Of all of the names in all of the police files there was one that stood out to me while going through the near endless stacks relating to 'Simon.'
Officer Blitewater had popped up time and time again while I was rummaging through the stacks in the back of the police station, but one thing about his reports, more so than any other office who covered as many scenes, was the lack of extraneous information provided. Time and time again I found that only the who what and where were given in the reports, which I understand is the very nature of such a report but understand that with Simon being the vigilante celebrity that he was most officers took it upon themselves to practice their crime drama skills hoping they’d see their words on TV.
Blitewater, who introduced himself as Blits, seemed to write very little in his reports yet still managed to have an air of admiration. I knew there was something that these pages weren’t saying so I felt I had to meet the man. Blits seemed rather jovial on the phone, his voice was audible equivalent to a ham wrapped in a burlap sack, and his appearance wasn’t much different. He met me at his favorite bagel shop in his Southside neighborhood. After treating him to lox on a toasted ‘Everything’ with capers we made our way back to his place. He didn’t want to bring any of his ‘personal reports’ as he didn’t trust that he’d remember to take it when he transitions from one place to the next. The reports were half official entries and half personal journal so they'd be a hell of a thing to leave at a bookstore or bar stool.
“No matter how bad the streets may look, how crime ridden they are or filthy and disgusting they appear when you walk down the block to go fetch the week’s milk know this: it’s far worse than you can imagine,“ Bltis said as he loosened his belt and flopped an encyclopedia’s worth of paperwork that he took with him when he retired almost a decade ago.
“That’s why Simon was ever in the city. People have been arguing for decades since he started and no one’s sure if he’s helped or hurt the cause. For all of those people he’s saved though I bet you that each and everyone of them is grateful he’s around, though there’s fewer and fewer his old body could in the end.”
Blits' eyes went to the report and began to get lost searching for the incident I had come to ask about.
“So Simon is his real name?” I asked.
“He’s been called a lot of names," he replied. “In the 70’s, when he first came on the scene, he was called Stalker by the news. He was the dark figure lurking around every corner looking to inflict as much punishment onto villains and thugs as possible.” His voice was theatrical and he was holding his arm in front of his face at the elbow to mimic a cowl and cape.
Blits chuckled again and kept thumbing through the papers while I studied his kitchen with my eyes. Steam rose up from our cups and faded into the pastel lime green ceiling that was stained smoky. I hadn’t smelt anything resembling cigars or cigarettes so he must’ve quit some time ago.
“You’re talking in a peculiar way, like you knew his motivations. Did you ever get a chance to speak with him when you were on patrol?” I asked.
He came to rest on a page. “I never got to meet him, wish I did though," he said. “I grew up reading the newspapers and listening to the radio shows based on him. I even had a doll of his though I don’t think it’s what he actually looked like. But you know, toy companies, they’ll always add guns and cool stuff like that.”
“So how did you know, like that he was actually in it for a good reason rather than the limelight or some weird urge to punch people?”
“I don’t,” he said. “But we had psychologists and profilers working around the clock trying to figure this dude out.” He took another sip of his coffee before putting on his reading glasses and fingering for a specific line on the page in front of him. “Don’t think you’re the first person to ever come to me about this.”
“It’s for my own curiosity,” I replied.
“Of course it is,” he said.
He hands me one of these psych evaluations along with a brief history of his persona and whom they think he was throughout the years.
It reads (and I greatly paraphrase):
At first, for the person currently known as ‘Simon,’ his vigilantism could be considered an obligation or duty in the face of the city’s worst periods of crime and upheaval. This could be the result of a great personal loss at the hands of the crime wave but considering his apparent skill in guerilla warfare and hand to hand combat it can only be assumed that Simon also served time in the military. If the commonly accepted timelines are to be believed than it can be assumed he served in Vietnam also.
As the decades rolled on the 'celebrity' went to his head and he grew to like the attention. Across the city families would be watching the late night news and see his handy work every day much like Blits and his colleagues. He must have liked the thought of that. After a decade or so he became more theatrical, taking on the moniker of ‘Judgment.’ It was the first time he had labeled himself. In the ‘Stalker’ era of his career he’d prefer that the public were unaware of his existence, but as ‘Judgment’ he left calling cards, spray painted lady justice on walls… he really took his marketing to a new level. That’s when you could say the public turned on him. He went from mysterious vigilante to egomaniac and people were getting enough big personalities from MTV and Regan’s America.
