Dog Bites ManA Short Story by Jonathan Mitchell
The pungent aroma of marijuana permeated the air. Doug Bender again lit the bong and took in a big hit. He made sure to hold it in for a long time as not to waste any of the precious weed. He passed the bong to his best friend and former roommate, Herb Weintraub, who likewise took a big hit of the chronic. Now a senior, Doug still lived in his dorm room at UCLA's Sproul Hall. Herb was also a senior but had moved out of the dorm at the end of his sophomore year. Since Doug's current roommate had gone out of town for the weekend, he and Herb had the room to themselves. Herb stared at the towel that Doug had stuffed under the bottom of the door so the pot smell would not seep out and attract the floor's RA. The prick vigorously enforced UCLA's ban against pot smoking and alcohol consumption in dorm rooms. Herb worried that he should be studying as this was the last quarter where his accumulated GPA would count toward his admission to law school. Hell, his GPA was high enough to get into a good law school. He had also taken the LSAT, got his score back, and was pretty sure he'd done well enough to maximize his chances of acceptance. Therefore he felt he was entitled to a Friday night smokeout after spending most of the week studying many hours at UCLA's law library.
Likewise, Doug was pre-med and had a pretty high GPA. He'd scored high on his MCAT and he'd applied to various medical schools. He felt he had a realistic shot of getting into one.
There was a TV in Doug's room which his current roommate, an undisciplined freshman, owned. Doug turned the TV on and started surfing the channels. He stopped at the program where Roger Pollack, one of the candidates for Los Angeles District Attorney in the upcoming election, gave a spiel to a local news reporter:
"Marijuana abuse is rampant in our local high schools and middle schools and it has even trickled down to our elementary schools. We have kids so stoned in schools that they pass out in class. The dealer is our worst enemy. If I am elected Los Angeles County D.A., we will be going after marijuana dealers and prosecuting them to the fullest extent of the law and...."
"Shut that fucking thing off," interrupted Herb after exhaling his hit. Doug turned the TV off. "What about some Hendrix, instead?"
"Sounds good to me."
Doug grabbed the Jimi Hendrix “Manic Depression” CD from his music collection and played the song. The legendary guitarist had died in a drunken stupor, asphyxiating on his own vomit, many years before they were born. Doug and Herb, only twenty-one years old, were both Hendrix fans and agreed that it was great music to listen to while high.
Lying on the two adjacent dorm beds, high, in great spirits, they listened to the album and chilled out. Doug turned down the music. "So, do you have any letters of recommendation for law school? You're going to need them, you know."
"Yeah, I have a couple from two of my profs where I got my highest grades. I know you usually need three to get into a good law school, but I think I can snag one more from a friend of the family who happens to be an attorney."
"But what about some work experience, don't you need that? Of course, if you scored high on the LSAT you might be able to get around it."
"Well, I don't have any work experience, but I think I can get in someplace with my GPA and LSAT scores. Particularly when I get my third letter of recommendation. But what about you? Aren't you going to need letters of recommendation and work experience for medical school?"
"Yup, I've got both. I have four letters of recommendation and work experience doing stereotaxic surgeries on laboratory animals for Dr. Chakrist Borirakchanyavat. He wrote me a letter of recommendation for med school.
Herb raised his eyebrows quizzically. "What in the fuck kind of name is that?"
"What in the fuck is stereotaxic surgery?"
"Doing brain surgery on lab animals in order to implant electrodes and cannula into the brain to either electrically or chemically stimulate areas of the brain to assess brain function in those areas."
"Well, that sounds interesting. When do I get to see you performing some kind of brain surgery on an animal?"
"I'll be working in the lab tomorrow. You can spend the night here if you're too high to drive home and then walk down to Franz Hall with me."
The next day Herb and Doug walked together through the doors of Franz Hall, the building that housed UCLA's psychology department. Herb observed the photos of UCLA's psychology faculty, including the living professor emeriti, adorning the walls. Next to the pictures were the elevators. They strolled into one going down. Doug pushed the button for the C floor. That would take the elevator to the basement which housed the physiological psychology laboratories where stereotaxic surgery was performed on laboratory animals.
Doug took out his key, unlocked the door, and walked into the lab where he worked with Dr. Borirakchanyavat. Herb watched as Doug reached up to a shelf and took down a cage that held a few albino laboratory rats before setting it down by a metallic device.
