A Visit from St. Verner

‘Twas the night before printing, when all through the Rails

Not a member was scribbling, not even those with net sales;

The final drafts were laid on the tables with care,

In hopes that a publisher soon would be there;

The Railers were tossing all askew in their beds,

While visions of Robert Scott’s The Corridor danced in their heads;

And with his dog in a ‘kerchief, Bobby Dorr tossed buck-naked,

Both dreamt, so content, on the journey they had taken.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

Bobby sprang from his bed to see what was the matter.

On his way to the window, he tripped – what a klutz –

Then struggled too long propping it open – what a putz!

His eyes finally fell on the breast of a hooker below,

Bringing lust to his loins – oh, how he wished he could go!

When what to his wandering eyes did appear,

But a broken-down Buick and a schmuck screaming for beer!

That fat drunken bastard so reeking and sick,

Bobby knew in an instance; it must be that prick.

More vile than venom, Dutton’s curses they came,

As he vomited and shouted, for he had forgotten his name:

“Not Robert! Not Gary! Not Garrett! Not Mergler!

Oh, come on now, damn it! It’s not Victor nor Verner!

Just to lay on my couch! Just to find my front door!

I’ll buy a book, any book – hell, I’ll buy two, three, or four!

Just get me home by the mornin’ or my wife’ll have my ass!

But if she meets us at the door, you’d better save your own ass!”

Stumbling up the sidewalk, Dutton’s curses still flew;

Towards his car filled with booze, that fat drunkard spewed.

And then, in a twinkling, Bobby heard the car start;

Oh, how he had hoped it was just that fat bastard’s fart!

As Bobby shook out the cobwebs that were still hanging around,

Down the chimney Dan Verner came with a bound.

Dan was dressed in black latex, from his head to his foot,

So his clothes were not tarnished with ashes and soot;

With bundles of contracts strapped to his back,

He looked like Quasimodo carrying a sack.

His eyes—how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, yet his breath smelled like sherry!

He winked as he wiped the sweat off his brow,

And grinned hard at Bobby before whispering a vow;

The stump of a cigar he held firm in his teeth,

And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a kind gentle face and washboard-like abs,

For Planet Fitness had gotten rid of his flab.

He was chiseled and solid, a man made from raw steel –

Bobby gasped when he saw him, before starting to squeal.

One flick of Dan’s wrists and his biceps did flex,

But Bobby just stood there admiring Dan’s pecs;

Dan spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And he fixed Bobby’s typos while berating the jerk.

While handing Bobby his bill, a sarcastic joke he crowed,

Dan gave a nod of his head and out the door he strode.

He sprang to his Porsche, to his publisher gave a whistle,

And away they both drove out of town, quick as a missile.

But Bobby heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good write!”

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