Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Black Out

Two Mankato pizza delivery drivers where arrested at gunpoint near downtown this Saturday night. And while the assailants were eventually apprehended, it raises questions among residents if these crimes would have even been attempted if we still had our favorite local vigilante. 

The pizza driver heists, the summer art walk defacings, these were all crimes where, until recently, a hero would step in at the last second and save the day for the decent people of the city. He was a man the people could count on, even if he couldn't be counted on not soiling himself. He was a man that came to be known as Black Out.

Black Out, the drunken knight whose real identity is unknown to all probably including himself. With raw drunken strength and an inhuman imperviousness to pain he would stumble unto the scene of the crime just as all seemed lost. After overcoming the criminals with a raging berserker attack that no sane man could summon or simply receiving a beating that left attackers thoroughly exhausted, Black Out would reject the thanks of those he had saved and stagger off into the night slowly suckling his bottle.

Witnesses had no clear description of Black Out. All they could agree on was that he was around 6 foot tall, white, with brown hair and the dilated black eyes of the man who had long ago crossed the threshold of consciousness. His costume was never the same twice, with it seeming that he hid his appearance with whatever items he found at hands reach. The only other real clue was that witnesses would report the strong stench of alcohol and pine scent air freshener just before he apeared. 

At first the police and other traditional justice outlets didn't know what to make of Black Out. Sheriff Brad Peterson at first vowed to hunt him down “If I have to chase him down a bottle of whiskey”. They were going going to toss him in the detoxification center in New Ulm until he lost his taste for either the booze or fighting crime. 

But the traditional justice outlets never found him, and with every interrupted misdemeanor they developed a tolerance for him which grew into a grudging respect. It is even reported that on more than one occasion the good deputies of Blue Earth would find him sleeping it off in the bushes near the crime scene, and after giving him some sports drink they would drop him off at any location he desired. 

The streets of Mankato can be a dangerous place at night, and Black Out knew its pulse like the flow of his toilet. But the days of the sotten vigilante are apparently done here. Did he suddenly wake up on his couch one morning battered, bruised, hungover, and finally decide to give up the drink? Did he get a job that keeps him home at night getting a full nights sleep? Does he even know the hero that he was? 

We may never know the answer to these questions. And what is worse, if we knew who to ask, he might not even know.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I Don't Always Rant (podcast alert)

But when I do, it's on a podcast.

Yes, I've expanded my horizons to podcasting.  You know, for when I'm just too lazy to write things out. 

You can agree with it or not, but *Spoiler Alert*

it's about a girl bragging about getting regularly tested for HIV on Facebook.

Some things just catch my eye.  But not always.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ass Beard

Ass Beard wasn't a pirate, but people treated him like he was. Thief, liar, murderer, scoundrel, he wasn't any of these, but once people heard his name they couldn't help but treat him as such. 

He tried his best to prove people wrong. He saved children who were retrieved by scared mothers, opened doors for cowed and shivering strangers, he loaned money that was repaid with obscene and unasked for interest. Nothing Ass Beard did could change people's minds about him, or his name.

Alone at night he would stare at the stars, and wonder if there was another world out there. A world where people heard the name Ass Beard and let out a giggle, instead of a moan.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mankato Snow Gangs

Unseasonably warm weather has been a problem for the Mankato snow shovel gangs, with some saying it has led them to resort to intimidation tactics and and outright war for survival. 
            The gangs, who can typically be seen roaming the neighborhoods of the city looking for sidewalks or driveways to shovel, have become increasingly desperate for sources of income.  And some say increasingly brazen in their methods. 
            “It was unreal.” Said Cindy Bakerstaff of Thompson Ravine Road,  “They all came to my door, seven or eight of them, dressed in t-shirts and sneakers.  They asked if I needed my driveway shoveled for twenty bucks.
            “I said “That's nuts!  There's not even any snow!' but they didn't say anything.  They just went and scrapped their shovels along my driveway like they were really shoveling snow.  They wouldn't leave until I paid them.”
            Shovel gang members are typically males with ages ranging from teens to middle age.  Most picture them as broken, desperate men who have lost everything but their shovel or wandering youth lured by the romantic gang scene.  But the members themselves, like Big Scoop of the Lower North gang says that in these tough economic times, they are just guys trying to survive. 
            “We didn't make this weather, but if we have to hustle to survive it, so be it.  I don't see the mayor or governor sending us any snow, so I guess we just do what we have to do.” said Big Scoop from the Lower North's clubhouse. 
            Others have said they have witnessed sights much more horrifying than mere intimidation.  An anonymous source on Blue Earth Street says he was witness to two gangs who had wandered into each others path. 
            “It was horrifying.  They were going at each other with shovels and thermoses.  They were even riding on slow blowers like horses and charging into each other...the sound of those  teeth locking together...it's something that will haunt me the rest of my days.”

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mutual Agreement

Finish a small project, and pleased with myself step outside for a celebratory cigarette.
Inhale deeply, and adjust myself. 
Perhaps too aggressively. 
Too late I look around and lock eyes with a pair of teenagers in the neighbor basement stairs.
They are smoking,
hiding from the school.
I exhale and continue with my adjustment.
Who are they going to tell?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

New Article Gig

After a series of  intense negotiations, I have agreed to be a featured writer at a new website, Secret Laboratory

(I'm not sure of the exact details of the agreement.  I asked my agent how much money was in it for me he and he just replied that my days of murdering the prostitutes was over)

My first article is about the Scourge of Assault Knives on our society. 

I could re-post it here, per the agreements made in my contract, and I probably will later, but I figured I'd be charitable and let Secret Laboratory have exclusive first week rights. 

Also, if you click over to my article here, you will be able to see a real-life photo of me. 

And I just know how the ladies out there love that.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year

Guy comes in. 
Large and a bit disheveled, but still well kept.  Dark blazer, khakis.  Tan lines from expensive rings.
The scent of women's perfume and alcohol. 
Reaches over the desk and grabs a pen.  Asks for a room and starts to smooth out a single wrinkled check. 
We do have rooms, but don't take checks. 
He's not disappointed, he'll just move on with The Plan.
His glassy eyes tell the story.
One too many crashes, defaults, layoffs, and downsizes.  He wasn't going to be broken, we would break himself. 
Pawn the rings, walk away from the house, empty the account.
He was going out in style, and one hotel not accepting his last check wasn't going to get in the way of that. 
This was his year.
As he stumbled into his damaged rental car and sped off, I envied him.