If you have ever wondered what it feels like to free fall from the roof of a forty-five story building, I can tell you this much: it is god damn terrifying.
I never thought I would make much of a difference, I figured I’d get to kick a few asses and maybe give an old lady her purse back. I never expected to be plummeting to the ground with a bullet in my shoulder, and one of my eyes swollen shut. To top it off I didn’t even save him, fuck.
I am going to spare you my sob story, because it isn’t a fucking sob story. I did this because I enjoyed it, I do not regret it. I would not change a thing, I am proud of what I accomplished. When I decided that all the big names were slacking off in this city, that nobody was doing what needed to be done anymore, I stepped up. I did it with a mask on, not because I was afraid of anyone knowing who I was, but because it was not important who I was, but who they could be.
A guy stands on the corner, capsule in hand, eyes shifting back and forth from the car passing by to the two girls across the street talking on cell phones. I have been watching him for a few minutes. I gave a homeless man a sandwich for the tip-off about this scumbag’s location. Four times in the last month, four attacks on people naive enough to walk down this street at night, four times the police failed to do anything, four times our “city’s defenders” were off fighting fucking aliens or something again. Last week I heard on my scanner two cops joking about “dumb broads want to walk down there, they’re asking for it”. I would report them, but the police chief would probably just give them a paid vacation to placate the papers. Just like the asshole that clubbed a ten-year old boy (for brandishing a glow in the dark cap gun) so hard that he lost vision in one eye.
Am I a cynic? No, I just pay attention.
The street goes silent, the kind of silence I remember from going camping as a kid and sleeping under the stars. Except this is a deranged silence: there is no safety in this moment, there is fear.
He pockets the capsule and runs his finger under his nose a few dozen times, then he makes his move. He moves quickly across the street, but I am ready. I grab one of the cheap firecrackers (I bought them from some smug teenager) out of my pocket, light it and toss it to the creep’s right side. Then I sprint to the left, and he jumps so high in the air you would think he was a dancer, no, a frightened animal. As he rummages in his pockets I come from his left side. I swing my leg as hard as I can at the back of his kneecap, bringing him to the ground. He screams “what the fuck?!” as I kick him in the side of the head. “Stay down” I mumble, as he accidentally tosses a knife across the road while trying to tear it from his pocket, as if that was going to help him. I pull the baseball bat from the make-shift holster on my back and bring it down swiftly on his wrist. I hear the sickening noise of it breaking (probably in more than one place), and it makes me sick. I vomit a little bit in my mouth, and spit it to the side. On the plus side, maybe that will intimidate him a bit more. I am too high on adrenaline to care frankly. The worst part is, the girls I just potentially saved from a traumatic experience look back once with barely a glance at the violence behind them, and go right back to their cell phones. You might think this would make me question whether it is worth it or not, to that I say fuck you. The entire reason I do this is so they can keep living however they want to live. I am giving them the choice. Choices. That is what matters.
I suppose I should be prepared for an early grave. The one friend I trusted with my aspirations would not let me forget it. When you are falling from the top of a building, it is hard to think of anything other than death. Should I have written a goodbye letter or something? No, my parents would have just assumed it was a suicide note. I am going to hit the ground any second, I can hear the screams below getting louder. My last thought is that I need last words, so I scream at the top of my lungs, “Take back our city”…fuck that sucked didn’t it? Too late, here comes the pavement..