Ice Cream Headache | Our Town | Chicago Reader

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Ice Cream Headache


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By Timothy Bisig

As I exited Lake Shore Drive at LaSalle, wrenching my neck to see why the cars were stopped, I saw a paddy wagon sitting there facing Clark Street. Car after car switched lanes to avoid catastrophe as I slowly approached the scene, and in front of the wagon was a poor man struggling to move along his chain-driven ice cream cart, all the while being prodded by a cop-on-wheels, a bicycle cop doing circles around the man, who was visibly sweating, panting, and struggling to move his heavy old cart along. Sad, I thought, as I inched my way past the scene and noticed in front of the ice cream man a virtual army of other ice cream men, all on their bike/carts peddling like madmen to escape the cops, of which I now noticed there were plenty more. What I surmised was that four young bike cops decided it would be fun to throw ten street vendors off the beach. Hell, they were probably breaking the law in the first place. What right do those guys have selling ice cream on the beach without a permit? Surely the nearly naked beachgoers that Sunday had no need for ice cream, or if they did find themselves a little hot and dry they could easily go up to a city-sponsored vendor and buy a four-dollar lemon freeze. I cruised through Clark and made my way to North Avenue, turning right and keeping the ice cream army in sight, and did all I could to help as the lead two zipped past me and around the Walgreens at Wells. In my rearview I saw the forerunning cop closing on his prey. I inched over ever so slow and cautiously to my right, getting within a foot of the parked cars along North Avenue. The cop raced right to the tail of my car and came to a grinding halt; he couldn't fit between me and the parked cars. I watched him in my mirror looking around befuddled and confused, desperate for an escape route. Finally, turning around, hopping the curb, and continuing on the sidewalk, he made it to the corner at Wells and North and stopped: the ice cream men were no longer in sight. With a wry smile he turned and headed back toward Clark. Those two criminals had gotten away but there was quite a catch waiting behind him.

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