Tag Archives: W.C. Turck

The Ballad of Don and Dean, part one

The late afternoon air smells of yellow hay, the warm musk of manure, peppery fresh-cut grass, and chicken frying up nicely somewhere. A breeze is moving laundry hung from a tired line across the yard, and washing in waves over feathery tassels on tall August corn. Corn surrounds the shady yard on three sides, obscuring fields running endless beneath the perfect Iowa sky. The corn wraps around the farm like loving arms, like a lover’s intimate embrace. Fat red apples are ripe in the tree beside the house. They are falling to the soft, grassy earth in ever increasing numbers, as if understanding that only a select few will be chosen to fatten a pie, or a fresh-baked strudel.

The shade is comfortable against the afternoon heat. It is persistent and guaranteed by the crooked maple, the one scarred by that lightening strike last summer, the one beside the barn. A tractor tire, bleached dusty gray from years in the sun, hangs on a thick rope from the maple’s sturdiest limb. The tire isn’t used much anymore, not since the kids outgrew it long ago, even before going off to make their own lives. The grandkids are still too small to reach the tire. Sparrows flutter through the limbs to the barn’s awnings, chattering excitedly from their nests among the rafters and hay bails.

From where the two old-timers sit, half hidden in the midnight shadow of the barn, the tire neatly frames the concrete grain tower in Cylinder just visible above the corn. The afternoon sun shines upon the tower so that it appears as crisp and clean as polished gold. A flock of blackbirds falls upon the fields like handfuls of coal thrown from a great height.

The old-timers might have been there for an hour, all afternoon, or they might have been there forever. Time in these parts, save for those feverish moments of youth, the tentative misunderstandings of love awakened, or the chaotic trials of raising children, ebbs and flows as hypnotic as waves upon the smooth stones of some quiet beach. Doesn’t much matter how long they’ve been there, particularly not to them. They’d be content no matter what, especially if forever was as perfect an afternoon as this.

Don and Dean are sitting on a pair of small kitchen chairs. Same ones they’ve been on for years. So long that neither of them can rightly remember when the chairs were used for anything else. Don is sort of leaning back, which is a bit easier on his uncommonly long legs. He has the chair up on two legs, rocking up and back to a rhythm only he knows. Dean has his feet up and crossed on a stump.

Their wives are sisters, in a family in which if you are loved by one you are loved by all, with just enough judgment to keep you safe among the fold. It makes for a wild mix, one that Don is often heard to remark as being “darn good theater.” It’s a large clan, where bonds may become lost in the greater weave, except where they overlap most certainly.

Old Don retired from teaching some years ago. Still misses it, mostly, misses coaching the football team, watching his boys grow into men. He misses the pride swelling in his chest at every win, and the challenge in the losses. Sometimes the memories of those chilly autumn nights return full force; the moths and the June bugs swarming in the lights, the smell of sweat, fresh earth and hot cocoa. He hears the clacking of helmets and shoulder pads, and cheerleaders chiding the opposing team. Don was always a simple man, coached and taught that way. Never did see a need to raise his voice, never thought that life was all that difficult that it ever needed to be forced.

Dean? Well, he had counted the days to retirement for better than twenty years. Just sort of fell into truck driving. Wasn’t a calling or anything that he particularly loved. When he finally retired, Dean never missed driving across the country, the cold cups of bitter coffee, or the sense that he was always running to someplace unfamiliar and leaving the familiar behind. He laments all that he missed as the kids grew up, their lives more like snapshots than a continuum. The fact that they’ve grown into such good people, and the grandkids who shower him with affection are all that he needs to temper whatever guilt he still feels.

“Callin’ for rain tonight,” Dean says, not in a drawl, but with a lazy economy, a casual knowledge that human time is nothing if not to be squandered. Dean’s gaze is lost somewhere among the corn.

 Don eyes drift around the yard. “Believe it just might.”

“Better tonight than today. Don’t like it much when it rains on Sundays.”

“Good sermon this mornin’,” says Don. “Father sure can get ya thinkin’.”

“That he can,” Dean agrees.

“Darn good breakfast too.”

