Friday, November 11, 2005

Forever Fesbach

You know what Latigo Flint adores? Latigo Flint adores stories about unlikely friendships that develop between wild animals and lonesome young boys.

Especially poignant is the scene where the boy realizes his friend is in mortal danger if it stays, so the boy pretends he doesn't like the animal anymore and says cruel things and throws stones. Then there are lots of close-ups of sad, puzzled eyes and later the boy sobs bitterly when no one will see.

A really good one was the movie titled Forever Tugu, which was about the unlikely friendship that developed between a lonesome Kenyan boy and a hyena named Tugu Mankesi, which in Kenyan means My Always Smiling Friend.

I'm not ashamed to admit my vision went a little smudged and salty at the part where Tugu Mankesi stood over the boy and protected him from a vicious pride of hungry lions.

Perhaps the reason I'm so deeply affected by this particular storyline is that it touches so very close to events in my own life. I rarely speak of it, but a while back, I formed an unlikely friendship with an adolescent tiger shark named Fesbach. I kept him in my bathtub and fed him leftover pasta and box turtles.

But then one day came the letter from my apartment management company announcing they had scheduled a building-wide air vent and mold inspection. I knew Fesbach was in grave danger. We'd be reported and then the management company would surely confiscate Fesbach and sell him for purses and soup.

"Fesbach!" I pleaded as steady tears traced tracks through my man-mascara and down my stubbled jaw. "You have to go--it's not safe for you here anymore."

Fesbach took an abridged lap around the tub and grinned up at me. He enjoyed the attention and cared not the reason. I spent an hour trying to make my friend understand the peril, but to no avail. I knew then what had to be done, ruin my heart though it would.

"Fine Fesbach... I hate you!!! You know that? I hate you. I don't want to be your friend anymore Fesbach! You're a stupid tiger shark and I never want to see you again."

I didn't have stones to hand so instead pelted him with novelty soaps. Fesbach promptly ate all the ones shaped like box turtles and died horribly minutes later.

I spent years trying to learn how to smile again. And I've yet to take a shower without weeping.




(Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message Fesbach the Tiger Shark is dead.
Put crepe bows round the necks of public doves,

let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.


Fesbach the Tiger Shark was my North, my South, my East and West,

my working week and my Sunday rest,

my noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;

I thought that love would last forever
: I was wrong.)

15 Comments:

At 2:58 AM, Blogger Gareth said...

I think we've all got a dead tiger shark somewhere in our past. My heart goes out to you. You did the right thing.

Apart from the turtle-shaped soap. But even that has a silver lining - after all, I now know that when confronted by ravenous sharks a few deftly thrown turtle-soap bars will allow an otherwise shark-food-destined swimmer to swim another day.

 
At 7:17 AM, Anonymous The Macek Collective said...

This should be the incentive to finally get that man mascara tatooed on your eyelashes. If there is such a thing.

 
At 7:47 AM, Blogger Lance Manion said...

I weep a single many tear in cameraderie. Tonight, when I celebrate another Friday by drinking myself into a coma, I shall make sure to raise a glass to Fesbach, the finest tiger shark ever to die of box turtle soap poisoning.

 
At 8:40 AM, Blogger Blog ho said...

it takes so many muscles to smile. fuck smiles.

 
At 3:40 PM, Blogger Monkeypotpie said...

I made an unlikely friendship with a young boy once. His name was Otto, and he was happy, fat and German. Turns out all he wanted was my paw so he could make wishes for candy.

I hate fat kids.

 
At 5:03 PM, Blogger Peter said...

Don't worry 'bout it Latigo, smiling is over-rated, squinty eyed is the way to go.

 
At 6:30 AM, Blogger Amandarama said...

Somewhere, up in tiger shark heaven, Fesbach is looking down on you and waving a fin. He still wonders why it tastes like soap when he burps, but that's ok because fish only have a 20 second or so memory.

 
At 10:35 AM, Blogger Pusher said...

Don't worry dude, sometimes I cry when I'm in the shower to.

 
At 10:56 AM, Blogger Cindy-Lou said...

I really want to make a comment about crying only when you take the rape shower, but I decided that would be crass.

 
At 4:44 PM, Blogger greta said...

And somehow Auden's words are infinitely more moving when applied to your gilled buddy than that fat shouty bloke out of Four Weddings and a Funeral.

 
At 5:31 PM, Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

Even more poignant is the story of the beaver who protects Free Willy from the slavers, only to lose a leg when he has to gnaw it off after getting caught in a leghold trap operated by the local otter population.

 
At 5:03 AM, Blogger Sharon said...

Magnificent and stirring both. I knew you admired the unlikely friendship between man and beast, but knew not the reason why.

Now it all becomes painfully clear. My heart aches for you and your carefully guarded angst.

 
At 8:35 AM, Blogger fourth_fret said...

ah latigo, there's a rumor that fesbach is not in that great sea in the sky, but that he feigned his death and now works on wallstreet. he has in own gigantic tank office and everything.

... of course, i'm sure it is just a rumor. maybe. probably not.

 
At 4:07 PM, Blogger Lackey said...

I once was friends with a meerkat, myself. But I laughed so much when he fell sideways from his look-out branch that these days he won't talk to me.

Of course, I also dobbed him in to an anti-terrorist hotline for a lark.

But it was worth it, because I owed him twenty bucks.

 
At 11:37 PM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

Thank you Gareth, I think you're probably right--it's just that in my case, the proverbial dead tiger shark just happens to actually be a tiger shark.

What the hell good is non-streakable man-mascara Macek? Showing pretty girls how sensitive you are underneath the gruff exterior is the whole point of wearing man-mascara.

You and me both Lance; you and me both. Some mistakes can never be overcome and their pain tempered only with booze. Why, oh why did I ever purchase novelty soaps?!

I frown with my fists Ho. That's how people know I'm dangerous and tough.

Very interesting Monkeypotpie. I was unaware Germans made wishes on monkey paws--similar to our lucky rabbit foot key chains I reckon. See, you learn something every day.

It's all I know Peter; it's all I know.

Ah but bitter and wretched the double-edged bite of fate Amandarama. If you're right and Fesbach does not in fact remember it was I what accidentally killed him... how the hell is he supposed to remember ever being my friend?

Society is so quick to judge us male shower sobers, ain't it just though Pusher? They don't know us. They don't know the lament these tile walls hold.

I try to avoid the rape shower Cindy-Lou. When I was very young I made a checklist of things that I never wanted to experience. That one was very near the top, right below being eaten alive by lizards.

Not as moving as having you recognize it was W.H. I esteem you Greta.

They rumble Old Hoss, the otters and beavers, no doubt they do. You've seen it I take it.

Carefully guarded angst is the Squinty-Eyed Gunslinger way Sharon. It's one of the things that makes us so dangerous and tough and also sexy.

It's very, very kind of you to try to cheer me up Fourth Fret, but I know that isn't true. I spent a fortnight watching Fesbach decompose at the bottom of my tub. I took sponge baths from the sink and drank my screams away.

Meerkats are notoriously slow to forgive Lackey. I've heard this. They're below only ocelots in that capacity. An ocelot will hate a lifetime through for but the slightest transgression.

 

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