Saturday Night Special
The gun was originally my wife’s. Now my ex. Now my dead ex. Hit by a bus of all things one afternoon leaving the Central Library downtown. Now the place is called the Richard Riordan Central Library in honor of a couple of mayors ago, and that’s always pissed me off. It’d be one thing to build a library for him and name it that, like the libraries of the presidents of the United States, but it’s another thing entirely to take a landmark building and just tack his moniker on it as if he’s the showpiece and the historic library’s just a poor second fiddle.
But where was I? Oh yeah, the gun. The ex comes to me one night to say that she feels unsafe in our upscale Burbank apartment and that she wants a gun. I roll my eyes, but I get her one. For Christmas even. The cheapest one I could find. I think the thing cost $50 at Turner’s in Reseda, the same place that the Menendez brothers bought the firearms they used to slay their mom and dad.
But hey, a gun’s a gun, and we’d pay visits to the driving range trying to get used to it. She became like a fucking sharpshooter with the thing. Trouble with me is that the gun’s this tiny little piece of shit, and in my big old mitt I’d pull the trigger, and the sorry excuse for a barrel would angle to the left a little bit. Eventually I learned to adjust my sights a bit down and to the right so that I could put a bullet where I wanted it to go with some accuracy, but I also realized that use of this so-called weapon would be in close range that wouldn’t require accuracy so much as a dedication to inflict bodily harm or worse.
So when the wife and I split up about 45 seconds after we were married, I made sure to take the gun with me. Hell, being the angry witch that she is there was much more than a small chance that she’d come after me with it at some point and from my perspective it was better she not have that sort of shit available. Am I right or am I right?
Man do I digress or what? So back on my Kawi I’m heading south on Alvarado approaching Macarthur Park when I hear these shots that sound suspiciously like the same Raven that I have strapped to my ankle. Now, you’d think that when bullets start flying common sense would dictate me getting the hell outta there, but before I have a chance to rotate the throttle and roll away from the danger something very odd hangs in my periphery and I can’t shake it. Something totally unexpected. Like Arnold Schwarzenneger becoming governor. So I slow to a stop just past Wilshire and flip up my helmet’s visor. At first I’m thinking it’s some sort of medium-sized dog trotting along the side of the lake, but it moves with a sense of purpose and assuredness that you just don’t find in your average rover, be it a streetwise stray or not. It’s comfortable in this discomforting place.
Plus there’s something in his mouth. A towel? A baby? No, it’s a paper bag, like from McDonald’s or Burger King. And as if on queue, emerging from the shadows comes the source of the gunplay, a half-baked crackhead or dealer or both running as if whatever remained of his misearable life depended on him catching the canine.
Across the sidewalk and through a beam given off by a lakeside light standard trots the beast, moving at a pace just quick enough to not allow its pursuer a chance to gain. And that’s when it hit me: coyote! ButI’m thinking, what the fuck is a coyote doing near downtown for fuck sake? I knew they had pretty much taken over the hills, but to find a coyote this far into the city was remarkable.
The guy doing the chasing ran through the light beam screaming for the fucking dog to stop, something about that being his dinner, and I saw him doing his best to aim and fire again. A weak little snap sounded and there was a brief muzzle flash and the coyote didn’t even flinch as if this was all a part of a night’s work.
I couldn’t help but smile as the coyote made a sharp left onto 7th Street apparently heading for somewhere downtown. That’s when the dude stopped about 150 feet behind, steadied his shooting hand and squeezed off one more round.
No fucking way, I thought. But dang if the coyote didn’t give a brief yip, and stumble a bit before threading its way through what little traffic there was this time of night on Alvarado and disappear out of view eastward on 7th.
“Got you you son of a bitch!” the guy shouted triumphantly, but it was short lived when the coyote didn’t die or drop the bag.
“Fuck!” He yelled. And after a minute spent looking at the spot he’d last seen the animal, he turned around and slinked back to the shadows. Within another minute, it was like the ripples created when a pebble is thrown into a pond. All gone. as if the commotion hadn’t happened at all, except for the distant sound of sirens from a Rampart Division patrol car maybe headed here, or perhaps to something more important than a shots-fired call.