Up in Smoke

He bought a box o’ rare cigars, the finest smokes on earth
then took out fire insurance, fifteen thousand dollars’ worth
Th’ insurance company wrote it up, ’cause that is what they do –
they cover loss of property; but they hadn’t thought this through

He filed a claim for damages that seemed to them bizarre
In a “series of small fires” he had lost every cigar.
They never seen a claim like this in thousands o’ case files
They learned the hard way not to underestimate his wiles.

They refused t’ pay. “He’s a con man!” was the company’s retort
The smoker stood his ground and took the insurer to court.
The man stood up before the judge an’ explained his situation
“In the fires, yer honor, I suffered smoke inhalation”

The judge, he didn’t like this man; this case stuck in his craw
But he was bound by precedent; he must follow the law.
“I must rule on how the policy reads, not what you say it meant,”
the judge said. “He had a fire loss. You must pay him every cent.

“I wish thet I could rule for you, but I got no legal ground
Go back to work an’ find a way to turn this case around.”
The lawyers had a conference; the man’s vict’ry was cut short.
Th’ company filed charges, and he landed back in court.

He faced the same judge: “Young man, you have made my court a mockery
I find you guilty o’ arson, for torchin’ yer own property
You must be punished so that you won’t pull this prank no more:
A “series of small sentences”: one year times twenty-four.

“I did listen to what you said – yer health is not a joke.
I’ll make sure the prison guards are told you’re not allowed to smoke.
I hope you learn yer lesson, ’cause you got me really pissed.
Two dozen years will set you straight. This court is now dimissed.”

© July 1, 2014


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