(This is a re-write of a previous story.)
From her vantage point overlooking the street she could hear the two men arguing in the minivan below her. “Amateurs”, she thought to herself as she continued to listen.
“This is the city at night. Dark. Dangerous. Deadly. The streets are safe for no one. People sit in their homes behind locked doors and tremble in fear. The city has become a disease ridden hell hole full of scum and villainy. The disease is crime. And I am the cure. I – “
“Ross will you knock that off already?”
“Look, when I said I’d go along on this vigilante thing I had two reasons: one – I wanted to do something, anything, to help put this city right. God knows the cops ain’t doin’ nothin’. And two – I figured I’d better be here to watch your back so you didn’t get hurt doing something stupid.”
“Yeah, OK. So?”
“Well, it’s just that you go and show up in that, that… outfit. You look like a weirdo. I count that as stupid already.”
“I ain’t no weirdo and this outfit ain’t stupid!”
“You look like a weirdo to me! All dressed in black with those big cowboy boots, your gardening gloves and carrying those sticks. What are they anyway – cut down hockey sticks? Your kids’ are gonna love you for that!”
“I’ll have you know Wyatt, that this outfit causes fear in the hearts of the criminal element of this city. When I show up looking like this, brandishing my Sticks of Justice, criminals will think twice before fighting me!”
“Yeah, they gotta think twice, ‘cause the first time they’ll be thinking – What the fuck is that? and trying not to laugh their asses off!”
“Right back atcha pal.”
Just then a black van with tinted windows pulled up in front of the bar across the street. Six men got out and headed inside.
“Oh shit! That tip you got from that junkie was actually good! Looks like they’re gonna rob the place!”
“Not tonight they’re not! For I, Street Judge, along with you, my faithful sidekick – . Wait. Do you have a name?”
“What? Me? I don’t even have a costume man, leave me out of it. Especially if I have to be a sidekick to you.”
“OK, fine. Ahem. For I, Street Judge, using my Sticks of Justice, will prevent this atrocity and save those people inside!”
“Are you finished?”
“Let’s get going then. They’ve had enough time to rob three bars by now.”
The two men slipped out of the minivan and slinked across the street. Once they reached the front doors of the bar, Wyatt looked at Ross.
“What now oh mighty Street Judge?”
“Simple, element of surprise and all that!”
Ross stood up to his full height of five foot six, and while spinning his Sticks of Justice wildly about he kicked open the front doors to the bar and shouted “Beware criminals! Street Judge is here to render verdict upon you! Leave now or feel my Sticks of Justice!” The doors slowly swung shut behind him.
Twelve heads turned to look at him standing there, twirling his cut off hockey sticks. Four men were sitting at a table in the middle of the bar, mouths gaping as if just having been deep in conversation. They were flanked on both sides and behind by the other eight men who were quite obviously there to protect them. Ross saw this was no robbery but realized he had interrupted some sort of high level crime meeting.
The four men at the table dove for cover in various directions while their bodyguards reached for guns which were strapped to their bodies in various locations. Just as Ross was dropping to the floor, the first shots rang out, missing him by mere inches.
“What the hell is going on in there?”
Wyatt was still crouched outside and just now realized that he had failed to bring any sort of weapon with him.
“We’ve made a small miscalculation!” Ross hollered back. “Not a robbery! Some sort of major crime deal was going down and we screwed it up!”
Bullets were now pinging against the doors and around the frames. Wyatt leaned back out further into the street.
“We? WE? I didn’t make any mistakes! I didn’t even go inside!”
“Yeah well, I don’t think they care about that do you?”
Ross was trying to get back outside before the guys with the guns could get into a position to shoot him. Sticks of Justice dropped and forgotten he was sitting on his butt madly shuffling backwards toward the doors when he heard an ominous click. He looked up and found himself facing straight into the barrel of a shotgun in the hands of a very angry and ugly man.
All the lights in the bar went out.
Ross rolled to his left. The man with the shotgun pulled the trigger and blew a nice big hole in the carpet right where Ross used to be.
The bar lit up with flashes of gunfire and filled with the sounds of men screaming in pain. Eventually there was silence. The lights came back on.
Ross grabbed his Sticks of Justice and slowly stood up.
Standing in the middle of the bar surrounded by either dead or unconscious men, Ross couldn’t tell which, was a woman dressed all in tight black leather and wearing a red mask and cape.
“You looked like you could use some help,” she said.
“Uh, thanks,” said Ross as he stared at her.
Wyatt had gotten up his courage at the lack of noise and entered the bar. He stared at the woman surrounded by all the carnage.
“I’m the Night Stalker,” she said. “Did I hear you call yourself Street Judge? I like it.”
“Please,” said Wyatt, “don’t encourage him.”
“You did all this? By yourself?” asked Ross.
“Yeah. No biggie. There were only twelve guys. And the lights were off.”
“Uhm, yeah. No biggie,” muttered Wyatt.
“Let me guess, this is your first time out, right boys?” she asked.
They didn’t say anything.
“I thought so. Look, if you are going to keep doing this, you’ll need a lot more training and some better weapons.” She stared pointedly at the sticks in Ross’ hands. “It’s not all about heart. I wish it was, but it isn’t.”
“Actually, I don’t think I’ll be doing this anymore,” said Ross, looking down at the hole in the carpet.
“Me either,” added Wyatt.
“That’s probably for the best boys. You should leave, the cops are coming.”
As the two men ran for their minivan she looked around the room.
“This is the city at night. Dark. Dangerous. Deadly. The streets are safe for no one. People sit in their homes behind locked doors and tremble in fear. The city has become a disease ridden hell hole full of scum and villainy. The disease is crime. And I am the cure,” she said. “Huh, where do they get that crap?”
Laughing, she slipped away into the night.