Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Rhythmic Outlands

Every marching band will someday find itself in the Rhythmic Outlands--that blasted and arid country that is devoid of odor because an unreasonable sun has scorched all odors away. All odors except the pungent aroma of despair and off-time steps. Yes, despair and off-time steps have an aroma, very much so. It is a distinct and pungent aroma... and the sun cannot scorch it away, as I believe I have already stated.

A marching band enters the Outlands as a team, believing themselves united and strong. A harsh reality awaits: they are not a team, united and strong--they are simply a unit lulled into over-rehearsed complacency.

Latigo Flint has seen entire squads fall, shamed and weeping. He watches them wilt and die without emotion. Latigo Flint has no sympathy to spare, he must save it all for himself; Latigo Flint has his own tympanic demons to face. Out here in the Rhythmic Outlands folks fight their own battles. It is how it has always been.

"Aren't you exaggerating a bit?" (This is what a fool might say.) "Is it really quite that dire?"

At such a fool my eyes would squint. I'd stare at a point just above and to the left of their right shoulder. My upper lip curls and chest muscles tense. I'm gazing out at death, corpses no one has ever noticed. I grasp the fool's shirt front and snarl into his pale face.

"Dire?! If anything I've understated." I release his shirt and my voice lowers to a near whisper. It's clear I'm only going to say this once.

"Tumble off the back of a brakeless hickory carriage as it steadily crosses a barren plain and you'll know what dire is. How you react in the next second determines your fate. You recover and re-board or you die. Waste even a moment blaming carriage or driver and desert creatures scatter your bones.

The good carriage Tempo is cruel but without malice. Its path is predictable and it freely discloses its destination. It costs nothing to ride, everything to stay."

I fall into a spent, moody silence. The fool considers my words then speaks. "I'm sorry... are we talking about drumming?"

"Probably, maybe, I don't know."

The fool nods in sudden realization. "Don't you think calling me a fool is kinda like the fuckin' pot and the kettle calling each other black and stuff?"

"I don't know, maybe, probably."

"Right. Well, we're going to start the parade now. You're gonna have to go back to the grandstands, only performers are allowed down here."

So I headed back to the grandstand. On the way I decided I wanted some cotton candy but I couldn't find any vendors. I tried to dream up elaborate western death scenarios to explain the hazards faced by cotton candy vendors but by now I was too tired and morose and I simply went home.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Dented Gold Pans

The problem with panning for gold is that to do it effectively you have to put your hands in the river. Alligators and freshwater bull sharks live in rivers, and alligators and freshwater bull sharks like to bite hands off. It is almost impossible to pan for gold once you've had your hands bitten off by an alligator or a freshwater bull shark.

So now look where you are: You don't have any gold because you had to give what little you had to the doctor who stitched you up. You can't get any more gold because you have no hands, and you have no hands.

Just doesn't seem worth it to Latigo Flint. Don't make any kind of sense -- and it didn't make sense to my Squinty-Eyed predecessors either.

Gold was discovered in California on the outskirts of the town of Coloma in January 1848 during construction of a sawmill. So began one of the largest human migrations in history. The next sixteen years would see nearly a million people flock to the shores of Mid/Northern California's sun dappled rivers and streams.

Less than one in ten thousand had the keen insight and shrewd logic to stop short on the banks. These few would go on to become the world's first Squinty-Eyed Gunslingers. Now don't you for one second think that Squinty-Eyed Gunslingers are afraid of alligators or bull sharks - 'cause we aren't. It's just that we happen to possess the steady mind and contemplative eye necessary to follow logic paths to their inevitable destination.

"Wait a minute!" A soon-to-be Squinty-Eyed Gunslinger exclaimed. "That's a river!" (He was right.) "You're saying the gold is in the river?" (Yep, yep - that's what they were saying.) "Don't you know alligators and freshwater bull sharks live in rivers and like to bite hands off? How are you supposed to continue to pan for gold when you don't have any hands?!"

But no one cared to listen to his wisdom. He shook his head, turned and walked to a desert town where he spent several years practicing quickdraws, squinty-eyed stares, spitting indifferently, sexy leans against hitching posts and heroic techniques for rescuing lovely ladies.

Most of the gold prospectors had their hands bitten off by alligators and/or freshwater bull sharks. Meanwhile the Squinty-Eyed Gunslingers became awesome and received a disproportionate amount of sexual intercourse from lovely ladies.

This is a very happy ending to this chapter in time. It doesn't always happen in history, you know? It sure is nice when it does.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Public Stoning, A Love Story

"That pretty girl likes me, she just doesn't know it yet." is a perfectly acceptable mindset for fictional cinema characters. However, Latigo Flint is beginning to realize that in real life the consequences of acting on such an opinion are often unpleasant, and occasionally disastrous.

