Monday, January 31, 2005

Hey You, Under-Steam This

Latigo Flint has come to greatly respect those gunslingers of the food & beverage service industry, the Starbucks Espresso Machine Calibration Technicians.

Squinty-eyed, the Starbucks Espresso Machine Calibration Technician (EMCT) surveys the morning call sheet. Somewhere down a lonely and dangerous road is a Starbucks in peril. Its machines are no longer achieving the exact right temperatures and grinding consistencies. Unsatisfied customers are becoming highly upset, and the townspeop- uh, employees don't know what to do. Panic is beginning to set in.

The front door opens and through it strides a tall, confident figure. A crisp white collared work shirt unable to obscure layers of rippling, fast-twitch muscle. In determined silence he stares down his enemy. When he speaks it's in a low, confident growl.

"Hey Model Number SB 1287, I hear you been under-steaming some milk and/or soy replacement 'round these here parts."

The Machine gurgles disrespectfully and tries to spray him with curdled milk. With deceptive quickness the EMCT sidesteps then rushes. Blazing hands remove the outer cover and dive deep into recesses of the shiny beast. The cowed employees can only stare in slack-jawed amazement. Theirs is a life lived in unquestioning servitude at the mercy of this machine and its rowdy friends (Blender, Grinder and Vanilla Pump). Where this man found the courage to strap on a miniature tool belt and fight back they'll never know.


The test cup fills with a satisfying steamy hiss. The Assistant Manager's thermometer proves what the silent fighter already knew, that perfect lattes and cappuccinos will now flow from this Starbucks for many years to come. As suddenly as he appeared, the EMCT is gone. (Phone number of the hottest cashier tucked safely behind his tiny ratchet set.)

The greatest era in the history of this planet, the glory days of the American Old West, have come and gone. Latigo Flint accepts that. But at least fragments of its ideals, style and self-made justice and success live on. They live on in the Starbucks Espresso Machine Calibration Technician.

(...It also lives on in the distant laughter of children at play, but mostly in the Starbucks Espresso Machine Calibration Technician.

Sometimes Starbucks Espresso Machine Calibration Technicians bonk their heads on the steamer nozzle, then the machine has won.

I may have made this job up.

But I didn't make gunslingers up. They're real.

I'm going to sleep now, but my song won't stop... my song will continue.)

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Just Hanging in the C.C.F.

Through a bizarre statistical oddity, Latigo Flint's cute neighbor has walked up to his open apartment door exactly three times for various reasons over the past year, and all three times she's happened to catch Latigo Flint in the process of building and/or playing in a giant couch cushion fort.

The disappointing part is that of course she doesn't know it's a bizarre statistical oddity - Latigo Flint knows that as a point of fact, those three were the only occasions, and with a very good reason behind each. (Equal parts nostalgia and turpentine huffing.) As far as she knows, this occurs 100% of the time, and must therefore believe Latigo Flint to be completely insane.

It didn't help matters that on the third and final occasion, Latigo Flint had his back to the door and didn't notice that she was observing his entire impassioned speech to the garrison's besieged troops (as played by silverware, several rolls of socks, a Woody from Toy Story doll and a Jeremiah Johnson DVD).

She must have taken an uneasy step back when the speech climaxed with a string of shouted oaths and Native American based racial slurs, for her shirtsleeve brushed audibly against the screen door. Mentally frozen in the humiliation of discovery, Latigo Flint could only think to offer her a sniff of turpentine... which she declined.

When Latigo Flint sprinted for the bathroom to obscure his complete nudity is when she made her hasty retreat. And I presume dialed Mayflower Moving Company only a minute or two later, 'cause the truck got there awfully fast.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Conversation Tracking

Conversation tracking, the exercise in which a lengthy conversation is carefully examined in reverse by all participants in an effort to discover its genesis has never much appealed to Latigo Flint. The conversation was probably a giant waste of time the first time down. Retrace yourselves if you like, Latigo Flint would rather count stucco bumps.

