THE PRODIGAL SON
(or 'The Morning After')
by
T.W. Connor
Billy Bennett
The same old story of Women and Wine, 
The Night-Club's riot and laughter, 
Staying out late one over the eight, 
And then... 'The morning after.' 

Soon 'on the rocks' with holes in his socks, 
But too proud to ask for a loan. 
In counting his master's money up, 
He gets it mixed with his own.

He's only had half of it up 'til now 
But hopes soon to have the rest. 
'Fourpenny doubles' but add to his troubles 
The Bookmakers still have the best.

But who's to know when his luck shall turn, 
And Fortune at last shall find him 
Find him standing outside the bank 
With tons of money behind him.

But the Law's long arm isn't long delayed, 
Some day he was sure to be caught 
There's a run on the bank when it gets about 
That he's ninepence ha'penny short! 

Now, where are his pals of the 'BubblingCup' 
Who'd been his supporters (and held him up) 
'Til the day he made the fatal slip 
Then like rats deserted the sinking ship?

'Twas only his Father-old and grey 
With neuritis, bronchitis (and nothing to pay), 
Who was there that day, his son to screen 
When the curtain rose on the P'lice Court scene.

There stands the Prisoner, pale as death 
Looking round at the up-turned faces 
The judge walks in, he holds his breath 
While his pants are held up by his braces.

And you couldn't have heard a pin drop 
Carried away and all that 
When a gentleman rose to prefer the charge 
And sat down again-on his hat

Then the old man started his tale to tell 
Of his boy in the trenches, the nights of hell
And then, to come back (it was no surprise) 
To the lure of the wine, and sparkling eyes 

'Give him a chance!' the old man pleads, 
Tho' the case looks ever so black 
Lend him a 'Fiver', and give him a chance 
To get his bad character back!'

The Manager's there from the Bank prepared 
To put 'old sores' on the shelf, 
To give him his old job back again 
And a chance to help himself.

The Judge looks stern but he's nothing to learn 
About Night Clubs and Maudie and Millie
Like all the young goats, he'd sown his wild oats 
In the fields around Piccadilly.

Now he's 94 but the law's the law 
And tho' it gives him pain 
He's there to deal out justice 
When he wakes up, now and again

Addressing the lad, who's gone to the bad 
His false-teeth full of emotion,
He says, 'Will you promise to give up the drink, 
Or must you keep on with the lotion?' 

With quivering lips, he answers not, 
So the judge, once more, discourses, 
If I let you free, will you promise me 
That you won't back any more horses? 

The sob of a girl breaks the silence 
The boy hails the sound with delight 
And somewhere a voice is calling, 
'WHO WAS YOU WITH LAST NIGHT?'

So, pulling himself together, at last 
He's upon his feet, to redeem the past. 
'I promise I'll back no more horses,' he said, 
'Henceforth I swear I'll BACK DOGS instead!'

Outside, his dear old mother 
Is waiting to welcome her Bertie! 
'Mother darling!' he cries as he falls on her neck 
'Can you tell me... WHAT'S WON THE 3.30?'.
The end