Welte’s South City’s speak easy card room
A sleazy smoky side room with scattered green felt circular tables
Characters stiff fixtures from another world 

A balding pit boss ~ Cheese, green visor shield for eyes
Rabbit a gentle soft-spoken Lo-Baller stutterer no front teeth head bent low
Cheese, smooth talker, one of the Pasco boys, a South City real estate jaw
He’d snap his gum, wore a shit ass grin flattered and charmed most anyone
Late on Friday nights I’d go to Welte’s to pick up my Poker Playing Dad
Cheese would ask me about school my grades try to distract me from the bizarre characters and the suffocating smoke filled room
My Catholic school uniform protected me from most of the strange underwater creatures

The bar, a different story
Lit-up jukebox circular booths smoking costumed has-beens
All some kind of dizzying amusement ride
I’d run through hackling drinkers to get to the card room
Scan the room, spot Dad head down holding his cards ~ a terrible bluff
Tired defeated wearing a too long work week sporting a small pile of chips

Burdened men and too-used women with tired fake eyelashes chipped long painted fingernails holding cigarettes with long ash tails
too much rouge blurred like a bad movie
Over-worked like Dad and on the other side of Lady Luck
Most threw down their cards in defeat

Yet deep down they knew Cheese was the ‘House’
Took another hit and busted as the House proudly shined its’ ruthless odds
The House was the Big Cheese!
And we all know the Cheese stands alone

Gambling, a seductive lure, she entices with promises she never keeps
Like Peggy Lee’s torch, Fever, seduces the gambler to come back for more
When Dad won we all won and we’d get a bunch of doughnuts in a pink box

My sugar reward for a dive into a dive 
poker chip totting
smoking drinking
hard luck blue-collar jaws
trying to make a buck
glean a slim chance of gettin’ a little ahead