The “Hungary Grocer” disco, in downtown San Francisco,
Was run by Zack Marullo, and kept mostly in the black.
I was a lowly bouncer/VIP announcer,
And barely earned enough to keep a T-shirt on my back.
I could own a leather jacket, if I joined with Joey’s racket,
(“Joey ‘Morphine’” –pushing drugs was where the gang-boss got his start)
Pimping and collecting debts, but I had fears about regrets:
Would the barmaid I admired, Mary, give a crook her heart?
Then one night I overheard her threaten Marullo with murder,
If she ever caught him stealing tip-jar money for his till.
Times were tough, Marullo pleaded. He took only what he needed.
That was when I knew I’d scruple to do anything but kill.
Me and Mary got together shortly after I donned leather,
Though I kept the job as bouncer at the Grocer on the side.
It was in that line I tossed a drunkard out, who, flailing, lost
His winning lotto ticket! Isn’t Lady Luck a fickle bride?
The drunkard (my friend Danic), sometimes woke up in a panic,
So, I put a plan in motion to free him from so much strife:
Four score kegs of Golden beer, a fifth of Scotch and Everclear,
Was all the proof he needed for a long and pickled life.
Before liquor, loss & leather, Dan and I grew up together—
Childhood friends once, our souls and slates both clean as clinic cotton.
In the barroom mirror, my twin, accused me, through tears, of a sin.
So, I bought him drink after drink, until he’d forgotten.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
This poem was co-written with my talented brother, Stephan, who wrote alternate verses and came up with the title (a lame pun on Winter of our Discontent). He and I have collaborated many times.
Shawn M. Klimek is a former military journalist with a BA in Interdisciplinary Arts. His stories and poems have been published in dozens of e-zines and anthologies. His winning comedy short story, "Pregenesis", is featured in Gold: The Best of Clarendon House Anthologies, Volume One, 2017/2018. Find out about current projects on his writing blog - A Jot In The Dark.