Thursday, May 30, 2013

THE LEGION OF NIGHT, CHAPTER 21

     Finally, the weather's geting warmer....it's actually warm enough for basketball, although the cold doesn't stop some people.  So, last Saturday Tony and I got together for some ball at his place. There we were, sitting in lawn chairs upside the house,  drinking Arnold Palmers, watching his two boys and their friends play in the lot next door-there's been  hoops there for as long as I can remember, and the city kinda-sorta keeps it clear. There's a regular park a few blocks away, but why walk that far?

     Tony's been telling me that some officers resent the official policy on the Legion; leave them alone. We've come to the conclusion that it makes sense, under the circumstances. They've confined their activities to stopping criminal activity, and rescuing people in danger, and have yet to harm any civilians or first responders.Besides, what can you do to them?  True, they haven't eliminated crime, but that's not likely to happen, human nature being what it is.

     Tony says, "I'm still not sure what I think-I'm not gonna lose any sleep over the creeps they've taken out, but at the same time, all we've got is THEIR word on their intentions. What if even one or two of them goes bad?"

     "I kinda think they've got that covered," I say "I'm not entirely sure why, but I trust them. I wish it weren't necessary, but how else do you deal with the worst of the worst? The Bible allows  for the taking of life when innocent life has been taken, and there's nothing that says it has to be done by an official body".

     "What about, 'Vengeance is Mine; I will repay', saith the Lord?" "That's exactly what it's talking about, revenge, not stopping dangerous people before they harm anyone else."

     The talk swings over to Susan's adventure the other day; Tony had recieved a call from a friend on the Toledo force, asking questions about her-basically, her story didn't sound right to him, either. He said she wasn't suspected of anything, just that something didn't read right, like she was leaving something out.

     Maybe she knows who the Legion member is, " I said, "and was nervous that they might ask."
"Maybe, but why would they ask?", Tony says. "I don't know how it would change anything if they knew.
 Also, I don't think she'd tell them if she did know, al things considered....I wouldn't."


     "So....how are you two getting along?", he says to me. I start to speak, but I feel that sappy, schoolboy grin spread across my face, and it  must've been al the answer he needed, because he starts laughing, shaking his head.

    "Bruh, you got it bad....congradulations. You think she feels the same?"

     And so on.

    

Thursday, May 23, 2013

THE LEGION OF NIGHT, CHAPTER 20

                                                                                                        BOSTON

The full moon, my namesake, shines like a ghost light over the city, casting her radiance over the treetops.
My quarry sits in one of those trees, unaware that I'm hovering silently just above him; he's intent on the hunt, while being hunted.

I notice the cold, but don't really feel it-it's been cold all week, but the hunt goes on, regardless. I chose this profession, and I love the fact that people can feel safer with us out here, even though the hours suck, sometimes. It seems like forever since I sat and watched a bad sci-fi flick on DVD at three am, like I used to, or sat on my deck in the dark, listening to Rundgren through my phones, sipping an ice-cold Old English. 

     Really, nothing stops me, but somehow, I'd rather be out here, looking for those in need.
Speaking of which, my prey seems to be in a spot of difficulty-time to act.

     I drop down through the upper branches, grabbing the would-be predator before he can react, holding him at arm's length as we rise-he can't cut me, but Anna's been complainuing about being more careful of my costumes, 'cause she has to repair them; I suck with a needle and thread. 

     He squirms, and spits, to no avail....he's not getting away.
He calms down, as he sees the little girl on the sidewalk below, smiling up at us.
We settle to the pavement, and  Lashonda reaches out for her kitty.

     Third time this month Tiger has gotten out, and climbed this same tree, after birds, I guess; the thing is, he's not as good at getting down as getting up, so I check for him and 'Shonda while I'm on patrol. Besides, her mother bakes righteous chocolate chip cookies, and keeps lots of cold milk on hand-growing kids, y'know.

Who says being a Legion member has no perks?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

THE LEGION OF NIGHT, CHAPTER 19

    A whole week, and I don't hear from Susan, I don't see her, and I'm starting to get worried-I'm sure that I'd hear if something had happened to her, but still....

      Just then, the phone rings, and-IT'S HER! She wants to take me to the movies later, unless, of course, I've got plans....

