While driving home

Late at night

Through the dark,

I saw my best friend

At a bus stop

In the rain . . .

I stopped the car.

Rolled down the window.

“Hey -- need a ride?”

But he said, “No.

Dude!  Look over there!

You see that girl?

On the bench?

She’s the girl of your dreams!

We’ve been talking.

She’s amazing!

She’s single and funny

And gorgeous and smart!

You should offer a ride!”

But my car seats two.

I said, “If I took her,

I couldn’t take you . . .”

Then the girl screamed!

“Somebody help!

I think he’s dying!”

A man in his eighties

Was clutching his chest

And gasping for air.

I knew of a hospital

Ten miles away

From where we all were.

But if I took him,

I couldn’t . . .

I helped the man

Into my car.

Turned to my friend.

Gave him the keys.

I said, “Drive to the hospital.

I’m staying here

With the girl of my dreams

In the rain . . .”

Almost as soon as I saw the challenge announced, I knew that I wanted to tell this story.  I saw it in a Reader’s Digest years ago, and I really liked how it coupled a romantic idea with a lateral thinking exercise.  (I’m such a geek!)

But for the longest time, I simply couldn’t “hear” the song.

It was frustrating.  I had the idea first thing Monday morning.  As late as Thursday evening, I still had basically nothing.  Despite the fact that it was a very concise, straight-forward story, I just couldn’t come up with a lyric structure that I thought would be effective.  And I wasn’t yet able to hear a melody line under the fragments of lyric possibilities I did have.


Thursday night, I settled on the rain figure for the piano.  And I pinned down the first “verse” well enough that I could get a sense of the song.  And that proved to be the toehold I needed.  Whereas earlier that evening I had felt desperately afraid that I might at long last not have a song to submit before the deadline (because I couldn’t think of any other “rain songs” I wanted to write, either!), I went to bed knowing that with the start I had, I would be able to hammer the rest of the song into shape in time.

This song has a very compact, economical lyric.  In my original sketches, the first “verse” was longer in subtle ways . . .

        Late at night

        (I was) Driving home.

        (I) Saw a friend along the road.

        He was waiting for the bus

        (On the bench) At the stop

        In the rain.

        I slowed down.

        Rolled the window down.

        Called out, “Hop on in -- I’ll give you a ride...”

        Soaking wet

        He climbed on in.

        But before I drove away,

        He said, “Wait a minute.

        There’s something you should know . . .”

In the final version, it’s stripped down nearly to the bare minimum of necessary information.  (“Through the dark” being the somewhat redundant exception).  And there are only two rhymes in the entire song -- and one of them isn’t even sung -- merely implied.  But I like the way it turned out.  What’s interesting, though, is that I find myself almost completely unable to predict what the reaction to this song will be.  With all of my other Song Fu songs, I’ve submitted them with expectations of how they’ll be received.  Now, my predictions have often turned out to be inaccurate -- but I could at least imagine a certain kind of reception.  Not so with this one.  Time, I guess, will tell . . .

Download “In The Rain.mp3

(Want the sheet music?)

(Before you read any further . . .)

***  WHAT WOULD YOU DO?  ***