The church basement is full when I enter....I'm wearing a coat over my costume, so I'm not as noticable. I recognize a lot of the faces here, folks I've known since I was little. This always was a poor neighborhood, although it's gotten a lot worse in the past twenty-thirty years or so, with crack and the gangs. I'm glad I've got the chance to make a difference.
The Reverend Otis Jonlimb is in full swing, using words to fan the people's fears, as always. This time, he's gonna get a little help, just to keep him honest for a change.
"The Legion is a tool of the white power structure", he bellows, "committing genocide on our young black men, cutting them down in their prime, under the excuse of 'taking back the streets for decent citizens '. Not long ago, they killed over a hundred of our young men, claiming they were a gang.
"THEY don't see us as 'decent', and they never did- they've been trying to puit us back in chains ever since-"
The blast I fire into the ceiling makes more noise than anything else, which was what I wanted; I've got their undivided attention. Briskly, I step to the podium, edging Reverend Jonlimb away from the mike. I drop my coat to the floor, so they can clearly see who, what I am.
"Okay, let's get honest here. The Reverend," says me, pointing a glowing hand in his direction to back him off, "is up to his usual okey-doke.
"By the way, my name is Sister Moon, and I'm from here, just like you. I played in the street in front of this church, went to Sunday School here, in fact, and I know what the Legion's doin' here, 'cause I'M probably the one doin' it in these parts!"
The audience is listening, whether out of fear or what, I'm not sure, but they're focused on what I'm saying.
"Now, Shuck-and-Jive here", I say, gesturing at Jonlimb," is tryin' to keep the pot stirred, like he always does, but you're smarter than that. These streets are dangerous, and the police can't do much to change that, but we can, and we are. WE gave the bsangers and crooks a fair chance to just go, and some of them did-the ones that stayed and kept doin' what they were doin' got what their hands called for.
"Did y'all notice nobody's seen Teddy the Creeper lately? What happened? I did- he ain't gonna be
botherin' nobody's kids anymore. There's hardly any crack on the corners anymore, 'cause we told them, 'move it or lose it', and some of them listened.
"Miz Jenkins", I pointed to an older woman near the middle of the gathering, "when I caught Ronnie bustin' in cars, did I kill him? Did I even turn him in to to the cops? No....I brought him home to you, and told him, in front of you, what to expect if he kept it up.
"We're not an invading army, we're not out to wipe out anyone, we're not even 'THEM'-every Legion member, everywhere, is just like me, someone who's making a difference, and taking back the night for their loved ones and neighbors.
"Oh, almost forgot....Reverend Jonlimb....that house over on Gratiot, that you own, the one with the teenage boys and girls sellin' booty?
If it's still open this time tomorrow, and you're still walkin' the streets free, I'm comin' for you, and my hand's gonna be all blue, just like this...."
I say sweetly, as I turn up the juice, and he skitters away, a dark stain forming on the front of his silk trousers.
I smile at the crowd, and vanish in the blink of an eye. It's not until hours later that I remember I left my coat behind....nothing in the pockets, but it was a nice coat....Burberry, too.