Guns Under the Counter

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The Fiery Furnaces

The Fiery Furnaces are a U.S. indie rock band formed in 2000 in Brooklyn, New York. The band's primary members are Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger. The siblings are originally from Oak Park, Illinois, a near-western suburb of Chicago. more »


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"Well, good for you.
But we have something too."
So said my aunt.

A bowling alley and lunch counter
Filled with fellas on their lunch break,
From the Western Electric plant at a slant across the street.
And next door when So-and-So's men would come in, and the man himself very often.

It was guns under the counter every time.
Guns under the counter every time.
Guns under the counter every time,
And bowling on the second floor.

Very often he was there himself,
And I, of course, had a special small ball as a little girl,
And didn't I grow up, didn't I grow up to be captain of the Morton girls bowling team? 
I did!
Though I don't attach much importance to that now, or then,
Then riding the old Garfield El downtown,
And on up to State Street,
And back to guns under the counter,
Guns under the counter every time.
Guns under the counter,
And bowling on the second floor.

I never liked Douglas park,
And no one likes it now,
But that's neither here nor there. (There, or here.)
West of Crawford, where it is I stayed,
Chicago straights alliterates. (North, and south.)
I lived in the Ms.
But it was down on the south side,
Dr. Peter Pane and his brother had their doughnut factory.
And I mention it now because...

That one day (Now I wasn't there, We were in Davenport at that time),
Some north side Irish bullets came zipping through that window.
In Cicero,
Never stand at a window!
And past the counter,
Looking for those men,
Who had their guns behind the counter,
And you could smell the boiled cabbage on those bullets!
One of them managed to hit a young pinsetter in the leg;
Wouldn't you know it.
But luckily Panagoulis
Dr. Peter Pane
Was there to see to it.
He took some special blackberry filling right out of his lunch bag
And applied it to the young man's wound.
You see, Dr. Peter Pane was an interesting man,
And an even more interesting doctor,
As he would use no material or remedy
That wasn't used in the manufacture of his doughnuts,
Down on 82nd and Kedzie with his brother.
But he tempered this by the fact that he would rarely use ingredients that didn't have some medicinal purpose.
Or so he thought.

Here in the doughnut factory,
They have confectioner's sugar
So sweet it was caustic.
And chocolate so bitter that it could kill typhus!
Glazing so shiny,
It could set back glaucoma.
And filling so filling,
You didn't need stitches!
The same special blackberry filling that was applied to the young man's wound.
Blackberry filling that came straight from Dr. Peter Pane's lunch bag.

We were in Davenport,
With a big restaurant downtown,
And I once kept a jackrabbit in the back yard,
And I'd walk across the river to Rock Island,
To Greek school,
On a fine fall day.
And I'd look up at the sky
And down at the river.
But Davenport changed its name to Hooverville,
So to speak,
And we had to go to Chicago to move in with my aunt.

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"Guns Under the Counter Lyrics." STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 19 Feb. 2020. <>.

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