What is always a package deal with Karina Halle's books? A guaranteed playlist. She is a major music buff and you can bet your ass there will always be music references in her books!
Bright skies, rough desert, open blacktop spreading before me. Cue the music. I fumbled with my ipod and selected the Desert Playlist I concocted a few days ago in a hotel room in Colorado. The Door's "Roadhouse Blues" came blaring from Jose's speakers and I let myself smile as the hot breeze blew my hair back.
There wasn't a car or soul around for miles. It was just me and Jim Morrison and the extreme landscape.
I followed highway 62, through my favorite Calexico songs and surf music until Joshua Tree National Park appeared on my left.
The foreboding guitar strings of Calexico's "Gypsy's Curse" started playing as I entered Palm Valley's Main Street, which only added to the drama.
That was a very long time ago and it wasn't as simple as a man and woman breaking up, she taking his car and his money. This wasn't a Carrie Underwood song. This shit went fucking Anthrax for a while.
Even John Mayer was playing over the speakers, but the newer John Mayer, after his years of exile on a ranch.
They just lay side-by-side, staring up at the stars and listening to Soundgarden's "The Day I tried to Live" on his portable speakers, watching for satellites and enjoying the feeling that they, in their fourteen-year old tragedies, were the center of the universe.
"Ever heard of Guana Padano?" he asked me, reaching for his iPod.
"Sounds like Calexico," I told him, feeling excited about a new musical discovery. "One of my favorites."
When the show was over and they played an encore of The Cramps "Human Fly" and "Fever" to a rowdy and ridiculous crowd, Camden joined me down at the front of the stage.
"Seriously," I reinstated, "you're awesome. You're almost better than Poison Ivy."
A few songs into Calexico's Feast of Win (my choice), when the bottle was half-drunk, we suddenly remembered we wanted to eat food. So Camden ran back inside to get the asparagus and steak - and a bag full of our thrift store clothes.
This time my soundtrack was the album Sunset Mission by Bohren and Der Club of Gore, a German horror jazz band that was all instrumental.
"Behold," Camden announced like Marilyn Manson's magician, "Justification in the form of Ellie Watt."
"You know when we were in my car heading to the show and I said I liked Guana Padano because it reminded me of you? Rough and sweet at the same time? I wasn't lying. I was just leaving something out. It's rough and sweet and very, very sad. When I look at you, I see sadness."
"Of course, I do. I'm a con artist. Almost every paycheck is dirty in some way."
"Dirty deeds done dirt cheap."
I put The Dead Weather's Horehound on the mp3 and the dissonant chords of "Treat Me Like Your Mother" came blaring out the speakers.
And to my surprise, as soon as Jack White's vocals came up, Camden jumped right in. I eyed him appreciatively, impressed that he knew the words.Soon we were singing, shouting, shaking our heads and spelling out the word "Manipulate."
"The tattoo on your arm. The tune. It's from 'On Every Street' Dire Straits."
Her song for Javier was Nine Inch Nail's "Wish."
"Luck be a lady tonight," Camden said quietly. "I think she'll turn on us soon."