Friday, December 31, 2004

One Tough Customer

Latigo Flint doesn't like people abbreviating his name, especially not some tinhorn cash register jockey who apparently isn't even smart enough to steam milk. He asked Latigo Flint what Latigo Flint's name was so he could write it on the cup that would soon hold Latigo Flint's mocha chip frappuccino.

"Oh goodness heh heh heh," he chortled patronizingly. "Let's just go with Lat hmmmm?"

"Let's not." And the room suddenly became very quiet. Two businessmen at the back of the line decided just then that they didn't want coffee after all, and without making any sudden moves they eased for the door. The tinhorn cashier's eyes went wide in a now ashen face and he appeared to be on verge of tears. Latigo Flint didn't need to raise his voice or alter his ever-stoic expression, there is just something in the tone of a gunslinger who knows he's the fastest draw ever born that can turn the blood cold. Stare in the squinty eyes of such a man and you can almost see a concussive flash and hear the sizzling smack of lethal lead tearing horrible trails through vital organs. You can almost taste the dirt, reflexively bitten by dying jaws, and all this tends to make people very uncomfortable.

"The name," Latigo Flint took a small step forward and rested his left hand on the counter. "As I clearly stated, is Latigo Flint." The casher's arm spasmed in terror knocking over the CD rack of Meatloaf's Favorite Songs. "Not Lat, not Flint, Flinty or Lattie. Latigo Flint... Got it?" The cashier nodded rapidly, to frightened to speak and he carefully wrote it on the side of the cup pausing between names to show it to me for spelling verification.

"Very good. Thank you for taking the extra time." (Gunslingers are always polite, ever deadly, but always polite.)

He thrust the cup at the barista with a sob then turned and sprinted into the back area. Moments later a different employee emerged with a very puzzled expression. "What's wrong with Tyler?" But by then Latigo Flint had moved to the drink pick up counter and no one in line felt like talking. "Oh well, guess I'll clock him out on a break - Next?"

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Two Lines - A Simply Magnificent Poem

by Latigo Flint

She savaged my dashboard with her purse pocketknife
and when the airbag deployed she lost one pretty eye.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Those Darn Pregnant Wolves

So the leading theory is that a pregnant wolf snuck into the men's restroom at Latigo Flint's place of employment and proceeded to messily give birth to a litter of pups all over the only toilet.

The toilet overflows with a dark, brackish liquid. Something wide and gooey dangles from the lip to the floor and it does look like how one would imagine wolf placenta. The seat cover dispenser has been torn from the wall and streaks of what appear to be blood and urine coat the stall door. No one wants to inspect too closely but the six or seven massive brown blobs floating in the unflushable bowl seem to be covered with a fur-like substance and they do have vaguely lupine features.

The female employees don't agree with the wolf birth theory and they've refused us access to their restroom. They believe one of us has a severe intestinal issue and they fear it hasn't yet run its course. Latigo Flint doesn't really blame them too much for their decision but he knows it wasn't him - he did propose the perfectly logical plan of having them stand outside the stall to ensure his expedition was a sanitary one and they still cruelly turned him away.

There's a Marie Calendar's restaurant about a mile and a half down the road. Latigo Flint is leaving now to jog there and hopefully the abdominal cramps won't overwhelm him on the way.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Latigo Flint's New Year's Resolutions

First Draft:

1) Break the sound barrier with a quickdraw.
2) Perfect squinty eyes.
3) Convince Scarlett Johansson to remove the restraining order.
4) Don't let the May 14th unpleasant name calling incident outside the local high school deter self from incorporating chaps into daily wardrobe.
5) Lasso things more.
6) Stride away toward the setting sun as people stare in awe and say "I don't know who he was but damn, we'll never forget him or what he's done for this town."
7) Acquire a nemesis.
8) Crush nemesis.
9) Solve a centuries-old mystery.
10) Go out on a date with a girl.
11) Get my own car.
12) Pistol whip someone who deserves it.
13) Rescue a child from a runaway vehicle of some sort.
14) Stare into an ominous sky and say: "Storm's coming. Looks like a bad one too." Have frightened girls wail: "Please don't go out there tonight Latigo. We wouldn't be able to take it if anything happened to you." Look over my shoulder and softly reply: "I have to do this, you know that. If I don't, who will? Now don't cry, I'll see you again someday when this fighting is over." Walk away as they bury their face in their hands and weep.
15) Pay dad the money I owe him and get my own place.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Merry Public Stoning

