So I’m listening to the radio, some oldies crap that my stupid mother can’t seem to get enough of. Yeah, fine, I’m still living at home. You think it’s easy getting a job with a lousy high school degree? Anyway, I hear this car drive up, and I think, “Oh, God, no…”
I go out on the porch, and the screen door slams, which is, like, so annoying. And my dress gets kind of caught in it, and I stumble just as I see him, and he’s all, “Like a vision she dances across the porch!” Uh, sarcastic much?
Of course he starts showing off right away by identifying the song on the radio, how it’s all about loneliness, and, of course, all about him, the narcissist. “Hey that’s me, and I want you only,” he says. Yeah, sure. Like I haven’t heard how he’s fooling around with that tramp Rosalita.
“Go home,” I say, and he starts whining, “I just can’t face myself alone again.” Please… I turn to go. “Don’t run back inside,” he says. “Darling, you know just what I’m here for.” Uh, yeah. Keep it in your pants, James Dean.
Next thing I know, he starts cutting me down, telling me I’m scared and that I ain’t that young anymore! I’m 22! My acting career is going to take off any day now. Shut up, it is! I’m about to tell him to kiss my ass when he comes out with this: “You ain’t a beauty, but, hey, you’re alright!”
You call me scared, old, and ugly, and you stand there leering like you expect me to spontaneously rip my shirt off? Like you’re God’s gift? We did it that one time at Asbury Park! I was drunk. I don’t even remember, except he was all boo-hoo about some “Sandy” chick.
But he’s not done yet. “You can hide ’neath your covers and study your pain, make crosses from your lovers, throw roses in the rain.” And I say, “Dude, are you high?”
And then, surprise, surprise, he starts going on about his precious car. “I’m no hero,” he says. (Got that right.) “All the redemption I can offer, girl, is beneath this dirty hood.” A 1970 Chevy Impala station wagon with a filthy mattress in the back. Some redemption.
Finally he announces his big plans for the night: roll down the window and let the wind blow back our hair, by which I gather A) he’s broke, and B) so’s the window. And then he gives this wink and tells me “heaven’s waiting down on the tracks.” Gross.
Next thing I know, he’s holding out his hand and moaning: “Woah, oh, oh Thunder Road! Oh, Thunder Road! Oh, Thunder Road!” I shout, “Seriously: are you high?”
And now he’s on about his guitar, boasting how great he is. Mastered “Smoke on the Water.” Good job. And then it’s back to the car. Like totally obsessed about getting me in that shaggin’ wagon. “The door’s open but the ride, it ain’t free.” Don’t I know it. And then he has the nerve to tell me that any promises he makes tonight will be broken. The first honest thing he’s said.
I’ve just about had it at this point, especially when he starts bringing up all the boys I sent away. So now I’m not just ugly and old, I’m a slut too? “They scream your name at night in the street, your graduation gown lies in rags at their feet.” He had to bring that up. It was five years ago! Why can’t people let it go!
But then he goes, “It’s a town full of losers. I’m pulling out of here to win.” And for a second, he looks so sad and sincere, kind of passionate, really, all his crazy dreams, like maybe we do have one last chance to make it real. And I almost feel sorry for him. I think about getting in the car. I mean, what else am I going to do? Watch Hawaii Five-O with Mom?
And that’s when the Black man playing the saxophone jumped out of the bushes. So I called the cops.