It was a beautiful sunny afternoon in busy downtown Los Angeles, beautiful women and exotic cars littered the streets. You could see hundreds of people walking in just about every direction, and nobody seemed to have a care in the world. Well, everyone but Richard that is. You see, all that Richard seemed to do was worry, he knew that living his life on the streets meant was nothing but a life of terror. It wasn’t always this way though, sometimes the grass isn’t greener on the other side… sometimes there’s no grass at all.
Richard has been homeless for the last 6 years of his life. Its the year 1995 and times are economically tough for everyone, so sparing even a dollar was a thing of the past. Often times people would not even knowledge your very existence, stepping over you as if you are just another crack in the sidewalk. Richard had learned to survive on his own overtime, but it wasn’t easy at first. Many nights Richard spent hiding from ‘The Creeps’. These men and women were the largest group of degenerates to walk the earth, which is why nobody would accept them in society; some would even say they own the streets. These creeps are rarely seen in the daytime though, as most of them have severe criminal records and would be taken away for life if spotted by any law enforcement.
“Should we do it here?” said a distant voice outside of Richard’s tent. “Well, shit man we don’t have much time. Lets just do it and get the hell out of here!” said another voice raspier than the first. “Okay, you hold down his legs and I’ll cut it off” the other replied. Richard knew exactly who these men were once they said that. The Creeps… One of the many things this gang was known for was cutting off your legs, you know; the real meaty part of your body. Rumour has it, that they do this because they are actually just a bunch of sadistic cannibals who snack on the body parts later..
At this point, Richard wasn’t about to stay and find out. While laying on his side pretending to sleep and waiting for his moment to strike, Richard hears a police siren. A moment later an extremely bright light hit the side of the tent and ended up blinding the shit out of the two creeps.
That’s when things got heated, Richard leaped up at Creep #1 and stabbed him straight through the side of his neck.“Ahhhh!!”screamed the first creep with a blood curdling tone and without hesitation, Richard pulled Creep #2 back in the tent with him while whipping out what looked like a crazy UFC move. As he landed Richard fatally snapped the second creeps neck before he even landed. At that point, the officers outside had been close enough to witness what had just happened and before Richard could react, bullets riddled the side of the tent.
Richard managed to make it through the barrage of gunfire solely because he fell on his back in the tent. “Freeze!!” One officer yelled. “You think we got him?” another officer asked. Richard played dead just long enough for the officers to see creep #2’s body lying on top him motionless. I guess the cops thought that the threat was most likely eliminated. “You think we’ll get an award for cleaning the scum off the streets?” The officer joked. “Hah, not likely. Do the garbage men get an award for picking up the trash?” said the Sergeant.
Richard could tell the men were distracted and so he waited for his opportunity to make a run for it when he heard the officer say, “Hey Sergeant, what’s this on the ground?” This was his only chance, he knew that he wasn’t going back to prison and that’s for damn sure. Richard shot through the tent like a bat out of hell. The officer whipped out his gun in one swift motion letting a shot ring off in Richards direction just barely missing his head. The rookie cop turned to the Sergeant and yelled “We got a runner Billy!”
Richard took off towards the underpass, this was an area he was quite familiar with. Looking behind him he noticed two LAPD squad cars flying around the corner, tires screeching from how sharp of a turn they made. This was just another day in the life of Richard. Running from the police for simply trying to survive the cold streets of LA. Richard wasn’t always up to trouble though, sometimes it felt like the cops were just out to get him.
Richard turned the corner at lightning speed, he could hear the sirens in the distance drawing closer. He managed to spot a large trash bin in a dark alleyway to his right, he immediately launched himself into it and shut the lid behind him. Richard didn’t really mind the filthy hideout he found himself in, he was used to being around places covered in trash. The sirens blew past and the sound continued on down the street. Richard figured this spot was good enough as any to crash for the night so he pulled out his pocket watch and set his alarm for 6:45 am.
Things weren’t always so bad for Richard, I mean its clear to see by just staring at him. Come on, have you ever seen a homeless person wearing a pair of torn up Giuseppe Zanotti’s? This is probably the reason why the police gave Richard such a hard time because they just couldn’t understand how a homeless man could be sporting nicer gear than them, even if it was worn out. You see, Richard wasn’t just a homeless man; for most of his life he was referred to as, The Owl.
Before we learn more about Richard we have to first understand the person or thing that he used to be, the said ‘Owl’. You see, they used to call Richard this because he practically had eyes everywhere, and no matter what you did or where you were…he was already in the know. The Owl had been known as one of the most ruthless drug lords and murderers dating all the way back to the late 80’s. The Owl had a reach so far that at one point he was classified as an “Untouchable”, right up there with Pablo and Stalin. The Owl literally had it all, mansions, tons of women to stroke his ego, and of course piles and piles of dirty money.
