The parable of "The Fox"
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The mist rolled over the nightline of the city, shadows sometimes obscuring the view of his domain. He was perched on top of one of the downtown businesses, like an ancient and powerful bird of prey, a pterodactyl, waiting for his opportunity to swoop down below and devour those who would dare do wrong on his watch.
The alley to his left contained several bums sleeping behind some garbage cans. These people he didn't mind at all, pitied them in fact, as long as they said please and only begged for charity once. Anything more would be breaking the law, not man's law, but certainly his higher law of an individual's right to refuse a request without coercion. Then he'd be forced to step in and correct the wrong.
Suddenly the small police radio on his belt spoke up, indicating the location of a sited peeping Tom. Although he occasionally used the device to eavesdrop on those society had entrusted to uphold the law, most of the time he didn't need it. He seemed to be gifted with a sixth sense when it came to understanding and predicting the behavior of the deranged and degenerate mind. Trouble usually followed him like a puppy at the heel of its master.
One night he'd followed a suspicious looking man until the man stopped to ask a beautiful young woman what time it was. It was obvious to anyone with half a brain what the man really wanted but she hadn't seemed alarmed. The sun had gone down, and there were only a few would-be witnesses walking the streets. It was a good thing he'd been there to save her. Ungrateful wench though. She wouldn't stop screaming after she saw what he'd done to the man. All he did was ensure the man would be incapable of ever possibly committing the crime he'd been contemplating.
Suddenly, his police radio spoke, revealing a crime in progress. He sighed with relief that he would have a chance to bring justice to the city streets this night. His dark-black gloved hand reached over to his utility belt and shut off the radio, shoving back his black cape in the process, which had blown around in front. It had been a slow night, but that section of town was mere blocks away, and he was sure he could get there before the police.
The police. He realized the cops were doing the best they could within a legal system that tied their hands most of the time and gave criminals more rights than victims. But he had no such constraints. If allowed to handle the situation, the police would probably just show up late and take a description of the scum, maybe make a lame attempt to track down the dirtbag and read him his "rights", as if trash had any. Then, time permitting a wade through the quagmire laughingly called the "justice" system, a judge might finally get around to slapping the lowlife on the wrist.
When he could get there before them, especially while the crime was still in progress, one could be assured of true and swift justice.
He walked over to his mini-helicopter. It was about as small as a bumper car and open to the air. Before he started the engine, he briefly thought about the emblem on the front nose of the mini-copter: The Fox. It had seemed a fitting name for a superhero such as himself. The Fox was a quick, crafty, dark little creature, blending well with the night.
The engine turned over at the first twist of the ignition key. He jerked the control column forward and skidded off the rooftop. The wind caught hold of the tiny craft and blew it like a feather through the air for several seconds. Soon, though, the Fox had it under control and set his heading for the last reported sighting of the prowler.
The cool chill of the air pelted his entire body, but he hardly felt it because of the insulating interior of his costume, which covered every inch of his body, including his face. The deep blackness of his entire costume camouflaged well with the dark background of the night sky, making the mini-copter seem to fly on its own.
The Fox spotted his destination and landed on a nearby rooftop, fastening it to the slanted incline with the suction cups under the wheels. He leaped over the edge and landed on all fours, as easily and softly as a cat jumping out of a tree to the ground below. He crushed the soft ground between his clenched fists, anger rising at the thought of the perpetrator's indecent act of privacy invasion. The only two holes in his costume were slits for eyes, and it was these that blazed with determination to see justice done.
The Fox made his way around the identified house, spotting his prey crouching over a basement window, trying to peer through a slit in the closed curtains. He slunk forward until mere inches behind the evil-doer, visualizing all types of proper punishments. He could simply snap his neck and the voyeur would never know what hit him, but professional training and childhood memories restrained him.
He had grown up idealistic and fulfilled his father's dreams about his son becoming a judge. According to most people's standards, he would be considered fair by the way he ordered proper punishments to fit the seriousness of various crimes and upheld the ideal of innocent until proven guilty. His father had been proud of him until the day he died, but deep down the Fox resented the constraints forced upon him by "civilized" society: people were too lenient with convicted criminals and too scared to condemn defendants lest they make a mistake. Juries would acquit men he knew were guilty, all kinds of scum--rapists, murderers, extortionists, and drug pushers. He had no choice but to let them go and let the beast of the night be their proper judge, jury...and executioner.
"Your name please," the Fox said in a grim monotone.
The man turned to face the elusive demon of the night. His face froze with mouth and eyes wide open. "Oh, my God! You're that Fox guy I've heard about on the news. Please don't kill me. I didn't mean no harm. I just get these desires I can't control." The man covered his face with his arms and sobbed. "Pleeease, for the love of God, let me go. I'll turn myself into the police. I swear it."
The Fox sighed. "You'd say anything to save your worthless life. You'd get yourself a fancy lawyer and do a plea bargain. The judge would be forced to slap you on the wrist and let you go again, off to terrorize more innocent people."
The man continued to sob and begged for mercy when he could catch a breath. "I...I...swear I will." He looked up at the black figure, tears of fear running down his cheeks. Somewhere, somehow, they penetrated even the deep dark recesses of a heart of stone.
