December 5th, 2017
My story begins: This is the time of year I go out for Christmas shopping for my roommate, Noah David, while he does the same for me. We are very different people, I myself love music and collecting music, but Noah, on the other hand, is interested in guns and could care less about the hundreds of vinyl records I collect and leave stored in my basement. Although we have our differences, we respect each other and are extremely close despite it all.
I asked Noah what he wanted for Christmas, and he immediately exclaimed in much pleasure: “A bolt action rifle!”
I shrugged my shoulders, sighed, and jokingly said, “The world would be better off and safer without gun-lovers like you, is there anything else you want?”
Noah laughed before replying with, “No, you can get me just that and I’ll be good.” He then turned to me and asked, “What can I get you for Christmas?”
It was no question, I wanted my favorite album of all time on vinyl known only as Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished. The debut album by my favorite band, Animal Collective, was truly a masterpiece in my eyes especially the last track, Alvin Row.
After I told him what I wanted he shrugged and said, “It’s that expensive one, isn’t it? Well if it's what you really want, then fine.” I threw my arms up in excitement and gave my good friend a big hug. After calmly pushing me away, he said he’d have the order done by tomorrow. I, in turn, told him that I would go to a gun store for his present by tomorrow.
After we were done talking, I got in my pajamas, jumped into bed, and slept like a baby. Noah woke me up the next morning in a very obviously annoyed expression on his face. “What site do you want me to order this thing from? Everything I see on Amazon and Ebay is so expensive,” he exclaimed angrily.
I shrugged and came down stairs and it was no surprise, I saw the album selling for $100, $200, even $500. I could tell Noah was stressed and pretty annoyed. I crossed my arms and said, “I told you it was going to be expensive, Noah.”
Noah glanced at me, clearly pissed off. “But I didn’t know it would be this expensive, why is it so much money for an album?”
So, of course, I told him, “The album was sold for limited copies on vinyl and is now out of print.”
Noah rolled his eyes and went back on his computer. “Is there a site I can find this thing a little cheaper?” he asked, still facing the computer screen.
I rubbed my chin and thought for a minute, then suggested, “There’s a site called Discogs you can check out, they might have it a little cheaper there.”
We went on the site, only finding the usual expensive copies as we scrolled through. But then, to our surprise, we saw the album selling for $25, from a guy with the username “Votredeces.”
Noah was relieved and even cracked a slight smile, immediately adding it to the cart, but the smile quickly turned to frown once he saw the person hadn’t sold anything to anyone before. “Are you sure we can trust this guy?”
I grinned and said reassuringly, “Oh, it’ll be fine, just hurry up and buy it!” Noah looked back at me before nodding his agreement, however reluctantly, and made the purchase.
Before he hit ‘Purchase,’ however, I thought of something. “Can I type a thank you to the guy?”
“Do whatever you want,” shrugged Noah before walking away. I eagerly rushed to the keyboard, very pleased, and typed up the letter:
I would like to thank you with much pleasure for selling me this beautiful album and at such a low price! The whole album is absolutely beautiful especially the last song, Alvin Row, which is easily my favorite song of all time. The song's beautiful progression, synths and drumming are completely godlike! The last song, Alvin Row, could make me happy no matter how upset I am and I mean it! If I were in a life-threatening situation and the guy was just playing Alvin Row in the background. I’ll be like, this guy's got good tastes. I hope that doesn’t sound weird, thank you for making my dreams come true!”
December 6th, 2017
I got an email saying the album shipped, which made me relieved, overjoyed and satisfied at the same time. I felt even more ecstatic once I saw his email:
You must be the person Noah bought the gift for. That's an interesting passion for a song, hopefully nothing like that would ever happen to you."
Confusingly short, but I could care less. I couldn’t wait for Christmas to come! I could picture it now: Noah handing me my present to open, giving my thanks and then going to the basement to listen. I drop the needle and let the explosion of the noisy yet nostalgic and atmospheric intro of Spirit They’ve Vanished playing loudly through my speakers as I lay in a total and emotional trance all the way through, while letting its beauty flow through me from track one until it gets to the masterpiece that is Alvin Row. I can already imagine the frisson that will vibrate through my body at the six minute mark in the song as I dance and sing along, overwhelmed with joy.
