It's been a rough life for me. I think my fate was sealed on my twelfth birthday, when my father came to my party in high heels and a pink taffeta party gown. Ever since then it's been downhill, and one thing has led to another until I've found myself mired in a life of crime and squalor. It totally figures that my stupid girlfriend would turn on me in the middle of our big heist. It's just how things go for me.
But I believe in second chances, which is why I was hardly surprised when the police convoy taking me to prison was attacked by a bunch of gang bangers, allowing me to go free. As the bomb on the bridge exploded, I realized: this was my second chance! The police would think I was dead from the bomb, so as far as anyone was concerned I no longer existed. I could find a way to put right all the wrongs I had done, and to make others' lives better than my own so no one would ever find themselves in the situation I'd landed in! I'd live anonymously, in the shadows, a secret vigilante... for justice! Sort of like Batman, except without the tights. Or the questionable relationship with an underaged boy.
I and my fellow ex-con, a big guy named 8-Ball (between you and me, I don't think that's his real name), took off from the scene to hook up with some of his compatriots. He said he had a friend named Luigi, who lives in a really weird place - it looks like a dive on the outside, but inside it's all plush and classy, and there are always lots of pretty girls around. Apparently they work for Luigi or something, although I can't seem to figure out how. There seems to be a vague sense of sadness and ennui about the girls, but they're probably just bummed about the economy. No doubt they're all upset because they lost their 401Ks or something. Luigi seems like a nice guy, though, even if he didn't set up a decent tax shelter for his employees.
Once we got to Luigi's, 8-Ball went inside and upstairs, to go play pool or something, I guess. I was left all alone, but a few minutes later this guy in a suit met me and asked me to do him a favor. At first I was all like, "Whoa, man, we just barely met! Don't you think it's a little forward to start asking me to do stuff for you?" But then I saw he was just being all euphamistic and junk, asking in a roundabout way if I'd take a job for him. Or as we educated types like to say, he was being circumscribed. Circumspectual. Something like that.
Anyway, since everyone in the world thinks I'm dead and the police would be all over me if I showed up at an employment office flashing my ID, I figured doing odd jobs would be my best shot at making a living. After all, I need some way to afford enough Twinkies and pork rinds to fuel my vendetta... of justice! So I accepted the job, which was simply a quick taxi service - I pick up a girl, bring her back, and boom, fifteen hundred bucks. That's a month's pay in burger hell, and I didn't get all greasy working for Luigi.
I stopped and picked up the chick, totalling several other cars in the process. I guess I was still a little shaky from the explosion, because I had the damnedest time trying to control the car I driving. Incidentally, it was a rust red Manana, which could explain why it handled so badly. I had to carjack the vehicle, too, so I wasn't familiar with the way it handled. I know it's probably not a good idea to begin a life of noble self-sacrifice by stealing someone else's car, but I figured it probably wouldn't hurt this once. The guy driving the car was a total jerk and nearly ran over me before I pulled him out of the car, and it's not like he would really miss this rust bucket, either. All he has to do is report it stolen and his insurance company will give him enough cash to buy one that sucks a lot less than this jalopy. So really, I was doing the guy a favor. And I acquired a decent Justicemobile in the process! Well, not quite decent, but with a little work it wouldn't be horrible, either.
By the time I picked up Luigi's friend it was midnight, so once I had dropped her back at his place I headed to the flophouse I was using as a crash pad and called it a night.
So far my efforts to be a vigilante for justice haven't been panning out so well. First thing this morning, I woke up and took my newly-acquired wheels out for a spin over to Luigi's. He had a job for me, but I wasn't really comfortable with it - he wanted me to go rough up some guy who had been giving grief to his lady friends. I told him I'd go for a drive and try to sort out how vendettas and violence fit in with my newly-cultivated sense of justice. He seemed a little confused but let me go, so I took some time to get a feel for the lay of the town... and promptly flipped the Justicemobile. What a trashy machine. You'd think the designers were too stupid to create a car that wouldn't upend at the first sign of enthusiastic driving. And I won't even get into how irritating it is that the car exploded within seconds of being flipped, barely giving me time to escape to a safe distance. (And unfortunately taking out two or three pedestrians along the way. I really feel bad about this, but I don't think I can be blamed for their utter lack of survival instincts. Hello! Burning car! Maybe you shouldn't walk by it?)
