He had pale green eyes and skin like

a lizard, cowboyed all his life except

when he wore a driller’s hat, worked

for a wildcatter in Louisiana he said

Come a gusher he’d pay you big you

put some by for dry holes to come

as they did much more often than not

like life thataway, let that sink in and

save for dry holes truer than sin, we

brought in a gusher, biggest I seen

at Plaquemines Parish, producing

now, fifty years later, Hunt bought

us out, we ate steak for a year, got

tired of it, spent too much and the

dry holes come, and the money run

the other way, so I went west and

north ended up at the five-oh-one

that’s a brand, and we run beef for

the war but we ate beans no meat

for us, so we’d lose one out on the

range, eat good for awhile but that

was the exception, like gushers you

know, sure missed the wildcatter

he used to say, it’s a hard dollar

boys but a glorious one when the

earth rumbles and the gold comes

up, it’s in my blood here to stay

nothing like it no other way to

get that feeling, the crude erupts

and covers the sky, you lick your

lips and taste payday, plug the

well, tell ’em all to go to hell it’s

freedom and glory and Cadillacs

first class fare to Vegas and back.

Pale green eyes look far away

gone, cut a wide hog in the ass

them days, in crude we trust the

bankroll wore a hole in my jeans

had my face on magazines then

back to cowboyin,’ eatin’ beans.


Guinotte Wise lives on a farm in Resume Speed, Kansas. His short story collection (Night Train, Cold Beer) won publication by a university press and not much acclaim. Three more books since. His wife has an honest job in the city and drives 100 miles a day to keep it.

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