Doug looked over to Herb. "We're studying the neurophysiology of aggression in this lab. We implant electrodes into an area of the brain called the basolateral amygdala which is part of the limbic system. This area of the brain is what controls a mammalian organism's aggression. We have an article in press in the journal Neuro Reports and I'll be one of the co-authors. That's going to look good to the medical schools I've applied to." Doug beamed at Herb.
"Now, Herb, I'm about to start." Doug picked up the rat by the nape of its neck and put it's head in the device that fit it snugly. Doug turned the screw on the right part of the metallic device and a long object emanated from the device, going into the rat's ear canal. After Doug heard a popping sound he stopped. Doug then repeated the same procedure on the left side of the metallic device until he heard the same popping sound in the rat's left ear. He picked up a needle and injected a local anesthetic on the top of the rat's head. He then went to a drawer, selected a knife and sliced open the skin on the top of the rodent's head, exposing the skull bone.
"By the way, this is a stereotaxic instrument." Doug smiled, pointing to the metallic device. It's designed to do brain surgery on laboratory animals in conjunction with an atlas of a rat brain so we can know where to place the electrode or the cannula in three dimensional space."
Herb had a blank expression on his face.
Now, Doug pointed out the exposed skull bone to Herb. "See that little T-shaped mark on the top." Herb nodded. "That's called Bregma. It's an anatomical landmark." Doug then pulled a large book off a shelf. "This is a stereotaxic atlas. It's a map of this species of rat's brain." Again, Doug pointed to the T-shaped bone on the skull. " "What that means is, by using this book," Doug pointed to the brain atlas, "we can tell relative to Bregma where the area of the brain is located that we are interested in. We can not only locate the basolateral amygdala but certain parts of it in all three axes of space. Now, I am going to insert an electrode into a new portion of the basolateral amygdala which our lab has not yet tested to see if it is a spot that will produce the greatest aggressive response. We sometimes get some interesting results. One time, a rat escaped from it's cage and it chased me and Dr. B around the room."
Herb chuckled but his curiosity was piqued. "Isn't the level of the rat's aggression a subjective judgment? How can you objectively tell how aggressive the rat is? Isn't that something a scientist is supposed to do, test objectively?"
"Yes, you're absolutely right. We do have a way to test objectively. See that computer over there?" inquired Doug, pointing to a computer terminal with the words Silicon Graphics on it. Herb nodded. "After I insert the electrode into the appropriate part of the brain, I will hook up this fancy computer to the implanted electrode. Then you'll see some spots on the computer screen that correspond to what's called a pixel or picture element that represents the few cubic millimeters of space in which the electrode was implanted. The computer shows a sagittal view of the right side of the rat's brain, meaning what it would look like if you took a knife to the top of the brain, sliced it down the middle, and looked at the view of the right side of it. Now here is the limbic system," Doug pointed out this section of the brain to Herb, "where the amygdala is. After I implant the electrode in the appropriate part of the rat's basolateral amygdala, I'll connect a cable from this computer to the electrode. You will see a small bright spot light up in this part." Doug pointed to the representation of the rat amygdala on the computer screen. "Then, the pixel on the computer will light up in response to the firing rate of the neurons in the appropriate place after stimulating them with the electrode. This will be measured in lumens, so we will know objectively how much aggressive response a small group of neurons, distributed only over a millimeter or so, will be elicited by stimulation of the electrode."
Doug paused for a bit. "Now, using Bregma as the anatomical landmark and, with this stereotaxic atlas, I am going to insert an electrode in the appropriate area of the basolateral amygdala."
Without a word, while looking at the atlas, Doug implanted the electrode in the appropriate place. He then clicked a button causing the electrode to stimulate the neurons, or brain cells, in the area.
After the stimulation Herb noticed the rat snarling and growling in the cage and struggling to get out and causing the entire cage to rock back and forth with strength belying its small size.
Herb looked over at Doug. "Wow, pretty impressive."
"You ain't seen nothing yet! Wait here." Doug left the lab room, leaving a dumbfounded Herb to wonder what was going on.
A moment later, Doug returned holding two cats-one in each hand-by the nape of the neck. He then put the cat he had been holding with his left hand into an empty cage. Then he went to another cage which housed still another albino laboratory rat and picked it up with his left hand.
