I take a sip of instant coffee from a paper cup, look up, and scan the clearstory, the seven rectangular windows that run the length of the great room just below the eighteen-foot ceiling. In a perfect world I’d be painting from scaffolding — nice stable scaffolding — but no budget for that, and no time. So, if all goes as planned, I’ll be up there later today, dipping and dabbing, two hundred and forty pounds of brush monkey on a borrowed extension ladder.
The young couple who bought the house loved the kitchen island and they were definitely impressed with the unattached three-car garage, but when they looked up at the great room’s high ceiling and the soft light coming through the clearstory, that’s when I knew they’d be making an offer.
I aim my boom box toward the kitchen. Something sets off Spud out in the back yard. ARK-ARK-ARK, ARK-ARK-ARK. He’s a good boy. Pammy needs him. I switch on the radio and crank it up. “— and it’s gonna be another scorcher in the Oldies 97 listening area,” the jacked-up morning DJ announces. “Temps rocketing up to one–oh–six.” On comes Elton John’s “Rocket Man.” Hardy-har-har. Spud is still going crazy out back. ARK-ARK, ARK-ARK-ARK-ARK. He’s a good boy. Pammy needs him.
She’s in the TV room down the hall, giving Dad his morning pain pill and getting him situated in the recliner with cushions under his leg. Coming out the doorway, she stops and looks back in at him. “When the medicine kicks in you should do your exercises. Your little PT cutie comes tomorrow.” She says this so easy, sweet as a peach. What I’m thinking is — They call it elective surgery, Dad, as in, you can schedule it for when it’s convenient. If only I had a tenth of her patience.
We get to work — Pammy packing up her crafts room and me in the kitchen, taping off the windows, wrestling the stove and fridge away from the walls, draping tarps. Going through all her scrapbooks — I hope nothing sets her off. “Johnny B. Goode” plays on the radio, then “Born to Run.” I’m bending and squatting and stretching — somebody should start an exercise class — Painting Away the Pounds. The buttery yellow paint comes off the roller easy — nothing quite like that smell, almost sweet. “The City of New Orleans.” What a totally great song — in my all-time top ten. “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” The saleslady ringing me up at the paint store telling me, You can’t paint in this heat. I just take back my credit card and smile, while what I’m thinking is, Really lady? I heard about this crazy new invention — they call it air conditioning. “The Boys are Back in Town.” Oh my gawd, Mattress King is having a Fourth of July blowout sale!
My cellphone rings and I answer. “That’s right,” I say. “Yup, still available.”
Pammy sticks her head around the corner to see who’s calling — she seems good. I wiggle my eyebrows and give her a thumbs up.
“No, not really. Like the ad says, thirteen five — that’s firm. Includes all the accessories, plus the trailer too.”
When I hang up, Pammy asks, “Well?”
“Says he wants to look her over.”
We smile at each other like, fingers crossed.
When I first ran the ad I got three other calls, but not a single one wanted to come look. This guy sounded interested, but he was still angling for a bargain. No, I’m not thinking about giving a little on the price. Jeez. A boat like that, a 2014 in perfect condition, with those motors, and all the extras… hell yes, thirteen five. Definitely.
When I kneel to paint around the electrical outlet under the bay window, my knees go snap, crackle, and pop and I’m thinking of those kids who bought the house… knew they had a buyer’s market, really stuck it to us. Lowball offer. Two pages of nit-picky repairs. And the capper, sale contingent on us moving out in thirty days. Who ever even heard of that? And they’re like, take it or leave it. “Me and Bobby McGee” comes on as I’m using the small brush to cut in around the kitchen cabinets. Telling Pammy how doing the painting ourselves was the only way to go — she just stood there, hands on her hips, glaring at me like I’m crazy. Paint it? We’ll be lucky if getting everything else done in a month doesn’t kill us. Had to open my big stupid mouth — Look, you just don’t understand. No job, no money. Definitely could have handled that better — should have put a cork in the dork. The DJ repeats the same news he’s been giving all morning about the ten-car pile-up out on the interstate and how we’re headed for a record fourteenth straight day over 100. “Oh, Pretty Woman.” “Don’t Stand so Close to Me.” Come on down to Mattress King, Set you up with the real thing. Lamest jingle ever. I’ll be fine driving the U-Haul… but Pammy and Dad stuck together in her little car… for two days…
I finish the kitchen and move on to the great room, switching roller heads and laying down broad swaths of what Sherwin-Williams calls Igloo White in push-pull strokes to the thudding baseline of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.”