However, exiting the local 7/11 this morning, Latigo Flint was intrigued by the possibility that in the case of Mumbly Bill, the ever-present bum who spends his days talking to himself and drooling into a crusty collection cup, the practice might actually yield beneficial results. At the trail head of this monoversation might wait a slightly less insane Mumbly Bill.

It was worth a try. So Latigo Flint walked backward out of the 7/11 and with a grunt, Bill was off. The previous night and day rolled back out of him - random topics, observations, unique syllable groupings - it was a sight to behold.

Latigo Flint is a little embarrassed though to disclose what happened next - it turns out the origin of this particular solo conversation proved be almost exactly 24 hours earlier when Mumbly Bill had been jolted awake by Latigo Flint's briskly striding boot heal mashing his fingers into the concrete. (I thought it was a rag, plus I was in a terrible rush.) When he realized who I was, Mumbly Bill began throwing garbage and shrieking to any and all who would listen that I was "That demonic dog-dog from Nacker Tacker Tacker Fucklashit who does stampy stampy stampys!!!"

Good thing no one ever listens to Mumbly Bill.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Ten Second Stories

Latigo Flint holds this truth to be self evident, that he can slap thigh and shuck his authentic replica Colt Peacemaker revolvers from their hand-tooled elk hide holsters faster than a mongoose smirks. The head mechanic presenting a repair bill more than twice the quoted price did not. So Latigo Flint showed him. He was impressed. Then the mongoose went for his throat.

You have left Latigo Flint nary but the chair that makes the farty sound when sat upon. Everyone knows this. Even one snicker and I promise you, this staff meeting makes the evening news.

A young girl asking an innocent question of her father doesn't make Latigo Flint want to cry. Except when the question is, "Daddy, why is the sky blood?" And the response is another backhand slap. Then it takes the rest of a beer and at least a third of the next before Latigo Flint cheers up again.

Sorry, you are new here and didn't know that Latigo Flint desires whipped cream on top of his mocha chip frappuccinos. Latigo Flint will pay to have your clothes cleaned.... You might want to have a doctor look at that eye.

That crunch had to be snail underfoot. Kindly notify his next of kin whilst I ponder approximately nine trigintillion chaos theory variables.

(Came up with this one a minute ago on a smoke break. That you have now read of snail's demise actually raises the number to approximately forty trigintillion chaos theory variables. If you can banish it interminably from your mind in the next fifty seconds we can keep the number in a quantifiable range.)

I can think of several ways to ensure each successive day is more exciting than the last, but they're frowned upon by every major religion and rational doctrine in the civilized world.

The pretty sales girls at Nordstrom are more than happy to help you pick out shirts that go with pants if you pretend you're blind. They catch on mighty quick if you stare at their breasts and giggle.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


Can there be anything more lovely in this world than the way a highly trained female assassin says the word "Mercy" as she lays flat on her back, your boot heel pressed firmly against her throat after a failed attempt on your life.

She underestimated you, even the best make mistakes - and now her eyes, moments ago black with a murderous indifference, reveal themselves to be a lovely hazel brown flecked with green. She struggles to control exhausted breaths beneath skintight leather, glances at the razor sharp scimitar lying just beyond her reach, and then up at you.

The word is whispered more than spoke and framed by soft lips on a calm, beautiful face. It's a simple request - "Mercy" - not a pathetic plea, and though we know the instant the boot is removed she's most likely going to leg-sweep us to the ground and drive her scimitar deep into our eye socket, we're powerless to do anything but comply.


Today Latigo Flint came upon a boy sitting on a curb, bawling his eyes out. When Latigo Flint inquired as to his torment the boy responded that he had no more heroes left in his life. His father, a devout family man who worked two jobs to provide a better life for his children than he'd had, died when he fell asleep and drove off an overpass. The boy's teacher, a patient and compassionate soul, spent 20 years educating children only to be recently forced into early retirement for refusing to implement standardized testing at the expense of her student's full comprehension. And Happy Phil, the volunteer basketball coach for the past 10 years at the community center had to quit last week to take care of his elderly mother.

