The Lives of the Cowboys Script
Saturday, April 23, 2005
Listen

(WESTERN THEME)

Sue Scott: THE LIVES OF THE COWBOYS...brought to you by Trailblazer Table Napkins...use em as napkins (SMOOSH OF GREASE)...as hankies (NOSE HONK)...or use em to tie up guys' wrists and gag em (GAGGING) and now, here's today's exciting adventure...

(PIANO, UNDER)

Garrison Keillor: It was spring in New York and my partner Dusty and I were just about to leave, having spent two weeks in the Wild West unit of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus at Madison Square Garden and we'd stopped in at the Peloponnesus Coffee Shop (AMBIENCE) for breakfast, before we hit the road. —Sure gonna miss show business, Dusty.

Tim Russell: Ha!!! Ridin' a horse around a circus ring in front of thousands of wretched children throwing corn dogs at me— it was a dark episode in my life, as bad as when I busted my leg in the gopher hole and had to crawl five miles into town with gophers biting me in the butt.

GK: I loved it. The smell of the sawdust...the crowd all excited.

TR: The shame of doing dumb things and people paying to see you do them.

GK: Well, that's what show business is.

TR: I tell you one thing: I can't wait to get out of this town. Too dang many people. Tired of being bumped into. Yelled at. I don't understand how people can live here.

GK: Well, there's a system to it. Young people live downtown, old people uptown, as a rule. Number of years = the appropriate street. Nineteen-year-olds should live on 19th Street, 81-year-olds should live on 81st Street.

TR: But the streets go up to the hundreds—

GK: New Yorkers live longer. Because a certain amount of stress is good for you. This is a city where pre-schoolers have cellphones. They celebrate Passover here but the Four Questions are True or False. No time. Where people keep moving — you eat while you're walking, you put on makeup in the subway—

TR: You didn't put on makeup—

GK: People put on makeup. You just have to remember to keep moving. You go through a yellow light and the beginning of a red light or else you'll get hit from behind. And always drive through fast so you don't get hit from the side.

(FOOTSTEPS)

SS (New Yorker): So what can I do for you, love? You want coffee?

GK: I'd like one of them latte coffees—

TR: Sounds good. Make that two.

SS (New Yorker): Two lattes. You want the molto, the maestro, the grandissimo, or the Big Cahunga?

TR: How about a real big one?

SS (New Yorker): That's the Big Cahunga. Any flavorings?

TR: I'd like mine coffee-flavored.

GK: Same here.

SS (New Yorker): Those for here or to go?

TR: Here.

SS (New Yorker): Okay. Be right back. (FEW FOOTSTEPS) —Two big white honkers!

Fred Newman (OFF): Two honkers! (ESPRESSO SEQUENCE STARTS)

SS (New Yorker): What can I bring you for breakfast, love?

GK: Sort of trying to choose between the Herculean and the Amazonian...

SS (New Yorker): Well, they're both steak and eggs and hash browns but the Amazonian comes with a corsage.

GK: I'll take the Herculean.

TR: Same for me.

SS (New Yorker): Thank you, love...(SHOUTS) Two pigs in the gutter!

TR: So— we leavin' town right after breakfast?

GK: Well— I was thinking of stopping by the music publisher.

TR: Oh for pity's sake.

GK: Just because he didn't go for the first fifty songs I sent him doesn't mean he might not like the 51st or the 52nd.

TR: He slammed the door in your face.

GK: The true artist must be persistent. (HE STRUMS)

TR (SOTTO VOCE): Put that guitar down! People are turning this way and looking at you!

GK: That's the whole point of it. (HE STRUMS AND HUMS) (FOOTSTEPS)

SS: Here's your coffees. Two El Capitan lattes. — You a singer?

GK: I don't know. You tell me.

(SINGS AS HE STRUMS)
You're the disc in my hard drive
You're my http
You will always be my favorite server, I'd be lost without thee.
You're the Wi of my WiFi,
You're the screen that I view
You will always be my high-speed access, I'd be lost without you.