An ambulance was on the scene pretty quickly. I was lurking at the fringes, rubbernecking with the rest of the pedestrians, when I realized that it would be a great idea for me to begin my crusade for justice by taking a turn as an ambulance driver. I could save lives! What better way to generate good karma than by living to be an angel of mercy?
I chucked the driver from the cab and took off. I didn't really feel too bad about this carjacking because, after all, it was for the sake of good. Unfortunately I didn't count on the ambulance being so hard to handle - I'm used to zippy little sporty cars, and this thing was a giant top-heavy box on wheels. While fumbling about trying to figure out how to work the dispatcher's radio, I took a corner too hard and knocked the ambulance onto its side. My speed was such that instead of simply flipping over, the whole thing skidded along its side down an entire block of sidewalk. I sat inside the cab watching with mute horror as my out-of-control engine of mercy mowed down half a dozen innocent pedestrians. I could feel the ambulance shudder and bounce with each casualty it inflicted, but still it skidded downhill until its course took it across an intersection and into the side of a truck. Nauseous at both the rough ride and the unintentional carnage I had inflicted, I staggered out of the vehicle and unsteadily ran as far as I could before the ambulance exploded, taking with it the truck, two cars and at least three pedestrians.
To add to my horror, the police had observed this incident and were furious at the havoc I had wrought. Several cars pulled up behind me and a couple of cops immediately opened fire at me. I ran as fast as I could, the sound of gunfire trailing right behind as bullets screamed through the air, grazing ever closer to me. Couldn't the police see that I meant no harm? I was trying to do good things! It was hardly my fault that the ambulance was the most cumbersome machine I've ever tried to drive. The deaths and property damage and lives wasted were definitely a tragedy, but I don't think it's fair that I, specifically, should have to be accountable for them.
Fortunately, as I ran I came across a fire truck. A fire truck! Every little boy wants to become a fireman at one point or another, so not only would this truck allow me to experience a childhood dream become reality, it would also give me a way to evade the fuzz until their search for me became a bit less urgent. With any luck, they'd miss seeing me climb into the cab and think I was just a normal fireman, letting me pass unscathed.
Well, that was the plan, anyway, although it didn't exactly work out like that. Unfortunately, in my haste to escape, I backed over a cop, which elevated me immediately to most-wanted status. Now there were helicopters after me, and police cruisers were smashing into my truck with gusto. Fortunately, something as big and solid as a firetruck can withstand a ton of damage, so I figured I could outlast and outrun them. Then I could be a fireman... for justice!
This didn't actually happen, though, since I took a wrong turn and suddenly found myself hurtling headlong toward a dead end. The brick wall was upon me before I could hit the brake, and my truck crashed in a brilliant explosion. It's a shame I was still inside, though. I quickly faded to unconsciousness as the heat and smoke overwhelmed me, regretting as I drifted out of awareness that my well-intended efforts had paved so many people a road to hell. But I believe in second chances! So I'll do better next time! Just as soon as these burns heal a bit.
After catching a good night's sleep and allowing my horrible burns to heal, I decided to accept Luigi's mission. I still had some qualms about it, but after being hounded nearly to death by the police simply for trying to help the people of Liberty City, I realized that maybe justice is truly best left to the citizens of this fine town. Like me. Even if that means busting in the faces of strangers on the whim of the greasy-looking guy who's footing my living expenses at the moment.
"But one condition," I added as I left Luigi's place. "I'm just gonna rough him up a little, OK? Maybe he'll change his ways after our discussion." The boss gave me a funny look, but waved his hand in dismissal, which I took to be assent.
