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frosty morning

Working on the Colorado-Wyoming border a few years ago I was approached by a local guy. The following is our conversation. He opens the dialogue.

Do you own this property?

No.

What are you doing here?

Watching eagles; seeing if the construction bothers them.

They don’t give a goddamn about the construction. There are dope-smoking hippies down by the river all the time. The eagles don’t give a goddamn about them.

Well, pipeline construction is a little different than dope-smoking hippies, you have to admit.

Ah, they don’t give a goddamn about the construction. Where are you from?

Montana.

What the hell are you doing here?

Watching eagles.

Too many people, that’s what bothers the eagles. You got any kids?

No. How many do you have?

Nineteen.

So, you’re pissing off the eagles. All those goddamn kids.

No, I don’t have any kids. How old are you?

Forty.

And no kids, what are you waiting for?

You said it, too many people already.

What do you think about the prairie dogs?

I think they’re kind of fun.

They’re not goddamn fun. I poison and shoot the goddamn things all the time.

Yup, well, the beauty of prairie dogs is, just like coyotes, the more you shoot them, the more they reproduce. (I didn’t know if this was true or not, but seeing he was working so hard to get my goat, I thought it seemed only fair to throw something back at him.)

I know it, goddamn it.

Then why bother to kill them?

What do you eat?

Elk. Bison. (He seemed deflated; he couldn’t defend killing prairie dogs to someone who didn’t eat beef.)

You been to Baggs.

Yup. Stopped there to use the bathroom.

Where?

At the Drifter’s Inn.

That goddamn place, they don’t know how to run that place. How was the bathroom?

Better than some.

It was not, that place is a dump. They don’t know how to run that goddamn place. You never been married?

I said I have no kids.

Well, what the hell are you waiting for?

The eagles.

Goddamn eagles, they don’t care about the construction. They care when the land gets all cut up into goddamn sub-developments. The goddamn hippies, they’re doing that, moving in from all over the place.

Guess I would rather have a pipeline than a sub-development.

Or the goddamn hippies.

No, I would take the goddamn dope-smoking hippies over a sub-development or a pipeline.

It’s the goddamn hippies building the sub-development.

They can’t afford to live there.

I know it, goddamn it.

So, I would still rather a few dope-smoking hippies down by the river than a sub-development.

You should come dancing with me in Baggs sometime.

Where do you go dancing in Baggs?

The Drifter’s Inn.

Why would you want to go there? They don’t know how to run that goddamn place.

Ah.

You keep trying to get me flustered and to get my goat but it’s not working, is it?

No, goddamn it.

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