Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A Sad Title Goes Here

For Squinty-Eyed Gunslingers like Latigo Flint, the latter days of December are reserved for introspection and misery. And occasionally the violent interruption of holiday parties to which they weren't invited.

Thus the night found me standing in shadows just beyond the reach of rented patio lights, close enough to sense warm rhythms of familial joy but far enough to remain unaffected. I stared grimly from beneath a low-tugged hat brim, rolled a cigarette and sneered.

And this should have been enough to declare victory and stagger home--for when the character points are tallied, it is always the man in the dark with a sneer and a broken heart, who comes out on top over sweater-clad husbands who have to shake every hand and pretend floral arrangements are grand.

But I didn't declare victory and stagger home. Partially because I'm the quickest quickdraw the world has ever known and partially because I'd been drinking steadily since a Thursday night (who really knows which one anymore) and couldn't remember where I lived.

I crept to the window with no intention of crashing through, but then I fell in love with half of the women there, and several other figures whose backs were to me, obscuring gender--and before I knew it, I was crouched in the center of the room, shaking glass shards from my hair and bleeding on a rug.

"Season's Greetings!" I bellowed. "I am Latigo Flint, the quickest quickdraw the world has ever known."

I wasn't necessarily expecting roaring applause, but surely scattered claps and murmurs of awe at the very least. Instead I was met with horrified silence and a slow retreat for the doors. I scrambled to my feet.

"No, no! I am Latigo Flint--here, I'll prove it." And then I attacked the couch with a bowie knife. (Hey, it made sense at the time.)

The priorly merry revelers screamed and fled the room. I gutted the couch, and two armchairs, maimed a bookcase, badly wounded a coffee table and let a grandfather clock off with a warning only after it promised never to chime again. I rode a chandelier into the top of the Christmas tree--tried to chat up the angel on the way down and accidentally ate a snow globe.

Then the swat team dropped me with several waves of tear gas and projectile beanbags.

As I lay there in a crumpled heap, counting internal ruptures and drooling on myself, a child's face appeared at the top of the stairs. I managed to smile up at her though the effort cost me the use of a lung.

"Hello child." I whispered.
"Hello cowboy." She replied.
"I'm sorry I wrecked your party."
"That's okay, there'll be another next year."
I could hear the heavy tromp of many boots in the foyer. I sighed and lowered my head.
"I'm the villain tonight, aren't I?"
"Yes." the girl replied, "Yes you are."

She glanced to her left. The light reflected off the visors and shields of the approaching troops and danced across her face. I coughed and felt a rib break the skin. A forest of upraised nightsticks appeared in my peripheral. I ignored them.

"Don't forget me child."
"How could I?" She asked. "I just watched you eat my snow globe."

I smiled a little. "The water is salty you know."

The nightsticks descended. The girl followed their vicious arc with her eyes. "I've always wondered about that."

"We all have." I replied, and then the lights went out.

18 Comments:

At 5:53 AM, Blogger Francis Marion Tarwater said...

Mr. Flint, you are my hero.

 
At 6:29 AM, Blogger Monkeypotpie said...

It's true, we all have wondered about the water in the globes. We may never have known were it not for your internal injuries and drunkeness.

 
At 10:23 AM, Blogger Rasmus said...

I think a good solution to this would be to bring Kid Relish along.

If Kid is there, you'll Never be the villian of the night.


And in the name of all Science, I thank you for accidently eating that snow globe. We're all the better for it.

 
At 11:32 AM, Blogger Ari said...

"If we now pause to test the soul of [Mr. Flint], we find him distinct from the bourgeois in the higher development of his individuality -- for all extreme individuation turns against itself, intent upon its own destruction."

-- H. Hesse, Steppenwolf

 
At 6:08 PM, Blogger Amandarama said...

You did the right thing.

Merry Christmas, Latigo.

 
At 12:03 AM, Blogger Peter said...

I think you need to stop drinking on Thursdays Latigo, or at least don't crowd more than a couple of them together.

 
At 3:45 AM, Blogger greta said...

Latigo.

