Shel Silverstein


It all started out at Rosalie's Good Eats Cafe Everybody sittin', eatin' eggs and grits, chattin' in the usual way Lucy pourin' the coffee and dishin' out the eats Wearin' one of them flimsy, frilly white blouses with nothin' underneath. Then--a spark flies out of Judge McCory's cigar Lands on Lucy--and sets her blouse on fire Just a whoosh--and she's minus the top of her dress Well, if you read that evenin's Banner, you know the rest-- How Big Jay Wilkes, a trucker for Mountain South, Smothered her up in his big bear arms and squeezed and put her out Then she goes a-runnin' for the Ladies' room like a shot But not before everybody in the place seen everything she got. Well, the word spread just as fast as that fire did And next mornin' the cafe's crowded with old men, young men and kids Hootin' and hollerin', stools spinnin' 'round like this Hopin' and prayin' to get a little glimpse of what they'd missed But naturally, Lucy ain't givin' nobody a treat She's buttoned up to here and blushin' like a beet And soon's all the boys see that there ain't no show They all leave, grumblin' how they ain't comin' back no more. Then Rosalie takes Lucy aside, and she says, "Listen, Babe, We're losin' money, and I see a chance to get saved Now what if you was to. . . dress like you did yesterday And we change the name to Rosalie's Topless Cafe?" Well, Lucy reacts with fury and moral indignation But they finally settle on a buck-an-hour raise and an extra week's vacation And next mornin' she shows up au natural, as the French folks say At the historic grand opening of Rosalie's Topless Cafe. Talk about a hit! They're packed in and linin' up A cover and a minimum--coffee $2 a cup Lucy's pullin' down a thousand a week with tips and all Workin' double shifts while startin' to bitch how Her arches are beginning to fall. Well, then Brenda on the night shift, she sees the tips Lucy's got So the very next evenin' she shows up for work without no top And two days later the cashier, Betsy Black Come in and give Rosalie the shirt right off her back Well, they come by the thousands to eat and drink and look Soon Rosalie's gotta hire Fat Phyllis a second cook "Well, I guess," says Phyllis, "y'gotta do like them Romans do," So she rips off her T-shirt and starts stirrin' up the stew. But when Ed the busboy starts' enjoyin' things a little too much She puts up a sign in the kitchen sayin' LOOK. DON'T TOUCH. And Rosalie's payin' off her mortgage and puttin' her boy through school Gotta hire a topless bouncer to keep things cool And a carpark to keep up with the crowd outside She says, "I always knew the good Lord would provide." Then Jan at the Double J Luncheonette 'cross the street Says "Hey, if they wanna play hardball, we got 'em beat." So she and June put on their topless exhibition And soon they're givin' Rosalie's stiff, stiff competition. Well, then ol' Sam Pierce down at Pierce's Hardware Store He repaints the sign outside his door And the next day ol' Miz Pierce and her daughter Gayle Are toplessly scoopin' out galvanized nails. Then Reverend Peters says, "Folks it's a tough decision But the Lord can't get run off by this competition." So next Sunday therer's a topless ladies' choir in harmony In a heartfelt rendition of Nearer My God to Thee." Well zap!--it all takes off just like a shot Les Willis opens his Topless Bait and Tackle Shop And when the Farmers' Bank unveiled topless tellers The interest rate sure went up amongst the fellers. Well, Frank Willis hires a topless hostess at the Golden Cactus Tom Rooney, proprietor of Tommy's Place, says that's unfair labor practice So he sends to Milwaukee for a girl called Thirty-Eight Kate And in less than a week he's stole half of Frank's business away. And the tourists--they're pourin' in, honkin' and raisin' hell Payin' $200 a night for a room at Tom's Topless Motel Eatin' Rosalie's $4 burgers, no bun on top Buyin' suntan lotion at our topless Stop and Shop. Payin' $12.95 for a T-shirt from Topless Jean's And payin' $50 for an autographed photo with Lucy, Our original topless queen. And Sister Rhodes says, "Our cup runneth over. We are truly blessed 'Cause they're makin' big contributions to our community chest." Then the merchants' association of our town Realizin' how the economy's been saggin' down They call a meetin' and they search deep down in their souls They take a vote and say, "Let the good times roll." Well, soon there's a topless pharmacy and a topless shoe repair The 4-H Club plannin' a topless county fair There's a topless McDonald's and a topless rent-a-car Only one hurtin' was Ed's Topless Go-Go Bar Ed said he might as well close up and go fishin' Or go bottomless to keep abreast of the competition. Peter Lane says, "We all gotta do what we must And the ones who don't have a feel for it'll just go bust" Then Joe Hall of the Banner does an editorial: "Let this be the binding bra's final memorial Let our women enjoy unbridled liberation And let our men be protected from fraud and falsification." But Miss Agatha Baines of the Citizens for Decency Says, " We cannot encourage these dens of iniquity They're just tryin' to titillate the young men in this town" And they go to Judge McCory for an order to close 'em all down And they find him havin' a nip at Ma's Mammary Bar Talkin' 'bout runnin' for governor and still puffin' on that big cigar But he rules--from his stool--that "Regardless of shape, color and size It's just an uplifting example of free enterprise And anyone who has discouragin' words to say Is against small business and the good ol' American way" So Miss Agatha rips off her blouse patriotically And yells, "Let them Japanese try to compete with these." Well, that blows the lid off--before the week is past We got topless gas station attendants pumpin' gas Eileen Hobbs and her topless hot dog stand The Lubbuc sisters in their topless moving van Lou's Barber Shop filled with topless tourists Gettin' topless manicures from topless manicurists Topless majorettes in the Rotary marching band A concert with ol' Miss Murgatroyd settin' topless at the baby grand And the cheerleaders' team from the class of '69 All workin' the counter of the topless five-and-dime Jim Dawson's wife runs for mayor on the topless ticket And she was way out front -- till Jim decided to picket Well, that opened the door for librarian Lauralene Grace Who beat her by a nose, I tell you, it was some kind of race. Doc Hamilton's backed up doin' implants and collagen injections Liz Mason and her Topless Party sweep the fall elections But some thought Jenny Hollman was a bit too crass Showin' up topless to teach her eighth grade class But she proved that thanks to her PhD cup Attendance was perfect and attention was way up. There are topless weddings and topless divorces Topless equestrians showin' their horses Topless druggists at the pharmacy Topless checkout girls at the A&P Topless gall drivin' topless cars Topless meetings of the DAR Topless adjusters at the Title and Trust Topless policewomen makin' busts Topless doctors, topless paramedics Topless anesthesiologists givin' anesthetics Topless joggers, topless hikers Hitchin' rides with topless bikers Topless brokers and CPAs Topless mamas at the PTA Topless lady construction workers Topless acrobats at the Shrine circus. So the housewives join in and soon you can see 'em all Shoppin' topless, pushin' little topless strollers through the topless mall Topless firefighters and meter maids And Lucy, the queen of the Topless Day Parade A booth in Seely Park for topless tourist information Topless Mammorial Day celebrations And everyone's happy, 'cept for Lola at Lola's Lingerie She says camisoles are down, and she can't give bras away Soon it spreads across the ocean--hear the tramp-tramp-tramp Of topless models walking down topless ramps Talk about decollete, we're rewriting the book Givin' the world the revolutionary topless look Dior's scared silly, St. Laurent's got the jitters We got the whole damn fashion world all a-titter. No more legislation that this must stop Now they're trying to pass a law that you cannot wear a top While our topless city council circulates a ballot 'round To change our name officially to Topless Town And every one of our citizens votes yes Except for skinny Nancy Cobb with the flat, bony chest So the sign gets changed to TOPLESS TOWN--POP.: 1704 'Course by the time the paint dries, there's about a thousand more Then Matt Hanks, our stonecutter, climbs up Lookout Bluff Says, "We'll have our own Mount Rushmore soon enough" And he blasts and he hammers and he chisels in the proper places And next day, there's a giant pair of--well, not exactly presidents' faces. And the women's groups? Why, they're pleased as they can be Because they finally got financial equality "Equality?" screams Nancy Cobb "Those big-busted babes now got all the jobs." So she writes to Washington that very night In a passionate plea for boobless rights. The president says, "Hey, what's goin' on down there?" Don't they know there's laws 'bout what they can and can't wear? Have they lost all their sense of propriety? Someone must have laced their reservoir with LSD It's Sodom and Gomorrah--a flagrant abuse of bein' free Showin' kids what they was never meant to see! And if they don't defer to decency's demands I'll have to go there myself and take the situation in hand." Then the press gets hold of it, and Monday there's our topless queen Dishin' out hash on the cover of Time magazine Then Hollywood comes bangin' through our doors Wantin' to give out Golden Globe Awards And every evenin' on the boob tube, the whole country can see our. . . faces And the attorney general announces this is gonna be one of her priority cases And then the Senate and the House, they jump on in Sayin, "Don't you know it's a crime and a shame and a sin? And if you don't button up, zip up and snap up today We gonna take every cent of your federal subsidies away." Then you should have seen the notice the Supreme Court sent us Declarin' us unconstitutional and Judge McCory non compos mentis And statin' in language spiteful, specific and strong That we better put our natural resources back where they belong. But who in the hell do they think they're bossing around? Not us pioneer, upstandin' citizens of Topless Town Judge McCory says after due deliberation "It's a clear-cut case of federal intimidation" Then Joe Tanners says, "Damn the government and damn the courts We don't need 'em--this town was built on self-support." Ol' Miz Fletcher says, "This country's goin' down the tubes They must think we're all just a bunch of boobs They're our bosom buddies when it's time to pay tax and all that Now they wanna go cut off our funds and just leave us flat" Then Ellie McKay stands up and starts to rant and rave Shoutin', "Ain't this the land of the free and the home of the brave? Well, I feel a lot freer without that ol' boulder holder of mine And I'm brave enough to stand up and let my little lights shine." And from the Salvation Army steps up Katie West She says, "I got a couple things I gotta get off my chest" She says, "We got no more homeless, no unemployed Because men have somethin' to reach for and the women are overjoyed So I wanna tell these knockers of liberty I ain't gonna let 'em put no halter on me And if they keep makin' threats about a federal bust It's gonna case a major cleavage 'tween Washington and us. "Tell the president that according to the Constitution We got the right to dress ourselves without federal intrusion The right to take off what's tight and what don't fit The right to pay our rent and buy our grits The right to improve our lot by usin' our wits The right to bear arms--and also to bear tits." So we take a vote--the whole damn town And announce unanimously: "Topless Town hereby secedes from the Union Because the Union wouldn't let us be." And we declare ourselves an independent Self-determined sovereign state And we build a tall wall around us all-- No roads, no bridges, no gate And we pledge allegiance to our flag Two. . . well, you know what they are And I ain't puttin' down Old Glory But they're prettier than stripes and stars And we're free and unbridled Behind these ivy-covered walls And you drive by on the freeway and Never notice us here at all. Yeah, we got no taxes--we got no crime But we got no room to spare You'd like to come visit? I'll bet you would But, friends, you ain't got a prayer-- Topless Town's stayin' safe and sound-- You can't get here from there.

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