this is not a bodega.

there's this record shop on el camino, near watt ave. called esoteric records. i don't know how they've managed to stay open after all these years. they carry a lot of used vinyl, most of which looks like it's been sitting on the shelf for the past twenty years. even though tower records across the street went out of business well over two years ago, this place has managed to survive. sometimes i think it would be cool to own my own record store, but then i remember that not even obsessive compulsive types like myself buy music anymore.

esoteric is a really small, dirty place, and this one time we visited, the counter reeked of beer. apparently, it's okay for clerks there to drink on the job. the owner is this big, fat man who is friendly to those who buy from him. he's always got some new clerk behind the counter, guys in their late twenties or mid-thirties, ones who look like they've just crawled out of the sewers of del paso heights.

the place is so small that you can barely move. one of the aisles even dead ends, blocked off by a section of 45's. the setting is reminiscent of the notorious pawn shop scene in pulp fiction. strangely enough, there is a capital city pawn shop next door. i've probably only been in there once. what's the deal with pawn shops having to buzz you in? don't the owners know handguns are concealable? they should have metal detectors instead of a buzz-in system.

i haven't bought anything from esoteric in years. i thought about getting a boy named charlie brown on vinyl, but i didn't. i think the last (and possibly only) thing i've bought from that place was a rick springfield record for a dollar. it's the one with the dog on the cover, the album that has "jessie's girl." maybe it's those small sales that add up and keep the big, fat man going.

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