Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Claw of the Otter--Silent Glory Beneath the Eddies of America

Latigo Flint once wrote an unflinching novel about vengeance and redemption and uncommon bravery in the face of relentless evil. The title: Claw of the Otter--Silent Glory Beneath the Eddies of America.

The book opens with a prologue introducing the hero, an otter pup named Destiny Sparkleheart, who, along with his seven happy siblings, enjoys the tranquility of a perfect life on the shore of a gentle river, under the loving care of his young mother, Apple Blossom Sparkleheart.

The pace and intensity picks up a bit in Chapter One, when the villain, a voodoo-practicing mime and playwright named Vaspith Keel, shows up, snares Destiny's mother and screaming siblings, and then dips them into a vat of highly corrosive acid while Destiny watches, wounded and trembling from the murky tangle of partially submerged mangrove roots.

Vaspith Keel has the hideous plan to produce, direct and star in a trilogy of Broadway plays featuring himself, and the painted, skeletal remains of nearly a thousand otters. Over the course of the next 600 pages, time passes and a bunch of stuff happens--some of it beautiful, some of it horrific, all of it absolutely gripping. And people tend to burst into applause when they finish the final page. (Which actually happens to be quite rare you know.)

Needless to say, this book is a very powerful and moving book. In fact, it's said that compared to Claw of the Otter--Silent Glory Beneath the Eddies of America, Watership Down reads more like Hop on Pop. People wept so hard that the publisher had to switch to a special type of waterproof paper and ink for the second printing.

Ordinarily I would never divulge the end of my book, it would be tantamount to artistic and financial suicide... but the thing is, I showed up a little drunk to a meeting with the publisher, and ended up signing away all my rights for two cases of lite beer and a Steinbeck bobble-head doll. So since the bastards have it all while I recycle cans, I don't feel the slightest bit bad telling you that the climax roars in the shadowy menace of a deserted theater stage at night as Destiny Sparkleheart and Vaspith Keel stalk each other through a dangling forest of otter skeletons--finally clashing center stage and fighting to a mutual death.

Which may seem depressing, what with the hero, Destiny Sparkleheart dying and all, until you realize that in a hand-to-paw fight between a human and an otter, mutual death is actually a great and mighty victory for the otter.

Oh yeah, and then just as Destiny is bleeding out and burbling final breaths, his son, Destiny Sparkleheart Jr., who everyone thought had been swept down a storm drain and eaten by alligators eight chapters ago, bursts through a stained glass window and races to his father's side just in time for a nuzzling of noses and "I love yous" and then Destiny Sparkleheart Jr. eats Vaspith Keel's heart and snarls triumph and redemption across a dark velvet sea of theater seats, upon which lean the backs of man.



(And in a remarkable literary innovation--if you rub the last blank page of the book with a lemon wedge, a hidden epilogue appears, which summarizes Destiny Jr.'s long and happy life as the beloved pet and guard-otter of Hollywood Golden Couple, Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe.)

15 Comments:

At 8:10 AM, Blogger Berlinbound said...

I had a cousin who was creepy for otters, something about the sleek symmetry of their coats, the luster, the overall creaminess … you get the picture. I’ve never been able to read a novel, see a film or listen to an opera with an otter hero since the afternoon I found him and his then pet, hold up in my aunt’s walk-in closet. It wasn’t pretty – no it was not.

 
At 10:56 AM, Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

In which chapter did Destiny Sr. get married? Or was Junior a chip off the old non-wed block?

And how do we know those were alligators and not crocs?

My blood out of a beet is not runneth. Nay, nor out of a celery.

 
At 11:33 AM, Blogger Isaac said...

Hahahahahaha! Heh. Bees.

 
At 11:44 AM, Blogger tabitha jane said...

i'm going to need to switch to a waterproof keyboard here in a second . . . that was beautiful!


i've missed you latty!! sorry i was gone for so long! i'll try to stop by more often!

 
At 1:43 PM, Blogger Trevor Record said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 1:45 PM, Blogger Trevor Record said...

You have a Steinbeck bobble-head? Would you be at all willing to trade it for a Fitzgerald? I've got doubles, and when you get a pair of Fitzgeralds together I don't think I need to tell you what happens.

 
At 2:29 PM, Blogger Frenzy Lohan said...

That was a great story.

 
At 3:24 PM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

You need a sober agent who can safeguard your financial interests.

Talent like yours sinking to the bottom of a bottle of Jim Beam -- breaks my heart.

I'm off to your last couple-o-posts.

 
At 4:19 PM, Blogger Francis Marion Tarwater said...

My favorite part was when Destiny Sparkleheart met his badger ally, Incongruity Wilhelm, for the first time. Oh, the banter! Can I have an autographed copy?

 
At 8:21 PM, Blogger ThePaula said...

I wish I was Reese Witherspoon's pet otter! I WISH IT SO HARD

 
At 8:22 PM, Anonymous TMC said...

Flint.....once again yer spoilin my endings. You know I'm going to have to start cutting myself again......

 
At 7:34 AM, Blogger slarrow said...

Yes, but could Reese and Ryan trust an otter who had eaten the black heart of Vaspith Keel? I mean, the little guy would probably some day turn to playwriting, a play so terrible and daunting (but oh so challenging!) that Reese and Ryan would perform it and ruin their sparkly careers.

Such are the dangers of a black-heart munching otter. After all, you are what you eat, they say.

 
At 6:49 PM, Blogger Amandarama said...

I'm not sure I could handle the whole of "Claw of the Otter". "Watership Down", the tv cartoon, caused me nothing but sweaty, sleepless nights as a child. I blame it on the "Black Rabbit Of Death", awful freaking Satanic thing made of black sillhouette with pointy ears. On the other hand, that was when I also learned that OTC Benadryl can bring the sudden, forceful hammer of sweet, dreamless sleep.

I was nine.

 
At 3:16 AM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

The luster, the overall creaminess... oh yes, I get the picture Berlinbound--perhaps a bit more than you'd be comfortable with. What's your cousin's email? We have a few things to chat about.

Snout shape Old Hoss, and upper jaw overlap... you know, the normal way 'gators are identified.

Still Isaac?! How much longer to you intend to express mirth for my good friend's demise?

Sweet Tabitha Jane! I've missed you too, you know.

Yeah Trev I do, their heads tip back and they offer each other booze until their livers explode.

Thanks Cara.

I guess we'll see how it all shakes out in forty years or so LBB.

Ah yes, Solace Layfield, the famous 26th chapter. Oh that Incongruity Wilhelm... damn shame what happened to him in chapter 29, huh?

Don't let anyone ever steal your dreams Paula... who says you can't someday become Reese Witherspoon's pet otter if you work hard enough and never stop believing.

There's no room on my hands for any more blood TMC.

But they did trust him, Slarrow, and it was never betrayed, as it were, in the end. He ate the evil and managed to keep it from consuming him. How, I don't know. I eat a stale Fig Newton and hookers die all over town, but Destiny Sparkleheart Jr. found a way.

So it made you "tharn", in other words then, Amandarama?

 
At 11:21 AM, Blogger Berlinbound said...

Oh Benadryl ....

 

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