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Flea Market Find and Fried Pickles

from the fountain pen of Will Thorpe
Well, this morning, we just finished feeding 15 horses, 11 llamas, 2
alpacas, 1 guanaco, three dogs, one barn cat when I decided I'd had
enough of this farmology. "Boys and girls it's the 30th, it's payday
and we're a goin to town! Get on your smiley pocket shirts, starched
blue jeans and load up your traveling pen, we're heading out." Mass
scurry and we all line up to load into Moby Dick. Now Moby Dick is the
big white ranch pickemuptruck. Four doors, smelly diesel engine,
genuine after market dual air horns, CB antenna, FM antenna, TV antenna,
cell phone antenna, big black cattle guard on the front, rear fenders
that look like bathtubs, mud flaps the size of throw rugs, vertical
exhausts that go SSSssshhhh when you let off the gas, two trailer
hitches and a bumper sticker that says protected by Smith and Wesson.
Your normal Texas Cadillac.

I, Willie Boy, check everybody out as we load to make sure they are well
equipped. Tina Belle has her Omas, Earl has his Parker Duofold, Gonzolo
has his 1932 Sheaffer B&P with Mottishaw nib, I have my Univer, Bubba
has his Esterbrook, and Billy Bob has his red marbled Waterman Phileas
(which he refers to as Strawberry Roan since he's a bronc busting man).
I say "Billy Bob that's a cartridge pen." He says he likes it for
travel and always carries a spare pack of cartridges in his back pocket.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I hear the Soggy Bottom Boys singing
"Don't take your pens to town son, leave your pens at home Bill, don't
take your pens to town" but I pay it no more heed than a passing
roadrunner.

We have a rip roaring good time in town. New shirts with black pearl
snaps for all and I got new chaps, leather, batwings, mustard yellow in
color (I prefer to think of them as Parker Mandarin). Gonzolo found a
green pastel Esterbrook at the segunda (second hand store) for $5.00. A
good day. We stop in the White Elephant saloon to wash down the trail
dust, Corona's for all. I sign the check with my Univer. The waitress
says she's never seen a pen like mine before. I tell her it's a
fountain pen, the latest thing, environmentally friendly, ergonomically
designed and that everybody who's anybody has one. Just like quick draw
McGraw the whole crew whips out their traveling pens and begins to draw
on napkins, autograph the menu and just generally show off. I can tell
the barkeep girl is impressed and will no doubt be first in line when
the local office supply store opens in the morning. We break out into a
chorus of "I Saw the Light, I Saw the Light", for we know we have made
another convert. However out of the corner of my squinty trail wise eye
I notice that Billy Bob didn't unholster that strawberry roan Waterman
Phileas cartridge pen (I hear a tune that sounds like "Don't take your
pens to town Bill, leave your pens at home son"). Now I can usually
smell a storm approaching but the sawdust on the floor must have dulled
my senses cause I made no inquiries of the bronc busting Billy Bob.

As the fading sun turned to a dusty red over Abilene we mounted up and
rode for home. Feeling a need for grub we stopped at Catfish O'Harlies
and proceeded to stuff ourselves on catfish, fried shrimp and hush
puppies. The waitress mentioned dessert but we all declined as we're
already putting too much weight in the stirrup as is. All except Bubba
that is. He gleefully pointed at this little standup dessert menu on
the table and announced "I'll have that!" However the waitress thought
he was pointing at the appetizer menu which said "Fried Pickles." So
Fried Pickles he got.

They looked like chopped up pieces of roasted cactus floating in
transmission fluid. Though Bubba had an odd look in his eye he hails
from a place where men don't complain, cry or cook so he stuffed his
mouth with Fried Pickles, dill pickles, salted, and spicy. Suddenly his
expression gave a whole new meaning to bitter beer face. His cheeks
sucked in and wrapped around his tonsils, his mouth puckered up like a
newborn calf trying to nurse, tears ran down his cheeks like falling
rain, his eyes bulged out like the headlights on a 1956 Buick. We got
to laughing so hard Billy Bob fell off his chair and landed on his
backside. We leaned over to inspect the damage and that's when we saw
it. The huge stain slowly spreading across Billy Bob's faded but well
starched Levi's. Then the aroma hit us like a runaway bull! The
waitress froze, patrons quit chewing, the fans quit turning, the lights
grew dim. We were embarrassed, we were humiliated, we shrunk back in
fright, guttural screams of terror emitted from our paralyzed throats.
Billy Bob had landed squarely on his rump and squashed that spare pack
of Waterman's cartridges he carry's for that Strawberry Roan Phileas.
And there it was for all the world to see, especially the hands over on
the Matagoro, this unsightly smelly liquid pool, spreading across Billy
Bobs jeans, Waterman Havana BROWN! AAAAAaaaaaagggghhh!

Keep your cinch tight and don't squat on your spurs Buckaroos and
Buckarettes.

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