Her heels made a loud, staccato sound in the cool December air as she headed home from the Middleton U campus. The hour was late -- or early depending on how you counted time -- and she would rather have been home. Her professor, however, did not accept late papers and she had stayed in the library doing research until it closed.
Even passing beneath a streetlight revealed little of the woman wearing a long, red coat. Her hands were thrust deep into the pockets of the coat, and a broad-brimmed red hat kept her face in shadows.
She wondered why she had worn the heels, they weren't comfortable, left her legs sore, made a loud noise as she walked, and kept her from running. She thought of the last problem as she heard the sound of two people following her. She stopped. There were still open businesses here and muggers were unlikely to be a problem until the pocket of urban blight a block away. If the two following her walked past they were other students returning home late. If they also stopped, and resumed when she began to walk again, they were stalking her.
She didn't turn; she simply noted the sound as footsteps ceased. There was a small chance they had gone into a bar. She resumed walking. The sound of footsteps began again. She picked up her pace, as did her followers. She went faster, moving as quickly as she could in the uncomfortable footwear. Her pursuers sacrificed any pretense at stealth for speed. As she entered the area without any businesses or occupied homes her hand found two small objects in her coat pocket, she threw the tiny levers on their sides and surreptitiously tossed one to either side before she stopped and turned to face her followers.
They weren't huge, but either one was probably twice her size. “We're in a good mood. Just hand over what you got and we don't hurt you.” The wide brim of her hat kept the men from having a clear look at her face, but they saw her lips twitch in the hint of a smile. The two hadn't noticed the tendrils of blue smoke that had begun to curl around them.
“I don't think so.”
“Then it's gonna hurt.”
“Yes, it probably will,” she laughed. “I am the terror that flaps by night…” The smoke had grown thicker. “I am the missing can opener when you want to eat that can of Chef Boyardee beef ravioli… I am Carmen Sandiego!”
Her outline blurred, disappearing in the blue fog around her. The two men rushed the spot where she had stood. The first man felt something strike against him, he lashed back -- bringing a groan from his partner. Then the first man felt himself grabbed, and propelled into the solid body of the other. As he stumbled over the fallen body of his friend her knee caught him hard underneath the chin.
The two men were good for something. They provided a warm place to sit as she dialed 911.
“I'd like to report an attempted mugging in the seven hundred block of Mulberry… Yes, that's-- Slyvie? Is that you? What are you doing working the nine-eleven desk? … No, I'm fine, they're unconscious at the moment. … No, I don't think they need to use the sirens. … Yes, thanks for asking. Bye.”
By force of habit she went through their wallets. After making sure the faces on the driver's licenses matched the faces of the muggers she took the cash.
The blue and white flashers showed the approach of the cruiser. It slowed as it neared her, pulling to the curb by where she sat.
“Is that you, Shego? You've got to lay off the vigilante stuff, it's going to get you in trouble.”
“Well if Middleton's finest spent as much time looking for criminals as they do searching for the perfect doughnut the streets would be safe to walk.”
Officer Hobble and a rookie got out of the patrol car. “You cuff 'em and load 'em in the back seat. I'll take a statement,” the veteran told his younger partner.
“Damn it, you're not a cop!” he growled at her.
“I know. I'm around when I'm needed. You've got powdered sugar on the front of your coat.” He glanced down. “Hah! Made you look.”
“Swear to God, Shego, you violate your probation and I haul your ass off to jail.”
“I don't think so. The neighborhood watch program wants to nominate me for volunteer of the year. They're going to ask the governor if he'll count my time walking home towards my community service sentence.”
“You're fucking nuts. I don't know why they put Drakken in the loony bin instead of you.”
The two watched as the rookie loaded the first perp in the back of the car and came back for the second.
“Oh, Hobble, here's a hundred and six dollar donation for the Policeman's widows and orphans fund.”
“Let me guess, you're going to make another hundred and six dollar contribution to the Global Justice widow and orphans fund.”
“A hundred and seven. I didn't have any change on me.”
“You've got to knock it off. The last mugger complained he'd been robbed.”
“Ohh, and I bet he got lots of sympathy. I turn my back on a mugger for ten minutes and someone picks his pocket. The police need to watch this neighborhood better.”
“Give us a break. There aren't enough of us to be everywhere.”
“We need a Dunkin' Donuts over here. Then we'll get some protection.”
He tried to change the subject, “What are you doing in a red outfit?”
“Like it? It's a gift from Kim. I think she's trying to get me to look Christmassy.”
“You're pussy-whipped, you know that?”
Green plasma flickered around her hands, “Drop it, Hobble.”
“Eww, you used to be tough. Hey, when the villains get together do they wait until your back is turned to laugh at you?”
“I said, drop it.”
“Make a deal with you, you drop the doughnut cracks and I won't suggest Kim buy a collar and leash for you.”
“I'll think about…” Shego suddenly gave him a smile. “Wow! Great gift suggestion. Thanks. We'll have to wait for some night when the girls are over with their grandparents.”
“Which one of you…?”
“That's none of your business,” she said sweetly. “Hey, your partner has the 'alleged' muggers in the car.”
“You'll be down to file charges tomorrow?” he asked as he headed for the driver's seat.
“I've got a nine o'clock in Constitutional law. I'll be down after ten.”
Before the police car drove away Hobble rolled down his window and waved, “Merry Christmas, Shego!”
She returned the wave, “And a Happy Chanukah to you!” “You are so getting a Krispy Kreme gift certificate from me.”