I first paid real attention to ELO when they released “Sweet Talkin Woman” on purple vinyl. The year was 1978, and I had started my Billboard Top 40 craze. I wasn’t in band yet, so I was more attuned to the sound of the cello, which I ‘played’ in orchestra. This song had a wonderful cello part!
In fall 1981, I rode to All-Senior Honor Band with my friend Laura and we listened to ELO’s concept album “Time.” This album became dear to me for several reasons: it had a sci-fi time travel theme; a single from the album, “The Rain is Falling,” reminded me of a UIL competition where I spent time with my boyfriend; and finally, I simply liked the music.
Later, when I became engaged, I found out that my fiancé had all of ELO’s albums, so he introduced me to their other songs. The movie Xanadu had been released in 1980 and starred Olivia Newton-John, with music by ELO. The story was a bit hokey (IMHO) but I never let that sort of thing bother me! I mainly liked it for the music, anyway.
A few years back, I was riding Amtrak with time on my hands, so I decided to write a flash fiction story based on whatever song came up next on my mp3 player. The song was ELO’s “Evil Woman” and here is the story:
I stared at his broken body with mixed horror and disdain.
He would live; his injuries were not life-threatening. I had made sure of that. I was already an evil woman, but I didn’t want to add murder to my list of sins. I just wanted to incapacitate him so I could take what he had – namely, a briefcase full of C-notes. Plus his watch, jewelry, and any other valuable items. Not his credit cards, though. Too easy to trace. Besides, what was in the briefcase was plenty. How could I have guessed, while standing on the street the night before, that this trick would be the one to set me up for life?
He was a fool to pick up a hooker (after getting drunk, no less!) with all that cash on him! Any of us would have stolen the money; I was just lucky to be the one he picked. But I was damned if slimy Eddie was going to get any of it! No, I had been running away since I was 13, and this was just one more time. I would leave Vegas and never look back.
I shook away the thoughts and finished putting the money into my sequined bag. No one would have believed a hooker with a briefcase! On impulse, I knelt beside my benefactor and almost touched his cheek. Unlike most johns, he had been kind and gentle, almost loving. Almost as if I really mattered.
I made my way down the service elevator and even waved at the desk clerk on my way out. As soon as I was out of his sight, I ducked into an alleyway and used a dumpster to make quick changes to my appearance. Once more the respectable librarian, business suit covering my skimpy bikini, I climbed out and went to a pay phone on the street behind the hotel. “911, state your emergency,” came the crisp voice.
“Injured man in room 410, Romano Hotel,” I stated hoarsely. Then I hung up, ignoring her requests for more information.
I boarded the next train for the coast, but his gentle touch still haunted me