He found a record in the garbage. There it was, without a sleeve, label scratched and stained beyond recognition, lying among the used papers and yesterfoodstuffs of a spilled-over trash can on the side of the road. He picked it up and brought it home to listen to. Its mystery intrigued him.
He had never heard the band before in his life. None of the songs sounded even vaguely familiar to him, and when he played the record for his friends, none of them had heard it either. He even asked around near where he had found it, but no one seemed to know anything about it. The record was a complete enigma. But he liked it.
As time went on he fell in love with the music- the sound of the singer's voice, the twang of the guitar, the soft ripple of the piano, the low buzz of the bass, the drama of the drums. He had no idea who they were, or when the record was made, or where it was recorded- no identification whatsoever. But that didn't matter to him. Romeo asked no name of his rose.
Even the flaws drew him in. The record was scratched and skipped a groove in one place and the sound was freckled with crackling noises. But to him it was all part of the experience. Each blemish paired reality to its beauty.
One day the boy became impatient. He had to know where the record came from. He had to find out the name of the band because he had a plan- he wanted to see them perform.
From then on he desperately sought any information he could get about the record: he played it in ever record store he could find, but none of the clerks could help him. He called up all the local radio stations, but none of them would stay on the phone long enough to hear it, except for one, who told him the name of a band and then hung up.
But he knew it was a false lead. He had heard that band before, and he knew they did not create his beloved record.
After a steady succession of failures, the search just about came to a halt. But he never stopped dreaming of the day he would see his anonymous favorite band in concert.
The fateful day arrived when the boy was traveling in another city, and he heard one of his songs playing in a car driving by. He got up from the cafe table he was sitting at, hastily paid for his lunch and ran down the street as fast as his heart, lungs, and legs would propel him.
The car stopped.
A young woman rolled down her window and asked if he needed anything. Just the music, he told her. The name of the band that was playing.
She told him everything. It was an obscure album, but she liked it too. She took the tape's case out of the glovebox and showed it to him. It was an incredible moment that felt almost unreal to him.
Then he asked her about what became of the band. This album is a bit old. Have they done anything since then?
The look in the girl's eyes after that was all he needed to know, but the words struck him all the same.
That album was their only release. The singer died a year before the boy was born.