Your tale has really ignited my yule log.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, sir. Actually that feels a tad inappropriate. How about instead I wish you a sweetly melancholy Christmas and a dangerous and sexy New Year?

 
At 6:13 AM, Blogger Anonymous Shannon said...

Excellent story. You brightened my day. Have you ever heard of Kinky Friedman? Before he decided to run for govenor, he wrote for Texas Monthly. He write much in the same style as you. Check him out sometime.

 
At 9:15 AM, Blogger hen said...

Quite frankly Latigo I am shocked and appalled by the rude and unseemly behaviour of these people. I would have thought such a charming and delightful entry by yourself to any soiree would be welcomed with a hearty cheer and a freshly open bottle of champers. Not the chilling screams of people fleeing for their lives like terrified turkeys awaiting the chop, clawing at hopeful exits until their fingernails bled.

There is no understanding some people!

 
At 12:10 PM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Sounds like the stuff of a network holiday special.

Hey, I'm sorry you got hurt this Christmas.

Merry Christmas, Latigo Flint.

 
At 4:23 PM, Blogger Teaspoon said...

Well that is definitely a sad tale, how about this for a title? The Missing Invitation, or the Night the Gunslinger sucked on a snowglobe

 
At 6:06 PM, Blogger hen said...

Hmm.. how about..

"The soar shallow bitter blood on a crisp Christmas night light"?

 
At 12:49 PM, Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

The poor child. When she starts work at Starbuck's, I'm going to give her all my business.

 
At 12:35 AM, Blogger Wulfenjarl said...

Cheers to you, my good man!

Furniture is only slightly less dangerous to humankind than elk, polar bears and hippos.

You have done us all a great and noble service.

 
At 5:18 AM, Blogger Anonymous Shannon said...

Latigo,

I'm waiting with baited breath for your next post. I'm addicted to your blog!

 
At 2:55 PM, Blogger Cindy-Lou said...

I love the way you always connect with children. It's such a sweet quality in a gunslinger.

 
At 10:07 AM, Blogger Francis Marion Tarwater said...

Latigo, I found this quote in someone's signature on a message board and thought you might appreciate it...

"He was a cowboy, mister, and he loved the land. He loved it so much he made a woman out of dirt and married her. But when he kissed her, she disintegrated. Later, at the funeral, when the preacher said, "Dust to dust," some people laughed, and the cowboy shot them. At his hanging, he told the others, 'I'll be waiting for you in heaven--with a gun.'"

 
At 8:08 PM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

Thank you Solace Layfield. I have admiration for you as well.

A great many things would never have come to pass Monkeypotpie, were it not for my internal injuries and drunkenness.

That may be true dear Rasmus. (Of course there's a slim chance I am never wholly without The Kid.)

That is a magnificent quote Ari. Thank you. (Except that in Latigo Flint's true stories wolves actually represent... well, wolves, and sometimes they eat faces off.)

Merry Christmas Amandarama. And a very happy new year to you gal.

Peter, you can never, never tell me to stop drinking. Do you understand?

Hello Greta. Right back at you--whichever version you prefer, or maybe a little of both. I very much prefer the latter.

Thank you Anonymous Shannon. I'm glad. And I'll give Kinky a look sometime.

I know hen, there's just no figurin' folks anymore.

Thanks LBB, that helps. You have a wonderful '06.

Not bad TSP but neither quite passes the "would this title make college girls with low-cut jeans and cute noses want to sleep with me?" test.

I'm not drunk enough to decipher that title hen. I'll get back to you in a few hours.

Just remember Old Hoss, they have to share any tip that goes in the jar, but not the brassiere.

And indeed cheers to you too Wulf. My life has always been defined by nouns, and I'm haunted by basil.

There are always the archives Anonymous Shannon--remember that when I'm gone.

Now that you mention it Cindy-Lou, I guess it is rather sweet. It turns you on just a bit, huh?

That is simply magnificent Solace Layfield. I've half a mind to track down the author, kill him and claim the quote as mine.

(It should have been "hell" at the end though.)

 

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