Saturday, April 30, 2005

Norcrest the Incontinent

Latigo Flint is occasionally seized by fits of paralyzing melancholy. See, Latigo Flint is the quickest quickdraw the world has ever known. People are given to believe they've just had a seizure and lost time when they behold the awesome sight of Latigo Flint slapping thigh and shucking iron. But bitter this wasted, useless talent - so cruel a birth 150 years late (or early?)

Sometimes talking to a dying hippy cheers Latigo Flint up, and sometimes it doesn't.

As far as I know, the sun doesn't shine on an afternoon that won't find Norcrest the Incontinent sitting on his bench at the north end of the Silverlake Dog Park. No one knows Norcrest's real name - he legally changed it in '68. It's quite possible he doesn't even remember what it was now. "I was all about change, man." Norcrest the Incontinent admitted to me several years ago, "My name needed to reflect that. But man, the irony is-" At that point, Norcrest let out a little groan, glanced down guiltily and promptly switched subjects.

But my friend Norcrest was in his very bad way yesterday and we couldn't engage in our normal ritual of comfortable conversation that always brings us both some joy.

"Abner!" He was weeping as I approached. "Abner, those men are all prettier than me." It's never a good sign when Norcrest forgets my name. It means at best our conversation will be little more than two gloomy strangers talking to themselves side by side. I sat down and tried to shake his hand hello, but he wouldn't stop waving them about long enough for me to do so. "Abner it's wretched... that Cat Stevens just blew up a bus carrying a junior high girl's basketball team." I sighed. "You know that's not even remotely true Norcrest, so stop self hating." He hugged his spindly white legs hard against his chest, closed his eyes and started softly singing Paul Simon's A Church is Burning.

It was obvious we were to have no rational dialogue today. I went with it. "Louis L'Amour died June 10th 1988. I was young and laughing that day, I didn't know. I'd go back and scream if I could."

It was Norcrest's turn. "Cancer in my bowels is the funny thing that happened on the way to a wasted life."

And mine. "They killed the noble mustang and turned 'em into dog food. Some crazy hippies tried to save 'em. They didn't try near hard enough."

His. "I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children."

Mine. "My opinions on which animals deserve to be saved are guided by a sick, self-serving hypocrisy."

"I'm Norcrest the Incontinent and I eventually drive away every friend I have."

"Well I'm Latigo Flint and I may just dislike you enough to prove you wrong there."

Norcrest fell silent then. He tried very hard to hide the slow, warm smile that crept to his face, but I saw it.


At 4:09 PM, Blogger Amandarama said...

Latigo, you clearly have a heart of gold and are a prince among men. That hippy will realize that someday. Preferably before metastasis.

At 5:17 PM, Blogger David Campbell said...

Thas beautiful, man. Thas beautiful.

At 9:21 PM, Blogger Other Brother said...

L'Amour's passing was a dark day for us all. His legacy lives on in the beautiful stories of an untamed land and time that he left behind. If ever anyone was born 150 years too late, it was him.

and you too LF. of course you were born too late.

At 11:28 AM, Blogger scribe called steff said...

I find myself wondering:

Does Latigo Flint do mescaline?

All those lonely cactii out there, all those drugs to be had. Nothin' but a sagebrush and a high.

I mean, it'd explain the colon cancer line.

Long live Louie. Oh. Right. That's not gonna happen.

/moment of silence

At 6:58 PM, Blogger Matteus Von Mustard said...

Ah Latigo, you have brought a tear to my eye once again with your patented blend of melancholy and surrealism.

I dropped by this evening, because I have begun a new side-venture and I thought you might be interested. In the past I have noticed you have a tendency to include celebrities in your blog.

Right now, I'm working on a site that's charting the sixers playoff run game by game that's combined with a fantastic story about AI's superhuman abilities.

It's called "The Truth about The Answer" so check it out.

The address is

Sorry if this seems like comment spam to you, but I know of no other way to contact you.

At 9:22 AM, Blogger J said...

The blending of truth and not-so-truth is brilliant.

Why were you at a dog park, anyway? They don't seem nearly big enough in which to walk a trusty steed...

At 9:29 AM, Blogger Blog ho said...

you had the best line...and had it last. the best time to drop the best lines.

At 11:33 AM, Blogger slarrow said...

Ah, Latigo, you ought not scream on the day that Louis Dearborn L'Amour died. Too womanly. Hell, even the women in L'Amour's books did not scream in such an effete, "come-save-me" way. They were too busy planning how to pull the gun from their pockets or scald their captors with hot coffee.

Doubtless you were young and laughing for a reason, practicing the quick draw with your silverly cap guns ("just like pointing your finger," so said the master), becoming a legend in the making. It is proper that you were bereft of such genius at a young age, just like many a L'Amour protagonist.

Of course, they usually grew up to defeat evil, defend the right, and win the love of a woman through hard work and hard iron. Alas that life does not follow the melancholy romances of the L'Amour West and that the world of the far blue mountains and lonesome prairies is so far removed from the world that gives us Starbuck's. Truly born too late....

At 5:17 PM, Blogger Cad Grublygold said...

Norcrest aught to come to Merced, he'd feel right at home with the other 1,000 plus incontinent hippies in this town. By the way, slarrow is from the Ozarks, that's really cool, noboubt he has read Where The Red Fern Grows.

At 8:15 PM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

Thank you Amandarama. Norcrest says I'm a contradiction. He also says I'm an alien made of organic stucco... it depends on his residual chemical level that day.

Thank you David, thank you.

Why it's enough to drive a man to drink O.B.

Hey Steff! Dern it, I don't do peyote often, and when I do it's always ceremonially, okay?!

Howdy Matteus. He's quite the squinty-eyed little gunslinger in his own right, that AI. But I like your theory as well. (And no problem at all sir, I am not easily offended, can't afford to be what with CA's three-strikes law.)

J... By the waxed handlebar of Earp, are you callin' Latigo Flint a liar?!!!

And yours ain't so bad either dear Ho.

"Just like pointing your finger!!!" "And make the first one count." Great Dearborn's Ghost you've made my day. Is your full name Slarrow Sackett? Born with the Welsh gift for word and song?

Glad to see they've yet to break through your defenses and chop down your internet tower Grublygold. (And yes C.G., that there Slarrow fella... there walks a man, wouldn't you say?)

At 3:50 AM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

This post evidences my theory that all hippies suck.

At 9:12 PM, Blogger jon said...

I am looking everywhere for ballet shoes and ballet shoes, while doing so I somehow stumbled onto your ballet shoes blog. I am happy to say I learned something and will look into this further...

Thanks for the great posts...



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