Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Of River Rocks and Sorrow

Where do the female whitewater rafting guides go, with their tight cutoff jeans and sunscreened noses, when the first days of winter roll so dreary and cruel?

Back to heaven I reckon, where they do pass the time with granola and sit-ups until sunshine and joy does call them once more to the shore.


Hey, has Latigo Flint ever told you about the time he fell in love with a female whitewater rafting guide with tight cutoff jeans and a sunscreened nose?


Well that's a crime I intend to rectify this instant.

Her name was Saphey, which was short for Sapphire, and her arms were strong and tan. Saphey sat me at the back left gunnel, the position in the raft closest to her. She taught me to how to paddle and read the river--showed me how the water draws and boils over sharp, dangerous rocks but foams harmlessly over the smooth.

I easily figured out how to tighten my life vest but let her show me anyway.
"I'm hungry for your love." I whispered as she cinched the top strap tight across my chest.
"I know you are." She replied and shoved us off from the bank.

Oh how the other clients did monopolize her time. I tremble with rage even now just thinking about it. They peppered Saphey with an endless string of questions about local flora, fauna and paddling techniques. Hardly a minute passed that didn't find some cherished item, like a flip-flop or a child, swept overboard--followed by horrified shrieks and demands to circle the raft around.

Near the very end of the run I managed to turn to her during a quiet moment.
I said. "This trip has seen many items, mostly flip-flops and children, swept overboard."
She nodded. "Yeah, that's pretty common."
I gazed across the water. The sun was starting to set. A pair of egrets flew in low over the trees and landed on the far shore.

"Well, every time that happened, we back-paddled the raft and retrieved it... all except for my heart. It was the first thing swept overboard Saphey. I guess I thought it would just sort of float alongside the raft and I'd be able to collect it at the end."
My voice broke and I had to bow my head and compose myself. When I spoke again, my voice was low and husky.
"But I haven't seen it for quite some time now."

Saphey sighed and inspected the blade of her oar.
"Yeah." She said sadly. "Unfortunately anything we don't manage to retrieve is going to drift for miles and then get sucked into the turbines of the hydroelectric plant down by The Narrows."

We rounded a bend and saw the riverside parking lot. We paddled to shore and tried to learn how to walk normally despite rolled up twists of wet underwear.

With practiced ease, Saphey told us we were the best crew she'd ever rode the river with. Then she jumped into a jeep and roared away up a steep dirt road.

I walked to the river's edge, sat down on the muddy bank, and waited for my heart to float by.


At 4:54 AM, Blogger Isaac said...

Sometimes the best love stories are the ones that never quite happen. The ones where you can look back and say, “we would have been perfect,” before reality, disappointment, and erectile dysfunction set in.

At 5:41 AM, Blogger Francis Marion Tarwater said...

It never does come back, you know. You'll often find yourself wondering about your heart's fate. Well, the answer is that it was most likely eaten by a trout which was, in turn, eaten by either a bear or perhaps Saphy herself.

At 10:58 AM, Blogger Teaspoon said...

See you should have taken KR's titatium pimpstick (c)tm DMor. and knocked all the other passengers out of the raft and then you would have had her all to yourself and one on one she would have had no chance resisting you.

At 4:41 PM, Blogger Cindy-Lou said...

I refuse to believe you could have paddled without a heart. I deny this story. Denied.

At 9:59 PM, Anonymous tubbyman said...

Holy crap you're a good blogger. I've been away for a while, but I came back and started catching up and Goddamned you've got a lot of work up here. Anyway, this is somewhat of an inside post, but I just felt compelled to pass along my appreciation. I salute you, master gunslinger.

At 10:13 PM, Blogger Peter said...

God that's a sad tale Latigo, you need to harden your heart my friend, ooops, did you ever get it back?

At 10:39 PM, Blogger Ari said...

This must've been before you developed your otter summoning abilities. It is for just such emergencies that the Tlingit people developed fish/heart traps.

At 1:49 AM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Say, Latigo. I know that "girl" Saphey.

I put "girl" in quotes because as late as 1998, she was a guy named "Stanley."

Hence the muscular arms and whatnot.

And that following winter, she didn't go to heaven. She went to Sweeden for an operation.

At 9:01 AM, Blogger Monkeypotpie said...


Lesbian. Pick up your heart Latigo, she plays for the other team.

At 9:35 AM, Blogger hen said...

Perhaps she speed away so quickly because she was so uncontrollably in love with you that she couldn't bare to be near you another moment in case her heart exploded with joy.

At 3:07 PM, Blogger MJ said...

What a beautiful story! I love how you are ever the optimistic romantic, Latigo Flint.

I'll bet anything that Saphey is a barista come autumntime.

And I like Teaspoon's titanium pimpstick idea! Next time!

At 3:47 PM, Blogger Saucy Lil' Tart said...

Yeeeeeeeeeeehaaaaaaaa! A waverider after your heart.

At 4:30 PM, Blogger Rasmus said...

you should've headbutted her into loving you.

That always worked in the good ol' days...

At 7:19 PM, Blogger Amandarama said...

Wow. Just tell me you're not still there waiting. I hear river banks have lousy wi-fi and then we'd miss your most excellent posts. Can we have that not happen please?

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

I agree Isaac... as long as you agree that other times the best love stories are the ones where one or both parties wakes up naked and hung-over in the forest to the wet, cold bump of porcupine noses as they feed on a slashed chest.

That is a beautiful turn Solace Layfield. I shudder with morbid ecstasy at the very thought of my darling Saphy consuming the fish that ate my heart.

I was paralyzed TSP. Her grace and beauty paralyzed me and I could no more do violence in the service of my lust than fly.

Are you callin' Latigo Flint a liar Cindy-Lou? That's not a very good idea--not a good idea at all. That's a very bad girl. (Teehee.)

Hello Tubbyman. You yet live. I am glad. This year just sort of rolled by, didn't it? And the words right along with it. Between you and me, I actually have no idea what I'm doing, and know only that I can't seem to stop. It's all so magnificently pointless.

Thank you Peter. Unfortunately my heart was sucked into the turbines of the hydroelectric plant down by The Narrows. Which isn't a pleasant sensation. I highly recommend its avoidance.

You are so right Ari. If ever I could have used a friend like Sir Eduardo or Larson Silkhammer, it was that day.

How cruel can you be LBB? How much crueler could anyone be? (Of course, I guess that would explain her Adam’s apple and shadowy facial hair.)

Free agency Monkeypotpie--no one sticks with their original team anymore.

HEN... that is... god... actually, that is what I've just now decided happened. Thank you.

Thank you very much MJ, but you're reading between some mighty strange lines--pessimism, heartbreak, a savage, lonely death--these are things that stalk the likes of Latigo Flint, and he probably wouldn't have it any other way.

Catch it before it's sucked into the turbines of the hydroelectric power plant down by The Narrows Saucy Lil' Tart... if you can.

You just made me smile Rasmus. Those were the days, weren't they?

Nothing is certain in this world Amandarama except death, taxes and booze influenced melodrama.

At 6:08 AM, Blogger Berlinbound said...

First time reader here - Man you are good!

At 10:18 PM, Blogger Ev said...

They go back to their college towns, of course. They cover up in fleece and flannel and are seen nevermore until the next rafting season. They occasionally float bits of paper, or sticks, down the gutter channels when it rains, and think of sweet summer days with roaring whitewater and squinty-eyed gunslingers with hydroelectrically shredded hearts...

I know this because...I...live near one. Yes. That's it.


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