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       A Verse Narrative by Michael E. Mautner


52



    The decline and fall
    of the bronze George Small
    has come 'bout awful quick.
    Smallville 'came a Comp'ny town,
    foreman tore the statue down
    'cause the oil 'neath was so thick.

    And folks've got to thank
    the Comp'ny bank
    for givin' the okay.
    Mortgage on the statue,
    it owns all the issue
    of the town today.

    Even the couple who meet
    in Smallville Square to eat
    are at its beck and call:
    Lana 'n' Clark lunch 'n' walk
    'round to their jobs 'n' talk --

    "What's to be done 'bout it all?"

    CLARK:    What's to be done?
              What's to be done?
              Why -- a celebration!

              (Comp'ny's built a pavilion
               in back of the bank --
               musta' cost half a million --
               and the mayor wants to thank
               all the planners and workers
               at a gath'ring tonight,
               and can she meet him there?
               It's important.
               He gives her the eye.)

    But Lana won't let her question lie:
    --    No-one's starvin' now, it's true,
          but this ainít the home I knew.
          Too much change; it's all too fast,
          and who knows if any of it will last?
          These oil barons, pumping money
          into town.  I worry, honey,
          'bout when it'll all come crashing down.

          --    If it comes, it'll come when it comes.
                We won't be able to stop it; so
                there's no use frettin' 'bout it now.
                Do you want to go tonight, or not?

    --    What time?

          --    Six.

    --    You'll come straight from work?

          --    It's practically out the back door.

    --    But, the bank closes at four.

          --    I've got books to do.
                I'll still be there.

    --    All right, dear.
          I'll even bring your mother.

          --    If she wants to go.

    --    She will.

    And she giggles and taps
    his nose and chin with the tip
    of her forefinger.  So gingerly.
    Clark shivers
    when she touches his dimple:
    goosepimples
    for the invulnerable.  He will
    tell her tonight, will linger
    with her in the moonlight
    after the cakewalk, paint the brighter
    future they can have together
    in the city, then fly her there,
    to Metropolis, directly;
    maybe see a movie.
    Tonight, this very night, they
    can be gone with his own wind.
    After work and the party -- in his mind
    he resolves, heartily -- he will tell her.
    Tonight.



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