Read Even Cowgirls Get the Blues Online

Authors: Tom Robbins

Tags: #Fiction, #Literary

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues




Title page


Quote by William Blake

Quote by Roy Rogers

Single Cell Preface

Part I

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Part II

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Part III

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Part IV

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

Chapter 54

Chapter 55

Chapter 56

Chapter 57

Chapter 58

Chapter 59

Chapter 60

Chapter 61

Chapter 62

Chapter 63

Chapter 64

Chapter 65

Chapter 66

Chapter 67

Chapter 68

Chapter 69

Chapter 70

Chapter 71

Chapter 72

Chapter 73

Chapter 74

Chapter 75

Chapter 76

Part V

Chapter 77

Chapter 78

Chapter 79

Chapter 80

Chapter 81

Chapter 82

Chapter 83

Chapter 84

Chapter 85

Chapter 86

Chapter 87

Chapter 88

Chapter 89

Chapter 90

Chapter 91

Chapter 92

Chapter 93

Chapter 94

Chapter 95

Chapter 96

Chapter 97

Chapter 98

Chapter 99

Chapter 100

Chapter 101

Chapter 102

Chapter 103

Part VI

Chapter 104

Chapter 105

Chapter 106

Chapter 107

Chapter 108

Chapter 109

Chapter 110

Chapter 111

Chapter 111a

Chapter 112

Chapter 113

Chapter 114

Chapter 115

Chapter 116

Chapter 117

Chapter 118

Chapter 119

Chapter 120

Part VII

Chapter 121

Special Bonus Parable

About the Author

Books By Tom Robbins

Copyright Page

To Fleetwood Star Robbins, the apple,

the pineapple, the mango, the orchard of my eye.

And, of course, to all cowgirls, everywhere.





The lust of the goat is the bounty of God.

The nakedness of woman is the work of God.

Excess of sorrow laughs. Excess of joy weeps.






I told Dale, “When I go, just skin me and put me on top of Trigger.” And Dale said, “Now don't get any ideas about me.”



They haven't any bones. (No teeth, no belt buckles, no wedding rings.) It is impossible, therefore, to determine how long amoebae have been on Earth.

Quite possibly they have been here since the curtain opened. Amoebae may even have dominated the stage, early in the first act. On the other hand, they may have come into existence only three years—or three days or three minutes—before they were discovered by Anton van Leeuwenhoek in 1674. It can't be proven either way.

One thing is certain, however: because amoebae reproduce by division, endlessly, passing everything on yet giving up nothing, the first amoebae that ever lived is still alive. Whether four billion years old or merely three hundred, he/she is with us today.


Well, the first amoeba may be floating on his/her back in a luxurious pool in Hollywood, California. The first amoeba may be hiding among the cattail roots and peepers in the muddy shallows of Siwash Lake. The first amoeba may recently have dripped down your leg. It is pointless to speculate.

The first amoeba, like the last and the one after that, is here, there and everywhere, for its vehicle, its medium, its essence is water.

Water—the ace of elements. Water dives from the clouds without parachute, wings or safety net. Water runs over the steepest precipice and blinks not a lash. Water is buried and rises again; water walks on fire and fire gets the blisters. Stylishly composed in any situation—solid, gas or liquid—speaking in penetrating dialects understood by all things—animal, vegetable or mineral—water travels intrepidly through four dimensions,
(Kick a lettuce in the field and it will yell “Water!"),
(The Dutch boy's finger remembered the view from Ararat) and
(It has even been said that human beings were invented by water as a device for transporting itself from one place to another, but that's another story). Always in motion, ever-flowing (whether at steam rate or glacier speed), rhythmic, dynamic, ubiquitous, changing and working its changes, a mathematics turned wrong side out, a philosophy in reverse, the ongoing odyssey of water is virtually irresistible. And wherever water goes, amoebae go along for the ride.

Sissy Hankshaw once taught a parakeet to hitchhike. There is not much in that line she could teach an amoeba.

For its expertise as a passenger, as well as for its near-perfect resolution of sexual tensions, the amoeba (and not the whooping crane) is hereby proclaimed the official mascot of
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

And to the
amoeba, wherever it may be,
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
would like to say happy birthday. Happy birthday to you.



It has to be.

Spiders, mice, cold drafts, splinters, corncobs, habitual stenches don't make it in this company. The hands have renovated and decorated the privy themselves. Foam rubber, hanging flower pots, a couple of prints by Georgia O'Keeffe (her cow skull period), fluffy carpeting, Sheetrock insulation, ashtrays, an incense burner, a fly strip, a photograph of Dale Evans about which there is some controversy. There is even a radio in the outhouse, although the only radio station in the area plays nothing but polkas.

