After work I eat some leftover Indian food, brush and floss, then suit up and go on patrol, ready to crush evil and protect my city.
Tonight’s soundtrack: 3rd Bass. I may be showing my age, but I loves me the 3rd Bass, particularly The Cactus Album, which I think is genius. That’s right, genius. MC Serch and Prime Minister Pete Nice always spent too much time dissing other white rappers, but they had an inimitable style, mixing Serch’s bombastic rhymes and Pete Nice’s hyper-articulate Mafia rap with clever 70’s pop samples.
Anyway, I rock the 3rd Bass as I leap and run through the big superhuman jungle gym that is Midtown. I’m content with the knowledge that I won’t get hassled by Paracrime tonight, because they’re all wasting their time staking out the rooftops of Chinatown.
How do I know this, you ask?
You may recall that during my encounter with the ECPD Paracrime Unit in the Masonic Temple I planted a needle-sized bug in the armor of one of the cops, as well as stealing his radio and headset. ( see post Paracrime in your face, 2/26/05) I had been frustrated by the lack of information I’ve gleaned from the bug, which spent most of its time shut in a locker at police headquarters – cops generally don’t suit up in body armor for briefings. Go figure. Each night I would go into the Secret Chamber to review the MP3 recordings from the KOMA probe, the bug I had planted in the body armor, and each night I would be disappointed about the lack of good audio. I did manage to gather that the owner of the bugged armor, Officer Lucas, got a couple days medical leave after I roughed him up a little. Apparently I broke his nose in two places. But Lucas eventually comes back to work and when I get home today I have a veritable gold mine of information.
I won’t burden you with a complete transcript, but first there’s audio of Officer Lucas and his comrades putting on their armor and gearing up for an “op.” Then it sounds like they proceed into a briefing room, where Capt. Sledge says a few words. There’s going to be a Police Action Shooting Competition on the 18th, and don’t forget they still need volunteers for the Disaster Preparedness Seminars at area senior centers. There haven’t been any volunteers yet from Paracrime, and it would reflect well upon the unit, et cetera, et cetera. From what I can gather, Sledge “volunteers” the two most junior members of the team. Laughter. Sledge urges the assembled team members to be careful and take care of each other out there – it’s very Hill Street Blues – then turns the briefing over to Lt. Casperson – Emma.
Some quick background: Emma is the cousin of Wendy, who recently married JC, my best friend from college. Emma looks like Rita Hayworth spliced with T2 Linda Hamilton. I knew she was a cop, but I just recently found out that she was on the Paracrime Unit. She’s a trained sniper, too, which makes her even sexier.
Anyway, Lt. Emma Casperson briefs the team and, indirectly, me about tonight’s plans. They know I have one of their radios, so they’re changing frequencies every 15 minutes tonight. She kindly tells me the frequency and sequence, which I write down, thank you very much. I learn that they are planning a series of dragnets in several key areas of the city where I have been sited. Emma keeps referring to a map of the city, which I imagine has little colored map tacks all over it. They spread out in different fire teams in rooftop “hides,” armed with exotic weaponry like Bore Thunder concussion rounds and WebShot nets, waiting for the Velvet Marauder to enter their perimeter. Tonight they’re trying out a new laser tripwire system that their stringing across the roofs of Chinatown in an effort to catch me.
So here I am, feeling smug and on top of things for the first time in recent memory, bouncing around Midtown about a mile away from the Paracrime dragnet. I bounce off a billboard and skid down the shingled roof of an old water tower, flip, then land like a cat in Pose #4, Wary Mongoose.
I turn off MC Serch and look out over Evergreen City at night, suffused in the amber glow of the streetlights and the cold sparkle of the skyscrapers. I breathe in the salty low-tide smell and listen to the sounds of my city, the traffic and the music and the sirens and the background white noise of the freeway. My city. Jesus, I’ll stop before I break into “We Built This City on Rock ‘n Roll.”
I hear sirens coming from the Queen’s Row area.
Switching over to the scanner, I bound and leap across rooftops, moving west towards the sirens. According to the scanner the ECPD are in pursuit of a stolen green Subaru sedan that’s heading north towards Waterfront Park. If I cut across the Diamond parking garage and leap across Oyster, I may be able to catch them…
I spot them, the Subaru and two police cars, racing the wrong way up Oyster Ave. Unless they turn, they’ll pass under me in about five seconds.
I jump four stories down to Oyster, landing lightly in a crouch on the sidewalk. I scare the shit out of a group of college-age girls, who scream as I drop out of the sky in front of them. I hold up my hand in what I hope is a reassuring gesture as they clutch each other and cower, but I’m not really concerned about them. My attention is focused on the green Subaru racing my way, horn blaring, cops in tow.
The Subaru swerves to avoid oncoming traffic (Oyster is a one-way street) and sideswipes a parked car with a tremendous shower of sparks. The stolen car jerks back into the center of Oyster – it’s almost here…
Ignoring the screaming girls I break from my crouch and sprint out into the street, staying low. The Subaru and I meet in the center of the street. Just before impact I put my shoulder down and slam into the front quarter of the speeding car like a torpedo.
The front end of the car lifts up and the force of my blow sends it careening across Oyster. Briefly I catch a glimpse of the terrified driver - then the airbag erupts from the steering wheel and into his face. The Subaru slams sideways into a tree, does a half-spin and comes to a stop backwards on Oyster, smoking and steaming. Well, he’s facing the right way now.
I pick myself up from the middle of the street, dusting my suit off. The two cop cars skid to a halt about twenty yards away.
The girls on the sidewalk are cheering and yelling now, fully psyched. “Ohmygod! Velvet Marauder! Velvet Marauder!”
I give a jaunty wave to the girls, then, with a little salute to the cops I jump up and away.
Paracrime is going to be so pissed.