top of page

"It Ain't Me Babe" • Bob Dylan (by D.T. Robbins)

It’s 2007. 

The girl I’ve been hooking up with behind her boyfriend’s back asks me to go with her to watch one of her friends perform. 

Her name is Kat. 

Her friend’s name is Bry. 

I don’t remember her boyfriend’s name. 

“Bry’s so good! You’ll really like his stuff,” she tells me. 

She doesn’t tell me that all Bry does is stand on stage in a black suit with a pair of Wayfarers and a harmonica and sing knockoff Highway 61 Revisited songs. 

I like Bob Dylan just as much as anyone, but ever since that fucking I’m Not There movie came out, every skinny white guy with an acoustic guitar and the talent of an anal wart wants to cosplay as Bobby D. But for some reason, it fucking works. The room is packed with mostly girls. There are only a couple of other dudes. And all the girls we’re here with have probably already fucked Bry or are hoping to fuck Bry. I wish them the best of luck. 

“He kind of sucks,” I tell Kat. 

She gives me a look like what the fuck is wrong with you? Some of Bry’s groupies give me the same look. 

I look at them all like, sorry. 

After the show, Kat says one of the other girls is having a thing at her house. 

I ask what kind of thing. 

“You don’t have to go,” she says. 

“I’ll go,” I say. 

We pull over in a church parking lot before the party and fuck in the car. Kat plays Blonde on Blonde on the aux. She comes twice during “I Want You”. 

The girl throwing the thing lives in one of those big houses at the top of Haven. Easily over five thousand square feet. The place is packed with underfed twenty-somethings who look like they’ve been ripped from American Apparel ads. It doesn’t matter that it’s fifty degrees and raining outside. None of these motherfuckers are fully clothed. Kat blends in beautifully. 

Bry is in the center of the living room. Hair in a tousled fro. Wayfarers over his eyes. Unlit cigarette between his lips.

Kat takes my hand, parting the sea of models to get to Bry. She wraps her arms around his neck. He lifts her off the ground. 

After introductions, Bry asks what I thought of the show. 

Kat goes rigid as she holds her breath. 

I lie and tell him it was great. “You’ve got a real unique talent,” I say. 

Kat smiles big. 

He takes off his sunglasses and goes, “Then why’d you say I suck?”

I laugh. “I didn’t say that.”

The noise in the room fades. Conversations stop. Music scratches to silence. All bodies point toward me. Their eyes narrow, black. 

“We heard you,” Bry says.

A voice echoes from behind the crowd, “We heard you.” 

Another voice rises in the distance. “We heard you.”

Through the cracks of the American Apparel army slips one, two, three, four, too many hipster Bob Dylans, as if they’re being replicated in a factory and dropped off at this Rancho Cucamonga house party. 

I go, “Look, man, I was just being a dick. I’m sorry.”

The clones grab my arms, drag me to the ground with robotic strength. 

When Bry speaks, the other Bob Dylans speak. One united harsh Missourian tone emphasizing different parts of whatever they say:

“We heeeaaaard you.”

Weee heard you.”

“We heard yooouuuu.”

I fight off the tidal wave of harmonicas and whiny Fender Stratocasters wailing “Subterranean Homesick Blues” off-key. Terry Richardson is at the door blinding me every time his lens flashes snapping pics of one of the American Apparel suburbanites willing to sell their souls and bodies to become urbanites. 

“You gotta get the fuck outta here, man! They’ll never let you leave if you don’t GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE!”

I yell back, “I’m sorry, Terry Richardson! I can’t save you!” I don’t think he minds so much when three of the girls take off their tops. 

My legs pump until they’re running on fumes. My eyes pop out of my head, droop down past my nose. My lungs expand and contract with the force of God. 

A panicked voice behind me calls my name. I look over my shoulder. It’s Kat. Tears are streaming down her face. I slow, suck in air and steady myself. 

“Take me with you,” she says.

I touch her cheek. “It ain’t me you’re looking for, babe.”

D.T. Robbins is the author of the short story collection, Birds Aren't Realand the forthcoming novel, Leasing. He's on social media somewhere as @dt_robbins. 


bottom of page