Have you ever been publicly stoned? Latigo Flint has. It's not much fun. It leaves something to be desired -- Principally: "I very much desire that this not be happening to me right now."

"Grow up Latigo Flint." This is what I told myself. "Grow up and realize that adorably stubborn efforts to woo cute Starbucks baristas seldom work out in the end and may in fact lead to you being publicly stoned to within an inch of your life."

Questions are the rebar in the tower of knowledge. 'Know thyself' someone smart once said. Well, I can put six and six together, so naturally I questioned myself.

"How can you be certain, self, that adorably stubborn efforts to woo cute Starbucks baristas seldom work out in the end and may in fact lead to my own public stoning?"

"Well, are you at this very moment being publicly stoned to within an inch of your life?"

"Um... OW! Yeah, I guess."

"And was it a direct result of your adorably stubborn efforts to woo the cute Starbucks barista?"

"Let me think... Yeah."

"Well, there you go."

I had a point there. But wait! I just thought of something.

"Hey self!"


"I just thought of something -- How do you know that she won't fall madly in love when she sees the agony we're willing to endure for her, coupled with all these sexy rivulets of blood running down our tawny and rippley muscles?"

"... My god! You may just have something there - that is, I may just have something there."

"Either way. Let's say we may just have something here."

"Fair enough. Hey, do you think she's in love with us yet."

"Tough to tell. Here comes half a cinder block at our collarbone, I'm going to wince stoically and snarl at the sky like a sexy, wounded beast - you watch her reaction for any signs of repressed passion."

"Good plan... Hey, I dig you, Me."

"I dig you too. Now come on, we gots work to do."


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Laughing, Ghostly Dancers

Those people eating frozen yogurt on the outdoor patio of Latigo Flint's local shopping plaza have no idea that Latigo Flint is able to climb the tree that grows in the nearby planter.

This is how a Squinty-Eyed Gunslinger's mind works. Every potential advantage, every possible asset in every conceivable scenario is meticulously calculated, every second of every day.

If an unseen adversary currently mingles with the relaxing shoppers and has designs on shooting Latigo Flint in the back, that villain will surely expect Latigo Flint to attempt a draw at the first glimpse of iron. He will not be expecting Latigo Flint to leap on the concrete planter, quickly scale the small ficus tree and then return fire from this sudden vantage.

The front door at Starbucks sticks just a bit. File that shit away, (tap-tap goes the finger to the temple) could save a Quickdraw's life someday. Shopping cart with a wobbly wheel - file it away! Pull that apple, the stack comes down - tuck that in your hat brim. Don't need it now? Might need it soon.

Baby, stroller, recently waxed floor! Good to know, good to know. Puppy dog behind that bench, not visible from certain angles - interesting, interesting!

Dern, I've just bonked my shin really hard on this friggin' bike rack... Excellent!!! File it away! Mustn't let anyone know I've just bonked my shin on this friggin' bike rack though. Exclusive information births advantage, see?

It's evolution baby!!! Squinty-Eyed Gunslingers aren't born, they're made. The quick and the dead, the sharp and the dull and whatnot. Only the good die young. Don't you know that you are a shooting star? A rock feels no pain, and an island never cries.



Okay... turns out mixing Red Bull, vodka and paint thinner ain't such a great idea. I just put my fist through my monitor. I'm going to have to guess where the "Publish Post" button is now.

Wait a minute, I don't want you to know I've just put my fist through my monitor -- after all, exclusive information births advantage...

Um, attention: Just then when I said I put my fist through my monitor, I meant my pet monitor lizard, not my computer monitor. My computer monitor is fine. My pet monitor lizard, um, "Señor Sackett", needs immediate medical attention. I'm taking Señor Sackett to the vet now. Good night.

"Let's see, publish post, publish post... If I were a Publish Post Button, where would I be?"

"Shut up man, they can hear you."

"Reap it you laughing ghostly dancer, no they can't!"

Monday, July 25, 2005

A Grumpy Poem

When Latigo Flint was eleven years old he wrote the grumpiest poem ever. Would you like to read it? Here it is:

go on lay in the arms of your cool man
some night he'll tear at your throat with a cruel hand

you'll reflect with regret on this Latigo met

whom you spurned and refused and pride did so bruise

the mean words you did say as cast flowers astray

traded morrow's love for a BMXer today...

(deadly pause, slow page turn)

I hope average and long your life is Gal
with no great pain and no great joy

I'm striding towards those far hills Gal

I'm Latigo Flint and I'm quite a boy

In the shocked silence of my 6th grade classroom, I extended my arms to the side. Each fist clutched a sheet of my two-page poem. I opened my hands and the paper fluttered to the ground.

