William Manchee

Novelist

Comin"-In Party

 

In the spring of ‘79 I brashly hung out my shingle,
Nearly broke, with a wife and four hungry kids
It was a brash move at best even had I been single
Fortunately friends began referring me clients
And one of them, Inca Oil, gave me a jingle

 

 

Inca, new to the game, needed its legal work cheap
A lawyer to pour over records of their West Texas prospects
One so hungry, he’d work hard, not worrying about sleep
So, twice a week I’d jump in my Pinto and drive I-20 west
From county seat to the next taking good notes that I’d keep

 

It was tedious work, not fun at all, but that was no big deal
So, I muddled along, day after day, until it was time to get paid
But when I handed my bill to my boss, his smile gave me a chill
He said, "Hey, why don’t you take your payment in trade?
I really like you, so take a piece the well, it’ll be a steal

 

When I asked him how much I’d get if the well came in
He said at least five times my bill, in just the first day!
My heart leaped for joy and I started to scratch my chin
I knew my wife would kill me if the well didn’t pay
But I really felt lucky so, I said, "Oh, what the hell, I’m in."

 

Several month later when the well was almost complete
I took I-20 West, this time with my wife and kids,
For a comin-in party with plenty of beer and steaks to eat,
To celebrate, if our luck held out and the well blew its lid
Or commiserate, if it was dry and we had to accept defeat

 

 

When we finally arrived someone said, "Just 40 feet to drill!"
Excited, we slipped on our earplugs and joined the gathering
Of investors, employees and crew all enjoying the thrill
Of the roughnecks expertly plying their trade, wondering
If we’d all make our fortune because of their skill

 

We watched them inserting pipe after pipe and as the drill bit spun
My stomach began to tighten, then someone yelled "Ten feet to go!"
The crowd tensed and crowded in, a guard stepped in front holding his gun
I looked at my wife, holding my breath, then someone said, "Five feet to go!"
When the ground began to rumble the roughnecks froze, then began to run

 

Then a stream of Texas crude burst out of the ground, fifty feet into the night
Looking up at this incredible sight a feeling came over me of incredible glee
Then everyone began screaming, laughing, and feeling incredible delight
Until the oil fell back upon us, drenching us, burning our eyes, forcing us to flee
To a safe distance away where we stood and looked back at the wonderful sight

 

My wife took my hand, the kids gathered around, all looking proudly ahead
Then my daughter looked up at me wide-eyed and exclaimed, "Daddy, we’re rich!"
I started to laugh, but when the gushing noise suddenly stopped. I looked overhead
"What’s happening?" I said in complete disbelief. That’s all the oil, son of a bitch!
Then my wife let go of my hand, turned to me coldly and said, "Honey, you’re dead!"