Thursday, June 19, 2008

Roughneck crapblogging

A long time ago, I spent a week or two helping a guy set up a cable tool rig.

A cable tool, for the uninitiated, is a way of getting oil out of the ground that is about as old as it gets. A drill bit is hung on the end of a cable, and the tool is lifted and dropped over and over again, cutting through the rock. A special tool then gets dropped into the ground every so often to clear the debris. Setting and using a cable tool rig is not for the weak of spirit or back, and I worked my ass off.

Anyway, my employer, who I’ll call Mr. Brown, had rented this rig on a ride - in other words, the guy he rented it from got a quarter of a percent of anything he hauled up out of the ground. Mr. Brown was a dowser, and claimed he could find oil as easily as water. So confident was he of his skill that he set this cable tool rig up in his yard.

He hired me to help him and tried to get me to do the work for a 1/8 point ride, but I needed cash, so he paid me $2.75 an hour. And he fed me lunch.

We worked from around six AM to about nine PM, with an hour for lunch. Mrs. Brown would come out and stop us, and we’d go into the house and wash up. Lunch was usually chicken fried something, with lots of gravy and mashed potatoes.

After several days of this, Mr. Brown (who was a Southern Baptist and wouldn’t say shit if he had a mouthful) started to walk away from the rig once in a while, and the percussive nature of his walk let me know he was going away to fart.

I was glad for the break myself, because the chicken and gravy was giving me epic gas. Anyway, we had gone about forty feet, three or four feet at a time, and we got the bailer stuck in the wellhead, right in the pit.

So he and I are in the pit, at the bottom of the rig, wrenches and safety chains all over while we try to knock loose the jammed bailer.

And I felt the fart coming.

I pinched my cheeks together so hard I gave myself a buttocks-Charlie horse. And it didn’t help. That fart was coming out, and it was coming out now.

So I farted. It wasn’t loud, but it was vile. And there were two men and a fart in a hole barely big enough for two men.

He climbed up out of the hole after dropping his tools, and reached down to give me a hand up. We sat on the edge of the pit for fully five minutes, not talking. The fart, still down in the pit, had no comment either.

Mr. Brown looked at me and simply said “I gotta get the wife to back off the spices in that gravy.” I figured I’d been fired, but I kept on working for several more days. Mr Brown never went in the pit with me again. And the only gas ever to come out of that dry old hole was the fart I let. I think Mr. Brown went on to sell insurance.

Crossposted at Neanderpundit.

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