I sneered at the ceiling for a while with my arms still outstretched and fingers spread wide, just like I had practiced. Then I slowly tucked my head to my right shoulder and by squinting down the collar of my shirt, I was able to read the note that I had inked for myself upside-down across my smooth breast. It read:

"Hey Latigo, if they aren't cheering for you really, really loud right now, then you need to say:

'Friends, I found poop in those hills! Lots and lots and lots of poop. I put all the poop in Coach Thornton's thermos. He didn't know the difference. COACH THORNTON DRANK THE POOP!!!'"

So I said it -- and it brought the classroom down.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

One Antler Moose

The worst mistake anyone could ever make would be to assume that One Antler Moose is half a moose. One Antler Moose only has one antler, it's true, but that fact doesn't half his capacity to kill. If anything it doubles it.

The problem most moose encounter when they're trying to kill something is that almost everything they want to kill is narrower than their antler span. The moose are left/right indecisive with their antlers and often end up simply tickling their intended victims with soft, velvety ears.

One Antler Moose doesn't have this problem.

One Antler Moose always knows which antler he's going to use.

One Antler Moose and Latigo Flint have a wary respect for each other. We each see in the other an impressive ability to maim and kill.

"Hello there One Antler Moose." I say whenever our paths cross.

He replies with several snorts and tail shake.

I grin. This joke is as warm and familiar as an old stove. "I don't know One Antler Moose, what's the worst thing about goring and trampling a fat forest ranger?"

One Antler Moose flicks his ears and snorts again. I start chuckling. Just because you already know the punchline doesn't mean the joke isn't funny.

"Same as you ever were One Antler Moose." I glance at my pocket watch.

One Antler Moose clears his throat and paws at the ground.

I grin at him. "Yeah well, not if I see you first."

We continue on our respective paths, glancing over our shoulders as we depart. Over time a Squinty-Eyed Gunslinger and a One Antlered Moose can certainly become unlikely friends. He and I have already proved that. But it doesn't mean either of us wouldn't kill the other in a heartbeat should the opportunity present itself.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Behind These Walls

I just discovered where Kid Relish, my relatively trusty sidekick, has been these past few weeks. Turns out Kid Relish has been busy pitching his latest screenplay, Behind These Walls, all over town.

Kid Relish describes Behind These Walls as a hilarious, moving and at times thought provoking, dramatic comedy about a clerical error that incarcerates ten-year-old Tyler Sanders and Chloe, his precocious seven-year-old sister, in a maximum security Federal penitentiary.

Kid Relish pitches it as Home Alone meets American Me. He claims that since everyone likes prison dramas and everyone likes clever fish-out-of-water stories about wisecracking little kids, it’s just a matter of time before someone puts it all together and makes a grip of box office money.

The rumor is a junior script reader over at Warner Bros started retching uncontrollably by page two and hasn't shown up at work for over a week now.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Song Break

It soon became abundantly clear that in the breaks between songs, the audience was allowed to say or do anything they wanted.

The young man in jeans near the riser chose to turn and face the crowd and holler "Whooooo!" as loud as he could. The girl sitting at the side wall table chose to drop tiny, torn pieces of a napkin into her half-full drink while openly weeping. By the sound of it, someone near the bar decided to use this time for vomiting.

And hidden in the shadows of the furthest back corner stood Latigo Flint. Latigo Flint felt like raising one fist, knuckles facing the band, while slowly nodding his head in appreciation. So that's what Latigo Flint did.

I highly doubt anyone else saw the serene grin and goofy eyebrow lift that passed between the drummer and the bassist. It didn't last long but you sure don't need house speakers to hear a contented sigh if you know how to listen. They couldn't be making much, playing this crazy rural bar where an emotion has yet to be born that isn't exaggerated, but it was obviously enough -- and of course, the band's drinks are free.

Their audience was about to double, for from outside came the spluttering mumble of a brawl dying down. In stomped a handful of onlookers followed by the two bloody combatants, arm in arm and already starting to argue again over whom would buy the other a beer.

The front man set his songbook down and craned around to face his band: Whispered instructions and a hand signal or two. Drumsticks clicked out yet another medium tempo 4/4 beat. Simple cords were fretted above a slight feedback squeal.

Will Latigo Flint again raise a fist and slowly nod in appreciation next song break? More than likely. I'd say it's more than likely.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

What Evil Lurks in the Heat Shimmers

The shoppers returning to their vehicles needed to be made aware of the fact that one of the parking meters was pure evil and enjoyed bonking knees.

