Cowboys
Saturday, April 4, 1998
Listen

(WESTERN THEME....CATTLE, HORSES, WHOOPS)

TR: THE LIVES OF THE COWBOYS....brought to you by Cowboys Drugstore Dot Com.....when you're out on the trail, far from the nearest pharmacist, and need to get your prescription filled pronto, send us an e-mail at Cowboys Drugstore Dot Com!!! We'll have your tranquilizers in the mail and on their way to you in just hours.

(OUTDOOR AMBIENCE, CRICKETS. LEFTY TUNES HIS GUITAR A FEW TIMES QUIETLY)

GK: (SINGS) Each night I go from Times Square up to Harlem

Along that famed Columbus Avenue.

And as I see the lights around me, darlin,

It always brings back memories of you....

Moonlight shines tonight along the Hudson.

Jump into a cab and take a ride....

TR: (OFF) Hey! Stop the music! (STRUMMING STOPS)

GK: Is that you, Dusty?

TR: (OFF) Who else could it be?

GK: That's what I was wondering myself. Where are you?

TR: (OFF) Over here by the rocks.

GK: What you over there for?

TR: (OFF) Two guesses.

GK: Oh. Right.

TR (OFF): But if I were somebody else lurking around out here, I could pick you off like nobody's business.

GK: Well, you aren't him, so don't worry about it.

TR (OFF): But what if I were him?

GK: Who?

TR: (OFF) And you call out, "Dusty, is that you?" do you think I'd tell you that I'm him, no, of course I would say it's me---

GK: You want me to shoot you right now to make sure you're not him?

TR: (OFF) If I were him, you think I'd say yes to that question?

GK: So by not saying yes, then it must mean that you are him.

TR: (OFF) No, I didn't say that.

GK: My point exactly. Why don't you just come into the firelight so I can see who you are?

TR: (OFF) Because I'm not done.

GK: With what?

TR: (OFF) What do you think I'd come out here for?

GK: I don't know. Just to be by yourself maybe. Think about things.

TR (OFF): I try to think about things as little as possible.

GK: I've noticed that, yes.

TR (APPROACHING): All that comes of thinking about things is moodiness!

GK: Well, you have a point there. When I'm in the big city, I think about being on the trail, and when I'm here on the trail, I think about being in the city. (STRUMMING)

Moonlight shines tonight along Columbus.....

Jump into a cab and take a ride....

Ladies dancing cha cha chas and rhumbas

With their caballeros by their side....

We were to meet----- (HE STOPS)

TR: Well, missing the city is one problem I do not have. Cowboying is hard enough without adding nostalgia to your problems. My back hurts, I'm too dang old to be doin the work --- it's time to start earn a livin usin my wits, and I ain't got much of them either.

GK: Last time I was in the city, I went to the cowboy wellness clinic, Dusty. They told me I'd feel better if I cut down on animal fats, whiskey, chewing tobacco, and coffee.

TR: You're givin up coffee????

GK: Coffee abuse is one of a number of destructive behavioral patterns that cowboys fall into, like compulsive fist fighting, mean trail bosses, fly-by-night romances with women who suffer from low self-esteem, and attempts to make meaningful contact with pardners who are never going to open up and talk, so why have high expectations that they will?

TR: You learned all this at the cowboy wellness clinic?

GK: And I learned that every life needs to have some music and poetry in it.

TR: Is that what you call what you were doing a minute ago?

GK: Yes, it is. (STRUMMING)

Moonlight shines tonight along the Hudson.....

Jump into a cab and take a ride.

Just another lonesome cowboy and his Stetson

Roaming round the old West Side.

We were to meet and get a bite to eat----

At a sweet little joint down on Forty-seventh street----

TR: Hey! Wait a minute! (STRUMMING STOPS)

GK: What's wrong?

TR: Shhhhh.

GK: What?

TR: Listen.

GK: I don't hear anything.

TR: I know. That's what worries me. Something's out there, otherwise it wouldn't be quiet like that.

GK: I thought you liked quiet.

TR: Could be somebody lurking out there in the darkness----

GK: Who's out there?????

TR: Shhhhhh. What you doin? you crazy? You want to give away our position so they can fire a fusillade of hot lead in the vicinity of our belt buckles?

GK: I was just asking----- (STRUMMING)

Moonlight shines tonight along the Hudson.....

Jump into a cab and take a ride.

Just another lonesome cowboy and his Stetson

Roaming round the old West Side.

We were to meet and get a bite to eat----

TR: Shhhhhh. ---- Listen.

GK: What?

TR: Thought I heard a twig snap or something.

SS: (SLIGHTLY OFF) No, that wasn't a twig ---- that was me slipping a cartridge into the chamber.

TR: Who are you?

SS: Did you tune that guitar?

GK: I have, on occasion, yes.

TR: Who are you?

SS: Ease that sixgun back into your holster, mister.

GK: Don't worry about him, ma'am. He couldn't hit you with that gun if you were six feet in front of his face.

SS: That's about where I am.

GK: How come we can't see you, ma'am?

SS: I'm a New York woman. I'm about sixteen inches in circumference and I'm wearing black.

GK: Oh.

SS: And I'm wearing black lipstick.

GK: What can we do for you, ma'am?

SS: Well, it's like this. I'm on a hiking trip with a bunch of my women friends, and we made camp about a half-mile from here, and we've been lying in our sleeping bags and talking about our first husbands and you keep starting and stopping that song and I'd like you to finish the song and then not sing it again. Okay?

GK: Okay. Now?

SS: Yes! (HE STRUMS)

GK: Moonlight shines tonight on old Manhattan

Shining down on West End Avenue.

The air is sweet with brussels sprouts au gratin

Chardonnay and chamomile shampoo.

Youthful and trim

From visits to the gym,

Why did you leave me and run away with him?

Moonlight shines tonight on old Manhattan,

I wonder if you're thinking of me too.

SS: You finished now?

GK: Soon as I yodel.

TR: Oh boy.

GK: But if you'd rather I didn't----

SS: No, no--- do it, and get it over with.

GK: No, that's okay. I don't need to if it's going to upset anybody.

TR: Yodel. Do it.

GK: No, I don't need to.

TR: Get it out of your system.

GK: That's all right.

TR: Just yodel.

GK: I'll leave it off, I know how much you hate it.

TR: Yodel!

GK: I don't want to be a nuisance to anybody.

SS: Yodel, mister. (GUN HAMMER CLICKS) Yodel and be done with it.

GK: (STRUM AND YODEL)

(THEME)

TR: THE LIVES OF THE COWBOYS....brought to you by Cowboy Drugstore Dot Com.

(MUSIC OUT)

© 1998 by Garrison Keillor

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

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