Here are the words to the songs in The Perfect Gig.  They are all ©2002 Bill Hicks, except for "Play 'Rocky Top,'" which is ©1979 Flying Fish Music, and "Uncle Charlie's Revenge," ©2001 Mountain Empire Music.  Bill's notes on each song were printed in the first edition CD insert and here on the website.
 
Tracks:
1.  The SOB in the Carvel Truck
2.  Deer Hunter’s Blues
3.  Polar Bears on the Moon
4.  By Half
5.  The Evidence
6.  Wet July
7.  When Change is No Longer Possible
8.  Were They Happy?
9.  Noir Bubble
10.  Water Lights
11.  Bridges
12.  Play “Rocky Top”
13.  Exposure
14.  The Perfect Gig
15.  La Senorita de la Launderia
16.  Uncle Charlie’s Revenge
17.  Last Call
THE BACKGROUND PICS: Bill Hicks took the "Admit One" emblem, and the pics of Bill were taken at 
The Cave, Chapel Hill, NC, November 15, 2001, by Bren Overholt as he recorded The Perfect Gig. (more)
Buy CD: from Bill | CDBaby | Amazon
Bill's notes on the songs

1. THE SOB IN THE CARVEL TRUCK buy mp3

The SOB in the Carvel truck
Passed me on the right doing 75,
Heading up the beach to Manteo, on a Friday late.
I got outa the way, I wasn't in no rush,
& I watched him sway and skitter and bounce,
I didn't hear no bells or see no kids
But I kinda wanted me a chocolate cone--
After he'd disappeared.

It was late in the season, just before Labor Day,
And they roll em up when that gets past,
And then it's just guys layin' out on the beach
With a pole or three and a box of Busch,
The sun in their eyes, and salt on their faces,
Tough old birds and women the same,
Tending a fire and sliding bait on a hook,
Or sometimes when the tide's just right
Tossing a net out into the surf.

I was a couple of miles past Canadian Hole,
There was a guy in a Speedo out on a board,
And some people with glasses, looking for birds,
And I wondered just where those old salts came from?...
That you'd see out there in a month or two,
With nothing to say and a distant stare,
A torn plaid shirt and an old beach chair,
Brown as bats, as leathery too,
Laying out in the wind like an old canoe.

I could feel the pull myself, sometimes,
To just stand on the sand and look and look,
I'd tell myself it was dolphin I sook,
But I'd find my eye straying out too far:
To that farthest line, to the edge of the earth,
And my fingers would itch to feel the twine,
The hum and twang as it searched the surf,
The slightest twitch when a cold fish mouth
Leaned in close to kiss the hook.

And then I shook my head, and gripped the wheel,
Thinking: "That was a close one buckaroo!
Yep, that's the answer to your mystery--
It's a deadly vortex, a Bermuda effect,
Sucking you out of the life you own
And dropping you down on some spit of sand."
It made me sad for those haunted old salts,
Caught in a Rapture they couldn't comprehend,
And I made me a left over Roanoke Sound,
Stopped at a Mart for a chocolate cone,
And aimed my old Ford for some more solid ground.

back to the top
 
 

2. DEER HUNTER'S BLUES buy mp3

There ain't nothing like whiskey in the shivering dawn,   (reprise first 2 lines at end)
Sitting up in a tree, with your oranges on,
And your fingers so stiff they feel they'd just snap
If you push on them wrong--and you love it like that.

You make every move as slow as you can,
You keep your eyes open, your breathe soft and shallow,
You cradle your Twelve Gauge, she's as sweet as a baby,
And then it's a Ten-Point, and I don't mean maybe!

He's nibbling the leaves, he's looking around,
An Indian Prince, a discrete apparition:
His coat is so perfect you're not sure if you see him,
Except for his nose and his sparkling eye.

You breathe even softer, he moves even closer,
A breeze brushes your face, a leaf falls between you.
You look down the barrel, drop your sight in the notch,
You steady your shoulder, you click off the safety.

(Bridge)  And right at that moment, lasting nearly forever,
You see millions and millions and millions and millions of barbeque grills,
And millions of guys in plaid shirts and aprons,
And millions of TVs with bright football games,
And millions of cars going millions and millions of places,
With millions of drivers with dour grim faces.....

