Wow. I was just driving around the corner to grab a cup of coffee.
BTW, from now on I'm gonna call that Plan "B".
Plan "A" is to go out and cover a major news story (and we'd like that to involve celebrities, right?). Haven't had a lot of Plan "A" days lately.
Anyway, I was pulling up to the Borders Bookstore at Sunset and Vine in my newsvan. Across the intersection I see cop cars in the middle of the street. Their lights are flashing and they're blocking traffic. My spider sense is tingling.
Something's going on. Four people stop and ask me about it. I can't tell them anything because I don't know anything yet, but I can find out.
I call the desk. They're not aware of anything going on, but they'll make some calls.
You know what's cool right now? I don't have to wait for the desk to make calls. I grab my camera, walk across the street to one of the cops and I ask him about it.
Okay, seems a suspicious package was left near the entrance to the FedEx Kinkos.
Cool!. . .uh. . .I mean, that's a terrible thing.
They're setting up a command post on DeLongpre. That's the street that runs parallel to Sunset, one block South. This could be some serious news. I skip back to my van. The desk calls and tells me the cops got a report about a suspicious package.
Heh-heh, I'm already on it.
Sure, it could be nothing, but it could be a bomb. It certainly does look suspicious. The cops don't take chances with these things. Me? I'd vote to go ahead and put a couple of bullets in it, because everything I learned about police work, I learned from Clint Eastwood.
That probably explains why I'm not a cop.
Somewhere in all this, I move my van twice. The first time, I was setting up in the middle of the command post in the McDonalds parking lot at DeLongpre and Vine. In the eleven years I've been working news in L.A., I've gotten food poisoning there twice. I don't go there anymore. . .much.
At one point I look around and realize it's pretty lonely in the McDonald's parking lot. All the cops have decided to move about fifty yards further away for safety.
I have a front row seat, but I'm feeling just a tad bit exposed. I move the van to the KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) and I just have time to get a salad before they evacuate the employees.
The bomb squad comes out and sneaks up on the package. It was a briefcase by the way. Can't we just call it a briefcase? Does it have to be called a package? Anyway, they slowly check it out. Really slowly.
It was empty.
Two hours and no BOOM. I have to admit I was a little disappointed.
As I was putting away my camera and dropping the mast, the bomb squad guys came over and chatted a bit. Earlier, while they were approaching the suspicious package "slash" briefcase, one of the command guys had asked that I turn off my microwave transmitter. Microwaves can apparently sometimes set these things off. In the interest of not blowing up anybody, I was okay with shutting it down.
They wanted me to know my cooperation was appreciated.
These guys who walk up on stuff that might blow up thanked me. I thought that was pretty cool, but I thanked them right back. My job isn't always safe, but we rarely get blown up.
I didn't get a news story out of it, but nobody got hurt and I got a post for the day.
What's that, strike four?