Wednesday, August 21, 2013

88 Lines About 44 Hoboes

Inspired by a band called The Nails, here are...
  • Guesstimate Jones was never sure how long a trip would take.  He often showed up two days late.
  • Celestial Stubbs knew all the stars by heart.  Fairbanks, Durante, Bogart shared a sky with Pluto, Mars and M-31.
  • Persuasive Frederick was never told no.  He wooed his bride on her wedding day.
  • Chrysler LeBaron always rode topless.  His bindle was made of rich, Corinthian leather.
  • Strictly Local Henry Bobtail never hopped a coal train.  No one hopped coal trains.
  • Bee-Beard earned his hobo moniker exactly five minutes before his death.  He had no idea he was allergic.
  • "Medicated Shampoo" Jonah Jump didn't want to talk about it.  It was itchy and embarrassing.
  • Bean-Hoarder Newt was plump and jolly.  His friends could attest to that, if they existed.
  • Joachim Bat-in-Hair was good for a laugh.  His hobo comb was covered in tiny bite marks.
  • The Freewheelin' Barry Sin had no time for commitment.  What he did have was syphilis.
  • Linty Sullivan, the Lint Collector was the hoboes' tax man.  No one knew how he got that job.
  • Mastiff Mama was adored but never kissed.  She chased dogs away from hobo camps, but had a bit of a drooling problem.
  • Lord Winston Two-Monocles was an idiot.  They're called glasses, Lord.
  • Stick-Legs McOhio could only walk with special shoes.  He had a few extra toes.
  • Ghostly Nose Silvie wasn't scary.  It should be pointed out, however, that there was a bank of fog where her nose ought to be.
  • Tearbaby Hannity Stoop's back always hurt him mercilessly.  He also made babies cry just by looking at them.
  • Overly Familiar Fung ate from his friends' plates and tried on their shoes without asking.  He also laughed at other hoboes' inside jokes.
  • Slo-Mo Deuteronomy was always a half-step behind.  He invented "wait, what?"
  • Cleats Onionpocket invented a completely enclosed sandwich.  Look for them in your grocer's terrible food section, today!
  • Bill Never-Uses-a-Cookbook was like most hoboes.  He couldn't cook - or read.
  • Shakey Aitch The Boneyard Concierge was indispensable.  He could get you whatever you might need during your dirt nap, and he always refused tips.
  • Salty Salty Friday's friends returned on Sundays.  He boiled his clothes on Saturdays.
  • Feminine Forearms Rosengarten wore a burlap coat, even in summertime.  Mainly, this was to hide his black satin elbow-length evening gloves.
  • Constantly Sobbing Forrester lost his true love Eleanor to Polio.  Hobo Nation lost Constantly Sobbing Forrester to his unceasing melancholy.
  • Slam Dance Dooze moved to music unheard, as dancers often do.  His best moves were mistaken for acts of aggression.
  • Gin-Bucket Greg walked with the care of a new parent.  Wait 'til he discovers that that is no longer gin.
  • Markansas could no longer remember his parents faces, but he knew whence they came.  Mum was from Baltimore, and Pa was from Little Rock.
  • Lolly Hoot Holler loved owls to distraction, and often tried to feed them sweets.  She had hideous scars on her hands and arms.
  • Jokestealer John Selden thought it was funny that escalators were never out of order, but merely became stairs.  He had a dog named Stay.
  • Pith-Helmet Andy thought he was on a never-ending safari, and that the Florida Everglades were in fact central Africa.  He met his fate at the dangerous end of a double-barrel shotgun in the hands of a burly man yelling "Get off the property!"
  • Bix Shmix suffered from a rare and traumatic speech impediment that caused him to rearrange his words, but only within individual sentences.  Ironically, several lives were saved when he tried to say "Train for that look out," but instead said "Look out for that train!"
  • No one noticed when Molly Bewigged cut off all of her long, naturally curly auburn hair.  She used it to make a wig, and looked exactly as she had before.
  • 50-Tooth Slim had exactly five teeth by the time he was twenty years old.  Sometimes hoboes were mean when they named each other.
  • The Damned Swede didn't want to go to hell - hobo or otherwise.  He atoned so long and so hard that he had no memory of any of his sins.
  • Mr. Whist was one of the saddest hoboes.  He had a complete deck of 52 cards, but no one ever wanted to play with him.
  • Unpronounceable had a shrink in Beverly Hills.  You know the one.
  • Candle-Eyed Sally was as useful as she was luminous.  You could read by the glowing flames set within her porcelain face.
  • Billy Butterfly Net, it was said, wouldn't hurt a fly.  However, he was hell-bent on carrying out some sort of bizarre vendetta against Danaus Plexippus.
  • Amanda Until told everyone that she planned to go back to the real world, one day.  She never did.
  • Crispy Whiskery had ice in his beard.  He looked like Sir Edmund Hillary - except for the fact that he had a beard.
  • Of all the hoboes ever to walk or ride the rails, Knee-Brace Kenny knew the deepest, truest and most abiding love.  Unfortunately for him, his love was Ol' Barb Stab-You-Quick.
  • Sweet Daddy Champagne dreamed of becoming the first hobo pimp.  The lady hoboes were not amused, and hung him from the trestle over Wills Creek in Hyndman, Pennsylvania.
  • Golden Neck tried to touch the sun one day.  He said there was magic in her rays.
  • Right now, I love Buck Mope the most.  I chose him to end this post.

Thanks for making it all the way to the end!  And yes, I'm aware that there are 45 hobo names here, but the extra one isn't the subject of those 2 lines, so chill.  Watch for future "88 Lines" posts - not about hoboes - possibly to include my first attempt at rhyming, metered verse (or, equally-possibly, sheer and utter chaos).  Stay tuned...


  1. I always love your hobo posts! "Slo-Mo Deuteronomy" has quite a ring to it.

    1. Thanks Katy.

      This one was so much fun, but way harder than I thought it would be. For a lot of them, I wanted to tell a story in two sentences - a nice challenge, for sure.