Saturday May 19, 7:36 p.m. Downtown the mounting tension between protesters and police was palpable and explosive at times. Dozens of police blocked the protesters from crossing Congress back to the into Loop and attempted to drive them back but were stopped by a single girl meditating before them. As tensions mounted the police superintendent, Garry McCarthy appeared, urging his officers to calm. An activist produced a package of small donuts, offering it to a clearly angered officer. Suddenly this booming laugh erupted from McCarthy, lightening the moment. Still the standoff continued, with activists pressing their god-given rights in the obstinate police state.
It would be dark soon. Old Green bay Road meanders broad and lazy through affluent suburbs north of the city. Already the trees were full and thick, that canopy deepening the lessening light filtering in patches upon luxurious homes and secluded estates. It was here that Joe Rand grew up, blessed with opportunities much of the nation could hardly imagine.
Rand proliferated a myth that he’d grown up in a working class family, from a smug reference that the term “working class” was simply a divisionist tactic by the Left. It had started on one of those Right wing talk shows during his last re-election campaign. Rand was only too eager to perpetuate the remark, more so from the attention he got from FOX and even on Face the Nation on NBC, which did nothing to challenge the notion.
“My father worked,” he remarked, “his father worked. I don’t think the working people of this great nation appreciate this president using that to further divide this nation…”
Almost immediately the campaign began inserting “working class upbringing” into mailers and press releases. The RNC picked it up and pushed it to the national media.
Some called him a firebrand, a simply meaningless affectation by a Press that confused PR with sub stance; a Press in which everything was packaged in terms of emotive and cartoonish soundbites. Indeed, to call him a firebrand was insulting to actual firebrands like Huey Long, or just about anyone on a stump decrying real injustices. Those were men of passion and substance. Joe Rand was instead a man of bartered ideals, rented morality and negotiable ethics, a self-aggrandizing bore known to throw tantrums at town hall meetings to those who dared question or confront him.
Dan Holman was weighing all of this as he guided the SUV to the curb and shut off the engine. Instinctively his eyes searched the street for security cameras and security, finding none of those. Eva was beside him. She looked terribly nervous. His heart went out to her. Dan laid a hand on hers and gave it a reassuring squeeze.
He wished that he could muster the same confidence he portrayed. For all his years in law enforcement Dan knew there was absolutely something here, but proving it, let alone proving a crime was something altogether different. As he saw it there was nothing specifically linking Angelo, Koffer, Rand or anyone else but Jack to the drugs, money and gun found at the house. So all of those men were connected somehow, none of it would save jack. The phone vibrated in his pocket. He answered without seeing who it was.
“Holman?” he said.
Eva was watching him intently. It frustrated her that she could decipher nothing from the innocuous nods and shakes of his head. His brow furled deeply, his lips pursed tightly. Eva hung on every moment, and every gesture, almost wanting to scream to know who it was and what the call was about.
“Allright,” Holman said finally to the caller. “Give me an hour here and I’ll call you…No, don’t contact the local authorities yet. They’ll just fuck everything up.”
Dan hung up. He hardly felt relief from the call. It felt like he was being pulled into a fight, and Dan Holman didn’t like getting thrown into battles he didn’t chose himself. More than that, these were powerful people, more than capable of crushing him if they chose, but Eva’s expression was so expectant. How could he deny her? He managed a smile.
She didn’t answer, but instead gave him a perplexed look.
As they left the truck and crossed the street the police in the city relented and allowed the protesters to march up Harrison headed for Haymarket square, symbolic as in 1886 the square was the site of a successful conspiracy to undermine a strengthening labor movement. There would be scattered standoffs and incitement through the night, but the real battle was yet to come.
Big John Bohannon had all he needed from the lout at the car dealership in Berwyn. He’d been retired for better than five years now, but just never lost his fight. The guy was sitting cross-legged with his back to the door. His fingers were clasped behind his head. The guy was fuming as John rummaged through his files and drawers. The big red mark across the guy’s cheek where Big John slapped him to the floor for getting testy was bright despite the deep red rage boiling in the guy’s face. Not that he could have done a great deal about it, as John held his pistol on the guy.
John had all he wanted. He had the receipts for the vehicles and the address where they were to be delivered in Indiana. He leaned close to the guy, directing him away from the door with a wave of the pistol.
