Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Contemplative Evenings

Latigo Flint likes a pipe in the evening. A mellow Cavendish Blend contemplatively smoked on the veranda of a tiny studio apartment. Apple tobacco and solitude in the California dusk. I pretend the freeway sounds are buffalo and the palm trees, prairie pine.

I puff and dream and imagine I'm a thinker. History's gunslingers, famous and obscure, are mentally inventoried. 'Yep, I'm faster than him. And him. And him. Ha, he'd never ever brush hammer. Much faster than him, her and him.' (And on and on.)

Two certainties emerge: Goddamn I'm fast on the draw--and bitter, bitter this wasted, useless talent. It is with dread-shuffling lament that I contemplate my 150-years-late birth. Sometimes I accidentally snap the pipe stem between twitching, twisting fingers. Fortunately I have a spare. I bowl-to-bowl transfer whatever remains and whisper an apology toward Virginia.

What happens next is entirely dependent on the shuffle feature of my thousand-disc CD changer. If an Enya song plays, chances are I'm settling back in my chair. You tend not to move when you find yourself soothed. I'm not ashamed to admit Enya soothes me. I'm Latigo Flint goddamn it. If you laugh in my face I get to pistol whip you... and that's always pretty fun. If you laugh from afar I won't even hear.

If a song with a harmonica and a sad fiddle starts to play, I'll probably scream and double over, raked through my center by the razor claws of savage nostalgia.

A Tom Waits tune and I'll go inside and build wicker sculptures 'till dawn. (Hey, it fits--I don't even know why... and you should see my collection.)

If it's a song by outlaw country outsider, Steve Earle, I'm probably going downtown to pick a fight with a bouncer just so I can shoot him in the face.

It is a strange trail I've picked to stride. Fate and pride conspired to collide. That the soundtrack of my life includes more than one Billy Joel song only makes it stranger.

I'm not entirely certain we're allowed to describe our own lives as strange and expect to taken very seriously. You're too close to your own life. Not enough perspective. Way too much bias. But I just did--and damnit, I'm not retracting it!

And I think recognizing and acknowledging the thin ice of credibility upon which I writhe has to make me some sort of god... or sexy and awesome at the very least.

(You ever forget how to end something? That's why I like stories about hydrophobia so much. Slobber, die, the end. It's elegant, straightforward, complete. Rabies as literary perfection... Fred Gipson knew it.)


At 3:14 AM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

I can only imagine the tourment -- being born 150 years too late.

But take solace in this, Latigo: a pistol-whipping NEVER goes out of style.

Like a good suit (which you'll soil with the nose blood of the fool who mocks you).

At 7:20 AM, Blogger Ghost Dog said...

You need a Holodeck, so you can go back to the Old West. Instead of wasting his time on movie scripts, Kid Relish ought to set out to build one for you.

At 8:08 AM, Blogger Monkeypotpie said...

I can sympathize with you, Latigo. No, I wasn't born 150 years too late, but I'm a city monkey that feels the wild jungle in his veins. You just can't brachiate properly in the city.

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on the Kevin.

At 8:31 AM, Blogger tabitha jane said...

i was born a few years late as well latigo. as you can see, the hippy in me is desperately trying to get out, but i'm afraid the timing was off.

At 10:21 AM, Blogger Lance Manion said...

The Billy Joel wouldn't be "The Ballad of Billy the Kid" by any chance?

At 11:02 AM, Blogger MJ said...

Pipe smoke and contemplative thoughts go together like boot laces and gromets.

At 11:38 AM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Hey, I just Googled Louis L'Amour. Turns out he's a real guy.

When you mentioned him in your profile, I figured he was like Kid Relish.

At 1:57 PM, Blogger slarrow said...

See, Latigo, it's bits like this that put me in a real quandry. There's a romanticism here ("apple tobacco and solitude in the California dusk") punctuated with a sharp return to gut-shot reality ("Slobber, die, the end. It's elegant, straightforward, complete. Rabies as literary perfection") that just delights the mind. It makes one want to spread the news about the light touch with the keystrokes and hard grab with the cold steel that is Latigo Flint.

But if the news is spread, then sooner or later idiots will flock here and ruin the cozy little scene us regulars enjoy. Bugger all that for a lark.

So alas, my friend, I cannot in good conscience recommend you to others in the fear that you would become too hot a property like the great (and frickin' real) Louis L'Amour. At the end of the day, Selfishness must win. I would feel bad about this, but somehow I just don't.

At 7:59 PM, Blogger Amandarama said...

Sounds like a perfectly reasonable evening to me. Puff, dream, imagine, rage bitterly. Just don't wind up naked and ranting under some unsuspecting Starbucks barrista's window. With a boom box playing Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes". And if you do, blame the coffee.

At 8:25 PM, Blogger Whit said...

Would it be wrong to just say "ditto" to slarrow? I know that it isn't terribly original, but when it's said so well, why try to duplicate?

I'm selfishly glad I stumbled upon your site (courtesy of Trevor Record), and while I share your posts with my husband and we appreciate your turn of a phrase, I can't bring myself to invite all the internet riff-raff to come along and take down the neighborhood with them.

At 1:29 AM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

Fate and pride conspired to collide LBB. And they bring a shit-storm when they do. You've cheered me however, with the pistol-whipping reminder.

That's the worst part Ghost Dog, The Kid doesn't even finish them. He's started hundreds... none reach page four.

Very nice word Monkey. "Brachiation bars." Even the adults at the park stare blankly when you call the structure that, to say nothing of the children. (No, I'm won't even give you that... I'm actually not going to disagree with you about our disagreement.)

Hippies never go out of style Tabitha Jane. They're much like Gunslingers in that regard. Both having more in common than they each shall ever know.

And that's the strangest part Lance... it isn't.

I couldn't have said it better MJ.

Louis died June 10th, 1988 LBB. (Are you saying you don't think Kid Relish is real?!!! He's not going to like that.)

Slarrow, when those lines are read between, it ends up being one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. (But strictly transcribed they seem wish me to remain cold, broke and alone.)

Good advice Amandarama. I wish you had commented sooner... I'm currently typing this from a holding cell.

It would not be wrong Whit. (And good thing too, huh? Seeing as you just did.) Fortunately I happen to be independently wealthy, and have no plan other than to spend many, many, many years writing true stories about my life for free.

At 11:24 AM, Blogger Lance Manion said...

What?! Kid Relish isn't real?! But I've patterned my entire life on him, right down to the nuzzling and the bludgeonry!

Now I have to find some other borderline psychotic thug to pattern myself after. Man...


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