Street Cleaning – A Story of The Night

11:22 PM

(Text surrounded in [square brackets] is spoken in Russian.)

The Model Cafe once had been a nice place to eat. That was years ago.

Now it was a dive bar, and the place to drink for more than a few Russian expats. Even on a Sunday night, a half-dozen of them were mostly drunk, boisterous, and unable to keep playing the darts game in the middle of the bar. A couple of the hot dogs the place was known for were in pieces on the floor and the bar, and the bartender was looking at the group dubiously.

At the far end of the bar from the door, a slender girl had been nursing a drink since 10 PM. Apparently she was known to the bartender, and he didn’t bother her.  She had dark hair pulled back into a tail, wore a black windbreaker and jeans, and a sullen expression, and she didn’t seem to like the beer very much.

One of the drunken Russians looked over at her, and said to his friends, [What’s with her?]

The oldest of them shook his head. [That’s Marishka Petrovskaya, Piotr. She’s from the Old Country. Escaped from a prison and came here. Tough. Mean. Don’t get on her bad side.]

Piotr laughed. [I know which side of her I want to be on.]  He stood, belched, then swaggered to where she sat. Behind him, money started to pile up on the bar.

[Hey. babe,] he said. [You want to know how my bedroom and my kitchen are alike?]

She rolled her eyes and tried to ignore him as he answered his own question. [I can cook in both of them. You want to see me demonstrate my skills?]

[No,] she replied shortly.

He was momentarily taken aback, then tried again. [I just want to show you a good time, babe. And I can show you a very good time. No woman’s left Piotr’s bed unsatisfied.]

[Your record will continue. I have no intention of getting into your bed,] she shot back, annoyance coming into her voice.

He was persistent, at least. Piotr tried again. [What does bring a pretty girl from the Motherland here?]

[A desire for quiet and being away from the politics,] was her answer.

[Hey,] Piotr said, putting his right hand on her knee, [I’m offering you something women don’t ever turn down.]

She very deliberately looked down at his hand, then looked at him. [You will move your hand or you will learn to play with yourself with the other.]

He laughed, and moved his hand up her thigh.  She reached down and manipulated his middle finger in a way that was not within original specifications with a loud crack.

Piotr grabbed his hand, a strangled scream coming from him, and her face, showing no emotion at all, just watched him. [Do I need to do it again?] The base of the middle finger was a bright red, and as it hung backwards, tears came from his eyes. One of the men reached for the pile of money, but the bartender put his hand over it, shaking his head.

With his left hand, Piotr swung his hand back as if to slap her. (One of the bettors groaned, then shook his head at the pile of money.) In a very complex maneuver with one hand, Marishka caught the wrist with the edge of her hand, and then he was screaming louder as she broke his left wrist.

[Do I need to break your jaw now?] she asked, in a casual tone. Piotr, for his part, backed away, shaking his head, stammering apologies.  The barkeeper took two bills off the pile of money, and a tall, bearded man with tears tattooed under his eyes took the rest of it with an air of satisfaction.

The barkeeper moved down to Marishka, and spoke quietly to her. [Kuznetsov just texted. He will not be here tonight, his mother needs him early in the morning to move furniture.]

Marishka nodded. [Thank you, Anatoly.] She put a bill on the bar. [Sorry about the mess.]

For the first time that night, the barkeeper smiled. [He deserved it.] The smile went away. [His friends might try to jump you when you leave.]

[Understood.] She got up from her stool, then headed towards the door. Three of the men in the clot followed her, and as she waited for the light to change so she could cross to the same side of the street as the Dunkin’ Donuts, they did in fact jump her. It was short, brutal, and painful, but she didn’t break any of their bones or joints, and left them lying on the sidewalk, groaning.

After the evening she’d had – contact not showing up, a useless brawl, and a terrible beer, The Night felt she deserved a cup of cocoa and a chocolate cream-filled donut, damn it.  As she walked, the Boston PD showed up to pick up the trash she’d left there.

Two hours later, now in uniform, the Night stood on top of a building on St. James Street, looking down at the street and the Church that stood there. There was nothing happening, and at least she could get a good view to look at. Her scanner fed information from the police into her ears (not for the first time she thought, when she reconnected with the team, of getting Silver Sentinel to find a way to put it into her goggles instead), and there were no real big time crimes going on.

“No bank robberies, no drug takedowns… boring,” she said. It occurred to her, at moments like this, that she might just be an action junkie. Well, she reflected, at least it wasn’t meth. And that’s when she heard a sound, and she smiled.

She jumped off the roof, using the linegun to rappel down, and landed, just perfectly, in front of the six roughnecks running down the street – and behind the girl they were chasing.

“No means no,” she said, her voice distorted by the field, and then she lit into them. The gloves glowed violet, and then it ran down a trace on her arm to a cap on her elbow; a matching glow ran from boots to knees. 

Right elbow strike to the jaw of the one in front; left cross to the one next to her. As they fell, the two behind them drew weapons, one a switch blade and the other a spring-loaded baton. The baton went into the street, the knife following, and then a pair of kicks took them low. The final two turned to run, and she drew her gun. Blasts of violet light took them in the back, sending them sprawling.

“You should call the police to pick them up,” she said, and the girl, who’d stopped ten feet away, jumped.  The Night raised one hand, firing the line-gun, and went up to the roof, then started making her way home.

A little street-cleaning was just what she’d needed. Now it was time to head home, and get ready for her next big thing, now that she felt really up to it: breaking into the Vigilance base and leaving a card.

THAT was going to be fun.

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