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Some You Walk Away From, Some You Run

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A man with a manic grin on his face and a bloodied knife clutched close chose that moment to race through the bar and out the back door.

 

One woman managed a perfunctory scream. Most of the patrons of the bar didn't even bother to look up.

 

A small child, with huge glasses and a skateboard under one arm, burst in and took about the same route.

 

Slowly, conversation resumed, the quiet local buzz, until a police vehicle pulled up. The bartender pointed at the back door. "Satou-keiji. That way. Still time to catch up."

 

"Thanks!" Takagi-keiji paused to blurt before haring off after; Satou-keiji had rushed on as soon as she heard 'that way'.

 

The woman who'd screamed looked around. "Wh-- what?"

 

Her co-patron patted her shoulder gently. "It's just that kid with the glasses, neechan."

 

"What?" the woman repeated faintly.

 

A few people turned their heads, faces painted with polite inquiry. "Visiting." said her sister sympathetically.

 

"Hey," said a man from the next booth over. "Someone's here who hasn't heard about that kid with the glasses?" Fresh blood, he didn't say, but a few more people turned to look.

 

"Geez, that kid with the glasses." grumbled a salarywoman into her drink. "Used my windshield as a skateboard ramp to jump five meters in the air last week. Insurance has me on a three-point plan now. The premiums in this district."

 

"Got you with the skateboard, too, huh?" called a young man from across the room. "Did some kind of reverse-bungee up the side of my apartment building. Wonder sometimes if he was raised by wolves. Or video games."

 

"Mouri-chan seems so nice, too, but I don't think she knows." said Miike-san, still in her traffic division uniform. "Poor girl seems to have her own troubles, but still. It's hard to miss when he starts sparkling and then kicks a soccer ball out of nowhere hard enough to smash concrete in."

 

"Oh, isn't it funny?" chirped the man who'd been eager for fresh blood, in a shrill falsetto. "The bomber got knocked out by mysterious blunt force trauma, ahaha, right before the officers arrived. No, I didn't see anything, I'm just a kid playing!."

 

The visiting woman glanced around. "They're having me on, right, Sa-chan?" she asked quietly. "A joke on the country girl, right?"

 

"Oh, god, I have nightmares about that kid." said a burly, tattooed construction worker. That raised a few eyebrows. "No, I know, but he's like an alien or something, right? Or a demon? I swear he's possessing that Sleeping Detective, and that's why he has those freaky trances. After all, Mouri isn't the only one it's happened to-- it's all around that kid that it happens!"

 

That garnered a few solemn nods. "Life here is like an anime." the visitor's younger sister conspiratorily. "Ne, Miike-san, what's the current betting pool like around Division One?"

 

"Officer's business." said Miike-san, prim but winking. "W-eeeeee-lll... I've heard a few people say 'savant', but they've never seen the skateboard take off into the air like that. At least it seems to come down every time. And I can tell you that there's been jokes about him being a local kami, but he does that thing when he travels, too."

 

"What thing?" asked Sayuri's neechan. She'd adopted the put-upon face of someone humoring the prank being pulled on them.

 

A few faces turned on her in creepy unison. "Edogawa Conan, detective." they intoned. There were giggles and snorts around the room.

 

"He's been in the newspapers? As the apprentice of Mouri Kogoro?" said Sayuri. "He's also been to the heists of that Kaitou Kid, you know, neechan. They call him the Kid killer?"

 

'Neechan' glanced at the door that knife-guy, child, and officers had gone through. "That kid with the glasses? He looked so...small."

 

"There's a saying I picked up in America. Ten pounds of crazy in a five-pound sack." cut in the salarywoman. "Weird maybe-magic or not, nobody does the things he does without some big crazy behind it. Maybe it's because the crazy seems to follow him."

 

"Actually, I looked up some numbers, research for the betting pool!" said Miike-san. "Did you know we don't statistically have many more deaths than anywhere else in Japan?" She placed a finger on glossed lips, hmm-ing. "More bombings and bombing threats, though, by far."

 

A fellow who'd been slumped next to his beer lifted his head at that point. He raised his hand. "I've, you know." He slurred a little. "I've got it figured out, you know. If he's just walking along, minding his own business, you're probably safe. But if he's dashing off somewhere, if you don't see the fire or the armed killer or whatever, all hell is about to break loose."

 

The reverse-bungee spectator nodded solemnly. "Right. The time to keep an eye out is when he's running."

 

"So." Sayuri's neechan glanced around. "So he's some kind of. Alien kami magical boy detective? Who brings bad luck with him and, uh, breaks things with skateboards?"

 

The bar fell quiet and pensive.

 

"Well, I mean." said the salarywoman. "My fiance was at the big game the day the kid bent my car's roof in. Apparently the place had been wired with plastic explosives. There was a fire, but nobody died, even though the bomb squad didn't get there until after."

 

"I saw an attempted shooting at the mall." piped up a dweeby-looking woman in the corner. "It was that serial killer from the news-- well, I mean, around here, but. Later on, they said that sleeping detective Mouri-san is the one who figured him out, but I saw Edogawa-kun talk the man down."

 

"No more people die here than anyone else? Really?" asked the reverse-bungee spectator. Miike-san nodded.

 

"That kid with the glasses always catches the bad guy." said the construction worker. "Still creepy, though." He shivered.

 

"But all the credit goes to the sleeping detective Mouri?" asked Sayuri's neechan.

 

"Yeah." said Sayuri. "Seems to freak the kid out when anyone says anything, so we all pretend not to notice. It's just like in an anime, with the secret superhero stuff. If anyone weird asks around, we don't even use his name, but I'm here with you, so."

 

The construction worker raised his glass. "To that creepy kid with the glasses." he said.

 

"To less killer insurance rates, someday." the salarywoman added, but she smiled, a little soft.

 

"To killers being off our streets." said the dweeby woman.

 

"To knowing when to walk away and kno. Nwing. Knowing when to run." the somewhat inebriated man added.

 

"To running the betting books because everyone thinks you're too sweet and dumb to shark them." said Miike-san.

 

"To freaky magical soccer-balls!" chanted in the man with the terrible falsetto.

 

Sayuri's neechan glanced around, then let her mouth quirk into a little smile. "To-- to Edogawa-kun, mascot of Beika, apparently?"

 

"To Edogawa-kun!" they chorused.

 

 


Coda:

 

The small figure with oversized glasses dashed back through the bar, in reverse this time, on a skateboard.

 

Once again, silence settled over the bar.

 

And, once again, the bar sang out in unison. This time the call was of "Check, please!"

 

Fifteen minutes later, a tiny figure roared sparkling over the river, followed by said river fountaining up around a huge explosion. Nobody was unduly surprised, except maybe Sayuri's neechan.