Pammy comes out, a little flush in her cheeks, and says, “Okay, all boxed up and ready to go.”
I nod and ask if she has any ideas about lunch.
“I could run get something.”
She finds her purse under the tarp covering the kitchen counter and is out the door. I hear the clunk and grind of the electric garage door opener and from the front window watch her pull out of the driveway. When she makes the left onto Armstrong I go to the fridge and crack a cold one. Two quick gulps make a good dent, two more finish the job. I bury the can in the bottom of the paper grocery sack we’re using for trash and do a little shimmy to Tina Turner singing “Proud Mary.”
I step into Pammy’s craft room, which is empty except for her office chair, some cabinets, a couple of large folding tables, and a small mountain of cardboard boxes and big plastic bins, each labeled with an oversized yellow stickie note. I lift two of the boxes and lug them through the kitchen and out the back door. Spud comes bolting out of his doghouse and races at me with his full weight and momentum until he reaches the end of his run line and the choke chain jerks him backwards. ARK-ARK-ARK-ARK. He’s a good boy — a horrible barking maniac is what he is… no, he’s a good boy. And Pammy needs him.
I cross the patio between the house and garage and free a hand for the door knob. Through the flaps of the top box, I see one of her scrapbooks, on its spine the word CANADA. Niagara Falls roaring like a jet plane right in front of us — Pammy beaming, her hair matted down from all that billowing mist, standing at the front of the tour boat in a neon-pink plastic poncho. She was just starting to show with Dusty.
Inside the garage it’s shady but the air hangs hot and stuffy, thick with an overpowering smell of tires, motor oil, and mowed grass. I set the boxes down and push the buttons to open the second and third overhead doors. While they rumble and swing up and let in more light, I look over all we’ve packed up in the last few weeks. Every inch of what used to be my truck’s parking spot is now stacked to the high rafters, like in a warehouse. Tables and chairs and headboards and rugs and lamps and framed pictures and the rest of it, but mostly boxes. Our whole life in cardboard. Definitely two loads in the U-Haul.
Again and again, I circle from garage to craft room and back, hefting boxes and bins. Her and her scrapbooks. All that work. Remember the good times, she always says. Remember the good and fend off the bad. Two and a half years since we lost him.
I get a beer from the mini fridge, sip, sip again. The light flooding into the garage shows off the boat’s clean white curves. Spick and span. My baby. Can’t forget to tell the guy about the two cleat screws being stripped. Knocking back another swallow, I close my eyes — we’re cutting across the lake’s glinting water… a cool breeze… Pammy’s hair blowing back… days that were never gonna end.
I kill the beer and walk out to my pickup parked along the cul-de-sac’s rounded curb. Backing the truck up the driveway, I check my mirrors on both sides, inching toward the trailer. If I can’t sell her, then what? Towing a 19-foot boat behind a 26-foot U-Haul six hundred miles and over a mountain pass? No sir. No way in hell. I get out and position the trailer so the hitch is above the truck’s tow ball and couple them with the crank jack.
Easing the truck forward and positioning the boat on the driveway, I start thinking about the ice chest, my big, beautiful Yeti. I carry out the box of spare parts and the heavy gas can and buck them into the boat and head back into the garage and run my hand over the top of Yeti — Pammy all smiles, watching me unwrap it on my birthday. I didn’t list it in the ad, and it tears at my heart to give it up, but… you gotta do what you gotta do. Into the boat it goes. I’m breathing hard, my shirt’s sticking to my back and chest and gut. Twenty pounds since the layoff. Maybe start some kind of diet after we get moved.
Whack-whack-whack — Dad smacking the metal wastebasket with his cane. The sound rattles Spud. ARK-ARK, ARK-ARK-ARK-ARK-ARK. He’s a good boy. She needs him. When I enter the kitchen, Dad’s bellowing for his pill. I jiggle one from the plastic bottle and take it to him. He snatches it from my hand and washes it down with iced tea. Wheel of Fortune is blaring on the big-screen TV.
