The Lives of the Cowboys, November 17, 2012

The Brown Theater at the Wortham Theater Center

Houston, TX


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The Lives of the Cowboys

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SS: The Lives of the Cowboys. Brought to you by Montana Brand Tanning Spray (SPRAY). Helps keep your skin brown and leathery all year long. And now: The Lives of the Cowboys.

(FOOTSTEPS, TRAFFIC PASSING)

GK: Good to be back in Texas, Dusty. A state where a cowboy can be a cowboy.

TR: Yep. Up in Minnesota, we were a couple of oddballs. Down here in Texas we are among our own kind.

GK: Specially here in Houston. Down here people just assume you got money and if you're dressed ragged and dirty, they figure you must really be loaded to want to hide it so bad. I tell you, a red state that loves Willie Nelson is a state that's come to accept its own contradictions. (CHORD)

GK: Speaking of which, here is the Jim Bob Café where Mr. Tatum Tate is supposed to meet us. Ten a.m. For once we're almost on time.

TR: And we're supposed to drive his friend to Dallas.

GK: That's the assignment. (DOOR OPEN, JINGLE, CLOSE. TRAFFIC OUT. FOOTSTEPS)

SS: Hi there, howdy. You cowboys care to sit in a booth or up here at the counter?

GK: Counter is fine by us, ma'am. We're cowboys, we thrive on discomfort. (FOOTSTEPS, SIT DOWN) Suffering brings out the very noblest aspects of us. That's why we went up to Minnesota.

SS: You care for coffee?

TR: Sure.

SS: I should warn you, it's sort of burned and bitter.

TR: Just the way I like it.

SS: Had a cousin lived up in Minnesota. We corresponded for awhile and then she ran out of things to say. I guess it's like that up there.

GK: You happen to have any orange juice?

SS: I got some but its from a concentrate.

GK: Okay. I'll have some.

SS: Coming right up.

GK: Interesting name, the Jim Bob Café.

SS: Yeah, I named it for my ex-boyfriend.

TR: Okay. What was your reasoning there?

SS: I named it for him so he could hear about it and drop by for old times' sake and then I could kill him.

GK: Texas women. Nobody like them, that's for sure.

TR: I see you got a jukebox here----

SS: Yessir.

GK: Got any Willie Nelson on it?

SS: It's all Willie. Nothing else. Just Willie.

GK: Good. (COIN DROP, JUKEBOX WHIRR, SCRATCH. MUSIC.)

TR (AS WILLIE, SINGS):
Maybe I tried to force you
To reject your own family
And yes I did go and divorce you
When I ran away with Emily
And then it's a fact
I took your cat to the pound
And then I hacked
Your Gmail account
Little things I said and did
I was drunk on beer and wine
But you were always on my mind
You were always on my mind.

DR: Scuse me. I'm Mr. Tatum. I believe you are Dusty and Lefty. Glad you boys found your way here. Anyway, the man I need you to escort back to Dallas is down in the basement.

GK: Okay.

DR: Right down this way. (FOOTSTEPS) Watch your head here, sir. (SLOW FOOTSTEPS, STOP. UNLOCK LOCKS. CHAIN. BIG STEEL DOOR OPEN. FOOTSTEPS DOWN STAIRS, SOME REVERB. STOP. UNLOCK MORE LOCKS, CHAINS.)

GK: This fellow we're supposed to escort to Dallas ---- he isn't dangerous, is he?

DR: Dangerous now? No. But a month ago he was. He's right in this way. (DOOR OPEN)

TR (BUSH): Hey. Good to see you all. So is the election over yet?

DR: It is. Very much so. More over than we thought it would be.

TR (BUSH): Okay. (TO LEFTY) This was the first year I voted absentee. Kinda fun, if you ask me.

GK: Are these your paintings, Mr. President?

TR (BUSH): Yeah. Did all these in the past four months I've been down here. Parrots. Parrots in little suits and dresses. Kinda proud of that.

GK: It's original.

TR (BUSH): Did my painting and worked out on the Exercycle and got some good shuteye and you know something? It's good to be retired. I meant to retire long ago and now I see that maybe I should've. So what's new with you?

GK: Not much, sir. Everything's about the same, give or take a trillion or two. Okay? Let's head up. Watch your head. (FOOTSTEPS, INTO BRIDGE) We got him into a black S.U.V. with smoked windows and Dusty drove him and I went back in the café to finish my coffee.

(FOOTSTEPS)

GK: So— Mr. Tatum. Your man just left for Dallas with Dusty.

DR: I seen that. (BEAT) Don't recognize me, do you.

GK: Guess not.

DR: Does the name Jackrabbit Jackson ring a bell for you?

GK: Everything rings a bell for me. I got tinnitus.

DR: We rode together once, you and me. Driving cattle from El Paso to Waco. You left me all alone out on the godforsaken prairie near Midland.

GK: Now I remember.

DR: Got up and left in the middle of the night and left me nothing but my horse and a can of beans. Didn't even leave me a can opener.

GK: As I recall, I left you because you kept using the term "at the end of the day" and you kept saying "let's make sure we're all on the same page." And "he really moved the needle on that one."

DR: Lot of people used those terms.

GK: And I became a cowboy to get away from those people. So we left you.

DR: I almost died out there. I was five days without water and I began to hallucinate and in my hallucinatory state I remembered my quantum physics from college and figured out a way to dope a semiconductor to increase its conductivity by a factor of a thousand and I wrote it all down on my saddle and now I'm a multibillionaire, all thanks to you. If you hadn't deserted me, I'd probably be a saddle tramp just like you. Instead I got a 20,000 acre ranch outside Houston where I raise rainbow trout.

GK: Are you forgetting a little word? Thanks?

DR: Yeah, I owe you. And here it is. (CLUNK) A can of beans. So long, pardner.

(FOOTSTEPS OUT, DOOR CLOSE)

SS: Care to hear the lunch specials? Got turkey tacos and tilapia tamales topped with tomato sauce or tenderloin tips with tater tots.

GK: Gimme the tenderloin tips.

SS: Okay. ----Whoops. Sorry. All out. How about the turkey tacos or the tilapia tamales? With tequila and Twinkies.

GK: How about you just heat up these beans for me, ma'am? And while you're at it, put another quarter in the jukebox. (CLINK OF COIN, WHIRR. SCRATCH, MUSIC)

TR (WILLIE, SINGS):
Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys
Don't let them pick guitars and ride an old horse
Make em sign up for the men's yoga course Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys Make him give up his hoss and make Remoulade sauce
And learn to toss salads and such.

SS (ANNC): The Lives of the Cowboys. Brought to you by Winter's Cowboy Spray Tan Booths. Stay sun-beaten and weathered all year long, with Winter's Cowboy Tans.

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»

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