We're fans of the outsider creds and coolness of Peter Gunn, and also fans of the 30 days of the 5-2, a celebration in honor of National Poetry Month curated by Gerald So of The 5-2, the crime poetry weekly. Every day features a touring selection from the world of crime poetry, and for our stop, we're sprinkling old-school stardust with a metafictional twist.
“Tinseltown” by John M. Floyd
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.”
You can also hear the author reading it, and read all this month's entries—as well as many more—at The 5-2. And while you're there, figure out a good rhyme for April, willya?