Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Days of Blood and Scorpions

A hundred and fifty years ago it was easy to tell which were the really tough men, because they'd be the ones picking their teeth with a live scorpion's tail. And it was even easier to tell which of these really tough men were the ones with a mean streak, 'cause they'd blame venomous mishaps on you.

You'd be walking down the street, minding your own business and then suddenly get shot in the neck.
"OW!" You'd shout, grabbing your neck and whirling around to see who'd just shot you. It was usually the man with smoking gun in his hand and a grotesquely swelling upper lip--that was usually the man who'd just shot you.

"Hey, did you just shoot me?!!!" You'd query, on the off chance it hadn't been him.
"Yeah jerk," he'd usually reply. "You startled my scorpion, you clumsy fool." And then he'd level his gun at your face.

What happened next depended entirely on what sort of man you were. If you were not a tough man, you'd drop to your knees and beg forgiveness--which he'd grant with spat tobacco in your eyes, and then you'd be laughed out of town by street drunks and whores. But if you were a tough man, you'd just pull out a scorpion and calmly pick your teeth with its tail.

"Oh, did I?" You'd ask, with a sneer and a glare, and when your scorpion stung you you'd shoot him.

"OW!!!" He'd holler and clasp his neck with his hand. "You shot me!!!"

"Yeah." You'd reply. "You startled my scorpion with your hideous lip--you might want to cover that up, clumsy fool."

At which point you'd both apologize and head for the saloon, where you'd drink whiskey and rub salve on each other's wounds.

Oh, those were magnificent days. We'll probably never see their kind again. I blame lawyers and those damn entomology lobbyists.

9 Comments:

At 7:30 AM, Blogger Mary Lewys said...

Once a day, I say, if only to myself, "I love Latigo Flint."

 
At 11:02 AM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Me too, Mary. That's not gay. Is it?

Anyway, This was a great tale. I fear scorpions. I have nightmares about them. But one day I hope to muster the courage to pick my teeth with a scorpion's tail.

Tell me more about this salve.

 
At 1:33 PM, Blogger Teaspoon said...

This was a great read, but then right at the end I got a whole Tentpole Mountain vibe with the two "tough" guys, rubing salve on each other's wounds.

I'm just saying

 
At 2:54 PM, Blogger Cad Grublygold said...

I Brazil I here tell that the tough guys pick their teeth with Poison Arow froggs. Then they violently convulse and die.......It's tough being tough.

 
At 5:58 PM, Blogger Amandarama said...

So, you're telling me that I can get away with randomly shooting a guy if I can learn to pick my teeth with a live scorpion?

Hmmm. This bears exploration...and whiskey...

 
At 6:18 PM, Blogger hen said...

Those entomology lobbyists are grubby gits.

 
At 6:50 PM, Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

How do you writers get away with this stuff? "..salve.."? Any writer worth his salt and pepper would commercialize this little bit and say "..Bag Balm..." You get paid for endorsements, you know.

 
At 6:28 AM, Blogger Peter said...

Was it a point of honour that after your scorpion stung you, you must shoot someone in the neck?

 
At 1:35 AM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

And that, Mary Lewys, is nothing short of thirteen-word clinic on how to leave the best comment ever.

Gay is the new straight LBB, don't even worry about that. I'm very glad you asked--the salve is an organic, aloe vera and papaya based balm. It goes on smooth with a pleasing after-scent. 73 degrees F is the ideal application temperature and it is actually such a wonderful salve that PETA protested the fact that not enough laboratory animals were allowed to test it.

You know I'm a little slow TSP--what exactly are you saying now?

My god Cad, that's beautiful! You couldn't be more right, it is tough being tough. I vote we joint-copyright that line. (Refuse and I'm probably going to try to kill you with my bare hands, what with being as tough as I am and all.)

Sorry Amandarama, you could a hundred and fifty years ago but not so much now. (Why do you think I'm so miserable all the time?)

I don't speak British Hen but you're probably right--whatever it was you just called 'em.

Damn straight Old Hoss. For the past year I've been receiving a nickel every time a Dwight Yoakam album is purchased. That and a sneer just bought me a six-pack of beer.

More of an excuse Peter I think, but I don't actually know for sure--I had the wretched luck to be born in the late 70's... 19 not 18.

 

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