“Did I hear you ask about Trey Kidd?” the fan asked Kate.
Kate had been inquiring, to no avail, of the barista about Trey Kidd’s shift.
“We don’t give out employee information,” the barista had said.
“So he does work here, then?”
“We can’t confirm employment status,” said the barista. “We’re not effing HR. What are you, a fan?”
“No,” Kate had replied. “It’s personal.”
The woman with the chic red hair and hippy clothes had followed her to the table.
“Are you one of my mutualies?” the red-haired fan asked.
Kate looked at her puzzled.
“Is Trey your bias? Do you stan Kidd?”
At last Kate comprehended. “No,” she replied, “I’m not a fan. It’s–”
“I’m always thrilled to meet another fan,” the red-haired woman said. “There’s so few of us here in the States. Most are in Germany.”
Kate chose to listen. Maybe she’d get some useful information.
“I’ve got some great TK merch,” the fan continued. “I can get you a deal! What do you want, pics?”
She pulled out her iPhone and brought up an Instagram account: @TKStansNFans. Most of the photos were scans of album covers and magazine interviews from the late 70s, early 80s. The more recent photos were blurry, most from a distance, sometimes shot through windows, sometimes through this very window at this very same café. While all the photos showed men with long gray hair, it was clear that they weren’t all the same man.
“I’ve got keychains, too,” the fan said, bringing up her Etsy page to show dozens of round, plastic keychains with cartoon drawings of a young Trey in classic poses: lounging against an oak, arms raised under a rainbow, gazing pensively at the moon. The page displayed T-shirts, baseball caps, posters, coffee mugs, and album covers, too.
“Then, on e-Bay, I’ve got the real stuff.” She pointed to an old baseball cap. “This was really his. Never been washed. I don’t think $1,000 is too much, do you?”
Kate shook her head.
“You into visuals?” On an Imgur site, sketch after sketch of Trey Kidd were laid out. Some were simple, naive, even childish. Others were complex, artistic, and elegantly executed. The bulk lay somewhere in between. “Simple inks are usually around $25, and full color will cost you $50-100, generally. But like I said, I’m always happy to hook up my mutuals for less, specially us American mutuals!”
“I’m not really looking for art,” Kate said.
“Maybe you’re into fan-fic?” The woman brought up a page on An Archive of Our Own. “Check this out,” she said. “No, wait. Trigger alert. OK, here–wait. NSFW. OK, try this one.”
Trey took another hit of his joint.
“Smoking!” he drawled.
He pulled out his guitar.
The woman next to him leaned against his back, breathing huskily.
“Kidd,” said the man with long-dark braids who sat cross-legged. “It’s getting hot in here.” He stripped off his shirt, revealing his six-pack.
“I’m really not into–” Kate said. “This isn’t–”
“You can support this, no prob!” said the fan. “Here’s the link to my Patreon. $25 a month gives you basic access, but for the best exclusive content, I really rec the $100 a month rate. And for more, I give you the gold!”
“And that would be?”
“Interviews. Live chats. The works.”
“Like live interviews? That means, you know him?” Kate asked.
“Well, it’s in the works. I don’t promise to deliver for a few months. But soon!”
“Like I say,” Kate said, “I’m not really a fan. This is more of a personal matter. But I do want to find him. If you could help with that, I guess I could maybe pick up some, what do you call it, merchandise, as a gesture of thanks.”
“Dang, look at the time. I gotta split for work. I was really hoping he’d come while I was here. I still haven’t seen him yet, myself. Tell ya what–if he shows, will you text me? Then I’ll hook you up with good stuff, for free!”
“I don’t have a cellphone,” Kate said. The fan looked at her as if she’d stepped out of another era.
It was still early in the day. Kate didn’t have anywhere she needed to be. She watched the fan dash out the door. Then, she ordered a cappuccino and settled in to wait out the changing barista shifts.
Prompt for May 26: “One character is trying to sell something to another character,” from StoryADay.org.