This morning, I woke up at 5 am for no particular reason. It just happened. I was pretty miffed at this for a while, but then I had an idea for a film noir story, in which 5 AM is a character. This is that story.
Consider this your warning: my mind goes a bit funny sometimes.
Zoot Suit Riot
It`s going to be a gloomy day, I can already tell. Same as always. The streets are foggy. You can almost see the separate drops hanging in the air. The fog`s condensing on my hat. Damn fog, ruinin` my clothes and my sight and everything.
I`m on my way to a warehouse just outside of town, after I got an anonymous tip about 5 AM holing out there. Good thing it was anonymous – we`d be obligated to give a bonus otherwise, and we don`t have the money for that at the office. We haven`t had the money ever since this new superhero arrived, taking all of our cases, rounding up our bad guys. The idiots at city government decided this nutcase was doing a much better job and took away our fundings, since we don`t need them anymore. Or so they think. Like I said: idiots.
The car stops, the wheels grinding on the pebbles, headlights staring out into the drizzle the fog has turned into. This just keeps getting better. I grumble. My partner in law enforcement just nods. He`s never been one for talkin` much. None of us are. Comes with the territory. Talk too much and you`re in trouble.
I get out of the car, slamming the door behind me. My partner stays in the car, in case I need a quick leave. I don`t like how we have to operate like them damn criminals, but the government ain`t giving us no choice.
I make my way towards the warehouse, the drizzle slowly drenching my trenchcoat and my shoes. It`s okay. They`re never dry nowadays, what with all the damn rain. I`m used to it. No use complainin` anyway.
It`s eerily quiet inside the warehouse. The only sound I can hear is the rain dripping through some of the gaps in the ceiling. Even inside you`re never dry.
No use lingering on that though. There`s work to be done. According to our anonymous tip, 5 AM should be in here somewhere. But it really is awfully quiet and dark in here, and I ain`t liking this one bit.
I continue anyway, though I`m starting to wonder if this 5 AM bloke is even real. There`s been rumours, sure. Sightings even. It reminds me a whole lot of that Sasquatch thing people keep talking `bout. But them criminals sure like to blame 5 AM for everything, makin` him out to be the top guy `round these parts here. But aside from them, no one has ever seen or heard from this guy.
Of course there`s the folks who claim there`s nothin` before 10 AM. I`m starting to believe they might be having the right idea. I`d love for there to be nothing before 10 AM. Would make my life so much better and easier. But I`m in the wrong city for that kind of lifestyle. Wrong job, too.
There`s a sound to my right. A shadow moving. I cock my gun, just in case. I can see from my own shadow that my shoulders are hunched over. My back will hurt tonight. If I even make it to tonight, that is. That`s never a given, not in this city at least.
I continue walking on slowly. Every now and then there`s a glimpse of a shadow moving. It may just be my eyes playing tricks on me, I don`t know. It could be something else entirely too. Around these parts, you never know what will hit ya.
There! Right ahead of me. The bastard`s right there, probably thinking I can`t see him. He`s definitely real. Good. Means I got somethin` to shoot my guns empty at.
I aim. Shoot once. Twice.
No hit. Damn it. No use wasting bullets though. Better safe `em for later when I have his body here in front of me, so I can know for sure he`s dead alright.
I hear laughter, though I can`t place where it`s coming from. It seems like it`s coming from everywhere around me.
“You can`t beat me, you know.” His voice is high pitched. I still can`t place where the sound is coming from, and it`s really starting to piss me off. This jackass better show up soon. I want this over and done with so I can move on.
“No really. You can`t.” The voice sounds serious now. It came from my left. “You can try, but you`ll never catch me. You haven`t the guts, the skills, to catch someone like me.”
“You sure `bout that?” This guy is getting me real angry now. I`m still looking everywhere around me, but I don`t see nothing move anymore.
“Oh look, back up`s here.” 5 AM says. Through the holes in the roof I can see the sky turning a very slight blue-ish instead of the pitch black it was before. 5 AM has always been the darkest of them all. Right in line with the “it`s darkest right before dawn” thing. I hate themes like that. Much too superhero-supervillain like. Though I guess this would make me the superhero.
Before I can really contemplate that thought, the roof bursts open. I get covered in dust and water. Great. Suppose I`m lucky I didn`t get hit in the head with a piece of iron though. Then again, depends on your definition of lucky.
When the dust clears up, our resident superhero is standing in front of me, looking all high and mighty and sure of himself, his cape fluttering in – in what, exactly? We`re in a building, and there`s barely any wind outside anyway. Even the rain is falling straight down now. I grow even more annoyed. Pompous bastards, the lot of them. All them superheroes are the same. I`ve heard stories from other towns, and they`re all the same.
After that, everything happens real fast. All I can do is stand on the side, my arms crossed, and wait for the fight to be over. The spotlight stolen from me again. Goddamn superheroes.
When the fight`s done (the great superhero let 5 AM escape. All that work for nothing. Thanks a bunch), the superhero takes off, his arm outstretched in front of him. He seems pleased with himself. He looks pretty darn stupid if you ask me. No one does.
I try to wipe the dust off my coat, give up, and slick my hair back instead. I then trudge my way outside through the rain, back to the car. My partner is looking at me questioningly when I get in.
“I need coffee.” I grunt at him. He nods. We ride off into the foggy sunrise, with yet another case still unsolved.
We`ll meet again, 5 AM. One day I`ll get you. I swear to god, one day we`ll find you, and I`ll be the one to take you in. But not today.