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Wild West Songs and Poems

Cowboy Troy


by Paul Harwitz


Cowboy Troy sometimes seems to be
The epitome of outlandish stupidity.
He's not a bad cowboy when he's doing his work,
But thinking things through is a duty he'll often shirk.

Cowboy Troy works all right in the saddle,
But common sense will often skidaddle
When he hatches one of his hare-brained schemes,

And people laugh so hard they near bust their seams.

Like the time he thought he'd invent a beauty-cream
And went to the General Store to see what ingredients he could glean
From the list of things on the jars of stuff there,
Then got a well-worn chemical recipe book out of who knows where.

He decided to use an old tool-shed quite a ways from the bunkhouse,
And said that's 'cause he didn't want us disturbing his inventing anyhows.
He figured he'd invent this new stuff without even a plan.
"Why, heck," he said, "they's mostly gliss-sireen and lan-o-lan."

He grinned. "I'll add in some rosewater and sagebrush,
And secret ingredients, and them cosmetic companies'll just rush
To buy my beauty-cream's formulary,
Or maybe I'll sell jars of it myself to every store and apothecary."

"Cowboy Troy," I said, "you don't know nothin' about chemistry,
Or about the women's beauty concoction industry.
They's got it down to a science, and there ain't no way,
They'll shell out a fortune to a hayseed cowpoke anyway."

"I'll show y'all, " he said to us other cowhands, "and then you'll repent
That you ever doubted my natural-born inventin' talent.
On the fairer sex's moisturizin', prettifyin' market I'll make quite a dent.
It'll keep gals' skin young and healthy, and also wrinkles prevent."

With that, he traipsed off to that lonesome tool-shed.
He's a stubborn cuss when he gets some lame idea in his head.
Now this was the exact same day we were expecting a whole load
Of new irrigation equipment and pipe to be brought in by the main road.

We heard the trucks coming even before we saw the convoy,
And you could tell they were turning from the highway
And would be directly coming over to the ranch's way.
From that distance, each gleaming truck looked like a toy.

The nearer they got to us, the more the ground seemed to shake,
Till something totally unexpected our attention did take.
The tool-shed blew up in a spectacular way
That all of us still talk about to this day.

All of us, that is, except Cowboy Troy.
He flew through the air with unwanted ease
And his arms and legs were windmilling and flailing
Like he was trying to get a hold of a non-existent railing.

Pieces of the tool-shed were still sailing away
And a compact object of some sort jetted my way.
I jumped back, and it landed almost at my feet.
It was a book. Of chemical formulas, it was replete.

Then I saw one page which was dog-eared and marked.
"This must be Cowboy Troy's," I casually remarked.
"Let's see where he landed, and if he's still livin'.
If he's not, on his saddle, my claim I'm givin'."

We ran over to where we'd allowed he must've alighted.
It was just a ways beyond the main stable.
Someone had done a right good job of mucking out that barn.
Troy had landed in a pile of horse manure and looked quite benighted.

"Git me out of here!" he yelled, so he was still alive.
And the boys were buzzin' like bees in a hive.
"We can't move you, Troy. You'll just have to lie there real nice and still,"
I said, "till the ambulance gets here, which I hope it shortly will."

"What!?" he shouted. "You want to leave me lying in this mess!?"
"Troy, it's a medical precaution. If your spine or neck is bollixed,
To move you without proper skill could cripple or kill. I confess
I'd like to help you, but we're all just range-hands, not trained medics."

"Oh, that's wonderful!" he shouted, and some nasty words I won't relate.
"That horse-doo saved your life," I countered. "Don't be such an ingrate.
That and the hay and all
Surely saved your life by cushioning your fall."

I looked at the page of that book, and my eyes grew wide.
"Cowboy Troy," I asked, "were you trying to commit suicide?"
"What do you mean?" he demanded in an angry tone.
"Do you have any idea what you were mixing out of this chemistry tome?"

"You know I was inventing a super beauty-cream."
"Troy, this page tells how to make nitroglycereen!"
"Well, yeah," he said, "but I only made a little bit.
It was just another secret ingredient."

"Don't you know nitro's a dangerous explosive?
The vibrations from the trucks must've set it off!
Don't you think at all? Or are you just a dummkopf?"
"I'm not stupid," he said. "Don't insult me with words corrosive!"

"Well, what were you thinking, to put nitro into lady's beauty-glop?"
"They also use it," he argued, "in those little pills so the heart won't stop.
I figured if it keeps the heart young, it'll work even better on skin."
We all laughed so hard, he got even madder lying in all that slop.

"You're lucky you weren't killed outright,"
I said, "or from the fall from your unscheduled morning flight.
Now, your sensibilities I don't mean to rattle,
But, Cowboy Troy, if you die, kin I have your saddle?"

Well, at that, he fussed and fumed and cussed
So much that it kept us in stitches till the ambulance got in sight.
The paramedics said it was a miracle, but that he'd be all right.
They strapped him into the stretcher real tight.

He was still cussin' a blue streak when they drove him away.
When the Admissions Nurse got told the reason for his hospital stay,
She laughed so hard that they still talk about it today.
Me and a couple of the other boys went to see him the next day.

"We brought you clean clothes 'cause they're cuttin' you loose,"
I said. "The doctor allows it's a good thing you landed on your caboose."
He got real sullen and wouldn't talk at all on the long drive home.
He was pickin' at his indignity like a cowdog pickin' at a bone.

He sat silent even all through the welcome-home supper.
The evening meal at the Raucous Ranch is usually a picker-upper.
Later on, he was still in quite a blue funk,
But even more so when he got ready to get into his bunk.

For under his pillow, some too-clever cowpoke
Had put something he thought was a real good joke.
A hand-made label graced a jar of something his ego to ream.
It read, "Famous Cowboy Troy's Nitro-Glyer-Cream."

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