Monday, January 20, 2014

no rat

dark night of vengeance, part 1 : a man walked

by horace p aternwall

illustrated by roy dismas

part one of four

a man walked into a bar
smoking a big cigar
he had some pennies in a jar
and was not a movie star

the other patrons hardly reacted
by his presence they were not impacted
and turned away with nary a sigh
as to the bar he drew nigh

the man bellied up to the rail
his face was strangely pale
he continued puffing on his noxious weed
and had an altogether ghastly mien indeed

(this all happened in the distant past
when humans were not built to last
and practices decidedly unhealthy
were indulged by both the destitute and wealthy)

the bartender's name was mike
his fellow humans he did not much like
(the regular barman named mort
was a much more tolerant sort)

but mort was on vacation
perhaps at some exotic location
and mike's glowering visage
in the newcomer's gaze loomed large

mike announced without a trace of cheer
"we don't take pennies in here
or personal checks or credit cards"
his manner grew increasingly hard

oh no, the new chap laughed
as he began to unwind his scarf
(perhaps you have not yet been told
outside it was bitter cold)

these pennies are only my hobby
i work for a large manufacturers lobby
my name by the way is phil
and i bear no one any ill will

because, lordy, it's cold outside
and i have nothing to hide
i think a nice hot toddy
would bring much needed warmth to my ravaged body

the making of so complicated a drink
as a hot toddy made mike blink
but putting on his game face
he began making it with an ill grace

phil continued to puff on his stogie
like a most contented old fogy
but as mike was heating the ginger ale
suddenly phil turned very pale

because out of the corner of his eye
which he rarely used, as he was not one to be sly
he saw a figure which triggered his memory
and he thought, can it really be he?

for phil had not always been an old fud
once he had been a dashing young blood
with fire in his veins
and a body devoid of aches and pains

and had competed on a nightly basis
for the attention of feminine graces
with other young males of his breed
before he had gone to seed

he had rivals naturally enough
who tested his mettle and stuff
but it had all gone by so fast
and was lost in the dim past

could it really be bill smith
whom he had a desperate contest with
for the love of emily brown
the prettiest girl in town

at least that was how it seemed
before reality intervened -
as it was intervening now
beneath the bartender's menacing brow

which was turbid with tensile traction
as he repeated - "satisfaction -
does it meet with your approval
or do you demand its removal -? "

"oh no!" cried phil in haste
for he had no time to waste
for he wished to consume the beverage
and then with sudden leverage

to quit this fearsome place
where the now remembered face
had triggered waves of primal fear
which had slumbered many a lonesome year….

part 2