This morning Latigo Flint made the horrendous mistake of wishing the cute barista at his local Starbucks a "Merry Christmas" as she handed him his mocha chip frapuchino. You could almost hear a whooshing sound as a dozen conversations abruptly contracted, then slowly reassembled as a rumble of mob rage in the throats of the lethally offended patrons and staff.

Yet unaware of his grievous faux pas, Latigo Flint exited to the parking lot, but halfway across he was caught from behind and publicly stoned to within an inch of his life.

A retroactive Permit of Demonstration was granted to Latigo Flint's attackers by a local judge and no charges will be filed. The ACLU is considering litigation against Latigo Flint for violation of civil rights, violation of the Separation of Church and Coffee act of '98, and inciting a riot.

A very Happy December to all my faithful readers and friends.

(Oh crap, what have I done?! I just said FAITHful; I'm really fucked now!!!)

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Cougar Jack

Old Cougar Jack is never far from Latigo Flint's thoughts this time of year. Cougar Jack used to love the holiday season - he'd always claim there was a "quiet, solemn nobility" in drinking alone around Christmas time. (He'd always claim this very loudly, and to anyone and everyone who happened to pass by.)

Cougar Jack told Latigo Flint something one time and Latigo Flint has never forgotten it.
"Young feller," Cougar Jack slurred late one night when it was just him and Latigo Flint at the darkened bar.
"Young feller, in all the world there is but one man who has winked at every beer he's ever drank. It's a quick wink and it's joined by just the tiniest wisp of a smile right before the cap is popped. Now there are a thousand reasons why he might have done it the first time, and a thousand more why he would continue to do it every one thereafter, but only one of them is the real true reason, and when you figure out what it is, you'll understand everything there is to know about this crazy world and all the lovely people who are rambling through it."

Then Cougar Jack softly tapped the bar with his empty bottle and from the shadows down at the end a refrigerator door creaked open and a fresh bottle slid down the length into his waiting hand. Cougar winked at it and his big gray handlebar mustache twitched over a slight smile as popped the cap and took a mighty pull.

Latigo Flint has never figured out the real true reason and it haunts him to this day.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Latigo Flint - Technical Advisor

The deal isn't completely finalized but it appears that Miramax will be hiring Latigo Flint as the Gunslinger Technical Advisor to Al Pacino who will be staring in the upcoming western epic, A Handbag Full of Lead for Miss Watson.

'Handbag is the story of a riverboat gambler and gunslinger (Pacino) who is wrongfully accused of horse stealing. To escape the hangman's noose, he disguises himself as a woman and goes out west where he takes up residence in a small, sleepy mining community and becomes the town Librarian and Schoolmarm. When the villainous Higgins boys ride into town with thievery, murder and mayhem on their minds, there is only one man who can possibly stand up to them and save the town - that man just has to learn to run and shoot while wearing a dress first.

Latigo Flint and Al Pacino had their first meeting yesterday and it was a tad unusual. Al showed up in his full "Miss. Watson" costume, complete with makeup and parasol. He's committed to fully understanding the dangers a single, middle-aged woman in the old west would face, so he immediately insisted that Latigo Flint simulate an attempted rape on him. But Al also doesn't like people touching him so Latigo Flint had to spend thirty minutes grunting and pawing within millimeters of Al Pacino's dress as hopped around shrieking "you brute" and smacking Latigo Flint on the head with his parasol. When Al switched to scratching and eye-gouging, Latigo Flint politely suggested they try some pistol training now.

