SS: THE LIVES OF THE COWBOYS....brought to you by Old Chisholm Trail Mint-Flavored Chewing Tobacco ....if the taste of your regular chaw is rough on your taste buds, let Old Chisholm Trail Mint-Flavored brighten up your mouth.....(HAWK, SPIT, AND VERY BRIGHT DING)....and now, here's today's episode.
(HORSES' HOOVES, GALLOP, GK WHOOPS)
GK: Whoa, whoa. (HORSE SLOW, WHINNY) Whoa, boy. Easy. Easy. (HORSE STOP, WHINNY. RIDER EASES DOWN FROM SADDLE, WINDS ROPE AROUND HITCHING POST. BOOTS & SPURS ON WOODEN SIDEWALK. LONG WALK, THEN OPEN SALOON DOOR. SALOON PIANO: CAMPTOWN RACES. CLOSE DOOR. FOOTSTEPS ACROSS FLOOR. GENERAL CLAMOR OF BAR. HE EASES ONTO A CHAIR.) Evenin' ma'am.
GK: You seen my partner, Dusty?
SS: What's he look like?
GK: I don't know. Big sad lookin' guy with watery eyes and a leathery neck and a general air of hangdog depression about him.
SS: You just described about two-thirds of the men in this town, cowboy. ---When did he arrive?
GK: Tuesday, I guess. I was supposed to meet him here. I think it was here.
SS: You think it was here?
GK: I think it was.
GK: Yes. Here.
SS: Is this a Sam Shepard play we're in right now? Cause if it is, I wantto know.
GK: No, it's not.
SS: It sounds like it.
GK: I know it does.
SS: How do you know it isn't?
GK: It isn't a Sam Shepard play because if it were a Sam Shepard play, there would've been symbolism by now, and I'd already be drunk, and I'm not.
SS: You want to get drunk?
GK: No, not particularly. But what do you have?
SS: What do you want?
GK: Sorta depends on whatcha got, ma'am.
SS: What are you hoping I got, cowboy?
GK: Well, I imagine you got whiskey.
SS: I do. You want whiskey?
GK: What flavor whiskey? You got peppermint whiskey?
SS: We only got whiskey whiskey.
GK: I see. You got beer?
SS: I got beer. That what you want? Beer?
GK: Maybe. Maybe not. How about --- wine?
SS: What did you say?
GK: Never mind. Oh, here's Dusty. (FOOTSTEPS APPROACH) Howdy, pardner.
TR: Howdy, Lefty. ---Ma'am----
GK: Where you been, Dusty, I been here waiting for you?
TR: I was walking along and I seen a sign for a play and it was by Sam Shepard so I went in and I watched it. That was four days ago. Play just got out now.
GK: I see. What was it about?
TR: I have no idea. I kept waiting to find out.
GK: You care for a drink, Dusty?
TR: Sure. What you got, ma'am?
SS: What do you want, cowboy?
TR: You got whiskey?
SS: I do. You want whiskey?
TR: I don't know. You got beer?
SS: I got beer. That what you want? Beer?
TR: How about wine? You got any wine?
GK: You don't drink wine, Dusty.
TR: After I've been to a play that I didn't understand, I do.
SS: You better be careful talking about wine in this here town, mister. Big Bob over there, he's the wine man in this town, he knows everything about wine, and he don't take kindly to having strangers come in and pretend like they know something about wine --- Big Bob has killed men because he happened to disagree with em about a wine, that's how serious Big Bob takes wine, so if I was you, I would be a little bit careful, cowboy.
GK: I'll have a sarsaparilla.
TR: I'd like one of your Chardonnays.
SS: Which Chardonnay would you like, cowboy?
TR: I'd like that one up there, the one with the picture of the hunter on it.
SS: Orion. That's a Minnesota chardonnay, mister.
TR: Fine. I'll take that.
SS: It tends to be pretty dry, with a sort of dark bouquet like rutabagas and a fruity finish with a hint of crabapples. Here. (SHE POURS A LITTLE) Taste that, see if you like it.
TR: Okay. Reckon I might.
SS: But be careful. Big Bob is looking at you from across the room. That's him in the big black hat and the droopy moustache and the long greasy hair.
TR: Well, let him look. (HE TAKES A SIP. SMACKS LIPS, SWIRLS IT IN MOUTH. GARGLES. SPITS. EXHALES.) That's a darn good wine, ma'am. Here, have a taste, Lefty.
(GK SIPS, SMACKS, SWIRLS IN MOUTH, GARGLES, SPITS, EXHALES)
GK: That's not so bad. Minnesota Chardonnay, huh? (FOOTSTEPS
APPROACH SLOWLY, SPURS JINGLING. CROWD IS HUSHED.) Has a sort of a pleasant ironic quality to it, if you ask me.
