Thursday, August 18, 2005

Squinty-Eyed Gunslinger's Fate

Latigo Flint's winks can make colicky babies stop crying and burble contentedly instead. Squinty-Eyed Gunslingers do not often wink but when they do it is quite powerful. Markets value a limited resource, you know.

"There is no machine for that." Latigo Flint's low, steady voice easily cut through the barcode scanner beeps. The harried mother with a baby carrier at her feet looked up from her stack of frozen food coupons.

"Excuse me?"

I tilted my head at her baby. "For the past ten minutes your colicky child has been shrieking his displeasure. I winked at him a moment ago and now he burbles contentedly--I say there's no machine that can do that."

She icily appraised my attire, from well-traveled boot tips to the crown of my wide brimmed black hat. Then she decided to ignore me.

Someone in the line behind harrumphed. My turn in response was slow and dangerous. A very short, middle-aged man in a silk shirt bemusedly met my stare. I squinted down at him.

"Did you harrumph me sir?"

He gave two quick, businesslike nods, "I did."

My hand shifted ever so slightly toward the butt of my authentic replica Colt Peacemaker. "And what would possibly qualify you as one who could harrumph me?"

To his credit, his face remained terror-free. "Why I'm a pediatrician of course."

I grinned sardonically and took a step forward so as to better loom over him. "Not an inventor or a welder or an electrical engineer?" He shook his head. "Well, this surprises Latigo Flint a great deal, since the lady and I happened to be talking about machines."

"Nonsense!" He blurted with that fearless indifference often found in the very short. "Machines, yes, but only as they relate to the actual topic, which was as I recall, colic. What you obviously don't know is that nearly two thirds of the time a child's chronic colic condition may be alleviated or remedied altogether, merely by switching from a milk-based formula to one of soy or whey. I harrumphed in response to the inane inference that you should be so highly valued simply because humanity seems to lack a reliable colic-curing wink machine!"

Stunned, I brought a rage-trembling finger level with his chest. "Hey! I'm Latigo Flint goldangit! Of course I know all that. What I meant was... um... there's no machine that can be used to make soy-based baby formula."

Unfortunately that had been the first thing to pop into my head. The tiny pediatrician tore it to shreds without mirth or mercy. "Why, how on Earth do you think soy milk is made... little Asian kids stomping around in a giant vat of beans?!"

Murder was my first instinct at that point but instead I winked at him. He stepped back, astonished, then a warm smile began to flicker in his bespectacled eyes. It spread across his entire face as he extended his right hand.

"My boy, Latigo was it? Quite abruptly I find myself desiring many beers of hearty comradery with you. I'd be honored if you'd come over for dinner this very evening. My daughters are home from college; they're helping the Missus in the kitchen as we speak. I was dispatched to fetch cooking sherry." He raised the bottle in affirmation. "So, what do you say?"

"Daughters... as in plural?" I silently thanked the awesome power of a gunslinger wink.

"Cute as buttons and smart as whips if you'll forgive a father's clich├ęd pride. I know they'd be delighted to meet you."

So I graciously accepted.

But true to the cruelest of all fates: Squinty-Eyed Gunslinger's fate, my new pediatrician friend happened to suffer a fatal heart attack as we walked to his Lexus. I considered checking his wallet for the address and going over to his house anyway, but then I thought better of it.

The tiny pediatrician died in that parking lot; face down in puddle of cooking sherry. I walked until I found a culvert and bedded down there for the night.


At 1:43 AM, Anonymous Cale said...

I suppose then that the barista-wink market is saturated?

Or were you so struck by the Gal at TwinkleBucks that nary a wink could escape?

Consider it advice from an outsider. Perhaps your wink can cure more than colic and curmudgeon -- peut-etre la coeur aussi.

At 8:36 AM, Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

It must be really embarrassing not to know how to make soy milk. It's commonly taught in the 8th grade. You were probably off admiring your pearl-handled cap guns.

At 10:00 AM, Blogger tabitha jane said...

if the gunslinger business doesn't work out for you, you could always go from town to town selling your winks to cure collicky babies . . .

At 11:09 AM, Blogger Ghost Dog said...

Damn, that is impressive.

When I wink, people just flash an incredulous look and say, "Did you just wink at me?!"

At 1:18 PM, Blogger Blog ho said...

tall people dream, short people act

At 2:19 PM, Blogger MJ said...

Don't worry, Latigo! If I ever have college-aged daughters, I'll let you come to dinner when they come to visit.

At 4:04 PM, Blogger Cindy-Lou said...

Son of a bitch, that was my dad! To think, my sister and I came so close to meeting the legend that is Latigo Flint. Damn you, Dad, why'd you have to go and die like that?

At 6:21 PM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Hey, I read they found a bullet in the body.


At 7:21 PM, Blogger Trevor Record said...

I reckon there must be a reason you haven't tried that wink on baristas at starbucks more often, but I can't really tell what said reason might be. Perhaps you try to limit use as to not devalue the wink.

At 7:28 PM, Blogger Amandarama said...

That is so unfortunate. Guess it'll be just another deposit at the Bank of Character?

At 11:25 PM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

Shrewd Cale, very insightful. Winks have become a grossly devalued currency to cute baristas, receiving hundreds a week, as they must. (I do appreciate your advice. Your words are true and perhaps the heart too.)

Tools Old Hoss, they are but tools... Does the carpenter oft admire his hammer? Does the rancher drool upon barbed wire and post?

Howdy Tabitha. Didn't I see that once in a Highway to Heaven episode?

The delivery is everything Ghost Dog. And when in doubt, follow it up with a kick-ball-change and a crotch grab.

This is actually incredibly profound Ho. Do you know that? Do you know how profound that is?

I'll bring the cooking sherry MJ. (But won't your daughters be a little pissed at you for inviting a lecherous old man over to ogle them?)

Lord! Cruelest of cruel fates Cindy-Lou... I see the family resemblance now that you mention it. (I should have snatched his driver's license. Oh retrospective agony!)

Nothing doing LBB... that I recall. I resent the implication.

It's a very long story Trevor, and nothing but pain, anguish and scalding milk lies at the end of its telling.

I guess so Amandarama, I guess so. Hey, I'll bet you didn't know that scars are the interest earned at the First Bank of Character.

At 8:20 PM, Blogger Kevin Jackson said...

Well, this is interesting. I did a blog search for barista school and found your site. When I get some time I'll come back and find out where barista school appears and how it relates - if it even does. Take care - nice work.


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