Monday, April 18, 2005

On the Savage Shores of Mirror Lake

Apparently it's possible to do something called: "Defacing a National Landmark", and it carries a substantial fine.

Well okay, so now Latigo Flint knows.

You know, it would have been nice if the Yosemite Visitors Guide pamphlet had mentioned as much - perhaps a paragraph or footnote about how you aren't allowed to paint a twenty-story portrait of yourself on the cliff face of Half Dome by repeatedly base-jumping off the top, armed with a high-powered paintball gun. But I guess that's just another example of government inefficiency right there.

They never would have caught Latigo Flint if it weren't for that bit of trouble I had on the twenty-ninth jump. I was concentrating on painting the shade of my hat brim so it falls just right across my squinty-eyes. Not exactly an easy task when your brush is a paintball gun and you're twisting to the earth beneath a parachute.

The trick was to graze the black paint pellets across a sharp outcropping, slicing them open but not altering their trajectory. Then momentum and the wind would work together to deposit a nice dusting shade. I squeezed off a couple dozen perfectly aimed rounds. Even from here I could tell it was going to look really, really good.
"Hot damn!"
I hollered and raised my hands in triumph. The barrel of my paintball gun tangled in my left riser and I instantly veered into the cliff. "Well, that's kind of ironic," I thought as my forehead smashed into the greasy, painted granite. "I'm head-butting myself in the eye."

Then I looked up at my shredded canopy and realized I had bigger problems.

In a near freefall I plummeted towards the ground, crashed through a grove of rugged Douglas Firs and landed with a brain-sloshing impact on the shore of Mirror Lake.

For a while I could do little more than moan softly to myself. I heard horrible grating sounds coming from various internal organs. Then I noticed a child sitting on a stump five feet away, watching me.

"Little boy!" God, it hurt to talk. "Little boy, Latigo Flint has injured himself. Go get help please!"

The boy frowned at me. "You landed on a tiny frog."

"Yeah, that's nice boy. Go get help now."

"He was small enough to fit on a nickel."

"Look, that's super. I think there's a ranger station down that trail a bit."

"I named him Philip. He was my friend."

Christ, I didn't have time for this, it felt like my kidneys were using my ribs to swordfight. "I really don't care. Go get a goddamn ranger!!!"

"Philip never did anything to you."

Obviously this was going to require a different approach. "Look boy, did you hold Philip?"

"Yes, very gently so I wouldn't hurt him. Philip let me pet him. Philip liked me as much as I liked him. He was showing me which flowers are his favorites. Then you squished him."

Success, I had the little bastard! "Well, there you go boy - there's an oil on human skin, especially the fingertips, that kills little frogs. The second you touched him you condemned him to a long and horrible death. I'm Philip's real friend, sparing him from that. Now go get the fucking ranger!!!"

The boy reflected on this for a moment then looked back at me. "That's a lie." He said it as a fact, not an accusation. "I see experts holding frogs on nature shows all the time." Then he stood and walked away.

"Attaboy! Ranger station down the trail. Get the good helpy-help for Latigo Flint. No boy, the other way. The other way!!! Boy, can you hear me?!!! BOY!!!"

Right around then is when I passed out. They tell me some hikers found me the next morning. I was half-frozen and having a delirious conversation with the splattered remains of a tiny frog. First thing I remember is coming to in an airlift chopper. Next to me sat a ranger with a calculator, filling out bills and taping them to my boot. All in all it was really quite an expensive weekend I just had - financially and pridefully.

(And the damn frog was endangered, so that was like another four grand right there.)


At 9:56 PM, Blogger Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm said...

I went to Camp Napowan in Wisconsin as a boyscout and there was a three mile trail to the blacksmithy and leather punching village.

I ditched my Lifesaving Merit Badge class to go there one morning and make a crowbar. On the way back a modest drizzle swept thousands of tiny frogs from from the branches of the trees that covered the path. Several scouts, including myself, caught as many as possible and threw them in jars with sticks, leaves, and grass.

I brought mine home and kept them for a year.

Most of the other boys threw them into the campfire to hear them pop.

At 10:17 PM, Blogger darthmoridin said...