“Ever hear of the July effect?” he asks but doesn’t wait for an answer. “They hire these kid doctors fresh out of med school every July and their patients die like flies. Statistical fact. On the news just now.” His mouth forms a tight line across his face. “What if they screwed up and I get gangrene and they have to cut my leg off?” he says. “What about that?”
“Your operation was in June and your surgeon was at least fifty,” I tell him. “I think you’ll be okay. Want some more ice in your tea?”
“What?” he says, his eyes fixed on the game show.
I repeat the offer a little louder.
“I gotta drink or I’ll die in this heat,” he says, shaking his head. “But then I have to pee every ten minutes and it hurts like hell to walk.”
Thirteen five — too much?
“Does that make any sense to you? Huh?” He slaps the leather arm of the recliner.
“Hey, I’m not deaf.”
“Do we have enough of my pills? Do we need to get more?”
“We have what your doctor prescribed.” The contestant on the TV spins the big wheel and when it comes to rest, she jumps up and down, flapping her hands into the air. She reminds me of Pammy’s sister gushing on Skype when she talked us into moving. It’s sooo cheap living down here. You could get yourselves a sweet little house for next to nothing. And there’s plentiful work. She kept saying that — plentiful work. How plentiful, Nicole? Plentiful enough for a fifty-five-year-old supervisor who’s only ever worked one job?
“I gotta pee,” Dad says, his frown now pinched at a slightly different angle.
I help him up and get him balanced on the walker and hover close, ready to catch him if he falls. He wobbles to the bathroom, wincing every time he puts pressure on his new knee. If they just wouldn’t have closed the plant. Standing at the toilet and unzipped, he calls back over his shoulder, “I wish you had handrails in here. Could we get some handrails?”
“I told you, we’re leaving in a few days.”
“I just think you should have some handrails.”
Over the sound of the toilet flushing, I hear Pammy out in the kitchen. “I’m home,” she calls. Thank god.
She’s spreading out three paper plates and loading them up with chicken, biscuits with little plastic packs of honey, and big plops of coleslaw. I open the fridge and get what she’ll be counting as my first. I scarf down a home run — leg, thigh, breast, and wing. Cold beer and hot chicken.
We get back at it. Pammy’s brushing a coat of glossy latex on the trim around the kitchen windows while I use the roller to turn the lower part of the walls in the great room into an igloo. The DJ says the temperature just ticked up another four degrees, those ten cars are still piled up on the interstate, and one after another, the hits just kept on coming. “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay.” “Twist and Shout.” “Watching the Detectives.” “Rock the Casbah.” And no, I don’t want to buy a damn mattress!
Not long after Pammy drives to the paint store for another can of latex, I hear a horn honking outside, a tinny MEEP-MEEP-MEEP. I wipe my hands on a rag and step out the front door into a wall of shimmering heat so hot it feels like standing between the boilers at the plant. Parked in front of my truck is one of those two-seater super-subcompacts, its exterior an almost incandescent metal-flake orange. Unfolding himself out of this thing is wiry guy in shorts, sandals, and a billowy white T-shirt — forty or so, veiny arms, sunglasses. He puts on a wide-brimmed sun hat, its dangling chinstrap wings back and forth as he ambles up the driveway.
“Howdy. I’m Loren,” I say, maybe a bit too cheery.
“Skip.” He bobs his chin toward the boat. “That it, huh?” he says this like he’s got a migraine coming on.
I say, “A real beauty,” and hearing how dumb it sounds, wish I hadn’t.
He takes his time making a shopper’s slow circle around the boat, climbing up on the housings over the trailer tires and leaning in here and there, inspecting the gauges on the instrument panel, pawing through the spare parts box, giving a feel to the cloth of the folded-up mooring cover, running his hand over the curved surface of the big Mercury outboard.
“That fish finder was Bass Master’s product of the year,” I tell him. “Ship to shore radio. GPS. Temp and depth gauge. The trolling motor is almost brand new. Got all the original manuals and paperwork.” It’s like he’s not even hearing me. I wipe the back of my wrist across the sweat on my brow. “I’m even throwing in the Yeti. That’s top-of-the-line, a heck of a cooler.”
Skip makes his way back around to my side of the boat and eyeballs me from face to boots and back up. “Doing some painting, huh?”
I think of my streaked and spattered pants and make a little laugh. “Couldn’t have picked a nicer day, could I.”
