The Broken Bell

I was one drink in on Friday night
I heard the church bells ‘cross the square
When the barkeep signalled next one’s free
And to me, this was quite rare

There was Billy, me, two drunks and Sue
and a waitress name of Shirley
She said “that bell just rang on sixteen times”
I said “that means it’s early”

the bell rang on four days one time
found a cat locked in the tower
sister mary nice as pie
thought our bell had found the power

she ran through town spouting off
how Christ has come again
when it was a 42 pound tabby cat
making out like old big ben

the pastor ran to city hall
you see he’d lost his keys
someone had to stop that noise
made by a fat cat full of fleas

fourteen rings meant two o’clock
fifteen meant half eight
eleven meant eleven and
twenty one meant you were late

it hadn’t rung for fifteen years
then the new pastor came to town
I never really trusted him
he wore a smile, not a frown

i’m here to bring the church to you
i’m a pastor of the people
I laughed when I heard him say this
I wasn’t going near his steeple

the church had been built catholic
turned Lutheran for a bit
United, Pentecostal too
And then the Baptist group bought it

they had a real fine choir
did great shows, and fixed the bell
it hasn’t rung right since that day
Now the Baptists left as well

They run a new age service now
you know, electric candles and fake wine
confession is a long dead ghost
and you get penance points on line

they don’t hold service Sunday’s
the pastor, he sleeps in
they pray together through the week
and to me that is a sin

the bells go off eight times a day
sometimes nine, or even more
they keep the pigeons from the square
and shake the paint right off the door

I sit and worship faithfully
at the bar, with my drunk friends
with some cotton balls for our poor ears
to use until the damn bell ends

i’m one drink past the last one
we’ve bet on how many times the bell
will ring in the next hour
you can never really tell

For now, i’ll stay here drinking
with the gang here and the cat
he’s deaf as any post you’ll see
but he’s still near twice as fat

he can’t hear the bell’s loud ringing
oh…..twenty three…this one’s on me
maybe next time will ring sixteen more
and i’ll get another beer for free.

for “gonzo’

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