El Sombrero         

The two hundred pound waitress

Was smoking and patting

At her nearly two-foot-high hair.

The cook was scrubbing

The scunge off the griddle

Old Zeke was drunk in a chair.

A lonely song was playing

For the twenty third time.

The jukebox was just that old.

Young Biff was mopping

In the light of a weak bulb

He knew the water had gone cold.

Still he scrubbed at the colorless

Old linoleum floor, sulking

One more job to get through.

When the door to the café

Quite suddenly opened

And paper and napkins flew.


It was Biff’s friend from school,

Most folk thought him a fool,

Jokey Jerry, his Dad and a girl.

His whole mind was taken

By the sight of the vision.

The most beautiful girl in the world.

When they sat at the counter,

Biff washed his hands

And hurried the waitress away.

He put a menu between them,

Between Jerry and the girl,

Asked what she would have today.


She laughed into her hand

And fluttered her lashes.

They were just for a moment alone.

Then his friend asked Biff

“Gimme change all in quarters

And where is the john and the phone?”

So, now with the mood broken

All too abruptly

He took all their orders and blushed.

He offered her some pie

That was made by his mother

Told her she must taste the crust.

The cook began to fry

The food they had ordered

As Biff gazed into her brown eyes.

His friend, the girl’s brother

Sneaking behind them

Set fire to Biff’s apron ties.

When the smoke rose enough

That somebody noticed

The girl let out a small sound.

Biff began to flail

At his smoldering backside

And wailed as he ran all around.


Quickly circling the room,

He stepped into his bucket,

Which went along with him as he ran.

Then bounced off the leg of

A customer’s chair and they fell,

Hamburger, the chair and the man.

The patty flew out

And landed on the waitress

Who screamed and jumped to her feet.

And elbowed the cook

Who was cleaning her glasses

Which then fell into the hot grease.

She shrieked as she reached

For the tongs to retrieve them

And woke up the drunk by the door.

Zeke began to sing,

“Alouette”, out of tune.

And “Hallelujah, praise the Lord!”


Oh his journey around the café

Raising all kinds of havoc

Biff found himself by the windows.

Somehow set fire to Hazel’s

New book-ordered curtains.

Jerry’s Dad yelled, “Thar she blows!”

Thinking rather quickly

Since he was nearest the danger,

Dad threw his iced-tea at the flames.

And most of the canary yellow


Café curtains with the drawbacks were saved.


Biff was still standing,

The bucket on his foot,

So he bent to pull it away.

Around the corner came Lem,

A very large fellow

Who didn’t see Biff in his way.

He sent Biff careening

Through the checkered-cloth tables

To end in the corner, in the dirt.

The shreds of his dignity

Were scattered around him

As tattered as his ruined pants and shirt.

But the beautiful ladylike,

Lovely sister of Jerry

Dared anyone else to make fun.

She took Biff’s hand

And smiling, she told him.

“Darlin’, this is how legends are begun.”



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