Skip looks away, over toward the garage, and digs his hands into his pockets. “I suppose you got life jackets?”
“Can I see ’em?”
Huh? “They’re just regular lifejackets. Orange.”
He looks at me like I’m the doofus.
“Okay, sure, I’ll go get you one.” I start toward the garage, annoyed, then notice the lifejackets, hanging on their hooks, perfectly visible in his line of sight. He follows right behind me all the way inside, but when I get one of the jackets and hold it out for him, his head is turned and he’s sizing up the stacked boxes.
I tap his shoulder with the vest. “Here you go.”
He refocuses, takes the vest, and glances at one side and then the other as if he’s interested. I’m wondering what’s going on — is this guy a thief or something? No, dumbass, he’s putting two and two together. Skip hands the vest back, nodding with a fakey-do smile.
He returns to the boat and squats down, resting a hand on one of the trailer tires and bending over to check the underside of the hull.
“Those chrome wheels,” I say, “I wouldn’t have put the money into them myself, but that’s how the trailer came. They polish up good. Look real sharp.”
Not even glancing at the wheels, Skip stands, takes a paper from his back pocket, unfolds and studies it. “Your Craigslist ad’s been up for, uh… quite a while.” He looks up at me through his dark glasses. “Nobody much buying,” he says, slowly fanning himself with the paper. “Maybe all the layoffs at the power plant, huh?”
I shrug like, who knows, and ask if he’s ever fished for blues stripes up at Fall Lake. “Good eatin’ fish. They really go for the cheese bait.”
Skip scratches the back of his neck. “So how much you say you’re asking?”
Forget how to read? It’s right there in the ad. I keep my voice steady. “Thirteen five.”
“Huh.” He pushes up the brim of his hat then pinches his earlobe and makes a sour face. “Seems a little… high.”
“Lot of boat for the money.” He carefully folds up the paper and slips it into his hip pocket.
“I was thinking more like… ten.”
This stabs me, but I keep a poker face. “You can shop around,” I say. “I looked online, checked the Blue Book. That’s what they’re going for — what they’re worth.”
He scans the boat, stem to stern. “Well,” he says, pushing his hands deep into his front pockets, his bony shoulders riding up, “I’ll have to give that a think over.”
“Sure. Not a problem.” I force a smile. The cleat screws pop into my mind, but no, not now — not with him playing games. “Course, I can’t promise how long she’ll be available. Got another guy coming by in a while.”
Old Skipper cracks a smile. “Ain’t that the way,” he says, clicking his tongue and nodding his head. “Always another guy coming by.” He reaches over, gives the boat a gentle pat, and walks away. When he drives off in his dinky little clown car, I see the bumper sticker: THERE ARE NO JOBS ON A DEAD PLANET.
Asshole! I stomp toward the house and slam the door behind me. Spud goes nuts — ARK-ARK-ARK-ARK-ARK-ARK-ARK. Will you shut the fuck up! I clamp down my jaw and remember what the grief counselor told me to say. He’s a good dog. Pammy needs him.
I guzzle a beer, fuming. Dead planet my ass. How much electricity can you generate? Ever use a lightbulb? We got flue scrubbers, low-sulfur coal. Never burned so clean. “Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie” echoes through the empty house — helter-skelter rhyming with summer swelter. Halfway through the next beer I’m even more steamed. I’ll have to give that a think over. Yeah, you do that, bucko. And good luck finding a better price. Cuz you won’t. Cuz that’s exactly what she’s worth.
“Hotel California” comes on. I don’t have time to waste. The big ladder is awkward and I struggle to get it vertical and balanced then pull its rope to force the extension section upward — thirteen, fourteen, fifteen feet — screeching with that god-awful sound of aluminum rasping across aluminum. I tilt the ladder against the wall opposite the clearstory windows, figuring I’ll roll the ceiling first, then do the trickier brushwork around the glass. All this painting because of those damn picky buyers — we’re touring room to room and the guy starts bragging about his job with GaleForce. We operate the wind turbine arrays you’ve probably seen in the hills west of town. Yeah, you smug twerp, I’ve seen your eyesore. How many birds did your turbine blades kill today?
