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A Shot Of the Usual

it was pretty near cold, it was eighteen degrees
the door done froze, hope the pipes don’t freeze
lonesome coyote growled way off on a rise
where the iceberg winter hit me right between the eyes
and the old timers told
that it wasn’t all that cold
as they stoked the coal stove worth its weight in solid gold

they do what they do and it’s all so very strange
take a shot of the usual if you’re lookin’ for a change

the cannibal troop ships docked up real slow
to the long shore dock that belonged to Brother Joe
while in the fat black limousine the banker and the toad
made plans for the future as they watched the ships unload
and the watch tower spies
with their telescopic eyes
made sure everything was legal so that no one would get wise

they do what they do and it’s all so very strange
take a shot of the usual if you’re lookin’ for a change

Ramblin’ Dave got busted and they throwed him in jail
where they spent all his money and they opened all his mail
and the flatfoot partners on the downtown beat
carved another notch and went off down the street
and the stool pigeon swore
as he crawled across the floor
“you may think it’s over but I think there’s more”

they do what they do and it’s all so very strange
take a shot of the usual if you’re lookin’ for a change

in the lobotomy factory on the midnight shift
there sat Sylvia by the dead weight lift
staring holes through the plaster of the company walls
while all the old vultures made up stories in the hall
and the roll caller came
calling everyone by name
rearranging faces till they all turned out the same

they do what they do and it’s all so very strange
take a shot of the usual if you’re lookin’ for a change

Blanche and Rita, very frightened for their lives
watched Matt, the up and coming, practice throwing knives
at a sullen-eyed motorcycle heavy with a beard
who rolled over sideways and then just disappeared
and the radio moaned
like a dog without no bone
as the slow smoke rose around the no smokin’ zone

they do what they do and it’s all so very strange
take a shot of the usual if you’re lookin’ for a change

the lynch mob posse played a dangerous game
with their bloodhound noses on the trail of Jesse James
who came and went like a vanishing ghost
slipping in and out of handcuffs all up and down the coast
and the victims all got wise
how to be better victimized
painting bulls eye targets right between their eyes

they do what they do and it’s all so very strange
take a shot of the usual if you’re lookin’ for a change

in the family reunion hall where hangs the family creed
no one said a word and no one disagreed
and the mother and the father with the baby in their arms
saw only what they wanted to see so they would not be alarmed
and the time ran dry
at the twelve o’clock high
they knotted up their collars and they left without their ties

they do what they do and it’s all so very strange
take a shot of the usual if you’re lookin’ for a change

lonesome hobo felt his feet begin to drag
through the freight yard dust where he collected paper bags
he thought about himself like a dog without a tail
as he bed down in the cinders, put his head up on the rail
and the four-0-nine
way behind time
never knew a thing until they read the headlines

they do what they do and it’s all so very strange
take a shot of the usual if you’re lookin’ for a change