Koffer was unmoved. He hadn’t come this far in business, he had built ALEC into the virtual legislative empire it had become by wavering in the face of resistance, and a bought and paid for congressman, a do-gooder cop and a hand full of hippie protesters were not about to stop him now. Tom Koffer drew his line. He stood, leaning on his desk, his voice low and dangerous.
“Back out on me now and you are fucking done! I’ve covered my tracks. It appears that these two are your problem, so you find a way to deal with them. If I were you I’d already be on the phone to the god damned police superintendent asking why some know nothing cop is interfering on behalf of a relative on a case that doesn’t pertain to him. Make it clear, Joe, because I can guarantee you I can walk away from all of this, but if I do I will destroy you.”
Rand drew the phone from his ear as the line went dead. He paced his small office. Upstairs his family slept soundly. He weighed all of this. He weighed the implications, his family and himself. He sat upon the leather couch and let his head fall back against the wall. He let out a long slow breath and raised the phone, scrolling through the numbers to an aide. The voice at the other end answered groggily.
“Congressman? Is everything okay?”
Rand hesitated as he pondered the wisdom of what he was about to do. This would be the toughest call he’d ever had to make. Rand cleared his throat and nodded.
“I’m sorry for the hour,” he said.
“What is it?”
“I need to you get me in touch with the Police Superintendent for Chicago.”
“I’ll call first thing in the morning,” said the aide with a yawn.
“No,” Rand said, staring off into nothingness, “I appreciate it if you could do that right away.”
Dan and Big John Bohannon went past the small Indiana farm shown on the receipt from the car dealership. Dan Holman’s SUV was heavy with the scent of cigarettes and black coffee. Holman was dressed in jeans and a blue Gap tee shirt. His police-issue bulletproof vest was strapped tightly to his body, almost uncomfortably tight. His Smith and Wesson .45 was strapped to his right thigh. Beside him, Big John was checking his weapon. He was still in the suit he’d worn earlier, trading the suit coat for a navy blue windbreaker.
“See anything as we went by?” asked Dan. He could feel time slipping away at a furious pace. It would be light in an hour or so.”
“Light on in the kitchen,” said Bohannon. “That’s all I saw.”
“Over this next hill we’ll switch places and call the State police. I’ll jump out and come around the back. You go up the middle and we’ll catch them at the back door.”
“Just like old times, partner.”
“Just be safe.”
They went without headlights. Big John slowed enough for Dan to jump out. Following a ragged fence line, Dan drew his weapon and moved to flank the house, keeping a wary eye on the dark windows.John waited until Dan disappeared behind the house before turning down the gravel driveway.
Two men were just coming down the back steps when John turned the headlights on them, catching them fully by surprise. Dan appeared behind them, his weapon trained at the pair. Without a word he motioned them to the truck, bound their hands and legs with plastic cuffs, then with Big John slipped into the house.
They found one man asleep on the couch, another reading an old Playboy in the toilet just off the cluttered and filthy living room. Out in the yard a fifth man slipped from the barn. As sirens approached in the distance Big John leveled his weapon at the fleeing man, whom he guessed wasn’t older than seventeen or eighteen, and on the scrawny side.
“Stop there, son,’ John ordered. Don’t make me chase you as I’m apt to have a heart attack, and my final act before hitting the ground will be to put a bullet in you.”
The kid stopped in this marionette sort of limp foot-dragging way. He turned, his head hung, as if he’d just been caught by a parent not washing for supper.With the crimson like just staining the horizon, Dan counted five. The sixth would get picked up after shoplifting a six pack of beer in Gary.
Out back of the barn they found three full loaded vehicles with guns and ammunition and all sorts of Occupy and socialist literature, and one vehicle rigged as a bomb. On the front seat of one of the cars was a box of plastic cloves, rubbing alcohol and rags to erase any fingerprints. After talking with the local investigators Dan excused himself. John would remain behind for a while.
At Trinity Episcopal Church at 26th and Michigan, where activists from around the nation and world gathered, many were already up and preparing for the day they’d been waiting for. Likewise, the police presence drew its own lines. The air was still cool, weighted with dew, with the promise of sweltering temperatures that had weighed so heavily the day before would play a greater part in events.