Down goes the rest of the beer, crush goes the can under my boot, and like a frisbee it flies into the corner. I climb several rungs up the ladder to check the slope — a little too steep. I move the base farther away from the wall and test its stability with a shake. Pammy should be here steadying this ladder. The roller handle screws easily onto the six-foot extension wand. I dip it in the paint pan on the floor and roll the load even and climb up the ladder’s many rungs holding the wand upright in my left hand like a torch. A fair price isn’t good enough for ol’ Skip. Diddling me just to diddle me.
I strain to run the roller back and forth across the ceiling while using the other hand to keep a death grip on the quivering ladder. The muscles in my abdomen squawk and burn, but I hold the position until the brush rolls dry. Back down the ladder, slowly, one careful step at a time. Wind power, yeah, that’s really gonna fix everything. Except for the battery problem and not matching peak demand worth a crap.
Instead of going all the way down to the bottom, I stop on the third rung, bend and extend the wand to the paint pan on the floor. The roller sinks deep into the puddle of paint and loads up heavy on one side with a big wet gob. I try to roll it up the pan’s incline to even the load and remove the excess, but no go. I try and try again and still I can’t get it to roll. The wand’s getting heavier by the second, the blood pressure’s building in my face. I rest the rod against the ladder, straighten my aching back, try to catch my breath. I see Skippy, in my boat, high-throttling across the lake and cackling like a madman — Ten! The stupid fuck took ten! Wha-ha-ha!
“Sweet Home Alabama.” I bend back over, grab the rod, and try again, applying more force and less force, tilting it so the friction’s all on one side, anything — but it’s like pushing a broom. A bead of sweat runs into my eye and burns. I clench my jaw — I am not climbing down. I lose balance, start to fall, and reflexively bend my knee, ramming my shin hard into a rung — a jolt of pain shoots all the way to my teeth. Nothing in the fucking world is going right, so sure, why not, why not go all the goddam way down the goddam ladder to the goddam ground. I yank hard to hoist the rod and gummed-up, fucked-up roller to get a better grip on it, and when it’s up to a forty-five-degree angle a fat string of paint gloops off. It falls through the air like a comet with a long tail and splats on the tarp. I jerk the rod with a sharp twisting motion to keep the rest of the paint on the brush head and the whole roller handle unscrews from the rod and drops to the ground, landing with a soupy plop.
For a second everything is still — until I yell and fling the piece of shit extension rod across the room. It bounces into a collapsed step ladder leaning against the wall, sending it sliding to the floor where it knocks into a gallon can of paint, tipping it over. I stare, holding my breath. The lid stays on the can — one, two, three — then gives way, a slow-moving wave of white paint spreads over the tarp. ARK-ARK, ARK-ARK-ARK-ARK, ARK-ARK-ARK.
Late in the evening I’m slumped on the recliner in front of the TV, arms and thighs sticking to its leather, a scab and a bruise on my shin. I drink and seethe, seethe and drink. When the beer’s gone I switch to Jack. Dad finally goes to bed. For about the fourth time Pammy asks what’s the matter and for just as many times I tell her I don’t even want to go into it. She thinks this is a good time to start in on me about how much I’ve been drinking since the layoff and I tell her to leave me the hell alone and she says all right, if you’re going to be that way and clomps upstairs.
I stare at the TV, show after show, nodding in and out, drinking more and either thinking or dreaming about the plant manager addressing the whole shift gathered on the loading dock — You all have done nothing but an outstanding job, and if it was up to me we’d be burning clean coal for the next five hundred years.
I open my eyes and squint to clear the heavy fog in my head. The nature program about the extinction of the white rhino isn’t on anymore — now a red-haired infomercial announcer with a loud shirt and a pinky ring is staring at me and asking, “Are you sick and tired of being trapped in a timeshare?”
I rub my face and look at the clock, its glowing red digits read 3:20, the two dots blinking on-off, on-off. Twenty-one is my lucky number, so I sit there like an idiot, waiting. And then out of nowhere it hits me — there is a way out. Even if a buyer won’t pay the thirteen five, the insurance will.
The zero turns to one. I turn off the television and listen to the house sounds — nothing to indicate anyone is still awake. I go into the unlit kitchen, stop at the sink, and look out the window — all black, Spud’s asleep in his doghouse. There will be questions — Who do you think might have done this? Probably kids up to mischief. Or, I don’t know, maybe Skip — he got real upset about the price I was asking. Drove off in a huff. No sir, I don’t know his last name, but he called, his number will be on my phone.
