The Town Hall
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The Lives of the Cowboys
SS: THE LIVES OF THE COWBOYS…..brought to you by B-Bar-B Bottled Water. Studies show that your drinking water may be laced with arsenic and could very well kill you. (CHOKING) B-Bar-B Bottled Water is pure.
FN (DEEP TWANG): At's right. I been drinking it for forty-leven years and it ain't killed me yet. Haw haw haw haw haw. Haw haw haw haw haw. (GUNSHOT)
SS: And now…..THE LIVES OF THE COWBOYS.
(EVENING SOUNDS OF CAMP. LONESOME WHISTLE OF A TRAIN)
GK: There goes the five-fifty-eight into Yellow Gulch, Dusty. Full of passengers, heading for their Christmas. Happy people, heading for a reunion with their loved ones.
TR: Heading for a long tedious day with people you feel guilty about not loving as much as they think you should.
GK: Heading for a day of warmth and reminiscence.
TR: A day of not talking about all the things that everybody is thinking about. (TRAIN WHISTLE)
GK: It's a beautiful day, Christmas.
TR: Starts out beautiful and goes downhill fast. By two in the afternoon, you're like a caged animal in the zoo.
GK: When did you get so mean and hard-hearted?
TR: Thirty-five years of riding the trail will turn a man into a skeptic.
(SFX: GALLOPING HOOVES.)
GK: Hang on — who's this?
MS: Whoa! Easy, there. (HORSE DRAWS UP, PANTING.) Evening, fellas.(HE DISMOUNTS AND WALKS TOWARD THEM)
TR: Evening, partner.
MS: Saw your campfire as I was riding by. And the Christmas lights on the cactus. Mind if I set for a spell?
TR: You want to set for a spell?
MS: You mind?
TR: How long is a spell?
MS: I donno. --- A spell.
TR: Just wondering. Is it all evening? Or does it maybe extend into tomorrow and the day after tomorrow and----
MS: Just saw your lights and thought I'd set. For a spell.
TR: Just trying to get it clear in my mind. Ten minutes? Ten days-----
GK: You have to excuse my pardner, mister. He gets ornery around Christmas time.
TR: Just asking a simple question: how long is a spell? You got a problem with answering a simple question? Huh? What is a spell? S-p-e-l-l-----
MS: Well, I'll just go then. If I'm not welcome, just say so. I'm out of here.
GK: Wait wait wait----- don't go----
TR: You're from the Midwest, aren't you? You walk up here and want to park your carcass and I ask For How Long and then you get all huffy and “If I'm not welcome, just say so” and you go off, trying to make me feel guilty ---- well, I don't go for that passive-aggressive stuff----
MS: Oh yeah?
MS: You calling me passive aggressive??? Huh? How about this, mister? (PULLS GUN, SPINS CYLINDER) You call this passive? I don't. (FIRES THREE SHOTS) Maybe that's what YOU call passive-aggressive, but I think that if I ---- (HE HAWKS AND SPITS) put the next bullet into that little pearl button, the second one from the top of your shirt, the button that's right over your sternum and your aorta ---- I think a bullet through that pearl button might convince you that there is nothing passive about Mr. Frank James Junior, whatsoever. You just say the word and I'll teach you about passive aggressive. ---- Ha.
GK: Wow. Frank James, Junior. You can set for a spell on my side of the campfire, sir.
TR: You're Frank James, Junior, huh? Heard about you. Last of the train robbers.
MS: Last living member of the Younger Gang.
TR: You look kind of old to be in the Younger Gang. ---- No? ---- (HE CHUCKLES)
MS: That's not a new joke, mister.
MS: Hope I don't have to hear it again. Otherwise, I got my eye on that pearl button of your'n.
GK: So what brung you out on the godforsaken prairie, Mr. James?
MS: I had my eye on that train out yonder. (HE HAWKS AND SPITS)
TR: The train to Yellow Gulch?
GK: So you still do that---- go galloping up alongside the baggage car and you fire some shots and yell at the baggage clerk to throw the mailbags out and you find the one that's full of hundred-dollar bills and you ride away across the prairie?
MS: Used to. But I got too old to keep up with trains. Tried to teach my boys to rob ‘em but they're too lazy. Sit around cooking up Ponzi schemes and doing identity theft. Nobody left to carry on the tradition. And now there's no big bags of cash cause people are buying stuff on the Internet.
TR: So what do you do?
MS: Tried robbing freight trains but they're just shipping big boxes of stuff to Costco and Walmart, no diamonds or gold dust, just big boxes of paper towels.
GK: So why keep doing it?
MS: Pride. I'm the last one. After me, nothing. It's all gone. A whole tradition.
TR: Same as us. We keep going down the trail cause we're the only cowboys left.
MS: I robbed a train yesterday and made off with a hundred whoopee cushions, but whoopee cushions are such antiques now ---- kids don't even know what they are. So they're not worth much. Only guys I can sell whoopee cushions to are old guys and they don't need any help in that department.
GK: Last of the breed. I admire that. The last man still riding his horse and overtaking a train.
(GALLOPING HORSES APPROACH)
TR: Who's this coming?
GK: Looks like a couple of women.
TR: Couple of women and a man with big hair.
(WHOAS, HORSE STOP. WHINNYING. FOOTSTEPS IN GRAVEL)
SS: Howdy. Saw your campfire as we were riding past.
HM: Mind if we set a spell?
TR: Honey, you can set for as long a spell as you care to set, just so long as you set somewhere upwind of me. I sure do like your perfume.
HM: Why thank you? We're from the First Unitarian Church of Yellow Gulch and we wondered if you might like a little Christmas carol.
MS: Christmas carolers! I didn't know people still did that.
SS: We Unitarians do.
GK: So do Unitarians celebrate Christmas?
SS: Of course we do.
FN: I'm the Rev. Emerson Henry Ralph, minister of First Unitarian, and I brought you a Christmas basket of informational materials about global warming and green energy.
HM: If you hand me your guitar, we'd be pleased to sing a Christmas carol.
GK: There you go. (STRUMS)
HM & SS & FN:
Silent night, very still
Something came over the hill
Something happened, shining and pure.
Something wonderful, we're pretty sure.
And there was a wonderful baby
Who was the Messiah maybe.
Silent night, faraway
On or around Christmas Day
Something holy and lovely occurred
Though we don't use the C word
But we celebrate
Cause it was pretty great.
Silent night, beautiful sight
Shepherds, angels, all unite
They became Unitarian
There in the place they found Joseph and Mary in
It was out in a field.
It was quite the deal.
GK: Well, that was very nice. Thank you for singing and if you'd like to set a spell, you're welcome.
TR: That you?
GK: Wasn't me.
MS: Wasn't me. Musta been one of you.
GK: I don't smell anything.
MS: That means it was you.
TR: Yeah, it's the one who can't smell it who done it.
SS: Don't look at us. We're Unitarians.
FN: We don't pass gas because we talk all the time so the pressure never has a chance to build up.
SS: Whoops. I just sat on a little pillow.
MS: That's your Christmas present, ma'am. Well, I've sat a spell and now I think I'll be moving along.
SS: We'd better be going too.
FN: Yeah. I could use some fresh air----
TR: Okay. So long, thanks for stopping.
GK: Where you going, Dusty?
TR: Out for a walk. See you later.
SS: THE LIVES OF THE COWBOYS……brought to you by Tombstone Christmas Air Freshener. Smells like fresh spruce. It's just like opening a window. Tombstone.
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).