(from GOOD SAMARITAN, by Anthony Trevino)

 

Erik’s heart pounded. This was it. After all the years of trying to break up bar fights and showing up at schools to explain the importance of safety to disinterested teens, he felt like his time had come.

            Erik pulled the red cloth down over his face. It wasn’t the most intimidating of masks, but it marked the full transformation from Erik Gonzalez to Captain Fists.

            As they approached the vehicle, Erik slid the pipe covered in black tape from a makeshift sheath on his belt. He thought of the news report that was sure to follow: LOCAL SUPERHERO BRINGS DRUNK DRIVER TO JUSTICE. After that there’d be interviews; KPBS, KUSI, and NBC would all want to hear from him—it’d be the start of the validation he knew he deserved. 

            Erik yanked the passenger door open, tried not to vomit from the smell. A man was slouched over the wheel in the driver’s seat, mumbling to himself.

            “Sir, are you okay?” Erik asked in his most authoritative voice. “Is there anyone else in the car with you?”

            The shape groaned, slid out of the vehicle.

            Sammy tried to steady him. “Hey, man, you shouldn’t move. You’ve been in an accident.” 

            “What were you thinking, driving around like that?” Erik came around the SUV with all the bad cop swagger he could muster. “You could have killed someone.”

            The man opened the back driver’s side door, reached inside, and started dragging out something heavy.

            Erik saw the pink toenails first, froze in place.

            Then, as if he’d suddenly decided he had a better idea, the man walked back to the driver’s seat and began laying on the horn. “I have what you wanted to you son of a bitch! I’m not coming back in there! You want her? You fucking come out here and get her!”

            Honk! Honk! Hoooooonnnkk!

            Erik couldn’t take his eyes off the legs dangling from inside the car. He wasn’t equipped or prepared for this.