I looked at Blitz and asked, “Judgement?”
He was still thumbing through his papers, now at the back of the folders. “Yeah,” he said. “That was our favorite part; made us believe that we had a bonafied crime fighter or something. That’s when I grew out of dolls and like the results most.”
He went back to reading his folder so I returned to the evaluation:
The 90’s are when Simon began to slow down. He’d been at it for a quarter of a century and all those late nights, broken bones, damaged nerves were taking their toll. Some nights he wouldn’t even don a mask, instead he’d walk out the door and into the darkness dressed like the card carrying AARP member that he now was. His days of going to the worst neighborhoods and slums were even behind him. He fancied himself a detective now, taking on bigger crimes like kidnappings, murders, rape or corruption. In the grander sense of things this was when he made his biggest impact.
“What part are you at?”
I looked up and saw that he was sipping his coffee waiting for me to finish.
“I just got into the Stalker years. The 90’s.”
“Oh, the 90’s!” he started to glow. “That is my favorite I love the idea of this everyman walking the streets and doing real detective work. I mean I also like that he started to actually include us on these damn stings.“
I had read enough for now. I wanted to hear what he had to say.
He looked straight through me and said, “I think, like a lot of us, he got lost in all these new fads, these new technologies and trends. Cocaine’s chain of distribution is a tree; you can cut that down if you go to the root. But Meth? That’s a weed, like dandelions in a meadow. If you pick one up then great, you’ve shut down one lab, but guess what. Their neighbor’s got a lab too, and their neighbor, and the kids down the street and so on and so forth. There’s no way to take that out in one swoop short of napalming the whole neighborhood...
"He was too physically weak to take on the city’s micro problems and eventually too behind the times to make a dent in the macro."
I asked, “That’s when he started to slow down?”
“Yeah, Simon stopped making his big busts around 1999.”
I thought to myself that it must have been pretty frustrating towards the end. Last report we’ve got is both the lone murder and use of a firearm that has legitimacy to it. There were reports all the time of both but they were all hearsay and unsubstantiated. That was the report that I came to find as the official report on file has little to nothing. I asked him if he had come across the incident yet. He nodded his head and lifted it up to read.
He goes, “August 24th, 2002. It was a hot night and our friend here wasn’t making as many appearances as he used to. Witnesses say that around this iteration he would wear full black swat and combat gear. This was also when he used the most weapons: batons, knives, throwing stars, pepper spray.”
“Sounds like he raided an army surplus store.” I said while taking note.
“Well if he did there’s no record of on in Central City having a purchase so big at once.”
I erase my note.
“He must have been… at least 60 by then. If he wanted to go guns blazing with pepper spray and sand bags then by all means,” said Blitz. “I’m about 45 and I feel like I’m too decrepit to be of any use. Imagine what he must’ve felt.
He continues, “Milena Rodriguez and her son, Jaime, were coming back from laundry at approximately 11 pm. Along the way they were confronted by a Zachary and Patrick Nichols. The brothers cornered Ms. Rodriguez and her son, ordering them to hand over any cash, cards or valuables they might have on them. When she responded, saying that they had none, Patrick noticed the engagement ring from her late husband.
"When Ms. Rodriguez resisted Zachary pulled out his gun. It was at this time that Simon (that’s what he was known as by this time) came on the scene and intervened.
"Now, excuse me a second, I want you to keep in mind that this guys isn’t on record for having been in a fight for years and he has the misfortune of running back into the ring with two kids who according to their high school coaches had the potential to be Division-1 athletes. They were bruisers and grew up getting in a fight a week. You look at their faces and you could swear they were molded by bear knuckled fists. Ugly suckers but that was for a reason.”
“He really hadn’t fought in that long?” I asked.