     Plans....me?
Anyway, we go to the Dreamland, catch a double feature, and stop off at Sutter's for a phosphate; she wants to tell me something.

     I had a close call, Wish", she tells me, her eyes evading mine, like I was going to judge her for something, "my ex-husband was released from prison two weeks ago, and I wasn't told, or I missed the call somehow, I don't know

     I reached over and took her hand, not sure how she'd react-it just seemed the thing to do. She didn't pull away, but kinda flexed her fingers in mine, like "thank you". "I went back to Toledo, to see my sister-she'd been sick, and I wanted to check on her. I didn't know that Ernesto had come back there after his release.

     "He must've seen me in the old neighborhood, and followed me, because he was in the parking lot of the restaurant when I came out, with a gun-he wanted to force me to drive him somewhere, and I don't  want to think about what came next.

     "He started toward me, when this beam, like blue light, struck him between the eyes....he just crumpled to the ground, dead, a smoldering spot on his forehead. A Legion member, a man who called himself OmegaSon, landed in front of me, and asked me if I was all right. I was a bit shaken up, but otherwise okay, so he left. I called the police on my cell, and left before they arrived"

     "Are you sure you're okay?" "Sure," she said, a smile finally breaking out on her face, weak, but there.
"That's twice I've met these people, in just a few months-it's not the sort of thing you'd expect."

     The rest of the evening was great, or would've been, except for one thing....something just didn't read right. I didn't know what, and I didn't think that Susan was exactly lying to me, but there waa feeling that something was missing, and I wasn't sure if we were far enough in our relationship to ask her about it. I asked the Lord to giude me in this, thanking Him that I even had a relationship to worry about.

     Dougie came in about then, carrying a mouse-I thought he'd gotten over that"carrying his end" phase long ago-and dropped it in front of me, looking up like he expected me to eat it.

     "Had dinner, man," I said, pointing to a Vitelli's box on the table; Dougie gratefully accepted a half slice of pepperoni, sausage, and mushroom, room temp, and fell to, leaving me to ponder "what's up?"

Thursday, May 16, 2013

THE LEGION OF NIGHT, CHAPTER 18

                                                                                OY!

  What am I, sixteen? I'm mooncalfing over some woman, seventeen years younger than me, after knowing her just a couple of months, and I'm acting like I want to carry her books home for her.

     (Do kids still DO that?)
Dougie loves her to pieces-but then, she's always bringing him stuff, meatballs from Pinelli's, that sorta thing, but she brings me stuff, too....she smiles at me, and calls me "Wish" in this voice that's like Karen Carpenter by way of Crystal Gayle.

     She sat next to me in church yesterday, and Pastor Mike could've stood up there and done the Stock Market reports in High Vulcan, and I never would've noticed. Her hand kept lightly touching mine, and I kept forgetting to breathe....

     I thought I was too old for this, too....WIDOWERED for this; Linda was my great love, and when she died, I had no plans to look elsewhere. After the grieving period, I never really felt alone....or so I thought.

     Susan owns a piece of me, a piece I never even knew was missing.
Y' wanna hear funny? I think Linda's up There, checking this out....and smiling.
Tony keeps talking about "the goofy grin on your face", and his missus giggles every time she sees me.
My place seems empty when she's not here-she hasn't spent the night, or anything like that, we play by the Rules-but she's visited here, and we've been out to dinner, walked in the park a few times, and went to church.

     I don't want to screw this up, because I've got something I haven't had in a long time, not since Linda; I think I'm in love.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

THE LEGION OF NIGHT, CHAPTER 17

                                         CLEVELAND


                                           From my perch atop Tower City, I can see the whole  of Downtown, just like the peregrines who nest up here. Like them, I'm hunting, making sure the folks below have a safe, fun night. The night air is crisp, and brisk, the wind coming off the lake, about fifteen miles per hour, temp's around forty or so....Goddard's right, as usual. 

     Aha....one of our juvies is going to try cracking into a car on Euclid. I launch from the dome, and swoop down on his sorry tuchus, snatching the tire iron out of his hand-hopefully, that'll be enough to keep him home at night; he's wearing out his LeBrons getting away from here.

     Personally, I prefer it when it works out this way-no one gets hurt, and that's one face that doesn't come wafting up in my dreams; I hate keeping my husband awake with my tossing and turning. 