This seemed to be the most exciting thing Al Pacino had ever heard. His eyes bulged out of his head and he hollered, "DITCH DIGGER DADDIES SAY YES AND SO DO I!!!" at the top of his lungs. Then he turned to Bob and Harvey Weinstein and demanded a real gun and ammunition so he could shoot me. His rationale - his character was going to be shooting a lot of people and he'd need to understand the complex feeling of power, relief and pity when your adversary goes down in a blast of gun smoke, blood and bone fragments.

The Weinsteins stalled by pretended to call local gun shops for an hour while Al wandered around the room naming various objects after actors he's worked with. He was in the middle of a loud argument with Chris O'Donnell the sofa when Bob pointed out that it was 3:00 and time for Al's afternoon nap so the three of them left. As he was leaving, Harvey assured Latigo Flint that they'd talk Al into switching from real bullets to rubber ones, and then he quadrupled Latigo Flint's pay.

It's nice to have a little extra money this time of year so Latigo Flint is determined to stick it out. With any luck Latigo Flint will live to regret this decision.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

You Can Keep My Things...

Latigo Flint doesn't mind in the slightest that a car full of tough looking urban youths had been laughing hysterically at Latigo Flint for several minutes at the stop light as Latigo Flint sang along with Peter Gabriel's Solsbury Hill at the top of his lungs.

True, Latigo Flint wasn't aware until the song's end that he was being observed as he enthusiastically lent his considerable singing voice to Peter's glorious song, complete with "air keyboards" and three fist pumps at every "heart was going boom boom boom" part, but it wouldn't have made any difference. See, Latigo Flint isn't ashamed of his passion for the song Solsbury Hill. And besides, gunslingers in general tend to be very secure individuals. You don't really sweat too much of anything when you know you can slap thigh and shuck iron before the other guy can even think about beginning to think about moving his finger.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Ever Maintain the Aura and Mystique

In this day and age we do not encounter tolling bells as much as we once did, but there are still a few. (A small church on Glenoaks in west Burbank sounds off at least twice a day.)

Whenever Latigo Flint hears a distant bell toll he suddenly becomes very quiet and removed, and he stares off at the horizon, (preferably it contains the setting sun) a sad, faraway look in his squinty eyes.

When his companions ask what the matter is, Latigo Flint doesn't seem to hear for several moments then with a sigh he snaps out of his pensive reflection.

"Oh, it's just something that happened long ago." Latigo Flint whispers. "It's not important now." Then Latigo Flint forces a small brave smile and changes the subject.

Everyone finds themselves sexually attracted to Latigo Flint at that moment, even guys.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Another Good Way to be a Hero

Saving young women from rabid animals is another great way to be a hero.

Ideally you would be in a secluded rural area in the vicinity of three couples. The females are young and attractive; males are brutish college football player types. The six of them spot a dog/raccoon/badger sitting by the side of the road and begin to approach it.

You with your keen powers of observation detect an unusual glint in said creature's eye and a dangerous frothing about the corners of its mouth. You casually mention that it might be a good idea to leave this animal alone, but the boyfriends cruelly taunt you for your trouble. You leave once the muscle-bound morons begin throwing rotting fruit and stones at you, but you heroically double back and wait in the shadows.

It's critical at this point that the animal is actually rabid; otherwise you simply appear a timid fool. When it suddenly leaps to its feet, slavering and snapping its poisonous jaws in a deadly charge directly at the now terrified girls it's important that the boyfriends run away screaming leaving the girls to their horrible fate. If one or more of the guys kills it they'll be the hero and not you.

Leap from shadows and sprint to a point directly between the now abandoned girls and the approaching beast. Toss a manly comment over your shoulder, something along the lines of, "Stay behind me!" Then square your shoulders and face the hydrophobic monster's charge.

