The Cult Hunter of Echo Park
Robin Wyatt Dunn
It’s Jonestown all the time in Los Angeles, though not usually in Echo Park;  the cult energy dissipates for a few blocks here before it picks up again in Silverlake.

I quit smoking a year ago.  Right after I killed a man.

Some people tell me now, “Killing cultists?  You might as well A-bomb all LA!”  It’s funny, I know.  But you have to ask yourself, kind of like Dirty Harry:  “Do I feel lucky?”  Is it okay to assume that this particular crazy fuck is just like all the rest?  Or are you going to take action?

“Morning, Reverend!”  says my favorite homeless guy, shoeless, somewhat saner looking this morning.  I don’t know why he calls me that.

I nod and smile at him, stepping around his wild gait and holding my nose to avoid inhaling the evil scent of the taco van.  Not all Mexicans know how to make tacos.  It is not born into their DNA, the opinions of some philosophers (Plato included) notwithstanding.  I miss Koreatown tacos.  But cult hunters can’t work there without approval from Seoul.

I see him now, moving down Sunset.  And I touch my hair, where I keep my shigawire.  I am a Jew but like many I hate myself and my kind.  It is my duty to kill the skew religious where I find them, but in this I know I am only cementing the bonds of the Big Five Religions ever tighter, tighter, tighter . . .

In a way it comes down to personality.  I don’t like his eyes.

I move west at an easy gait.  What New Yorkers often fail to realize is that we’re harder than their city.  We are less civilized and more casual.  And although we don’t walk as fast, we think faster.  This man almost walks like a New Yorker:  eyes straight ahead, focused on his goal.  Burrito King.  But he’s casual enough to show he’s been in town a while.  Trying to do the LA thing.  But there is no LA thing.

He has seven women.  They all have credit cards.  They drive nice cars.  They eat their own aborted fetuses.  He watches them do it. 

It’s hard to kill a man in LA, no matter what you think.

I come up beside him as he waits in line to order his burrito:  always the same kind, vegetarian.  Like Hitler.

First published: August 2015
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