And after that moment is finally gone,
And you look down the sights, Mr. Buck has done vanished,
Like a rainbow, if you happen to turn your head for a second.
    (break here)
The sun's finally up now, and the forest floor's steaming,
And you take one last sip and stuff your flask back in your pocket,
And climb down the planks you nailed up on that tree,
And walk out of the woods, and head on down to the Xrds,
For a Pepsi, some Nabs, and a daily newspaper.
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3. POLAR BEARS ON THE MOON buy mp3

There are polar bears out walking on the moon
You told me that one night as we lay under the stars
The moon was there to hear, but didn't say,
And today you are a thousand miles away.

I'd like to be riding on a train
But they don't run the trains much any more, not down this way
They've taken up the tracks, I couldn't even find the bed,
Not a cold steel rail where I might lay my head.

It has always been a mystery to me
What makes the heart go leaping headlong when it hasn't got a brain,
It ought to know something is wrong, but it only hears a song
And I guess it can't remember all the pain.

I was looking at the polar bears tonight
There was a momma and a daddy and two babies in the sun
It was cold up there, and infinitely bright,
But they were smiling in their furry coats of white.
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4. BY HALF buy mp3

I am an old brick mason and I've traveled in my time--
I've rambled north, I've rambled south, and up and down the line;
I've wandered east and wandered west, I've been most everywhere,
I've seen some things would make you weep, and some would make you stare.
And some would make you stare.

In Baton Rouge a lady lived, as best I can recall,
It was so very long ago it could have been St. Paul.
At any rate she kissed me with a rare and magic glance,
And I commenced to court and spark as if I had a chance,
As if I had a chance.

Her ankle it was curved just so, I never glanced her knee,
My heart began to patter should her dappled mare I see.
And passing I would leave a note, tucked neatly in her tack,
And hope I would that she would read, much more to send one back,
Much more to send one back.

And this she did!  I'll ne'er forget, that lovely spring-time morn,
When rising with the early bells I found a scented form,
All pink and blue and violets, the message a cool draught--
"My love," she said, "my love for you it grows and grows by half ,
"Each day it grows by half."

From thince the time flew quickly, and the bricks rose from the floor,
I would stand upon my scaffold, watch my love pass thru the door.
Our notes would fly, like Luna moths, around the growing flame,
In every one she'd add a half, and I would do the same,
And I would do the same.

The summer passed to autumn, and the hotel it was done.
Where once there had been half the bricks there now was not a one.
And where her arrow once was seated well and to the mark,
I'd seen it fly until it came to rest inside my heart,
To rest inside my heart.

But then she told me sadly, that it was ne'er to be--
She had learned in mathematics that tis falseness that we see--
For when an arrow's started it must go by half, not all,
And from that it follows clearly that it cannot start at all,
Oh, it cannot start at all.
 

Each building that I've started has been finished in the end,
Each brick I've laid has kept its place spite of the stoutest wind.
I've heard the lady's married to some attorney from Dubuque,
With several lively children and a terrier named "Duke."
A terrier named "Duke."

But I--I've long departed, tho I'm not sure if I've went.
The road is long and winding, but the journey isn't spent.
I've never loved another like the girl who kept my heart,
And I've cursed the mathematics, that tore us all apart.
It tore us all apart.

I am an old brick mason now, I've traveled in my time--
I've rambled north, I've rambled south, and up and down the line;
I've wandered east and wandered west, I've been most everywhere,
I've seen some things would make you laugh, and some would make you care.
And some would make you care.
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5. THE EVIDENCE buy mp3

Back in the black, when we couldn't see,
The wind come thru like a giant hand,
And all these trees whirled twice around,
And fell like matchsticks to the ground.

Curled close together, you and I
Pulled the covers tight, and I wrapped
My arms around your waist,
And buried your shoulder in my face.

