Harris Tobias

A Cold Beer In Hell

by Harris Tobias

There’s a story they tell in Killkenny

A story I think you should hear

It involves a young fellow named Murphy

A wager, the devil, and beer

One day down at Paddy’s a stranger came in

Old Murphy was already there

Murph said hello to the stranger

And offered to buy him a beer

You know who I am asked the stranger

I’m the devil and I’ve come here for you

Drink up because where you’re going

There ain’t gonna be any brew

Now if there’s one thing we know about Murphy,

Was that the man lived to only drink beer

And he’d taken the devil’s full measure

And knew he had nothing to fear

Old Murphy turned to the devil

He said I bet I could drink more than you

The devil said son, you’ve picked the wrong man

I’m the fella what invented the brew

But Murphy just laughed and ordered a draft

And agreed that probably was so

I suppose when I’m dead old Murphy said

There’s no drinking where I’m gonna go

That’s true said the devil there isn’t no beer

Not where you’re gonna go

We ain’t got no pubs just demons and grubs

It’s all fire and pain down below

No one had ever seen Murphy 

Without a mug in his fist

If there was only one thing that he lived for

Drinking was top of the list

Tell you what said Murph to the devil

As he hoisted a beer to his lips

Let us keep score and whoever drinks more

Has to grant the winner one wish

It’s a deal said the devil and held out his claw

Pour a pint for me and my mate

Paddy pulled on the lever

Then chalked a one on his slate

Now Murphy was known in the village

As a man who enjoyed drinking beer

And if some body else was buyin’ 

You can bet that old Murphy was there

A few hours later the tavern was packed

Every man woman and child in town

Murph and the devil were tied neck and neck

Each man was tossing them down

By evening it looked like Murphy was whipped

Paddy had chalked forty five

Murphy’s hand shook as he picked up his glass

No one thought that Murph would survive

When the folk began cheering and calling his name

Old Murphy seemed to revive

He tossed down the next two pints in a row

Now the devil had fear in his eyes

The devil hung on for couple a more rounds

Then he starting to wobble and sway

Then he slipped from his stool and looked like a fool

Old Murphy had carried the day

Great jubilation, people danced in the street

Old Murphy had done them all proud

The devil was faced with discrace and defeat

Everyone cheered long and loud

Well, said the devil, you won fair and square

And I guess I owe you a wish

So what’ll it be money or fame

That’s usually top of the list

Old Murphy just laughed and shook his grey head

And said this’ll probably sound queer

But the one thing I wish for the one thing I want

Is for hell to begin serving beer

So listen to me all you sinners

In a world filled with liars and cranks

In hell when they hand you a cold one

It’s Murph who deserves all the thanks


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Pushcart nominee Jeanette Cheezum has been published on several online writing sites and in fifteen Anthology books and four poetry books. Three of these books have made the New York Times Best Sellers list. Awarded The Helium Networks Premium Writer’s Badge, Bronze Creative Writing Award and a Marketplace Writers award. Recently she has published fourteen ebooks at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. You may find a list of some of her work at www.hamptonroadswriters.org
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