"Eva Traveling (We've All Got a Job to Do)"
Eva's bourbon is just doing its job. With very little help it eases into her glass, then into her mouth. And from there it doesn't take long til it seeps into her heart. Later tonight it will seep back out through her pores and settle into the Red Roof bedsheets.
"The Place Monterey Goes"
This is a story with a beginning, but it doesn't really have a middle or and end. It doesn't go anywhere. It doesn't mean anything. But Monterey has a place she goes to, a place back in the high dunes. She goes there all by herself. Nobody knows where it is, and only a couple of people even know she goes there. She slips out of work, drives down the beach road, follows a path that no one else seems to know about, slips out of her clothes and tunnels just under the surface of the sand.
"Vera and Me, We Got a History"
People complain about everything. Because that's what people do. But these are just the stories I want you to hear. The other ones are usually better. There are notebooks full of words that sprang up between you and me.
"The Looking Back (Renee Revising Again)"
And after that ended, she did a lot of stuff. A lot of experimenting. Casting off a bad boyfriend doesn't necessarily lead to good choices, but sometimes a few different choices can sometimes at least make a girl some extra cash. Tonight's gonna be the night, Renee says. But she has too many leftover bottles left behind by too many leftover men. Maybe tomorrow night will be the night. Everything - yes, literally everything - is subject to revision.
"The Piece That Fits (Mary)"
There's that puzzle you're putting together, without knowing what the picture is. You get almost all the border, and a lot of other random pieces that fit together because they're the same color or have the same kind of detail. But at some point you're kind of shooting in the dark, hoping maybe this piece might fit into that one...? But at some point you happen to pick up that one piece that not only fits into place, and not only shows how other things fit into place, but once you snap in that one piece, the whole picture becomes not just recognizable but beautiful. There are still a lot of pieces to fill in, but with that one piece you've gone from randomly trying pieces just hoping the would work, to understanding how to finish the picture. Mary is that kind of piece.
"The Benefits and the Burdens of Going Too Fast (Vera Earlier This Month)"
Vera's car has a live turtle as the speedometer. Normally he just sits there peacefully, but when she goes over the limit, he turns, looks here in the eye, and slowly shakes his head disaprovingly.
You might think you belong with Vera, but don't think for a minute that's the same as belonging to her. It goes without saying that she doesn't belong to you.
"The Life Worth Living (Alice North of Avon)"
It's a life worth living. To drive down NC12, almost to Avon. To walk over the dunes and spread out your blanket on an unusally warm December day. To open that bottle of whatever you've been saving for a special date but then decided to drink all alone today. To wait til you're sure nobody else is on the beach and then take off your shirt and jeans and underwear and dive head first and screaming into a December wave. To run out cold and refreshed, ready to enjoy the sunshine and the wine.
"Back in the Live Oaks; Wash Woods Caroline"
It takes a while. Eyes that are all full up with light take a good little while to empty back out again. So take a minute. Take a minute and rest your tired legs and your sunburned shoulders. Take a minute and watch the way the light changes. It changes the woods and the ground and it changes the graves. The graves sleeping there with their names slowly dissolving into the sandy ground.
"The Definition of What Is and Is Not Acceptable (Vera's Dream After the Big Concert)"
In her dream, Vera is relaxing in the creek after her concert. It went really well, and her manager, Sean Connery, is telling her how great she did. But as he's talking this duck swims up underwater and grabs onto her thigh with its weird, fully openable beak. She's trying to figure out what to do about the duck as Sean is saying he has some people who came tonight who want to meet her, and she looks over and sees Bob Dylan standing on the dock fishing while David Bowie is leaning against the boathouse smoking a cigarette (in his white suit from the Let's Dance video). But the duck is not letting go of her leg. It's not super painful, but still, there's this underwater duck with a weird beak attached to her thigh. She's trying to get the duck to let go of her leg, even though neither Sean nor Bob nor David can even see what it's doing. Is strangling a duck still inexcusable animal cruelty if you get to meet David Bowie, she wonders? She tries to get the duck to just let go, but of course she ends up making a scene and all anybody can talk about then is the duck, not her amazing musical talents. When she wakes up there's a weird bruise on her thigh and a strange man in her bed. But not any of the ones from her dream.
"Augusta County Alice (Cold Rain)"
In the woods back near Sherando an upside down VW beetle sits alone and quiet. If you didn't used to have one you might not even recognize it but Alice knows. She sits on the cold november ceiling waiting for it to rain harder. I see the things that really scare her. They scare me too.
"No One Takes Jane's Pride"
Jane shakes her head, "yeah, you go right ahead, you go and love for all the altruistic reasons you need to". She knows better now. Jane's loaded up the celica. She's called out from work. Left notes.
As she drives down somebody else's street for the last time, some guy named Paul is singing on the radio, "One man comes he to justify, one man to overthrow". Paul thinks the song is about something else entirely, but Jane knows the real meaning. Quitting jobs, dumping boyfriends, abdicating responsibilities. The truest love is the love just for yourself.
Jane finds an interstate on-ramp marked east, heading for the ocean. It's all in the name of love.