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Billy's Got a Thing for Lil' Nate

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“I don’t know what I’m gonna do, Billy. The cattle drives were a good way of life. Now it seems like the whole country’s nothing but railroad tracks and barbed wire. How ‘bout you?  You must a saved up plenty, being trail boss for all these years. Gonna settle down with a good woman, try your hand at horse breaking or something?”

“Nah, I ain’t exactly the marrying type, Nate.  You?”

“Even if I got the money, ain’t no one gonna sell a black man land around here. Probably end up a Pullman porter, or some such nonsense.”

“Well, Nate, it just so happens there’s more’n one way to make a living off the railroads…”




“Hey, you’re with me this time, Lil’ Nate. Everything’s gonna be all right.”


“I thought you said they was friendly!”

“They are! I mean, they always were! I guess they just don’t much like … I’m sorry, Nate. We been on the trail together so long, I don’t even see you as colored no more.”

“Well ain’t that sweet.”


“Make sure you include that in my eulogy, Billy. I’m sure it’ll bring great comfort to my mama. I’m going for that hole in the ground, over there.  Cover me!”




“That big score of ours don’t go so far in 2019 as it did in 1889, Billy. I been asking around.  There’s a few cattle ranches always looking for hands, and the rodeos let black cowboys compete for the prizes now, in front of everybody.”

“Yeah, but them Mexican fellas down the corner said they’re real particular about some kinda papers, to prove you’re a citizen. They said they mostly get by on day labor here, sometimes working the fields-”

“I’d rather rob one of them bodegas.”

“They’re better armed than we are, Nate. How about construction?”

“Nah, never been any good at building things. We could hijack one of them big trucks? I reckon I can learn how to drive one.”

“Well, one of ‘em noticed my guitar, said we might could earn some money playing at a church, or summat.”

“ … yeah, awright. And if that don’t work, we can always fall back on a life of crime.”




“I thought you lost your mind, dragging us all the way to San Antone for a gig, but you were right, Billy. This place is huge! We getting paid up front, or taking a door-split?”

“Don’t worry ‘bout it none, Lil’ Nate. SA Country Saloon is something special. Hey, after we set-up, wanna hit the steak house next door?  My treat.”

 “Sure thing, Billy. Hey – you think those two bartenders are, uh, together?”

“Could be, Nate. They very well might be together. That gonna be a problem for you?”

“Nah, ‘course not, Billy. So long’s nobody thinks they got the right to lay hands on me, just ‘cause I’m up on stage, I don’t much care what they get up to with each other.”

“Well, hell, Nate. I got your back like always.”




“Damn, that was something, Billy.  No girl ever handled my balls like that. You, uh, you do much of that, back in the day?”

“Well, Nate, a cowboy can get lonely out there on the trail. Out under the stars, no one but the other cowboys there to seek a little comfort –”

“You’re quoting from that book with the cowboys fucking, ‘Rough and Ready on the Range.’”

“Am not! And it’s a romance.”

“Are too.  I flipped through it the other day on the can.”

“Well, I ... I did a few things, back then. But I figured it’s been so long, might be they figured out some new ways to do it.”

“Makes sense.  Anything else in that book you wanna try?”




“Uh, Billy? What you doing down there, man? Not that I don’t enjoy the sight of you on your knees, but check-out’s at eleven.”

“No, hold on, I just gotta – there. I went shopping this morning.  Nathaniel Freeman, will you do me the honor of becoming my husband?”

“Billy, I'm not -”

“No, hear me out.  I know there’s plenty of other men out there you could choose.  Women, too. Richer than me, and younger, and better looking. But I love you, Nate. I love you with all my heart.  When I saw you dancing last night with all those other fellas, I couldn’t hardly bear it. And then when Lady Gaga came on, singing that if I wanted it I shoulda put a ring on it, I knew it was a sign from God.  And, and it’s legal now! We could even have a church wedding if you want.”

“Billy! It's done been legal for us to get married. I been reading up on it. The Supreme Court made marriage legal for blacks and whites in 1967, and for two men in 2015. And if anyone’s got a problem with it, well, that’s why we’re strapped.  Plus, I probably spent more getting that DJ to play that song at just the right moment than you did on that cheap-ass ring. We are going shopping together, and we are buying the both of us rings I won’t be ashamed to see on my finger, or my man. Clear?”

“Clear as day, Nate.”

“Good. We got, what, twenty minutes ‘til check-out. Think we can do it that quick?”

“Hell yeah. First one nekkid gets to ride!”