Bad: A Memoir of Good & Evil
Couldn't Call It Unexpected
Cyn & Tangents
Lead Paint Double Date Set Diaries
Moving to Mars
New Roman Times
Saint Red
Suspension of Disbelief
What Fools


Saint Red: This Year's Model
Chapter 3 - The Beat

By Jordan D. White

Alison grimaced. The police had swept the store and had found no sign of the 'mysterious vigilante' who had stopped the murderer inside the Circuit City. The police questioned her and the others as to what had happened. She lied, of course, saying she had come on her own. No one contradicted her, if any of them had even noticed Red with her. They were released after a very short period and she would not have been nearly so grumpy were it not that Red still had the three thousand dollars in his coat pocket, which meant she could not purchase her computer. She'd have to drive all the way home to pick up a new batch of money if she wanted to get her paper done any time soon. For a moment, she considered just going to the school computer pod to write the damned thing, but for some reason that didn't strike her as being very feasible.

As she climbed into the car, one of the detectives came running her way across the parking lot. He had been flirting with her the entire time he had interviewed her, which had made her incredibly uncomfortable, since she had dated him in high school in a version of reality he seemed to have forgotten. "Hey, wait a second!" he called. "You dropped your glove!"

Alison wouldn't have put it past him to had snatched it out of her pocket if it they hadn't been surrounded by police at the time. He arrived at the open car door and handed her the glove in question. He was wearing a tan trenchcoat over a button-down with a tie and some blue slacks. She thought he was trying to do a sort of George Clooney thing with his hair, which he was almost pulling off. It probably worked at the bars, if she remembered his high school track record correctly.

"Thanks," she said, taking it.

"I was thinking," he said to her with a smile/smirk, "If you remember anything else about this, or… you want to talk about something, you can give me a call."

He produced his card.

"My home number is on the back," he said.

He hadn't changed much. Back in school, he had first approached Alison offering her help on a social studies project.

"Not that I don't appreciate the offer, Tim," she said, "But I'm actually living with someone and I really have to go." She began adjusting the seat forward to her height.

Tim looked a bit befuddled. "How did you know my name was Tim?"

Alison's eyes went blank for a moment. "Your… your friend. The other officer. He called you Tim."

"You have good ears," he said. "I thought you came here alone?"

"I did," she said, fumbling with her keys.

"Then why did you have to adjust the seat when you got into the car?"

Alison's mouth hung open for a moment. "Well, I… sometimes will… stretch out for a moment after driving," she said. She regretted the words as she uttered them.

Tim was looking at her funny. He didn't look like he believed her, but he didn't seem like he was going to arrest her either. He looked as though he was about to speak when he and everything around him suddenly faded from view.

Alison stood in a large room full of couches, chairs, oversized pillows, meditation mats, and beds of all shapes and sizes. For a moment, she thought it must be a furniture store, but then she noticed all the people around her. A large number of them were about, on the mats, beds, and such, in various states of removal from reality. Were it not for the clean-cut nature of the dress and décor, Alison might have guessed it was some sort of opium den.

Suddenly, she realized that everyone close enough to consciousness to be aware of their surroundings was staring at her. Scratch that, they were staring at her and the angry woman in front of her.

When Alison looked at the woman, the only part she could focus on was her finger. It was thrust angrily in Alison's direction.

"You don't own him," the woman said shrilly.

The lights seemed to dim in the room until Alison realized the room itself was dimming, giving way to a much darker room full of boxes. The only light came from around the edges of a door ahead of her. She heard voices from within.

"This is it," said one.

"Commencing test 9C," said another.

She heard a faint click and then a pounding sound began, like being outside a Plexiglas window with someone inside hitting it to get your attention. The pounding seemed to be at a measured pace, but still seemed somewhat erratic.

Alison's head began to throb along with the pounding rhythm. She clenched her eyes shut until she could see little fireworks bursting inside her eyelids. When she opened them, everything remained black for a split second, before dissolving into a paramedic's face. He was crouched over her, while Tim stood nearby.

"Miss Ames," Tim said, "Are you ok?"

"Yeah… I'm… I'm fine," she said. "I'm sorry, it's nothing. I'm ok."

"Does this happen to you often?" asked the paramedic.

"No, I just fainted," she said. "This was a lot of excitement."

"It seemed almost like a seizure of some sort," said Tim. "Your eyes weren't even closed, just unfocussed."