TK: I hear somebody over here refer to that pig swill as being a good wine?
GK: Are you talking to me?
TK: Is that your wine in that glass in front of you, cowboy?
GK: No, that's his wine.
TR: That's my wine there, mister. What did you call it?
TK: I said that that wine right there is nothing but a glass of pig swill, that's what I said.
TR: You talking about my wine, mister? This here wine? This Minnesota Chardonnay.
TK: Minnesota wine-making is sort of like English cuisine. It's like Italian government. It's like Swedish romance. It's an oxymoron.
TR: Who are you calling an oxymoron?
GK: Easy, Dusty.
TK: Gimme that wine. (TAKES GLASS, TAKES SIP, SMACKS LIPS, SWIRLS IN MOUTH, GARGLES, SPITS, COUGHS.) That's the worst wine I ever tasted in my life. I wouldn't give that wine to my dog.
GK: That right there is one of the better Chardonnays you're going to find anywhere, mister, and I'm sorry you don't have the experience or the good taste to realize that.
TK: Ha! That ain't no Chardonnay, that there is a Sauvignon Blanc, cause there ain't nothing to it.
TR: That right there is a full-bodied Chardonnay that is complex on the palate and has a long creamy texture with a long harmonious finish, and if you don't know that, cowboy, then you are dumber than dirt.
TK: Long harmonious finish, my foot. That there is a skinny-bodied Chardonnay with an aroma of an old couch and a hint of dog hair on the palate and a texture of wallpaper paste with a long unpleasant finish of shellac and paint thinner. (HE SPITS, AND SPITS AGAIN.)
GK: That is a long lingering refreshing finish on that there Chardonnay with a hint of vanilla, mister, and if you can't see that, then you don't know any more about wine than your dog does.
TK: Ha! Vanilla? This? (HE SIPS, GARGLES, SPITS.) If that's vanilla then I'm a four-flushing, lily-livered, boot-licking, cake-eating pantywaist and creampuff.
TR: Well, it's vanilla, and you can just make up your own mind about the rest.
TK: Oh yeah?
TR: Yeah. You're nothing but an ignorant saddlebum who's been tastin' dust all his life and your opinion about fine wines, it's like asking a pig what he thinks about poetry.
TK: Oh poetry! Oh you think you know about poetry too do you? Ha!
GK: I got more poetry in my little finger than you got in your whole ugly head, mister---
TK: Oh yeah?
Whose wine this is I think I know,
He lives in Minnesota though.
He will not see me stopping here
And have a glass of this Bordeaux.
My little horse must think it queer
But I don't care. I don't like beer.
Wine is good with sirloin steak
And one potato nicely baked.
TK: Okay, mister. That's enough of you. I say, Draw.
TK: You heard me. Both of you. Draw.
GK: Okay. I'll draw. (WHOOSH. AND RAPID SCRIBBLING AND DRAWING AND SHADING SOUND OF PENCIL ON PAPER. SECOND WHOOSH OF TK'S PENCIL. SAME.)
GK: There. Done.
TK: I'm done too.
GK: Ha. That is the ugliest drawing I've seen since I was in kindergarten. What is that, some kinda folk art?
TK: That is the best drawing you ever seen anyone do on the back of a napkin, that is an example of neoimpressionistic post-primitive kinetic cowboy classicism.
TR: Ha! Look at that. You got the perspective on those bottles all wrong, and the shading up there, and look at that. And the piano looks like a empty icecube tray.
TK: That's the cubist influence.
TR: That's just ugly. Post-primitive, my aunt Sally!
TK: That's post-primitive.
TR: Fence post primitive, sure. Ha! I'll show you what I think of that. Here---- (SQUIRTS). And there (THROWING GLASS, BREAKAGE). And take that (RIPPING). And that (SQUISH, SPLASH). There. That'll show you.
TK: That's beautiful.
TR: That's what?
TK: You're a genius. You took some mustard and ketchup and you turned my shirt into a masterpiece.
TR: Oh sure. Right.
TK: I love it. That's incredible.
GK: I wonder if maybe this isn't a Sam Shepard play.
TK: That's a beautiful piece. Would you mind signing it?
TR: Here. (SQUIRTING) There you go.
SS: How about another glass of this fine Chardonnay?
TK: Wine for everybody! Wine all around!
TR (SIPS): You know ---- It's a complicated bouquet and I think that, underneath the rutabaga and the old couch, there's just a little hint of woodsmoke and newspapers.
GK: I don't think it's newspapers, I think it's more like squirrel.
TR: Maybe. Or maybe it's wool socks.
SS: THE LIVES OF THE COWBOYS......brought to you by the ACLU, All-American Cowboy Long Underwear. (MUSIC OUT)
© 1996 BY GARRISON KEILLOR