THE SHERIFF'S TALE
A MODERN ADAPTATION OF THE REVE'S TALE FROM CHAUCER'S CANTERBURY TALES
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THE SHERIFF'S PROLOGUE
All laughed at this ridiculous tale
"Now just hold on!" the bartender complained.
"The point of this is to be entertained.
Tales ought give us truth admixed with play
So we have art instead of everyday."
"Well, here's my truth!" the sheriff growled. "The kind
That leaves not one sweet bit of balm behind.
The baker said through tales we can know well
Another's truth. So welcome to my hell!
It's what life is like in our time,
As Christianity gives way to crime,
And drugs become the quintessential good
Investors can make profits on. I would
Not want you to go on with shuttered eyes,
So here's the truth I live, with no disguise!"
Copyright by Nicholas Gordon
THE SHERIFF'S TALE
Once there was a dealer in hard
"Why, yes," they said. "We took it for a ride.
Our boss, the Butcher, told us to impress
Any chick we might want to undress."
"Well, take another look," she said. "It's gone."
And in a New York minute Al and John
Were racing out the door to see their car
Spinning left out to the boulevard.
"Shit!" they said. "Our ass is grass!" And ran
To get a cab quick, and the mean streets scan,
While Moose weighed out their purchases as he
Saw fit; that is, not quite religiously.
When the boys returned, they said they'd found
The Lamborghini in a marsh, half drowned,
And had their boss's tow truck pull it out.
"Sorry, boys," Moose said. "Without a doubt,
You shouldn't park a car like that out here.
These teenagers run wild, without fear.
They'd shoot you in the head just for your shirt.
So on your way out, be on the alert."
Moose laughed as Al and John went out the door,
No two ever wanting vengeance more.
The very next day the Butcher had a plan
And sent Al and John back in a van,
Which they parked beneath the second floor
Window in the afternoon. They saw
The Moose come over to investigate
And shot him with a tranquilizer straight
Into his chest, enough to stun a bull,
And while he was staggering, they pulled
Him into the van and chained him to the wall
Hands and feet, so he couldn't move at all,
Then stuffed his mouth with rags and covered his eyes
To keep him still and suffocate his cries.
When he came to, he pulled with all his might
Against the chains that held his body tight
Against the van wall reinforced with steel.
But, unlike Samson, no God would reveal
Himself to him to add faith to his strength.
So even Moose was forced to yield at length
And hang like meat, defeated, from the wall
While Al told him in vivid detail all
That was to follow, so that he might suffer
The full torment that this hell had to offer.
And when Al made the horror of it clear,
He slashed the Moose's throat from ear to ear.
Next John slipped inside the unlocked door
And quietly tip-toed to the second floor
Where Angelica was in the shower,
Preparing for the still-appointed hour
When Moose would take her from behind, while she
Stared out upon the world expressionlessly.
At last she came out in a scanty top
As John peeked out a closet door, then propped
Herself against the sill, her lovely face
Emerging as the sign all was in place.
Al tried to pull the Moose out of the van,
Struggling with the weight of that huge man.
He tugged and pushed and tugged with all his might
(Even dead, the Moose put up a fight),
Afraid he'd be too late, while John above
Entered the sweet precincts of his dove,
Feeling her wet passion as she came
Against him, muttering the Moose's name,
By which time Al had got the Moose around
Far enough to dump him on the ground.
Moose lay on his back, his glassy eyes
Staring vacant straight up at his wife's,
Who, looking down, could not at first take in
The fullness of the truth unraveling
Around her. Then she met her husband's stare
And screamed a scream no one should ever hear.
Yet hear it still we do, day after day,
As life goes on in the old modern way
In this, the century we call 21.
Here I rest my case; my tale's done.
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