Life before the storm Who: Logan What: A day in the life of old man Logan When: Backdated a few weeks Where: The mean streets Warnings: Coarse language, violence
Logan was ready to throw in the towel. He had been for a very long time. But that was the tragedy of old soldiers. Getting to a certain age generally meant that those old survival instincts were so deeply ingrained that he could be three quarters dead and still bounce back and gnaw the foot off of whoever was kicking him when he was down. He felt like he'd reached that 'certain age' about two decades past, but damned if he'd ever learned how to just lay down and die.
He wasn't even begging this afternoon. He was simply sitting his grizzled homeless ass down on some steps downtown, and if he took off his hat, tossed it down, it fell upside down and people kept dropping money in it as they walked by then, well, more fools them. He took a swig from his bottle of rum and promptly hid it in a pocket. Cops got nervous when they saw him drinking, especially those who knew him.
There were virtually no more alleys in Manhattan. Most of the old alleys had been appropriated as loading zones and the like and properly gated. Logan supposed it was safer all around. The criminals had less shadows to hide in, and the idjits couldn't stupidly prance down a dark alley to their deaths so easily any more. But once in a while, someone would forget to lock them damn gates, and New York was full of people making opportunities for themselves. Logan saw the wigger looking guy walk by the open gate three times, eyes all around to see what he could see. On the fourth walk by, the guy pushed the gate open and walked in.
It was late afternoon, and the city in her infinite rhythms was reaching one of its traffic lulls. A girl with a little boy walked by the mouth of the alley as if right on cue, and Logan heard the whimper just before he saw them disappear, dragged into that darkened concrete mouth. Before he knew what he was doing, he was standing up and shoving the money in his pocket before putting his hat on.
"Goddamn sonumbitch," Logan growled under his breath, every muscle and every joint screaming at him to stop being a fool and sit his ass back down. He grabbed his walking stick and went down to the alley. He walked right in, jaw set stubbornly and pretending to be a tad more drunk than he really was.
The man had a knife, and he was snarling at the girl, who was a crying mess. At least her pup had enough sense to keep his damn mouth shut, Logan thought grimly. The crook saw Logan come in, and he grabbed the girl tighter, putting the knife to her throat.
"Get the fuck out, old man! What, y'think you's gonna play hero, nigga? What you at, like a thousand years old, motherfucker?" the man spat, all puffed up and fronting like the big shot he thought he was.
Logan kept right on walking towards the dumpster just beyond the crime in progress. "Fuck off," he barked, playing it off like he was one of those crazy homeless people, when the truth was most homeless people pretended to be crazy for their own safety. "That's my spot!" he went on, his tone whiny and belligerent on purpose. "Y'ain't takin' my spot! Did you eat mah food? That there food's mine, you hear?!"
Logan kept the diatribe running. He could see the child and the girl crying and looking from one man to the other, terrified. He could almost smell their fear. At the same time, he saw the crook come to the realization that Logan just wanted his dumpster and let out a derisive laugh.
"This muthafucka crazy!" he said, returning his attention to the woman when three things happened. First, he managed to say, "Now give me yo damn purse before I cut yer face, bitch!" By then, Logan was close enough to pinch a nerve in the man's arm that made him drop the knife, which was the second. The third thing that happened, happened in two parts. Logan's walking stick smashed down onto the crook's shin, sending blinding pain shooting up his leg and, almost as if it'd bounced back of its own accord, then hit him square in the mouth, breaking several teeth and sending a spray of blood spittle flying as he screamed.
By this time, the commotion brought out a few more men from the surrounding buildings. The grateful woman told them what had happened, and the men quite literally kicked the crap out of the toothless bastard holding his shin on the ground.
"Oh my God, you saved my life, sir! How could I ever repay you!" the girl cried, clinging to her boy as she spoke to Logan. "I'm serious. Is there anything I can do?" she went on earnestly.
Logan took one unimpressed look at her up close, his mouth twisted a little to one side. Once he would have had plenty of ideas of how a moderately pretty girl could make such a thing up to him. Now, it didn't even occur to him. "Y'can do somethin' all right. Next time as y'see an open freakin' alley, yer can cross the damn street!" he growled at her, and started walking away. At the alley mouth, he looked at the stunned woman over his shoulder and caught the little boy smirking into his hand. He grunted. "Or, y'know, if y'all insist, y'can buy me some whiskey," he added finally, and limped off to his next stop. NYU students usually bought him food if he hung around Bleeker street around this time.