Credit: Illustration by Emily Flake

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Rick Davis roams the aisles of Pop/Rock, slowly scanning what’s left of M–VA. He then hits what’s left of the CD singles (a lot) and then what’s left of the magazines (not a lot). He’s dressed in a black leather trench, black leather pants, and black leather boots. His hair is slicked up into an upturned swoop, a Morrissey wave. He is 6-foot-1.

Davis used to troll the aisles of the Tower in Fairfax as an employee. He attributes the fall of Tower to file sharers and shoplifters. “I personally ran down, like, three,” he says. “We had trained security officers who worked the store. Since I was the largest guy working at the store, they usually called me in….I never subdued anybody. We chased one kid who ran out of his shoes one time and left them. Like, ditched the CDs, ditched his shoes. He tried to sneak back around, and we caught him because we knew which car was his….[He] stole a couple of CDs—it wasn’t anything decent.”

Davis, 25, deemed the Goth/Industrial section his home and thought it “top-notch.” In his hands, Davis walks around now with just one CD, an album by Snake River Conspiracy—a band he’s only heard about—and a stick of licorice root he got from a Renaissance fair. “It’s kind of like sweet fennel,” he explains.

The Goth/Industrial section is dead now, its angst and torment having yielded to what’s left: the pink and bright pool of Geri Halliwell and Hoobastank. Certain discoveries lurked in the old section: Girls Under Glass, Skinny Puppy, the Smiths. He says he knew the dude who stocked it.

“I liked having a place,” Davis says. “It was great to know I just had a place.”