Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Tramp`s own Ritual

Taken from an old American manuscript and published in Volume 18 - issue No.4 September 2008

Q. Who comes here?
A. A poor worthless candidate for charity who begs to be permitted to share in the refreshments which are now being prepared.

Q. How do you expect to attain these privileges?
A. Being a man too lazy to work, not being ashamed to beg and under the tongue of generally bad report.

Q. From whence come you?
A. From anywhere I can get free feeds and a beer.

Q. Then you are a regular tramp, I perceive?
A. I am. Try me and prove me

Q. Where were you first prepared to be a tramp?
A. In a bar room adjoining my place of abode.

Q. How were you prepared?
A I was kicked and cuffed around, divested of nearly all my clothes and by one means or other deprived of all my money and anything else of value.

Q. What induced you to become a tramp?
A. That, by travelling all over the land, I might avoid on the one hand the evils of work, while satisfying on the other my well developed appetite for beer at the expense of an easily humbugged public.

Q. How do I know you to be a tramp?
A. By my appearance of laziness, by the size and colour of my nose, and by signs, grips and words.

Q. What are the words?
A. Plausible tales designed to separate well-meaning old ladies from the price of a drink.

Q. What are the signs?
A. A dirty face and hands, dirty and torn clothes and a distinct bending of the right elbow whenever possible.

Q. What is the grip?
A. A tight hold on anything portable and of ready value picked up under pressure of circumstance.

Q. Will you give me that grip?
A. No. Get on to some other fellow.

Q. How did you first gain admittance to this town?
A. Under cover of darkness at low twelve, the time when most people have gone from labour to refreshment.

Q. How were you received?
A. On the point of taking an eye-opener, a cop used his waddy on me. I saw lights.

Q. What did he do with you?
A. He conducted me round from east to west and told me to stand erect and face the Judge. The Judge ordered me to take three steps to the left and follow the cop to the place from whence I came.

As you have so well proved that you are a regular tramp, your plea to share with us the refreshments to which you referred earlier is granted. Before doing so, however, you will withdraw and carry out such ablutions as will make you more fit to join us and will have a distinct bearing on OUR personal comforts.

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