Old Three-Legs was a Tomcat,
lived in Dogtown, down by the railroad track.
Worked 9 to 5 in Pest Control, ’part from that
kept himself pretty much to himself. Once a week,
shopped down at the local convenience store
run by the only other cat in town.
Run down place was Dogtown
pretty run down was the local store,
run by Genial Siamese Joe.
Dogs didn’t like to go there much,
’cept when everywhere else was closed
which was most of the time.
Come sundown, Joe would put up the shutters.
Previous owner, also a Cat, got gunned down one night.
Drive-by shooting – random attack, so the Police Dogs said.
Joe and Old Three Legs, they weren’t so sure about that.
Hey! What you boys talking about? the customers would say
when they heard the two of them a-chatting in Cat.
Why don’t you speak Dog like everybody else?
You live here, why don’t you learn our language?
We knowing you language, says Genial Joe.
We know your language! the customers roared
Man, how long you been living here?
How long have you been living here,
said Old Three Legs, putting them right.
He spoke real good Dog – learned it in night school.
Well they didn’t take too kindly to that,
chased him all the way down the road
and smashed a couple of windows at Genial Joe’s.
But they phoned up Old Three Legs whenever they had a rat problem.
And they had plenty of rat problems down there in Dogtown.
Run down place was Dogtown, run down part of town,
the part down by the railroad track
where Old Three Legs lived in his shack.
Only thing that thrived down there was fleas
but Three Legs, he got flea powder wholesale,
so he was okay.
Come Sunday some of the faithful Dogs,
they’d go down to Church where they prayed
to a statue of a Big Man with a lead and a stick.
Old Three Legs, he didn’t worship nothin’ or nobody
though he had a picture of one of them E-gyptian
Cat Goddesses stuck to his bathroom wall,
but there weren’t nothing holy about that.
You goddam heathen! all the Church Dogs hollered,
heading past his shack in their Sunday collars.
All you Cats are bound for hellfire and damnation –
’ceptin’ you repent and turn into Dogs.
Didn’t your god make me too? said Three Legs.
You bet your sweet life, they said. T
hen how come he made me a Cat?
Well, they had to think about that one.
Didn’t take em long: He made you a Cat,
they said, so that you could repent and become a Dog!
Glory to his Blessed Name! Hallelujah.
Praise the Big Man for his infinite wisdom.
Seems to me, said Old Three Legs real slow
and all them holy-moley mongrels turned to look at him,
Seems to me, if he’d wanted me to become a Dog
he could have saved himself a load of trouble
by making me a Dog in the first place.
But I’m guessing he made me a Cat,
’cos that’s what he wanted me to be.
Well they had to think about that one too.
But one Dog there was a mite smarter than the rest –
that was the Preacher, the Reverend Duke and
he said, Seems to me, Three Legs,
that if he’d wanted you to have three legs
he wouldn’t have given you four in the first place.
Well the whole congregation started laughing then,
’cos they knew that their young Reverend –
he was a educated Dog from out of town,
he’d been to Oxfard or Yalebridge
or one of them real fancy kennels –
they knew he’d got Old Three Legs strung up
like a possum on a barb’ wire fence.
But Three Legs he just smiled a kind of sad smile,
sat down and stuck his hind leg in the air,
started lickin’ his self in a place
most Dogs don’t find it that easy to reach.
An’ boy, when he done that
the Church Dogs
started barkin’ an’ howlin’
and that set the others off and pretty soon
seemed like the whole darn town was baying for blood
and not just any blood, they wanted Cat blood
and not just any Cat blood, they wanted three-legged Cat blood,
though the four-legged kind would’ve been okay too.
Well there weren’t much Old Three Legs could do.
He couldn’t outrun more than three or four of ’em
and he couldn’t scratch more than seven or eight of ’em
and he couldn’t spit on more than nine or ten of ’em
and pretty soon they had him cornered, clinging to a branch
way up in the highest magnolia tree in town.
Just when they were trying to figure out what to do with him
now they had him there, who should come by but Genial Joe
heading on down to the local store to open up.
He looks up and sees Old Three Legs swinging in the breeze
and he says, Howdy neighbours! That’s a strange kind of fruit
you got hanging in that magnolia tree.
And they said, that ain’t no kind of fruit you ignorant fleabag!
That’s a Cat like you and if you don’t wanna join him
we suggest you head on down to the store
and don’t cause no trouble. But Genial Joe said,
’Fore I go I gotta call on Old Three Legs,
’cos I got a whole posse of rats
causing a’ inconvenience in my convenience store
and what’s more, I seen two or three moved in next door
and the next door down, there’s three or four
and over on Main Street there’s a hundred more.
Well that set them a-thinking, I can tell you,
’cos even though some of those Dogs were pretty big,
the rats had gotten pretty big too and the Dogs had gotten
kinda lazy of late, and they didn’t fancy
taking care of their own Pest Control.
So they brought Old Three Legs down from the tree
and they brushed him off and offered him a raise
and said as how while they didn’t like Cats as a general rule
well, him an’ Joe were kind of okay – they guessed.
But that didn’t impress Old Three Legs none,
he’d heard it all before. He didn’t say nothing,
just went back home, back to his shack by the railroad track
and the next day he worked 9 to 5 in Pest Control,
kept himself pretty much to himself, until the next time.
Run down place is Dogtown.
The rats are getting edgy on the edge of town
and storm clouds are building in the East…
Hey you Dogs! Better rise up and pray
that the Cats don’t leave, ’cos the day they do,
sky’s gonna split – Big Man’s gonna come
with his stick and his whip, close Dogtown down,
Lead you all away.