#151; Cowboys

Cowboys
Saturday, November 6, 2004
Listen

(WESTERN THEME)

Sue Scott: THE LIVES OF THE COWBOYS... brought to you by Wahoo Wahoo Wahoo Investment & Securities — when you head off on the trail for a few months, you want to leave your retirement account in sure strong hands... and that's Wahoo Wahoo Wahoo... and now let's join Dusty and Lefty for another exciting western adventure. (OUTDOOR AMBIENCE, CATTLE. THEN THE RATTLE OF COOKWARE)

Garrison Keillor: Supper be ready in a few minutes, Dusty. Spam and eggs. Your favorite. Put down the newspaper and come eat.

Tim Russell: Just reading about the election campaign.

GK: That newspaper is from September, Dusty. It's old news.

TR: It's the only news we got.

GK: Well, we ought to get to Bleak Butte in a week or two, we can find out more then. When you're a cowboy it don't matter much who is in power — life is just as lonely and godforsaken miserable under one president as it is under another.

TR: (CHEWING) This is sure good Spam.

GK: Glad you like it. I marinated it in tobacco juice.

TR (CHEWING): How'd you get juice out of tobacco?

GK: Don't worry about it. It's a little cooking secret of the cowboy chef.

TR (CHEWING): What about him?

GK: Who? Old Charley? I offered him some. — Charley, you want some supper? (TOM KEITH, GROWLY DEMENTED GUY) I guess he'll eat when he gets hungry.

TR: He ain't eaten nothing but grasshoppers and lizards ever since we found him wandering across the barren wastes three days ago. Look at him. He's nothing but skin and bones.

GK: Dementia is a proven method of weight loss, Dusty. It's been proven again and again. Somebody ought to write a book about it. Crazy people are skinny people.

TR: Speaking of crazy — I just counted up the cattle, Lefty. Unless I'm mistaken, we're six cows to the good.

GK: Six to the good?

TR: Yessir.

(SCRAPING OF PAN. STIRRING)

GK: You mean we got six more cows than when we left Cheyenne?

TR: I counted em over and over.

GK: Calves?

TR: Full-grown ones.

GK: Doesn't sound good, does it? We are in Utah. A state of serious people who do not look kindly on overnight cattle acquisition. (TK GROWLY DEMENTED GUY)

TR: I wonder how that old coot lost his mind?

GK: I think it's a wonder he kept it as long as he did. (TK GROWLY, CHEWING ON CRUNCHY THING) — Still got his teeth, though. Look at him chew through that snakeskin. Chew it right up, head and all. (BIG CRUNCH)

TR: Kinda takes away a person's appetite.

GK: Well, each to his own, I say. Live and let live. If a man wants to eat rodents, it's a free country.

TR: It's a free country so long as those dang Democrats don't get in and snatch our pistols away from us and our spurs and make us cowboys live in apartments and make us go to government doctors.

GK: Who's going to government doctors?

TR: Democrats.

GK: Where'd you hear that?

TR: Read it in a paper.

GK: What was the date on the paper?

TR: Don't matter. I, by God, want to be able to choose my own doctor and not be forced to go to one that's chosen by the government.

GK: Dusty, you haven't been to a doctor once since I've known you.

TR: Don't matter.

GK: You busted your ankle so your foot was sideways and I poured a quart of whiskey down you and straightened it and taped it and now when you dance you can only go counterclockwise but you never went to any doctor —

TR: Don't matter. It's the principle of the thing. I'm agin' Democrats.

GK: And you're agin' doctors.

TR: I am. I despise doctors. They're lyin cheatin no good cold-blooded killers is what doctors are. But I still want to choose one for myself and not be forced by Democrats to go to one who —

GK: But if you're not going to any doctor whatsoever, what does it matter to you?

TR: It's a matter of principle. Same as the inheritance tax.

GK: Dusty, you don't have any money to tax and you've got no heirs.

