By lex, on July 10th, 2011
It was late at night, and I chanced to look outside our backyard window to see something large and powerful attempting to vault itself over the fence and into the nature preserve beyond. The fence was too high, and the rebuffed animal fell back, turned and looked right at me through the plate glass window with eyes of burning coal. A wolf, a very large wolf, black in the main atop chest and legs splashed with white.
It wouldn’t do to have a wolf trapped in the back yard, not with the house for sale. But I wasn’t about to go out there unarmed, so I fetched the Remington 870 from the bedroom, and cautiously stepped out the door, using one foot to keep Gus the dachshund from scampering out to his certain doom. Gus is bold, but not clever, and the wolf is both.
The first chamber is loaded with No. 4 birdshot – it is meant to maim, not kill – but the follow on rounds are 4-ought buck, and I briefly considered cycling the birdshot out and the buckshot in. No, I thought to myself. I owe him this.
I cautiously stepped to the gate, the shotgun at the ready and opened it. I stepped back and the wolf stared at me for a moment before limping to the exit, manifesting every appearance of being injured or ill. Once through the gate however he fled like smoke to the forest beyond and I breathed a sigh of relief.
Until the mercenaries trudged by in the gloaming, from whence and towards what object I did not know, nor apparently need to. They were a disreputable looking bunch, all of them armed, some with rifles, at least one with an AK-47, the icon of international mayhem and terror. They grumbled as they looked at me, and I stood my ground with the shotgun at high port. I heard one of them say to his neighbor that the second man could distract me, while he himself would take me down, it would look like a righteous shoot, no one would ever question it. I shouldered the shotgun and aimed it just above and to the side of his face, wishing I had cycled the buckshot under the firing pin. These were far the more dangerous animals, and although they were not on my property, I was. I wondered to myself whether California had a no-retreat law.
But they too passed by, uneventfully. I breathed a sigh of relief and then suddenly a colleague of mine was bringing a group of tidily dressed young people to meet me.
“Who are these people?” I cried.
“They are the air traffic controllers,” he replied.
“Oh, I see. Thank you,” I said to the crowd that gathered around. “We couldn’t do it without you.”