"Oh young fella," Latigo Flint said consolingly once the boy's tale had come to its teary, snuffling conclusion. "Don't you worry one bit about all that. Those people weren't heroes."

"Th-th-they weren't?"

"Gracious no! Lots and lots of people do what they did - so what? Are we going to devalue the word by slapping it on everyone? No no young fella that won't do at all. See a hero is someone who saves people from rabid animals with his bare hands. Heroes crawl up a flight of stairs with nine bullets lodged in them and with their last breath shoot the man in the ski mask before he can off any more hostages. Heroes are those who get captured on video saving children and old women from flood waters. Are you starting to understand now? Your teacher, volunteer basketball coach and father may have been good people, but they certainly weren't heroes."

The boy's brow furrowed as he attempted to process all this. At long last he lifted his tear streaked chin to gaze at Latigo Flint.

"Ha-ha-have you ever saved people from rabid animals with your bare hands?" He softly inquired.

"Young fella, you better fucking believe it. More than once."

The boy wiped his eyes, gave Latigo Flint a shy smile and extended his tiny hand. Latigo Flint wordlessly accepted it and the unlikely pair slowly made their way down the street.

(But Latigo Flint was on his way to the local bar so the kid had to sit in the alley for a while. I guess he got bored and walked home 'cause he wasn't there five hours later when Latigo Flint was done drinking.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Good to Know

It turns out that most girls don't respond well at all to hearing: "You've just cracked the top five in my Ass I'd Like to Tap journal."

Latigo Flint wouldn't mind so much except that he spent a sizable sum of money on the typesetting, graphic design and color printing of 1,000 actual Ass I'd Like to Tap journals on hard cover bound glossy stock. The fifth page, blank of course, is a high quality linen/cotton weave upon which would go their name, phone number, a brief bio and a rough portrait. A pocket on the inside of the front cover holds a felt tip calligraphy pen and several flat sketching pencils.

In retrospect this does seem like a positively creepy level of preparation for a come on line but at the time Kid Relish assured Latigo Flint that girls, being tactile and visual creatures, respond enthusiastically to lines that effectively incorporate props and calligraphy.

Latigo Flint is beginning to realize that Kid Relish occasionally tells malicious lies for no reason beyond personal entertainment.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Business Ownership, Soooo Nice

There are several third world countries where Latigo Flint might be considered financially well off, but like that's any friggin' consolation. While it's not quite accurate to say Latigo Flint lives in complete poverty, you probably couldn't perjure yourself uttering it either.

Oh sure, Latigo Flint has plenty of marketable skills, but see, he's yet to find a way to legally turn any substantial profit from his deity-like ability with a six-gun and that is just so unfair. With something approaching apathy, Latigo Flint shuffles through the weekdays in an office building bringing home a meager paycheck. Yeah with practically no effort he could secure a promotion or three and probably quadruple his wages by next year - but what's the point? He'd still have to take orders from someone, and you have no idea how much Latigo Flint hates that.

Nope, unless a worm hole to the year 1855 can be found, business ownership is the way it's got to be.

Last year saw the abject failure of ten of what Latigo Flint thought were perfectly good business ideas. They are listed below as a cautionary public service announcement.

Spider Repellant.
Hell even if it didn't work at all, the placebo effect would be worth every penny. Maybe I didn't market it correctly, but then what else do you need to say? It's spider repellant for Christsake! It repels spiders - nasty, horrible, hairy spiders that might otherwise crawl all over your sleeping face and bite your eyeball when you stir.

Fern of the Month Club.
Members receive one fern, including pot and topsoil every month. Never the same genus twice. Makes a great gift for Dad.
Total number of membership sign-ups: Negative 42. (Don't ask.)

Puncture Wound Insurance.

The Sponsor a Baby Otter Program.
"Just 12 cents a day is all it takes to feed and shelter one of these adorable baby otters. Every baby otter sponsored is one less baby otter that'll get razor blade-whipped by angry French Canadians. Won't you help?"
(Then I cut to footage of Kid Relish in a plaid shirt whipping a baby otter with razor blades, which in retrospect probably wasn't a great idea - I'm still paying off what amounted to over five hundred thousand dollars in fines.)

