Published Version of The Dirty Cowboy

At the end of two fence lines and right at the rock called The Praying Iguana lived a cowboy in a tin-roofed shack.

Every morning, he'd call his dog, mount his horse, and spend the day tracking stray longhorn cattle on the New Mexico range.

Every evening, he'd stoke his fire and fry up some bacon, beans and potatoes while whistling "The Streets of Laredo."

Now, one morning -- and no one knows for sure what drives a man to it -- this cowboy decided to clean himself up. Regular bathers would've said the signs had been plenty clear: the cowboy's hair housed thirty-two fleas and a small gray spider.

On three recent occasions he'd discovered a tumbleweed in his chaps. A flurry of flies flocked round his body buzzing so persistently that he experienced a distinct loss of hearing in his left ear. And the cowboy's stench stuck to passersby like mud splashed up from a wagon wheel.

But whatever his reason, on that fateful day, the cowboy picked a doodlebug out of his right eyebrow and said, "This ol' 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 Coyote Cries.

So the cowboy saddled his horse, packed up twenty-two strips of jerky, a canteen of water, and a nearly new bar of lye soap, and called for his dog. The dog opened one eye, sniffed at the air, and followed his friend's warm, familiar smell as though he was following a trail of T-bone steaks. Off they went.

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