The third line places the character in East St. Louis. St Louis is also mentioned in Waits' "Train Song," "I Beg Your Pardon," and "Hold On."
East St. Louis is generally a rough place with a lot of crime. Tom Waits Fan
suggests that East St. Louis may be "a Waitsian metaphor for being in the worst part possible of any town."
Waits has said he has no particular reason for using St. Louis. He told Jonathan Valania of The Magnet in 1999, "No, never lived there. It's a good name to stick in a song. Every song needs to be anatomically correct: You need weather, you need the name of the town, something to eat - every song needs certain ingredients to be balanced. You're writing a song and you need a town, and you look out the window and you see 'St. Louis Cardinals' on some kid's T-shirt. And you say, 'Oh, we'll use that.'"