San Diego Civic Center Theatre, San Diego, CA
SS (ANNC): The Lives of the Cowboys. Brought to you by Glidemaster Saddle Blankets. They contain aloe. And now: The Lives of the Cowboys.
(SURF, SEAGULLS, OARS IN OARLOCKS ROWING)
GK: Just bring the boat right in here and I’ll tie it up to this post, Dusty. There you go. Beautiful view of San Diego from here.
TR: Just a rocky island, if you ask me. I donno why we rowed all the way out here. (LIGHTHOUSE HORN BLAST)
GK: Wanted to see this old lighthouse, that’s why. Let’s have a look around. (BIG SURF ON ROCKS) Heavy seas, pounding against that sea wall. Beautiful. We’re not in Wyoming anymore, that’s for sure. Watch your step, it’s slippery.
TR: You sure there’s somebody lives out here?
GK: They said she’s here and they said she’s retiring soon as lighthouse keeper.
TR: You’re not thinking about-----
GK: Could be a nice life. Good salary, nice view of the ocean and sky.
TR: Crushing loneliness. Interminable periods of unrelenting boredom.
GK: Like our life right now except we’d get paid for it. Might be a chance to play board games and read good books.
SS (OFF): Hello? Who goes?
GK: Howdy, ma’am. We came out to visit your lighthouse out here and we thought we’d ----- (LIGHTHOUSE HORN BLAST) -----
SS (LOUD): Sorry, didn’t hear what you said.
GK: My, that is loud. We came out to visit your lighthouse.
SS (LOUD): I’m sorry, I’m deaf as a post from listening to that dang horn go off every 60 seconds, you’ll have to write it down on this pad of paper. Here you go.
GK: Okay. (WRITING) We are cowboys and we hear you are retiring as lighthouse keeper. What can you tell us about pay and working conditions?
SS (LOUD): Lemme see what you wrote. (SHE READS IT TO HERSELF)
TR: I am getting claustrophobia by the minute, being on this island. It’s just a big rock in the middle of nowhere. At least out on the dusty godforsaken plains, you can ride your horse to see a different part of the dusty godforsaken plains ----
SS (LOUD): You know, I’m having a hard time reading your handwriting here. What does this say? “We have been robots”?
SS (LOUD): Cobalt?
GK: I’ll write it down. (HE WRITES) Cowboys.
SS (LOUD): Combos? You play in combos? The Navy musicians are all over at the base, not here. (LIGHTHOUSE HORN BLAST) ----- is that a tuba, I hear?
GK: My, that is quite a sound.
TR: Let’s just go back to shore, Lefty. We’ve seen what we came to see.
SS (LOUD): My husband was a Navy musician. Played the tuba. He had to blow so hard that his teeth got loose and he had to fix them with this special toothpaste. Tuba toothpaste. ---- Tuba toothpaste. Get it? That’s a joke.
GK: I get it. I’m laughing. Ha ha ha ha ha.
SS (LOUD): Can’t hear you. Write it down.
GK: (WRITING) Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
SS (LOUD): He practiced four hours a day on that tuba and that’s when I decided to take up lighthouse keeping. Came out here and I’ve been happy ever since. Deaf as a post, but it’s not the worst thing. Next Monday I retire. I’m planning to move to (LIGHTHOUSE HORN BLAST)….which is fine because noise doesn’t bother me at all.
GK (WRITING): So is there a job vacancy here? And if so, where would I apply?
SS (LOUD): What do you mean, “job vacation”? That makes no sense at all. It’s a job. Three hundred and sixty-five days a year. No vacation whatsoever.
GK (WRITING): Job vacancy.
SS (LOUD): John who?
GK (WRITING): Employment opportunity.
SS (LOUD): Beyonce’ ----- what about her?
TR: Here, let me write it for you. (WRITING) He wants your job.
SS (LOUD): Oh, they’re not replacing me. No, they’ve installed this computerized system for flashing the lights and sounding the horn. Yeah, it’s all up and running so when I retire on Monday they’re going to lock up the place and put warning signs up and that’ll be the end of it.
