Unreal-Life Dialogue: Midweek Music (Emmylou Harris) Edition

[The scene: A Saturday evening in mid-June, 2011. A living room in suburban northwest Florida, USA. A man and a woman watch TV — something the man has chosen, because it is his birthday. A knock comes at the front door; The Pooch begins to bark madly, as usual, except she is also spinning: something she does only when someone she loves (or knows she will love) approaches the house.]

She: I’ll get it.

[She scoops up The Pooch and opens the front door. There on the porch stands a radiant silver beauty of a woman. The mystery woman smiles; it lights up the threshold and foyer like moonlight. When the mystery woman speaks, it is with a soft, sweet drawl.]

Mystery Woman: Hey there Missus. I’m Emmylou. Mr. Simpson at home tonight?

She: Why yes. Yes, he is. Would you like to come in?

[Finally the man — who has heard nothing of the dialogue to this point — pauses the movie, a little annoyed that the rhythm of this great action-suspense-thriller heist flick has been interrupted.]

He: Is that the pizz— Holy shit.

MW: Hey there, John.

He: But you’re — you’re—

MW: Uh-huh. Just here to play something for you, if that’s all right.

[She retrieves an acoustic guitar from the porch, comes in, sits down and makes herself comfortable, and begins to sing.]

He: [Picking self up from floor] My God…

She: Hmm. Can I get you anything, Emmylou? Water? Glass of wine? Coffee?

MW: That’d be sweet of you, ma’am. Just water for now. [Turning to the man.] Like to hear somethin’ else?

He: Er, uh, well… [nervous laugh] That was a bit somber, y’know? Maybe something more—

MW: [not-at-all-nervous laugh] More up-tempo? More birthdayish?

He: Oh, I don’t want—

MW: That’s all right, not a problem. Thank you, Miz Simpson.

[Mystery Woman takes offered glass of water, drinks deeply. He is hypnotized by the way Mystery Woman swallows. He swallows a little, himself.]

MW: Let me see… OK, hit it, boys.

[A band magically appears behind her.]

MW: There y’go. [She laughs softly.] Just like candles: one Cadillac for each decade. Hope y’all liked it.

He: I— I—

MW: Anything else you’d like to hear right now?

He: Well, I know there’s no way for you to— I mean, that little thing you did with Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch for O Brother, Where

MW: You might be surprised what I can do.

[She snaps her fingers. The band disappears, and is replaced by a suddenly coalescing Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch.]

MW: Ready, girls?

[Below, click Play button to begin Didn’t Leave Nobody But the Baby. While audio is playing, volume control appears at left — a row of little vertical bars. This clip is 1:57 long.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

[Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch ripple, turn translucent, and return to the ether.]

He: I— I’m speechless.

MW: Thank you. I’m so glad. I’m such a fan of your blog, you just don’t know. Especially that entry you posted back at the end of March. [Mystery Woman smiles. He falls to floor again.]

[Mystery Woman stands, leans guitar against the sideboard. Mystery Woman opens her arms, and He steps into them.]

MW: Y’all have a nice night, now.

[Mystery Woman leaves. He turns to She, who is impaling Him with a glare.]

She: You want to explain what just happened, “Mr. Simpson”?

He: Well, back in March, I wrote a post, sorta magic realis— No, forget it. I’m not sure I understand it myself.

She: [nods, apparently accepting this] I will say, that’s one beautiful woman.

He: Isn’t she, though? Isn’t she just? Have you ever seen hair like that? And that smile. [Shakes head.] And didn’t she look great in jeans? And the boots—

She: Okay, okay, enough of that. Back to the movie.


Hat tip to Jules for the NPR clip. Thank you again!

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