Monday, August 01, 2005

Predatory Instincts

Today I was relaxing in the outdoor dining area of the local shopping plaza when my keen, squinty eyes detected something alarming in a nearby cedar tree. My fellow shoppers needed to be warned.

"Good neighbors, Latigo Flint thinks it best if you all move away from that cedar tree. Latigo Flint does not wish to alarm you, but a very angry opossum is at this moment lurking in the branches."

Several of them followed my pointing arm with skeptical eyes. The rest simply ignored me.

"Friends! Please do as Latigo Flint suggests. Latigo Flint has much experience with angry opossums. His is a wisdom earned at great expense, Latigo Flint is missing large chunks of his soul because of it. His mind twitches and shudders when it should be resting."

A young woman turned to her college football player looking boyfriend, mild concern wrinkling her pretty face. "Perhaps we should do as he says?" The college football type made a scoffing sound. (Pffflllffff) "Look at him, that dude's a freak and a liar." And believe it or not, that college football player looking guy happened to be correct, at least on the liar part.

Telling lies goes against everything a Squinty-eyed Gunslinger believes in but I actually was lying this once... for a purpose. See, I hadn't wanted to cause a panic so I'd told a little fib. Truth is, it wasn't an angry opossum lurking in the branches of that cedar tree, it was a rabid cougar.

I sighed and came clean. (I knew how bad this was going to sound.) "Friends, I haven't been entirely truthful just now. I didn't want to cause a panic for fear your frenzied flight would trigger its predatory instinct. It is actually not an angry opossum lurking in the branches of that cedar tree, it is a rabid cougar--and if I know anything about rabid cougars, it's about four seconds away from leaping down here and tearing faces off."

My words were met with disdainful laughter and cruel taunts. The sound must have triggered the rabid cougar's predatory instinct because it promptly leapt down and started tearing faces off.

I saved as many shoppers as I could. I wasn't able to save them all. That rabid cougar tore off many faces that day. I was finally able to catch the cougar and beat it to death with something blunt. When it was all over I wept silently. Damn my lack of duplicitous skills. If had been a better liar perhaps this tragedy could have been avoided.

I made a firm decision to practice telling lies every day so that next time I will not fail.

I started with the first EMT to arrive on the scene. "Good God, what happened here?" I fixed him with my most truthful stare. "Well sir, actors Charlie Sheen and Rob Lowe walked up, challenged each other to a face tearing off contest and then just started tearing people's faces off." I waved a trembling hand in the direction of the blood splattered food court."

The EMT crinkled a wary nose. "I don't believe you." (Drat!) Then he scowled and pointed. "HEY!!! Are you sitting on a dead cougar?!"

I gave it one more try. "Um... no?"

"Liar!!! It is a dead cougar."

I was oh for two; my deceptive skills still frail. I went home at that point and started drinking heavily. That's where I am right now in fact... I promise.


At 1:02 AM, Blogger Cindy-Lou said...

You can practice your lying skills on me, Latigo.

At 1:22 AM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

A lie is best masked between truths.

And a pair of naked boobs helps immeasureably.

At 7:37 AM, Blogger Ghost Dog said...

Remember: Omission of fact isn't necessarily lying.

Also, to be a good liar, you have to be able to fully believe the lie yourself, as well as be able to construct any follow-up lies to support the initial lie. If you have the time and inclination, I suggest reading the Bourne books (Identity/Supremacy/Ulitmatum) by Robert Ludlum. So much skillful deception is described in those books that you're sure to learn some useful lessons.

At 7:43 AM, Blogger Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm said...

Did you keep the shorn faces, or had the vicious cougar skinned those skulls without delicacy and precision?

At 8:52 AM, Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

You would tell lies to save face?

Not good, Mr. Flint.

At 9:31 AM, Blogger Trevor Record said...

How I long for the days when a heroic gunslinger's advice was taken as gospel.

At 10:23 AM, Blogger tabitha jane said...

when you say opossum, latigo, do you pronounce the "o" at the beginning or leave it silent? i've heard it both ways and want to know which you preferr.

At 11:42 AM, Blogger slarrow said...

Sadly, Latigo, a people usually kills their wise men and prophets because they cannot bear to see the brave among them and hear the truth spoken.

Of course, since this leaves them without faces, it gets really hard to see and hear now. Funny ol' world, itn't it?

At 1:16 PM, Blogger ThePaula said...

I once had an angry opossum in my bedroom closet when I was six. It was strange to see it there amidst the stuffed animals, back arched and hissing. I went and said to my mommy, "Mommy, theres a monster in my closet."

"No there isn't, sweetheart," she said.

"No, really there is."

"Paula, baby, go to bed."

"Can't you please please come look?"

"Well...alright." She took me in hand and led me back to the bedroom and looked in the closet. "See now, there's noth-"

Two seconds later she screamed for my father. He's not descended of gunslingers but he is of a line of furtraders, and he was up to the task, thankfully.

At 3:20 PM, Blogger Blog ho said...

ah, i laughed at the charlie sheen lie. because i could feel it in my marrow. it rang so true that i almost looked the event up on imdb.

At 3:20 PM, Blogger Blog ho said...

also...if you take up your offer w/ cindy-lou...may i please watch?

At 3:56 PM, Blogger MJ said...

That's too bad. I'd have listened, because I'd know that, even if you were lying to me, you were lying to me for my own good. I mean, why else would you want anyone to step away from a tree other than if you had the noblest of intentions?

At 9:55 PM, Blogger Wulfenjarl said...

As we can see, truth is in the eye of the beholder...

.... oh wait- nevermind.

At 11:53 PM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

Goodness Cindy-Lou, I hardly know how to respond... Oops, now I do... running to the kitchen for some club soda and a paper towel, that may or may not be my response.

Mercy LBB, I am staggered by your wisdom and insight.

This is very true Ghost Dog, but I didn't simply omit that it was a rabid cougar, I claimed it was a very angry opossum. (There is a slim chance I have read the books of which you speak... Very slim indeed however, as they were not penned by Louis L'Amour.)

Oh he was not tidy Steve, not even slightly. You know how rabid cougars are...

How the hell do you spot things like that Old Hoss? I swear I'll never doubt the elderly again.

Those must have been very good times Trevor, very good times indeed. I mourn the life I could have lead.

Hello Tabitha Jane. My pronunciation of opossum is a tad unusual--I actually pronounce it: "lurching demon song".

It sure is Slarrow. It's just a regular old laugh riot of a world now ain't it?

This is a wonderful story Paula. Though in truth it opens a lot more questions than it answers. Primarily, did your fur trader descendant father make you a new toy animal from that opossum's hide? (That's what I would have done.)

Between you and me Ho, the second I typed it I began laughing hysterically. (And I'm not even entirely sure why.)

By the way Ho, I'm out of club soda and paper towels. You could start by shipping me some more.

Thank you MJ, it does my heart joy to hear it. I think these wretched Angelenos could learn much from you.

Oh Lord yes Wulf... I got it, I did. (See 'cause their eyes have just been... Hoooooo mercy.)


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