Oil​-​Fired Stanley Price

from by Zander Nyrond



Someone in the place I used to work jotted down a telephone query about a particular kind of stove,and I happened to see the note as I was walking past. The rest is history...or maybe legend. An early exercise in dieselpunk.


It was a stormy night back in ’74
When three men came to the Professor’s door.
Up in Injun Pass there’d been a big rockfall
And under them rocks lay the bravest of all.
He was a mean gunfighter name of Stanley Price
He was quick on the draw, he’d beaten Hickok twice.
When they pulled him out he was all but dead,
But the Professor said, “I can save the head.”

Oil-fired Stanley Price.

His name was Franklin Stine, he was a book-larned man,
He went to his drawing boad and started to plan.
When they brought him the head, he stuck it straight in a tank
Full of bright green stuff that kinda bubbled and stank.
He drew all night and then went to the forge
He called on the blacksmith and said “Hey, George,
I’ve got a job for you but I need it fast
‘Cause I don’t know how much longer old Stan can last.”


Well, the blacksmith worked all day and all night
And finished the job just before first light
Then he hauled it round to Professor Stine
Who took one look and said “That’s just fine!”
It was a metal shell about eight feet tall
Full of dials and wheels and levers and all
It had an oil-fired engine to make it run
And at either side hung a big six-gun.


They mounted the tank on top of the shell,
Asked “How’d you feel?” and Stan said “Well,
I gotta thank you, Prof, for saving my life,
But what the Sam Hill do I say to my wife?”
“Stan, you know you ain’t married!” the blacksmith said.
“I know,” said Stan, “I’m just thinking ahead.”
The Professor said, “I guess you’ve hit the spot,
‘Cause a head right now’s about all you got.”


Stan rolled out of town under cover of dark
And pretty soon began to make his mark
Catching cattle rustlers and guarding the stage
He was the Robocop of the Golden Age.
His legend grew and got passed around
And they made him Sheriff of some Texas town
So he was fixed up good when the oil strikes came
He just bought him a share in private claim.


But all good things gotta come to an end
And one day Stan picked a fight with a friend.
He got tipped over near Broken Creek
And his inlet valve, well it started to leak.
It was just high noon and the sun was hot
And a chance reflection made a burning spot.
When his friend came back to Stan’s rescue
There was a huge explosion as his fuel tank blew.


So here ends the story of a cyborg dude
Who was real refined, though he ran on crude.
His design was poor, but his heart was great.
He was the best oil-fired lawman in the Lone Star State!



from The Toad and other Strangenesses, released May 4, 2015




Zander Nyrond Westbury, UK

Zander Nyrond likes to describe himself as a logical necessity, though he knows perfectly well he is nothing of the kind. "If I had not existed," he says grandiloquently, "I would have had to invent myself." A more pertinent description would be "tall, hairy idiot which makes music and does not wear a hat," though even that is derivative. Lives in Wiltshire and has better friends than he deserves. ... more

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