“Those ladies of the auxiliary sure can cook.”

“Betsy Pendergast’s coffee cake.”

“Believe ole Betsy’s eatin’ more than she’s bringin’ to church.” Dean smiles mischievously. Don joins him as surely as a private language the two old friends cultivate and keep among one another.

“Morris Drew’s pork sausage,” Don says.

“That’s some good sausage.”

“Good sausage,” Don agrees.

“Believe he makes it right here in town.”

“Is that right?” asks Don.

“Believe I heard that.”

A long silence follows, one touched only by the laughter of sparrows and the breeze through the corn. Dean looks at the sky and nods knowingly.

“Yep, believe it might rain tonight.”


“Back is actin’ up a bit.”

“What’s the doctor say?”

“Says that a body knows when the weather is changin’.”

Don notices a butterfly dancing among the bright yellow marigolds beside the house. He looks to the pristine blue sky leaking through the fluttering maple leaves.

“Think I’d ask for a second opinion,” says Don.

“Would, but I’m afraid they’d tell me my knees outta be hurtin’ too, and I just couldn’t stand that.” Dean cocks his head. “Know who’s got good breakfast sausage?”

“Who’s that?”

“Hog’s Breath Diner out by the interstate,” he replies matter-of-fact.

Don acts surprised, though they’ve had this same conversation, in one form or another, for twenty years.


“Got to be links,” says Dean, puffing his cheeks to hold back a bit of gas.

“Sure don’t like them patties. Think the Hog’s Breath has ‘bout the best.”

“Believe you might be right.”

“Yep. Problem with the world today,” Don observes.

“What’s that?”

“Not enough folks get a good breakfast,” Don yawns and stretches.

“Seems about right.”

“Stuff like that ought not happen.”

“Lots of folks over there of different religions,” offers Dean. “Lot of them folks don’t eat the same stuff.”

“Thought of that.”

“Whadya come to?”

“Figure everybody’s got a right to their own ideas on that stuff.”

“You’re a benevolent soul,” Dean grins.

“Just so long as a body gets a full belly every mornin’.”

“Could change the world.”


Reckon so.”

Dean chews his lip, studying the leaves. They have turned over, leading with their paler bottoms, a sure sign of rain. Dean takes a deep breath and thinks that his life is just about perfect. Well’ he muses to himself, he could be twenty years younger and a little richer, but then it wouldn’t be his life anymore. He’s content, and thinks maybe that this is the meaning of perfection, at least in this life anyway.

“Sure eat some pretty wild things in some of them countries,” he finally says.

“Reckon they’d say the same about us,” Don smiles. “Especially the way you and I eat.”

“Maybe we outta send some diners and truck stops. Figure that would be a better way to quiet folks down a notch, ‘stead of sendin’ the army over there, that is.”

“Just seems to rile things up more.”

“Outta be enough unemployed cooks and waitresses around.”

“You might think.”

“Could send ‘em the ladies auxiliary,” says Dean with a smoothly mischievous tone.

Don leans back a bit farther, hovering at the limit of his balance. He looks over at Dean. The smile is infectious. Don catches it right away.

“Know your lovely wife, Mary Lou, is in the auxiliary?” says Don.

Dean winks, the boyish smile deepening the lines of his round face. He adjusts the white John Deere cap teetering on his head. “That’d be my sacrifice to world peace.”

“You’re a good man.”

“We do what we must.”

“Where ‘bouts would you send her?”

Dean considers the question for a moment. “Ah, she’s a good hard workin’ woman. I figure someplace that needs a lot of help, say Siberia, Africa?”

“She’d set ‘em straight over there.”

“Set ‘em straight.”

“Sure can cook though,” says Don.

Dean nods. “Known your Joanne to cook up a good meal or two.”

“Send her too.”

“Cook them folks up a fine breakfast and maybe they’d settle down a bit.”

“Worked for us. We ain’t hardly been off these chairs all day.”

“Have to get up sooner or later. Smells like dinner’ll be ready soon.”

The scent of frying chicken and warm butter rolls fills the yard. The sun is setting, bringing a bit of an evening chill to the air. Don rubs his slight belly. “Think we’ll have to get up soon.”

