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Friday, April 25, 2008

HOLE IN THE ROAD


For TOP 'That's Funny'

My best friend, Charlie, always liked a drink.
When pints or shorts were lined up on the bar
He’d down them faster than most men could think
It almost killed him and it left a scar

Each Thursday lunchtime, Charlie took his pay
And spent the weekend in the local pub
He’d drink those crazy weekends clear away
By Sunday afternoon, he’d need a sub

Pints of lager, shots of rum and black
Purple moustache tattooed to his top lip
Charlie often finished on his back
He’d lose control, but couldn’t take the tip

Friday nights, I’d meet him for a few
A pub near home, he’d call it ‘MCD’
Minimum Crawling Distance – that’ll do
Hope he comes out this time with his key

And then, one night, I started on my way
Through road works, cordoned off with orange tape
Some poor, blind-drunken soul will hit the hay
That lines the bottom of that ugly gape

I couldn’t chase this thought out of my head
As I approached the pub that crazy night
“Charlie’s pissed again,” a good friend said
I didn’t need to look, I knew alright

Now Charlie had been downing pints since noon
As was his habit when the weekend came
For Charlie, paralysis came too soon
Almost unconscious now, out of the game

He failed to notice me when I arrived
But got up from the table, spilling beer
Smashing glasses as he ducked and dived
“Where’s the bathroom, mate? I’m out of here”

When he returned, he looked at me and said.
“I think I’ve had enough, I’m going home
One more for the road won’t help my head
I’m gonna hit the street and have a roam.”

He grabbed his jacket, walked towards the door
Eight ‘o’ clock and already worse for wear
“You’re never gonna make it home, I’m sure.”
I tried to tell him, but Charlie didn’t care

But he’ll be back again tomorrow night
Tomorrow afternoon, as well, no doubt
He’ll leave the pub behind, without a fight
When ‘time’ is called and Charlie gets kicked out

By half past ten, I knew I’d had enough
I said ‘goodnight’ to all my other friends
I’d had four pints, and I was feeling rough
“When morning comes, I’ll wake up with the bends.”

I walked the short crawl home, without a sound
But stopped just once to light a cigarette
Tossing the empty packet to the ground
A ‘last request’, smoking will kill me yet

I noticed orange tape that had been breached
“Just as I thought,” I whispered, with a breath
And almost lost my balance, as I reached
“Some drunken bastard’s tumbled to his death.”

To my surprise, or perhaps, I might have known
I recognised the ‘body’ in the ditch
There was Charlie, lying all alone
“You crazy, drunken, blind son of a bitch.”

Fast asleep, angelic baby face;
I called to him, but Charlie didn’t stir
“That’s what you get, when you can’t take the pace,
I’ll bid you a good evening, kind sir.”

Guys like Charlie, who can’t take their drink
Will say they just don’t ever make mistakes
But surely this will make him stop and think
“Never again!” He’ll pledge, when he awakes

The best night’s sleep he’d had in several weeks
Could not deter the craving he can’t hide
An alcoholic, Charlie always seeks
Consolation from the bottle by his side

But please don’t pass harsh judgement on his kind
Come pay-day, he can barely find his feet
But through the week, ‘till Thursday, you will find
The nicest person you could hope to meet

I once asked Charlie, “Mate, why drink so much?”
He said, “Just to forget what makes me drink.
It must be working, memories don’t touch,
‘Cause I am drunk, therefore I do not think!”