The new bartender was a guy
dressed in a well-cut suit and tie.
Sue blinked. "Hey, aren't you Peter Gunn?"
"I used to be, in '61."
"What happened, there? I liked that show."
"The guy who played me had to go."
"So you're Craig Stevens?" she replied.
"No, I'm the character. Craig died."
"The character? For real?" asked Sue.
Gunn shrugged. "Don't I look real to you?"
"But you were once a superstar!"
"A fallen star, now tending bar."
"So all this time, you've been right here?"
"Long story. Want another beer?"
When refilled, Sue inquired again,
"So what all have you done, since then?"
"Well, two producers died one night."
"I heard. They both got poisoned, right?"
"I was accused; I left L.A.
and caught a boat and sailed away."
Sue sipped her brew and asked, "With who?"
"With Gilligan, the Skipper too."
"You hid out on another show?"
"I lived there forty years or so."
"You stayed on, after they were done?"
"An island beach, a naked Gunn."
"So now you're back. Still wanted, right?"
"And undetected, till tonight."
Sue said, with a malicious grin,
"Aren't you afraid I'll turn you in?"
Then gagging, she fell to the floor.
Gunn smiled and said, "Not anymore."
John reads "Tinseltown":
John confesses: "This poem came from my fond memories of old TV series of the fifties and sixties (The Untouchables, Peter Gunn, 77 Sunset Strip, etc.), and from daydreaming about what might happen if someone bumped into one of those long-lost characters in real life."
Guest editor's ruling: "I like the fallen hero premise of this poem, especially in view of the John Edwards trial, and also the wit and delicious twist of it. I remember the Peter Gunn series. Home with a young child, I watched a lot of TV in those days, and oh, what a classy escape that series was." —Nancy Scott