Hands Off the Perimeter, Sister!

Russ banged his glass on the table louder than he’d intended.  He was almost finished the quarterly report.  He tuned in to his favorite radio station out of Detroit and adjusted his headphones in time to hear, “Romeo and Juliet!”

“Haven’t played that one in a while,” the DJ cued it up.

“Do you have the Live in London version?  Dedicated to the love of my life for our anniversary.”

A Night in London, the DJ thought, common mistake.  “Sure, but isn’t it a sad song?”

“I guess a little….”

“The whole Romeo and Juliet story ends in tragedy.”

“Well, yeah…” she hesitated until the DJ started to make a suggestion.  “But the middle!”  Her voice brightened.  “The middle sure is sweet.”

The DJ laughed.  “Can’t argue with that.”

So your love-struck Romeo got a serenade
Laying everybody low with a love song that he made

Russ scoffed.

Juliet, the dice was loaded from the start
And I bet, yeah and you exploded in my heart

He tipped back the bourbon, slowly, savoring the burn.

You promised me everything, you promised me thick and thin
Now you just say, ‘Oh, Romeo, yeah, you know I used to have a scene with him’

He lined up the empty glasses around his laptop with satisfaction.

I can’t do the talk like the talking on the TV
I can’t do a love song like the way it’s meant to be

“Hands off the perimeter, sister!”  The waitress returned his empty glass.

I can’t do everything but I’ll do anything for you
I can’t do anything except be in love with you

“Another?”  She stated more than asked.

All I do is miss you, the way we used to be
All I do is keep the beat, and bad company

That’s how they all start, isn’t it?  He tilted his head back and looked at her with narrowed eyes.

All I do is kiss you, through the bars of a rhyme

“Make it a double,” he challenged her.

Julie I’d do the stars with you, baby — anytime

He could take it.


[Lyrics in italics from “Romeo and Juliet,” by Dire Straits.  Performed by Mark Knopfler.  Written by Mark Knopfler.  Original release:  Making Movies, 1980.]

Video posted to youtube by user Leksingen.



8 thoughts on “Hands Off the Perimeter, Sister!

    1. Thanks so much, Robin. I’m very happy that you like them! The short stories with music come relatively easily to me, and I wonder how many is too many for the blogosphere….

      Romeo and Juliet is beautiful, isn’t it? This performance won me over to Mark Knopfler’s music. I’d heard the album release which I thought was pretty, but it left me indifferent. Then I came across this clip and I heard it with a whole new depth.


  1. So, I figured out that the guitar that Knopfler (sp?) is playing is a metal body National tuned to an open C. This ties in to the National pictured on the Brother In Arms LP somehow? Anyway, I fake play this song on a wooden acoustic tuned to DADGAD and it almost always makes me tear up… especially if there is bourbon involved.

    Liked by 1 person

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