TOM, an outsider musician who releases music but won’t reveal his identity, records a song in the studio with JULIE, his cousin-in-law….
TOM: Those are guitar chords. That’s what I play. These are the notes with the words right underneath. I’ll sing the melody, and you try to sing with me. Not like a duet with harmony.
JULIE: Like I could do that.
TOM: Just pretend you’re singing to the radio.
JULIE: Yeah. Okay. I do that. I can do that. Sometimes.
TOM begins playing. TOM sings and soon JULIE sings along.
TOM/JULIE:All the bones in my yard The prairie wind whisks them Clean as a razor blade Peels the bark off the trees They shake their white fingers Shake white fingers at me There’s nothing here, nothing Just trucks at the truck stop Strangers in snow Eyes asking questions Answers I don’t know Funny bald guy on the weatherman show Talking sunshine in California Sunshine in California Walking in the whiteout I’m just walking in the whiteout And I’m crying both my eyes out Bout the nothin’ everywhere There’s an empty in my head Where the snow blows through And the drifts slowly cover Crumpled pictures of you Your hair grows out white Your eyes fill with ice Your breath freezes your lips The snow up to your hips And its rising and rising Rising and rising And rising Walking in the whiteout I’m just walking in the whiteout And I’m crying both my eyes out Bout the nothin’ everywhere
TOM doesn’t so much end the song as just stops playing. Pause. He shuts off the recorder.
TOM: I was going to have you sing that alone, but I kind of like the way it turned out.
JULIE: Singing together?
JULIE: Me too. I almost forgot I was even singing it.
TOM: You just did.
JULIE: Yeah. Wow.
TOM: I say we leave it like it is.
JULIE: You mean sing it together?
TOM: I mean just as we sang it.
JULIE: Right now?
JULIE: Well, I made mistakes.
TOM: I like your mistakes. I made mistakes. I don’t care. I like it.
JULIE: That’s how it’s done?
TOM: That’s how I do it.
JULIE: What about, I don’t know. The stuff they do in the studio? Production?
TOM: I like it straight, coming right off my fingers. Like direct. As it happens.
JULIE: Yeah. It’s like live.
TOM: Like first live. Like where it’s being born.
JULIE: That’s intense. I never heard that before.
TOM: No one’s heard it before. Not until now.
JULIE: No. I mean, I never heard of anyone doing it that way. It’s crazy!
TOM: Just the way I do it.
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