After I got off the computer, I drove to the nearest gun shop to get Noah his gift. I bought it, drove home, and immediately went to wrap it, however, awkward that would look under the tree.
Noah walked out of the computer room a little bit after I was done. “Your present is coming from Alaska, so it will probably be a while until it comes.”
I calmly replied; a few days wouldn’t be the end of the world. “That’s perfectly fine, it’s only December 6th after all. And I already got your gift.”
Noah smiled warmly. “Great, I’m excited to get it.” He patted me on the shoulder and went upstairs to his room.
December 25th, 2017
It is officially time for Christmas and I can barely contain my excitement. I go to get out Noah’s present, as I walked over to him with a huge smile on my face I noticed he didn’t have a gift in his hand. “Noah, can you get my gift, please?”
Noah hung his head low, scratching the back of his neck with a nervous, guilty expression coloring his face. “I should have told you your gift hasn’t arrived yet. I messaged the guy multiple times telling him off, but he hasn’t responded. I'm really sorry, Lucas.”
My big smile quickly turned into a frown, then anger. “That guy ripped us off, didn’t he? What kind of nerve must he have?”
I set his gift on the couch next to him and jumped on the computer to check Noah’s Paypal, to find out the seller’s name through his Facebook. I found it, his name is Ronald Pete Marcus, 35-years-old. While looking through his Facebook, I noticed there was only one photo on his page. It was a picture posted on December 20th, 2017, of what I assume to be him driving. The caption read: “Driving through the country, won’t be back for a while.”
The post only had one comment: from a user by the name of Lauren Marcus, which I would assume to be his mother, since the woman seemed pretty old in the profile picture. The comment read: “You better not be up to something, Ronald.” I’m not sure what she meant by this, but I didn’t really care. It was very unacceptable for him to not respond, and for it to take this long, but I was not prepared for what was in store 11 days later.
January 6th, 2018
It’s past New Year’s, and my vinyl has still not arrived. I have asked Ronald for a refund, but he has not responded. About two hours ago, Noah left for the shooting range with a few friends. It was a normal day, I was just sitting at home relaxing when I turned my head to the window to see a suspicious car I’ve never seen before parked in my driveway. It was a white BMW; it was a little unsettling, but I bravely opened the door and went to the car to tell the person to get off my property. When I got closer to it, it was clear no one was in it, which was very odd. But it only got stranger when I saw the license plate said “Alaska” on it, at first I thought it was a weird coincidence until I looked inside the car and was shocked to see there was a vinyl record of Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished inside the front seat. Did this guy really follow me all the way from Alaska to Miami? I didn’t know if I should feel creeped out or relieved that my record had finally came. I pulled my phone out of my pocket to take a picture. Right after I snapped the picture, I felt a long smooth metal object smack me in the head knocking me unconscious.
I woke up in my basement with hands and feet handcuffed to a chair with a major aching in my head, I looked to my right and saw my record, the one I waited over a month for, sitting in the corner of the basement. A very creepy man sat a few feet away from me in a chair with a large bag beside him. He must’ve been Ronald Marcus.
I was in shock, was this really happening? I must be dreaming, the person Noah bought that record from was a psychopath. Although I was shaking with fear and anxiety, I softly muttered, “How did you find my house?”
Ronald curled his lips into a smirk and calmly answered, “Easy, I was able to track your address you sent through Discogs that was meant for me to send the vinyl you wanted through the mail. You’re probably disgusted by me; you’re probably shook by how easy it would be for a crazy man like me to find your address so easily, is that not what you’re thinking, Lucas? I hope you like the little gifts I got for you, I couldn’t just leave them in my front seat like with the record, so I kept those handcuffs in the trunk of my car, along with this!” Ronald pulled out a large butcher knife from the bag beside him and grinned evilly. He lifted himself from the chair and began to take a few slow steps towards me.
