Mildew at the (Close-up) Mat
(sincere apologies to Ernest L. Thayer)

The outlook wasn't brilliant at the Mudville S.A.M. that day;
The show had run two hours, with five more acts to play,
And then when Cooney dropped his deck, and Barrows did the same,
The audience all thought the magic couldn't get more lame.

The last three rows were fast asleep in folding chairs. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, "We'll outlast Mildew. He is set to go on last. --
He can't hold out much longer. Mildew's absolutely gassed!"

Now Flynn preceded Mildew, as did also Jimmy Love,
And the former floats a zombie, while the latter steals a dove;
So upon that stricken multitude some consolation sat;
For there seemed but little chance of Mildew getting to the bat.

But Flynn flew through Tommy's zombie, to the Wonderment of all,
And Love, the much despised, took just one short curtain call;
And when the house lights lifted, and the crowd saw what occurred,
There sat Jimmy in the second row and Flynn had packed his bird.

Then from behind the coffee urn there rose a rancid smell;
It rumbled up the aisle way, it really stank like hell;
It pounded on their noses, and they recoiled where they sat,
For Mildew, mighty Mildew, was advancing to the mat.

There was ease in Mildew's manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Mildew's bearing and a smile lit Mildew's face.
And when, responding to the jeers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Mildew at the mat.

"I'd like to show you my new force," he rubbed his hands with glee.
Five dozen eyes avoided his, each stared down at his knee.
But when one hapless spectator let eyes rise toward his hip,
A D'Lite flashed in Mildew's hand, a sneer curled Mildew's lip.

And now the pasteboards riffled as he sprang them thru the air,
And Mildew sidled closer to the front-most row of chair.
Close by a lovely lady, the fan of cards he spread --
"Take any card," said Mildew. "Bite me! " the spectator said.

The once dark and lifeless audience sent up a muffled roar,
They had never seen him skewered by a spectator before!
He stumbled back a step, and from his hip he pulled a flask;
And from it he drew the courage to once more the question ask.

The new warmth of old John Barleycorn on Mildew's visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the show go on;
He focused on the spectator, and once more he pitched his woo;
But the spectator ignored it, then she turned and said "F*** you! "

Applaud! Up rose the patrons, they stood up to applaud!
But one scornful belch from Mildew and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow pale and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Mildew wouldn't let that force go by again.

The sneer had fled from Mildew's lip, the deck was clenched in hate;
He sounded like he'd started to hyperventilate.
And then he spread the cards apart, one card he placed askew,
Forever we'll remember this -- the force that Mildew blew.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the clouds are packed in tight,
The band is off-key somewhere, and somewhere things aren't right,
And somewhere men are crying, and little children pout;
But there is great joy in Mudville, 'cause Flash Mildew has passed out.

For more info on the poem which I mutilated to produce the above, try the Cosmic Baseball Association