Last night as I was reading, I heard a dozen gunshots outside my window. I know the number because I counted them. Pop-pop-pop, pause, pop-pop-pop-pop, another pause, and then, the rapid fire pop-pop-pop-pop-pop. Then, nothing.
My heart was racing with my own succession of questions, quickly followed by plausible answers.
What was it? A gun.
Where was it? At the school across the road?
Who was it? A student? A neighbor?
Who should I call? I call my husband, Brooke, in Castle Valley, Utah. Wish he was with me in Wyoming. Tell him what happened and asked what I should do.
Call the sheriff, he said.
Chett Hooper. I will not call Chett Hooper.
What if I imagined it? I did not imagine it.
But my reflex to discount what I know and what I hear took ahold of me. Maybe it was firecrackers, I thought. No, they were bullets. I have fired enough guns to know the difference. Yes, they were gunshots.
We hang up and I wonder if people are dead and dying. I do nothing. I am scared, listen to every creak, and, eventually, fall asleep.
My morning mind says maybe it was someone scaring off a bear or coyote. Maybe someone shot the coyote twelve times out of rage, just because they could. If it had been a wolf, someone might have shot it thirteen times because they believe wolves are cursed. In Wyoming, wolves divide people, like politics and religion.
And then, I thought about how the violence against animals transfers so easily to humans. . . .