"You don't have a history of epilepsy?" asked the paramedic.

"No, no," said Alison, "Nothing like that. I just need to go. I need to get home. Please, just let me go."

The medic looked to Tim, who nodded. "You can go, Miss Ames," Tim said. "Just give me a call if you think of anything else you need to tell me."

"Thank you," Alison said, getting up off the ground. She had been lying right next to the car, so she couldn't have been out very long, likely just enough for Tim to call over a medic and the two of them to get her out of the vehicle. She hopped back into the car and started it up. Tim waved as she drove away.

Alison knew well enough what had happened. It was another vision. Sometimes they were simple little flashes of inspiration, other times, like this one, they actually put her out of commission for the duration of the vision. This was the most severe one she had had in a long time. Most of her recent visions had been much simpler in nature, barely worth mentioning.

At first, it was exactly this unimportant nature of them that made her not mention them to Red. So a vision stopped her from picking "B" on a multiple-choice question, who cares? It was more likely that she just forgot about it than that she deliberately withheld the information. The only problem with that justification was when they began to be visions of other people, people she did not know. Why is it so important that this woman misses her flight? Why does it matter that a customs officer is being bribed to let electronics into the US? Why is one more closing homeless shelter all that important? These are the kinds of questions she imagined a wealthy organization like DI&R had the time and money to figure out. Alison had her own life to worry about.

She'd already been robbed of one life by these things; she wasn't going to lose another. She hadn't told Red because she didn't want to give up on having that normal life. Sure, he said he was happy to be done with it all but she was worried. Look what happened tonight. Granted, it's good that he helped- God only knows how many more people might have been killed if he hadn't. But still. If he really was happy to be done with it, he didn't need to know about the visions. And either way, like Argento had said, DI&R can handle it. They have people to take care of it. This… whatever her name was. Chelsea.

When she got home she went to get the suitcase out of the closet for more money to buy that new computer, but then changed her mind. She thought a deadly hostage situation was probably worth an extension.


Red got into the back of the Outback slightly befuddled. "How did you know I would be here?"

Chelsea scoffed and floored the gas, whipping them out of the lot before Red even had his belt on. His heels were quickly over his head.

"What the hell are you doing?" Red ejected, more afraid for his life than angry.

"The police will be looking for you," she said flatly. "I assume you don't want to give a statement."

"You could have waited for me to buckle up, at least."

"Yeah? Why, because we're such good friends? Professional courtesy? You are something of a fugitive, remember? I'm thinking getting shaken up a bit is the least of your worries right now."

Red was finally able to right himself and fully take the scarf from around his head. "You're going to turn me in?"

"Chelsea, I assure you that's not necessary," said Argento. "I've assessed the situation and Red is not a threat to DI&R. I've been keeping a close eye on him."

"Don't think you can sweet-talk your way out of this one, my friend," Chelsea said. "I doubt anyone will be very pleased to hear that you've been sitting on this information all this time."

"You can't do this!" said Red.

"I can and will," said Chelsea. "I am a Saint. I was hand chosen by God to do His work. I have a responsibility to Our Lord to tend His flock. As do you, but you selfishly sit by and let the Garden of God's work grow to seed. I will not let you squander this gift."

"You're mixing a few too many metaphors for my tastes, thanks. Are we shepherds or landscapers?"

"Even as a Saint, you were selfish. Wasting your time with romance, friends. God's soldiers need focus. We have a calling, there is no room for your own wants, the needs of the Lord outweigh any possible desires of humanity."

"You know," said Red, "When you said you were turning us in, I thought you were a stick-in-the-mud. Only now do I realize that you're actually a Psycho-Bitch!"

"The Lord speaks to me, Red," she said, annoyance taking over her voice. "I don't expect you understand. You had to rely on your stupid girlfriend for that. Things began right under your nose and I'm the one who has to come and deal with it."

"Well, great job," said Red, "You showed up afterwards to pick me up. Well done."

"That?" said Chelsea. "That was nothing. One ridiculous madman. I have much bigger things to worry about. Death and destruction on a much more massive scale than your simple electronics store maniac could dream up. It has already begun, and still you know nothing."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"Tell him," she said, glancing to Argento.

"Earlier today," Argento said, looking over his shoulder at Red, "A group of boys went into the computer pod at the University and torched the place. Chelsea was on hand to make sure no one was hurt and apprehend the perpetrators."

