Friday, August 12, 2005

Salvador Nightshade

There was once a young Gypsy named Salvador Nightshade who lived in Bakersfield, California. Salvador played the harmonica so beautifully and with so much passion, that when two people heard it there was a very good chance they would instantly fall in love with each other.

But no one ever fell in love with Salvador Nightshade. Salvador was kinda funny looking to begin with and when he played, his eyes would cross and his cheeks bulged. It also didn't help that all that rapid inhalation and exhalation tended to make him extremely flatulent.

Salvador and I became occasional drinking buddies. We'd wile away entire evenings, decimating cases of Coors Long Necks and playing musical magic 8-ball with the upcoming songs on the jukebox.

"Hey Musical Magic 8-Ball, will a girl ever fall in love with Salvador?"......

Blame it all on my roots
I showed up in boots
and ruined your black tie affair

With every Musical Magic 8-Ball answer, Salvador and I would giggle drunkenly and collapse against each other. Then we'd demand another round with hearty slaps upon age-stained oak. We never compared our interpretations. Sometimes now I think back and can't help but wonder if we ever read the same answer into a given song. I guess it's not important. Our response was always the same, and at the end of the day maybe that's all that matters.

When our giggles started to become hysterical, the bartender would unplug the jukebox and then Salvador and I would go our separate ways. I to a nearby barn, bedroll under my arm, Salvador to his concrete culvert where he'd practice harmonica 'til dawn. His melancholy strains and trills would drift reverberantly across lonely truck stop lots, bringing unexpected tears of joy to the handlebar cheeks of weary long-haulers.

Salvador Nightshade was so incredibly good with that harmonica, you can't even fathom. If you heard the first half of a song, you'd be willing to eat an entire crate of live beagle puppies just to hear the rest. Salvador Nightshade made John Popper sound like an asthmatic old mule with a kazoo in its nose.

One night Salvador Nightshade took his own life with a modified hay baler and a barbed wire noose.

It made me so goddamn sad that I forgot how to speak and spent the next four months trying to headbutt passing freight trains off their tracks.

(Which is impossible by the way. It can't be done. Not with a headbutt. You may try if you like--I guess I can't stop you. But I am kind of like, the foremost expert in the world and stuff, at headbutting passing freight trains off their tracks, and if I say it can't be done... Well then, you know, it probably can't be done.)


At 6:16 AM, Blogger Joe said...

And so now I finally have my explanation for all of those weepy, handlebar cheeked, weary long-haulers that I'd observe instantly falling in love with each other when I worked at the truck stop cafe.

At 6:52 AM, Blogger greta said...

Oh Latigo this makes me so sad. If only I could have been there on that fateful night. Perhaps he wouldn't have succumbed to the blackness if I revealed the truth about me: That I have a poor sense of smell, an unhealthy appreciation of Satchmo-esque jowls, and a flexible spine from many years of Jazz Ballet.

At 8:18 AM, Blogger Ghost Dog said...

I always wanted to learn harmonica, but not if it leads to suicide...

At 10:01 AM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

You know what he needed? A good spit-valve.

At 10:44 AM, Blogger tabitha jane said...

how many puppies fit in a crate by the way?

At 11:26 AM, Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

If you can get at a train as it's going around a square corner it will have sufficient cicumlocution or circumcision or connubial that a running head butt will put it right on its side. This stunt is rated PG 13, by the way. Don't let the little ones try it.

At 11:31 AM, Blogger Dave Morris said...

Well now, I suppose I will be returning my recent purchase of John Popper's "Asthmatic Mule" CD I got from eBay.

Damn you, Latigo Flint, and your friend Salvador, for raising the bar to JUST ABOVE my CD collection.

Fucking hell.

At 11:51 AM, Blogger Trevor Record said...

I imagine a man with silk shirts always half-undone, exposing a chest of thick, curly hair.

At 3:17 PM, Blogger MJ said...


At 7:56 PM, Blogger Amandarama said...

Wow. That's a bummer about Salvador Nightshade. Do you think his 10 year class reunion was approaching? That often leads me to suicidal thoughts.

At 8:05 PM, Blogger ThePaula said...

There was a sort of sad majestic beauty to this post until the head-butting trains part. Then it became even more awesome.

At 6:10 PM, Blogger Cindy-Lou said...

I believe I heard old Salvador play. The night I saw you, Latigo.

At 7:52 AM, Blogger Noir Muse said...

**Off topic**

I'ma watchin' 'Pale Rider' right now. Love it.

::Sigh! Back of hand to forehead & half closed eyes::

At 7:56 AM, Blogger Noir Muse said...


Perhaps I should change my name to "Noir Drama Queen", Eh?

At 12:32 AM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

And a lovely explanation it is Joe... is it not?

It makes me sad too Greta. Quite frankly you would have had him at: "unhealthy appreciation of Satchmo-esque jowls..." but Salvador is dead now and what could have been, never will. (Okay, now I'm really sad. That sort of phrasing is a lead cinch sorrow maker.)

Only 40% of the time Ghost Dog, only 40%.

Hey LBB, did Mr. Holland's Opus choke you up at the end? Um... Me neither goldangit!

I'm certain I have no idea Tabitha Jane... by the way, your face paint is sexy. Anyone ever tell you that? Sexy I tells you, sexy!

Dang-blang-it Old Hoss! You trying to show me up? All making like you've headbutted more freight trains than me? Well balderdash! I have headbutted fourteen million passing freight trains. This is more than anyone ever has, including yourself.

It is still a good purchase Dave. Don't go down too hard on yourself.

My god Trevor, it's like you knew him or something. (But it was really more of a "shock", his undone shirt exposed a thick shock of curly chest hair.)

Magical Musical 8-Ball MJ. And one can be found in most any beverage serving establishment. (An internet radio station will do in a pinch. I recommend Yahoo's Launchcast.)

Salvador Nightshade never participated in institutionalized education Amandarama. Salvador Nightshade was a beautiful student of life... and then he killed himself with a modified hay baler and a barbed wire noose. (Actually, that isn't much of a testimonial, is it?)

Thank you Paula. That is actually the very comment I was hoping for.

Ah yes Cindy-Lou, the night I sat in on the timpani drums whist Salvador played. That was a good night. How beautiful can a man be when he plays the drums? I don't know... how many drums you got? (Okay, that actually didn't make any sense. I'm going to drink until it does!)

Mercy do I love that movie Muse. You know for the longest time I thought the girl was played by Alyssa Milano. I even killed a man in an argument over it.

(The same has been suggested of me Muse... but I say 'hell with them'. Aren't most of us just a little bit melodramatic at heart? I wouldn't care to know anyone who wasn't.)

At 11:43 AM, Blogger Blog ho said...

what about a modified freight train?


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