"Compare and contrast." Doug smiled at Herb as the cat handily caught the rat and killed it. Next, Doug put the other cat in the cage that housed the rat with the implanted electrode. As the cat prepared to pounce, Doug pushed the electrode button, stimulating the portion of the basolateral amygdala which gave a particularly aggressive response. The cat jumped at the rat and snarled. The rat roared, drowning out the cat. Before the cat could snatch the much larger prey, the rat had jumped up on the cat's neck, pinning the cat to the floor of the cage and biting its neck. Within minutes the rat had killed the cat.
"Yeah, that's something," commented Herb.
Another Friday night and another smokeout in Doug's dorm room. His freshman roommate had joined in the convivialities. Herb was absolutely wasted. When it was Herb's turn to take another hit Doug passed the bong over and Herb waved it off with a hand motion. "No thanks, I'm too stoned already. I'm worried I'll be too high to drive back to my apartment. Maybe I can spend the night here." Herb eyed Andy, Doug's roommate, who shook his head at Doug, since the dorm room was crowded enough with two people.
Doug looked over at Herb with a slightly embarrassed expression on his face. "Sorry, no can do. Andy needs his bed."
Herb looked down to the floor and thought briefly about asking if he could sleep on it that night but decided against sleeping on the hard dorm floor. Then he thought of Andy and felt a tad guilty about lying on his bed. "Sorry about using your bed, Andy."
"No problem," the baby faced freshman nodded at him.
"Well, I think I'd better get up anyhow." With great effort, Herb pushed his marijuana-intoxicated body from the bed and walked over to the chair and sat in it. Andy, also high, plopped onto his bed and stretched out.
"Maybe I can just sit here for half-an hour or so until I come down." Herb looked over to Doug.
"Be my guest."
A half-hour later, Herb began to get restless as well as developing an intense case of the munchies. He particularly had a craving for a Hostess cupcake.
"I'm gonna split now. Gonna go down to the village, get a cupcake and a Dr. Pepper,and hang out until I'm okay to drive home."
"Later," said Doug and Andy in unison.
Herb, barely able to walk, ambled his way out of the dorm building.
He walked down to Le Conte Avenue, on his way to the nearest store that sold junk food. He bought his favorite munchies there. He ate one of the two cupcakes and immediately washed it down with the Dr. Pepper.
Though he had straightened up a bit, he still felt too stoned to drive back to his apartment safely so he decided to walk around Westwood Village. He strolled all around the village, looking at all the shops and sights. He then decided to walk over to Levering Avenue where fraternity row was. Toward the end of his freshman year, Herb had contemplated pledging a fraternity but decided against it. He felt the Greek life-style of constant partying would interfere with his studies and hurt his chances of getting into a good law school.
At Levering Avenue, as he admired the architecture of the Greek houses, he suddenly felt a hard shove on his back and sprawled to the ground.
"What the fuck, are ya bumping into me like that for?" said a shrill, angry sounding voice.
Herb righted himself, reeling around quickly in a state of shock. He saw a guy somewhat shorter than himself yet very muscular. He had on a black t-shirt, blue jeans and big black boots. He also wore a construction worker's hard hat. Herb gulped. This only meant one thing. This guy who had knocked him down was a member of the ultra right wing street gang the Black Gate. That name being an obvious parody of the White Fence, the Chicano street gang that had been terrorizing the barrios of East Los Angeles for decades. Unlike some of the other street gangs in Los Angeles such as the Bloods, the Crips, and the White Fence whose members were black and Hispanic and hung out in the poorer sections of Los Angeles, the Black Gate were white and often hung out in the San Fernando Valley in northern Los Angeles or in Los Angeles' affluent westside where UCLA was located. According to the newspaper articles that Herb had read about them in the Los Angeles Times, they brutalized gays, prostitutes and their clients and recreational drug users. Many were vigilantes who liked to mete out their own idea of street justice. It was also rumored that their ranks included off duty L.A.P.D. officers and L.A. County Deputy Sheriffs. The respective spokespersons for both of those organizations had steadfastly denied those accusations.
Herb winced when the hardhat clad hood made sniffing sounds.
"Buddy, you reek of pot. Don't you know it's against the law to smoke pot?"
Herb nodded solemnly. The man glared and continued talking.
"Actually the recreational use of marijuana as well as possession of an ounce or less has been decriminalized in California since 1976, such a shame don't you think?"
"I don't give a shit what you think!" the thug yelled in Herb's face. "If I had my way pot smoking would be a felony, like it was in the good old days!" Herb struggled to hold back tears.
