Thursday, March 31, 2011

More Stories from SCR: Curse of the Black Sludge

Grant and I bopped along the little two track road in the pasture.  The windows of the ranch truck were rolled down and whisps of hair had escaped from my pony tail and were whipping my cheeks and forehead.  The sky was cloudless and the unfiltered sun poured down onto my face and arm and glinted off my sunglasses.

We stopped at a small stock tank and got out.  Grant tossed me a rubber doo-ma-flatchie that closely resembled a heavy duty whoopie cushion, 'cept it was long and slender instead of round with a small hole in one end and a female water hose connection on the other.  I looked down at the contraption in my hand and then watched as Grant made his way back to the trailer and began unwinding a water hose from the biggest pressure washer I'd ever seen.  He brought the end of the hose over to me and I handed him the skinny whoopie, he screwed it onto the hose and handed it back.

"Stick this into the pipe there.  I'm going to go start the generator."

Still uncertain as to what it was that we were doing, I dumbly stuck the whoopie into the pipe and awaited further instruction.  The generator sputtered, then caught and filled the air with its loud rumblings.

Grant yelled over the noise,"I'm gonna start the water.  Hold that in the pipe as long as you can."

Huh?  I wrapped both hands around the hose with my thumbs on the pipe, anchoring the two together.  Grant flipped the switch and continued to stand behind the generator.

I could feel the pressure in the hose increase as the water made its way down to me.  I widened my stance and tightened my grip when the whoopie began filling with water.  It filled until the pipe was sealed with the bulk of the rubber whoopie. I could barely hold it in, so great was the force. 

Grant remained behind the generator.

When I could hold it in no longer, the whoopie and hose popped out of the pipe and flailed about like an errant fire hose.  We repeated the process a few more times then we loaded up and headed to another tank, just down the hill.

"What was all that about?", I asked.

Grant looked over at me from beneath his cowboy hat.  His expression was unreadable, his face hidden under brim, sunglasses, and facial hair.

"That tank up there feeds the tank we're driving to.  There's a pipe underground connecting the two.  It's stopped up."

Ah ha, I thought, we were trying to push out the blockage with high pressure water. 

The truck bounced down the rough road to the second tank.  We hopped out, Grant went to the generator and I went to the tank.

"Don't you worry, I'll be right over here," Grant said.

If I thought the comment an odd one, I didn't say and we hit replay:  me at tank, Grant at generator, whoopie in pipe, good grip, wide stance, flip switch, water flow, and so on.

Except this time the pressure didn't push the inflated whoopie out.

I stood there holding the hose anchored to the pipe for all that I was worth when I heard a loud POP!  Water shot straight up over my head and into the sky until it lost its battle with gravity and was pulled back down.

Onto my head. 

Water and sludge the color of midnight rained down on me; my shoulders, my face, and down the front of my white t-shirt.  My glasses were black with it and I could feel its cool wetness on my scalp. I was still holding the hose tightly with both hands.  I dropped it and raised my sunglasses up onto my head.  And that's when I heard it.  Laughter.

Full-bodied masculine laughter.  I looked over at Grant through lashes dripping with foul smelling mud.  There was no doubting the expression on his face now as his mustache and goatee were separated by an inch of shiny white teeth.  I'm not sure the cowboy didn't do a little jig of glee so great was his mirth.

"You knew this was going to happen, didn't you!?!", I said.  It was more an accusation than a question.

"No. . .  I mean. . . I knew it could happen but I didn't know it would,"  was his reply.

Cackle, cackle, cackle.  Ho, ho, ho. He, he, he.  He was beside himself.

"Are you kidding me??" 

Stupid question.  Of course it was a joke and it wasn't the first time I had played the part of patsy for Grant.  It took a second but I did eventually join in the laughter.  It was funny. . .kinda.  It would've been a heck of a lot funnier to me had our positions had been reversed.

It wasn't until we finally climbed back in the truck and started heading home that I realized just how badly I smelled.  The sludge was putrid.

Grant looked at me and said,"Ack, you stink."

No crap Sherlock, I thought to myself.  I cut my eyes at him and he started laughing.  Again.


  1. Oooohhh...was it septic water? Sounds foul. Funny!

    Great news--I can open your site from my computer now!

    I wrote a comment back to you about the P3 on my blog, but basically, my farrier is interested in your case--and all P3 fractures--he's written and taught on them. If you do get the before and after xrays (digital) he'd love to see them.

  2. Not septic water, thank goodness, just some nasty scummy water from a pasture stock tank. Those don't get cleaned very often. . .or ever:).
    I'll see what I can do about the xrays. I would love to have another opinion and especially one of a farrier. I have not had very good luck with farriers in my area.