The snake told her things about the world…
He told her about the time there was a big typhoon on the island
And all the sharks came out of the water
Yes, they came out of the water and they walked right into your house with their big white teeth.
And the woman heard these things, and she was in love.
-Laurie Anderson, “Langue d’Amour”
Man says it’s raining, raining outside
I’ll be out there, in a little while
Cause you see, rain reminds me of you…
-Mazzy Star, “Give Me Your Lovin”
The rain is drumming down on the roof when I open my eyes the next morning. I can smell coffee, cigarette smoke, eggs cooking and something else that I can't put my finger on yet, wet Texas dust maybe. Carlene's standing in front of her hot plate, peering in a skillet like you'd look under the hood of your car when it's stalled out, 106 degrees in the shade and you're a hundred miles from anywhere.
I lie there, my eyes half closed, listening to the rain hitting the streets outside, a car cruising slow through the water, splashing up a wake like a ship. Carlene’s whistling Milkcow Blues as she sticks her head out the window to wash her face in the rain. “If you don’t believe I’m leaving, you can count the days I’m gone…” I pour a cup of coffee from the percolator and join her sitting on the rusty slats of the fire escape, my white T-shirt soaking through and my hair shiny like wet tar on the streets below. I pull it front of my eyes so I can look through it, a dripping beaded curtain. Carlene sits with her head tipped back, the rain running down the flat planes of her tanned face. "God, that feels good. Can't remember the last time it rained round here," says Carlene, without opening her eyes."How long you been here, in Texas?" I ask. All the time I was getting married, driving myself crazy over Billy Joe, watching Lucinda Mae and Candy Sue have babies, Carlene's been out god knows where, running all over the world while I was just setting back in that trailer.
Instead of answering, Carlene pulls me back inside, crooning Come back baby, I wanna play house with you. Come on baby , let's play house like we used to do. She sounds smoky and sexy, and more than a little like Elvis. "Never knew you were a fan of the King, I say as I duck through the window. Thought you called him Tennessee trash." "Didn't say he wasn't. But he sure as hell could sing, specially in the early days down in Memphis." Carlene keeps singing. "You may go to college, you may go to school, you may have a pink Cadillac but don't you be nobody's fool." I join in on the chorus "Now come back baby, come, come back baby, I wanna play house with you.” And I swear to myself, this is one ride I'm gonna ride to the end, no matter what crazy places it takes me, I'm gonna find the courage somewhere to ride it out, cause it's gonna be one strange and wild trip.
-from "Queen of Las Vegas"