I Knew A Guy Once...
Music and lyrics by Brenda Sutton; Spoken words by Tanya Huff
Inspired by the short story of the same name.
June, 2003

Am E7 Am E7 / Am E7 Am E7 / Am Em Am -- / F6 Am E7
F6 E7/F6 E7/Am Em Am G / F Am F E / F Em Dm E7       
F6 E7 Am / F6 Am / F6 E7
/ E6 E7 Am

I'm the new bartender for a downside dive
On a Jovian gas mine where one in fifty-five
Walks a hero's path in a high glam job.
The other fifty-four are working class slobs like me
... and a lot of guys I've known
Who've earned their lives as Company drones,
Who pull their duty, and do it well,
And for their stripes, wind up in a hell
Where the whiskey has a certain bite
And we all look a little lonely under smoky light.
Who am I?
Able Harris... Bartender.

Spoken: I knew a guy once named Strawberry Cho. His mama was so homesick that she named him without considering the consequences. What consequences? Hell, you name your boy Strawberry, and there's gonna be consequences.

Now twenty-five years of tending bars
In Holes on meteors, moons, and Mars
-- Has taken me into outer-space.
It's not a glitzy job, but the human race
Only needs just so many heroes.
The Company cares about zeroes -
The ones that come after the dollar sign.
'Long as they're watching my bottom line
Rise up from the depths of red to black,
The Company keeps on sending me back.
Who am I?
Able Harris...
Am Bartender.

Spoken: I knew a guy once who lived on these textured protein patties for twelve years. You give the drinkers something to eat, they can drink more and it affects them less. The more they drink, the less they feel it, the more they eat. The serious drinkers are getting fed which makes them less shaky. That means fewer accidents on the pipe. Fewer accidents puts everybody in a better mood. Better mood, fewer nasty drunks, fewer fights, fewer things get broken and have to be replaced, less drinking gets interrupted. The bar turns a profit. The Company's... happy.

Twenty-five years of pulling this chit
Means that I have seen a whole lot of shit,
-- Shinola, and sheer stupidity
Committed in the name of The Company.
I've known more than one dirty-faced kid
Who wound up as a smear on the All News Vid,
'Cuz it takes more than good intent,
Dumb luck, chance, and what your mamas invent;
I know it takes sweat, trust, and friends
To keep on breathing in recycled oxygen.
Who am I?
Able Harris...

Spoken: I knew a guy once, got sucked through a seal rupture. Ended up in a low Mars orbit. Bouncing satellite signals off him now. I knew another guy named Logan. Tried to cross the tracks during a busy shipping off-load. You get in front of those carriers and they'll squash you flat. He lost a foot under one. Now he's got himself a prosthetic, but not just any old prosthetic. This one's got a full entertainment center in it. Logan can play you Who's Sorry Now? through his toes.

Webster, the guy I replaced, is dead
From a sucking chest wound or a wrench to the head.
-- Bob didn't do it, and I don't care
'Long as this Hole goes from foul to fair.
Webster treated folks like fools.
Tried to make them follow stupid rules
At the end of long exhausting shifts
Were one mistake, one tiny little slip
And what's left of your toe is wearing a tag
And The Company ships you home in a body bag.
Who am I?
Able Harris...

Spoken: You can buy my beer, but you have to earn my respect. I knew a guy once, thought he deserved respect he hadn't earned. I don't know what happened to him... didn't know him long.

I give my patrons back their voice,
A sense of pride, a sensible choice,
-- And the benefit of twenty-five years
Of my wiping these counters and drying their tears.
I really don't need another damn story
Of another damn fool who winds up gory,
Stuffed naked out and airlock for being a jerk,
Not using his brains, not doing his work.
But I picked this Hole. It didn't pick me.
I do my job for pay... the advice is free.

F6 7 F6 / F6 E7 F6 E7
F6 Am / F6 E7 / E6 E7

Now, tensions are down. Morale is high.
And only a very few people really know why.

Who the hell am I?
Able Harris...
Am Bartender..
Yelled: Strawberry! Tell Logan to turn his damn foot down!