The Land Deal

The phone rang one day

Old Hank answered, “Hey…”

And a voice on the other end faltered.

“Have a got the right number?”

The other feller asked,

“Could be my figures got altered.”

“Depends what you’re wantin,”

Hank impatiently stated.

“Is this bout the land that I’m sellin?”

“Why, yes, it sure is,”

Came the delighted response,

“My name is Alfred McClellan.

“And might I inquire

If I’ve got the right parcel,

The one that I’m thinkin of homin;

It’s the one that is listed

Down in New Mexico

Where those giant horned lizards go roamin?”

“Well yeah,” said ole Hank,

“Guess we’ve got a us few,

But I never really gave it much thought!”

“Then this is the place,”

Said Alfred, “for certain;

Now let’s see if you’ve got what I want.”

“How many, do you think,

I’ll be able to run,

A mama and baby per acre?”

“Oh no,” said ole Hank,

“It won’t support that,

To be totally honest and frank here!”

“Well, how many head then,”

Alfred sincerely inquired,

“I need good return on my money.

I’ve got a good outlet

Back here in the East;

So, I’m hoping to grow em a plenty!”

Hank thought for a moment,

Staring wide-eyed at the phone,

“Well, Alfred, I hate to inform you,

But you likely can’t feed

More than a pair per ten acres,

Got a little blue grama, no fescue.”

“A pair per ten acres?

I think that will work,”

Said Alfred with a sly shifty grin.

“That’s three eighty-four

If I purchase six sections;

A bountiful crop come year’s end.”

So, Hank and ole Alfred

Agreed in plain writing,

Legalizing the terms of the deal.

Both of them thinking

The other was crazy,

Each walking away with a steal.

A month or two later,

After hitting the bank,

Hank moved off of the ranch.

He used his new fortune

To buy the missis a mansion,

A new car, and a vacation to France.

But a year or so later,

Ole Hank got a message:

“McClellan’s been looking for you.

He’s mad as a hornet

And swears to high heaven

That Hank’s done him dirty for sure.”

Now poor Hank’s heart was hurtin,

He lost plenty of sleep,

Worryin bout Alfred feeling damaged;

And what would folks think

If they started believing

That, somehow, he’d taken advantage?

Well, they met at the courthouse

Where the judge asked the question,

“Now Alfred, isn’t this your Hancock?”

“Well, yes sir, it is,”

Alfred confessed,

“But I was duped into signing that crock!”

“You see, Hank went and told me

That I’d make a fortune

And have me a bounteous calf crop.

‘A cow and calf per ten acres,’

He had me believin;

So, I signed then and there on the dot.”

The judge turned to Hank,

Now discombobulated

And having a slight episode,

“Shame on you Hank,

A cow and calf per ten acres?

You know this is New Mexico!”

Hank swallowed hard and said,

“I’m sorry, your honor,

Full disclosure is what I intended.

I never met no harm

Or sought to deceive

And feel bad that Alfred’s offended.

“But in my defense,

If Alfred feels taken

By that phone call we had long ago,

Well, truth is when I said that

I truly was thinkin

We was still talkin bout… horny toads!”

Copyright © 2022 Philip R. Stroud

All rights reserved

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