“Not like this. He used a lot of his environment and tools but this was different. Just right in the middle of the street against two younger scrappers.” Blits took another sip of his coffee and finishes the mug. He slid it away and roles up his sleeves to finish reading.
“Anyways, Rodriguez says that Simon came out and used the surprise to hit Zachary on the head with a baton, knocking him to the ground unconscious for the moment. He tried swinging at Patrick but this kid has some exceptional reflexes and dodges. The two roll on the ground for a while until Patrick gets the upper hand and gives him the boots. Zachary comes too and they both snatch the ring. Police haven’t strolled these neighborhoods for a longtime so they just went down the road like they owned the place. “
“This is a lot more detailed than the report,” I say to Blits.
“Like I said, I’m a fan but more than that I wanted to know everything I could because I needed to know if he was everything that I thought he was.”
“But this is far and away the case that needed the most detail,” I say.
“I gave the case report exactly what was needed for the prosecutors and investigators to do their job. I’m well aware of my bias and I may still have that action figure but had I included this stuff it would have turned into some story and not reality.” He says before interrupting himself gain, “and please just let me finish this.
“Simon tackles their cocky asses, hitting Patrick but this time Zachary’s got the gun. Simon’s really in over his head and he knows it. He’s got his baton in one hand and his knife in the other, just swinging like propellers on a helicopter; if he could get his shoe off in time you’d think he could use that too. He connects with that baton of his on at least one of those twirls and fractures Patrick forearm and dislocates his elbow so he’s more or less out of this one. When Zach takes a step back to raise the gun Simon finishes this whirling dervish of his and throws a knife in his right shoulder. Zachary drops the gun and Simon gets to pounce.
When I was looking over the forensics something I couldn’t shake was how dirty this hole mess was. If you follow the footsteps and scuff marks on the ground it looks like a damn street brawl, and that’s what it turned out to be. I’m used to the comic book version of this guy from when I was growing up, the guy that would single handedly take down an entire crime syndicate with aerials and leg sweeps like he was some kind of Bruce Lee. I don’t know if he was ever actually like that but he had to be better than this, rolling on the ground with a couple of bums like the Nichols brothers.
Even with a piece of metal in his shoulder Zachary was still a handful for Simon so Ms. Rodriquez says that at some point he starts to reach for the gun. Next thing we know Zach is on the ground and Simon’s holding the gun. He drops it and starts to back away. He takes the ring from the Nichols brothers and tries to give it to Ms. Rodriguez but she just grabs Jaime and holds him there until Simon goes away.
It was a hell of a sight to have Patrick and Ms. Rodriguez both giving a statement against Simon. Even when they passed by one another it was like they were both the victims.”
There’s a long pause while Blits closes the folder and turns the spoon in his empty cup.
“Is that all?” I ask.
“Yeah, that’s it. No arrests and no further evidence,” he says.
“What do you think about the media storm afterwards? You got a lot of calls being the officer on duty at the scene, I’m sure.” I asked.
“I’m not going to lie. It was fun at first, to be the center of attention but after a while my better judgment came into action. They didn’t want to hear what Officer Blitewater had to say about Simon or Stalker, they wanted the officer on duty to perjure himself and his report.”
I interjected, “thus making a big mess out of the whole situation.”
He nodded his head and put on his coat. I got up and did the same, sensing that my welcome had been worn out.
He opened the door for me and we both left.
The walk to the bagel shop was quiet. Blits’ head was on a swivel, looking around every corner and sizing up everyone’s body language as they walked by.
“You’re still looking for him, aren’t you?” I asked.
He pulled his coat closer to shield his neck from the cold.
“I guess I’m just waiting for him to come back and save the day. I’m not used to living in a world where he’s not watching out for everyone, you know? I guess it's nostalgia more than anything. You think that’s why you’re looking into it?“
I smiled, “Maybe so.”
Blitewater held out his hand and I shook it. “It was nice talking to you.”
“Likewise,” he said and I was off.
The news had the Rodriguez’ as Jane and John Doe so the trip wasn’t a loss, and I had a feeling that Blits still had more to say, but until I had something offer I wouldn’t press too hard. After all, he said he was a fan so I’m sure he’d get a kick out of any other information I can scratch up.