My first order of business was to find some new wheels, since my last few rides were either trashed or impounded after yesterday's mishap. The Manana hadn't worked out as well as I had hoped, so I decided to aim for something a little classier. However, Liberty City's Red Light District ain't the most probable place to find class, so I hopped into a black muscle car emblazoned with flames and called it good enough. Sheer attitude and horsepower are a pretty good substitute for actual style when you're smacking around sleazebags. For justice.
I headed over to the docks on the east side of town where the dirtball was hanging around with his loser pals. Probably bragging about what scum they were, or something... at least, that's what I told myself, to psyche myself into feeling good about snapping a few of his ribs. In fact, psychology seemed to be the order of the day - I didn't want to have to deal with the guy's buddies as there was no guarantee they actually deserved to taste my mighty fists (and nailbat) of justice. So I decided on the spur of the moment to take the fear tactic with this job - I'd come screaming in with my muscle car, heading straight for the creep and causing his friends to beat tracks before I slammed the brakes at the last second. Then, the victim reduced to a quivering jelly of incontinent fear at having come within inches of a speeding flame-streaked front grille, it would be a simple matter for me to hop out and deliver Luigi's pointed message to his miserable face.
It's a shame it didn't work out quite like that. I expected everyone to scatter in fear as my ride came flying into their pathetic little lives, their preservation instincts saving their lives by a matter of inches. Unfortunately, the three of them stood mutely as I went roaring along, and the intended victim neglected to fling himself out of harm's way. By the time I realized what was happening, it was far too late to react and my Diablo hit the guy with a sickening thud and bump. His body spun across the hood and onto the dirt like a broken CPR dummy. The good news is that his pals took off running, but I still had done exactly what I hoped to avoid.
With great sadness, I ditched my wheels and picked up the deceased's car. Luigi had told me to steal and respray his ride to teach him a lesson, so I wanted to fulfill the letter of my agreement, even if ripping off a dead man's car seemed pointless at best and downright evil at worst.
After dropping the repainted car at Luigi's place and collecting my blood money, I stopped at 8-Ball's shop to commiserate with my old comrade about my ill fortune. Well, not really an old comrade, but since he was there at the beginning of my new life two days ago I guess that's close enough. I lamented my inadvertant tendency to kill wantonly when all I really wanted to do was spread love and peace and justice. He kept resolutely quiet until I mentioned my frustration with the ambulance.
"Press the R3 button to trigger a mission, dude. Otherwise you won't do jack."
I scowled. "What the hell is an R3 button?" I snapped.
"Just do what I said and you'll see."
I stormed out of 8-Ball's place and flagged down the first taxi I saw, hoping to catch a ride back to my pad. Unfortunately, I accidentally carjacked the taxi in the process. "Sorry!" I called back to the dazed cabbie as I peeled away. "I didn't mean to do that, honest!"
As I sped along, I glanced at the gearshift selector and noticed a big button labeled "R3." With a shrug, I pressed it - suddenly the radio burst into life, informing me that I had about 90 seconds to find a fare and deliver that person to his or her destination. Suddenly I was a taxi-driving vigilante... for justice!
Pleased at this turn of events, I picked up and delivered seven clients in rapid succession, even scoring a bonus from the dispatcher for five successful runs in a row. The bonus was more or less unnecessary, since my fares were paying in the triple digits for rides of a dozen blocks or less. I'm not sure who determined the going rate for a ride in this town, but it's a very literal sort of highway robbery.
Unfortunately, my rapid success as a vigilante cabbie went to my head and I became a bit overconfident, taking a shortcut which resulted in my being launced headlong over the side of a small cliff. At the bottom of the rock face, the cab smashed hard into a chainlink fence and flipped. My fare, a conservatively-dressed businesswoman, fled in terror. I stumbled from the smoking ruins of the cab just before it exploded in a brilliant fireball.
