original here. dated 2013-10-24.
[A/N: The original post is one of my “untitled” random drabbles so this series wasn’t even fully formed/planned.]
We have a system. Of sorts. We’re not heroes, god no, but we deliver our own brand of justice. It works, in this part of the city–nobody complains, that’s for sure. It goes like this:
We patrol each area in groups of six, though physically split into two sets of three–each side of the street, with some distance added–so we don’t look like a gang. We are, of course, a gang. A fairly big one too. We have to be, to cover the entire territory–more than five block radius–though not every Hoodlum patrols. Some are too young, too small, too skilled, too something else for that. We’re organized enough and there’s enough of us that those of us who do patrol do so in shifts, starting after the sun sets; there’s three in the warmer months, four in the colder and darker.
We keep an eye out for non-Hoodlums, making sure they know the rules to follow–for the most part, it’s pretty civil. The homeless settlement in the western block is pretty self-contained and occasionally useful allies. We ourselves don’t deal or hook, but there are a few who work in our turf who pay security fees. And they get their money’s worth, keeping out or subduing unruly clients. We’ve even begun to make inroads with some of the bars and clubs, an add-on to their bouncers who can’t leave their posts. Though these are fairly steady inflows, they’re not our major source.
The patrols are for safety–the neighborhood may not like us, but they know we keep them safe–but they’re also for hunting. Which is, unfortunately, the best way to put it. For all that we try and for all our success, this area is still a bad part of town and our gang is young–members and history both. There will always be assholes who come here to prey–muggers and murderers and rapists–not knowing there’s already a pack of predators ready to pounce on any intruders.
Last Wednesday, my crew stopped a would-be rapist on the trail of one of our block’s tenants coming home from a late shift. She made it to the building safely, if perhaps slightly shaken, but he didn’t get further than the alley Red team pulled him into. Six on one is ridiculous overkill, which is why in the two minutes it took Blue team to join them he was already down and ready for clean up.
We didn’t kill him. Geez, have a little faith. But we did take pretty much all of his clothing, everything in his pockets, tied him up, wrote RAPIST on as much uncovered skin as we could, then put him in the dumpster. The last three is for neighborhood security–we’re pretty lucky that our prey is usually so solitary and that most of the police called out to take out the trash are ambivalent if not outrightly pleased by our actions. The first is mostly for fun, though our territory’s hobos are pretty well-dressed–we know better than to keep possible evidence on us. The second is the important part.
We’re not just talking wallet contents, we also take phones, house keys, car keys, everything. This is where our money comes from. Not everyone patrols because what happens after we catch the assholes is more important–we call it in, and more Hoodlums are sent to harvest. Cards are maxed out on food and other supplies, cars are located then sold to chop shops, houses and apartments are scoped out then cleaned out–regardless of where in the city they are, which is occasionally dangerous being in another gang’s turf–whatever can be fenced will be fenced, even licenses to the forger on 22nd street.