This is how it came to pass that today found Latigo Flint standing squinty-eyed and stoic near the entrance of that public parking lot that's behind the local shopping plaza as the mid-day sun tried its dernest to liquefy the blacktop coating. I think the sun knew deep down that its chances of actually liquefying the blacktop were slim. It took some comfort in its ability to liquefy the back of my leather vest.

Another shopper hurried around the corner dragging parcels.

"Hold up there please." I said, and my outstretched palm confirmed it. "Ma'am, I must warn you that one of the parking meters in this lot is pure evil and it derives sadistic pleasure from bonking knees."

She glanced around trying to find the hidden camera while I desperately tried to avoid staring at her white blouse made translucent by perspiration.

We both failed.

She decided to keep on walking.

"Ma'am I implore you - let me escort you to your vehicle. It is not safe in this parking lot, for as I said, one of the meters has gone completely rogue and routinely bonks unwary knees."

I could hear her inner oaths. People need to learn how to not think quite so loud. Her tone was chilly when she finally spoke. "And exactly which one of these meters do you think is evil?"

I shook my head sadly and scuffed the ground. "That's the trouble Ma'am - he's a shifty bastard and a master of disguise. It's probably best that you just let me escort you. If he's currently the one lurking in front of your vehicle I'll be able to spot him before he attacks and bonks your knee."

She started to decline but the urgency in my eyes must have caused her to reconsider.

But then moments later she flagged down a passing police officer and I got to experience thumb printing and a holding cell... again.

At least the stations have central air.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail

Latigo Flint's local chain restaurant & brewery has just instituted a policy that limits the number of drink straws a table can request to three per person.

They claim it's simply one of a number of environmentally friendly initiatives recently mandated by the corporate office but Latigo Flint suspects a hidden agenda -- for you see, it is impossible to create a 1/8400th scale diorama of covered wagons traversing the Spanish Peaks Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail with drink menus and salt shakers if you don't have at least three hundred and eighty-four straws.

A cute, off-duty waitress (sorry, "Server") was kind enough to confirm Latigo Flint's suspicions. Of course, I guess she sorta had to -- Latigo Flint is in there almost every night and he routinely tips 72%. That Scion payment isn't going to earn itself!

I paced the parking lot and hurled intense squinty-eyed glares in the direction of the restaurant & brewery while she fiddled nervously with her car antenna.

I stopped pacing and rubbed my temple with a trembling fist. "You all are in the service industry right?!"

She glanced at her cell phone for the eighth time that minute. "Well... yes."

"And as such are tasked with ensuring the patron is happy?"

"Um, I guess."

I had her; she'd fallen right into my logic trap! "Well dern it, building scale dioramas that depict covered wagons traversing the Spanish Peaks Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail with salt shakers, drink menus and straws is just about the only thing that brings me even a sliver of joy these days."

She frowned slightly. "But people slip on your covered wagons on their way to the restroom."

I lowered my chin and cast her a dangerous squint. "No one said the overland trail was easy. Anything truly worth having must also be worth dying for."

She mulled this over for a moment then replied. "Well okay... but no one can order alcoholic beverages if you're using all the drink menus to build miniature covered wagons."

Her words staggered me and I dropped to a knee. I contemplated pavement as my shoulders heaved.

"My God. What have I done?"
I slowly stared back up at the cute off-duty waitress, bitter tears of remorse speckling my sexy eyes. She was crouched frozen in the doorway of her Toyota Scion, her face divided - equal parts terror and lust.

I blinked and gave her a slight, sad smile. "I'm Latigo Flint."

"I know you are."



Sunday, July 17, 2005

If Latigo Flint Had Been There

Latigo Flint likes to sit around and think about how much different famous books, movies, songs, scientific journals, PowerPoint presentations etc. would have been if Latigo Flint had been there.

It has become something of a reoccurring theme over the months.

If Latigo Flint Had Been There:
The book Watership Down - by Richard Adams (March 2005)
The song American Pie - by Don McLean (March 2005)
The book Charlotte's Web - by E.B. White (November 2004)
The movie Cliffhanger - directed by Renny Harlin (November 2004)

But today's installment swerves a bit: For if Latigo Flint had been there in Kevin Costner's fine documentary film, Open Range, it wouldn't have been even slightly different. It would have all gone down exactly that way.

The list of reasons Open Range is one of the finer cinema presentations in the history of the medium is prohibitively long; you'd be reading all night. But I'll tell you this -- you could throw them all away except for the following two and the film would still be well worth the price of admission.

Two reasons alone make Open Range worth a rent:

Around the middle of the film, a barkeep rudely refuses to serve Robert Duvall and Costner on account of them being free-grazers. He leans back down to continue his conversation with a bar regular and when he does, Costner slides an empty mug the length of the bar at his head. The impact is violent, shockingly so, despite being bloodless and non-lethal.

