Outside the bar was warm and muggy. Rain refused to fall on dilapidated streets. Lazy idled by. A girl with bare-feet and rainbow-colored hair walked past.
Inside the bar smells like beer and grilled meat. Flatware clinks on dinner plates. Conversations idle by. "Whatcha drinking?" the bartender asks.
"Water." She's pretty, college-age. "Just water?" She's very expressive. A smile and sympathetic shift of the eyebrows placate her.
"Can I get you anything to e - Nice sword!" "Thanks." I lift the sword in the scabbard. The smile comes easier. "It's an accurate representation of what you might have found in the hundred years' war." I set the sword back in the seat next to me. "I'll have the special, thanks."
She had written me off until she had seen the sword. I wasn't a paying customer - homeless, maybe, looking for an excuse to wile away the hours somewhere comfortable. She'd had a difficult childhood. Her mother was abusive; her father didn't know what to do about it. She had learned to put herself first and keep her distance.
It's a common story. "Sure thing, hon," she says and heads to the kitchen to place the order Then, on her return, "So what are you doing with a sword?" "Hunting vampires." I say it casually. Probably, she'll write it off. Probably, I'm just deflecting her question, and she, respectfully, won't press.
But maybe I am the knight of some Holy Order, sworn to hold the evils of the unseen world at bay. She snorts. "Probably find plenty of those around her." She had a rough childhood.
"You can't carry that sword." The policeman had come up to me from behind. His partner stands beside him. "I'm sorry." "I said you can't carry that sword. It's illegal in the city of Detroit." "I'm sorry," I say again, and this time he doesn't mistake it for a question.
The officer before me was close enough that I could jab him in in the throat with the scabbard before he could react. The officer behind him, older, less rigorous in the letter of the law and its application, would not be prepared for the assault. I could draw on him and cut him down before he could draw his weapon and fire.
"I consulted the state law before I crossed the border, but local law was more difficult to find on record." Pragmatically, I could not allow my mission to be jeopardized. The lives I've saved, would save... Compared to the two officers standing here... "Could you describe for me the local law in question?"
"No knife with a blade longer than six inches, sorry." He could not. Emotionally, it was impossible to abandon the mission. "I am carrying it with no intention to commit harm to anyone else." My voice remains easy, my tone respectful, "Do you need to confiscate the weapon, or to arrest me?" The sword is who I am; there was no real distinction between those two questions.
The sword is who I am; there was no real distinction between those two questions. Spiritually, though, what would the value be of a mission that required the deaths of honest men? "Obviously," I spread my arms up at my side, "I defer to your judgement."
The beauty of a sword is that it is a weapon brought to bear for noble causes.
Over my shoulder, the bartender, Rebecca, shoots the officer an annoyed look. "The state law is specific to carrying the weapon with clear intent, Jake." The older officer steps forward, addressing the younger, "' Kid clearly took the time to try to abide by the law. I think we can cut him a break." He looks to me, "Keep it in your car from now on, please."
I lower my arms. "Sure."