TR: Don't matter. It's principle. Can't you see? It's the principle!!! (HE BANGS HIS FIST, BWANG) Ouch! (HE MOANS) (TK, DEMENTED JABBER)

GK: Look at you, you broke your hand and you upset the idiot — (TK, DEMENTIA) Take it easy, Charlie. Have some Spam. (TK, DEMENTIA, CRUNCHING CHEWING) Okay — eat beetles. Whatever you want.

(HORSE HOOVES, GALLOPING, OFF, APPROACHING)

GK: Who's this coming?

TR: If it's a doctor or a Democrat — tell him to go away.

(HORSES HOOVES SLOWING, THEN STOP. HORSE WHINNY. DISMOUNT. FOOTSTEPS ACROSS DIRT, THEN STOP.)

GK: Howdy, mister.

Roy Blount, Jr.: Howdy.

GK: I'm Lefty, and this here's my partner Dusty.

TR: "Partner" in the old cowboy sense of the word —

RB: Okay.

TR: Not "partner" in the liberal sense.

RB: Fine by me. Who's the old guy eating insects?

GK: Just an old galoot crazed by loneliness. What's your name?

RB: Huggins. Roy Huggins.

GK: You care for some Spam and eggs? There's extra.

RB: Don't mind if I do. You got any rotgut around?

TR: Sure. Help yourself. (PULLS OUT CORK, GLUGS)

RB: Not bad rotgut.

TR: I can see by your outfit that you are a cowboy.

RB: I am.

TR: What outfit you ride with?

RB: I'm in between outfits right now.

GK: An unemployed cowboy.

RB: I'm doing some cow consulting.

TR: What sort of consulting?

RB: Well, when herds get restless at night and singing doesn't quiet 'em down, people hire me to come and have a look at the situation.

GK: So you're a consultant on cattle restlessness.

RB: That's right.

GK: And what is your advice?

RB: Well, generally I don't give that away for free, don't you know. But generally, when cattle get restless, it helps if you go in and kill one and butcher it right there in front of them and slice off a big steak and cook it over a campfire with a potato and sit down with the whole herd watching and eat it bite by bite and rub your stomach and say, Boy o boy nothing like a good rare steak — their eyes get all big and white —

GK: Interesting. Speaking of herds, you wouldn't by any chance have happened through a town with a newspaper in the past three or four days so that you'd know who won the presidential election, would you?

RB: Nope. Got no idea.

GK: You don't have a radio with you?

RB: Nope. I traded my radio for the favors of a woman named Cherise. Met her in Rapid City. A town that was well-named. You go to Rapid City, you don't need to stay long.

GK: You don't have a cellphone either?

RB: I traded my cellphone to a doctor so he could treat the gift that Cherise gave me.

TR: I hope you were able to choose that doctor yourself.

RB: It was an easy choice. He was the only one. He was also the pharmacist, the dentist, and the undertaker.

GK: We're just curious how the election came out.

TR: If the Democrats won, then I am intending to head straight for Mexico.

GK: Why Mexico, Dusty?

TR: For the freedom.

GK: Freedom?

TR: I believe a man can be freer in a country where he doesn't understand the language.

RB: Well, there's something to be said for that. — Boy, this is good Spam. What kind of sauce you put on this?

GK: Tobacco juice.

RB: It's right tasty. Gimme some more of that bourbon. (UNCORK BOTTLE. GLUGGING) Boy, that is powerful stuff. (HE HAWKS AND SPITS. PAUSE. DISTANT DING)

TR: You just hit the snaffle on that halter right spang dead on, Mr. Huggins. That is what I call accurate spitting.

RB: Well, I consider myself the best spitter west of the Mississippi, Charlie —

GK: He's Dusty, Mr. Huggins.

RB: Right. Dusty —

GK: Charlie is the one sitting in the dirt eating the tarantula. (TK, DEMENTED, CRUNCHING)

RB: I see that.

