Short Story in a Song— “She Doesn’t Exist”

Ever make a wrong turn in a foreign city and find yourself on an unexpected adventure? That’s how it felt to discover Robyn Hitchcock’s music in my teens. I’d travelled the well-worn boulevards of heavy metal, stomped down the back alleys of punk (finding the The Soft Boys along the way), and traveled the twisting paths of college rock—but hearing Hitchcock’s solo records was like finding a secret passage into a dark and magical world. Those feelings of wonder remain today, making it almost impossible to pick a single track. So I chose “She Doesn’t Exist,” an all-time favorite from the 1991 Egyptians album “Perspex Island.” This song would make a great short story.

Our narrator is obsessed with his ex. He’s attempted every trick in the book—from calling over and over to voodoo rituals—but nothing brings her back. So he tries to sooth his fragile ego by convincing himself that she doesn’t exist. He recognizes his mistakes and wants to do better, but knows it isn’t possible within the dynamics of their relationship. Soon it’s only singing to himself that briefly drowns out the persistent thoughts of his lost love. Hopefully his obsession doesn’t compel him to act and try to make her disappear for real.

Read the full lyrics for Robyn Hitchcock’s “She Doesn’t Exist” right HERE.

More Short Story in a Song posts:

S.W. Lauden is the author of the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATIONGRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME (Rare Bird Books). He is also the co-host of the Writer Types podcast. Steve lives in LA.


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