I remember the first time.
It was a crisp Omaha morning, and I was four--
playing in my front yard when three boys came along.
They were BIG kids--maybe eight or nine--
and one of them said: HEY, YA LITTLE SONOFABITCH!
Just casual like...
I asked him what that word meant,
and he said: Go ask yer mama, sonofabitch!
So I did.
NOTHING...it means NOTHING, she said.
And: Who told you that word?
I led her outside to meet my new friends,
but they had disappeared.
And I couldn't understand why they had gone.
Years later there was a girl named Mary
who lived with me in the Hotel San Cristobal
overlooking the ocean in Old San Juan.
There was a little Italian place nearby
where we would drink wine and she would call me "Ducky."
Then one night we were arguing in bed
and she said:YOU SONOFABITCH
and tore my ring from her finger and threw it against the wall.
Then she disappeared.
And I couldn't understand why she had gone.
Time passed and one day my best old childhood buddy
came to visit me in Tucson. I met him
at the airport and he said: YOU OL' SONOFABITCH!
We caught up on things and downed a few,
then we downed a few more.
Before you knew it the days had flown by
and I was taking him back to the airport
where he did this funny bit, singing: We'll meet again...
don't know where, don't know when...
And then he disappeared.
Two weeks later I got a phone call--
he'd been in a bad car wreck and was lying
in a coma in an Amarillo hospital.
Two days hence he departed this world
without regaining consciousness.
And I didn't understand why he had gone.
But all that was long ago...
and things are gonna be different now!
So I've made me a new rule.
If you're gonna call me a sonofabitch...
you've got to promise not to leave.