Dear One Headlight,

Listen to me very carefully. I’m afraid we may not have much time. I’m no good at science—or voodoo—so the unfinished basement you are currently in is almost certainly engulfed in flames. Also, I can’t imagine Jakob Dylan is too happy about me shaving off his eyebrows in his sleep last night.

I know you must be confused. I know you must be scared.

All will be explained in due time, but for now, I need you to focus.

By the stairwell, you will find a change of clothes and a balaclava—put them on.

Please know, the ‘clava is not because I’m ashamed of you. I could never be ashamed of you. You do need to understand, though, that the world you have just entered is a judgmental and callous one.

People will call you a monster, and in a way, they’ll be correct: you are a monster—a monster fucking hit. Also, depending on how successful my experiment was, you may, in fact, be a monster in the much more traditional sense of outwardly presenting as an unusual creature that is typically large, ugly, and frightening. It’s a toss-up. Again, not a scientist—just a huge Wallflowers fan. Which, in some ways, actually makes me more qualified than a scientist. Did you catch how I abbreviated balaclava to just ‘clava before? Not bad, right? I’d like to see a scientist do that.

Now—walk, slide, squirm, or slither up the stairwell and into the parking lot. A car will be waiting there for you.

Chances are, the driver is going to try and engage you in something commonly referred to as “small talk.” This—not unlike feeding Jakob Dylan’s dogs raw steak and Ambien—is a necessary evil.

It is of the utmost importance that you keep things light and friendly so as not to raise any suspicions. I cannot emphasize this enough: we do not want him knowing that up until this morning, you were a 1996 Adult Contemporary rock song produced by T-Bone Burnett.

For example, try talking about the weather, traffic, or Major League Baseball. Avoid talking about politics, religion, or the tremendous amount of physical and spiritual pain you are currently in. Also, Minor League Baseball. Under no circumstances whatsoever, should you talk about Minor League Baseball. Humans don’t talk about Minor League Baseball—not real ones at least.

The second you utter even a single word about Minor League Baseball, your cover will be blown, and he will immediately know that you are more likely than not the second single from The Wallflower’s second album, but first Interscope release, “Bringing Down The Horse.”

I understand this is a lot to take in. I’ve been throwing quite a bit at you. This next step, however, is extremely important. If not carried out precisely as per my direction, everything up until this point will have been for naught.

Once you reach the final destination, the driver is going to ask you for money. When he does, I want you to remove your ‘clava. If I’m as bad at science/voodoo as I think I am, he will let you out of the car immediately. Either that or he’ll try and mercy kill you.

Kobe beef, as it turns out, ain’t cheap. You didn’t think I was going to feed Jakob Dylan’s dogs low-quality steaks, did you? I’d rather die. I’d rather fucking die.

This last part isn’t easy for me to say. In fact, this may be the hardest thing I’ve ever had to say in my life—with the exception of the complicated Latin incantation I had to recite earlier today to summon you here.

In your pants pocket, you will find a glass vial. If the pain you are experiencing is just too much for you to bear, place the vile between your teeth or fangs or those weird baleen things Blue Whales have, and gently bite down. You won’t feel any pain, I promise—I think. All I ask is that when you do this, you think of me. I ask that you think of me the same way that I have thought about you every day for the past twenty-four years.

I won’t fault you if you choose to go down this path. The last thing I want is for you to suffer.

I’d imagine “insurmountable” is the only word one could use to accurately describe the pain you’re currently experiencing. Also, you’re probably hella fucked up looking. Again, just a big Wallflowers fan.

As selfish as it may make me, I do hope you leave that car today, and when you do, I want you to look to the east. There, you will find a rustic cabin perched atop a grassy knoll. That’s not mine. Just thought you would think it’s pretty.

Go towards the west.

There, you will find a couple dumpsters. That’s where I will be, eagerly waiting for you to take the final step—directly into my arms.

I can’t promise you that everything is going to go according to plan, One Headlight. What I can promise you, though, is that no matter what happens today, I will never stop trying to bring you here. Come hell or high water, I will breathe life into you.

I will not let you—or the entire Counting Crows discography—die in vain.

With Everything I Have,