I usually write about songs that would make a great short story, but this time I actually did it. My take on “Vacation” is included in the new anthology, MURDER-A-GO-GO’S, out this week from Down & Out Books. Having lived through the band’s meteoric rise in the 80s, I always thought of this New Wave hit in terms of the kitschy water-skiing music video that got played ad nauseam on MTV. Listening to this track with a modern crime writer’s ear, however, changed my mind about the possible meaning of the lyrics.
The first verse opens with a love sick narrator who’s reeling from a recent break up. My perception of those lyrics hadn’t changed much over the years, but things shift in the second verse. This is where our protagonist admits that she should have run after first meeting her ex. It might simply be an over-dramatization of their failed relationship, but it could also hint at something much darker. If so, it would explain why she has to “get away.” I took that theme and ran with it for my short story based on “Vacation,” which is set in a psychiatric hospital.
I really challenged myself with the structure and voice of this short story, so I hope you’ll check it out. Click to find out more about MURDER-A-GO-GO’S and my short story, “Vacation.”