This is a song of subtleties, because Springsteen is that good. For example look at the shift from where the narrator just needs a ride to linking Eddie’s fortunes with his own. The narrator is totally spitting game and trying to get Eddie to go along with it. I wonder what Eddie’s perspective in all of this is. As good as the line is about carrying a friend it does beg the question of whether the narrator is carrying or not. Is Eddie the dupe here? One can’t seem to shake the feeling that the deal isn’t going to end well and Springsteen underscores this with the songs abrupt ending. We never know if they made it across the river of if the deal went down. Just as the deal itself is a dream that hasn’t happened yet the song ends leaving us wondering.
In the hands of a lesser writer this wouldn’t be a successful crime story because it would just be the middle part of something but Springsteen breathes worlds into each line and that’s where the fullness of the story comes through.
After reading the lyrics and hearing the song what do you think, is it successful as a crime story?
Hey, Eddie, can you lend me a few bucks
And tonight can you get us a ride
Gotta make it through the tunnel
Got a meeting with a man on the other side
Hey Eddie, this guy, he’s the real thing
So if you want to come along
You gotta promise you won’t say anything
‘Cause this guy don’t dance
And the word’s been passed this is our last chance
We gotta stay cool tonight, Eddie
‘Cause man, we got ourselves out on that line
And if we blow this one
They ain’t gonna be looking for just me this time
And all we gotta do is hold up our end
Here stuff this in your pocket
It’ll look like you’re carrying a friend
And remember, just don’t smile
Change your shirt, ’cause tonight we got style
Well Cherry says she’s gonna walk
‘Cause she found out I took her radio and hocked it
But Eddie, man, she don’t understand
That two grand’s practically sitting here in my pocket
And tonight’s gonna be everything that I said
And when I walk through that door
I’m just gonna throw that money on the bed
She’ll see this time I wasn’t just talking
Then I’m gonna go out walking
Hey Eddie, can you catch us a ride ?