by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Erin, by 'Ghost Daughter'

Mayo Thompson - "Dear Betty Baby".

Mayo Thompson grabbed his stetson, his ratty tweed jacket, and he headed to the library. "Hey kitty," he said to the first librarian he found. "Happy Tuesday."

"Can I help you?" she said.

"You know what it is: show me to the phonebooks."

It was 1970 and the librarian showed Mayo Thompson to the phonebooks. He hung up his stetson on the corner of a bookcase and draped his jacket over the back of a chair. He unfastened the top button of his shirt. "Ma'am," he said to the librarian, "I am thanking you." Then Mayo Thompson started hefting telephone directories from the shelves, stacking them on one of the broad tables. He chose the phonebooks for Glasgow, Istanbul, Cannes, Lisbon, Reykjavik, Alexandria, Sydney, Heraklion, Cape Town, Brasilia, Halifax. Set in a pillar on the table they reached to the ceiling. Then Mayo Thompson scratched his knee and sat down. He started going through the phonebooks, one after another, looking for something. He was looking for the mailing address of the dawn.

A little while later the librarian came back. She had fallen in love with Mayo Thompson during their brief encounter. "Hello," she said shyly.

"Yo bluefin," he said, not looking up. He closed one phonebook and extruded another from the stack.

The librarian waited for a while. She was wearing a serious felt dress, blue with faint polka-dots.

Mayo Thompson finally lifted his eyes. "Oh, hey," he said.

"What are you looking for?" she asked. "A long lost family member?"

"Need an address for the dawn," Mayo Thompson said. "Want 'em to play horns on my new album."

"Sorry?" said the librarian.

"It's a solo record," he explained. "Songs by me. Love songs and work songs and not-love songs. Poetry set swinging."

"No," said the librarian, "what do you mean 'the dawn'?"

"Mornings, roosters, light," Mayo Thompson said.

"Is Dawn your sweetheart?"

"Wish she was." He squinted at the librarian. "Oh," he said at last, seeing the lustre in her eyes. "No, not a bird called Dawn, some blondie. No. The dawn. Daybreak. Aurora. Sunrise. Sunup."

"Like, the sun?" she said.

"Yeah. Like the sun."

"I think it lives in California," she said.

"It's for a song called 'Dear Betty Baby,'" he explained.

They found dawn listed at a San Diego address. "Honey!" Mayo Thompson explained. He tore the page from the phonebook. The librarian didn't say anything, just squeezed her fists at her sides.

"I gotta go write a letter," he said.

"I'm about to go on break," she replied.

Mayo Thompson grabbed his hat and jacket and made his way from the reference section, phonebook-page held in his teeth. The librarian scampered after him, grabbing her clutch from behind the Returns desk. She had to run to keep up with his long jeaned legs. He crossed 4th and dashed across 9th and stopped traffic on 1st. She was at his heels. Finally Mayo Thompson headed into a typewriter store. He gave the librarian his hat and jacket to hold. He peered at the Smith Corona "Electra" demonstration typewriter and smoothed out the dawn's address. Then he started typing a letter, pecking each key with his right middle finger.

"What are you doing?" asked the librarian, her arms full of ratty tweed and stetson.

"Writing a letter to the dawn. Asking 'em if they want to play horns on my new album."


"That kind of thing. Trumpet, French horn, trombone."


"'s what the song needs," he said. "Shush a second." He stood staring at the keys. "What's another word for 'sweet'?"


"Sugared. Dig." He continued typing.

"Couldn't you just get some musicians to play the part?"

"Sure. Session musicians flockin'. But this is different. This needs sunrise on horns. Needs it." He typed a row of x's at the end, just to hear the typewriter go ding. "Sugared," he said. Mayo Thompson unscrolled the letter from the "Electra". He took his hat back from the librarian and tipped it to the typewriter salespeople. Then he winked at the librarian. "C'mon," he said.

"What next?" she asked as they crossed 15th.

"I need stamps."

"I got stamps."

He stopped in the middle of the street. "You do?"

"Yes," she said. "At my flat."

She took him back to her apartment. They rode the tiny elevator in silence. Mayo Thompson smelled of straw and tangerines. Her keys glinted when she lifted them to the lock.

Inside the apartment she pointed at a small armoire. "They're in there, at the top." Mayo Thompson opened the armoire, ran his hand along the smooth of the wood. Behind him the librarian slipped out of her dress.



Elsewhere: A long interview with Spike Jonze about his forthcoming Where the Wild Things Are film, scripted by Dave Eggers.

[photo source]

Posted by Sean at November 20, 2008 10:55 AM

This is interesting: what is the source of this story?

I love Corky's Debt to His Father, especially "Dear Betty Baby." And, yes, the horns do sound like the dawn.

Posted by Jeff at November 20, 2008 1:14 PM

whoa. by the time i got to the middle of that story i, too, was in love with mayo thompson.
this is brilliant!

Posted by j at November 20, 2008 2:21 PM

mielleux, plutôt. more unctuous (rich), purple-orange.
and that bird reminds me of tear-drinking moths.

Posted by p at November 20, 2008 3:01 PM

this is my very favourite blog, always has been.
and this is my very favourite post, since just about forever.
"sugared". great word.

Posted by camille at November 21, 2008 12:25 AM

oh man, i don't know what to write.
it couldn't be sexier.

Posted by v at November 21, 2008 11:14 AM

I'm a wounded baby lamb. I want to mush my snout into Mayo T.'s tattered tweed and feel my breath turn it moist.

Posted by Boundie at November 21, 2008 4:39 PM

Love this story.

Posted by Calum at November 21, 2008 9:33 PM

Wow. I'd give an arm and an ear to hear them horns on his new album. Also, what j. said, about falling in the middle. With love and all. This one's a Godzilla.

Posted by Euterpe at November 22, 2008 3:21 PM

It is so touching..

Posted by mp3 meloman at November 24, 2008 1:40 PM

"hey kitty, ...happy tuesday," hands down best thing i've read in maybe a year or ever; strengthens the old resolve. good work.

Posted by zs at November 24, 2008 8:59 PM

Yay. I love The Abortion, too. I'm gonna have to dig my copy out...

Posted by Lesley at November 30, 2008 10:15 PM

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Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

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