Play It Safe

Play It Safe

he said his name was mike
he said they used to call him 
bad mike
but it had been a long time
since he'd been
in that bar
where they used to call him
bad mike

bad mike
already had a pitcher 
that was mostly
he offered me
what was left
as well as
a cigarette

i accepted both
bad mike
telling me 
it was cheaper
to buy beer
by the pitcher
and his cigarettes
were only $4.50
a pack

we were watching football
being bad mike's team
so bad mike
wanted to bet
$5 to win
on pittsuburgh

i took his bet
just to play along
since he'd given me a cigarette
and the last
of his pitcher of beer

we watched and drank and smoked
i ordered 
another pitcher
with mike telling me
he was homeless
and living
in somebody's garage

and he'd tell me
how the night before
just down the street
how the police
and ambulance
and fire department
found somebody
in a public restroom
near death
with needles
all around

bad mike said
"they'll say he was diabetic. you know 
how that goes."
before bad mike
let me in on it
i never would have known
how it goes

bad mike
grew terribly shitfaced
i began
feeling bad
for buying that 
other pitcher of beer
since bad mike
was kind of old
and it seemed like
it would be hell
for bad mike
to recover

bad mike 
nodded off
then came out of it
talking again
about the guy
with the needles
"it wasn't diabetes, you know."

bad mike said
"i don't mess with that shit.
just booze and cigarettes
for me."

i told bad mike
"good for you.
it's best 
to play it 

ended up beaing
in a very tight game
with bad mike
getting my 5 bucks
which seemed
far more
than fair

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