     As long as I'm up, I might as well take a patrol....I'm not the only one of us out here, but I really dig flying, and any excuse is fine with me. I soar over the Rock Hall, then head southeast, planning to do Euclid and playhouse Square. I high-five Nightfang, who's headed to the West Side, drop low enough at the Square to shout hello to Michael Stanley, who's just coming off-shift at WNCX. For fun, I fly in formation with SkyFox 8, so they can get a shot of me for the eleven o'clock newscast.

     I barrel-roll north to Superior, flying just above the underpass at East 55th, turning  my flight into a slow spiral over Hough. It's really a slow night, the cold keeping folks in. Also, some of the bad guys have gotten the message, I think.

     I fly fast over Sowell's place, or at least where the house once stood- the vibes still rise out of the ground there, like the wails of the murdered women....I shudder, and wish we'd come along sooner.
To cleanse myself, I zoom out over Mother Erie, bathing in the cold caress of her winds, loving the lights, like the galaxy inverted, upon her water and her shore. The sleepy lights of my hometown are to the west, a pale fraction of its glory days, when steel, cars, and ships were made there.

     A quick snap-roll and dive, and I'm across the Cuyahoga and over Detroit Avenue, headed for the Happy Dog, a shot of Kilbeggan, and some Celtic tunes, for a wee break.

     I spend my nights like this, stopping crime, helping those in need of help, and in general trippin' off the whole scene. As a native NorthCoaster, I love being able to make a difference here in my adopted home.

     My name is Dreamboat Annie, and my heart is in Cleveland.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

THE LEGION OF NIGHT, CHAPTER 16

     I seem to keep running into Susan Maddock, at the store, at traffic lights, she even came to my church last week; seems she and Pastor Mike's wife, Debbie, work together, and she invited her to services.

     Not that I mind....I really enjoy talking to her, and I want to get to know her better. I know she's been married once, to a psycho she divorced after he went up on felony assault charges,  and that shehas a sister in Toledo. This, I got from Debbie-matchmake much?-but that's okay.

     Take last Friday....I decided to head to Miz Susie's for lunch, rather than fight with Dougie over a sandwich; I'd bring him back something, anyhow. I pull into the lot, and just as I'm about to dock, this bright red Mini-Cooper darts into the slot I'd picked....the nerve! There's another space about two down, so I park my deuce and a quarter there, and clamber out, bent on reminding this jerk about a little thing called manners.

     The Coop's door pops open, and out comes Susan, in a dress just the right shade of green, scarlet hair tied back in a ponytail (hooray for ponytails!) with a  big white daisy pin holding it together, and she's laughing herself silly..

      "Wish", she says, giggling under the words,  "I'm sorry, but the look on your face...." by this time, I was grinning like a schoolboy, ninety percent of which was just being near her- I can only imagine what Dougie would have to say.  I suddenly felt all gangly, and awkward, like I was at the Sixth Grade dance again, and I was trying to work up the nerve to ask Bobbi Smith to dance, which never happened. Rather than stand there gawking like a tourist, I decide to speak.

     I ask her, "Taking a lunch break?" "Nope, she says, "I've got the day off. I was headed to the craft store next door, but lunch sounds pretty good, about now.....how is this place?"

    Thank you, Jesus, for openings.... "Well, if you're into soul food, which is mainly just comfort food, it's the best in town. Besides, I'm treating, if you don't mind."

     "I should mind", She says in a faux- Yiddish accent, "a free lunch....heaven forfend!"

     Next thing you know, we're at a center table drinking iced tea, and watching Miz Susie and Co. work their magic. We shared a basket of wings, fries, and rolls, licking the grease off our fingers and laughing at each other's comments.  I noticed Eula, Suzie's oldest, tap her younger sister, Yolanda, on the shoulder, pointing at us, both of them laughing good-naturedly.

     Miz Suzie herself ankled over to our table, a smile spread across her chocolate features.
"Everything good here?" she said, a twinkle in her eye making me suspect she was talking about more than the food.  We let her know with full-mouthed noises of appreciation.

     "Wish", says Miz Suzie, "who's your good-looking friend? You ain't brought a lady in here since Linda".
I introduced Susan, and the two of them shook hands in that easy way women have with each other, that says they like the company.

