KATY WITH A HANDGUN

I was 26 years old, and I hadn’t planned on needing to defend myself that day. I’ve never desired to use a gun in my life.

My dad is hunter and had taught my sister, step-brother, and me how to shoot rifles once or twice when we were kids. I wasn’t good at it, but I liked hanging out in the woods with my dad.
This particular day, however, both my parents were out of state, and my grown-up self was manning their house in Colorado for a week. Let’s NOT say I had moved back home to live with my parents – Let’s say I had been visiting them for an elongated summer while I worked hard on my music career…

That being said, I had on a cute outfit for a concert that night, and I was practicing guitar in the backyard. (I like to practice outside at my parents’ house, because the weather is always perfect in the summertime, beside afternoon showers, and it’s always quiet and secluded, being private property.)

As I was playing, I heard the phone ringing from inside the house. I had to run around to the front door, and by the time I did that, shut the screen door behind me, put my guitar down and ran to the kitchen to pick up the phone, I had missed the call. I knew it was my mom calling to tell me they’d made it ok. I dialed the number back and waited for her to pick up, but suddenly I heard a very different noise coming from around the corner – from the front door.
It was as if someone thought they could walk right in but realized the screen door had locked, and the faint rattle of the door turned into subtle scratching noises like someone trying to pick a lock or see how sturdy the door wasn’tso they could continue.

I dropped the phone in panic and froze against the wall. With my parents gone, none of my friends around… this being private property with only anti-social neighbors… there was no reason anyone should have been trying to get in the front door.

I figured they’d probably seen me outside and gathered that I was alone… The last thing I wanted was to be a victim of whatever they had planned, so I immediately ran to my parents’ bedroom where I had remembered my dad saying he kept a handgun. 
Thankfully it was in the same place he said it would be. 
I grabbed the gun, surprised out how cold, but especially how heavy it was for such a small gun. Naturally prepared, my dad had it preloaded. I cocked the hammer back, and I probably looked like a scared Charlie’s Angel as I crept around the corner, holding the gun just like a movie.

I could still hear the noises, but they kept getting louder, like someone had taken out a knife and was now impatiently cutting through the screen webbing.
I thought back to horror movies I had seen.
My heart pounded as I turned the corner… To my utter surprise… but not at all to my relief…
It was a bear. Literally clawing through our screen door.

Earlier that day, I had been indulging in my obsessive compulsive amusements, helping my parents out by processing the bad parts off their fruits and vegetables – putting the good parts in plastic bags and Tupperware, neatly in the refrigerator… and the stinky bad parts, in a nice salad bowl for bears, otherwise known as our trashcan.

No one really uses air conditioning in the mountains of Colorado – you just open all the windows and doors and keep the screen door shut to let in the breeze – but apparently that breeze goes both ways, and this particular guy liked what was being advertised from our home.

So the bear had clawed all the way through the screen door at this point, leaving a huge square hole, and his head and arms were through the door and in our house, as if he were going to somersault into our home at any moment.

I forgot all about how you’re supposed to make a lot of noise when you see a bear. I didn’t want to aggravate him, so I stayed completely silent -just pointing the gun straight at him, walking toward him, questioning whether or not I could actually shoot a living thing if I had to.

He looked up, startled…wiggled his chubby self out of the middle of the door and surprisingly backed away. 
I quickly ran forward, closed the main door and called my dad to freak out over the phone.

He calmed me down… said it was good I didn’t shoot the bear, as I would have gone to jail according to Colorado law. He said to wait a few minutes… and then to go outside and put bleach around the doors and windows, because apparently bears hate this.

(Naturally, my first response was: “mm…you would like me to go outside right now—where a bear is walking around—and mop the edges of our house and come back?”)
He said the bear would have probably walked off into the woods by now and that it was important that I do this soon, so that he didn’t come right back. (Naturally my 2nd response was: “umm…he might come back really soon and you would like me to go outside right now and mop the edges of our house and come back?”)
He thought it’d be ok.

I mustered up the courage, grabbed one of those noisemaker hand clappers – (yes, it was nearby because my mom makes me take that with me every time I go hiking behind the property) – and I don’t care what Colorado law is, I took the gun – along with my bleach, and made my way around each window, working fast.
When I came around the back of the house to the front, I saw my new friend again —in our driveway— and I sprinted toward the door. The little guy must have been pretty wussy, because he got frightened again too, and he shimmied up the glorified Charlie Brown pine tree by our driveway, got up to the top and sat there looking at me, looking out at him.

Then the funniest thing happened. He was too big for the tree, and just like a cartoon, as he held on for dear life, the tree bent over sideways and dropped him off in rejection. He lumbered off to the woods. I put the 45 automatic back – hopefully for good – then I gathered my belongings, raced off to the show that evening, and that was one time where it was very appropriate to get up on stage and say, “Thank you, it is so good to be here tonight!”