His morning chew


The sign read, on the classroom door, “You’ve been assigned a seat.”
I left my house at 4 a.m. Hadn’t taken time to eat.

If I’d have stopped at Denny’s for their eggs and bacon plate,
I’d still be on the road and walking in an hour late.

So, I gazed across the rows of cowboy hats and bolo ties.
Then read my name pinned to a chair. Could not believe my eyes.

‘Cuz my seat was in the front row. One I didn’t want to keep.
Just feet from the instructor. How was I to get some sleep?

The time was 8 o’clock straight up. I hurried to my chair.
The instructor stood and introduced himself as Mr. Blair.

His pants and shirt were pressed and not a hair was out of place.
He wore a gentle smile on a fresh clean-shaven face.

His Charvet Silken Men’s bowtie was expensive but the best.
He was a proper gentleman, aside from all the rest.

And sitting there beside me was a grizzled ornery type.
His eyes were red and swollen and he smelled Jack Daniels ripe.

I watched him take a can of Coke and down in one big gulp.
Then promptly stuffed his cheek plumb full of Beech-Nut chewing pulp.

The rough old fellow tore the lid right off the can of pop.
He spit some drool. His aim was true and didn’t miss a drop.

All morning I would see him slobber chew into the can.
Each time he spit, my stomach rolled. There ought to be a ban.

And then our fine instructor spoke right up and saved the day.
He straightly told the gruff old man, “Sir, put your chew away!”

The old man then obliged him. Spit the whole of darkest brown.
Then put the can up to his mouth and drank it all straight down.

Our traumatized instructor tossed his waffles on the floor.
My stomach was plumb empty or there’d been more puke for sure.

The class dismissed for lunch but not a single person ate.
Each said they’d lost their appetite. One said, “I’d rather wait.”

There was no sign of the old man. Did not come back to class.
I wondered if our queasy stomach teacher chewed his butt?

I understand a man who chews. But in class there’s no excuse.
So if you’re sitting next to me please swallow all your juice.

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