Nighthawks at the Diner

Nighthawks at the Diner

Putnam County

I guess things were always kind of quiet around Putnam County
Kind of shy and sleepy as it clung to the skirts of the two-lane
That was stretched out just like an asphalt dance floor
Where all the old-timers in bib jeans and store bought boots
Were hunkering down in the dirt
To lie about their lives and the places that they'd been
And they'd suck on Coca Colas, yeah, and be spitting Day's Work
Until the moon was a stray dog on the ridge and
And the taverns would be swollen until the naked eye of two a.m.
And the Stratocasters slung over the burgermeister beer guts
And swizzle-stick legs jackknifed over naugahyde stools... yeah
And the witch hazel spread out over the linoleum floors
And pedal-pushers stretched out over a midriff bulge
And the coiffed brunette curls over Maybelline eyes
Wearing Prince Machiavelli, or something yeah
Estee Lauder, smells so sweet
And I elbowed up at the counter with mixed feelings over mixed drinks
As Bubba and the Roadmasters moaned in pool hall concentration and
And knit their brows to cover the entire Hank Williams songbook
Whether you like it or not
And the old National register was singing to the tune of fifty-seven dollars and fifty-
seven cents yeah
And then it's last call, one more game of eight-ball
Berniece'd be putting the chairs on the tables
And someone come in and say, 'Hey man, anyone got any jumper cables?'
'Is that a 6 or a 12 volt, man? I don't know...'
Yeah, and all the studs in town would toss 'em down
And claim to fame as they stomped their feet
Yeah, boasting about being able to get more ass than a toilet seat
And the GMC's and the Straight-8 Fords were coughing and wheezing
And they percolated as they tossed the gravel underneath the fenders
To weave home a wet slick anaconda of a two-lane
With tire irons and crowbars a-rattling
With a tool box and a pony saddle
You're grinding gears and you're shifting into first
Yeah, and that goddamned tranny's just getting worse, man
With the melody of see-ya-laters and screwdrivers on carburetors
Talking shop about money to loan
And palominos and strawberry roans yeah
See ya tomorrow, hello to the Missus
With money to borrow and goodnight kisses
As the radio spit out Charlie Rich, man,
He sure can sing that son of a bitch
And you weave home, yeah, weaving home
Leaving the little joint winking in the dark warm narcotic American night
Beneath a pin cushion sky
And it's home to toast and honey, gotta start up the Ford, man
Yeah, and your lunch money's right over there on the draining board
And the toilet's running Christ, shake the handle
And the telephone is ringing, it's Mrs. Randall
And where the hell are my goddamned sandals?
What you mean, the dog chewed up my left foot?
With the porcelain poodles and the glass swans
Staring down from the knickknack shelf. yeah
And the parent's permission slips for the kids' field trips
Yeah, and a pair of mukluks scraping across the shag carpet yeah
And the impending squint of first light
And it lurked behind a weeping marquee in downtown Putnam
Yeah, and it'd be pulling up any minute now
Just like a bastard amber Velveeta yellow cab on a rainy corner
And be blowing its horn in every window in town