TR: How'd you get so good at spitting?

RB: Well, I started out as a baseball pitcher. Threw a spitball and did well with it. Had an ERA of 0.02. Against left-handed hitters. Against right-handers I was 31.24. I threw right but I spit left. So I spent a couple years on the bench. That's when I learned to spit for accuracy.

GK: It takes time to learn to spit, doesn't it.

RB: Most people are too busy to devote themselves to the craft. But when you spend two years in the dugout of the Sioux Falls Susans in the Feed Lot League, you have time to develop technique — (MOSQUITO)

TR: A cattle consultant and a marksman of mucous —

GK: You sure meet interesting people out here on the trail. (MOSQUITO)

RB: It comes in handy sometimes. (MOSQUITO PASSES, AND CIRCLES. RB HAWKS AND PTTTs AND MOSQUITO FALLS AND DIES)

TR: That's some spitting, mister.

RB: Learned that in the Salivation Army. (OFF, HORSE GALLOPING)

GK: Who's this coming in?

TR: It's a woman. Probably a Democrat. (HORSE COMES GALLOPING UP. SUE SCOTT WHOAS. HORSE STOPS. CHUFFING. DISMOUNT. SHE WALKS UP TO CAMPFIRE.)

GK: Howdy, ma'am.

SS: Howdy. I see by your outfits that you are cowboys. So — (SHE HAWKS AND SPITS) I assume none of you is one of them dagnabbed gun-confiscating schoolmarmish secular-humanist Democrats. Cause if one of you is — (SHE HAWKS AND SPITS) I'm gonna have to wrestle you to the ground and strip the clothes off you and tie you to an anthill and leave you lying in the blazing hot sun until you come to your senses and realize that terror is the number one issue facing this country today. Terror and gay marriage. None of you fellas is partners, are you?

TR: Not in that sense, no.

RB: I just rode in here. I don't know these guys. Especially not him.

SS: The one sitting in the dirt chewing on spiders? (TK, DEMENTIA, CRUNCHING, THEN SPITTING)

GK: We got some Spam and eggs if you're hungry for supper, ma'am. Just get yourself a plate and serve it up. It's nice and hot.

SS: Thanks. (SHE SPOONS SOME GRUB ONTO A PLATE AND STARTS TO EAT) This is darn good Spam.

GK: You wouldn't happen to have the election returns, would you? We haven't been in sight of a town since back in September.

SS: Reckon I know something about that, yes.

GK: So what do you know?

SS: According to exit polls, it's John Kerry in a landslide.

TR: Guess I'm heading to Mexico.

RB: New administration, huh?

SS: Our nation in the hands of godless Frenchmen.

TR: Next thing we'll have government doctors coming out here trying to take our blood pressure.

SS: All we need to do is stay put where we are. Here in the red states.

RB: Right here in Utah.

TR: That's as red as it gets.

RB: The day Utah goes Democratic is the day George Bush eats snails.

SS: You got your red states all over the middle of the country, and the blue states mostly on the coasts. Global warming is going to take care of that. We melt the ice cap and raise the ocean level, and we'll be able to unite the country at last. Massachusetts will be one big lobster bed.

GK: What about Texas? That's on the ocean too.

TR: We'll build dikes.

SS: What'd you say?

GK: He said we'll put up levees.

SS: I thought those were Jewish.

GK: Not necessarily.

RB: Well, here's to us. Freedom fighters.

SS: Cowboy insurgents.

TR: If they want to come out here and tell us how to live and what doctor to go to and what guns we can have and how to dispose of the cowflop, we'll show 'em.

GK: Speaking of cows, we got six extras we better cut loose, pardner.

(THEME)

SS: The Lives of the Cowboys... brought to you by Old Faithful Brand Deodorant... with thousands of tiny time-release aromatic capsules... so every hour and a half or so, you smell really good.

(THEME OUT)

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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