Constance Squires, "Running Out of Music"

A military brat strikes up a friendship with a soldier who’s got a sweet record collection.

(from The Atlantic Special Fiction Issue 2007)

Lucinda had been surrounded by men in green all her life. GIs were part of the background on military bases, but she had never thought much about them and certainly had never visited where they lived. As her father pulled his Audi into a parking space in front of the Kaison Barracks on a Saturday morning, she began to imagine for the first time what it would be like to be a GI here in Grafenwöhr, West Germany, only 30 klicks or so from the Iron Curtain at the Czech border.

You know, at first I found myself a little underwhelmed about this story. It’s just so straightforward in plot and purpose. And the music talk, while fun, hardly touched on what about rock and roll was so attractive to the girl or the soldier. However, a little re-reading and a bit more contemplation led me to appreciate this story’s single-mindedness and endearing characters a bit more. It also avoided getting messy when there was something more noble to accomplish. (Vague, I know, but I’d rather you find out by reading it.) If I had to find a shelf for “Running Out of Music,” I’d go to the young adult section.

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