Chelsea laughed. "Interesting phraseology. Apprehend. I probably would have said eradicate."

"What?" said Argento.

"I destroyed them. Those that go not with God go against Him. I am a weapon for God to wield, striking down his enemies swiftly and permanently."

"You killed them?" Argento squeaked.

"They were nothing. They would have killed all those present had I not been there. They deserved to die."

"I'm thinking emphasis on the 'Psycho' part of 'Psycho-Bitch'," said Red.

"Chelsea," Argento said, "They didn't need to die! From all the information we know, this was not their idea. Did you at least get any information out of them?"

"They had nothing to tell me," she replied. "Those so easily swayed by the ways of evil are better disposed of. They will never truly come to God."

"That's insane!" said Red, "You can't just go around killing people, you know?"

"Red…" said Argento.

"You think that because it's in the name of God you can just murder people in cold blood? I mean sure, saving people is good, but you don't need to kill. You're going to turn us is? Go ahead, we'll turn you in. See what the higher-ups think of you killing a bunch of suspects."

"Red," Argento said, "That's not the issue…"

"You think they don't know?" said Chelsea, pulling into the Holiday Inn. "They know exactly what I am here for. I am the burning sword of God's vengeance. The Highers knew exactly what they were getting in me. I am invaluable to them. I guess you're not, since they only bothered to send this dunce after you. Still, once you’re rechristened you could probably handle small things. Helping nuns across the street and whatnot."

By this time, they had parked. Red opened the door. "I'm not going to let you turn us in," he said.

"You can't stop me," Chelsea replied. "DI&R will take you back, it is God's will."

"DI&R can kiss my ass. And if God has any sense he thinks you're a Psycho-Bitch, too. Argento, give me a ride home?"

"You'll go nowhere but inside. We’ve got a roll of duct tape I'd like to introduce you to."

"I'm so over the duct tape bondage scene, but it was sure nice to meet you."

Red turned back towards the Outback to walk to the other side. He heard the familiar sort of 'shlink' of a sword being drawn. He acted pretty much on instinct. To be honest, if he had thought about it beforehand, he probably would have assumed it wouldn't work.

He spun on his heels, drawing his sword as he did so. Chelsea was leaping towards him, her sword overhead. As she swung it down at him, he brought his up and the two came together with a mighty clang. It was a sound Red had never heard before in conjunction with his sword- this was the first time he had ever seen the blade actually touch anything without either slicing it to bits or passing clean through him/her.

"Huh," he stated.

At this point a swordfight seemed somewhat inevitable, so one began.

Red found he was better at it when he wasn't planning his moves, so he let his blessings do the fighting while his mind was free to ponder the situation. Having a swordfight seemed like such a strange thing to be doing in this modern age. He couldn't help but feel like he was playing at Star Wars, or something.

Chelsea was quite good at it. While they were fighting Red noticed for the first time that she was soaking wet. Even so, wearing a wet T-shirt and jeans in the October air, she was still holding her own, displaying an incredible amount of focus. The cold air taking effect on Chelsea's anatomy, however, distracted Red for a moment. Chelsea's blade whipped through Red's side, leaving a gash cut into his shirt and coat. From his now severed coat pocket spilled three thousand dollars in cash.

Chelsea watched as bills fluttered about her feet. She looked to Argento. She looked at Red. "The money? The money you spread all over Rockefeller Center?"

Red smiled and thrust with his sword. Chelsea swung her own up to deflect the blow.

"We thought you had lost it all!" she said.

"Who am I to argue with God's accountants?" said Red.

"How much do you have?" she asked, lunging towards him.

"What's the difference?" asked Red.

"How much?"


This fight was getting them nowhere. Red let Chelsea's next thrust go right into his chest. While she was off balance, he swung for her feet and cut the front half of her boots off. He then placed his left hand over her stunned face and shoved her backwards. She stumbled to find her footing on her uneven footwear and toppled on to the ground, her sword embedding itself into the parking lot tar.

"Bastard!" she spat and pulled out her gun.

"This is stupid," Red said. "Why are we fighting? That things not going to hurt me either. You know how these things work."

"Red-" said Argento.

"All you'll do is puncture a dozen things behind me. Put that thing away."

Chelsea was clearly furious. She was gritting her teeth with reckless abandon and her eyes were squinted vehemently. Red might have thought she was about to cry if he didn't know any better. Her thumb moved and the gun in her hands clicked.

