Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Bug Man ran game tables, drop the dot,
knock the pin down, rings over bottle tops.
His Boston accent gave his pitch a bray
you could hear over rides, kids and rock music.
His patter was flawless, slightly condescending,
and totally off the cuff.
He didn't see his hustle as fleecing the public,
precisely, rather as a Darwinian challenge to improve
the species.
He was educated, banal, and without many scruples.
His wife and girl were fed well and happy.
Last I saw of the Bug Man was in St. Louis,
when he dropped me off on a highway on-ramp
pointed vaguely north-east.
He shook my hand, a twenty tucked into my palm.
Gave me the honor of a carny's send-off;
Catch you in the next town.

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