The lanes travelling north and south were completely jumbled. David snuck past the procession of bright shorts to the edge of the street, where he could stand and weave past the parked, lusterless cars facing him. He did not have to pant for long before hearing a familiar, booming, “Halt!” from across the street.
Portia burst right behind an oncoming car, her arms flailing about. Around one wrist, tightly secured, was a deep-blue light blinking on a leather bracelet.
Cicada-Man bolted right after her, past the car arriving to a screeching halt and honking. David took the time to run towards the sweet bakery across from him, alongside other road-crossers, and then to the corner the thief had turned. Once there, he held his knees and breathed in heavily underneath a circular “Burrito Beach” sign. The crossing guard wielding a stop sign next to a circle of yellow-vested workers around a construction pit only gave him a passing glance. David turned to his right; faux-Portia had already fled to the ramp inside a parking garage, with Cicada-Man, his arms chopping the wind, not far behind.
He let fly in a gasp of air before galloping through oblivious pedestrians strolling by tinted food store windows. A smudged bus with a Chocolate Dynamo: Truth, Justice, And The AWESOME Way billboard glided past him. Holding his breath past the fumes, David dove down the blistering street towards the vertical green ‘PARK⏎” his boss entered under. He leaned his body against a red and green sign inside after the last long strides. A drifting car slithered underneath the rising bar into the street. His legs were jello.
That throaty voice came from the smeared window, where a small man with hair blending into his skull inclined towards David.
Using the wall as a shoulder’s support, David shuffled over to the man. “Yeah, the… two guys… chasing here… have seen them?”
“Wha? YeahIseum,” the green-polo man gargled out. “Boysllbeboys, huh, ehahahaha.”
“Ok… umm…” David whipped the sweat from his forehead with equally sweaty hands. “Have you… what other entrances do you have?”
“Uh-huh. And how many floors up is this?”
“Okay.” David looked at the buildings lined up between the garage and next street, and then craned his neck towards the shadowy ramp in front. He flicked the loose casing of his IPhone rapidly for a few seconds before stiffening in place and pulling the device out.
“I want you to listen very carefully,” whispered David with a grin escaping on the edges, “to what I’m about to say, all right?”
The man nodded as David pressed a few buttons on the phone and tapped his foot for the first two rings.
“Chicago Police Department.”
“Hey, I just saw some guy chase some girl into a parking garage and I’m really worried about the girl.” David glanced up after hearing a screeching car inside the building.
“Can you describe them?”
“Yeah, umm, thin old man with ski-mask, and, and I didn’t get a good look at the girl, but she had a bracelet and the man look pretty angry.
The bearded man in the window piped in, but lowered his head at David’s motion.
“Where are they?”
“The parking garage on North Saint Clair.” David turned to the green and white canopies past the Burrito Beach sign. “I hear Officer Boipelo is in the area, so you can go ahead and send her.”
“…We’ll send someone over, sure.”
“Thank you!” David put the phone at his hip and tapped on the window. “If you see that woman again, you stop her, all right?”
David began a speed walk under the tined window rows of the garage. “Sorry about that.”
“That’s ok. Let me know if you see them again, Mr. …”
“Mr. David Tolkien.”
“Right. And David, what’s the number you’re calling from?”
As David turned left, dodging lampposts, streetlights, and beggars, he dictated his number, all while creating a quick beat with his shining tight shoes. He was ready at the stairway when he heard the clomping of boots. Through the glass, Cicada-Man sprinted with tipped head, abruptly stopping after he landed on the ground floor and slammed the push-door open.
“Which way did she go!”
“She- what, you lost her?!”
“Perhaps I wouldn’t have if you moved more than your mouth!” He grabbed the portal right before it closed and flung it open, taking wide steps up.
With a roll of his eyes and a groan, David shook his jeans down the grey streets, sighting under an obscured sun. Once he got back to the dinghy alcove’s address, Boipelo had already arrived.
“Nice job, sir.” With a hand on her pouch, she began sidestepping up the ramp until a screeching noise up ahead stopped her.
A bright red pick-up with a broken driver window barreled down the path, just barely dodging the dexterous police officer. The curled-blonde with a tight grip on the enormous steering wheel gave it a twist, swerving a hard left and smashing it into the mirror of a parked delivery van before hurtling down towards the skyscraper cluster ahead.