Out the back door, quiet as I can be, I pause on the landing. Still hot. No wind. I slip across the patio and through the back door of the garage. Moving through the pitch black, my hand brushing along the side of Pammy’s car, I get to just inside the open overhead door and have a look. No movement on the cul-de-sac and none out on Armstrong. All the houses dark, shut down for the night, just a dim porch light on here and there. I go to my workbench and feel around until I find the matchbook, then, hunched down, creep out to the side of the boat away from the street. I reach over the gunwale, unscrew the cap on the gas can and ease it onto its side, glug, glug, glug. I stand back, strike one match, and use it to light the pack — it flares, and I flick it onto the aft deck. There’s a deep, breathy whoosh and a fireball. I dash up the walkway and into the house. ARK-ARK-ARK, ARK-ARK-ARK-ARK-ARK.
Peeking back out through the cracked door, I see pretty, bright yellow flames rising from the boat dancing straight up into the air. My heart’s pounding and I’m wondering if the trailer’s gonna burn or survive and what that’ll mean for the insurance settlement, when BANG, something explodes—an arc of fire shoots up and out of the boat toward the garage. ARK-ARK, ARK-ARK, ARK-ARK-ARK, ARK.
I run outside to where I can see that flames have splashed across the garage floor and are shimmering right up against the stacked boxes. I scramble to the garden hose and twist open the spigot valve as far as it will go then see the pistol-grip spray nozzle, grab it, try to screw it on the spewing hose — water jets out and sprays everywhere, my face, T-shirt, all down my legs. Twisting the nozzle tight, I look up and see the flames are spreading fast, covering the boxes and licking up toward the bare-wood rafters. Holding one hand in front of my face to shield the heat, I get as close as I can and shoot a silvery stream of water onto the burning cardboard, the melting plastic bins, and furniture that’s now alight — with little effect.
Pammy’s at the front door. “I called 911!” she cries. “I’ll get Dad!”
The workbench is burning — oil, paint thinner, propane, bug spray. My eyes dart up to the whisps of gray smoke rising from the roof shingles. I look across the patio to the house, wondering if the flames could jump the gap. The garage roof suddenly erupts into a sheet of fire — the intense heat pushes me backwards and I spin away and aim the jet of water at the house — the roof, the eaves, the door, the siding. My calves feel like bacon sputtering in a frying pan. I listen for sirens but hear only the roaring whoosh and crackle of the raging inferno.
I spray and spray and spray, and time slows to a crawl. Minutes seem to pass between each of my breaths. Our whole world is going up in flames — our stuff, the photos, her scrapbooks. All of it, everything on fire — turning to sparks. Sparks skittering upward into the black sky. Thousands and thousands of them, rising ever higher with such lively energy, then so quickly winking out. Gone.
Each and every one.
Nobody even left to remember what could and could not be controlled.
Image: “Around the House” by Heather L. Williams, licensed under CC 2.0.
I am writing these days about people dealing with the same challenges we have always dealt with, only now we are doing so — with varying degrees of awareness and concern — while careening toward a potentially cataclysmic hot-planet future.
The people in these stories are not noble ecowarriors, Mr. Smith politicians, or crusading activist heroes (all to me about as credible as the Incredible Hulk); rather, they are cousins of Samuel L. Jackson’s character Jules in Pulp Fiction trying — trying, Ringo, trying real hard — to make things right.
The germ for this story: a pounding on her front door well past midnight awakened a dear friend in her nineties; a garage adjacent to her home was ablaze and a quick-thinking neighbor, fearing the flames might spread, had come to evacuate her.
When I was nine, I witnessed a two-story house completely engulfed in flames, shimmering yellow and orange against the black of night, radiating an unforgettable heat.
In my experience house painting is always done listening to oldies stations on the radio. Great is the temptation to use music lyrics in fiction (and woe unto the user); this story includes many song titles but no lyrics, thus tiptoeing around copyright laws, lawyers, and user fees. (Dear Mr. Springsteen, I have a doozie of an essay to write if you would only permit me to use “Thunder Road”.)
Bonus playlist tracks:
• Warren Zevon, “I Was in the House When the House Burned Down” (too obscure)
• Talking Heads, “Burning Down the House” (too obvious)
• Rolling Stones, “Gimme Shelter” (how did I not include this?)