Are those sleighbells I hear?
T’was the week before Christmas, December ’54
David Cox’s house was filled with violence, mayhem and smashed crockery galore.
David’s Downey neighbors awoke to ruckus and clatter,
and wondered just what in the hell was the matter.
It must be that S.O.B. Cox, they concluded —
a few beers in his belly and he’s completely deluded.
They turned away from their windows and went back to their beds,
where they pulled the covers up over their heads.
David had arrived home three hours late,
with booze on his breath and his eyes filled with hate.
His wife, Billie, had made a modest request
for $25 to buy each of their girls a new dress.
“Mary and Katherine don’t need presents, you frivolous bitch!”
David picked up a lamp and smashed it to bits.
He ripped out the windows, wood frames and plaster,
then sped off in his truck leaving behind a disaster.
Later that evening when David came home
he drove his truck into a fence, then lurched around drunk and alone.
Hello! Anyone home? He shouted to the empty house.
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
His children were frightened and his pregnant wife was alarmed,
she tooks the kids to her mother’s so they wouldn’t be harmed.
The Norwalk Sheriff’s station was called, and deputies rushed to the scene.
David was wielding a shotgun and he looked pretty damned mean.
“Drop your weapon!” the deputies shouted calling David by name.
But Cox opened fire and the cops did the same.
Sgts. Lovretovich and Piper stood over David who was collapsed on the lawn.
He’d taken multiple rounds — he was deceased, he was gone.
Why didn’t he do as we said, they pondered aloud; to behave as he had —
he must have been crazy, he must have been mad!
David’s drinking and anger had cost him his life,
he’d never again see his friends, children, or wife.
Christmas was dismal for the Cox family that year.
Instead of baby dolls, buggies and bears named Ted,
there was a casket, flowers and tears to be shed.
No doubt about it, David Cox had acted a fool.
A moron, an idiot, a jackass, a tool.
Neighbors were heard to exclaim, ere Deputies drove out of sight.
Don’t mess with the Sheriffs, they’ll put up a fight.
NOTE: I recently heard from a relative of the Cox family and was heartened to learn that Billie and her children went on to have good lives. David Cox wasn’t an evil man — he was just a guy who tried to solve his problems with a bottle of booze and a shotgun.
I wrote this poem a couple of years ago and have made it a holiday tradition. I’m really just an old-fashioned dame at heart. A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS by Clement Clarke Moore provided the inspiration for this post. Of course it’s impossible to do justice to the original, but it was fun just the same.
I took very few liberties in writing this story. The details of the shooting are as they appeared in the Los Angeles Times report of the incident. One of my favorite Deputy Sheriffs of the era, Ned Lovretovich, played a role in this story. I’ve written about him several times and his career continues to fascinate me. Thugs With Spoons is one of my favorite Ned stories.
A big thank you to Mike Fratantoni for bringing this story to my attention–he knows the most deranged tales..