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Looking down, now thirty stories up, I apologize in my mind to the sidewalk. I normally don't get so intimate so quickly, but I have no choice in the matter. I am drawn to the concrete as if by gravity. Oh wait.
I twirl as best I can to face up and shoot my other harpoon line in an effort to catch myself, but it bounces uselessly off of a pane of glass. I close my eyes and inhale deeply. What a crappy way to go.
I get hard from my right side, like getting rammed by a linebacker. The wind rushes sideways across my face, and I feel as if I've stopped falling. I open my eyes and see that my feeling was correct. I look to my right and see a beaked black mask and goggles covering a man's face. That man has what looks to be some sort of jet turbine strapped to his back along with to huge steel wings. As soon as I'm done recovering from the shock of my fall, I'll begin to be shocked by my mechanical flying hero.
Banking down and to the left, we make a soft spiral and land gently on the rooftop of one of the many science labs run by Pulopolis University. My avian savior sets me down, and wobbly kneed, I collapse onto my buttocks and breath a shaky sigh of relief.
"Whoever--and whatever--you are, thank you," I gasp. "I was seconds away from being graffiti."
"Indeed," says the winged man. "you would have been Nevermore." He clicks something inside his aviator jacket and his wings give a pneumatic hiss and begin folding into themselves. They collapse into a barely noticeable position next to the turbine on his back. "Is it the Black Enigma whom I've caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster followed fast and followed faster?"
"Yes, I am the Black Enigma," I say, a bit puzzled. "Though I'm not positive if that's what you're asking."
"Thing of evil!" he exclaims as he draws a pistol and points it at me. "You're a wanted criminal. You killed all of those people at the mayor's party!"
"No, I'm not, I've been framed. That was an impostor. I'm the good guy."
"Tell this soul with sorrow laden why it should believe you."
"I don't know. I have no proof."
"You must convince me you're noble, or I tie you up and leave you at the doorstep of the police station."
"How about this," I say as calmly as possible, my eyes fixed on the end of his gun's barrel. "I have the location of a major cocaine shipment that the Farleones are unloading tonight. We'll go bust it together and I'll show you that I'm one of the good guys, all right?"
The flying masked man is silent for a moment. Then he holsters his gun and pulls his goggle up onto his forehead. He extends his hand to me and he helps me up.
"Fair enough. But one wrong move," he drags his finger across his throat threateningly. "Merely this and nothing more."