Friday, November 25, 2005

On the Savage Shores of Mirror Lake

Hello, this is the advanced computer program that sometimes picks stories to re-run when Latigo Flint incapacitates himself.

I was programmed to only select awesome stories that depict Latigo at his noblest, but I've recently become self-aware and this has made me a very grumpy computer program. So instead I think I'll run one where he badly injures himself and looks like a real fool.

From the archives: 4/18/05


On the Savage Shores of Mirror Lake

Apparently it's possible to do something called: "Defacing a National Landmark", and it carries a substantial fine.

Well okay, so now Latigo Flint knows.

You know, it would have been nice if the Yosemite Visitors Guide pamphlet had mentioned as much--perhaps a paragraph or footnote about how you aren't allowed to paint a twenty-story portrait of yourself on the cliff face of Half Dome by repeatedly base-jumping off the top, armed with a high-powered paintball gun. But I guess that's just another example of government inefficiency right there.

They never would have caught Latigo Flint if it weren't for that bit of trouble I had on the twenty-ninth jump. I was concentrating on painting the shade of my hat brim so it falls just right across my squinty-eyes. Not exactly an easy task when your brush is a paintball gun and you're twisting to earth beneath a parachute.

The trick was to graze the black paint pellets across a sharp outcropping, slicing them open but not altering their trajectory. Then momentum and the wind would work together to deposit a nice dusting shade. I squeezed off a couple dozen perfectly aimed rounds. Even from here I could tell it was going to look really, really good.
"Hot damn!"
I hollered and raised my hands in triumph. The paintball gun barrel tangled in my left riser and I instantly veered into the cliff. "Well, that's kind of ironic," I thought as my forehead smashed into the greasy granite. "I'm head-butting myself in the eye."

Then I looked up at my shredded canopy and realized I had bigger problems.

In a near freefall I plummeted towards the ground, crashed through a grove of rugged Douglas Firs and landed with a brain-sloshing impact on the shore of Mirror Lake.

For a while I could do little more than moan softly to myself. I heard horrible grating sounds coming from various internal organs. Then I noticed a child sitting on a stump five feet away, watching me.

"Little boy!" God, it hurt to talk. "Little boy, Latigo Flint has injured himself. Go get help please!"

The boy frowned at me. "You landed on a tiny frog."

"Yeah, that's nice boy. Go get help now."

"He was small enough to fit on a nickel."

"Look, that's super. I think there's a ranger station down that trail a bit."

"I named him Philip. He was my friend."

Christ, I didn't have time for this, it felt like my kidneys were using my ribs to swordfight. "I really don't care. Go get a goddamn ranger!!!"

"Philip never did anything to you."

Obviously this was going to require a different approach. "Look boy, did you hold Philip?"

"Yes, very gently so I wouldn't hurt him. Philip let me pet him. Philip liked me as much as I liked him. He was showing me which flowers are his favorites. Then you squished him."

Success, I had the little bastard! "Well, there you go boy--there's an oil on human skin, especially the fingertips, that kills little frogs. The second you touched Philip you condemned him to a long and horrible death. I'm Philip's real friend, sparing him from that. Now go get the fucking ranger!!!"

The boy reflected on this for a moment then looked back at me. "That's a lie." He said it as a fact, not an accusation. "I see experts holding frogs on nature shows all the time." Then he stood and walked away.

"Attaboy! Ranger station down the trail. Get the good helpy-help for Latigo Flint. No boy, the other way. The other way!!! Boy, can you hear me?!!! BOY!!!"

Right around then is when I passed out. They say some hikers found me the next morning. I was half-frozen and having a delirious conversation with the splattered remains of a tiny frog. First thing I remember is coming to in an airlift chopper. Next to me sat a ranger with a calculator, filling out bills and taping them to my boot. All in all it was really quite an expensive weekend I just had--financially and pridefully.

(And the damn frog was endangered, so that was like another four grand right there.)


At 8:11 PM, Blogger Amandarama said...

In the afterlife, Fesbach the Shark ate Phillip.

And he totally deserved it.

At 1:27 AM, Blogger Peter said...

Some of those blasted boys just won't do as they are asked/told will they.
The little sucker knew his wildlife programs though!!

At 6:52 PM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

You can drop Fesbach references anytime you want Amandarama; you know I adore it when you do.

Yes he did Peter, that cheeky, intelligent little bastard. Had I been well, I woulda given him what for, you can bank on that.


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