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I Fold

Even after the thirty minutes I'd spent finding my way out of JFK, my ears hadn't popped. It was my first time on an airplane and I didn't know to bring gum. As I stepped out to the curb, I saw a guy holding a piece of cardboard with my name on it. That was a crazy moment for a seventeen year old kid who had never been to NYC.

The guy who greeted me introduced himself as David Green, a self-professed "over sexed Jew" who'd made his fortune from the chain-link fence business. I guess he'd made enough money to venture out into the music and movie industries, as a project-funding executive producer, and his first big swing was gonna be a western. He had a script and a leading lady, and he had flown me into New York City to write the soundtrack. "I hear you're the Jesus Christ of songwriters" he said. "I need you to be my Jesus Christ, kid". I just thought to myself that we'd seen how that ended last time, and I didn't really feel comfortable with his analogy.

He darted that Cadillac in and out of traffic like a seasoned New York driver. I sat straight in my seat and held tight to the door with every lane change. More than once that trip, I thought we were going to die. But before I knew it, we were pulling into a two-story concrete building, surrounded on all sides by eight foot tall chain-link fence. We had made our way through the lobby and into Green's office before he noticed I wasn't carrying a guitar. "This kid's trying to prick me around" he yelled into the next room. I wasn't trying to prick him around. I just didn't think I'd be playing anything on this trip. I thought I'd be reading a script, talking to his actress about vocal range, and hammering out some rough lyrical concepts. "Go get a f#cking guitar" he snapped, as a woman in her mid fifties entered the room. "My brother has one" she replied. "We could pick it up on our way to the hotel". And with that, we were back in the Cadillac and rolling into New Jersey at ninety miles per hour.

While the woman was retrieving her brother's guitar, Green and I waited outside and formulated our plan for the next two days. "What do you want, kid?" he asked. "Booze? Blow? Broads?" I felt like Lynrd Skynrd. "I do smoke a little grass" I said cautiously - as if I were a kid in NYC for the first time. He pulled a hard pack of cigarettes from the glovebox and opened it, revealing at least a dozen pre-rolled joints. I took it from him and said I'd like to lock myself into the hotel with the joints and whatever guitar the woman came back out with. He agreed, and told me he'd be back in two days to see what I had written.

I remember watching the Ike and Tina biopic that night, and reading through a terrible script about a gambling cowboy and a saloon girl. I couldn't tell you anything else about my days spent in that hotel, other than leaving with zero joints and a song called "I Fold" about 80% finished. I played it for Green before leaving NY and he literally kissed my cheek. The image of Judas flashed through my mind as I boarded the plane back to Nashville. I never did commit that song to the soundtrack, and I never saw David Green again. I heard a few years later that the film had been derailed by the leading lady, and that it was never finished. And all I've got to show for any of it is a three-minute song about a gambling cowboy.

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