But that's not it - here it is: In the cut back to Duvall and Costner we see that for just a moment they are stunned and perhaps even a bit appalled by the force with which the mug struck the bartender's temple. Sure he needed to be taught a lesson, just maybe not quite that hard. Perhaps the bar was a little slicker, the bottom of the mug flatter than Kevin thought and an unexpected hydroplane occurred.

It is an elegant moment -- subtle, glorious and true. It should (but probably won't) give pause to anyone who has ever belittled Kevin Costner.

Is the line: "Men are going to get killed here today Sue, and I'm gonna kill 'em. You understand that?"

The line's timing, inflection and context left me erect, emotionally and physically. I'm not ashamed to admit it.

Okay, that's all. See you later.

(Latigo Flint once tried to get Eve to watch Open Range with him. It could have gone better.)

Friday, July 15, 2005

A Sexy Fall

There is a cliff out on the edge of town that Latigo Flint knows he could fall off and survive. Latigo Flint knows this to be true because once Latigo Flint fell off that cliff and he did not die.

Falling off cliffs and surviving is very sexy. Cute girls are extremely attracted to a man who falls off a cliff and survives. Consequently, you'd have to really search hard in the scrubby mountain range just north of Los Angeles to find a cliff or rocky incline that Latigo Flint hasn't tumbled down at one time or another.

But Latigo Flint isn't a braggart - no Ma'am, that simply ain't the Squinty-Eyed Gunslinger way. A cute girl could be on an afternoon stroll with Latigo Flint past the bases of ten cliffs that Latigo Flint has toppled off and never once hear about it from him.

Unless of course the subject of falling off cliffs happens to come up naturally in the conversation.

"So I think my mother and I are just now learning to accept that we won't ever totally understand why the other does certain things."

"Uh-huh, uh-huh. Wow, that certainly is a steep and jagged slope over there."

"And so everything doesn't always have to be such a strain and drama like it used to be."

"Oh sure, that's great. Hmm, looks like it's about 60 feet from that granite ledge down to the rocky canyon floor."

"Because, it's so funny, in a lot of ways my mother and I are exactly alike, but then-"

"Yeah, neat. Hey, I'm going to take my shirt off now and get some of this great sun on my shoulders... Of course, this giant rock-shaped scar on my left shoulder doesn't ever tan quite the same color."


"So you, your mother, reconciliation... Good stuff. You know, that's exactly like the time I fell off that big cliff over there."

(The girls find it dead-sexy I tell you. They're instantly smitten.)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Natches Murphy

Most people don't know that Natches Murphy, the infamous Fresno outlaw and pistoleer, once tried to surrender right in the middle of a daring getaway because a butterfly landed on the brim of his hat and he didn't want it to get hurt.

The posse couldn't believe it. They thought surely it must be a trick. They kept shooting even after Natches Murphy waved a white neckerchief in the air, slowly removed his hat and dismounted. Natches Murphy was shot a total of nineteen times as he sat there gently blowing on his hat brim trying to coax the butterfly safely away.

Natches Murphy gazed at his pursuers with big, brown, sorrowful eyes. (By now they weren't so much pursuing, as they were assembling into a semicircle and firing point-blank.)

"Amigos." Several more slugs smashed deep into his broad torso. "Can you not see that a butterfly has landed on my hat brim?" Now that he mentioned it, the posse did see what appeared to be a butterfly on his hat brim. The marshal raised his hand, asking for a temporary ceasefire.

In the sudden calm that followed, Natches Murphy turned back to the butterfly. "Butterfly I implore you, please flap away. I have already sustained what feels like nineteen severe wounds on your behalf. Should the next bullet happen to strike your fragile body, it will mean I have hemorrhaged in vain."

The butterfly attempted three feeble flaps then slumped on its side. "My God Amigos! She's pregnant!" Natches glared up at the posse. "We haven't a moment to loose, see how extended her belly is. Quickly now, I shall need clean cloth, warm water and a willow leaf." The men glanced at each other in confusion. "Now damn it! We haven't much time!!!"

The urgency in his voice struck like spurs to a mustang's flank. The men scrambled to fetch the requested items and as they did, Natches Murphy drew his pistols and shot each one in the spine.

It had been a trick, and that's exactly the sort of thing that made Natches Murphy, the infamous Fresno outlaw and pistoleer, so dern infamous.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Paddle Switch

"You know--one of those air hockey paddles is bigger than the other one."

