ventured towards the store. What caught my attention was the mural of the sun and moon merged together in space painted on the front wall above the entrance. It reminded me of something I would draw.

Entering the store the walls and shelves were stocked to the brim with old VHS tapes, most still in mint condition. Framed posters of old movies hung on the walls, one was of a shark towering over an office building under the title Heights . Another featured a sea serpent about to attack a submarine called Mad Dog of the Sea and another that caught my attention was of a giant vulture attacking a city titled Day of the Vulture . I browsed the VHS tapes on the shelves and was amazed by some of the cover art on most of them. Being someone who liked to draw it was fascinating to me that people used to get paid to do cover art for movies back in the day.

“Need help with anything?” a voice spoke from behind me.

I turned around to see the owner, Mr. Clepp, staring at me through his wide-rimmed glasses.

“No, I’m just browsing with my Dad.”

“Well give a shout out if you come across anything you like.”

He returned behind the counter where on an ancient TV screen a fuzzy video was playing an old exercise tape. I continued to look through the various videotapes, becoming more and more fascinated by the fact that we used to watch movies on these things. I headed over to Dad, who had a couple of still factory-sealed VHS tapes in his hand.

“Find anything, Brandon?”

“No, but I saw a lot of neat artwork on the covers.”

“I figured you’d like that.”

We headed for the counter where Mr. Clepp held out a couple of items for me.

“Here’s a sketchbook and some pencils young man. Your father tells me that you like to draw.”

“Oh, thank you.”

I took them from him with a slight grin under my mask.

“Hope to see both of you again.”

Dad paid for the two tapes and we headed out to the car, I glanced back at the mural with fascination. Flipping through the blank sketch book, ideas of what to draw poured into my head.

When we got home I went to my room and started to sketch artwork that was inspired by the posters and VHS covers I saw at the store. As I continued to draw the realization that we should treasure the simple things and live life to the fullest came to mind. It was something Dad always told me and something I thought about everyday during this pandemic. I hope we all stay strong and get through this with a better understanding of life and each other.

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