Reversible shopping bags - paper on one side, plastic on the other. Latigo Flint thought it would save the grocery stores a fortune, and make his. Apparently not. (Plus three bag boys died during the testing phase.)

A scrub activated musical loofah.

Latigo Flint's Field Guide to Edible Spoors.
One teensy weensy little caption error ruined everything. (The beyond deadly Gyromitra virosa was captioned: "This yummy little woodland spoor makes a fun snack for the whole family cooked or raw.") Hey dern it, just tear out that one page - the rest of the book is completely accurate.

Lead fishing sinkers shaped... like little fish. COME ON!!! These will bring you good luck. Anglers are silly for things that bring good luck... aren't they?

Fly By Night - A Fragrance for Men. (Specifically men who wish to smell like the post-solo towel of rock drumming legend, Neil Peart.)

Terrorist repellent.
Hell even if it didn't work at all, the placebo effect would be worth every penny. Maybe I didn't market it correctly, but then what else do you need to say? It's terrorist repellant for Christsake! It repels terrorists - nasty, horrible, hairy terrorists that might otherwise crawl all over your sleeping face and bite your eyeball when you stir.

Sadly these ideas all proved failures. Don't try them if you wish to become the owner of your own successful business. (May be practical for tax write-off purposes.)

Friday, January 14, 2005

Your Loss (and I hope your lunch meat turns)

If you couldn't care less that a red-tailed hawk is circling majestically outside, an extremely rare sight this deep in Los Angeles, there are much more polite ways to convey your indifference.

(Note: This particular post is exclusively for the patrons of the Subway restaurant on the corner of Wilshire and Highland four hours ago.)

There is no need to openly mock the bearer of this news. Yes, he may have been a tad overexcited but not grossly out of proportion with what should be anyone's natural reaction to the splendor of such a sight - and certainly not enough to warrant ten straight minutes of derision.

And a special aside to Mr. Punchy McKneetothegroin, (I never got your name, but you know who you are.) Darn it, I wasn't sexually assaulting your girlfriend; I was simply trying to get her to follow me to the window, an ideal vantage point from which to observe the mighty raptor. Any urgency in my touch was certainly due only to the unknown and no doubt limited amount of time this great bird would remain in view.

Anyway, you twenty or so have proved yourselves to be exceptionally cruel and unfeeling people. Latigo Flint will definitely remember all your faces and the next time Latigo Flint sees something beautiful, unique and uplifting just beyond your sight line, he won't say a dern thing, and you all will be the poorer for it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Celine Dion is a Limpid Wombat

In an attempt to better understand a question recently posed in Latigo Flint's comment section, Latigo Flint performed a few Google searches:

Your search - "wombat Celine Dion" - did not match any documents.

Your search - "Celine Dion wombat" - did not match any documents.

Your search - "Celine Dion is a wombat" - did not match any documents.

Your search - "Celine Dion's wombats" - did not match any documents.

And then it hit Latigo Flint like a grumpy Apache: In all likelihood not one person in 6 billion has ever internet-published the sentence: "Celine Dion is a wombat." --- UNTIL NOW!!!!!!!

To say nothing of the adjectival possibilities, Celine Dion is a stupid wombat. Celine Dion is a smelly wombat. Celine Dion is a limpid wombat...

Latigo Flint had to sit down at this point. The implications were staggering, formidable even. So numerous and mighty were these implications that they actually served to completely obscure any result or answers that would have otherwise been inferred.... And darn it, implications aren't supposed to do that! That is not normal implication behavior.

Latigo Flint can think of no rational way to close the post at this point except with: (of course)

Celine Dion is a wombat; a stupid, smelly, limpid wombat.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Rainy Weekends

Latigo Flint loves rainy weekends. When the heavens choose to coat Saturday and Sunday with a heaping serving of precipitation, Latigo Flint joyfully responds with a Clint Eastwood western movie marathon, viewed without interruption and in chronological order of course.