TR: So we made the trip out here for nothing.
GK: Wait a minute. Listen.
GK: The horn’s broken.
TR: It’s probably just about to blow.
GK: The computer’s out of wack.
TR: Don’t worry about it.
GK: Don’t worry about it!!! A ship could go aground without that signal.
TR: It’s a clear day, you can see for miles.
GK: There must be a reason for the horn.
TR: Don’t worry about it. Let’s vamoose.
SS (LOUD): What’s the problem?
GK: (WRITING) The horn’s broken.
SS (LOUD): No, it’s not. It’s working fine.
GK: (WRITING): You’re deaf.
SS (LOUD): Oh. Right. I forgot.
GK: (WRITING) Can it be activated manually?
SS (LOUD): Can I be activated manually? What sort of question is that.
GK: (WRITING) How can I turn it on?
SS (LOUD): Young man----you watch your mouth.
GK: Let’s go in and check, Dusty. (FOOTSTEPS)
TR: Here’s the door. (BIG STEEL DOOR OPEN)
GK: There’s the beacon lamp.
TR: And a switch.
GK: Does it say what it’s for?
TR: Just says Off and On. It’s turned Off.
GK: Guess we better turn it On.
TR: You think?
GK: Go ahead. Try it.
GK: Okay….. (SWITCH FLICKS, ROTATING LIGHT SFX TR WINCE)
TR: Agh! I’m blinded!
GK: Don’t look right at the lamp, Dusty.
TR: It’s right in my face.
GK: It’s a rotating light, Dusty. See----- it’s coming around---- (LIGHT ROTATES AROUND, GK WINCE) Aaagh!
GK: I’m blind. (LIGHT ROTATES)
TR: I can’t see a thing. (TR WINCE)
SS (LOUD): No need for the beacon, boys. It’s the middle of the afternoon.
(CLICK, LIGHT POWERS DOWN)
GK: Where are you, ma’am?
SS (LOUD): Can’t hear you. Write it down.
GK: Can’t see to write. My eyes are still flashing.
TR: I’m seeing stars.
GK: (WRITES) I am blind.
SS (LOUD): You look sort of brunette to me.
TR: I can’t see a thing, Lefty.
GK: We gotta get out of here. (LIGHTHOUSE HORN BLAST) (TR & GK SHOCK AND BANG HEADS)
(BAT WINGS, PASS. AGAIN.)
SS (LOUD): I forgot to tell you, we’ve got bats in the lighthouse. Hope you’re not bothered by bats. Most lighthouse operators go batty. You know that? Boredom drives them over the edge. I’ve stayed sane thanks to a healthy diet, climbing up and down stairs. And I invented my own language. I’m the only one who can speak it. (SHE SPEAKS GIBBERISH) That’s a poem I wrote. It’s about being naked. I’m a nudist too. Did I tell you that?
TR: You’re not naked right now, are you?
GK: Let’s go, Dusty.
TR: I can’t see.
GK: I can make out shapes.
TR: Is she naked?
GK: Not yet. Let’s go.
SS (LOUD): How about we all take off our clothes and hold hands and skip around the island and sing (SINGS, KUMBAYA)…..Let’s get naked, boys. You and me. Let’s get naked, boys. You and me. Let’s get naked, boys. You and me. Oh boy. You and me.
GK: This way, Dusty.
TR: I’m right behind you.
GK: Watch your step. (SURF) Untie the boat, Dusty.
TR: Let’s head for shore. (ROWING)
GK: You and me----- we’re not crazy, are we?
TR: How would I know? Compared to what?
GK: Well, I guess they don’t need another lighthouse keeper.
TR: Have you ever considered maybe becoming a lifetime inmate in a penal institution?
GK: Row for the shore, Dusty. Row for the shore.
SS (ANNC): The Lives of the Cowboys. Brought to you by Glidemaster Saddle Blankets. Now with aloe.
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).