by B. T. Raven
In those times, Los Angelenos were divided into either burrito camps or pastrami camps for takeout dining.
A tiny contingent became drive-through burger folks who tended to be Zombies from the Midwest who mistook 'Night of the Living Dead' as a news documentary shot in L.A.
They would chance the drive-throughs in the twilight in the hopes of snagging a few tasty ladyfingers as the food passed through the tiny windows.
Greg was in the pastrami camp for at least this night. His cooking skills were limited to Bisquick variations. There were no microwave ovens, SUVs, mobile phones or other such poppycock.
He was the lone pedestrian in a seedy North Hollywood district, that was redeemed by good burritos at one end of the block and decent pastrami at the other.
Greg was walking east across the parking lot of the Greek-owned pastrami place when things went south. He glanced to the back of the parking lot and noticed a junkie standing beside a beater Oldsmobile from an earlier decade.
The junkie had a gun.
Since L.A. is a friendly town, whose principle entertainment is serial killers, Greg complied with the junkie's command to come to the car.
"Oh fiddlesticks," Greg thought. "I'm going to be robbed and murdered without any dinner."
The Junkie produced a badge claiming he was an undercover LAPD narc, deputized Greg as a fellow narc, and ordered him to stand on the other side of the Olds to guard a prisoner laying facedown, uncuffed, on the backseat of the car.
Mr. Junkie/Narc appeared to be holding a Browning nine, the kind that carries 15 rounds. Nines have a bad habit of keeping their trajectory even when traveling through Oldsmobiles.
The suspect didn't make any furtive moves requiring gunplay, which was good.
The uniformed backups arrived, which was bad. It was quickly obvious that the narc was not a local narc. The deal may have been setup in Hollenbeck, or Hollywood or Venice and migrated to North Hollywood.
The cops surrounded the Olds and everybody near it with weapons drawn. Greg tried to leave, but the cops decided otherwise, until the narc eventually told them it was OK.
Greg beelined towards the restaurant to finally get his pastrami sandwich, and maybe some french fries. He passed two teen boys in a booth. "He's a narc!," sneered one boy loudly. Technically the kid was correct. The Greek counterman was as friendly as Greeks are capable of being. He tried to give the suspected cop free food.
Greg declined the offer, because of the possibility that it could screw up his sainthood application when he finally caught the bad end of a nine.
The Church requires saint candidates to have performed a verified miracle The miracle here was that Greg actually got his friggen pastrami on a steamed roll with just the right amount of pickles, mustard and onion. He kept the receipt to prove it.
About the author
- Author Marcia Kreutzmann is the second child of William Kreutzmann and Janice Shaughnessy. Born in Palo Alto, California in 1960, her parents divorced in 1966 and she grew up in her mother's homeland of Biloxi, Mississippi, For more than ten years, Marcia straddled, sometimes unsuccessfully, the two very different worlds of the conservative Deep South and counterculture California.