Sidekick | Part 9
That goes especially for ones that I deal with. A lot of them aren’t major criminals. That’s not to say that the occasional domestic disturbance call doesn’t land me in the middle of a murder investigation, but those are few and far between. The current case I’m working on is one of those non-essentials: Someone was apparently plastering anti-establishmentarian literature across the campus of Polk University. College is usually known as a place of social dissent and experimentation, but the crack down on communications since the election of Governor Alden McDowell had put an end to much of that above the surface. This was probably just a case of some of the underground movements leaking out, but McDowell’s policy left little room for leniency. He compared it to turning on the faucet after water mains are flushed: “The water is brown and polluted for awhile, but keep the pressure running and eventually only purity remains.”
Frankly, the dissension doesn’t bother me. A little free thinking never hurt anybody, aside from those that it questions. That said, I’m a hired gun without a gun and I need the money and these types of jobs were the easy ones. I can pretty much tell how this’ll play out: I go downtown to where the posters are hanging, as a few questions as to who tacked them up, get zero answers, and then remove the posters, playing my role as a one man clean-up crew. It’s not exactly glorious; I doubt I’ll be snagging any media attention. Poster removal, regardless of how well executed, is rarely celebrated. But it’ll cover this month’s water bill, and I like long showers.
“Hey Parry, can you tell me everything you know about anti-authority communities based on the Polk University campus?” I shouted to get my superhuman roommate’s attention. I called him by random nicknames occasionally, just to see how he responds. It rarely fazes him, especially when followed with a question about criminal activity. It’s like calling a dog: It doesn’t really matter what name you say if you follow it up with, “want a treat?,” they’ll be ready to perform their entire repertoire.
He walked out of the room that housed our homemade supercomputer (super-average computer, to be more specific), slowly approaching before stopping several feet away from me and placing his balled hands on his hips. It’s one of three accepted super hero stances, and it’s standard procedure for him to assume one of those positions while delivering any information that is hero-specific. You’d expect a steady gust of wind to blow through, hoisting his cape into the air as an American flag unfurled as the backdrop behind him.
“I can tell you they’ve become more vocal over the past months, and there is talk of organized protests in the weeks ahead. They have taken to advertising their position more openly, and some walls meant for the promotion of local music acts and artistic talents have been commandeered for the delivery of their message.”
“Such a shame all those guys that learned to play three cords on the guitar won’t have an audience to wear their snapback hats and cover O.A.R. songs in front of, ” I replied.
“You are right to be disappointed. Those cork boards are meant to hold the fliers of future talents, not sheets of injustice.”
“How do you do that?” I asked, dumbfounded that those combinations of words came out of his mouth without a hint of sarcasm or deceitfulness.
“Do what?” Paragon asked in response.
“Say that with a straight face. Done so illegally or not, any person that keeps a band that sings about peace and ‘the children of the world’ or a rapper with a song about weed from performing, then count me as a supporter.”
Paragon’s face changed from stern confidence to stern disappointment. A scolding was coming. Presumably a stern one.
“Any activity that is illegal is a crime. A crime is a crime, even–”
I cut him off. “Even if it’s meant to stop something you believe is a crime. I know. But trust me if one could commit crimes against music, those douche bags would be tried for attempted first degree murder for trying to kill the integrity of music.”
“You have a job to stop actual crime, and Governor McDowell has determined that what these groups are doing is against the law,” Paragon said in a fashion reminding of the task at hand.
“I didn’t say I wouldn’t do it, I’m just saying if a poster for ‘Ted Stevens and the Mushrooms Experience’ happens to come off in the ball of tape that I pull down, I’m not putting it back up,” I affirmed, while walking away. Another trip up the elevator shaft, which screeched a little with the sound of metal scraping on the way up. I’ll fix that later. For now, I have “crime” to fight.