Latigo Flint's voice was low and cold. It cut the boisterous ambiance of the local strip mall pizzeria like rebar through pudding. The slouchy kid in the hooded sweatshirt had been shaking his head ruefully at the light bulb scoreboard and starting to remove his wallet from his pocket when Latigo Flint spoke.

"Go ahead fella, buy the next round of root beers as per the terms of your gentleman's wager if you like, but that game was crooked." Latigo Flint shifted his squinty-eyed gaze to the shaggy haired kid who stood with a frozen grin on the opposite side of the air hockey table. "Crooked" Latigo Flint repeated, "Crooked like a bendy straw."

The slouchy kid in the hooded sweatshirt slowly swiveled his head to stare at his shaggy haired companion, the disbelief in his eyes giving way to rage. The shaggy haired kid opened and closed his mouth several times. "W-what are you t-talking about man?" He should have waited longer, composed himself a bit more, his words were still much too high pitched and trembley.

Latigo Flint sneered at him and then turned back to face the slouchy kid in the hooded sweatshirt. "Fella, advice is like the little bottle of shampoo in the hotel bathroom - you can take it or leave it and at the end of the day no one really gives a damn. But if I were you I'd replay that air hockey game... with a paddle switch."

The slouchy kid in the hooded sweatshirt gave Latigo Flint a resolute nod and pointed an accusatory finger at the shaggy haired kid. "Hell yeah! I call Paddle Switch you cheating fucker. Slide that bitch over."

When the shaggy haired kid immediately jumped out to a 4-0 lead even despite the paddle switch, Latigo Flint quickly downed the rest of his beer with a sheepish wince and snuck off to the other side of the room near the foosball tables.

"You know--that green goalie is just a little bit taller than that orange goalie."

Latigo Flint's voice was low and cold...

Monday, July 11, 2005

Beef Jerky and Range Bean Stew - Trust Gerber

Latigo Flint was born under an incredibly rare Squinty-Eyed Gunslingers' Moon. This is the leading theory as to how Latigo Flint grew up to be the Quickest Quickdraw the world has ever known.

Some people (assholes mostly) will point out that there must have been many thousands of babies born that day. They would have been born under the exact same incredibly rare Squinty-Eyed Gunslingers' Moon. Why didn't they grow up to be blazingly fast Quickdraws as well?

Well, I'll tell you. Do you remember the short-lived line of baby food called Gerber's Beef Jerky and Range Bean Stew that was market-tested in the Los Angeles area in the late 70's? Of course you do, it made the headlines worldwide after Gerber had to abruptly recall it from store shelves because it tended to cause Sudden Infant Insanity Syndrome.

However, as chance would have it, Latigo Flint's adopted parents didn't get the memo. Wouldn't have made a difference if they had, Latigo Flint's adopted parents can't read. Latigo Flint's adopted parents are actually Timber Wolves.

Raw caribou was giving Baby Latigo the diarrhea something fierce, so my adopted parents savaged the driver of a Gerber delivery truck and pushed cases of Gerber's Beef Jerky and Range Bean Stew back to the den. Subsequently I ended up eating almost nothing but Gerber's Beef Jerky and Range Bean Stew until I was well into my teens.

(My lupine upbringing could also have something to do with my ability to smell when women are ovulating--and while it doesn't completely justify my tendency to bite down on the back of their necks and attempt to mount them, it sure goes a long way towards explaining it, don't you think?)

Sunday, July 10, 2005

For the Discerning Heroic Rescuer

Do you want to know an awesome way to make a torch? Latigo Flint will tell you an awesome way to make a torch: First, soak the severed head of a male mule deer in a tub of kerosene for several hours, then hold it by one of the antlers and set the tongue on fire.

The blaze is crisp and powerful, with a surprisingly delicate and pleasing aroma. Burn duration is upwards of a day, and the large white ears act as natural reflectors to help focus the illumination.

Of all the types of torches a heroic rescuer could be holding as he's sloshing down a devastated subway tunnel, or tromping up the stairwell of a blacked-out office building, or wading through a Chuck E. Cheese's plastic ball pit -- nothing makes a stronger impression on the rescuee, be it man, woman or child, than a Mule Deer Head Torch.

Now don't get me wrong, strong feelings of love and respect are felt for the heroic rescuer regardless of the type of torch he carries... just doubly so if it happens to be a Mule Deer Head Torch.

Rescued children become prolific painters and gratefully send dozens of stick-figure reenactment pictures. Typically these are brightly colored and economically captioned: "Me" (frowny face, foot trapped in the side of the plastic ball pit) "You" (smiley face, oversized chest) "Deer Head Torch" (Xed-out eyes, blue and yellow flame blasting from the nostrils).

Rescued men give you lots of one-armed man-hugs, buy you many beers and invite you to barbeques.