Our dreams roared on, like barreled steam,
We flew down the slope like Casey Jones,
Or, leaning together on a high-banked turn,
Maybe like one of those bobsled teams,

I can't remember. Was there a wreck?
Did I hit my head?  Who's the president?
I've searched the house; you're definitely gone.
Outside on the lawn there are fallen trees.
(break)

And standing here, beside the bed,
The sun blaring in like the radio-clock,
The blankets are tangled, the sheets are torn,
My hand brushes your pillow; it isn't warm.

I'd follow your dream, like a vapor trail,
I'd fly as fast as the wind in the sky
If I could just find one tiny clue,
Of where you've gone to say goodbye.

But all I can find is the evidence--
The sky is as still as a July pond,
And as blue as infinity ever gets,
If Muddy Waters were singing this song.
(repeat vs. 1)
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6. WET JULY buy mp3

Poured some salsa into a silver bowl
Ate some chips and drank another Equis
Put Miles on the stereo--Kind of Blue--
Equis and enuie, they go hand in hand with you.

Kind of Blue's so easy, in a way--
Those guys:  so completely in control,
Sayin' each and every thing they had to say,
One take wonders--on a sunny summer day.

(bridge)
Made me think about Jack Kerouac, I met him once--
A jazz-lovin' raving midnight endless drunk--
I pushed his car out of a ditch
And now his name has come to mean,
A highly specialized form of verbosity--(hey, life's a bitch).

This summer's been wet, so far;
As wet as an all night midtown New York bar.
As wet as all the tears I've cried about our shit.
And damned if now it's August, . . .  isn't it?

At least this ain't no wistful September Song,
At most it ain't no Funny Valentine--
We're just sittin' right here rockin' on the porch, with hurricane season comin' on,
And 'Trane and Miles and all those cats are gone.
back to the top


7. WHEN CHANGE IS NO LONGER POSSIBLE buy mp3

(chorus) E'reybody running it as fast as they can,
Chuggin' it down and reachin' for another,
'Bowin' their brother outa the way
Like they can't be late for their own funeral.

Look at the trees rushing by out the window,
Look at the town, so pretty and sweet,
Little picket fences, swings on the branches,
Little Sunday dresses at the lemonade stand.
(chorus)

Dappled sunlight thru the dancing oak leaves
On the concrete sidewalk where the stand sits perched,
And the four little girls are counting their money
And their momma's calling them home for church.

Somebody hollers,  "You better get on board.
The train's a leavin' and it ain't coming back."
And you're half a mile from the Birmingham station,
With an old guitar and a fifty pound pack
.
(break) Pick up you feet!  Keep a runnin'!
You still got time to say your prayers.
And leave your pack if you're getting tired,
But you hold on tight to that old guitar.

But here she comes: black chain lightning.
Whizzing past at a hundred and ten,
Wind in the weeds, sparks and gravel,
Clickety-clank and she's round the bend.
(chorus)

And it's a country road where there ain't much traffic
An empty bottle rolling 'cross the floor,
A distant whistle when she hits the tunnel--
That's it pal---there isn't any more.
(chorus)
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8. WERE THEY HAPPY? buy mp3

(chorus) Were they happy, or just smiling, in the tattered photograph?
Were they standing on a landing leading up or leading down?
Was his arm around her shoulders, or just balancing his weight?
Along the water in Savannah, what a beautiful old town.

I watched them walking down the waterfront together
I'd followed them, behind, for several miles.
Pappy taught me how to make a rose,
A palm frond and a razor blade,
I'm pretty good at sniffing out a smile--
(chorus)

She'd go into a store and he would stand outside alone,
Ioffered him a rose, he only shook his head;
I said he could just have it then (that always does the trick),
And made a second with the razor blade--
(chorus)

I took their photo, but they ran away
(I found a Polaroid camera once along the bank),
The picture came out perfect; I keep it in my box--
Every bedroom needs a little decoration.
(chorus)

I like to sit alone and watch the river,
The traffic on the arching bridge upstream,
Heading north, to South Carolina,
The people come and going in my dream.
(chorus and end)
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9. NOIR BUBBLE buy mp3

The overhead fan with the missing blade
Cut thru the haze and the honky-tonk,
Steel guitars and glittering shades,
A broken window with bars at the back,
That someone used to pass a key sometimes.

