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.