Shortly before o'dark thirty, CT6 (Coyote Team Six) lifted off from the 24/7 Denny's at Harbor and the 405 and plunged into the dusky streets of the beaches Seal and Huntington. We'd secretly been inspired to embark on a covert mission to kill coyotes by California Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mexico), a county supervisor candidate and out to prove to his latest future constituents that he is a true fighter in the War on Fur.
Mansoor* wrote an op-ed piece that advocated "thinning" the coastal county's coyote herd with extreme prejudice. He started by noting past efforts to combat a perceived growing coyote population too close to the dog/cat/human population, which included keeping pets and their food inside at night, not putting garbage cans out until mornings and picking up fruit that falls from trees.
The politician went to a town hall meeting where he heard county and city officials suggest more drastic measures, including "hazing" the coyotes by yelling and throwing things at 'yotes to make them scoot. (To reiterate: *.)
"While some of this may have some effect, I don't think elderly people or people with small children really feel comfortable engaging the coyotes unless absolutely necessary," Mansoor reasons in his op-ed. "There was some discussion about trapping but it seemed to be limited and only for certain 'bad' coyotes."
Next came the words that would inspire our covert op without Mansoor ever knowing it.
"I see no reason why we don't make thinning the population a more regular part of our plan while continuing with our education efforts," Mansoor writes. "Yes, there are costs, but they can be shared. The cost however of an incident with a small child or elderly person is much greater. Let's not wait for that."
Our CT6 Special Warfare Enforcement and Action Team heard the call, and SWEAT waits for no one. Along with a German shepherd in a coyote suit, whom I will call Wiley (not his real name), we pushed off on a moonless early morning, stopping for all the lights in our used Dodge Caravan before we ducked into an alley, undetected, behind coyote lines.
Actually, all of Mansoor's coastal Orange County district is within our coyote kill zone. We smeared Wiley's ... uh ... breakfast onto our human faces to more easily blend in, which actually turned out to be a HUGE mistake given the swarm of flies this attracted to each one of us. It forced a slight change of strategy as we'd now make buzzing noises with our own mouths to impersonate huge queen flies.
Our squadron commander, whom I will call Juice, ordered us out of the Caravan. We thought it was because someone spotted a coyote. I would not learn until later it was because Team Member O'Bannon ordered extra beans with his chili scramble, a deadly prospect considering the van's power windows were on the fritz.
Wearing our desert camo and toting silenced M4 rifles (pound sand, Heckler & Koch MP7s!), we filed out into the pre-light, planting our boots into thick mud because Mrs. Patterson over-watered her planter again. Our demolition man Ned reached into a bag and threw a charge that exploded and lit up the entire neighborhood--causing too older Asian ladies delivering the Register to step on the gas to get the hell out of there.
A split second before darkness returned, we caught the piercing eyes of a "bad" coyote, as AM had put it. He or she was super skinny, a bag of bones on four legs, giving new meaning to "thinning" the herd or pack or whatever you call a bunch of coyotes. Each team member unloaded their M4 on the beast, the beginning of a successful operation.
Words from Gen. Mansoor's op-ed danced in our heads as we squeezed our triggers.
"Coyotes may be smart, but by working together we can keep our kids, our elderly, and our entire community safe and I am committed to working with you on that."
Unfortunately, our target that first morning turned out to be Wiley, who'd run up ahead in hopes of coaxing out a coyote man whore by pretending to be a coyote bitch in heat.
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"Don't die you bastard," I said cradling Wiley's head gently in my arms. But it was too late. This friendly fire is on the enemy, and we will exact revenge. I'd therefore advise staying off the streets in Mansoor's district overnight. You never know who is out there but, whoever it is, if it's moving, it's soon to be filled with more holes than a box of Winchell's.
Stop smirking, possums, you're next.
(*This part and all Mansoor words in quotes came from the actual op-ed.)