Argento slammed into Red's side, knocking him to the ground as Chelsea fired. Her bullet shattered both the driver's and passenger's side windows of Argento's Outback before cracking a branch off a nearby tree.

Red furrowed his brow. "But that tree was alive…" he said.

"Red," said Argento, "Chelsea's primary function is in Retributions, not Interventions!"

"Jesus," Red said, leaping to his feet, "Why didn't you tell me?!" Red held his sword in his left hand and pulled his own gun, still silenced, with his right. He stood at ready facing Chelsea. "What do you want from me, huh?" he asked her. "What is this about?"

Chelsea just stared at him for a moment, unmoving. Then she holstered her gun.

"Forget it, then," she said. "Get out of here." She picked her sword up from where it lay in the pavement, turned around, and walked towards the hotel.

"That’s it?" Red said.

"Go," she said.

"You can't do that!" Red said, jogging up to her. "You can't just try to kill me and then say 'Forget it!'"

Chelsea narrowed her eyes but would not look at Red. "You're the renegade, remember? If I call for backup, I'll get any and all the help I need to take you down. Fortunately for you, I don't feel like having the Highers breathing down my neck before I've even really begun here. I work alone. You have until I finish my business here, then I am exposing you. Do with that time what you will."

"I'm not afraid of you, you psycho!" Red said.

"Argento," she called over her shoulder, "I'll meet you at the Marriott across town. Try not to get caught by the police."

"Thank you-" Argento began, but stopped speaking when Red shot him an angry glare.

"Tell your bosses to commit ritual suicide for me, ok?" Red called after her. "And feel free to join the party. And say 'Hi,' to God when you meet Him! If he asks about me tell him I've been well!" Chelsea was out of sight. Red turned back to Argento. "And you wonder why I don't trust you?" He walked to the Outback.

"Red, she… she's doing the right thing," Argento said. "She was chosen. And she saved quite a few lives today."

"And took a few."

The two of them got in the vehicle, brushing the little squares of glass off the seats before sitting. Argento started the car. "It's not for you or I to judge. The Highers have signed off on her methods and if God didn't approve-"

"You know what? I have been pretty damned happy the last few months without God sticking his nose in my business. I think I'd like to keep it that way."

"Fine," said Argento.

They drove in silence for a few moments.

Finally, Argento spoke again. "Well, you have a week or so, at any rate."

"What are you talking about?" said Red.

"A few days, at least. Until she reports back to DI&R. From what I've read of her, she really would prefer to have you go free than to call one more set of authoritative eyes down on her."

"You don't think… You don't think I'm going to run, do you?"

Argento blinked and glanced over at Red while he drove. "Of course. Aren't you?"

"I made this life myself," Red said. "I'm not giving it up for this nonsense. Not again. This one is all mine."

"Red, they'll come for you."

"I've stopped them before."

Argento shook his head.

"Hey," said Red, "If it was 'God's will' that I be caught, they would have had me by now, right? Besides, I'm not the only one they'll be coming for. What are you going to do?"

"I'll do… whatever they decide for me to do. I did go against orders and I will take the punishment I'm given. But, Red, you can't stop them again. They're not going to let that even be a possibility. You humiliated Hayden. He's going to hold a grudge."

"Yeah, yeah, thanks," said Red with a wave of his hand.

"You really won't run?"

"I'll tell you what I'm going to do- I'm going to go home, see the woman I love, get some rest, get up, and go to work tomorrow morning. Then the next day, I'll do the same thing. Repeat as necessary."

"That stupid phone job?" Argento asked.

"Yes, that stupid phone job," said Red. "It's easy and it serves its purpose."

"Which is?"

"It’s a job I can do while still… having time to enjoy my life."

Argento laughed a little. "And that's good?"

"Yes," said Red.

"Fulfilling? You feel good about it?"

"I feel fine."

"Well…" said Argento, "That's good."

"What are you going on about?"

"Red… she's right about one thing- you do have a gift. You have been blessed. Now, I don't blame you for not liking DI&R, but… to just do nothing with this gift… it seems a bit of a waste."

"Yeah, well, thanks for the advise, Frank," said Red. "Here's my stop."

The car pulled to the side of the road in front of Red and Alison's building. Red got out of the car.

"Give it some thought," Argento called through the broken window as Red began to ascend the stairs to the front door.

"Whatever," said Red. "Now, if you don't mind. I have to get to bed. I have to be up early for work tomorrow."

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