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How I Got Rich And What Happened Then
Written in summer of 1976. I used to eat my lunch with groups of businessmen from Campbell Soups. We drank a drink at lunch each day Of Coca-Cola mixed with hay And talked of pending corporate plans And willow-haired orangutans. I spent a lot of time this way At doing things that were not play. But while I was away at work My wife went just a bit berserk. So I gave my wife a giant tome To keep her company at home. I simply, clearly just was not – That is to say – at home a lot. Though fun we had when I was there Tossing cookies in the air Or watching Dodgers playing Sox On multi-colored faceless clocks. We did these things so much, you see Because we were so rich were we. I made my money selling stuff Like plastic prunes and candied snuff. I planted seeds from seedless grapes And sold the sprouts as seafood crepes. I sold some coffee in a cup And leased a fork to drink it up. I sold a man a pair of lamps with perforated ceiling clamps. I bought exotic types of booze And sold it all to polish shoes. I grew some trees from stale eggs Which fruited beer in gallon kegs. I bought a candle and some wax. I spun them into purple flax Then wrote it off as income tax And stole my lawyer's Cracker Jacks! I plucked the feathers from a fish And sold the rest as lic-or-ish. I sold them all in Topenish To a man named Cavendish. He ate it with a real flair, A certain regal, haughty air. I made bold plans to tyrannize A northern Spanish enterprise In grapefruit-palms and dates and figs And maladjusted corkscrew pigs. (Alas it failed, sad say, But I got them anyway.) And when I died, I died in style Laughing smugly all the while They put my coffin in its crypt And read some Damoclean script. I went away at last to see The Gates of Heaven welcome me. St. Pete was there, beside the Gate. He said I was a little late. I bowed my head, apologized, Wondered if he realized The angels were all out on strike; I couldn't drive; I had to hike. Then a soul ran right past me As though he simply couldn't see. Then another did the same And thousands more - a horde - they came! They pushed me rudely to the side. St. Peter told me I had lied. Well, okay, I hadn't hiked. I thought that slow, and so I biked. As from his Book of Rules He read, “Tsk tsk-tsk tsk-tsk tsk, Pete said. So PICKED up I my bags and left For that damnéd lower cleft. I stomped away then turned and paused. How much fuss had my fib caused? A pardon'd come if I'd just wait. Saint Pete smiled then shut the gate. A bus rolled up marked Hell this Way. I climbed aboard. I tried to pay. "There's no charge as you can tell. Outbound's free. You pay in Hell. This bus is special 'cause it can float. Retracts its wheels, becomes a boat." The bus was old with not much power. It bumped along for 'bout an hour Til a bang and then a thunk And even worse a loud kerplunk. The driver left to check the bus. He returned, explained the fuss. "We're almost at the River Styx. The bus is broke and I can't fix The things I found. It's just too tough. I checked 'em all. I've had enough. The left-hand gizmo's really stuck. The Dudkin Ring has gone amok. I checked the wuffler. It's ok. The ring-nut seized I'm sad to say. A tire's come right off its rim. The bus won't start. We'll have to swim." Then the bus just disappeared And things for me got really weird God appeared with old St. Pete. "We've a problem. We've got to meet." St. Peter said, "It's quite unique. It's your records. We took a peek at our polls, all done by Gallup. Found your number. It's not up. It takes us two to set things right. I brought God to use his might." God said, "I've never sent souls back. I did some research. Found a hack. Turns out this problem's easily fixed. Just stand still. My potion's mixed." A wink a nod a look my way and God undid the whole last day. They shook my hand and bade farewell, said I wouldn't Go to Hell. They faded slowly from my sight and dimmed their glow to black as night. I reappeared, surprised my wife, told her let's get on with life. My death was just a clerical error. They sent me back. It's only fairer. We smooched and hugged, went out to eat. Had pickled oysters fused with meat. We ordered crêpes with grated pear and lit 'em up to add some flair. Then I pondered what to do. I quick thought up a thing or two. I'd profit from financial schemes using cash inversion themes. I'd buy a cat and teach it tricks to wow the guests at trader Vic's. I'd give them all tatami mats and waterproof electric hats. I paused a moment. I could see My brand-new stuff was vintage me! I mused a while: what to do? I mused some more and then I knew. I'm only happy being me. My plan was simple as can be. I'll carry on with selling stuff like plastic prunes and candied snuff!
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