October 25, 2001

A joke

A cowboy of modest means wanted to buy a horse, so he prepared to go out of town to the nearby value ranch where horses were known to be fairly cheap. However, as he was leaving the house he realizzed his wife was causing such a drunken ruckus that she was likely to burn the house down, so he brought her along. As they rode down the main street, she kept going <hic><hic>. They arrived at the ranch and the cowboy asked the wheezzing pipe-smoking proprietor about some of his best-value horses, so the old man got his rickety legs out of his rickety chair and took the couple down the stables. "This is Keller Hans," croaked the proprietor, grabbing the mane of a run-down bag of bones "He's blind, he can't hear nuthin', but he can work up a mighty trot when he catches a whiff of a fine filly." "I don't need no horse that can't see nuthin' but spends all day chasin' tail," remarked the cowboy, and they strode aforewards. His wife, meantime, followed going <hic><hic>. They arrived at another stall. "This is Clever Hands," said the old man. "He's got good eyes and good ears and he's quite fast. The only problem widdim is he steals lettuce." "Steals lettuce?" queried the cowboy? "Well, whiskey actually," admitted the rancher. "Ah, I see." <hic><hic> went his wife. They came to the end of the stalls, and the rancher made a show of lifting a large plank to push open an big inner door, then closing it behind them went they passed through. It was pitch black. "This is my pride and joy," boasted the farmer. "A healthy, quick, honest horse that'll do a day's work and then serve you a scotch at the end of the day. His father was the envy of the town, and everyone wanted me to lendim to breed wid them fillies. He's worth twice the others, but I'll let you have 'im for half price." "Why's it so dark in here?" asked the man. He couldn't even see where the rancher nor his wife were standing. "Well that's no problem," answered the rancher. "He's fine as flax; he just don't like to be mounted so you gotta do it in the dark-see. Why'ncha givim a try," he suggested. The cowboy struggled to saddle the stallion in the dark and get the bit in his mouth, but the beast was steady enough. Finally he got himself mounted and navigated him through the stables and into the daylight, where they ran a ways. He returned to the barn to find the rancher wearing a sly grin on his face and his wife strangely sobered up. In fact, she looked somewhat with child if he did dun know no better. Eying her and the rancher suspiciously for some moments, he tried to dismount but immediately the horse reared and started to make like he'd shoot across the ranch. "Not so fast, barley-boy," warned the old man. "You gotta dismount him in the dark too." So the cowboy navigated back into the pitch dark and there dropped down to the ground. "Well, I like 'im," decided the cowboy. "He's a fine stallion and I don't mind the little saddlin' trouble. I'll take 'im." They spat and shook on it and the cowboy prepared to lead the horse away, telling his wife to keep close by. However, as they passed out the gate and circumvented the old man's humming nuclear mind-swap laboratory aparatus, the cowboy noticed sumthin' funny-like about the steed. "Hang on hoe-down here-now," he said, "I got a mind this ain't here the same horse I rode... Get on up on 'im Fanny and lessee if he bucks." She obeyed immediately, so quickly that her dresses were disturbed, from underwhich come tumblin' two or three ripe lettuces. The bewildered cowboy wheeled at a wheezzing sound and was astonished to see Keller Hans smoking a pipe and the old rancher stumbling around blind as a bat. Meanwhile, the previously-enraged stallion had let his wife mount him as docile as a kitten. The cowboy spun side-to-side, arms near his empty gun-belt, astonished. Finally, he settled his gaze on his wife, welded a grim stare, and demanded: "What in shinny's name is smoking aroun' here Fanny?" At that moment he two things happened. His wife threw him a completely dumb stare, looking not as if she hadn't heard what he said, but as if she couldn't even understand plain-speak. He then looked at her steed. <Hic!> went the horse.

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