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Devil Power
In the Ebony Hour

The closing months of my life as a Harm Citizen was one of the sorrow of the lame, hunted animal, short in the tooth and tender of paw, forever sought by the young hunters of the asphalt savanna.

Then I moved to Harm County to a place where hoodrats do not hunt by day, but only at night, where I could limp along by day and lay low by night, no longer needful of eking a living by keeping nocturnal hours at a distant supermarket. As late as Monday, four days ago, the snow-bearing skies of mid-March, at last heralding the sure coming of the 10,000 year winter that shall hopefully spare the last of our kind utter submission to the slave races, had my hip in knots as I stayed indoors, using my dumbbells in preparation for my return to active deviltry.

Then, yesterday, snow still piled in the shade of northward facing houses, in the hour after that which saw the sun just fallen, I felt the resurgence of my devil power.

Donning my camo hunting cap, my sheet-white hooded sweatshirt and my hoodrat hunting vest, I took T-cane in hand and arrogantly strode forth, both hips rotating like I was young again, into the dark just fallen, unlit yet by the rising moon. Mister and Miz, Sissy Rich, waved goodbye, as she said, “If you catch anything, please, don’t hang it from the fence,” and I was off into the night.

In the streets of white near suburbia I walked alone as a handful of furtive figures, hurriedly gathered purse or laptop case or carryout bag from their luxury car, minivan or SUV and darted into their brick houses as if they were the last pig on the block, having just received news that the Big Bad Wolf had blown in the walls of the houses sheltering first the Straw Pig and then the Twig Pig. The many for sale signs creaking slightly in the mild breeze hauntingly illustrated their plight, prophesizing their renewed flight.

Of a mind to scout those nests of villainy a half mile away, where criminals and refugees from Baltimore’s worst neighborhoods have recently been resettled, I headed into “The Oaks.” Familiar with this neighborhood from my youth—for I lived here from age 2 to 13, I took all of the secret ways of children, cut through alleys, down greenspace footpaths, nosed through tweener spaces, ever following the refuse and trash increasingly littering the nighted walks and gutters in search of my quarry. This was a hunt for knowledge, seeking the source of carjackings, burglaries, muggings, mob attacks and lootings to come. I come seeking intelligence of its embodied opposite.

Walking downhill from south to north on the right sidewalk of a winding side street I glance up to see an athletic man in his late 20s, shorter than I, stop and regard me as he reigned in his pitbull, a good-looking 50-pound animal. He stepped to his left into a stairway as he wound up the leash before continuing towards me, obviously concerned that I might feel threatened by the dog or that it might start with me. I returned this courtesy by taking to the grassy strip between sidewalk and curb to my left. We passed without greeting, me eying his dog and he eying my unseen right hand, pocketed in a vest pocket.

There was nothing devilish in that pocket other than the pale, claw-like hand, a bent, aged and oft-broken thing which must be kept warm to be able to handle the T-cane, carried hammer-like in my left.

Two block on, walking before a row of brownstones, I heard the end of a game of youth basketball in the back alley, one young voice saying, “Last shot, Yo, shit dark up in hea’!”

In earlier, more pallid times, such games continued well past dark, until parents called in their children for bedtime. But this area has seen daylight mob attacks and muggings and nighttime shootings and stabbings over the past year. A 12-year-old armed with a basketball has no desire to run into the 16-year-olds armed with guns and knives. The boys flee up the alley parallel to me, cross the street just ahead and turn left across my path. The lead boy darted in front of me and continued a few paces, turning and waiting for his friend, who stood frozen in an awful fear, one little arm cradling his worn old basketball, the other pointing at the hood of my white sweatshirt, his mouth open in an “O” of surprise as his eyes bugged in superstitious dread.

As I swung between them, now in marching stride, the first boy snickered and pointed at the other and hissed, “Come on, Yo, we gotz ta go!”

I took another block in stride, turned east, took another block north, turned east down an alley and made the apogee of my oblong circle, heading home down the east-most block of the hoodrat resettlement zone. Another block saw a fleet cyclist of perhaps 13 peddling for all he was worth from the wholesale dope zone to the southeast, I surmise, bringing the night’s supplies for his handler…

Night in Outer Dindustan is not so bad when you’re healthy, armed and alert.

Let the Weak Fall: A Guide to Urban Strife for the Misanthropic Man

Add Comment
Tony CoxMarch 18, 2018 10:26 PM UTC

This is my favorite stuff to read, a man walking alone at night.....