Blues and country, back to back,
DeSotos and Packards, Aces and Eights.
Frankie Machine and his golden arm,
And a cigaret that did no harm
That I lit in your lips at the end of love.

We could hear the scene like a distant train,
We could see the street cut apart by the slats,
We could know exactly where Roger was
From when his light went on and off,
We had it timed, we had it pat.

For near three years our time stood still.
Under his cowl he kept a smile,
And he somehow seemed to misplace his scythe,
Left it leaning behind some mishung door
That wouldn't swing to on a humid summer night.

And that's what got us, that broken door,
The last alert, the noisy hinge,
Silenced as sweat beneath your skirt,
And the power off from a thunder-surge,
When they came into the room, and found you there.

I was down the hall, I got away,
I heard the sounds, the fatal shots,
The sandpaper laugh when they uncovered your skin,
I didn't even stop to stare,
I never dealt another hand.
Yes, and that was the day I quit the band...
That was the day I quit the band.
back to the top
 
 

10. WATER LIGHTS buy mp3

On a boat, in the night, you might see a light
It might be red, or green, blinking or white.
You can stand by the rail, looking out through the black,
You can feel like a cat, tied up in a sack,
But that one little light will make everything right.

The water will hiss when it's cut by the bow,
The gulls are like ghosts as they sweep past the prow,
On a trawler 100 yards starboard some guy
With a beard gives you half of a wave as you pass
With your arms on the rail and your eyes on the sky.

In the cars all around there are people and sound--
Kids tired and restless, lovers entangled,
Surfers and lawyers and grammas with bangles
And ankle tattoos, it's not an Ark it's a zoo,
And that one little light is what's seeing you through.

At some point the other side comes into view,
Lit by the red and green harbor-mouth markers,
They're winking together and then out of sync,
Like two heartbeats that merge and then drift apart,
As we lie close together, and silently listen,
Eyes shut tight, arms wrapped around a new start.
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11. BRIDGES buy mp3

After I'd burned all my bridges again,
And headed to some other government town,
Trapped with rank strangers, where the fields had turned brown,
That's when they told me that you were around.

I'd taken a job at the assayer's office,
It was lab work and called on some skills I had honed,
Way back in the silverstrike days of November,
Way up in the North Country bleakness of home.

You'd rode into town in your 4-wheeled Explorer,
Covered with dust, the grit on your face,
And set up your shop at Hotel L'Aventura,
'Mid whispers of diamonds and rubies and lace.

In a heartbeat the boys were all over your case,
And you spun out your stories into garments so fair,
While I sat in my emptied-out office and wondered,
Was it time to start packing my knapsacks again?

I thought--What a fool!--that you might come to see me,
In my microscope arsenic leached the gold from the waste,
But I just couldn't focus my heart to a distance
Where diamonds could equally glitter as paste.

Now the train racks and rattles down the Mexican canyon,
And cinders burn holes in my ragged blue jeans,
In an hour or two I will come to the jungle,
I'll stand on the platform in an ocean of green.

And stare at the wanteds for Ché and Zapata,
Faded and rotting but there just the same;
A cigar in my teeth, to keep off mosquitoes,
In a land where no one will remember my name.
(repeat first verse., then d.c. first line)
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12. PLAY "ROCKY TOP" buy mp3

Now I come down to this bar every evening
I get here just about ten
I been tryin' to get a little lovin'
Can't remember how long it's been
So if you'll just do me a favor
Play that song for me
I'll fix your car next Thursday
Throw in the lube and the oil for free

(chorus) Play"RockyTop" for the lady at the bar with the long red fingernails
I been tryin' all night to get that girl, ole "Rocky Top" it never fails
I can't play no music, I ain't got no hundred dollar bill
But if you'll just play old "Rocky Top," I know that lady will.

Now some people think that I'm stupid
That's all right with me
Some people can think about anything they want
Just as long as they let me be
I ain't got no education and I don't know how to spell
But I know what a good dried song sounds like
And I know how to raise some hell
(chorus)

Well the money keeps getting smaller
And the rent keeps going up
I got me a little house trailer
And a brand new blue tick pup
I can't afford no regular woman
So this is what I'll do:
You play "Rocky Top" for me
And I'll sing this song for you
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13. EXPOSURE buy mp3

(chorus) Eee Ex Posure, eeee ex posure, don't it sound so fine
Eee Ex Posure, like a real fine wine
Mmmmmmmm, don't it slide on down
Right on down to the ground,
Don't it sound eeeee exxxx actly like money.....
Honey?

