That Adorable Little White-Haired Baby
Today Latigo Flint was waiting in the Starbucks line when suddenly the adorable little white-haired baby in front of me lunged upright in his stroller and grabbed a hold of the buckskin fringe that dangles from the sleeves of my favorite shirt.
I gave him a slight wink and a smile. "Well howdy there little white-haired baby. You've got mighty fine taste I reckon. That there is my favorite buckskin shirt."
His mother whirled around with a sniff and a snarl. "What did you just say?!!!"
I politely tipped my hat. It felt a tad strange doing it with my right hand but her little white-haired baby still had a firm grip on the buckskin fringe of my left. "Howdy Ma'am. You've got a fine looking young man there. Him and I was makin' with a little friendly conversation."
Her face relaxed. "Oh, I see. Well, in that case it's fine, because he actually really enjoys having friendly conversations with strangers who wear... hides."
I was pleasantly surprised to hear it. "You don't say? What a sharp little guy."
Her eyes got really wide and she started nodding furiously. "Yeah, yeah. His father and I sure think so. It's the damnest thing - see, he's only 10 months old and can't speak a single word most of the time, but boy, put a mountain man looking psychopath in front of him and you just can't shut him up."
I squinted at her. "You're being sarcastic aren't you?"
"What the hell do you think?!"
I glanced down at the little white-haired baby. "She's being sarcastic isn't she?"
The mother shook an angry fist in my face. "Stay the hell away from us!"
The white-haired baby raised one thoughtful finger. "ECK!"
His mother and I were equally shocked. We stared at him in amazement. The little white-haired baby cleared his throat and said it again: "ECK!"
"My God little buckaroo, you're absolutely right!" I turned to his mother, "He's absolutely right, this IS elk hide! How the heck do you suppose he knew that?"
His mother was too stunned to respond.
"ECK! ECK! ECK!"
I leaned down and brought my face close his. "Is that a lucky guess, or are you like the Cherokee and the Cree and can actually identify the species just by touching the hide?"
I frowned. That last one sounded familiar. "Or are you sneezing?"
His mother must have snapped out of her astonished daze because the next thing I knew, a powerful self-defense taser was being applied to the back of my neck.
I woke up in an alley. Apparently someone had spent a considerable length of time kicking me in the ribs. And most of my buckskin fringe was missing.