Nonfiction > Upton Sinclair, ed. > The Cry for Justice

Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968).
The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest.  1915.
The Gentleman Inside

By Damon Runyon

(Contemporary American writer)
THEY’S a banker that’s a trusty workin’ on the warden’s books;
  I kin see him from the rock pile where I’m sittin’,
An’ on his case I’m basin’ this advice to feller crooks:
  You’d better git a plenty while yer gittin’.
Now, this guy wrecked a county an’ he copped his neighbor’s dough;        5
He got six hundred thousand, which is some change, as you know;
They give him one or two years, an’ the softest job here—Oh
  It pays to git a plenty while yer gittin’.
Wit’ me little flask o’ nitro an’ me bar o’ laundry soap,
  I blew a safe, an’ then, as was befittin’,        10
I took me ten years smilin’, glad I didn’t get the rope!—
  But the next time! Oh, a plenty while I’m gittin’!
For this guy tore off half a state an’ shook the other half;
He robbed his friends an’ neighbors an’ he handed both the laugh—
But you oughta heard him holler at that one or two year gaff.        15
  You’d better git a plenty while yer gittin’!
An’ so he’s here a trusty, while I wear a ball an’ chain—
  (They say he beat most every statoot written.)
He’s got a fortune planted an’ all I’ve got’s a pain;
  You’d better git a plenty while yer gittin’!        20
He cost the state a million bucks before they put him here;
He had ten lawyers for his trial, w’ich lasted most a year;
An’ the jedge who had to sentence him pronounced it wit’ a tear—
  It pays to git a plenty while yer gittin’!

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