When you're gettin' out you're gonna hear the word
& it'll drive you nuts and it'll seem absurd,
But it's just the facts, just the way it is:
If it's sho-nuff real then it's both show-biz,
How they'll say to you with a big slow grin,
And your hand in theirs, and a fountain pen,
And when they use a big nomenclature like "closure,"
Well, baby, that's just another patois for...
(chorus)

See I was talking jack to this dude in red,
He has this club that the paper said
Was the only place that you had to play,
And if you got that gig it would be all ok.
And he knows, you know, what is in your head,
And he's got your (umm) "things" 'tween a rock and a stone,
So when the dough looks mighty thin, no meat on the bone,
Why he's stuffin' your pockets with...
(chorus)

I got done with the gig, it was four AM,
I was packin' up when the girl walked in,
Rollin' my wires and shuttin' my case,
Not really expectin' some brand new face--
In fact I was hopin' for the guy in blue,
Who'd been back in the office for an hour or two,
Countin' his take 's'what I was figgurin,'
And here comes this honey with a fifth of gin:
Singin' her song, and it sound like...
(chorus)

You know the rest, less you're seventeen,
I was back on the street with a lack of green
And I couldn't find my fingerpicks,
And my car was towed, and there was this dude
Dress up in black, with a jones in his pocket
For the money I owed.
So I just skedaddled on out of there,
And perused my reviews from my easy chair.
And if you want to get rich in the music game,
Just plant yourself out front of the axe,
And don't go round back for love or ambrosia,
Just tell 'em to do it all for.......

(Alt. chorus) Eee Ex Posure, eeee ex posure, don't she look so fine
Eee Ex Posure, for a real good time,
Mmmmmmmm, don't it slide on down
Right on down to the ground,
Don't it sound eeeee exxxx actly like money.....
Honey?
back to the top
 
 

14. THE PERFECT GIG buy mp3

I was lookin' for a bar, just like Diogenes,
Full of drunks, but not just any drunks, you understand:
Philosopher drunks, and poet drunks--drunks trained by hand--
And beautiful women, they'd be perfectly drunk, too,
Reclining against an upholstered rail with absolutely nothing else to do.

 (chorus)All these folks would be there, all the live-long day,
And when I'd get good and warmed up, I'd come in and play.
I'd sing all of my songs for them, each and every one,
The sad ones and the happy ones, the songs without a name,
And joy would fill the air like fizz, in a good champagne.

The poets would all come up to me, when I was done,
They'd shake my hand and clap my back, we'd have some fun.
The philosopher drunks'd smile knowingly, and tilt their glasses at me too--
Too shy to clap, at least they wouldn't run.
They'd tidy up their tables, and calculate the coming of the sun.
(chorus)

And all the beautiful women--they'd line up at the door,
And carry my guitars out to my car, one by one by one,
And kiss my lips goodnight, Just like my mother did away back then,
When I was very young.

I just couldn't end it there--I'd have to take them home,
And one would quote Spinoza, and the other Des-car-tes,
And from the back a soft sweet voice would whisper Sophocles,
And in the morning there'd be coffee, on the patio, for four--
And I'd never ever go a gigging anymore!
back to the top


15. LA SENORITA DE LA LAUNDERIA buy mp3

Por favor de no permitir a los niños
Montar en o jugar los carritos
No, no montar en o jugar con los carritos

You brush your beautiful black hair out of your eyes,
You pour the quarters and the soap in the machines,
And watch your little babies nurse their bottles,
And chase each other round and round the room
Por favor. . .

I wonder to myself where did you come from?
How far did you travel, to find yourself in here?
And have you left someone so far behind you?
That you dream of in the dark and silent night?
Por favor . . .

I cannot tell my wife of my affection.
I am old enough to be your great grandfather.
I watch you through the spinning of the drier,
And make sure the babies cannot slip outside.
Por favor. . .

