Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Of Herons and Heroes

Southern California has recently found itself besieged by rain, and the Los Angeles River runs higher and swifter than any can remember. Today Latigo Flint was enjoying a leisurely stroll across a pedestrian enabled overpass when he heard a frantic call for assistance. He dashed to the far side and found a woman screeching and pointing upriver at something bouncing along with the muddy torrent.

"A great blue heron has fallen in! Someone must saaaave that great blue heron!"
Then she noticed Latigo Flint was standing by her side. With a snarl she whirled and shoved me through a large hole in the chain link fence. "Fucking save it!"

I came disastrously close to a nasty tumble down the concrete slope, but was able to regain my balance. "What are you standing around for? You fucking save it now!!!" I followed her pointing finger with my squinty eyes - Eyes much keener than hers apparently.

"Madam, I do not believe that is in fact a great blue heron. I am actually quite certain it is an old, plastic tricycle with a trash bag caught in the spokes."

She threw a fit. "You vile hillbilly, it is a great blue heron on the verge of drowning and it needs rescuing this instant! Or are you a filthy coward!?"

I sighed and eased my way to the water's edge. The "rescue" was beyond perilous. I stood chest-deep in roiling, murderous water, my trembling left hand clutching a piece of rebar that jutted from the bank, and managed with my right to snag and toss the old plastic tricycle with a trash bag tangled in the spokes to shore. I looked up at the woman and shrugged. She glanced at the tricycle, gave me the finger and then kicked a stone down the embankment at my head.

Neither the woman nor I could have possibly been more surprised when a loud squawking suddenly sounded from upriver and a drowning great blue heron tumbled around the bend and collided with my face. I somehow got both of us to shore, staggered up the hill as the terrified bird pecked and clawed at my eyes, and collapsed at the woman's feet.
"Told you so asshole!" She kicked me in the kidney and dialed Channel 7 Eyewitness News.

The TV reporter conducted an extensive interview with the "heroic" woman, the two of them kneeling compassionately next to the rescued heron who sat cozy and warm, wrapped in a big yellow blanket. I lay next to the fence, two hundred feet away, moaning softly as I feebly tried to extract a muddy hypodermic needle that had somehow lodged in my shoulder blade. When the interview was finished they all ran to their vehicles and drove away - they took the blanket with them.

I managed to raise up onto one elbow. The great blue heron was stumbling around in the middle of the street, watching the cars disappear. It squarked sadly to itself.
"Hey big fella, got a name?" It turned at the sound of my voice, trotted over and stood majestically above me. Then it went for my eyes.
"No!" I weakly cuffed it upside the head. "Friends don't go for each other's eyes damnit!" I thought a moment. "I shall name you Billy - Billy the Great Blue Herron." Billy squarked agreeably. I fished around in my buckskin pouch, found a piece of jerky and took a bite. "Billy, my name is Latigo Flint." I offered him the other half and he eagerly ate it.

Then he went for my eyes again.

16 Comments:

At 12:44 AM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Latigo Flint, you showed remarkable restraint.

If I were in that situation and had half your skill with a six-gun, I'd have shot Bill betwewen his feathered bird balls.

 
At 4:43 AM, Blogger Rasmus said...

Surely you would've been able to shoot the tricycle at just the right angle, and fast enough, for it to jump out of the water.

Might I ask why you didn't do this?

 
At 5:41 AM, Blogger Mister Jinxy said...

I expected this to end in hail of gunfire. Nontheless, very amusing.

 
At 6:53 AM, Blogger ~ Storm said...

A Don Quixote for the modern age...

Thanks for making me laugh so much this morning.

I agree with Rasmus, though. You should have shown that bitch a thing or two by shooting the tricycle out of the water and riding it on the waves to rescue the bird. Then you could have run it down when it tried to peck your eyes out.

 
At 8:07 AM, Blogger Blog ho said...

The last line got me, this time. I laughed. Fucking hippies. They will ruin us, Latigo.

 
At 10:00 AM, Blogger Gil The Carnie said...

Reeeebar!

 
At 12:58 PM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 12:59 PM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

I'm working my way through your archives.

I'm diggin' the retrospective Latigo Flint thing. Tracing your path to legend.

You should pack all your old stuff into a paperback and name it "The Portable Latigo Flint Reader."

 
At 1:35 PM, Blogger Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm said...

You are too generous, Latigo Flint.

I think I speak for all of us when I saw we would think no less of you had you opted to strangle the beast and grill over your scorching firepit.

 
At 1:37 PM, Blogger Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm said...

"I say."

I am humbled by my keyboard again. If I only had the keen eyes and accurate hands of the great Latigo Flint.

 
At 3:34 PM, Blogger darthmoridin said...

Latigo must be like a modern day Caine, able to control his emotions so well that he doesn't even have to push down the murderous rage that most of us would feel in this situation. If he could teach the rest of us this skill, the world would be a happier place.

 
At 4:01 PM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

LBB, I believe you get the chair in CA for shooting an endangered bird.

Keen mind Rasmus. Latigo Flint considered this - however the woman probably would have had an aneurysm and I didn't want that on my conscience.

Thank you Mr. Jinxy. (I kinda did too.)

Had I it to do again ~storm, it very well may have gone down just as you've described.

You are my sunshine Ho. The irony is that whenever I wear one of my fine serapes I am constantly mistaken for one.

You know it Gil.

Thank you LBB.
(Were you in front of me now, those words would be accompanied by the "handshake with right hand, left hand to your shoulder - sincere eye contact".)

Bottle Rocket, keyboards tend to periodically humble us all. (Plus I'd imagine you're still recovering from a certain funeral.)

D. Mor, Latigo Flint never claimed to be any kind of messiah. Moreover, there may be much that Latigo Flint has simply chosen not to speak of on the subject of murderous rage.

 
At 5:25 PM, Blogger darthmoridin said...

Well, if you're going to spoil the illusion, you must elaborate on the subject of murderous rage. Don't go trampling on a compliment, gunslinger.

 
At 6:17 PM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

If you really must know D. Mor, I felt a flutter of it just now reading your comment. A thousand demonic hounds bayed in my brain and a serpentine voice hissed "Latigo, you know where he livessssss." But I quickly cracked a cold Bud and calmed right down.

(After all, friends don't go for each other's eyes.)

 
At 1:10 AM, Blogger Cad Grublygold said...

I must say Latigo, I am most puzzled by your actions. The same Latigo that dreams of killing a dolfin one day, risks everything to rescue a heron?? What gives??

 
At 7:31 PM, Blogger Ari said...

So great. Still.

 

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