James D. McCallister

author of the Edgewater County series

Prince Dead at 57

UPDATED: Here’s a link to an audience recording of Prince’s final concert last week in Atlanta. He sounds fine to me.

Wow, shocking news. So here’s my important personal Prince memory…

It’s almost 34 years ago, Saturday night. I’m 17 and driving home from work at Mickey D’s, the first ‘real’ job I’ve had following a series of colorful, off-the-books employments and stabs at entrepreneurship. I close the grills, clean the grease, and by the time all is done, it’s pushing 2am.

The road home from Camden, Highway 1, lies lonely in the night. Something about being out at such a late hour, as well the fatigue from eight hours of labor, driving my own little Datsun 200SX, it all makes me feel grown up. Senior year is underway. Who knows what life will bring. Something better than rehydrating those little McDonald’s onions in a tub of tepid tap water. Surely.
I’m about to cross the bridge over the Wateree when I turn on the radio to hear an unusual new song by somebody named Prince. “The sky was all purple/there were people running everywhere. Two thousand zero-zero, party over, oops, out of time.” It isn’t really my kind of music—or is it? All I know is the sound and the apocalyptic imagery grabs me by the throat.

I crank it up, roll down the windows, and cruise around for a bit, feeling the night air on my face and reveling in my youth. The music feels unusual and important and different. It’s a moment I will go on to never forget, and that I’ll one day relive upon hearing the news that Prince, only 57—only seven years older than I am now—has passed away. Damn.


About dmac

James D. McCallister is a South Carolina author of novels, short stories, and creative nonfiction. His latest book, a story collection called The Year They Canceled Christmas, releases in November 2017.

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