And now your brother drives up in his pickup;
You load the laundry and the babies in the back.
I watch you ride away, a little family--
As I dump the coin boxes in the bag.
Por favor. . .

My little señorita of the laundry,
Won't you come and visit me tonite in dreamland?
Won't you call me once your little tomatillo?
And rock me in your arms till I'm asleep.
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16. UNCLE CHARLIE'S REVENGE buy mp3

Uncle old-time Charlie threw his fiddle up a tree
My brother told me 'simmons was the thing that got his goat:
He'd sat there on the back porch, drinking Elum tea,
And went he finally went to eat there wasn't any soap.

There wasn't any victuals, nor any silverware,
There wasn't any plates nor cups nor no place to sit down,
There wasn't any table, there wasn't any chair,
And his wife was in the living room without no underwear.
(chorus)

Charlie, Oh Charlie, your name will always be,
You took my grampaw's fiddle and you throw'd it up a tree,
They say you ate the 'simmons that had landed on the ground,
And when you pitched that fiddle up they say you shot it down.

Well old-time Charlie looked and looked, his house was awful strange,
The clock was running back'ards, the upstairs felt like rain,
His couch was lying on the floor his car was in the ditch,
He picked up grampaw's fiddle but it wouldn't get in pitch

Old Charlie wound and tuned and tuned, he twisted all them wires,
He put his E on Mercury he put his G on Mars,
His head was spinning like the Moon is spinning round the Earth,
He rosined up his bow a spell but took an awful thirst.
(chorus)

By the time he got his pistol out the 'simmon punch was gone,
The Sun has passed behind the ridge, evening was coming on,
It took him twenty cartergize -- ey god he got 'er down --
He dragged his leg into the house and left er on the ground!
(chorus)
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17. LAST CALL buy mp3

I was riding a train, or maybe a bar,
In the winter of ought, in the new century,
With Millennium Bud, and phones without wires,
And my gal had gone off with a life all her own,
Stead of being a hunnerd percent homemakin' girl,
And as tough as I was wasn't all that tough,
And I noticed my Bud had gone flat at the end
Just like beers before 2000 tended to do,
And I looked at the clock saying quarter to 2,
So I went off to bed with myself.

Well work had got slow cause I do it outside,
So I made it my work to come night after night,
The 'tenders were friendly and shown me a trick--
"Drink it faster," they said, "and it never gets flat."
I'll have to admit they were right about that.
(You might even want to take note of this fact,
But remember--like a guy also told me one time--
"You must keep in mind that you can't drink it all.")
An expert's approach, if there ever was one,
To the problem exposed by the dreaded "Last call."

So anyhow one night a drifter came in
And swayed down the aisle in his long cowboy coat,
His spurs making tiny Oooommmm-ish like notes,
And the moon making sparkles on his buckles and irons,
And he sat down beside me and ordered a brew.
"How far is this engine takin' this rig?"
I asked him--a kind of a "howdy" I guess--
And he looked at me gently, like Clint Eastwood would,
And drew his revolver, gave the chambers a whack
And said with a smile, "It's a circular track."

This puzzled me greatly and grieved me no end:
I had always believed we were going straight up,
Or maybe straight down--it depended on luck
And the good lord's intentions, whatever they was,
And then there was whatever the hell we might do,
With the millennimum intelligence we was give--
But ole Clint he jes smiled, and sucked on his smoke,
Like he thought it was some kind o cosmical joke
And he sez to me, "Bud, there's no reason for hope;
But then there's no particular call for despair."

This astounded me more, I was shocked and amazed,
And I must have looked startled, as he chucked at my chin,
And ordered us both one more for the road.
"Listen Bud," he repeated, "it comes round again.
It goes over and over, the whole blessed time,
Like wieners from Frosty, like Coronas and lime.
Ain't no need to sweat it, grab on and have fun,
There won't be no remembrin' when next you've begun."
Then he vanished, a wraith fading out in the air,
And that there is his coat, lying over that chair.

And you can believe it, or call me a liar--
While I have me a drink, warm my feet at the fire!
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