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Bear Of Con City - Excerpt Two

The late morning sun shone down on happy motorists in Downtown Greenwell. They had every reason to be happy, since the morning traffic had died down and they could now easily go about their chores without constantly leaning over their horns. The pedestrians, on the other hand, were anything but happy. Traffic on the sidewalk was growing denser with each passing minute.

Despite this fact, or perhaps because of it, a fast moving cyclist raced along the sidewalk on Baker Avenue rather than using the broad cycle lane. Pedestrians moved out of his way with practiced precision and hurled creative insults at him, while he just smiled with the confidence of a man who knew the pedestrians would neither catch him nor risk breaking their own bones by standing in his way.

His smile vanished when, maybe ten yards away from the corner, he ran into a clothesline that stretched from a lamp post to the wall, where it was nailed in place. The cyclist only saw it when he was mere inches from the rope, which promptly unseated him and sent him tumbling down to the pavement.

The bicycle kept moving for a couple of yards before it fell over and came to a halt. The cyclist landed on his back and gaped like a fish out of water. The people on the sidewalk stopped and gathered around him. No one offered a helping hand, and when one of them burst out in laughter, the entire crowd joined in.

Only one man did not laugh, the man who had been watching the cyclist's approach from the other side of the street. The reason he was not laughing was that he had a lit cigarette between his lips, and he did not want it to fall. Besides, he did not feel the need to gloat. He knew the cyclist would be too stupid to notice the clothesline. He patted himself on the back in his mind for laying such a fine trap, then proceeded to cross the street.

The pedestrian light at the crossing was red, yet the oncoming vehicles slowed down and allowed him to cross without even honking their horns. He was very happy that the drivers in Greenwell gave him the proper respect he deserved, albeit his attire might have had something to do with that. He was dressed in a black paramilitary outfit complete with a tactical vest lined with countless pockets. He openly carried two semiautomatic pistols in holsters, one at each hip, and held a large knife in his right hand. He imagined he must have looked pretty badass like that in the middle of the road in broad daylight.

He made it across the street without any trouble and headed towards the fallen cyclist. He walked up to the lamp post and cut the clothesline down, then walked towards the wall to cut off its other end. He rolled up the rope into a bundle and stuffed it into one of his vest pockets, then he stowed the knife and walked into the crowd.

`Make way,' he said, as he pushed himself through the mass of people. Within the circle of pedestrians, he found a ten year old boy standing next to the fallen cyclist with his hands on the zipper of his jeans. The cyclist lay in a yellow puddle, and continued struggling to breathe.

He smirked at the sight and walked up to the pair. He shooed the boy off and stepped beside the cyclist, taking care not to step into the puddle.

`Hi,' he said. `I'm Gabe London. The Gabe London. How are you doing down there?'

The cyclist stared up at Gabe and remained silent. Gabe was not sure whether it was because of the fall, or because of being overwhelmed by his presence. He reached out a hand to the cyclist.

`Come on, kid. Fun's fun but it's time you got back up now.'

The cyclist slowly reached up and grabbed Gabe's hand. Gabe pulled him up and immediately slapped a handcuff on his right wrist.

`What...' the cyclist began. `What is this? Am I under arrest?'

Gabe chuckled and looked the cyclist up and down. Medium height, moderately athletic, twenty years old or so. Could have been a student at Greenwell University. For a student, he was none too bright.

`Kid, do I look like I work for the police?' Gabe said.

Before the cyclist could inquire further, Gabe grabbed his other hand and slapped the other half of the handcuffs on him, then proceeded to lead him down the street. The cyclist was hardly in a shape to resist. As Gabe led him away, he received a raucous applause from the pedestrians.

`Finally, someone did the right thing,' an old man yelled.

`Justice! Justice for pedestrians!' a woman shouted.

`You teach that son of a bitch!' the boy who had pissed on the cyclist added.

`Bastard broke my wife's leg last week,' a man said. `Fuck him up real good!'

Gabe glanced back at the cyclist. All the color had drained from his face, and Gabe guessed it was not because of the fall.

`Relax,' Gabe told him. `They're not gonna lynch you while I'm here. No one fucks with The Gabe London.'

`Where... where are you taking me?' the cyclist asked.

`To meet my employer,' Gabe said. He led the cyclist to the corner, where he had left his motorcycle. The black Runamok Arrow stood like an obsidian monument on the sidewalk. On the luggage rack behind the seat rested the helmet Gabe never used, and just behind that was a tow chain wrapped around the bars of the luggage rack. Gabe led the cyclist to the back of the Arrow.

The cyclist blinked and opened his lips. `You're... taking me on that? There's not enough space for two people.'

`I know,' Gabe said. He patted the cyclist on the cheek, then unwrapped the tow chain from the luggage rack and attached it to the handcuffs.

The cyclist went so pale Gabe thought he could have passed for a snowman. `No... You can't be serious about this.'

`Look at the bright side. At least I didn't break your bicycle.'

Loud crashing sounds followed his statement. The cyclist turned around to witness an old man beating on his bicycle with a cane, and the young boy who had pissed on him stomping on it. His shoulders slumped, and the sight held his attention. By the time he looked away, Gabe had already mounted his motorcycle.

`You... you can't expect me to keep up with an Arrow,' he said.

Gabe threw his cigarette away and revved the engine. `Who said anything about you walking?'

With that, Gabe London turned away from the despaired cyclist and tore away. He felt a bit of resistance as the tow chain pulled his cargo off his feet, but then the Arrow gained speed and lived up to its reputation as one of the fastest motorcycles ever designed. Gabe heard sounds of cheering behind him, but they quickly vanished in the distance. He also heard some painful groans, but the engine of the Arrow drowned them out remarkably well.

Gabe smiled and ran a red light, just barely dodging a bus in the process. Drivers honked behind him like they were jealous of his speed. He decided to show off even more and accelerated to maximum velocity, well past the Downtown speed limit. He knew the police would leave him be as long as he didn't cause any accidents, and he would never do that. The Gabe London was a precise motorcyclist who could have won any race at the Crash-o-ring back in the day, if he could be bothered to enter. But, of course, he was more adventurous than to commit to a motor sport, when he could instead travel the world as a mercenary, see wonders, shoot people, and blow shit up. He smiled at the thought.

He decided it was time to make the journey a little more exciting. He made a sharp left and rode into an alley. He dodged a garbage container and a beggar who sat beside a cardboard box, then rode straight towards a garbage can. He turned just enough to avoid it, then heard his cargo knock the can over. Gabe thought he could still hear some painful groaning. He wished he could go even faster.

He rode out of the alley and turned left, proceeded down the street and made a sharp right, once more running a red light. Two blocks down the street he saw a clothing store. Fancy, expensive designer suits were on display. Gabe hated those things. Without a second thought, he rode straight towards the store. He braked and turned the Arrow sideways, slid along the concrete, and came to a halt a few yards from the shop window. His unwilling cargo all but flew past him and landed in the display window, shattering the glass to tiny pieces.

Gabe had a passing look at the cyclist. He was badly bruised and his face was a bloody mess, but he was clearly breathing. Satisfied, Gabe revved the motorcycle and dragged him out of the shop window.


For more, please proceed to the novel Bear Of Con City.