SS: You write that yourself?

GK: You like it?

SS: It's ain't Barry Manilow, but— hey, what do I know? I'm no critic.

GK (SINGS): I've gone online now
Hoping she's mine now
Got to arouse her
Click the mouse and find my browser...


SS: You guys aren't from New York, are you—

TR: No, ma'am.

SS: I sort of gathered that. You from west of here?

TR: Right.

SS: Scranton?

TR: Farther west.

SS: Cleveland?

GK: We're cowboys, ma'am. Come in off the Colorado for a taste of show business.

SS: You mind if I ask you a personal question?

TR: Not at all. But don't ask him, because — well, the horse kicked him and he's been not right in the head ever since.

GK: That ain't true, ma'am.

TR: That's the merciful part of getting kicked in the head, you forget that it ever happened—

SS: I've always been curious — do you use your pistols quite a lot?

TR: Naw. Sometimes when we're drunk, we'll shoot em at the Milky Way, or what looks to us to be the Milky Way. Otherwise, no.

SS: No senseless acts of violence?

TR: They always made sense to us at the time.

SS: And do you just drink whiskey in saloons or can you get wine?

TR: If you're willing to use your pistol, you can get wine.

SS: I'm just curious. I've never been west of the Poconos.

GK: You mean the Pecos?

SS: The Poconos. I went there with my first husband, Jerome. We rented a cabin on our honeymoon.

GK: Well, that must've been nice.

SS: The miniature golf was nice. And then in the evening he sat around drinking beer and telling me how happy we were going to be.

GK: So you left Jerome?

SS: Naw, we're still married. I like to refer to him as my first husband — it sort of gets his attention. You know?

GK: Well, anytime you're tired of Jerome and you want to come out and look at the Milky Way — what'd you say your name was?

SS: I didn't.

GK: Well, mine is Lefty.

SS: Interesting.

GK: What should I call you?

SS: I don't know. Make up something.

GK: How about Lenore?

SS: Fine.

GK: My lost Lenore.

SS: I'm not lost. Maybe you are.

GK: Did I say something to offend you?

SS: If you had, believe me I would let you know. Excuse me— (FOOTSTEPS AWAY)

GK: I don't know how to tell you this, Dusty, but I'm thinkin' of staying.

TR: Where?

GK: New York.

TR: You MUSTa got kicked in the head.

GK: This may be my chance to see what it's like.

TR: What would you do here, pardner?

GK: Thinking about child care.

TR: Child care! But you never took care of children—

GK: Twenty years of experience with livestock, Dusty, has to count for something. I saw an ad for a Manny School. Male nannies. You learn how to have tea parties, play dress-up, scooter riding, microwave cooking, light housekeeping. And you learn the words to Rafi songs. Or you can sing your own. I'll bet New York kids'd enjoy having an old cowpoke look after them. And taking care of kids is a good way to meet women. It's taken me years to figure that out.

(HE STRUMS)
Riding round the Reservoir
Here in Central Park,
My horse is happy spring is come to stay.
The parkway's closed to traffic
So we can't hear the cars.
The city feels a hundred miles away.
Underneath the bridges
Long the riding path,
Apartment houses in the setting sun.
A cowboy in the city
Cannot help but sing
Now that springtime has begun.

TR: It's nice but it sure ain't Riders in the Sky.

GK: Well, when you're six years old and you group up in Tribeca, maybe it's good enough.

TR: THE LIVES OF THE COWBOYS... brought to you by La Casa Grande Brand Placemats for the Trail. Why set your grub down in the dirt when you can use a handsome place mat from La Casa Grande? Your choice of six patterns: Vermont Covered Bridge, Manhattan At Night, Tropical Fish, Butterflies, Presidents of the United States, or Miss Gwendolyn Savage of Las Vegas, Nevada. (WHINNY) (MUSIC 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).

Available now»

American Public Media © |   Terms and Conditions   |   Privacy Policy