Of course, the ranch has indoor facilities, flush toilets in regular bathrooms, but they'd been stopped up during the revolution and nobody had ever unstopped them. Plumbing was one thing the girls were poor at. Nearest Roto-Rooter man was thirty miles. Weren't any Roto-Rooter
anywhere, as far as they knew.

Jelly is sitting in the outhouse. She has been sitting there longer then necessary. The door is wide open and lets in the sky. Or, rather, a piece of the sky, for on a summer's day in Dakota the sky is mighty big. Mighty big and mighty blue, and today there is hardly a cloud. What looks to be a wisp of cloud is actually the moon, narrow and pale like a paring snipped from a snowman's toenail. The radio is broadcasting “The Silver Dollar Polka.”

What is young Jelly thinking, in such a pensive pose? Hard to say. Probably she is thinking about the birds. No, not those crows that just haiku-ed by, but the birds she and her hands are bamboozling down at the lake. Those birds give a body something to think about, all right. But maybe she is thinking about the Chink, wondering what the crazy old coot is up to now, way up yonder on his ridge. Maybe she is thinking about ranchly finances, puzzling how she's going to make ends meet. It is even possible that she is pondering something metaphysical, for the Chink has more than once subjected her to philosophical notions: the hit and miss of the cosmic pumpkin. If that is unlikely, it is still less likely that she is mulling over the international situation—desperate, as usual. And apparently her mind is not on romance or a particular romantic entity, for though her panties and jeans are at her feet, her fingers drum dryly upon the domes of her knees. Perhaps Jelly is thinking about what's for supper.

On the other hand, Bonanza Jellybean, ranch boss, may just be looking things over. Surveying the spread from the comfort of the privy. Checking out the corrals, the stables, the bunkhouse, the pump, what's left of the sauna, the ruins of the reducing salon, the willow grove and cottonwoods, the garden where Delores teased a rattlesnake on Monday, the pile of hair dryers still rusting among the sunflowers, the chicken coop, the tumbleweed, the peyote wagon, the distant buttes and canyons, the sky full of blue. Weather's hot but there's a breeze today and it feels sweet, swimming up her bare thighs. There is sage smell and rose waft. There is fly buzz and polka yip. Way off, horse lips flutter; she hears the goats at pasture and the far, faint sounds of the girls tending the herd. The bird herd.

A rooster clears his sinuses. He's loud but absolutely nothing compared to what those birds can do if the hands don't keep them quiet. They'd better!

Still sitting, Jelly focuses her dreamy gaze on the rooster. “Someday,” she says to the empty seat next to her, “if that Sissy Hankshaw ever shows up here again, I'm gonna teach her how to hypnotize a chicken. Chickens are the easiest critters on Earth to hypnotize. If you can look a chicken in the eyes for ten seconds, it's yours forever.”

She pulls up her pants, shoulders her rifle and ambles off to relieve the guard at the gate.

Welcome to the Rubber Rose. The largest all-girl ranch in the West.




Nature's got a hankering after experiments.

—Trader Horn



light, heavy, kind or broken; dear, hard, bleeding or transplanted; it is not a heart.

It is not a brain. The brain, that pound and a half of chicken-colored goo so highly regarded (by the brain itself), that slimy organ to which is attributed such intricate and mysterious powers (it is the self-same brain that does the attributing), the brain is so weak that, without its protective casing to support it, it simply collapses of its own weight. So it could not be a brain.

It is neither a kneecap nor a torso. It is neither a whisker nor an eyeball. It is not a tongue.

It is not a belly button. (The umbilicus serves, then withdraws, leaving but a single footprint where it stood: the navel, wrinkled and cupped, whorled and domed, blind and winking, bald and tufted, sweaty and powdered, kissed and bitten, waxed and fuzzy, bejeweled and ignored; reflecting as graphically as breasts, seeds or fetishes the omnipotent fertility in which Nature dangles her muddy feet, the navel looks in like a plugged keyhole on the center of our being, it is true, but O navel, though we salute your motionless maternity and the dreams that have got tangled in your lint, you are only a scar, after all; you are not it.)

It is not a ribcage. It is not a back. It is not one of those bodily orifices favored for stuffing, nor is it that headstrong member with which every conceivable stuffable orifice somewhere sometime has been stuffed. There is no hair around it. For shame!

It is not an ankle, for her ankles, while bony, were ordinary, to say the least.

It is not a nose, chin or forehead. It is not a biceps, a triceps or a loop-of-Henle.

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