You need to heed my advice. You aren't shooting enough people in the leg. You should be handing out lessons with those peacemakers. How can they make peace when they sit in your holsters, collecting dust and grime?

At 5:52 AM, Blogger Mister Jinxy said...

Airborne, Latigo. Hadn't pegged you for a paratrooper, but well done.

A plague of frogs upon the house of that Little Boy.

At 6:26 AM, Blogger slarrow said...

See, Latigo, what you could have told him is that you were actually an angel (that's why you came from "heaven") and that Phillip was desperately needed in Heaven, so you were sent down to get him. (Of course, you would have have had to tell him this before the cursing. On the other hand, in this modern age, maybe cursing angels are "trendy.")

(Of course, the circumstances of your episode would make you a "fallen angel." But there's no reason you'd have to tell the little snot that.)

At 9:46 AM, Blogger J said...

Latigo, Los Angeles needs more self-sufficient enforcers of peace, truth, and honor in an "old west" kind of way. Hats off to you for your hard work at taking us back to a time when life was more simple. More violent, true, but also more simple.

At 10:30 AM, Blogger Ghost Dog said...

Airborne nothin', Jinxy-san. If Latigo Flint had been dangling from a UH-60 (piloted of course by our man Punk-san), he'd have never had any trouble at all. In fact, he could have finished the job and snapped pictures to post on his blog.

Air Assault!

At 3:51 PM, Blogger Jedi Knight Sh'Ping said...

Dear Master Flint,

I am impressed with you. You show true spirit and a want... naaa a need to defend the defenceless in this case the small child from being harmed mentally from the death and crushing of his friend the frog.

As I have said before I truely believe that you possess the spirit of a Jedi and as they say: Another time, another place...

At 4:48 PM, Blogger Teaspoon said...

alas poor Philip I knew him... well. LF I take it as a very serious affront when someone defaces natures landmarks. Growing up in Alaska you learn to respect the land. you have fallen slightly in my eyes my friend.

Or that could just be the drink talking got to stay away from the Yagger in the morning does strange things to you.

Get away from me foul harpy. Winged viliness. Bitch.

At 6:19 PM, Blogger Cad Grublygold said...

The park pamphlets really are crap Flint, it won’t say so in the stupid guide book but get this. You also are not allowed to hunt spotted owls, paint squirrels green to help camouflage them, stomp on protected flowers, or hack at redwood trees that trip you on the trail with a big axe. Just what is the point of saving land for “everyone to use” if everyone can’t use it as they see fit.

At 9:56 PM, Blogger Amandarama said...

You did the right thing, Latigo.

A frog killed my father.

Kept saying things about "Come see my favorite flowers". Next thing you know - splat.

Don't trust frogs. The only good frog is a dead one. The kid'll learn this in time.

At 3:03 AM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

Thank you for telling me that Steve. Most of those other boys are going to get cancer of the genitals. Accidental killing of frogs is one thing. Intentionally killing a tiny frog... Well, God hates that.

You're dern close to learning a little lesson in gun-wound-empathy D.Mor.

Jinxy, it's just the train keeps on movin', and that's what tortures me.

You are so right Slarrow. The second that little bastard left, I knew I should have gone in your direction.

Thank you J. You sound like a man who knows how truly wretched this lovely town can be.

I never claimed to have my wings Ghost Dog. I just slap thigh and shuck iron faster than a mongoose smirks. (And why does the mongoose smirk? Is the sort of question your sensei would ask.)

Most honorable Sh'ping, um, I watched the movies, Beautiful Girls and The Professional back to back and now I'm dealing with a bit of a moral crisis...

I fell more than slightly TSP. I fell brain-sloshingly!

It's sick is what it is Cad. And do you know they jail you for painting otters blue. Hey, do you or don't you want the Orcas to gobble them up?!

I know, so much suffering A-rama. Goddamn amphibians.

At 12:04 PM, Blogger darthmoridin said...

Pray tell, who's going to be teaching that lesson? Obviously not you.

At 9:00 AM, Blogger Ghost Dog said...

The mongoose smirks because he knows something no one else does. And that the snake is his bitch.

At 7:29 PM, Blogger scribe called steff said...

I wonder if it's weekends like this that make it more likely you'll die on a monday. Hmm.


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