There was a fundamental difference between these groups, one that spoke directly to the stark perspectives that would bring them to a clash. The activists had come to be heard and to demand a better more peaceful world. In reaction, the authorities came ready for war, surrounding and isolating these civilians as if our assertions of free speech and redress were a virus to be eradicated from the body of the nation. It was truly an immense gulf with profound implications for freedom. If 10 Tea party activists in crocs and Charlie Daniels tee shirts had complain about any infringement on the Second Amendment the media trembled and politicians quaked…but trample first amendment rights for those who desired peace and decried corporate parentage of government and every arsenal was employed vigorously to stop them
Jack hadn’t slept all night. He was sitting on the couch, looking out window to the street below, thinking that freedom seemed so very far away, and seeing a thousand pitfalls in the plan he and Eva-mostly Eva- had come up with. But what else did me have? Angelo was in the kitchen cooking up some eggs, which felt to him quite literally like preparing a condemned man’s last meal. Angelo came into the adjacent dining room with two plates of rather unappetizing looking scrambled eggs and slices of lightly burnt toast. He set the other plate down opposite his without saying a word. Jack looked up only briefly, and thought better of it.
Both men knew. Neither Jack nor Angelo had any doubts about each other. Angelo knew full well that Jack suspected him. Angelo used that to artificially manufacture the necessary antagonism to see the mission through. He consoled himself with the thought that he wasn’t pulling the trigger, and that there was far more at stake that one man’s life. It was the same rationalization and pretend angst the police and security forces used to demonize the protesters, internalizing and personalizing the abstracts of conflicting, unjust and contradictory statutes. For the two men in that little apartment, life had become a chess game with the highest possible stakes.
“Why do we have to go to the protest?” Jack asked. “Shouldn’t we do this someplace more discreet?”
“No,” said Angelo coldly. “It has to be there.”
“And what if I decide not to go?” Jack pressed a bit.
Angelo dropped the fork loudly to his plate and stood, almost threateningly. He was darker now, brooding. He went to his room and returned with two backpacks.
“Get up,” he snapped.
Jack stood and caught the pack was it was thrown to him. It was heavy, weighted at the bottom. Jack moved his hand across the front of the pack finding the unmistakable outline of a pistol inside.
“What’s this?” asked Jack.
Angelo didn’t reply as he headed for the door. He opened the door to the apartment and looked back at Jack. His eyes were dark and dangerous pools.
Tom Koffer had guessed his men would be moving into place atop the red-brick warehouse at 330 East Cermak. From the tower at the east end of the building they would have an unprecedented view of the protest. The GPS that Angelo would carry promised to make this only too easy, and lead them precisely to the targets. The rest would sun like clockwork. Two shots, two kills, two men implicated.
The police would discover the weapons and car bomb. The backlash and outrage against Occupy and the peace marchers would be catastrophic to the Left. The Left would be crushed, ALEC relieved, Obama discredited and the way paved for a clear Romney win in the presidential election.
But Koffer had no intention of sticking around for the madness that would certainly follow. In a few hours he would climb aboard his private jet, reaching Mexico city in time for an early supper. By this time tomorrow he would touch down in Morocco and then to a rented villa in the Greek Islands until things quieted down.
Among the protesters, the energy and passion building for months was still to peak.They gathered in Grant Park, marched from Trinity Church and the Lofts at 500 West Cermak. They came from the suburbs and all across the city with children. There were students, housewives, grandparents, professional, homeless, veterans, union and management. There were Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, Christians, Catholics, Jews and Evangelicals. Some had walked to Chicago, others came from around the globe, all for the singular purpose, the fundamental desire to find a new way other than war. They were stealing back the religiosity of warfare, returning the fundamental tenants of peace that had been co-opted by the corrupt and merciless. They eschewed the perversion of violence in Jesus’ name, and were outraged at cynical refrains mocking concepts of peace and conciliation and humanity.
Opposing them were the forces of corporate power, manifested as police, parading as security and bartering away their citizenship for indentured servitude. They could rely on the media to sell the narrative of the protester as public enemy and the police as protector. The media was only too willing, siding with their corporate owners and desiring the sensational and the conflict. They were the surrogates for marketers who preferred a simple-minded and gullible audience who would buy their consumerist shit and embrace their constructed candidates. These two diametrically opposing forces were destined to clash on the streets of Chicago this d ay…