He'd NEVER let me work the bar, nor teach me how to mix;
So I wound up repairing bikes, ALL models I could fix!
Then one cold night at closing time, he'd turned o get his coat...
Three youngsters caught him by surprise, and swiftly slit his throat.
They paid the price for what they'd done; the Tavern closed a while;
But soon, I found I 'had the knack'...reopened with a smile!
For many years it troubled me, and I would often think
My Dad KNEW those who killed him...he'd sold them THEIR first drink."
The old bartender, strangely still, seemed older than before,
Removed his glasses, wiped them clean then glanced toward the door.
"I'm sorry for the life you've lived...the misery you've had;
It's all my fault, you see I sold that first drink to your Dad."
The young man placed his half-full glass upon the lacquered bar,
His eyes were blank, yet seemed to gaze beyond this place...afar.
The old man spoke again, he said, "My boy, I'll make amends,
I'll help you get a start deserved, accept me as your friend.
Because of me, your life's been ruined and Fate has made her call;
We'll start anew, we BOTH can leave the Tavern in the Mall."
The young man nodded numbly as he had no other choice;
The old man seemed sincere nough...compassion in his voice.
"But Sir, I've never learned a trade; odd jobs are all I had;
Now with a prison record, my options ALL seem bad."
The older man said, "I can help. I'll teach you what I know;
Not tending bar or mixing drinks, a WHOLESOME way to go!"
The postscript to this story has a cheerful, happy tone.
The bar is CLOSED, no drinks are served, the chatty crowd is GONE!
The scene hs changed, and in its place one views the youthful fun.
The Tavern's now a BIKE SHOP called "O'Shaughnessy and Son"!
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