Next beat it to death with something blunt. It's a heroic bonus if at some point the creature's snapping teeth come within inches of your neck and with all your strength you must slowly force its head away before beating it to death, but don't take unnecessary risks, you're assured hero-ness no matter how you kill it.

The three girls will mostly likely want to accompany you to the hospital where you are due to receive 50 injections to the stomach with a giant needle and syringe. Their attendance is excellent and should be encouraged. Wince slightly as the shots are administered but otherwise remain stoic. Say something heroic like, "Don't worry it's bearable, I'm just glad you girls are okay." or "Yeah, it's pretty bad, but if I had to do it again... I would."

Don't bring up their cowardly boyfriends. Don't worry, it's already in the girls' minds and you mentioning it will only appear slightly cheap.

Monday, December 13, 2004

That's No Way to Treat a Lady

Call Latigo Flint old fashioned but he often longs for a time when a self righteous mob of good citizen folk would promptly take a man to the nearest tree and hang him dead if he did even half the things Latigo Flint saw men doing to ladies last Saturday night at his local trendy dance hall.

Now gunslingers are men of action who lead by example, so Latigo Flint didn't become all shocked and appalled, instead he bribed the DJ with $500 and a Kenny Rogers album, and set out to prove that you don't need simulated rear entry fornication to have a good time.

As the beautiful first notes of the Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton duet, Islands in the Stream, rang out like a crystal bell over the now silent dance floor, Latigo Flint sought a willing partner to help him prove his case. Latigo Flint picked out the only girl he could see who wasn't at this point openly mocking him. Latigo Flint tipped his hat and said with a bow,
"Ma'am, I'd be honored if you'd join me on the floor for one slow dance." She dropped her chin demurely and gazed up at Latigo Flint through shy brown eyes.

"Thank you kind sir, I'd love to." Her voice was sweet and her hand felt soft in Latigo Flint's as they slowly strolled to the dance floor.

Latigo Flint has no idea how it happened but they didn't even make it through the first chorus before she was bent over and gyrating against Latigo Flint as he spanked her and called her his "dirty cowgirl". Then she shoved Latigo Flint into a kneeling position, his face against her lower belly as she swiveled her hips and implored him to "find MY island in the stream." This sort of debauchery went on between the two of them for the rest of the song and well into the night. Many high fives were administered to Latigo Flint by other attendees and apparently he's "All right, man." Hours later Latigo Flint finally slunk home deeply ashamed.

That was a slip up. Even the greatest gunslinger in the world makes a mistake from time to time. NEXT weekend, without fail, Latigo Flint will prove to everyone that you don't need simulated rear entry fornication to have a good time.

Friday, December 10, 2004

And the Oscar Goes To...

When they make the movie about the first part of Latigo Flint's life, they're going to have a very difficult time casting someone to play adult Latigo Flint. Naturally the obvious choice to play Latigo Flint would be Latigo Flint himself, but gunslingers don't do fake - gunslingers have been keeping it real long before anyone ever coined the phrase "keeping it real".

Some of the actors they'll audition and ultimately have to reject:
Clint Eastwood: Way, way too old. (Latigo Flint is going to hell for saying that, and he deserves it.) Harrison Ford: Too grumpy, talks too much, also way too old. Johnny Depp: Too pretty and a pacifist. Leonardo DiCaprio: Not pretty enough, can't do proper squinty-eyes. Denzel Washington: Doesn't have that gunslinger vibe, is inexplicably frightened of whisky. Clive Owen: Too English - actually all English actors are disqualified for that very reason. Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Mel Gibson, Mark Wahlberg: Too short, and they lack intensity. Owen Wilson: Refuses to take anything seriously, overly dazed. Luke Wilson: Too sensitive, too good natured. Unknown Wilson Brother Andrew: Too unknown (though would make a pretty good choice otherwise, especially if he re-grew the Rushmore "Coach Beck" mustache.)

