Frank Inglewood sprinted down the narrow backstreet, the mere thought of what was pursuing him driving his weary legs past the point of collapse. Whatever pain he was in was nothing compared to what… he had in store. Inglewood ducked down an alley, knocking over a stack of festering metal garbage cans, but his pursuer wasn’t slowed. He turned down another alley. Another. Another. Dead end. Shit. But there is no way in hell he could’ve caught up. Frank leaned up against the rusted metal door frame and caught his breath.
“Stop right there,” Scott Walker said.
Frank turned around and looked on in horror. “No… No! Please, no! Back up, man! Back the fuck up or…” Frank fumbled around inside his jacket pocket and unsheathed a trembling 9mm pistol, “or I’ll blow you away! I’m not joking!”
“Now, sir. I support your right to bear arms and carry concealed handguns as long as they are properly registered, but you shouldn’t point that at me. It’s dangerous, and,” Scott Walker pointed at Frank, “is also quite rude. Now please stop pointing at people.”
“Don’t move any closer, ranger!” Frank tightened his grip and trained his sight directly at Scott Walker’s perfectly ovalesque head.
“I should warn you,” Scott Walker raised his fists. “I am a master of over 16 different forms of martial arts, including, but not limited to, taekwondo, jiu jitsu, karate, and kickboxing. I don’t want to fight you, but I will fight you if I have to, because sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do.”
Scott walked forward. “That’s it man!” Frank fired off three rounds. Scott raised his palm and kept walking, unscathed. “What the fuck is wrong with you?!”
“It is one of the special techniques I learned in ranger school. Other techniques include disarming dangerous criminals,” Scott knocked the gun from Frank’s hand, “upholding the law, and championing the American way. Now listen up.” Scott planted his hands on his hips. “Being bad is not good. You shouldn’t be bad. I like it when people are good because bad people are not people that I like. You should try being good. I like America because it is good and real Americans are nice and they don’t steal things from other people. Now, I’ll let you go if you will be nice and not steal anything and apologize to the small business owner who you stole from, as people like her are the backbone of the American economy.”
Frank spit in his face. “Fuck you, pig!”
“That wasn’t nice.” Scott Walker roundhouse kicked Frank, causing him to fly, head first, through a brick wall. Scott grabbed a barrel and walked over to the brick hole. He flipped the barrel upside down, grabbed Frank by his collar, and sat down with the man on his lap. “You should learn to be nice. Let’s try this again.”
“I… I’m sorry, man! I’ll… I’ll never steal again! I’ll give back the bagel that I stole and… and-!”
“Shhhh, that is enough. Come with me.” Scott took the dazed and confused Frank by the hand and walked him out of the alley.
* * *
Scott rapped on the smudge glass door to the Bagelria with his knuckles.
“Mrs. Pnufssinbauser? Someone would like a word with you,” Scott called out. Frank opened the door, ringing the bells tied to the inside handle, and shambled in with his head down. “Is there something you’d like to say, Frank?”
“Please speak louder, Frank. People understand other people better when the other people talk louder.”
“I’m sorry that I stole your bagel without paying for it… ma’am…” Frank kicked the ground.
The old woman behind the counter looked at the 35 year old, balding, tattooed man with a puzzled stare. “Uh, okay.”
“And what do you do when you want someone who sells something to give you something?” Scott nudged Frank with his elbow.
Frank walked up to the counter, set down a couple of bills, and shuffled away.
“Well, that’s very nice of you.”
“Thank you very much, ma’am. I’ll never steal ever again, ma’am.”
“That is a good thing, Frank. I think you have learned your lesson, which is that stealing is bad and if you steal you are bad because people who do bad things are bad. You just paid for something which is good because that is what you are supposed to do. If everyone did what they were supposed to do then bad things wouldn’t happen and everything would be nice. But everything isn’t nice. Bad things happen and bad people do bad things. That is where I come in. I make sure bad people stop being bad so that more people will be good. Until everyone is good, it is up to me, Scott Walker, to help as many people be as good as possible until everyone is good. Hi, my name is Scott Walker.”
A single tear rolled down dear, sweet Frank’s cheek. He flung himself on Scott and squeezed him tight. “Thank you… thank you so much, Scott Walker.”
Scott Walker kissed Frank on the forehead and patted him on the back. He opened the door with a jingle and walked into the crowd, another featureless face melting into the sea of nobodies. And there he would remain, waiting, training, drinking glasses of skim milk and staring at a blank wall, until the world needed him once more; until they needed Scott Walker, Texas Ranger.