|By Tony Russell|
Its always boom or bust in the pipeline business. Things have been
little slow for a while, but,
according to my buddy Don Gastar, flush times are straight
stopped to talk to him
yesterday on Main Street as he was putting money in a parking
meter-actually two parking meters.
He was driving a brand new fire-engine red extended-cab big-bed
pickup so long it took up
two parking places, and he had a smile on his face as wide as a
Whats got you so chipper? I asked. Youre usually shut down in January
and February, and ready to
gnaw through barbed wire.
Pardner, he said, Ive just landed the biggest contract of my career.
bid on that new job they
announced in Washington, and they dont fool around. They called me
this morning and told me it
was mine. Ive been on the phone all morning ordering new dozers and
backhoes, and trying to line
up my crews.
I must have missed the announcement, I said. What new job was that?
Didnt you hear? he said, surprised. It was on all the news. Theyre
tearing out that old line between
church and state!
The line between church and state? I said. But I thought that was a
permanent line, set in concrete!
That old thing! he scoffed. Its more than two hundred years old. Its
rusty and leaks like a sieve. You
can walk the line almost anywhere and smell gas.
I didnt know it was in that bad a shape, I admitted. I thought that
was just hot air. That must be a
pretty big job.
Damned right, he said. All fifty states. I dont even know yet how
crews it will take.
How much time do you have? I wondered.
Thats the beauty of it, he said. They want it done yesterday, and
Whats the rush? I asked.
Theyve got a new pipeline they want to build, sending money to their
religious supporters, and
theyve got to get that old line out of the way. Its just a nuisance
this point. Theyll sell it for scrap.
How bigs the new line going to be?
Nobody knows for sure yet, he admitted. But its gonna have to be a
whopper. Theyll use it to send
billions from Washington, D.C., to churches in every state in the
Union. And its not just the size. Its
the complexity of the thing. Youve got all that money, and what most
people dont realize is its going
to go both ways. The money gets traded for votes and influence, too,
and thats all within the same
pipeline. Its going to take one hell of a computer system to monitor
the flow and keep it all moving. I
just hope I can land that job. If I can impress them on tearing this
old line out, I figure itll give me an
inside track on building the new line.
Im really happy for you, Don, I said. It sounds as if youll have work
lined up for quite a while.
Thanks, he said. I reckon this shows that the new administration is a
friend of the working man.