Attack of the Anti-Chain Gang | Miscellany | Chicago Reader

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Attack of the Anti-Chain Gang

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Scene: Intersection of Damen, Milwaukee, and North avenues, 1:57 on the morning of Saturday, April 21. The sidewalks are packed with clubgoers. The streets are wet and gleaming from an earlier shower. Three couples, plus or minus a person, stand on the corner in front of the Starbucks coffee shop entertained by one of their number, a WELL-DRESSED MAN who speaks in a loud voice. Two blond masked BANDITS huddle in a doorway between Starbucks and Estelle's.

FIRST BANDIT [into walkie-talkie]: OK, three minutes. Three minutes...

[SECOND BANDIT has made his way around the corner onto Damen. A beat later, there's a crash, then a commotion at the corner, some yelling, a scream or two. FIRST BANDIT seems to disappear. SECOND BANDIT rounds the corner and runs west down North Avenue at full speed. WELL-DRESSED MAN follows in hot pursuit. WELL-DRESSED MAN has fire in his eye. He has something to prove. WELL-DRESSED MAN runs like a former high school running back. second BANDIT runs like a bandit.]

[A projectile has shattered the Starbucks window facing Damen, including the chain's logo. Onlookers gather; some laugh, others try to look concerned, most seem entertained. Down the street, WELL-DRESSED MAN nabs SECOND BANDIT. Two OFFICERS pull up on Damen in squad car. A FRIENDLY MAN steps forward.]

FRIENDLY MAN [to OFFICERS, pointing west]: You might want to head over there. Somebody's getting the shit beat out of them in between those cars.

[OFFICERS head west. A few beats later they return. FIRST OFFICER has SECOND BANDIT in custody, arm twisted behind him. SECOND BANDIT looks a little worse for the wear.]

FIRST OFFICER [to SECOND BANDIT]: Blah! Blah! Blah! SCUM! Blah! Blah! Blah! PIECE OF SHIT!

[FIRST OFFICER hands BANDIT to SECOND OFFICER, who drags BANDIT kicking and screaming to squad on Damen. As SECOND OFFICER struggles to put BANDIT in car, onlookers cheer and heckle.]

BANDIT [to onlookers]: Blah! Blah! Blah!

[He stiffens, refusing to duck into back seat. OFFICER draws nightstick and jabs BANDIT's backside.]

BANDIT [now screaming, to onlookers]: BLAH! BLAH! BLAH!

[Finally BANDIT collapses into car. SECOND OFFICER slams door. Meanwhile, FIRST OFFICER stands in front of Starbucks interviewing onlookers. One ONLOOKER steps forward.]

ONLOOKER [to FIRST OFFICER]: Blah. Blah. Blah. [Something about injustice and police brutality.]

FIRST OFFICER [approaching ONLOOKER]: Blah. Blah. Blah. [Something rhetorical about ONLOOKER wanting to go downtown with BANDIT. ONLOOKER thinks about question, no longer talkative, then shoves hands in pockets and disappears into small crowd. A beat later, two more squads arrive. One carries POLICEWOMAN IN WHITE SHIRT. She assesses situation. With BANDIT in custody, everything appears to be under control. Crowd is dispersed.]

WELL-DRESSED MAN [trying to impress date with tale of heroic capture]: Blah, blah, blah.

--Charles Hofer

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