She Talks to Angels

The basement smelled of musty carpet and damp plaster. My chest tight, body anxious, watching my best friend Hannah and the Landreau’s youngest son, Matt, making out in the corner. Penny was playing the ancient WWF pinball machine with Steve. I knew they wanted me to hook up with their friend, but I was less certain about that than I’d been about the neon yellow Champion sweatshirt and pegged jeans I’d worn to the party.

“Hey,” he said, clicking a cassette into the boombox. “Have you heard this?”

I’ve forgotten his name, but those guitar riffs? They’ve stayed with me forever.

My Blog Can Beat Up Your BlogMy friend Lance is offering up a challenge: I give you a song, usually under 4 minutes, then you give me exactly 100 words inspired by the tune. How the inspiration manifests, is up to you.

This week’s song is She Talks to Angels by The Black Crowes. I was 13 when this song was first on the radio, and while this isn’t precisely memoir (more a pastiche of memory and fiction), it captures the essence of me, awkward and unworldly, in middle school.


  1. I think I was at that party! My neon sweatshirt was pink though :-)

  2. i thought for sure spin-the-bottle, or truth-or-dare :)

  3. As I am exactly your age, I am fairly sure I was there! Also awkward and pegging my jeans. And the boy? I’ll bet he turned into quite the Lothario, already using music to pick up the pretty girls :)

  4. I was the one with the music, or at least arguing with someone play it.

    I love the details. The sweatshirt, the wwf pinball machine, the jeans.

    excellent 100. Leeroy will dig this one

  5. I’m sure she fell for it….. :)

  6. Oh, those guitar riffs put me in a happy place

  7. Ahh, the joys of neon EVERYTHING. And that completely awkward feeling. Classic, just like the song :)

  8. Great chat up line….and atmosphere diffusing from every word. We all remember that day :-)

    • Atmosphere, indeed. Hormones so thick you could slice them, and that awful damp, industrial carpet smell. I wouldn’t go back, but there’s a kind of silly nostalgia about it.

  9. I love the setting of the stage, and the carry through with this line – “I was less certain about that than I’d been about the neon yellow Champion sweatshirt and pegged jeans I’d worn to the party.”

  10. Yes – the Black Crowes have some of the most memorable riffs on the planet. God I love them. This is another week when I’ve GOT to participate. GOT TO.

  11. How I hated those teen basement parties. That musty smell stays with you, doesn’t it.

  12. Fantastic title – and piece!
    You have a beautiful heart, Cameron.

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