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Over the next few days, the police went through Blackburn like a fine-toothed comb. Patrol cars, helicopters and even drones were omnipresent, and citizens were advised to report any strange sights. Wherever Ryan had gone to ground to avoid such intense scrutiny must have been well hidden.
With the police occupied with finding the so-called Blackout killer, Wilbur found it to be a perfect time to continue honing his skills by mopping up petty crimes. His first patrol following his fight with Ryan was fairly uneventful – just shooing off a drunk couple smacking each other in public. How did those New York City heroes find crime to fight in a safer town?
Wilbur decided to patrol the Cauldron again – there were worse parts of Blackburn, such as Woodlawn, but even he wasn’t foolish enough to go there without a buddy or ten. Besides, he was establishing a good rapport with the neighborhood. Getting the civilians used to a strange masked man walking about paid off in situations like, for instance, a couple of shady looking dudes fighting outside a nightclub.
“Mr. Circuit!” An older gentleman caught up to him, pointing across the street. “One of those guys was brandishing a knife. Think he might have had some kinda drug on him too.”
Wilbur put his hand up. “You stay right here sir.” Checking for traffic, he sprinted across the street. Both men took one look at him and bolted, but not before the man with the knife threw a small baggie down an open manhole. He couldn’t say he wasn’t disappointed they dispersed so easily, but at least no one got hurt. Glancing around the small crowd that had gathered, he asked “Did anyone record that?”
A college-aged girl raised her phone. “I did!”
“Awesome.” He probably needed to livestream all his patrols from then on. “And I assume 911’s been called?”
One of the bouncers stepped forward. “Yeah, we called them when we saw that dude threaten the other with a knife. Decided it was best not to jump in. I guess you scared them pretty good, huh?”
Wilbur suppressed a haughty laugh. “It was nothing.” He took a look down the manhole. About five feet down he saw the baggie, glimmering pink. What kind of street drug was pink? He snapped a picture with his phone before signalling to the young woman. “Can you stick around for a few minutes? The cops are gonna want your video.”
“Only if you let me take a selfie with you!”
“Fiiiiiine. But I get to make a funny face.”
She sidled up to him and stuck her phone out. “How are you gonna do that with your mask on?”
He pressed the small button on the side just before the flash. This time it made a smiley face.
“Oh! I guess like that.”
It took almost thirty minutes for an officer to arrive. He surveyed the crowd, staring at Wilbur for a little longer, before asking “So what exactly happened here?”
“Had a little scrap out in the parking lot,” the bouncer said. “We called 911 when we saw one of ‘em draw a knife. Shortcircuit showed up at just the right time and ran them off, but the guy threw the drugs he was carrying down that manhole.”
The officer nodded. “Do you have surveillance cameras pointed that direction?”
Wilbur spoke up then. “That won’t be necessary. Miss…”
“Christina here got the incident on video.”
“Great.” The officer handed his business card to the woman. “If you could email me that video file, that’d be great.”
“What about the drugs?” Wilbur asked.
“Um…” He went over and glanced down the manhole. Wilbur made sure to shine the light from his phone onto it. “Yeah, I can see it alright, but I’d need to seize that as evidence to make a hundred percent sure it’s not Pepto-Bismol.”
Wilbur sized up the bouncer. Guy definitely looked strong and sturdy. “Hey, can you grab a buddy real quick?”
“Yeah, sure. What for?”
“I need someone to hold my feet when I go down there.”
“Uh.” The bouncer half-laughed. “Are you sure?”
Wilbur shrugged. “It’s not that far.” He turned to the cop. “That okay with you officer?”
“Shit, saves me a nasty trip. By all means.”
The bouncer returned a moment later with a co-worker. He shook their hands, now feeling even smaller. “Alright gentlemen, let’s do this.”
“Man this is so cool, never thought I’d actually meet one of you guys,” the second bouncer said. They helped him work the manhole cover off before grabbing his shoes.
What was left of the crowd gathered around as Wilbur got into a push-up like position over the hole. Taking a deep breath, he began to work his way down. It was a narrow fit, but he was just skinny enough to wiggle his way down. “Can I uh, get some light officer?” He had to fight back the urge to wretch – the smell seemed to go right through his helmet. The cop obliged, and he found the baggie resting in a puddle of dark yellow-green. He snatched it and immediately called to be pulled back up. The first few steps were disorienting at first due to the blood rushing back to his body, but eventually he found the officer and handed the baggie over.
“Yay, there you go. I’m gonna need a shower, again.”
“Great job, appreciate the help.” He whistled as he rolled the baggie around his palm. “Yep, that’s Pink alright.”
“Well, we knew that.”
“That’s the name of the drug, son.”
“Oh. Never heard of it.”
“It’s pretty new, popular party drug with the young crowd. Got a pretty good idea who’s been making it, but unfortunately a patrolman like me can’t do much…”
Wilbur exhaled through his nose, shaking his head. “Well at least we can nail that guy. Thanks for the assist Officer…”
“Prescott.” They shook hands.
“I’m sure we’ll see each other again fairly soon. Be sure to tell me how the case goes.”
Once everyone had dispersed, Wilbur made his way further down the alley before giving Nisa a call. She had left to God-knew-where after his fight with Ryan, but did answer his phone call.
“Hey.” It was more of a wary question than a statement.
“Hey. I just chased one of your dealers away from a club. If you’re really pulling a heel-face, can you tell me where I can find the rest of them?”
“Jesus Christ.” He could hear the phone settling into her neck. “Look, I can help you take the stuff off the street, but can you not involve cops? Most of these guys are just trying to survive out here.”
Wilbur rolled his eyes. Those poor oppressed criminals. “Whatever. I just want this crap gone.”
“Alright, I’ll email you a list of all my distributors and their known haunts. I’ve told them all I’m no longer in business, but some of them may continue peddling backstock until it runs out. Please keep violence to a minimum, okay?”
“I’ll try.” He could hear her begin to type, but she didn’t hang up. Awkward. “Sooooo. Whatever happened with Jessica?”
“She’s crashing with her mom for now. That whole experience must have really rattled her. Hasn’t spoken to me in days.”
“I can imagine. And Jeff?”
“Currently fighting the brass for his job. Ryan threatened to kill cops though, so I think he’ll be fine in the end – after an extended suspension.”
“That’s good, he seems like an honest man.”
And that’s all they exchanged for a while, until Nisa muttered something under her breath.
“He’s at it again. ‘Breaking news: shots reported at the water mains, several suspects confirmed dead’. Guy’s a fucking lunatic.”
And just when he was considering calling it a night. “Got an address?”
“Are you kidding me?! You are not rushing in there head first.”
“Actually, yeah, I kinda am. I’ll figure it out sooner or later.”
“Oh my God.” She let out a long exhale through her nose. “I just texted it to you. If you die, I swear to God I’ll-”
“Awesome, thanks, bye!” He hung up, took a look at the address, and ran off.
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