Moving on.
Cary Elwes: Oops, see Clive Owen. Brad Pitt: Can't draw two guns simultaneously, too sleepy. Mario Lopez: Won't return phone calls, presumed dead. Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock: Doesn't understand gunslinger culture, and for some reason he giggles like a school girl whenever anyone calls him a lowdown varmint. Ryan Phillippe: Gunslingers are all about economy of motion, Ryan's last name looks like a seizure, and he pouts too much. Cole Hauser: Gunplay makes him nauseous, and he blinks too much. Raymond Babbitt: Can memorize lines just fine but doesn't deliver them with any feeling. Michael J. Fox: Sorry, gunslingers need to have steady hands. (Note to self: Be sure to delete this last one before posting, it's the meanest thing ever.)

Anyway, Latigo Flint could go on and on, but he trusts the point has been made. I don't know what Hollywood's going to do. Perhaps if they took an infant right now, placed him in a fabricated world ala Truman's Show except using the set of Bonanza, and raised him, training him 24/7 to be the ultimate gunslinger, maybe in a quarter of a century or so they might be able to start filming... But oh the horror and agony if they mess up somewhere along the line and the kid turns out to be a whiner and a sissy. That's 25 years down the drain. Does Clint have any recent grandchildren? At least the genes will be good.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

I Believe the Line Starts Over Here

Latigo Flint isn't going to make a big ruckus about it 'cause that's not his way, but the line starts over where Latigo Flint has been standing for the past three minutes - NOT right up front there where those two oblivious urbanites have just parked their inconsiderate asses.

Standing in defined lines is a relatively recent invention. In the old west when you visited the local trading post, you'd stand wherever you were comfortable, and everyone just kept real good track of who's turn it was next. Inconsiderate people ran the risk of being gut-shot and left to die.

Yep, Latigo Flint knew it - look at that - the instant the register was available those two yappity tinhorns rushed right up and placed their order without even a glance in Latigo Flint's direction. Like I said, Latigo Flint isn't going to make a big ruckus about it, and of course he's not going to gut-shoot and leave 'em to die... But he's sure as dang gonna give them a mighty fierce glowering.

"Yesssssss, you feel my glower don't you. It's piercing your skull and filling your mushy brain with an inexplicable sense of unease. My glower is gonna try to do a bit of damage while it's in here: Hey, you left the iron on at home. A bum is leaning against your Mercedes. Your husband is having an affair with his secretary... his MALE secretary. And your daughter is sleeping with the captain of the basketball team... No not the scrawny little white guy who sits on the bench all game long, the sleek ebony giant who can dunk the ball and has been shaving since he was 12."

Monday, December 06, 2004


The question may not dominate your every waking thought, but I know it's always somewhere in your mind, nagging at you, tormenting your innate curiosity: How can Latigo Flint possibly be that fast on the draw?

Latigo Flint will now answer this question... with more questions.

How was it possible for Mozart to compose entire concertos by the age of three? How was Bobby Fisher born with the skills necessary to master the complex game of chess before his tenth birthday? How could Raymond Babbitt tell in less than a second that exactly 246 toothpicks had fallen to the floor? Not to go all Quantum on you, but how can light be both a particle and a wave?

Yes yes, our science has figured out a great many things; demons don't invade a chunk of chicken left out too long in the sun, that there is the salmonella bacterium. Ra doesn't get so furious with us that he causes the sun to disappear, it's just our little old moon wandering between us in it's elliptical orbit, and so on - but there is still some magic, some mystery in this world, and when you behold the awesome sight of Latigo Flint slapping thigh and shucking his authentic replica Colt Peacemaker revolvers from their hand tooled elk hide holsters so fast that your wide eyes can't process the difference between guns on hip and guns in hand, why then you'll believe... You'll believe in the unbelievable - the magic and mystery that is Latigo Flint, Quickest Quickdraw the world has ever known.

(Or you won't - the other possibility is that you'll claim it's faked or exaggerated or all of this is just an outright lie, but remember, nobody likes a Grumpy Guster. No one marries or stays married to a Grumpy Guster - Grumpy Gusters die miserable and alone.)