A lightshow there at the intersection of the Phlegm and Chicken; those weren’t real names of streets. “Chicon” was the latter. The former was really Greek, pronounced dubiously by kids and tourists, properly by native folks, and not at all by the street’s champions and survivors who knew its slimy nitty-gritty for what it was, intimately and affectionately. These snotty faithful lived and camped in an opiatic tranquility most times. Not always. Now they – a mass of them, four dozen – lay sprawled on cement, bruised and black-eyed and broken-boned; or their victors, who spat and struggled ferociously with their arms pinned behind them now. Several of them howled and whooped with glee, even in custody.
A girl watched them, squatted with her arms on her knees, smoking an L&M. She’d yelled obscenities at the cops when they arrived, then pranced away before they snatched her, returned and set herself apart from the hooligans with a voyeuristic passersby’s air.
All of ‘em always kept Zora at arm’s length. Didn’t put up with her sociopathy anymore. She’d’ve had to poke her nose to’ve known what was coming, and she held her head too high for that. Still, lacking all context, she’d almost joined in the brawl just for the hell of it. She was inexplicably arthritic for twenty, though, and withdrawn from her scripts. Broke. She’d cheered on instead, partial only to adrenaline.
She knew all their faces, especially the rascals celebrating with hands tied. There was sprite, weaselly Jerm, looking intense in the way he did only rarely but formidably (and handsomely); Sage, buoyant with blood on his knuckles; smirking Nox Lavin, brawny but otherwise the emblematic goth scenester; Dallas Day and Ginny Selman, trainhoppers effectively adjoined at the hip; Metal Marley, strong-jawed and artemisian. Zora observed also older Phlegm residents being manacled: the grizzled Undertaker, Mike-on-the-Bike, Rhun the Wizard, among others.
Zora dragged herself to her feet, inspired to opportunity. She walked up barefoot, passed beside a cop, and stepped over Fender ‘Byleth’ Cullen.
Mike-on-the-Bike watched her rummage through his stash.
“Hey! Hey what’re ya doing? Hey! She’s stealing my shit! Hey fuck you! Officer, bitch is stealing my shit!” He was just Mike-in-cuffs now. The cop smacked him and Mike dropped to his knees.
“’Member when you lifted my friend’s phone?” Zora teased. She held up three smart phones she’d retrieved from Mike’s pile. “He was talking to his brother and you run up and took off with his phone. Look! Karma, bitch.”
“Fuck you talkin’ bout?” Mike growled. “Hey, think hard ‘bout what you doin’, I know your face. Think it through bitch.”
“Ma’am, get out of here, now!” the cop restraining Mike shouted. He whistled at his partner and pointed at Zora.
Zora fled, laughing, with Mike’s whole trove in her arms.