Determined not to let this small setback crimp my style, I immediately scouted out another taxi and hopped into the driver's seat, offering the original driver no apologies for my actions. Now that I had the hang of this, I knew I'd be a better driver than him. Plus, my motivation was the propagation of justice rather than the acquisition of mundane cash, which not only excused my carjacking but actually necessitated it.
My second foray into taxi vigilantism started out well, but night had already fallen, and by the time I picked up my third fare a heavy fog had descended upon the city. Still unfamiliar with the territory, I took a bad turn onto a beach path south of the Red Light District. Suddenly a dead end cliff greeted me, looming unseen in the sea fog, and my taxi flew violently into the ocean. The steel body struck the surface with a stomach-wrenching smash. Both my fare and I screamed in horror as the cab slipped quickly beneath the waves, the external pressure of seawater against the doors confining us within the vehicle until we drowned in the flood which poured through the cab's open windows.
I woke the next morning to find myself a disheveled mess washed upon the beach. It was pretty lucky that I didn't die. Still, I was having second thoughts about being a taxi driver - I nearly died after my cabbie adventure, and who knows what had become of my fare. He had likely ended up another unintended casualty of my crusade to bring law and order to this city. So I decided to have a second go at being a fireman for justice - after all, I may be prone to causing unintentional accidents, but if I'm working to undo accidents that have already happened, it's nearly impossible to make things worse! So I reasoned that this would be a sure-fire way to protect Liberty City from itself.
Or rather, it would have been, had I been able to find a fire truck. Unfortunately I couldn't remember where the fire station was located, and after walking and running and driving around town for several fruitless minutes I decided to commandeer a plain ol' truck, instead.
Tragically, this truck didn't seem to have one of those "R3" buttons on the gearshift. I'd have loved to have done some cargo hauling... for justice! But it seems it was not to be. Instead, I drove around, marvelling at how people looked like ants from up in the truck cab. But this grew old after a few moments, and I found myself increasingly frustrated at having my righteous crusade stymied by the deficiencies of the diesel beast I had elected to drive. The honking horns and sluggish driving of all the tiny little cars around me was also getting on my nerves. In a sudden rage, I began smashing into them, screaming at the little peons beneath me as I pulverized their miserable little excuses for automobiles.
With a start, I caught myself short. My behavior was hardly becoming for a righteous upholder of the tenets of justice! I could easily have hurt an innocent child in my uncontrolled fury. Well, assuming that there are any children in this city. Come to think of it, I haven't seen any at all. Strange, that. In any case, I realized the truck was a negative influence on me and was merely an impediment to my cause. So I drove it off a cliff and let it explode.
I rose from the prostrate position into which I had flung myself to avoid being killed by the semi's explosion and dusted off my jacket. Things hadn't been going terribly well, and it was beginning to worry me. Maybe I had chosen the wrong path in life. Maybe my dream of justice was a vain and empty hope. While I mulled this possibility, I decided to hop into a taxi cab and pick up a little cash as I contemplated my future.
This, it turns out, was a terrible mistake - I absent-mindedly jacked the taxi in sight of a patrolling policeman, who took exception to my somewhat anarchic approach to acquisition of vehicular transport and fired his engine into gear as he initiated pursuit. Curses! Once again, the police had failed to realize what a fine, upstanding citizen I'm trying to be and chose to persecute me for my love of justice. I was determined to shake off the fuzz this time without suffering too much collateral damage, so I slammed the accelerator and blazed into high gear. Smokey dogged me halfway around town, matching my daring maneuvers turn-for-turn. As I became more desperate, I also drove with less caution and accidentally struck down a handful of pedestrians who lacked the good sense to duck for cover when they heard the sounds of hot pursuit dopplering toward them. I cursed in horror as yet another victim disappeared beneath my cab - this was going all wrong, yet again.
Eventually, the police lost me and I laid low for a while until they'd given up. I picked up a few fares in my wanted cab, but I was too despondent over the lives I had destroyed and my own uncertain future to take any pleasure in my successes.
Overcome by despair, I ditched the cab and called it a career. All I wanted was to make the world a better place! Is that so wrong? Apparently so.