Usually right around the time Clint is forcing a town to paint itself red while he gives piggyback rides to a gun-toting midget (which would be approximately 19 straight hours into the marathon) is when Latigo Flint completely looses his mind. He starts screaming instructions to the TV, ("LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU MY LEIGE!!!") rocking back and forth, throwing plates, things of that nature. Then Latigo Flint downs a bottle of whiskey, two handfuls of barbiturates, and sleeps until Monday morning.

But not last weekend. Oh it rained, and Latigo Flint started his traditional movie marathon, and around the typical time the whiskey and barbs were consumed but this time Latigo Flint didn't go to sleep. Instead Latigo Flint donned a recently purchased serape, (Latigo Flint's serape collection is considered by many to be among the finest anywhere outside of Mexico.) and went for a lovely stroll to downtown El Monte and back, a total of 47 miles.

Or to be more accurate, Latigo Flint is pretty sure it was lovely. Truth be told he remembers very little of it. There is a slim chance Latigo Flint shot a hobo to death in a muddy field behind an abandoned South Pasadena warehouse but with the exception of that, the memory fragments are all quite pleasant.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

There's One Born Every Minute

Latigo Flint saw a depressing sight today, a lowdown con man making a killing selling what he claimed were maps pinpointing the exact location of The Lost Razor Scooter Mine of Bakersfield to the foolish urbanites at the table area outside the local sandwich shop.

His pitch was all too familiar to one as steeped in western lore as Latigo Flint. The huckster would stumble around the corner, his clothes in tatters, clutching the broken lower half of a Razor Scooter.

"I've found it. By God I've finally found it - riches untold!" The people stare in mid-chew, their confusion slowly turning to unbridled greed as he went on to explain that two years ago the Razor Company had to recall every single scooter, even the cheap knockoffs that 7/11 had been selling.

"Hey yeah!" Some buffoon would holler. "I haven't seen one of those in months." The reason for the recall, the sneaky fraud would now offhandedly mention, had something to do with a defect in the "platinum lined brake cables".

It would sometimes take a minute but someone would always catch it - "WAIT A MINUTE... DID YOU JUST SAY PLATINUM LINED BRAKE CABLES???!!!"

"SHHHHHHH!!! Not so loud." Then the snake would draw the now sizeable crowd close to him, as he crouched, quarterback style at their feet. He'd need two thousand dollars to rent a fleet of dump trucks. He'd rent 'em himself but he'd spent every last dime he had on the search. Every hundred dollars (one unit) chipped in toward the rental would equal ten thousand pounds of Razor Scooter brake cabling - approximate platinum value once it's stripped: $150,000.00.

They couldn't throw money at him fast enough. Fights nearly broke out over how many units each would purchase. Once the two grand was raised he'd remove maps from a large Kinko's envelope and pass them around.

"Meet me there tonight. It's going to be very hard work loading all the Razor Scooter brake cable into the trucks but don't bring anyone to help unless they absolutely can be trusted.... And make sure no one follows you."

They all agreed and assured him they wouldn't let him down. Then with hearty handshakes all around he would slip away. Everyone would then toss their half-eaten sandwiches and scatter, shooting greedy, suspicious glances at anything that moved, and the whole sorry affair would start all over ten minutes later when the food court had filled with new suckers.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Don't Even Try

It is of course a well known fact that gunslingers will never, ever stare at a campfire since eyes, even if appropriately squinty, would quickly adjust to its brightness and we'd be momentarily blind should an adversary approach from the darkened forest beyond.

But don't even think about trying to take advantage of this fact by attempting to disguise yourself as a campfire - gunslingers are far too observant and crafty for that to ever work.

Popular legend would have us believe that this is the very trick Dashing Dave Pearson used in 1864 to kill Natches Murphy, the infamous Fresno pistoleer. It's said that Dashing Dave crouched underneath a straw lined chicken wire dome, set the contraption ablaze and over the course of several hours inched his way across a small meadow and two corals, coming to a stop practically at Natches Murphy's feet. At which point he proceed to leisurely gun Murphy down.