Dean rubs his own belly. “Yep, feel things a rumblin’ in there.”

Ya know what bugs me?

A few things have been bugging me lately. See if you can relate…

People who congregate in the middle of busy sidewalks. I work in a part of the city where tourists abound. It’s understood that they are out of their normal element, but for those fully initiated into the pace and purpose of downtown life, please pull your head out of your ass, or loosen your belt enough to see from your bellybutton enough that these sidewalks are frantic at best, and a hair’s breadth from complete chaos. Don’t walk out of your hotel with colleagues, all towing luggage and convene a conference in the middle of the damned sidewalk. Be it known, I am not stepping out into traffic, but going straight up the middle. And while I’m at it, love that you feel the need to proclaim loudly in this ad hoc meeting that you are the biggest thing in widget accounting, or heel support marketing. Expecting someone will overhear and beg you for an autograph, relate their brush with your greatness to friends and family, or throw themselves passionately into your arms?

And what is with people who have to shake the kernels of popcorn at the bottom of their paper tub at the movies. News flash, movies already come with a soundtrack, so your pop and shake rhythm section, not so necessary. So what is the deal anyway? Meds not working on that latent anxiety, or are you panning for gold down there?  Feel the need to shake something? Perhaps try grasping your head with both hands and shaking some sense into it.

People do not “go missing.” No one “went missing.” This is one sort of illiterate affectation one numb-headed TV reporter spewed, and now they all do, even getting us to repeat those ridiculous words. A person who is missing to the rest of us, knows where he or she is. You are either missing or your not. Next time someone utters the phrase, “they went missing,” reply, “perhaps they went to the same place your brain went to!”

And finally, this whole deal with the so-called Dream Act, and Obama’s supposed end runaround an intransigent Republican-dominated Congress underscores the Right’s irresponsibility in making humane decisions. People cannot be illegal. People may do illegal things, but they are not illegal. And a child, frightened, trusting fully in parents who they hope will do anything to give them a better, safer, healthier life is not committing an illegal act by crossing a border with their family. They are innocent, and they do not suddenly become guilty by virtue of growing up-like a ripening fruit. When I was young it was still common to call children born out of wedlock, illegitimate. Wow, you are born, not a person, not an individual, but illegitimate?


/adj., n. ˌɪlɪˈdʒɪtəmɪt; v. ˌɪlɪˈdʒɪtəˌmeɪt/ [adj., n. il-i-jit-uh-mit; v. il-i-jit-uh-meyt]  adjective, noun, verb, il·le·git·i·mat·ed, il·le·git·i·mat·ing.


1.born of parents who are not married to each other; born out of wedlock: an illegitimate child.
2.not legitimate; not sanctioned by law or custom.
3.unlawful; illegal: an illegitimate action.
4.irregular; not in good usage.
5. Obsolete
Say, I think number 5 might describe the Right, or at least their views on people.

It is high time to ban Interstellar Porn from Wormholes: A commentary on the moral decline of the Universe.

By W.C. Turck 

Anyone who has traveled between the interstellar port planet of Aqueilia 7 and the methane spas in the Breucian system in the galaxy Nexos swears by the convenience of wormholes. Ever since that mode of cross-Universal transportation was perfected, traveling at the old fashioned speed of light, particularly for distances of more than a few thousand parsecs, is simply out of the question. Suspended animation has gone the way of multi-generational inter-galactic travel. Indeed, nothing is sadder than watching one of those ancient freighters, from some Third Universe culture, lumbering among the stars. But with the spectacular success of wormhole passage, which eggheads (And you know who you are!) refer to as multi-dimensional transference, or MDTs, comes something that holds important implications for the moral fiber of the Universal community.

MDT advertising was inevitable, given the success of the medium. True enough, it wasn’t a new invention. The oldest civilizations have been using wormholes for millions of years(Earth years, for the simple-minded and under-educated). But we know that as civilizations arise in young stars, which represents the vast majority of third, fourth and fifth generation habitable stars, that MDT travel has finally hit its stride, and with it, many would rightly conclude, its over-commercialization!

