Wednesday, May 23, 2012


I was out on a well today. It’s only May but the temperature had already reached into the nineties. Like clockwork, the completion rig was broken down when I reached the location. Ricky, the rig operator had an excuse.
“My baby daughter has asthma. When she went into convulsions this morning, the wife and I took her to Children’s.”

“Oh my God!” I said. “Is she okay?”

“She has pneumonia in the lower lobe of her left lung. She needs to go to the hospital, now, the doctor told us. We couldn’t afford to put her in and asked if there was anything else we could do. They gave her two big shots of antibiotics in the rear and a prescription. If she goes into convulsions again, they said, take her straight to the hospital.”
There are no trees on a drilling location. Wind was blowing at least thirty miles an hour. My eyes were red from blinking.

“She’ll grow out of it,” he said.

“Yes,” I said, not knowing what else to say.
Ricky and Josh, both young enough to be my grandsons, began swabbing the well as Oklahoma sun did its best to cook our brains. I’d been there before, but both those boys seemed older than me. Maybe they were. We sucked up hot, unspent acid from the well and flowed it into an earthen pit. The pit roiled, acting like a demon, intent upon gobbling up a fresh carcass.

“Did you hear about the shooting in Bricktown last night?” Ricky asked when we took a break.
He didn’t change expressions when I said, “A sports writer from Minnesota said it’s all you can expect from a bunch of Okie’s.”

Ricky and Josh were still working when I drove away from the location, thanking God there are still Okie’s in this world.

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