This however is a complete fabrication. Historians agree that in actuality Dashing Dave Pearson shot Natches Murphy in cold blood while Natches lay in bed, helpless and possibly dying after a drunken attempt to lasso an elk with a pair of suspenders had gone horribly wrong.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Come Hell or Sausage

Well, so now Latigo Flint knows that there is at least one girl in the world who does not respond favorably at all to the statement: "Little lady, you know you can always depend on me - I'll be there for you, come hell or sausage."

And it doesn't seem to help in the slightest to explain after the fact that since sausage is a popular breakfast dish, and most people die in their sleep, "come hell or sausage" is actually a rather clever way of saying "come what may/no matter what etc."

(It probably also didn't help that the young woman in question had never met Latigo Flint before.)

One girl out of billions isn't a large enough sample size to completely rule out the aforementioned line's icebreaker potential, but the response was so unpleasant that Latigo Flint hasn't the heart to use it even one more time.

Perhaps next time Latigo Flint will try "come hell or bacon" in order to remove any possible phallic connotation.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Dang It

Latigo Flint was so ready - it was going to be tremendous, a glorious moment of triumph and vindication, but it never happened.

Many weeks ago in one of the comment strings that occasionally follow Latigo Flint's posts, Latigo Flint made the following comment: "Tom Cruise was in one of the greatest films ever made... Young Guns!!!"

Latigo Flint was so hoping that some urbanite fool would hop up on his or her fool-box and attack Latigo Flint's knowledge and expertise of the gun culture art genre - perhaps something along the lines of: "Are you high Lat-i-blow you sloppy lame? Tom Cruise wasn't ever in the Young Guns movie. Jagoff!!!!!!"

With the gauntlet now thrown by one who truly should have known better, Latigo Flint would have smiled slightly, a sardonic glint in his squinty eyes. Then Latigo Flint's response would have been swift and brutal. "Perhaps my friend it is in fact you who is high. For look yonder at the proof located on this webpage of the incomparable Internet Movie Database. Indeed you silly neophyte, Tom Cruise did appear in a cameo role in the fine film, Young Guns. He portrayed one of the opposition gunmen in the final battle scene. Now move along before you really make Latigo Flint mad."

But alas this fine moment never came to pass. Perhaps Tom Cruise's presence in Young Guns is much more common knowledge than Latigo Flint believed it to be. Or perhaps no one really pays attention to what anyone else is writing anymore. Latigo Flint blames television.

Or wait, recoil your lariat... just this instant at the very close of this post, Latigo Flint suddenly had a third notion. Perhaps the comment was read and fully comprehended by the millions of people who visit Anewwordforfast daily, but of course it wasn't doubted. Who in their right mind would question Latigo Flint about such a thing. Yes, that must be it. How silly of Latigo Flint to think otherwise. Latigo Flint feels so much better now.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Random Answers

1) Sure, no problem.
2) I really doubt it.
3) Yes, that would make you gay.
4) Samuel Clemens.
5) I'd prefer you didn't.
6) It depends on how lactose intolerant you are.
7) Yep.
8) If she says it's okay.
9) Has something to do with light refraction.
10) No comment.
11) It was Delroy Lindo, you're thinking of Dennis Haysbert.
12) Okay fine, but you better stop if I tell you it hurts.
13) You know, same ol' same ol'.
14) Never in a million years.
15) If I tell you it'll spoil the surprise.
16) Five - one to hold the bulb and four to spin the ladder.
17) Bismarck.
18) I don't know, I had my eyes closed the whole time.
19) I'd be delighted.
20) Damn it Emily - because I could lose my license.
21) Midnight Oil.
22) Oh it looks fine, you can hardly notice it.
23) Carbon nanotubes.
24) Because it's wrong, no matter how you justify it.
25) Yeah, we were pretty good too - lots of A&R guys were interested in our demo.
26) I'm not going to tell you again, the answer's NO!
27) That was just a rumor.
28) Oh without a doubt... Latigo Flint. It's not even close.

All the best to you in 2005. I wish like hell it was 1855 so I'd get the respect and adulation I deserve, but Happy New Year anyway.