The Owl was rarely ever seen though, unless it was among his tight circle of associates. He would always have others do his dirty work for him, and this was because Richard truly believed that if he did not pull the trigger, then he was indeed an innocent man. With a mentality like that you can imagine all of the terrible things that transpired over the years while The OWL reigned as the leader of the free world. In the early 90’s, The Owl’s primary safe house had been raided and most of his associates along with The Owl himself were arrested and heavily charged. The crazy thing is, a day before the final televised trial was set to unfold the 6 officers involved in the investigation were murdered in a bunch of different ways all 15 minutes apart from each other. For example, one officer was thrown from his 30 story apartment in the middle of the night, another Sr. Officer was found overdosed in his downtown loft while his partner was being buried somewhere in Hyde Park. The case was eventually thrown out due to lack of evidence and the fact they were pretty much left with not a single witness. This case eventually went on to be one of the biggest cover up conspiracy cases in American history. A blanket of fear was thrown over the nation now knowing that The Owl was in fact the one who was truly in charge.
I bet by now you are wondering, how the hell “The Owl”, ended up becoming just another homeless man who would now spend most of his days living off the very streets that he once owned. Well, the only person we can really thank for that is… Johnny “SnakeSkin” Canicatti.
“Hey mister, are you alright?” said a young boy from outside the trash bin. At first Richard stood perfectly still hoping that whoever was standing outside of his temporary home, would eventually just leave. That was not the case, in fact just as Richard thought he was in the clear, a beam of light shun through the opening of the garbage bin. After spending all night in complete darkness, Richard had to give his eyes a few seconds to adjust before he was able to see who was giving him trouble.
To Richard’s surprise, it was a young boy about 15 years old with a backwards baseball cap and a bright colored school bag strapped across his back. “Are you okay, sir?” the young boy asked. “Get lost kid” Richard replied while pulling the lid back down. “How did you even know I was in here anyways?” Richards muffled voice asked. “Well mister, on my way to the convenience store I noticed a trail of coins on the ground and it led me right to you.” At the time Richard wasn’t aware but while he was making a run from the police the night before, he had lost most of the change in his pockets along the way. Richard was smart though, he only ever kept enough money on him to last him the day. If Richard had money that exceeded his daily limit he would find places to stash the coins to avoid having it taken from him. It wasn’t always like this though, Richard learned his lesson the hard way and one can only assume that’s why the Latin phrase “Fecisti mihi iniuriam, et corruas” was tattooed on his right forearm.
Richard emerged from the bin and wiped the filth off his jacket. “Thanks kid, but keep the change.” said Richard. The boy extended his hand and introduced himself “My name is Walter. It’s nice to meet you sir.” Walter was the kind of boy who always wanted to help others, but to most his age that was not an admirable trait and so he was often picked on in school. Walter didn’t really have too many friends either so that made his days quite lonely. Walters parents had taken off at an early age and had left him to be watched by his Grandmother Margaret. She would go on to love Walter with everything she had, she loved him as if he was her own. This was nice and all but Walter never had an opportunity to do the things other kids did while growing up. Walter was homeschooled and shielded from most of the world around him, so having any friends was not really part of the picture.
“You’re alright little man, you know that?” said Richard. “Thanks Mister!” replied Walter. Richard crouched down to Walters level and looked him dead in the eyea. “Son, do you live at home with your mommy?”. “No sir, my parents are away on a long trip so I haven’t seen them in a while. I live with my Grandma.” Walter answered. Now to Walter, these questions were nothing but a curious gesture but to Richard this was an opportunity. “Do you think your Grandma would mind if you had a friend over?” Richard asked with a big smile on his face.
“Well she’s not home right now but I don’t think she would mind… but what for?” said Walter. “Well to be honest with you kid, I could really use a good shower and something to eat then maybe you and I can hang out.” said Richard. The young boy’s face fell, you could tell that he immediately felt a strong sense of remorse for Richard. “I guess we could do that but we have to make sure we don’t make a mess, or else my Grandma will be really mad.” Richard’s eyes lit up like the fourth of July. Nobody would ever even talk to Richard on the streets, let alone offer him some real damn help. Richard was so taken back by the boys willingness to help that his mind started to race with thoughts and ideas. “Hmm, should I kidnap the boy for ransom?” or maybe “I should rob him and his Grandmother?”.
It was about a 15 minute walk back to Walters suburban home and Richard made sure they took the back way there to avoid anyone seeing them together. I mean, think about it; a 15 year old boy walking with a middle aged man who looked like he just stepped out of a coal mine. That would not go over well with any concerned parents. Richard waited for Walter to unlock the door and practically barged his way in. Luckily for Richards sake, Grandma Margaret was always out at bingo at the community center with her girlfriends from 7am until around lunch time just about everyday.
You could hear whistling from down the hall while steam billowed from the beneath the bathroom door. This was the first shower Richard had taken in almost 3 years! “If I can use this kid to find a way to get to Johnny ‘Snakeskin’ then I can finally make that son of a bitch pay!” Richard thought to himself. After about an hour of hearing the water running, the bathroom door flung open, and it wasn’t Richard who emerged from the steam…
It was The Owl.