Bakken Oil Boom: The Making of a Rich Man

How to cash in on a boomtown before it busts.

| Winter 2015

  • Badlands National Park
    Where I come from, now, flames light the night sky and the harvest is liquid; radioactive waste is hidden in ghost towns and on reservations. Brine and oil spill by the millions of gallons into water and onto land, and human trafficking has become a rural reality.
    Photo by Fotolia/brizardh

  • Badlands National Park

“Hooker shop,” my cabdriver says. “I’m going to open a hooker shop.”

“Excuse me?” I say, astonished that he is going to move to North Dakota, my home state, and open a hooker shop near the oil fields. His accent is foreign, thick, beautiful, and I strain to hear his words over the hum of Chicago rush-hour traffic.

“All the men will come.” He grins.

His admission wouldn’t be all that surprising with the illicit activity surrounding the Bakken oil boom, but his excitement does seem bold as he transports me, a single woman, in his back seat.

“Hooker?” I ask again.

“HOO-kah,” he repeats. I close my eyes to fish the intended meaning of his syllables from the air between us.

12/19/2015 7:45:40 PM

hehehe - an ex pat w/ permanent visa the philippines greets people stepping off the shuttle bus in front of his wife's small souvenier shop @ the shopping center. a sharply dressed but casually, gentleman hits the pavement running...asking with the same basic accent as the man in the article "tok meh do dah zoo..." the bus driver is telling him "you go back where you started pal" as im trying to explain to him that the drivers correct - he transferred onto the wrong shuttle bus to get to the zoo. funny thing - what a zoo, where he's from, might be...

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