Waits liked to snatch stories from the street. Like the time he and this then-girlfriend, Rickie Lee Jones
, were flagged down by a group of Mexican gang members. "Because of how Tom looked at the time - the tattoos, the hat - I guess these guys felt safe to talk to him," recalled Jones to the July 2011 edition of Mojo
magazine. "One of them asked him where the hospital was. He glanced into the back seat, and there was a kid back there bleeding. A lot of blood. He wrote 'Romeo Is Bleeding' soon after."