Thursday, March 16, 2006

Shootout on the Kingman Trestle

The other day Latigo Flint got to thinking that Shootout on the Kingman Trestle would be a good name for an Old West historical event. It made Latigo Flint a mite sad that no such event ever took place. Not one to stay down long, Latigo Flint decided to reenact it anyway.

To represent Kingman Trestle, that rickety tangle of timber and iron spanning the mighty Kingman River Gorge, (Which would have been a beautiful and desolate place, had it actually existed.) I chose the planted median strip running down the center of Glenoaks Blvd., in Burbank.

Naturally, I, Latigo Flint, would be playing the part of the dashing Natches Murphy, infamous outlaw and pistoleer. Two dozen empty beer bottles would fill in nicely as the corrupt and villainous Smivingsly Gang, and every girl that happened to drive by would take a quick turn as Eloise Petalwood, the beautiful but naive daughter of a local dry goods proprietor who didn't believe me- I mean Latigo Fli- I mean Natches Murphy, when he warned her that the villainous Smivingsly Gang planned to rob her father blind under the pretext of protection from dashing yet infamous pistoleers, and then tie her up and drag her to their faraway mountain hideout for unrelenting rounds of forced tomfoolery.


It may have been March but the snow was still thick on the passes, and dark, massing clouds threatened to add to the drifts. Natches Murphy eyed them warily as he dismounted next to a swath of fresh tracks.

(I rubbed my hands together and blew on them, then knelt next to a discarded hot dog wrapper.)

Riders had come through here, and not long ago by the look of it. Something caught Natches' eye and he lightly traced the inside of one of the tracks with a contemplative thumb. That horse carried a rider weighing at least a third less than the rest of the group.

(A boy on a skateboard gave me a strange look but I ignored him and continued to examine the hot dog wrapper.)

Which meant, Natches mused, that unless Two-Gun Cancer Joe had come back from the dead to ride with the Smivingsly Gang again, that rider had to be Eloise Petalwood. Suddenly Natches froze. His keen gunslinger ears had just caught the faint sound of a hoof striking stone from somewhere up the canyon on the other side of Kingman Trestle. They were close, very close.

(I called a reenacter’s time-out and hastily arranged the empty beer bottles in a loose formation about twenty feet down the median. Time-in!)

"Smivingslys." Natches called out, in his low, dangerous gunslinger drawl. "It's not polite to have a party and not invite all your friends." Natches chuckled to himself, picturing their shocked expressions.

(A young woman in a Jetta pulled up to the red light. I tipped my hat and delivered Natches' next line while staring into her eyes.)

"Hey Smivingslys!" Natches snarled. "Let Eloise go or taste the wrath of my lead."

(The girl in the Jetta gunned it and so the woman waiting at the bus stop became Eloise.)

Then suddenly the entire Smivingsly Gang charged the bend, guns blazing and took the far side of Kingman Trestle. Natches grinned and started singing an authentic Apache Warrior Death Song as he unloosed his holster straps and strode forward to meet them.

(People started gathering in the strip mall parking lot but it was too late to cast them as anything other than startled wildlife.)

The battle raged until the very cliffs seemed to tremble with Winchester's fury and the concussion of jolting Colts. Natches was everywhere--his hands deadly, darting lighting. (I threw myself at the bottles and started smashing them together.) The trestle lurched as the struts cracked and gave way. (I tried to topple a ficus but it had wires holding it up.) Day turned to night as gun smoke filled the canyon, and the ragged screams of dying men mixed with the angry whine of ricochets denied until you could hardly tell them apart. (I may have started screeching at this point.) Several Smivingslys tried to make a run for it but Natches tackled them and started stabbing them to death with their own fingers. (Glass shards were everywhere by now and somewhere in the distance, sirens wailed.) Tangled pistols and blood-lust delirium. Eloise ran but Natches knew she was heading for danger. Someone set a neckerchief ablaze. Natches caught up to Eloise by sprinting through a herd of bison that had suddenly appeared. Stumbling hemorrhage and triumph. Startled wildlife panicked and charged. Smivingslys came back to life and needed to be dealt with. Strangled prayers and the finality of lead. Something started swinging clubs and canyon walls weep evidence of murder. It was imperative that Eloise be kissed. Then the ground became the sky and Kingman Trestle burned.


And then Latigo Fli- I mean Natches Murphy, rode away on a steed with flashing lights--trusty IV drip at his side.


At 2:54 AM, Blogger Helga von porno said...

Sounds like your reenactment was a success inspite of the insipid interference of the spiritually blind. It is a great victory to reenact something that never was enacted in the first place.

At 7:37 AM, Anonymous The Macek Collective said...

Why did you..I mean Lati...I mean Natch....I mean someone set a neckerchief ablaze?

At 11:52 AM, Blogger Ari said...

I could see it. I could see it all.

At 3:06 PM, Blogger Sharon said...

Vividly told.

I love this line: that rickety tangle of timber and iron spanning the mighty Kingman River Gorge

...and also this one:

It was imperative that Eloise be kissed. Then the ground became the sky and Kingman Trestle burned.


At 4:42 PM, Blogger Trevor Record said...

Instead of trying to come up with something clever (in my mind) as a response, I'd just like to say this was probably one of the funniest pieces of yours I've read in a while.

At 8:18 PM, Blogger Francis Marion Tarwater said...

Yeah, I'll second that. It was pretty much amazing.

At 8:26 AM, Anonymous Sara said...

Yes, but with a "K'. Perhaps you were being chivalrous with your spelling of it with a "C", to save any delicate blushes on my part.

At 8:27 AM, Anonymous Sara said...

Yes, but with a "K'. Perhaps you were being chivalrous with your spelling of it with a "C", to save any delicate blushes on my part.

At 8:29 AM, Anonymous Sara said...


At 3:44 PM, Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

I don't know. I like stories that close all the loops. Like, for instance, what happened to the hot dog wrapper?

At 6:30 PM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

It was a glorious success Helga Von Porno, thank you for noticing.

War clouds action and intent Macek--I don't know how or why that neckerchief came to be set ablaze, only that it was.

I'm so glad to hear it Ari. (And so did you lurch and sway, heart pounding the evidence of murder as Kingman Trestle burned?)

Thank you Sharon. I was there on that planted median representing Kingman Trestle, so if anyone could tell it vividly I should hope it would be me.

Thanks Trevor Record. As far as I'm concerned, you may or may not be clever anytime you want--you have complete carte blanche at this point.

I appreciate that Solace Layfield. (Nice picture by the way.)

Squinty-eyed gunslingers are always chivalrous, Sara Caine with a K. So you're right--I imagined your hot flush if while showing your dear sainted aunt how Google works she suddenly came across that which implies your past relations with a lonely Embroiderer--and decided that wouldn't do at all.

(It happens.)

Oh yeah, sorry Old Hoss... the burning neckerchief landed on it and they both went up in a smear of green flame.


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