“Don’t think about this no more,” said John. “It will just get you in deeper trouble with people you wish were the police. Best advice, friend, is get lost and stay lost. Got it?”
The guy nodded and just about broke into tears as Big John left. He climbed warily to his feet and peeked out to his deserted lot then threw a tantrum. That night there would be a suspicious fire in the dealership, but the owner would be nowhere to be found.
“Congressman Rand,” he said into the intercom. “John Holman, Chicago Police Department. Can I have a word with you sir.”
Dan held his badge up to the small security camera guarding the wrought-iron gate guarding the long driveway to the Congressman’s mansion.
“I, um, I’m just sitting down to supper with my family, can’t it wait, officer?”
“I’m afraid it can’t, sir”
Rand looked terribly tense as he came down the dark drive. At the gate, still separated from Dan and Eva, he asked to see Holman’s badge. Taking it, Rand studied it carefully before handing it back through the gate.
“This is really a terribly inconvenient time.”
“I needed to ask you a few questions.”
“And who is this?” Rand nodded to Eva.
“Eva Murphy, the wife of Jack Murphy>”
“Oh, the fugitive from Occupy Chicago,” he said smug and cold. Eva might have grabbed him through the fence. Her uncle stepped between them.
“I have reason to believe Congressman that you might have some information about this case.”
Rand fumed. “I don’t know what prompted you to come here out of your jurisdiction and waste my time, but I will be contacting your superior in the morning. Goodnight to both of you!”
“While you’re at it,” Holman called after him, “explain your connection to Ryan Carrera, Tom Koffer and a Berwyn car dealership that confirmed Carrera purchased three vehicles that are to be delivered tomorrow to a street gang to be filled with weapons and explosives to discredit the Occupy movement.”
Rand stormed back. “Listen, You son of a bitch, I am a sitting US fucking congressman. Who do you think you are to come to my house…”
Holman had heard quite enough. “I have all the pieces, including your role in possible weapons charges, organized crime, conspiracy. Shall I keep going? Jack Murphy is family, and I know he is innocent and that you are as guilty as sin.”
Dan needed to push Rand over the edge somehow. The best plan was always the one that worked best when playing criminals off one another, from simple street thugs, to white-collar clowns.
I have two men with Tom Koffer right now, working out a plea agreement. Don’t think he knows what a prime bargaining chip a corrupt congressman is. Don’t forget, Eric Holder, this nation’s Attorneys general is a democrat.”
“What do you want from me?’
“I want the truth!”
Suddenly Rand erupted. “You want the truth? The truth is I meant to stop this Occupation bullshit dead in its tracks.”
“The Legislation,” Eva observed.
“And you, big cop,” Rand mocked, “while your fellow officers are being insulted and spit on by those scum, what are you doing? You think you can bring me down? I’ll crush you. You’ll see, when the police find car loads of guns with your husband’s name all over the title, the face book postings, all of it was beautiful. No offense lady, but you have to crack some eggs to make an omelet. You and him are small sacrifices to save this country for the people who made it great.”
“Rich white guys?” she replied.
“Damn fucking right, rich white guys. But there’s nothing you can do. It’s all set, and tomorrow the hammer comes down on Occupy. Monday morning I’m in Washington with a bill branding them as domestic terrorists, and calling for anyone associated or affiliated will be treated like a criminal. How’s that. Tom Koffer won’t talk. And the others, after tomorrow, they will be ghosts. Satisfied?”
“Are we?” Dan asked Eva. She lifted a palm sized camcorder that she’d concealed in her palm. They both could see Rand’s shoulders sink in disbelief.
“More than satisfied.”
“Good, we’ll be going now, Congressman.”
“That’s illegal,” he protested feebly, “ recording some one without…”
But Dan and Eva were already half way back to the truck. For the first time they both felt hope. Now all that they needed was to get this to Blaze and Rebel Rose.
It was a beautifully warm evening. Many of the activists gathered where they could, grabbing a bit of sleep before the biggest protests for the coming day. Chicago was just as tensed, perhaps more so. Fear cleared the streets of the downtown. In that regard the police and media had already one a victory. No one was listening to the protester’s pleas and demands. Fear had been the true winner of the day. Indeed, as it was hardly the American people who had won an thing. In fact they were in the gravest danger of losing their country, all the while siding with the thieves.