My heart was pumping fast as I was screaming at the top of my lungs. “HELP!!! SOMEBODY HELP ME, DON’T KILL ME, PLEASE!!!”
Ronald laughed maniacally as he waved the blade through the air. “No one can hear you, Lucas!” Ronald said as he walked away from me and over to the Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished record laying in the corner of my basement. He picked up the second record and placed it on my turntable on side D. “I remember you saying if you were in a life-threatening situation, you could just have that song playing through your head and feel all better, huh? Time to put that to the test.”
For once in my life I was disgusted to hear that song I once adored. Ronald sang and danced along to the song as he tortured me, I screamed in pain as he stabbed the blade through my leg, causing rivers of blood to leak down it. He continued stabbing and cutting every part of my body, soaking me in blood. When it got to the six minute mark, Ronald violently shoved the shelves I kept all my records on to the floor, causing them all to shatter. He came towards me and proceeded to cut me up, but ever more violently. He began cutting off my ear, ripping off my fingernails and toenails. Not long after, the 13-minute song was over, so Ronald put down the knife, riddled with my blood, then reached into his bag of torture. He pulled out a pistol of some sort and aimed it at my head.
“It’s been fun, but sadly all fun has to come to an end, I hope you are satisfied with my order.”
I squinted, closed my eyes and heard the shot fire. I quickly realised I was still alive. I opened my eyes quickly to see Ronald with a fatal wound through his head, slowly collapsing to the floor leaving a river of blood to flow across the concrete basement floor. I passed out again shortly after from blood loss.
January 7th, 2018
I woke up in a hospital bed the next day, Noah standing by me. Noah shouted with glee, tears in his eyes, and hugged me tightly. I loudly shouted in pain, and Noah released me from his embrace quickly. “Oh, so sorry.”
I brushed him off, recovering fairly quickly, though still sore. “I’m alright. Were you the one who saved me?”
Noah quickly answered, “I came back home from shooting targets with my friends and heard loud noises and screams coming from downstairs, so I took my rifle and shot that son-of-a-bitch through his head. That particular son-of-a-bitch turned out to be the guy we bought your gift from.”
Unsurprised, of course, for I already knew this, I softly smiled. “Thanks Noah, you truly are my best friend.” I changed the subject immediately after that. “Am I going to be alright?”
Noah looked at me nervously right after I asked, and looked down. “Well uh… the doctor said you will probably be in here for 19 days before you can leave, your wounds are too severe for you to get up and leave just yet. I’m sorry, Lucas…” Noah could obviously tell I was upset and disappointed.
“On the bright side, you finally have this!” He reached down into a bag sitting beside him and pulled out the Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished vinyl. “I thought you’d want it even after all that happened,” Noah said. He carefully put the record in my lap. “I’ll be glad to listen to it with you if you want,” he said, flashing me a cheerful smile.
I smiled back. “That would be great, Noah.”
Shortly after a police officer walked in. “Is Mr. Pattinson in here?” he asked to someone out the door, pointing inside. “Yes he is, officer,” someone replied; probably a nurse.
The officer walked in and took an empty seat in the hospital room. “I need to tell you about Ronald Pete Marcus. You see, he was put in a prison in Alaska in the year 2000 and was let out in 2007.”
“What was he in prison for?” I asked.
“He was put in prison for stealing several records from local record stores, jewelry and other valuable materials in Alaska. We just thought he stole them to listen to on his own, or collect, which is why he was sent free so early. With all the items returned, of course, but we did not know at that point that he was using them for more violent purposes. You see, we now know that Ronald was attempting to sell items online, for the sole purpose of driving to that person’s home, to torture them, and eventually murder them. The reason why he chose to murder people through selling items was simply for the fact that you need the buyer's address in order to send the item out. We show our deepest apologies, Lucas, and I thank you, Noah, for taking down this dangerous criminal.”
January 26th, 2018
Today is the day I get to leave the hospital and goddamn was I relieved to finally be out of there. Noah drove me to my house and he kept his promise, he listened to the album all the way through with me and we had a great time. Although it turned out well in the end, the incident itself was very frightening and I will never order from Discogs again!
Written by Ty Rezac