A blog of general comment by one of L.A.'s best known commentator/essayists. Humor, drama, pathos, satire and, well, everything else.
First Published – SUNDAY, MAY 18, 2008
I feel sorry for Ernie, our cat. He sits at a glass door looking out longingly at the birds and the squirrels that flash playfully into view. I think he wants to eat them. Kibbles and an occasional indoor mouse just aren’t enough.
He meows pathetically and cocks his head to one side and licks his lips. I don’t let him out for a very good reason: he’s a house cat and there are perils out there to which he is not accustomed; coyotes, dogs, rattlesnakes and owls.
Yes, owls. Stories abound in Topanga of large birds of prey carrying off cats and even small dogs. One woman tells of an owl swooping off with her little Portia. That’s her Pekingese, not her granddaughter. She ran down the street in the direction of the bird, screaming and swearing. The terrified owl dropped Portia on the road.
The dog was OK but that wasn’t the end of the story. A car swerved to miss the Pekingese and scraped another car. There was a fistfight. Sheriff’s deputies were called. Meanwhile, a man who claimed he was once abducted by occupants of a UFO saw the dog drop from the sky and thought it was an extraterrestrial.
He summoned other believers by blowing on a ram’s horn. They surrounded Portia, who was pretty bewildered by all of the commotion. This also attracted a large group of Christian fundamentalists who thought the dog a manifestation of the Holy Spirit dropped from the sky to pronounce the end of the world.
The Christians began praying loudly and shoving the abductees aside, a confrontation that eventually turned into a riot. This attracted the attention of the sheriff’s deputies who’d been handcuffing the two fist fighting motorists. The deputies called for backup.
The media picked up the call on their scanners and sent in traffic helicopters to check it out. Since Topanga is near the ocean, rumors began circulating that terrorists had come ashore and Topangans, cooperating with local police authorities, were trying to repel the invaders.
Others from Malibu and Woodland Hills heard the reports on news radio, armed themselves and headed for the fight. When the chopper pilots saw the armed militia coming over the hills, they assumed that the terrorists had formed an army and a full scale invasion had begun. The U.S. Air Force was summoned.
Fighter jets roared over the Santa Monica Mountains blasting everything in sight, including a few collaterals who bled much like real people, but were only collaterals and shouldn’t have been in the way of the bombs in the first place.
Naturally, everyone ran like hell except for Portia’s owner who got so angry at the bombardment that she began screaming and running and shaking her fist in the direction of a fighter jet that had just launched a missile at a building that housed the Topanga Feng Shui and Yoga Society of which she was a charter member. The pilot of the jet swooped low and gave her the finger which really enraged her. She called an Arab friend who was a known member of Al Qaeda.
Word spread among Islamic radicals that America was in disarray and it was time to invade. They alerted cells in L.A. peopled by movie set designers and Hollywood extras who armed themselves and marched on Topanga. Naturally they were greeted as visiting foreigners who are always welcomed here, so everyone stopped fighting and organized a Welcome to the Mountains party.
Soon they were all happily guzzling Two Buck Chuck and making out, including the woman who owned Portia, leaving the dog to stagger back to its house alone and whine pitifully at the door. But the music and the moaning were so loud that no one heard the poor creature. Soon Federal authorities moved in and arrested everyone under the Patriot Act for collaborating with terrorists and for violating laws against passion moans that exceed a wren’s tweet.
Topanga is empty now except for me which encourages animal predators to roam free, and that’s why Ernie is not allowed to leave the house. The End. (That’s one hell of a story, Al. I know.)
Al Martinez is a Pulitzer Prize winning essayist, former columnist for the Los Angeles Times, author of a dozen books, an Emmy-nominated creator of prime time television shows, a travel writer, humorist and general hell-raiser. Try him. He's addictive.
Joanne Cinelli Martinez is composed of artist, poet, gourmet chef, interior decorator, photographer, volunteer, and all around intelligent person; also the life long partner and care taker of the simple but happy little man who runs the blog. She views him with suspicion and uncertainty. It is a cautionary love story.