Page 5 of 5are its work, and that members curb crime simply by being seen. And Silver Dragon says there’s proof: “I’ve heard from friends that, after we patrol a particular neighborhood, there’s no crime there for the rest of the night.” That November patrol was one of the last crime-fighting excursions of 2007. The team has laid low for the winter, declaring Salt Lake City’s long, harsh winter too cold to patrol. But they plan on taking to the streets again, now that spring has arrived.
Oni, the only member of the Black Monday Society with extensive martial-arts training, recalls one time when he confronted a drug-addled man who was abusing his mother in a city park. “The first thing we do is call the cops,” he says, “in any situation.” Most superheroes will, in fact, say the same thing. They strongly advise against getting directly involved in police calls.
After calling 911, Oni and Ghost approached the man. They say he promptly relented when confronted with men dressed as demons. Insignis also recalls a time they chased after a drunk man who was standing by the side of the road, trying to punch passing cars. The man got away, but Insignis says, laughing, “He probably won’t be doing that again anytime soon.”
Outside Salt Lake City, the superhero action is getting a little more feverish and a lot less law abiding. Rumors have spread in the RLS community that one of their own, a man known as “Nostrum,” based in Louisiana, has lost an eye doing battle with a criminal. An RLS from Florida known as “Master Legend” claims to attack evildoers, bashing garbage cans over the heads of crack fiends and kicking others with his steel-toe boots. Another man, known as “Hero,” has quit fighting crime and is taking up ultimate fighting. “There is only one thing I can always count on, one thing that will always be there and that is the fight. The fight is all I have,” he recently blogged.
The Black Monday Society has set up an office, and Oni says they are working to gain legal status as a non-profit organization. “As soon as we do that, it’ll open up a lot more doorways for us so we can start receiving money and we can help more people,” he says, adding that “I’d like to do more than just help the homeless. I’d like to start helping abused and battered women. Things like that.”
In a parking lot after the patrol, the team gathers to smoke cigarettes and share a laugh or two. Inferno refers to Insignis as “Father O’Malley,” and asks him if his sidekick’s name is “Altar Boy.” Insignis laughs it off but then snaps back on message, insisting that the Black Monday Society is seeking more than fun and fame: “Instead of being the guy on the couch saying ‘God, I wish somebody would do something,’ I get to be the guy on the couch who says, ‘Yeah, I did something!’ or, ‘At least I tried.’ No regrets, no nothing. Just pure do.”
Paul Constant is the Books Editor for The Stranger, a Seattle alternative newspaper.