"You weren't planning to drive under the influence of that shit?" the tough queried.
Herb shook his head.
"It's a good thing I came along, because it means I can give you a ride home. That way you won't drive and injure yourself or other people."
Herb spoke up. "That's okay, really, you don't have to give me a ride. I left my car parked back up at the dorms. As a matter of fact I was getting ready to take the bus home. I'll just take the bus back here tomorrow when I'm straight." Herb then started running, hoping he could outrun the punk, who might not be able to run as fast in his black boots as Herb could in his tennis shoes. As Herb ran at full speed, four more members of the Black Gate came out from bushes. The first member of the gang he encountered was on his tail, catching up to him. Herb then tried to make a run across Levering Avenue but a car containing four more members of the notorious vigilante street gang blocked his path. He was trapped!
Four members of the gang grabbed each one of his limbs and threw him in the car.
"Where are you going, college boy? The fun's just beginning. You're too high to drive so we're going to do you a favor and drive you home, but first we can have a little party."
A Black Gate grabbed Herb by the lapels of his shirt and pulled Herb's face about a centimeter away from his own face. "You go to UCLA, huh?" he asked.
Herb nodded, crying, scared shitless of what awaited him as the gang members drove off.
"It's disgraceful how you college punks at public universities waste the taxpayer's money by smoking pot all of the time!"
The car drove away from Levering Avenue in silence, leaving Westwood Village and turning right on Veteran Avenue. They made a right turn onto Sunset Boulevard from Veteran Avenue.
"This is kidnapping, you know," choked Herb, "you guys could go to prison for a long time if...."
"Not kidnapping, my friend," replied the driver of the car pleasantly. "We're just looking out for your welfare."
The driver continued east on Sunset Blvd while no one in the car uttered a sound.
Finally, the car started slowing down. Herb started sobbing when he saw the sign outside the building with a statue of a baseball player in a ready swing stance. It was The Batting Cage, the well known watering hole where a lot of off duty L.A.P.D. officers and L.A. County Deputy Sheriffs were known to hang out and get drunk.
The car stopped and the member of the Black Gate closest to Herb threw him forcefully out of the car and then stomped hard on his solar plexus.
"Get up!" he barked.
Herb stumbled to his feet and then another member of the gang punched him hard in the face, splitting his lip. Herb could see the blood trickling down his chin onto his shirt. He could also see a variety of police cars parked at the establishment. He looked at one of the L.A.P.D. squad cars and noticed the motto of the L.A.P.D., 'to protect and to serve' painted saliently on the side of it. Herb noticed two uniformed policemen having a drink and eating some hors d'oueveres at an outside patio that The Batting Cage provided.
He looked to them imploringly. "Help Police!"
The policemen at the table smiled at him and raised their glasses to toast him. Another cop at a nearby table laughed hysterically. The thugs continued to beat Herb until he was black and blue and bleeding profusely.
All of a sudden, the toughs stopped punching him. Herb looked up and saw two uniformed police officers leading a staggering man who fit the profile of a stereotypical stewbum to a T. The man, shit faced, could barely stagger while he attempted to walk aided by two policemen. The drunkard then puked, retching a torrent of vomit onto the middle of the Batting Cage's driveway. The two officers then pushed the guy into the back of their black and white patrol car and drove off.
"What a mess!" exclaimed one of the members of the Black Gate.
"How's it going to be cleaned up?" chimed in another.
"Well, it's a good thing we have this faggot here to help with that shit work," said another, who had been holding Herb by the back of his collar. He then pointed his index finger at Herb and jammed it into Herb's right eye.
Herb protested. "I'm not a--"
"Are you callin' me a liar when I say you're a swish?" The gang member pinched Herb's right supraclavicular nerve hard. Herb shook his head and cried.
"What a sissy."
Another member of the gang pointed to the puddle of vomit and motioned the guys who were holding Herb to bring him over to the puke.
"Now," he began, "we're going to do a little drug rehabilitation treatment. This is the best treatment for marijuana abuse that I know of. Since casual pot smoking can lead to use of harder drugs, like heroin, it's a good thing this treatment will nip the problem in the bud, no pun intended."
He smiled a sinister smile as Herb stood beside the puddle of vomit. The hoodlum that had been holding Herb by the collar grabbed him by the hair and started pulling it as hard as he could. He then thrust Herb's head less than an inch away from the vomit. The Black Gate who had previously made the statement about drug rehabilitation then put his foot on Herb's head. He realized that struggling or trying to get away would be futile.
