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Be Safe Arthur

by Jeffrey Parren

Passing 4am
was the clock
as Drunk Arthur stumbled
into Denny's
to sit facing me
in the next booth over.

The hostess tried to guide him
to his booth
though she left him standing.

He didn't get the memo
and as she humorously quipped,
“You've been drinking, huh?”
Angry Arthur came out.
“What kind of question is that?!”

A more defensive person
might have spouted
“You don't know me,”
though Passive Arthur
simply let it go.

Funny thing:
I was about to find out
who Arthur was.

His now third wife
had locked him out
“because he drank too much”
so Sober Arthur
picked up a bottle
to erase the pain.

He had taken a cab
to the Fiesta casino
down the street
only to sit
looking at me,
doing my best
“That Guy” impersonation,
lost in thoughts and dreams.

Arthur couldn't call
his last remaining sister
because she wouldn't answer,
especially at 4:30am.

He lost his parents young
and two sisters
along the way.

One tragically taken
and in the same
turn of events
lost a nephew as well.

Arthur's nephew
beat his own mother,
Arthur's sister,
with a hammer.

To finish the job
he doused her
with gasoline
and lit her on fire.

“Two life sentences”
Somber Arthur
explained to me.

He ate his pancakes
and scrambled eggs
while continuing on
how much he
loved God
and asked forgiveness
for his nephew.

Regretful Arthur
fought back tears
as he went on.

His nephew
only listened to him.

So when his sister called
so many years ago
scared of the impending,
Arthur thought
he defused the situation.

He never called the police.

He never talked
to his sister again.

Originally from Austin,
God-fearing Arthur
had an MBA
and was a computer engineer.

His analytical abilities
did not translate
into his thoughts on God
and any correlation
to the horrendous things
that occurred in his life.

He paid his check
and mumbled to me
a bit more.

Thoughts were jumbling
all the ideas left.

As he stumbled away,
Defeated Arthur
shook my hand.

All I could think
was that life
could definitely be worse.

I hope he found
a cozy Fiesta bed
to snooze away
his current ills.

Farewell Arthur.

Be safe.


Posted on 04/28/2012
Copyright © 2021 Jeffrey Parren

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Linda Fuller on 04/28/12 at 05:23 PM

I really like this, Jeffrey.

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