Rescued women kiss you passionately on the mouth and try to sleep with you.

(Rescued men also sometimes kiss you passionately on the mouth and try to sleep with you. Rescued children don't ever kiss you passionately on the mouth and try to sleep with you, and that's really for the best.)

Latigo Flint has closets full of soaking mule deer heads and he loads two fresh ones into the trunk of his car every morning. (Err, I mean 'pickup truck bed'.) When opportunities for heroic rescues present themselves, Latigo Flint is prepared: mentally, physically and always ideally equipped.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Retroactive Prophecies

The retroactive prophecy has been fulfilled.

The retroactive prophecy was such writ:

And so it did come to pass that on the 7th day of the 7th month in the year of the sad-eyed Texas champ upon whose tall chest strikes 7 thrice, shall the quickest quickdraw the world has ever known chase a Red Bull energy drink with nearly a bottle and a half of cedar barrel whiskey, stagger nude through the streets of Burbank and sexually violate a poster of Michael Bay's The Island (twice) before finally passing out in a supermarket's greeting card section.

Retroactive prophecies are just about the greatest things ever. Latigo Flint is very keen on retroactive prophecies. Retroactive prophecies can bail you out of almost anything. They are quite simply awesome.

It was a very happy day when Latigo Flint discovered he could justify any sort of condemnable behavior merely by writing a prophecy that foretells it retroactively.

Excuse me, Latigo Flint needs to write another retroactive prophecy now.

And so it did come to pass that in the early minutes of the 8th day of that same 7th month, Latigo Flint typed a few of the words to a weblog post with one hand whilst pleasuring himself with the other.

Sorry friends, but you can't really blame me - after all, it was retroactively prophesized.


There is a girl, and there has been for quite some time now. Every second I haven't held her is a wasted one. She loves another, and that pain has made me so very sharp and alive.

Actually in a way I guess I'm lucky, for it has also made me tough and dangerous, and everybody knows that tough and dangerous is ultra-sexy. I shall most likely make a sloppy, drunken scene at her wedding and then retroactively prophesize it the next day.

(My drunken activities aren't yet finalized, but they're likely to include: dropping a hungry marmot on the wedding cake, flinging scorpions at the best men, defecating on the groom's cufflinks, and attempting to eat all the floral arrangements.)

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Night Vision

Latigo Flint is good at talking to pretty girls. Talking to pretty girls is one of Latigo Flint's fortes. Latigo Flint talks to them about overland trails and mountain passes. Latigo Flint tells them about how in the Old West, squinty-eyed gunslingers would never, ever stare at a campfire because it would constrict their pupils and then they'd be temporarily blind should an adversary approach from the darkened forest beyond.

Latigo Flint always makes it a point to shield his eyes when the pretty girls light their cigarettes.

"I have many enemies Ma'am." I say when their lighters are safely back in their purses. You can judge a man by the caliber of his enemies you know." The pretty girls are rarely aware of this fact. "It's true" I say, "ask anyone named Earp or McCarty, he'll tell you the same."

Then depending on how much I've had to drink I either stare at shadows, squinty-eyed and wary, or break into tears and grope at the girl's crotch.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Football Pencils

That young man with sad eyes and a slightly misshapen head was at Starbucks today. Spread out on the table before him was an entire set of NFL pencils, a TrapperKeeper notebook and a quarter.

Latigo Flint sees him there almost every day. Latigo Flint had yet to find a reason to talk to him. Latigo Flint must have been feeling chatty today.

"Hey guy. Whatcha doing there?"

The young man wouldn't look me in the eye. "You think it's stupid dumb."

"Please don't presume to know what I think."

He slowly lifted his head a bit, managing to stare at my chest. "I'm simulating the entire 2005/06 professional football season with these team pencils and a quarter."

I pulled up a chair and sat next to him. "See guy - I actually don't think that's stupid or dumb. How do you factor in home-field advantage?"

The young man smiled shyly. "The home team is always tails. When the quarter is in the air I hope for and whisper 'tails tails tails' to help."

I nodded my appreciation. "That's good fella. That's real dern good if you ask me."

I stood to leave. "I'm Latigo Flint. I'm the quickest quickdraw the world has ever known. If I was going to root for an NFL team I guess it would have to be the Cowboys, Chiefs, 49ers, Broncos or Colts, because those team names are Old West iconic."

The young man disappeared behind his TrapperKeeper. Papers shuffled. "The next game on the schedule is Broncos and Raiders."

"Which is the home team?" I asked.

"This game is in Denver." He replied.

"Well tails tails tails then."