"Now repeat after me," he said, "I say no to dope and uggh to drugs."
"I say no to dope and uggh to drugs," Herb repeated, straining to keep his face from smashing into the putrid mess.
"Now," he smirked viciously, "I want you to clean this mess by eating it all up."
Herb panicked. "Hey, now wait a---"
The gang member, who'd been holding him now pushed Herb's face into the vomit and then pulled it back up. A few of the members of the Black Gate drew out switchblade knives and clicked them open. A couple of the other members drew out Smith and Wesson .38 revolvers-the kind that were standard issue for members of the LAPD.
"Take a mouthful of this puke and swallow it or die now!" said one of the gang members holding a revolver to Herb's head.
He did as he was told and slurped up a mouthful of the vomit, swallowed it, and choked from the miserable taste.
"Again, repeat after me," said the gang member who had made the statement about drug rehabilitation. "I say no to dope and uggh to drugs."
"I say no to dope and uggh to drugs," Herb again repeated.
Again, Herb was coerced into sucking in a mouthful of vomit and swallowing it.
This torture went on until Herb had been forced to consume every last little bit of the drunkard's puke.
"Remember what Daryl Gates said about people who smoke pot on a casual basis?" barked a Black Gate member. The gang perked up enthusiastically at the mention of the name of the former chief of the LAPD, who, in their estimation, was the greatest lawman in history. They bowed their heads in reverance.
"Yeah," chimed in the Black Gate who had been holding Herb by the hair. "He said people who smoke pot on a casual basis should be taken out and shot."
The rest of the members of the Black Gate chuckled.
"Sounds like a good idea to me," said still another thug. The man whipped out his .38 and put it to Herb's head and clicked the trigger. Herb gulped, so, this is the end, he thought to himself. He heard a loud noise and felt a sharp object hitting his right temple but not a bullet. A second later, Herb realized he was still alive. He looked up and saw a flag sticking from the gun with the word BANG on it, just like in a lot of old movies. The members of the Black Gate were laughing hysterically.
Herb was again forced into the car and the thugs dumped him in an alley and drove off. Herb was frantic. His ribs really ached, but he was unsure if they were broken. He hoped for no broken bones or other possible permanent injuries but had just suffered a bad beating and a terrific fright but nothing more serious than that.
He staggered around, not knowing his location. He walked around and finally realized he was a block away from Sunset Boulevard. He walked over to Santa Monica Boulevard and slumped on a bus bench. At the late hour, no one seemed to be around. Then, a number 4 Metro bus drove up. Herb got on it and paid the fare, sitting down as the bus drove west on Santa Monica Boulevard. Fortunately, the Black Gate had not stolen his money. He exited at the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and Westwood Boulevard. He knew the number 1 Santa Monica Blue bus traveled North on Westwood Boulevard. He could take that bus all the way to UCLA. He walked two miles to the UCLA Medical Center and checked into the emergency room.
The next morning, Doug had been called and rushed down to the emergency room to visit his friend.
"What happened?" the pre-med student inquired of his friend.
"I was jumped by the Black Gate."
"Wow, you're kidding! So, are you going to call the cops?"
Herb glared angrily at his friend. If looks could kill, Doug would have had instant rigor mortis.
"Sorry, stupid suggestion." A sheepishly embarrassed Doug looked at his friend. An insidious grin crossed Doug's lips.
"What the fuck are you smiling about?" Herb muttered.
"I was just thinking of the old saw."
"What old saw?"
"Don't get mad, get even."
Herb felt his friend was being unnecessarily enigmatic but decided not to pursue the matter any further at this time. Besides, he was tired and his body ached all over.
"So are you okay?" Doug asked, showing genuine concern. "Any broken bones, permanent injuries or anything like that?"
"No, they took x-rays of my bloody nose but it wasn't broken. I was roughed up pretty bad, but no broken bones or anything permanent, I'll live." Herb smiled, trying to make light of the situation. "However," he continued, "they wanted to keep me overnight for observation just to be safe, but I'm going to be discharged later today."
A week later, Herb and Doug walked down Levering Avenue past fraternity row; close to the spot where Herb encountered the Black Gate. They each had their own lit joint which they were hitting on vigorously.
