Jensen’s burly hand pulled Evan back into the alley.
“They almost noticed you,” he said in a harsh whisper.
“They didn’t. I was being careful,” said Evan.
“The cautious man has nine lives,” said Jensen.
“Like a cat?” Evan asked. Jensen nodded. “So what you’re saying is they’re pussies.” Jensen smacked Evan upside the head.
“I swear, Singh, that mouth of yours is going to be the end of you. Now pay attention,” said Jensen.
“They wouldn’t have seen me,” said Evan.
“The point isn’t to not be seen. It’s to not be noticed. You can hide in plain sight if people don’t notice you,” said Jensen.
“They’re getting away,” said Evan.
“We know their route. We can keep track of them from back here. Just blend in. Become the background noise of their perception. Unnoticed,” said Jensen.
They left the alley. Walking at a non-deliberate pace. Evan had his hood up, hands not in pockets, head slightly drooped, just like Jensen had taught him. The people they were following, members of the gang known as the Spiders, were doing their rounds, checking up on their boys before they were supposed to head back to the pad of their local boss.
It was tricky and probably dangerous work for a twelve year old to be tailing gang members, but Jensen was an adult, so Evan trusted him. They were both part of the same organization. A brotherhood/sisterhood of individuals who supported the mission of the one known as The Lion. This vast network spanning regions and institutions aided The Lion in his fight against crime, chaos, and disorder. Evan had only met The Lion a few times in the three years since he’d joined the organization. The Lion prized youth when it came to his spy network. As he once told Evan, he needed people who were both spry and underestimated.
Other than the Lion and Jensen, no one knew of Evan’s involvement with the movement. Secrecy was key when one was a part of an shadowy vigilante conspiracy. Plus Evan’s parents would have totally freaked out.
“Turn the corner and keep going,” said Jensen under his breath. Evan did as he was told, allowing the two Spiders to continue on their way while they went another way.
“When do we get to the part when they reach their hideout and we totally bust it?” Evan asked.
“That is not our task, Singh. Only He gets hands on. Our job is to watch and report,” said Jensen.
“Freaking boring,” said Evan.
“Intelligence gathering is an essential part of any mission. You should remember that for the future,” said Jensen.
“What makes you say that?” asked Evan.
“Your intentions are pretty clear to me. To a few of us actually,” said Jensen.
“How many of us are there?” asked Evan.
“That’s a secret, Singh,” said Jensen, not for the first time. “Maybe you’ll learn in a few more years when The Lion bumps you up the ladder.”
“If you all know about my intentions, then you know probably know the reason why I joined too,” said Evan, trying not to get angry.
“We have our suspicions. Most likely something to do with why The Lion recruited you. The reason why you said yes. Revenge?”
“Love,” said Evan.
“Revenge is love,” said Jensen.
“That makes no sense,” said Evan.
“It will when you’re older. Okay, now on this next corner, we’re going to…”
“Beep beep muthafuckas,” said a guy dressed in red and black, spider tattoos on his face and arms. “The fuck we keep running into each other for?”
Evan and Jensen froze in shock. Two more Spiders appeared behind them.
“Who you with, huh?” another guy asked. This one had a web tattoo.
“Run. Run now,” said Jensen.
“Y’all ain’t going nowhere,” said the first guy, reaching into his pants and pulling a shiny new gun out of his waistband. Jensen sighed.
“I wasn’t talking to the kid,” he said.
A minute or two milliseconds later, Evan realized that he and Jensen were fine while three dead gang members lay dead on the sidewalk.
“Ho- holy shit. Holy shit!” said Evan.
“Keep it down, kid. This was my fault. If I hadn’t been distracted I could have seen that coming,” said Jensen.
“No. If I hadn’t been distracting you then…”
“I’m not going to blame my failures on a kid. Now hurry up and grab an arm. We need to get these guys to a dumpster quick before someone sees,” said Jensen.
“Maybe… maybe try propping them up so it looks like they’re sleeping. Less suspicion,” said Evan.
“There you go. I guess it’s like they say. Great minds are better than none,” said Jensen.