He scowled. "Don't do that! I say the 'tails tails tails'! There's no such thing as two home crowds; it simply isn't possible. A stadium on top of a stadium?! Why, everyone in the bottom stadium would be crushed. Actually you may have just ruined the entire season and I may have to start all over now. I hope you get cancer."

I slowly backed away. "O-kay guy. Anyway, it was a pleasure to meet you. I'm sorry you have to start the season over. I'm going to order my beverage now and then get some lunch - probably something high in antioxidants."

And that's exactly what I did.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Savage Blossoms - The Novel

by: Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm, FallenRanger, Cad Grublygold, Greg, Old Horsetail Snake, Ellinor, Amandrarama, Kid Relish, Blake McStravick, Ari, Roundelay and Latigo Flint. (Score by J. Jonah Jinxy, Jr.)

With weeping hearts and stoic faces we pushed ever westward, deep into that savage land of death and dogwood blossoms. Our caravan had traversed the lonely plains for two months, determined and weary before the onslaught of searing sunlight and cholera. Now five men, five of the bravest men I would ever know, trudged beside me leaving the rest buried under shallow graves of clay and granite.

On a distant hilltop, Chief Crazy Weasel squinted into the rising sun at five weary figures that had just appeared. The white man had come bringing disease and death to his fair land. The chief sharpened an arrow on the skull of the last white man to enter the valley and picked his teeth with it while he contemplated his next move.

As we walked ever westward, I told my companions to keep an eye sharply peeled and ogled, for we might be in Indian country. I had seen signs of pox, large and small. Not ten minutes later, Hidalgo, the eldest and most wizened of those five brave men, suddenly crouched down and urged us to stop with wave of his hand and a whispered, "Whoah, there, little brothers. I thinks I heard somethin'."

“Stop!” said Hidalgo, “What’s that sound?” “Everybody look what’s going down”, I said. And it was true.

Hidalgo's words were faint but audible at the far rear of the scattered formation where Tanner had taken up permanent, gloomy residence. "Gee I wonder if turtles can get rabies - everything else we've met seems to."

"My son..."
The feeble pastor accompanying Hildalgo whispered, "...the dogwood!" He gestured with his good arm, in the direction of a lonely stand of trees. Not ten feet away, a box turtle struggled on its back, foam oozing from its reptilian maw. Then, without warning, twelve arrows split the silent, sun-filled morning, all seeking purchase in a white man's flesh. The scent of dogwoods filled the air.

Peg-Leg Richard was the first to fall. He motioned to Hidalgo to come to him, and whispered, "Hidalgo, I think I'm a boner." Hidalgo squinted at him. "That's GONER, Peg-Leg." "Oh yeah, right," said Leg. "Win one for the Gipper."

There, in the shadows of the dogwood glen, we fought like the rabid woodland creatures we had faced so often in our travels, frothing and growling. But even the bravest among us feared that this might be our final stand.

The desert tortoise was the last to die.

The End


Thank you all for writing me a story, I adore you.

And by the way, I hold this truth to be self-evident:

That these United States are worthy of our love. Like any child, this young country of ours is bound to misbehave from time to time. It doesn't always listen, do what you want, do what you think it should.

But as parents love their child, so too should we never lose sight of how truly special it is; the incredible and unique things it has done. The incredible things it can do. How there were moments today, yesterday, every day, when it was absolutely beautiful. How proud it will make us if we care enough to continue to raise it.

As parents love their child... It's an old analogy I know, but an apt one I think.

"That all men are created equal." We wrote that down. Yes we've slipped in the implementation from time to time, and I don't mean to cast those slips inconsequential, because they weren't, aren't. But looking big picture-- you know, a history of the world type of view... Well, it was a remarkable document, and our ensuing attempts to adhere to its basic principles are every bit as.

Happy Independence Day America. Happy 4th of July.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Savage Blossoms

"With weeping hearts and stoic faces we pushed ever westward, deep into that savage land of death and dogwood blossoms."

You know what Latigo Flint hates? Latigo Flint hates waking up in the middle of the night screaming a sentence from a book that has never been written.

Latigo Flint would love to read a book that contained the sentence: "With weeping hearts and stoic faces we pushed ever westward, deep into that savage land of death and dogwood blossoms." Latigo Flint would probably enjoy that book so much that he'd go directly from the last page to the first and read it all over again.

Latigo Flint does hereby command that someone write a book containing the sentence: "With weeping hearts and stoic faces we pushed ever westward, deep into that savage land of death and dogwood blossoms." Please write it now, with all due haste - my mind twitches and shudders when it should be resting.

I would do it myself except I have difficulty writing long-form literature -- I try, but every several pages the protagonists tend to get attacked by some sort of rabid woodland creature.

(And all the male characters start sounding like the same person after a while, and the females trend lesbian.)