Doug started singing the lyrics to the old Fraternity of Man classic: "Don't bogart that joint, my friend...."
Out of some bushes, a member of the dreaded Black Gate jumped out, blocking the two college students' path. Doug winked knowingly at Herb.
"Hey, what the fuck you think you're doin?" yelled the Black Gate at the two students.
Herb recognized the gang member as one of the police officers who had escorted the stewbum out of The Batting Cage the previous Friday evening! So, the stories about some of the members of The Black Gate being off duty police officers were not rumors, and, in fact, were true! Herb gasped.
Doug smiled pleasantly at the thug. "Just taking a walk on a nice Friday evening, smoking a little hoochie. Here, have a hit." Doug held the joint out to their adversary.
"Put that fucking thing any closer to my face and I'll beat the shit out of you."
Again Doug smiled. Herb stood silently by. "Do you think you can take both of us?"
The vigilante clapped his hands three times and out of the bushes came ten more members of The Black Gate. Their fists were clenched and they were ready to pounce on Doug and Herb.
"Yes, I think we can take both of you." The off duty police officer returned Doug's smile. Doug pulled a small tubular object out of his shirt pocket. He blew on it. It was an ultrasonic whistle that only dogs can hear. Eleven barking dogs came running up to Doug and Herb-five German Shepards, four Rottweilers and two pit bulls. Each canine had an electrode implanted in the small portion of the basolateral amygdala, generating the greatest amount of aggression and rage response that Dr. B had found so far.
Doug whipped out a box and pushed a button that stimulated each electrode in all eleven dogs. "Attack!" yelled Doug at the top of his lungs, pointing to all of the members of The Black Gate.
One of the German Shepards pounced on a Black Gate, biting him instantly, tearing a chunk of skin from his body. Another Black Gate took out his .38 and shot one of the Rottweilers dead before it could pounce on him. Another Black Gate also drew his .38 to shoot a pit bull that was about to attack him. Before he could pull the trigger, a Rottweiler jumped up and bit his right hand off of the arm. On the sidewalk lay a lone hand, detached from its arm, holding a .38.
Another member of The Black Gate managed to hold off a few of the dogs with some tear gas and yelled into a walkie talkie, "help, mayday, we need backup on Levering Avenue immediately!"
After three of the Black Gate were killed, more came out with guns, trying to shoot the dogs. They managed to kill a couple. Then, a black and white LAPD car came driving 70 miles per hour with the siren blaring and red lights on. It managed to plow into two of the dogs, killing them instantly, but the car lost control and crashed into a nearby apartment building, killing both of the officers in the car. More dogs entered the fray after several had been killed in the melee. More police cars came, surrounding the dogs, bent on killing them. A few of the brain-stimulated dogs jumped on one of the police cars, managing to turn it over and biting the nose off of one of the cops inside.
It was a Mexican stand off with the cops unable to vanquish the dogs.
Soon, news reporters hit the scene, including a few helicopters, both media and police.
"Ah wunder what dat noise be," muttered Tyrone Foster to himself. The twenty-three-year-old black man was in a motel room on Levering Avenue, north of fraternity row. After a few days of being homeless, he'd mugged an old lady at an ATM machine. Not having had a bed to sleep in for the past few days, he was very tired. He tried to sleep, but the cacophonic din outside kept him awake.
Tyrone thought about how much he hated cops. He could never think of anything else. He thought back to his first memory. He was four years old. His mother was crying hysterically and he had no idea why. She finally explained to Tyrone that his daddy had died. He wanted to know what that meant and asked his mother when his daddy would be coming home. He remembered how she'd cried even more loudly after that, and he could not understand why. His ma then explained that his daddy would never be coming back. He still remembered how stunned he had been.
Then he thought of the rest of the story. His father had been in a bar after work and had gotten fed up with listening to the vulgar, drunken white man sitting close by going on about how much all of the lazy niggers on welfare were costing him in taxes. He ended up punching him in the face. Little did Tyrone's dad know that the man he'd punched was an off duty LAPD officer who had his service revolver underneath his jacket. Frightened, he drew it out, killing the black man without hesitation.
