Sidekick | Part 18
What kind of terrible people run a business off a scam? I mean besides timeshares and not-for-profits, and churches, and loan sharks, and those check cashing places, and…Ok, so there are a couple. But none of those are based off of physically mugging someone–specifically me. Except it wasn’t specifically me. They didn’t even know who I was. Maybe it’s time for an image tweak or something. I have to up my exposure, maybe do some ad campaigns or something. Maybe I should do a public service announcement. Would the city run that kind of thing? “Hey, this is Louis and I’m just reminding you not to be such an asshole all the time.” That’d get through to people, really keep me in the back of their minds.
I don’t particularly care for extra attention–I’d rather not be stopped by people that recognize me–but if there are bad guys out there running some sort of terribly organized crime syndicate and they don’t even realize that I’m someone that could jail all of them, there’s a problem. I’m usually in favor of laying low, but I like to have my accomplishments acknowledged without having to make them blatant. I cannot scream out the list of notable crimes I’ve played foil to every time I’m about to enter into another potential arrest or criminal situation. It’s not very practical and it should speak for itself. At least for criminals. For people that aren’t entrenched in the city’s anti-crime unit or read the police reports that are released to the public, I have to do a lot of explaining. That’s fine. Why would the majority of people understand how something they’ve never had to do works? But for a bunch of masked morons to look through the eyeholes of their fabric-covered faces, see me, and still go, “We could totally rob that guy.” Now I’ve got a profile problem. I need to make a clear answer to “what have you done for me lately” so I don’t look like some halfway hero that looks as familiar as a kindergarten classmate one hasn’t seen in years. This is where the problem starts. Then it’s the squint. I can’t stand the squint. The push your eyelids together a little and focus real hard that is immediately followed with an, “I know you from somewhere.” It’s just discouraging. Yeah, you do know me. At least you should. You will know me.
That is, of course, assuming I don’t die out here. I still have to get home and I’ve been following the lead of adrenaline that keep pushing my feet forward. I have a vague idea of where I am, but this is taking a bit too long. If I just walk, I’ll be wondering aimlessly for the next 45 minutes. I’ve done it before. A lot. If I run, I’ll be able to knock out every last wrong turn in about 2 minutes and be home in no time. I don’t like to do it, but I have to. I don’t have to, but I’m going to. Whatever, let’s just get this over with.
I begin to run full speed down Wingra and took a left to Blossom Street. Frat houses, nope. Dead stop and back. Right turn, sororities. If they just moved those onto the same street as the frats, the morning walk of shame would be far shorter. Just a thought.
Ok, back from Wingra and to Hidden Creek Drive. Dead end. There’s a creek at the end. Not at all hidden. Back again. Pretty sure this is still Wingra, but it’s getting a little blurry. My eyes are straining. No matter, let’s try a hard right. Ok, now on Caribou Avenue. I like the rhyme, but not what I’m looking for. Next try.
Wingra goes on forever. I never realized just how long this street was until I was sprinting down it faster than most cars that usually drive it. Oh, note to self: Start carrying a bike light or some reflective tape for this. Last thing I need to do is hit a car at a higher speed than it’s going. Running doesn’t come with a seatbelt and if cars were good airbags on their own, they wouldn’t have invented actual airbags.
Ugh, head is pounding. I know I’m still on Wingra but the streets are revolving around one another at this point. Ok, next road I need to stop at regardless of what it is. I get to an intersection and stop. Looking up at the street sign, it reads “Mullholland.” Hey that one is familiar. Ok, we’re on to something. Maybe a quick spin up and down this street will lead me to my destination. I push forward. Ok, shouldn’t have used the word “spin” right now. Terrible idea. It’s like talking about waterfalls when you have to pee. Just making things worse for myself. Ok, just check the street sign here. Yeah, ok. Those aren’t letters. If they are, I can’t read them. So, my vision is gone. That’s promising. Blurry shapes are not really that helpful. I’m not trying to take a Rorschach test here, I’m trying to get home.
Now the street lights are going out too. Lovely. I look up searching for one and stare right into a burning bright bulb that resides in the lamp above. Never mind, the streetlights are fine. It’s just my vision is going. Plus my head is beating like there’s a kid with a drumset inside and he can’t keep rhythm so he’s making up for it by beating the skins off the thing. This is new. Ok, just stand still for a minute and maybe this’ll pass. Close your eyes, stay in the darkness, and let this go by.
My eyes twitch behind my closed lids. I feel a firm support on my back. I spread my arms out away from my body and turn my hands back toward the stiff support behind me. I feel it for a second as my senses come back to me slowly. Pavement. I’m laying on pavement. So last night went really well, clearly. Ok, let’s get those eyes open to see where I’m at. I try to part my lids and take a look around. No luck, they aren’t budging. Did some punks glue my eyes together as I lay passed out in the street? I bet I have dick drawn on my face too. Who does that? I raise my hands to my face and feel my cheeks, as if I’ll be able to feel marker on there. It’s not an actual dick, genius. It’s a drawing. Ok, prying my eyes open this time. I raise my fingers to my eyes and open them like a person trying to win a staring contest. Ah, there we go. No glue, just no will power on my part. Alright, shake this off and let everything come back. My vision starts to focus on something that is hanging right over my face. I do remember passing out under a street light, but this seems a little too close. I know these things don’t lower during the day or anything. Everything is getting clearer as a few more seconds pass and I take a deep breath of morning air. It’s got a cold, brisk feeling that shocks me into a sudden awareness. I can hear birds chirping and everything starts to feel like an cliche wake up until a hawk’s call cuts through the songs, which immediately stop. Vision’s back. That’s definitely not a street light. That’s a face, and one I’ve seen before for that matter.
“Asleep on the job? Some hero you are,” a feminine voice emerges from the mouth above me. There’s a familiar smirk that is brushed perfectly between the soft cheeks that I can finally see clearly. The same girl I was sent to investigate last night was now standing directly above me.