Best Friend For Hire, Entry 195

Not even two blocks from Edna’s house, Portentia and I were passing a building when we heard a man scream. He fell from somewhere nearby and landed on the grass just yards away. “Whoa. Easy there.” I told the man as I knelt beside him. His left arm was at an odd angle, and I was betting his leg was broken too by the twist to it. When I pulled out my phone, Portentia started tugging on my sleeve. Looking over at her, I asked “What?” She looked quite serious as she whispered “Don’t mention me. Police often show up first, so I’m going to walk down a couple blocks.” I nodded and tried not to frown. I really didn’t want to be stuck with this by myself, but I could understand why a self-proclaimed hero wouldn’t want to be questioned by the police. Certain types of “heroes” could easily be confused with vigilantes in real life. I called for an ambulance and answered questions for the dispatcher, who then wanted to stay on the line to get updates on the man’s condition. Portentia was right about a police officer showing up first. He knelt by the man and asked him to try to remain still. Then he asked me for my name, date of birth, and phone number, which he wrote on a notepad. “Thanks, James. You’re free to go. I’ll take care of him from here.” he told me. I nodded and started walking away as the police officer, Tracy by his name tag, started questioning the injured man.

I wasn’t even a block away when an ambulance went flying down the road past me. I was just over two blocks away when I spotted Portentia leaning against a building. I walked over to her, and she pushed me up against the building. Looking me in the eye, she said, “A man in a flannel shirt, hat, and sunglasses will be leaving the store any second. The ambulance lights startled him, but I’m sure he’ll be making a break for it soon. If he manages to get his gun out before I subdue him, I need you to disarm him, okay?” What were the odds of a robbery happening right down the street from a police officer who was helping an injured man? Of course, robbing a place right as Portentia was passing might be worse odds yet. The door opened, and I readied a spell without another thought. I wasn’t sure whether to be proud or disturbed as the man went to the ground in a second, and had his hands taped up not long after. She really had picked up martial arts quickly. I wasn’t ready for her to toss me the bag the man had been carrying or for her to turn and run immediately after. Then I heard a police siren turn on and saw the lights. The car raced past me, pursuing Portentia. I didn’t have a clue what to do, but I stuck my foot on the man’s back when he tried to wiggle his way to his feet.

The door opened by me, and a short man with a touch of gray in his hair looked from me to the man on the ground. “Who was that?” he asked. I shrugged, knowing I couldn’t admit the truth. “Umm… Here’s your bag.” I told him, handing over the plastic bag. I drove my foot harder into the man on the ground as he started trying to move again. “Ow! Get off me, kid! If you know what’s good for you, you’ll cut me loose and forget you ever saw me.” he claimed. I sighed. I might actually feel sorry for anyone who tried attacking me at my home if they annoyed Alma. If I was out and about, they’d have to catch me away from Mila and hope she didn’t call Aaliyah. Mila seemed to have access to way too many cameras in this city to miss much, as she proved when she parked herself across the street from me. No, I didn’t feel inclined to worry about this man’s threats, since he seemed quite human. He continued to spew them as the store clerk and I waited a couple minutes for another police officer to show up. “Easy, son. Take your foot off him.” commanded the officer as he approached. “Careful. He had a gun on him.” warned the clerk. The officer nodded, put on a glove, and frisked the robber while keeping a knee into the man’s back. Sure enough, there was a gun in the front of the man’s pants. Another police car pulled up as Portentia’s tape was being replaced with handcuffs.

“James, right? This just isn’t your lucky day, is it.” stated Officer Tracy. “Any idea who that guy in the red hoodie was, James?” I shook my head and told him “Not a clue, sir. The whole thing happened in a flash. One moment, the robber there was stepping out of the store, and the next moment, the guy was taping up his hands.” I felt guilty, lying to a police officer. I couldn’t be honest about what I knew though. “That’s what I saw too, sir.” claimed the clerk. “Would you mind showing Officer Peterson any surveillance footage you have?” asked Tracy. The clerk nodded and motioned for Peterson to follow him. When they were inside, Tracy asked me “Did you get a look at the guy in the red hoodie, James?” I shook my head again and said, “No, sir. Things happened too fast. Sorry. I was still mulling over what happened down the street when this fell in my lap. As you implied, this just isn’t my day.” The officer nodded. Then he said, “You don’t really look like you’re from around here. Do you come this way often?” Did I really stick out that much? “No. I just happened to be in the area today. I can’t imagine I’ll come this way again though. Things are a bit too wild for my tastes.” I admitted. “Well, here’s my card. Give me a call if you remember anything else. Oh, and I didn’t get your address earlier. Mind writing it down for me?” I did as I was asked and then was excused to be on my way.

As I stepped into Mila, I had to agree with Portentia’s earlier assessment about her being a bit conspicuous for these parts. Officer Tracy was still watching me as I drove off. I was a bit surprised that Portentia wasn’t already hidden away inside somehow. Mila asked to take over driving just a block away, and I gladly assented. I really wasn’t in the mood after how my “date” had gone. Portentia was sitting on a bench a few blocks away, her white hair blowing in the wind and her red hoodie conspicuous in its absence. She smiled beautifully when Mila pulled up in front of her. Then she grabbed a black trash bag from behind the bench and tossed it in the back seat as she stepped inside. “Sorry for ditching you, but I knew you’d be fine.” she assured me. There were so many things I was tempted to say to her about her crazy antics. Even knowing there truly was a very rich, talented villain in the world, I had my doubts about whether or not there was a place for a superhero with Portentia’s particular disposition. Gazing at her smiling face, I knew there was no way to talk her into giving up her pastime, especially not when Mila had started fabricating a new uniform earlier today. Giving up on my arguments, I asked “Would you care to join me for some dinner, so we can have something a bit more typical on this date?” Her smile widened even more as she nodded in agreement. I was thankful that not everything had to be complicated.


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