The LAPD's Internal Affairs Division had miraculously found the shooting in policy and no disciplinary action was taken against the officer. A lawsuit was filed by Tyrone's mother, but the poorly educated black woman did not understand the $100,000 settlement she received from the City of Los Angeles was a raw deal made by a lawyer happy about the fact he could earn $30,000 on a contingency basis for talking on the phone for twenty minutes. The Los Angeles City Attorney's office could smell a deal and took it. Tyrone subsequently grew up without a father, passionately hating all policemen. Because of this, he had turned to a life of crime. He shoplifted, sold crack cocaine on the streets, and, when he was big enough, started mugging little old ladies and stealing their money.
At sixteen, he'd made the mistake of selling a few grams of crack cocaine to an undercover DEA agent. Under the zero tolerance drug laws, Tyrone was tried as an adult and sentenced to twenty years in the federal penitentiary. He was put in the adult population at age sixteen and subsequently treated as a sex toy by a number of the older adult prisoners. Five years and a new presidential administration later, Tyrone's sentence was commuted and he was released from prison.
At twenty-one, he decided to go straight and enrolled in a computer repair training program under a grant provided to ex-convicts. He hoped to make an honest living doing that, enticed by the glowing promises of high job placement rates the training program boasted. The school had promised pie in the sky but delivered shit from the sewer instead. Unable to find a job, he again turned to a life of crime.
Now, he was sitting in his hotel room thinking about all of this, irritated at the noise outside. He picked up the pineapple shaped object on his bed and looked at it. He had bought a standard army hand grenade on the black market. He had decided to blow up the computer repair training center that had lied to him about how easy it would be to find a job after completing their program. But now, he could no longer stand the noise outside and decided to investigate it.
"What the fuck's so funny?" the rookie newsman inquired.
"I was just thinking of John B. Bogart."
"Who is that?"
"He was the city editor of The New York Sun over a hundred years ago. He said that when a dog bites a man it's not news because it happens so often but if a man bites a dog... now that's news."
The junior reporter laughed very hard now. "He would have missed the scoop of the century."
The next day the young reporter's story was printed on the front page:
Yesterday in Westwood, near UCLA, a horrific melee took place involving the infamous street gang, The Black Gate. No one is certain but apparently a rival gang trained a group of vicious dogs to attack the gang members, resulting in the deaths of twenty members of The Black Gate and forty-three members of the L.A.P.D. Two college students, who have asked not to be identified, videotaped the incident and have sold the tape to CNN for a reported figure of $750,000. The dogs seemed to have super strength and no one seems to know why.
Ray Hood, L.A.P.D. narcotics detective and known authority on drug abuse, insists the dogs were given PCP, a drug known to give its users super strength. "I've seen suspects under the influence of this drug who could break handcuffs. I've seen a 110 pound man beat up four police officers weighing more than 200 pounds each after ingesting PCP and being dusted," Detective Hood commented. The bodies of all of the dogs involved in the gang fight, however, have been burned too extensively to do any definitive toxicology screens to test for drug ingestion. As far as who would have a motive, Hood commented on the ill-found rumors that some of the members of the Black Gate were members of the LAPD and various other law enforcement agencies. "There are just some people who plain don't like cops," Detective Hood explained.
Roger Pollack, newly elected Los Angeles County District Attorney, was hesitant to dismiss the rumors of police participating with The Black Gate and other street gangs as being ill-founded. "Unprofessional behavior among law enforcement officers of any kind will not be tolerated. As newly elected D.A. I'm working with the L.A.P.D. Internal Affairs Division and any criminal misconduct among police officers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Also, we are going to take the hardest line that Los Angeles County has ever taken against street gangs now that I am the newly elected D.A. and furthermore...."
Doug finished reading the article to Herb. They sat comfortably in their new $250,000 condominium in West Los Angeles listening to Jimi Hendrix's Hey Joe playing softly on the CD player.
"That calls for a hit," said Herb, getting out a bong filled to the brim with the finest quality marijuana money could buy.
"Before you light that up, Herb, there's some more good news. I got accepted to UCLA Medical School." Doug pulled his acceptance letter from his pocket and flashed it at Herb.
"Well," he replied. "It looks like we'll be rooming together for a few years in our condo, I just got accepted to UCLA Law School starting next fall!" Herb waved around his own acceptance letter.
Herb lit the bong, took a hit and exhaled as he passed the bong to Doug. "All's well that ends well thanks to Dr. Borak, no boka, no....."
."Don't try to say it when you're high, Herb." Doug relit the bong and took a hit, but due to laughing so hard, he failed to hold in his hit.
|Copyright 2002, Jonathan Mitchell - All Rights Reserved.|