Perhaps worst of all is that rampant, graphic pornography is now being flashed everywhere in wormholes, and by some of the most unsavory species known to this ever-expanding Universe. I’m not, of course, naming names here, but we all know those species that peddle in inter-galactic porn. If I were to name names, however, the gluttonous sulfur-based planetoid swallowing Zamfirians would surely top the list!

The filth now streaming among the MDTs has reached disastrous proportions. At a recent conference of ministers from several thousand of the leading star systems, the issue was taken up with the utmost urgency. The conference, which was held in the stunningly sumptuous resort in the Ridarian system, overlooking that galaxies spectacular center, was called to address this very problem. And there can be no doubt that it has risen almost to the point of crisis. When the jellyfish-like Hin-hin-toks, who feed in clusters from the ambient energy around wormhole access points, and who are known to mate unabashed in interstellar space, are shocked by the depravity within the wormholes then we can all be certain there we jave reached a crisis point!

Before anyone thinks of me as being antiquated in my morality, or that I am being intolerant of the decadent civilizations, like the Chauchian floating brothels, which by intergalactic agreement were thankfully confined to the Antares system, let me just remind those people that the Universe is for every species to enjoy. Furthermore, at the risk of becoming a cliché, the Universe must be protected for the young. We, as a community, in this ever shrinking Universe, must think of the young. Yes, even the gelatinous acid-sweating offspring of the Seniram Nebula, who eat their parents shortly after birth. What about the offspring? Won’t someone think of the offspring!

The biggest difficulty in cleaning up the wormholes is, of coarse, a matter of jurisdiction. Who should police the wormholes, which, as we know, leave the Universe for a time? As technically not a part of this Universe, nor any other, the authorities find themselves in something of a legal gray area in combating this threat. The problem in policing the wormholes, as everyone knows, stems from the intergalactic treaties to keep the MDTs demilitarized. The idea of an intergalactic police force has been discussed, but until the finer points of such an agreement the problem only seems to be getting worse rather than better.

Let me relate an experience I had while traveling on business between Titus 4 in the Parium system and the Octagious Alliance of developing planets, which suffered so terribly from a local supernova event a short time ago. I was riding in a Naissurnian cruiser. Of course I had my own pod, which I prefer instead of being forced to assimilate to someone else’s atmosphere. Not that I am a snob or a bigot, by any stretch of the imagination, but if one has ever smelled the cesspool-like stench of a hundred different species all crammed together in a confined space, belching this gas or that, it can make for a rather unpleasant journey. And don’t get me started of those miscreant Tallinaean types, with their noxious breath, spitting mercury-based saliva as they grunt. Anyone who has had to face that would never want to travel coach ever again! But I digress.

So there I was in my own pod. In the adjacent pod was a lovely Sausaurian family; a mother, a mother and one hundred and twenty-seven children. We had just pulled out of Titus 4. I had seen its stunning glass-like rings several times before, so I was well into an article on inter-galactic finance, the assimilation of alien currencies and the growing threat of star-cluster piracy. The rings reflected the distant twin suns, Paria A and Paria B, filling my pod with an intoxicating red glow that nearly lulled me to sleep. I fought it as I was eager to see the transition from normal space to the trans-dimensional wormhole effect. I had see it before, but the transition is so quick that if one looks away for even a second they risk missing it completely. Far below the gas clouds of giant Varanthia, which Titus, as everyone knows, orbits around. Of course it is illegal to accelerate to light speed, or LS, in a planetary system, so for the first hour or so we contented ourselves with a sluggish sixty percent LS until we had cleared the Parium system.

Now here is where things get confusing, at least for those not accustomed to Multi-Dimensional Travel. The galaxy rotated slowly below us, turning bluer as our velocity increased. As it did the largest nebulae and red dwarfs turned the most incredible lavender. Ahead of us the star clusters around the glowing galactic nucleus burned a rich red, changing color as we passed. As one might guess, the Sausaurian children were not accustomed to this spectacular display, being sub-surface dwellers. All one hundred and twenty-seven of those squid-like creatures were plastered to their domed pod to get a better look. I mean, literally they were plastered there, hanging on by dozens of oozing little suckers.

