UNITED STATES—When the sun falls and the thermometer goes down a decade, then the time for big game hunting begins. I am the driver, but my daughter has the knowhow and savvy to be both guide and hunter. We troll around the streets of a desert town called Hollywood in the dusty red Rav, and the streets are all ours for the hunting. Who would have thought a week ago we would be doing this, keeping these hours, traveling these distances and finding these thrills without bloodshed or having to go to Africa.
After seeing a movie on the Westside, we felt the tremor and excitement of first sighting the prey: a motorized scooter that can be rented through phone app, and get dumped in various points to the city when the charge is used up.
With a hoot and a holler, the first Bird went into the back of the red Rav. It would be taken home to Hollywood, where we already had the charging devices. Months ago my daughter applied online to be a charger, and the devices came just as she was looking for a summer job.
For the first time my daughter ran off to where the dead Bird was supposed to be, according to the phone app, and this left me alone in the cab. Alone at night in sketchy parking places where the curb is red or it’s for valet parking, it’s whistling on a long, lonesome street. You’d be surprised how long I can stay in these precarious parking spaces on lonely lukewarm summer nights without getting honked at. But the apprehension is there as long as my daughter is out of sight. It feels like my daughter will never come back.
The angst vanishes for when my daughter comes back with her face lit up. She’s found one in need of a recharge. When she’s coming, I get out of the car and be sure the back hatch is open. That first $20 charge we loaded up, it was the feeling of that first salmon reeled in. That feeling was both of ours.
That first night of urban safari I drove around Vine and Selma, while she sought out two more scooters. Worth charges of $8 and $10 dollars. Finally, after a couple more loops around the block, I spotted her on the corner by the Pantages, having bagged two electric scooters in need of charging.
We woke around 5:30 a.m. and were directed by the app to leave the recharged scooters at the corner of Melrose and Formosa. It was still the dead of the night and there were a bunch of people waiting to be admitted into a tattoo parlor. Go figure.
The next night we couldn’t wait to get back to the hunt. This is when we met up with the White Jeep. “You can tell they are birders,” my daughter said and the vehicle drove past. Somebody else in the field looking for the same thing, it strikes a dissonant note, but it goes with the territory. I know of no known case of White Jeep taking anything from Red Rav, but it has led me to take greater risks. This Sunday night we were seeking a $20 charge on Hawthorne in Hollywood, but we got waylaid behind cars on Selma waiting for an eternal, unchanging stoplight to go green.
It didn’t change and I decided to break three traffic laws. After all, the White Jeep was out there, and it was easy to imagine that they might scoop up the Bird on Hawthorne first. When we reached Hawthorne, my daughter got out of the Rav and started running toward something. I knew we were home free.
This is not a job, it’s big game hunting with emphasis on game. My daughter is getting the feel of having some money come in. And there are myriad bonuses, like running or kindling curiosity. We got lucky Friday night, the Bird was inside the yard of a gated apartment building. My daughter went off. Again the waiting. She saw the scooter through the gate. She tried the gate, it was open and she slipped inside the gate. it seemed like forever before she came back out with the night’s third Bird. We felt good.
“I can’t believe it’s Monday tomorrow.”
“When you’re doing what you love you never have to deal with Monday.”
Author Graydon Miller is the author of the thriller, “The Hostages of Veracruz,” available on Amazon.