"I will agree to your terms on one condition." The Fox raised his right hand and with a flick of his wrist revealed a bladed glove, poised high above, razor sharp edges threatening to slice through him easier than a hot knife through butter. "Do you like to watch naked people?"
There was no response.
"I asked you a question. Don't make me repeat myself or I'll get angry...you won't like me when I'm angry."
"Yes," came the meek reply.
"Don't you realize it can be very humiliating and demeaning to be ogled?" A moment's pause only.
"What is your name?"
"Well, Mr. Applegate, you will walk to the nearest police station, and--"
“But that's twelve blocks away!" Darcy protested but immediately relented. "Yes, you're right, no problem."
"You will take the well-lit main streets, and once there, you will give a full confession and ask for the fullest punishment according to the law. Understood?"
Darcy Applegate nodded his head.
"Good. Now, stand up and take off your clothes."
"What?" Darcy protested, a little more strongly.
Immediately, the Fox's left hand shot out, wrapped icy cold fingers around Darcy's neck and held him against the side of the house. With seemingly inhuman strength, he lifted Darcy several inches off the ground. His other hand flashed the bladed fingers in front of Darcy's face, moonlight reflecting off the shinny metal. "I do not like my orders being questioned. You will obey my instructions to the letter or I will kill you right here."
Darcy tried to speak but could not; the Fox took it as an affirmative. The blades of the gloved hand pierced Darcy's shirt, and with a swift flick ripped it off his body. With equal ease, he sliced off Darcy's pants and underwear.
"Get walking," he commanded, and the other knew better than to argue. "Remember, I'll know if you disobey me and I'll find you."
Darcy swallowed hard before walking to the end of the block and turning right, which led to a busy street.
Once Darcy was out of sight, the Fox turned to gaze upon the window where the crime had been committed. He peeked through the same slit in the curtains Darcy had been looking through and saw a young woman--perhaps late-twenties, wearing a lacy bra and skimpy panties--sitting on the edge of a bed and shaving her legs with an electric shaver. After a few minutes, a man came into the room wearing a bath towel.
Yes, it was a good thing he had saved this young woman from that sick perpetrator Darcy, who would probably be getting turned on by now.
The man took the shaver out of the woman's hand and started caressing her body. He then [...censored...]. A stiff bulge was rising in the Fox's groin area. It was indeed a good thing he had saved the world from scum like Darcy Applegate. Take them off, take them off, he thought to himself.
"Freeze, Mister," a voice said from behind him. The Fox turned to see a police officer several feet away, pointing a gun at him. His partner was behind him, also pointing a gun. The first police officer grinned. "When we got the call a prowler was on the loose, I never thought we'd catch the infamous Fox."
"No kidding, Charlie," the second officer replied.
"We know you're a real tough guy, Fox," the one named Charlie said. "So don't try anything funny. Just move r-e-a-l slow over to the patrol car where we can see you better."
In the darkness they couldn't see the Fox's right hand reach into his utility belt for a throwing star. "I am not the prowler. I sent him to you nearest station."
"Sure, sure," Charlie replied. "We're supposed to believe a criminal is going to turn himself in just because you asked him to."
"Yes," came the blunt reply.
The first officer stared at the Fox for several seconds, perhaps starting to realize why fear would drive a man to obey such a request. "At any rate, we'll need to take you downtown for questioning. You're wanted for crimes other than this one."
"I've never committed any crimes! I only punish those who deserve it!"
"Like the poor old lady you nearly choked to death?" the second officer said.
"She was being cruel to her dog. I wanted to show her what it felt like to be led around by a choking collar."
Charlie's eyes flared. "She was in the hospital for two days, you inhuman bastard! Everyone leads their dogs on leashes."
The Fox held his head with both hands and swayed back and forth. "They do?"
"You're sick, Fox," Charlie said. "You need help. Anybody who'd put a couple of young kids in the hospital-"
The Fox chuckled. "They were driving recklessly. I wanted to show them what could happen."
"One of the kids lost his right leg in the accident!"
"I guess he won't be driving anymore." The grin behind the mask was faintly visible. "I advise you to turn around and walk away if you want to live."
Charlie swallowed hard and tightened the grip on his gun. The barrel started to shake. "It's not going to be that way. You have to come with us."
"I'm sorry you feel that way officer." The Fox froze and became a statue, picturesque and strangely disarming, lulling the officers into believing him incapable of the speed with which he suddenly ducked and threw his throwing star at Charlie. The small metal weapon gouged deep into the policeman's skull and he fell to the ground. The Fox grabbed his cape and snapped it around in front, folding into the night as easily as a chameleon changing color to evade a predator. The second officer's eyes groped the night, frantically darting over the spot where the dark figure had last stood. A sound like the crack of a whip sliced the air as the officer's barrel spit fire, but the Fox was no longer in the same spot. "Where are you? Where are you?"
The Fox studied them from his vantage point on the roof of the nearest house. He could go down there and kill them both but that was not his desire. The cops were only trying to do their job, as was he. He hadn't thrown the star too hard. If he was lucky, Charlie would probably recover, or he might end up slightly brain damaged. Either way he would be a testimony to the futility of tangling with the Fox.
He grabbed both ends of his cape, leaped off the roof of the house, and glided over to the next roof. His copter was several more houses down. Soon he would be off into the night again to protect more innocent civilians.