It seems a shame to hear so soon after the harmonic convergence that Satan is loose on the Westside, but he is.
We are only four months removed from humming and holding hands and loving each other when, zap, comes news that devil worshipers are romping through the night, stealing our dogs.
If it isn't one thing, it's the other.
I learned of this from one of my regular sources who telephoned in breathless outrage to say that the "devil people" were not only stealing dogs but sacrificing them in their lively but disgusting rituals.
The source, a Malibu woman, calls herself Mama Jones and loves anything with a mystical tone.
"The full moon is the worst time," she said. "You know why?"
"No," I said hesitantly, "why?"
"They go crazy with drugs and sex and want dogs more than ever."
"Well, uh, thank you very much for calling, Mama, and give my best to. . . . "
"You know what they do?"
"Well, I'm sure I could probably figure it out, but . . . . "
"They mix the dog blood with wine and drink it."
"Oh, for God's sake, Mama!"
"You know why?"
Before she could go further, I thanked her and hung up. Mama gets a little out of control sometimes and I was beginning to suspect this might be one of those times.
What she said, however, appears to have validity, according to both the police and the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
An SPCA staff member said the satanic practice of stealing dogs for sacrificial purposes is, in fact, "prevalent as hell." A little secular humor there, I think.
Also, Detective Patrick Metoyer, who is an LAPD expert on satanism, witchcraft and demonology, said they often find evidence of animal sacrifices on canyon roads and near local cemeteries.
They found a dead cow once too, Metoyer said, but he is reluctant to attribute its demise to satanism.
"Where would they keep a cow?" he asked in a puzzled tone.
By the way, the Los Angeles Police Department doesn't have a section devoted exclusively to the supernatural, although such a unit might prove handy in crimes related to the television industry, which is known to employ demonology in network programming.
Metoyer studies satanism on his own time and is often called to lecture on the subject.
He theorizes that devil worship, always a hit in England, became popular in America in the 1960s when we were invaded by British rock stars.
"Now," Metoyer said, "we find it being practiced by kids of all ages, even down to a junior high level."
I'm not really surprised or even shocked by all this, since dancing naked around a statue of the devil is probably no worse than ripping off the people in the name of Christianity, but I am beginning to feel a little sorry for dogs.
They have always been in trouble for wandering free in parks, tipping over garbage cans, barking at night and leaving doo-doo in the street.
Anti-dog sentiments reached new heights of hysteria when pit bulls, for reasons of their own, began randomly chewing up neighbors and public officials, and now any dog who so much as growls at a passing cat is suspected of having homicidal tendencies.
Being pursued by dog-catchers and neighborhood vigilantes would be bad enough, but now the devil is after them too.
I have mixed feelings.
In the first place, you are not likely to find me paying homage to any of the long list of deities and demons we traditionally honor in America, ranging from Elvis Presley to the devil.
I don't question your right to fall to your knees on the sidewalk before Graceland, but I'll be damned if I'll raise my voice in a liturgical tribute that sounds suspiciously like "Heartbreak Hotel."
Similarly, I do not worship the devil, largely because my mother hated Satan almost as much as she hated international Protestantism, and spent the first 10 years of my life railing against them both.
I believe, however, that those who admire the devil have a right to worship him if they choose. What they don't have a right to do, however, is chop up dogs and drink their blood with wine, even if it's a nice Cabernet served at room temperature.
A good dog is more than just a spicy beverage.
I'm not sure what we can do about it, although a friend suggests that we might round up all the pit bulls and give them to satanists for sacrifice. I don't see that friend too often.
I asked a minister what he thought and he suggested everyone pray for the dogs. I guess that's better than nothing.
With God-worshipers praying on one side and devil-worshipers praying on the other, we will learn soon enough who is winning the battle for our immortal souls.
All we'll have to do is count dogs.