Boipelo said some numbers under her breath, then gave a quick wave to David before sprinting back to the 7-11. David took out his iPhone, scrolling frantically for any possible appointments he could be missing while taking glances upward for his mentor. By the time Boipelo sped by again in a whizzing cop car, towards the chorus of beeps ahead and left, David was still digging his hands into his slick hair, stepping aside only for the five men in casual black shifting through the sidewalk cracks. Cicada-Man’s echoing footsteps beat him to David.
He put his hands on shaking knees, “… this one’s more trouble than I thought.”
Panicked cries erupted from the street over. They both turned to see the red pickup again, ramming itself down the other lane, slamming its broken headlight against the back tires of parked bikes. One of the wheels wobbled. Nearly every car swerved out of its rampage. Once they were close enough to see the robber’s grimace, she turned sharply left at the intersection, knocking a trashcan into the nearby abode. The fading police sirens started to come back towards the accelerating old car; Cicada-Man began to run after it again.
“You- you could take a cab, you know!” David shouted.
Cicada-Man twisted himself into a backwards run after crossing the street of tepid cars. “When have you seen a superhero do that?”
David’s sigh emerged as a pant. With a few grunts, he shuffled over to the edge of the street and raised his hand in a rapid wave. A maroon cab quickly pulled over so David could open the door and fall into its leather insides in back.
The wrinkled lady with the deep pink sunglasses didn’t budge until David asked her to follow the red Volkswagen up ahead. She turned to him and affirmed, “The one up ahead?”
“The one that literally smashed down those trees over there?”
Looking between the rearview-hung rosary and the speckled GPS monitor, David saw tensionless trees freed from concrete, resting against a spa and a Gyu-Kaku.
“I umm- well, yes.”
“Kid, who do you think I am?”
A thick-eyebrow man who smelt like barbeque ribs knocked on the passenger door. “Oh look. Another customer. What a shame. Get out.”
Quietly, David emerged, then began to run alongside the wind back to the 7-11. He could hear the sirens from several blocks away approaching. “Cicada-Man!” he cried out, and Cicada-Man was already jumping from a stairway in between buildings and loping back. David backed into the 7-11 and squeaked the floor while sprinting towards the grey-haired cashier.
“You! I was with the cops, this is very important. Is that mustache fake?”
“How dare you-“
The mustache bushel popped out of the man’s lip with a tweak of David’s hand. He barely got out two “Sorry!”ies before the man grabbed his sticky upper lip and howled in pain.
“Sorry, sorry, I’m really sorry, it’s just… have you seen Terminator?”
The man nodded on his knees, looking up with watery eyes.
“Well, then give me your clothes if you want to live.”
David exited the 7-11 to see Cicada-Man positioned as a baseball catcher, waiting for the accelerating Volkswagen just coming into view. David tapped him on the shoulder and held out a bunched-up set of neon green clothes with baby blue sleeves, topped with a grey-haired bundle.
“… Are you suggesting one of us become a decoy for a madwoman in a pickup?”
David’s heels fidgeted while he stared at the ground.
“Because if you are, that’s brilliant!” A bulky glove covered the clothes with a wide snatch and began forcing the pants over a boot with the sole falling out. “Keep watch for me.”
David leaned his head into the street. All cars, facing the oncoming wreckage on wheels, had moved to the side. Faux-Portia was hanging on to a limp driver-side door while navigating the wheel with the other hand, stretching her knuckles towards the building David stood at. Her eyes refused to shut for the wind.
“Look, maybe this wasn’t the best idea.”
“Perhaps another-“ Cicada-Man had to stop and catch a blown-off mustache before smacking it back on and continuing. “Perhaps another day, we could take more time for ourselves. It is not always a good day to lose, but always a good day to be- generous-“
Pushing David out of the way, Cicada-Man tore into the intersection with a cry of anguish. Faux-Portia, already passing David, returned the cry and slammed her foot forward. With no yellow-vested men left in the way, the now neon-green man easily dived over a construction cone and rolled into the construction pit, in time for the thief’s car to smother the orange cones and plummet the front of the red pickup into the ditch’s wall. With a metal crunch and the shot of a fired airbag, the car scrunched its hood and halted, tilted in the crater, hissing and releasing oily antifreeze as a fountain.
David ran over to the gassy hulk and peered down. Amid the burning wheels still digging into the pit, he heard, “I’m ok! Finish the task!”
With a long exhale, David walked up to the dizzy woman resting her bruised head on the wheel and forced out, “Under the charges of… grand theft auto and endangerment of the public, I place you under citizen’s arrest.” David then slumped into a seat on the ground and apprehended the subject with as little force as humanly possible.