Wednesday, February 7, 2018

My Newest Writing Project: TR: THE MUSICAL!

   Last week, a friend of mine sent me a short stanza from an imaginary musical about Theodore Roosevelt.  It was intended as a joke, a jab at my passionate love for HAMILTON.  However, as I read it, I thought, if there was ever anyone in American politics whose life was so epic it deserved a full on musical, if not an out and out opera, it would have to be Theodore Roosevelt!  Tragic young love, loss, a stint as a Western rancher, police commissioner of New York, assistant Navy Secretary, war hero, governor, vice president, president, mighty hunter, explorer, diplomat - the list goes on and on!  So that night I started writing my own musical - except, well, I don't write music, so for the moment it's really more of a long poem or series of poems.  Will I ever do anything with it?  Who knows?  But for the moment, I am having fun writing it, so here, without further ado, is a song from:

(Street setting; two policemen are on patrol, coming to the door of a brothel) 
COP #1: Now listen to me, rookie, you’ve got a lot to learn! 
Being a New York policeman is not a job to spurn. 
We break up fights, catch the killers, and keep riffraff away – 
And sometimes, when the price is right, we look the other way! 
This here job don’t pay much, at least not on the record, 
But if you’re smart and play the game right, your path will be checkered, 
With plenty of chances to line your pockets and get some nice freebies. 
You’ve just gotta know when to be tough and when to be quite easy. 
Take Miss Danvers’ place here, it’s a house of prostitution – 

Such enterprise, illegal, under New York’s constitution! 
But her clientele includes a number of our betters, 
If we were to bust this place, it’s us who’d be in fetters! And so Miss Danvers pays us a monthly sum that’s ample – 
Not to mention, when things are slow, the occasional free sample! 
(He knocks on the door and a girl in a short skirt and bustier gives him a roll of bills and a kiss on the cheek) 
Cop #2: (wide-eyed) 
Holy cow!  Wait a minute! Is any of this even legal? 
We’re supposed to be officers of the law – all things being equal! 
This seems like rank corruption, and I want no part of it! 
Cop #1 (pats him condescendingly on the head) I once was just like you lad, but I quickly learned to love it! 
It’s been thus since the dawn of time, since centurions policed Rome; 
The rich do what they’re gonna do, and we keep the mobs at home. 
After all, we keep the peace, and keep the wheels of commerce turning; 
Without corruption to grease the wheels, this city would be burning. 
Now here is Mister O’Malley’s bar, a fine old Irish establishment – 
He pays us off once a month, to keep the Dagos from trashing it! 
We keep New York’s gangs in line, so war doesn’t hit our streets; 
Each to his own territory, and we cops get a slice of pie to eat! 
(He knocks at the door of O’Malley’s, and the bartender hands him a bundle of bills and a bottle of Scotch) 
TR: (Coming up unexpectedly behind them) 
By Jove, man, what is this I witness?  An officer taking bribes? 
Shameful! Indecent! Unworthy of the most barbarous tribes! 
What’s your name, Officer?  Mahoney?  Save your lame retort! Come by my office at City Hall – you’re officially on report! 
Cop #1: (indignant) 
Who the bloody blazes are you, young fellow? For you really ought to know – 
I’ve been a cop for twenty years and have friends from high to low! 
Forget your silly charges, lad, the police chief’s my dad’s dear friend; 
If you try to get me fired it’ll be your own career he’ll end! 
TR: (laughing) 
The Police Chief works for me now, you will find no bigger fish – 
My name is Theodore Roosevelt, and I’m your new police commish! 
I might have cut you a bit of slack, if you hadn’t tried to cadge – 
But for your threats, Mahoney, I’ll now have to have your badge! 
As for you, young fellow, spread the word to all and sundry – 
TR’s in charge of New York’s cops, there’ll be no more easy money! 
Chief Detective Byrnes: (walking through the NYPD headquarters) 
We have a bit of a problem here; our Mayor wants to do some cleaning; 
And not a token gesture, he demands reform with meaning! 
We New York cops police ourselves; we don’t need no outsiders, 
Nor do we want long exposes from enterprising writers! 
So now Strong’s gone and saddled us with a lad all high and mighty, 
Theodore Roosevelt, the new Crusader Invader of NYC! 
Was ever a city as big as this run without corruption? 
We do our jobs well enough, we don’t need this interruption! 
A little bit of honest graft keeps our kids from going hungry, 
And gives the swells a chance to live larger than all and sundry. 
We’ve got to get rid of this guy; he’s the biggest problem I see; 
Things were going just fine before the Crusader Invader of NYC! 
(sees Mahoney, cleaning out his locker) 
Here’s a fine example, an officer long in good standing, 
Stripped of his job for taking a cut – from a long-term understanding! Roosevelt doesn’t get it – this is how we run our city! 
Does he want our police officers to live off of charity? 
Buck up boys!  This will not last, I promise, if it’s the last thing I see, 
I’ll find a way to rid us all of the Crusader Invader of NYC! 

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