After a meeting on Wilshire, I stop by a RiteAid on LaBrea before heading back to the valley. It’s one of those weird ones (I guess in high crime neighborhoods) that keep their liquor under lock and key. I sigh and return to the front for a manager to open the display case. She’s a little agitated…as are several male employees. “He’s got a knife!” They’re dealing with a shoplifter who is now just outside the front door and not leaving. “Gimme back my knapsack!”

One of the guys opens the shoplifters abandoned knapsack and out tumble 15 plastic bottles of – Wait for it! – HEAD AND SHOULDERS. Wtf? (Can you drink that?) I persuade her to walk back with me to open the display case, I select a 1.75 liter bottle of rum and proceed to the front. The stand off continues, the workers say repeatedly, “The police have been called!”

  1. Can I check out? She says, “Yeah…but don’t leave. He’s got a knife.” Fine. I’ve got a big bottle of rum. I like my chances. The sale is completed and I make my way past the lookeeloos, thru the front door…and look for the guy. I can hear sirens in the distance…and so can he, I guess. He’s moving north thru the parking lot, but in no hurry. He’s white, maybe 40-ish. He doesn’t look homeless, he doesn’t look drunk or stoned…I guess he’s just obsessive about clean hair, I dunno.

I reach my car as a police SUV rolls up, sirens blaring and lights flashing. They pull in behind me and I take the southernmost exit and as I turn north, a second police SUV arrives, sirens and lights on, too. They pull into the lot behind me as well. As I slowly move north on LaBrea, the first SUV has pulled back out onto LaBrea, now just ahead of me. I can see the guy on the sidewalk, walking north. Deliberately…but every so often he throws both arms up in the air as if to say, “Well whaddaya WANT?” But hardly manic, just mildly frustrated. And I notice a female cop, the driver leaning out of her window and…Yo Tucker, is that a…? And yes it is, that is a Glock that she is aiming at this guy on the sidewalk…And I kinda eeeease back a few feet, cause if HE is armed, I am seriously downrange!

But the guy just continues to walk north….and both SUV’s again pull up alongside him, lights and sirens still blaring…and after a few moments, the guy resumes his walk north. Finally a logical tactic is employed; the first SUV pulls up AHEAD of the guy and cuts him off. A male cop exits, gun drawn…and the guy faces him, no evident weapon in sight…and the cop physically takes him down. At this point, I’m content to pull away, bemused by the SUV tactics. I mean, I’m no expert but even I know that to cut someone off, you need to get ahead of them. No shots fired, no fatalities. Dandruff must be a bitch.