Fall 2000 Draft of "The Dirty Cowboy" (Sent to FSG)
At the end of two fence lines and right at the rock called "The Praying Iguana" lived a cowboy in a tin-roofed shack. He slept on the floor, ate off a fire, and whittled cypress root while whistling "Red River Valley." In the morning he'd get up and follow longhorn cattle on the New Mexican range.
Now one morning -- no one knows for sure what drives a man to it -- this cowboy decided it was time for a bath. There were signs that the cowboy needed cleaning: His hat housed thirty-two fleas and a small gray spider. On at least three occasions, he pulled a tumbleweed from his pants. A flurry of flies flew around his head causing a distinct loss of hearing in his left ear. And the cowboy's smell stuck to passersby like mud splashed up from a wagon wheel. But whatever the reason, the cowboy seeing his reflection in a tin plate and picking a dung beetle out of his right eyebrow said, "Time to saddle the horse. This old boy needs a bath."
It takes most of a day to get to the river. A cowboy travels by five fence lines and turns left at the rock known as "The Camel Kneels." So the cowboy packed and saddled his horse (taking twenty-two strips of jerky, two canteens of water, and a nearly new bar of lye soap) and called for his dog. The dog turned in his sleep, sniffed at the air, and followed the cowboy's stench like a trail of T-bone steaks. Off they went.
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