He didn’t know (he couldn’t have)

How much the ride would cost

Blind in the strobe, the smoke, and glow

Starstruck in Limberlost.

The high was high, the low was high

The ride went higher still

No tolls to pay, no padlocked gates

With only Time to kill.

But then the hitch—the catch—the wait—

The password to The Club

You’re one of us. Well, are you, Boy?

Boy. Are you? One of us?

He didn’t know (he couldn’t have)

How many tortured souls

Were mined by these, the lewdest men:

Dark pyramid of trolls.

Up where he stood, upon the knife

His own life in his hands

To entertain the Devil’s whim

Or fall, a stupid man.

He wavered there, sweat on his brow

He counted all the cost:

The height from which he’d have to fall

And tried to guess the loss.

Hands behind him, underneath him

Hands of a dozen friends

Who cared beyond the famous name

Enough to rescue him.

A moment then, enough to tell

The truth and weep a while

To shudder at the pain he’d seen

And realize how vile.

But still the choice stood in his mind

To run, or not to run.

To speak about the things he’d seen

Or say, Well. . . it’s been fun.

He spoke. He spoke his mind and more

And with that note, he died.

A backstage exit from this world

Into a better life.