     "Lemme tell ya", Miz Suzie said to Susan, "That's the first real smile I've seen on that high-yaller face in  ages....you must be good for him.

     "And you," she says to me, "you behave yourself, or I'll spank you like when you were stealin' my pop bottles, and bringin' 'em in to cash, when I had my store, you got that, Wishgood?"

     Like I'm gonna argue. Besides, I had a mouthful of chicken at the time.

     That evening, while I'm sitting watching an old monster movie on DVD, my phone rings-it's her.
"Wish," she starts out, I just wanted to tell you, I had a great time this afternoon, and I....I wanted to let you know that....I'd enjoy seeing you again. THERE! I said it!"

     She clicks off, and I'm standing there, reciever in hand, heart pouinding like a triphammer, both thrilled and scared by what just happened. If she'd have walked in the door right then, I would've plotzed, and probably been in need of oxygen.

     This wasn't lust, this was realizing that a woman who has captivated me from Day One wants to spend more time with me, the second-hand ex-cop who's already worn out his Golden Buckeye discount card.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

THE LEGION OF NIGHT, CHAPTER 15


CHICAGO


     Outside, the Hawk howls down the darkened corridors of the street, like a lost soul seeking the doorway to Oblivion. Here, inside Tailchaser's, it's crowded, hot and loud, louder than the night wind.

     I'm at the bar, facing the mirror, watching a man moving through the dense crowd , hunting.
He hunts here regularly, here and at the other downtown meatracks, looking for womem lonely enough to lake a walk with a stranger....the last walk they ever take.

     The cops know he's out here, but not who he is, or what he looks like-plus, they're looking for the wrong sort of man; because he targets Caucasian women, they're assuming he's white, when actually, he's multi-racial.

     Like a reef shark, he cruises the length of the bar, scanning for that hint of vulnerability that signals prey. He doesn't look like a threat, rather like someone's slightly older brother, safe.

     What he doesn't know is, he's being hunted....by me.
I send a faint ping in his direction, just enough to get his attention on a subconcious level-he'll think that he chose to look my way just then. As he takes a step in my direction, I look in the mirror, catch his gaze, and rapidly look away, as if I'm afraid of drawing attention to myself, even though I'm dying to be noticed.

     What he sees is a petite woman, in her mid-twenties, white, cute but not beautiful, shyly trying her wings in the big, bad city-his favorite meal, and he's got his favorite utensils in his van.

     I pick up on something amusing....he believes that God protects him from the police, and from us. Somehow, I think he's mistaken....

     He's standing behind me, and I slowly turn to face him, a timid smile on my face.
Perhaps I should've chosen the name Cuttlefish, instead of Resurrection Mary.
As we walk to the door, I decide to do things a bit differently....I'm gonna let this monster find out what all his toys feel like, before I'm done.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

THE LEGION OF NIGHT, CHAPTER 14

     Around the world, people discuss, debate, even argue about the Legion of Night. As the days turn into weeks, and the weeks into months, one thing does become clear....

                                         THE LEGION IS HERE TO STAY.

     Law enforcment officials complain about "vigilante justuce", while a Cleveland cop thanks the midnight guardian who stopped a bullet meant for him.. Sociologists decry the alleged negative effect the Legion has on the inner city, as an East L.A. mother weeps tears of joy, holding her infant, safe, after she and her child were saved from a firey death by a flying woman in a black dress.

     A father, laid off and desperate, decides to rob the liquor store not far from his Dallas tenement, but is stopped by an eerie cowboy, black on a black steed, who snatches the gun from his hand with a glowing bullwhip, then hands him a paper bag with a thousand dollars in it, once belonging to a now-deceased drug dealer, telling him, "You get one shot at this-go feed your son."

     In St. Paul a pale Amazon embraces a tearful wife, crying with her- the water was too cold, and Firefly was too late to save her husband, who'd gone fishing on thin ice.

     An Omaha girl, who'd been saving her virtue for marriage, asks for and recieves the Touch, and rises, healed, potent, and resolved to mete out justice to the wicked. Her assailiant lies in  the alleyway near her,
lifeless, his face a smoking, handprinted ruin.

     They may not be The Answer, but they are a response, and as crime marches on, so does the Legion.