The Tortoise and The Hare Statue is in Van Cortland park, along Broadway. I was jogging on Wednesday morning in around the track before going over to the statue. It was cold out, the sun was only just coming up. I went up the stairs to sidewalk level. In the middle of empty Broadway, there was a rifle. When I scanned around me, there was no one. Two cars parked on the street, a little bit of movement at the Burger King down the road. I jogged to the middle of the street, picked up the rifle and ran back.
It was long, made of wood mostly. Single shot, black powder, everything you’d see at an old revolutionary war museum. I looked up more later at the library and I think it was probably a Brown Bess.
I was sitting by the statue, inspecting the weapon. I was ready to run down to the Burger King, see if they would let me use their phone to ring up the 48th Precinct that was a few blocks away (across from the McDonalds), and report what I’d found.
Then I heard the squeal and the cry. I north on Broadway, going towards where the Van Cortland horse stables used to be. Grunting ahead, stomping against the sidewalk, a warthog stood. It had long, warped tusks that went out a foot ahead of it, twisted into spirals. It let out another cry, scratched at the ground, and started running towards me. Its hooves were beating off the pavement and its tusks clacked against the concrete as it approached.
I was a mess. All nerves, confusion, sudden tears, terror. I knew that I couldn’t outrun this thing, just seeing the speed. It had cleared half the block in a few seconds. Instinct told me to point the gun at it. No clue if it was loaded, no clue if it would fire, no clue if it hit.
I stood. I aimed. I pulled the trigger. The blast knocked me backwards, my head bounced off the stone stairs. The wind blew towards me and now I was covered in the black powder. My fingernails were black underneath. I heard a pained squealing.
I looked to the warthog, and it was gone.
I ran into the park and threw the rifle into the lake.