What does it mean when you wake up, stumble toward the coffee maker, and find a dirty rock and a branch on your kitchen counter? It means you blame the coyotes for your cats disappearance.
It was late, a little after midnight. I was enjoying a cold can of Miller Light- okay you're right, way too strong a word there. I was drinking a can of Miller and dreaming of a bottle of Gordon Biersch. I was at my computer(of course) when I heard them. Howling and yipping, a whole pack of them, making those yelping screams they do when they've caught something. Maybe something warm and furry, or maybe just a trail. I hear them often, all over the hills that are their territory. I always look, but I've never seen them as a pack, only the occasional loner. And let me say for the record that Arizona coyotes look like wolves. They make the coyotes back home look like little foxes.
This time they weren't off in the distant forest. They weren't in the surrounding area at all. They were in my driveway. You know the standard tale used to illustrate a person's powers when adrenaline flows freely: mother lifts car off baby. Well, when I heard them that close, there was certainly no thinking involved. I'm sure there should have been, though, because the adrenaline the blasted through my system was was accompanied by pure liquid rage. Goodbye rational thought, hello to the woman whose cat just disappeared, the cat she saved from death by injection, the cat who slept tucked under the covers with her.
I barreled outside, roaring and waving my arms above my head like a crazy person. In the half moon light I saw them, dark shapes fleeing in every direction, some to my left, some to my right, some towards the neighbors and some for the hills. I chased them for about 300 feet, (total complete random guess there) and stopped when there was only one left. One that wasn't running.
I still had my beer in hand- I didn't remember running out with it. It didn't feel like a particularly good weapon, so I stooped down and traded it for a rock. As I felt for a big one I realized that crouching down made me look smaller. I kept my eyes locked on the shadow where the last coyote was. The moon light hid it, but I could hear it's growling loud and clear. I yelled at it, unintelligible wordless rage... but I was feeling fear creep in around the edges. I knew that wasn't good- as much as adrenaline could save me, fear could kill me. So I threw the rock and grabbed several more. The coyote backed down the driveway and out of range, but it kept growling and wouldn't go further. It was a stand off.