Wormhole is, of course, a bit of a misnomer. There isn’t actually a bunch of holes that connect all the distant parts of the Universe. Rather, it is something of an extra-dimensional path, a negotiation, if you will between our physical existence in one universe and the reality of another. Look, the Universe is bent and warped, rather like the Spaimeanian inter-planetary battle cruiser or, for those more intrepid adventurers, a taco on the planet Earth. Getting from one point at the top of the taco to the other generally means traveling along the surface, or within a taco hundreds of millions of miles (to use an earth term) thick, because the ship is bound by the physical laws of that Universe. Since entirely different Universes, with different physical laws, exists all around, and in between our Universal taco, extra-universal travel holds specific dangers for the wayward ship and its passengers. Entering another Universe is akin to a virus entering a foreign body. The wormhole, in essence, is the passport through that other universe, a permit to take a shortcut from one side to the other.

Traveling in the wormhole can be a rather strange experience. The laws of this Universe are called into question almost immediately. Everything moves in a dream-like manner, as if the fundamental basis for existing at all is almost an abstract concept. It is, as many researchers believe, a moment when chaos, kept in place by the strict order of the Universe, threatens to become the rule. Many believe this was the cause of the disaster that befell the wormhole cruiser, the Marmara. Somehow it lost power in the wormhole and foundered there. In time, investigators believe, all the various atomic particles simply acceded to this state of chaos until the entire ship, with thirty-three thousand passengers, consumed itself. The physical laws of that other Universe wrap around a ship, and since those alien laws are beyond our sensorial experience, it feels rather like falling through, well, a wormhole. A passenger one feels somewhat lost, as if dozing or floating in a bubbly warm sulfur bath.

MDT travelers find themselves at something of a disadvantage. Everything from galactic corporations to inter-galactic conglomerates beam their messages into the wormholes. When the Pragus-12 colonists revolted against the Eustacean Empire, both sides exploited the wormhole effect to promote their particular propaganda. So the wormholes have always been for sale. But lately some the darkest elements of our Universe have crept into them, filling the wormholes with the basest kind of filth.

Creating a wormhole is a rather expensive and complicated affair. As a basic principle it entails a blackhole, though for the larger ships the more common neutron stars will suffice. The basic criteria here being a massive object transformed into a gravitational event. Approaching the object at the speed of light, the ship must line up with one of the poles to avoid the debris swirling towards its demise in the massive equatorial accretion disk. With the benefit of its super high velocity the ship skirts the objects singularity, using the massive gravitational field to propel it to a speed sufficient for the ship to escape the Universe. For passengers it is like passing through a glittering halo. These are the laws governing the Universe. At once everything seems to speed up before coming to a sudden suspended lapse as the laws governing one’s physical existence fight against the inclination towards chaos. In this strange state one is particularly susceptible to messages and information. On one trip I learned the clicking and ticking of basic conversational Murulian. But as bad as things are becoming, an indication of the moral decay of our Universe, I am half tempted to return to the good old days of suspended animation!

As the ship entered the wormhole there appeared the writhing image of a fully aroused Rinelian prostitute, fully engorged; her twelve legs open in every direction. If that wasn’t enough the former Sausaurian princess, Ucgl-Ucgl, appeared in all her neon mating colors. Well, you can just imagine the affect this had on the Sausaurian children in the adjacent pod. It was like an electric charge ran through the lot of them. Worst of all, I’m certain that I actually saw a few of the older ones change color, well before they are mature enough to handle such a thing!

Perhaps most disgusting was a human couple in the midst of their particularly primitive sort of copulation. Aside from the fact that they are terribly small, and great trouble must be taken because their systems are so fragile, requiring a very specific environment to exist, an actual material exchange between male and female is necessary to create an offspring. The actual act of copulation is spastic and, frankly, just silly. Lucky for them (and for the rest of us who value good taste) their home planet is a relative backwater to the rest of the Universe. Anywhere else and they would risk being devoured by a predator while caught unawares in the midst of their disgusting act.

Are these the kind of things that should be tolerated in wormholes? They are after all, public places, frequently traveled by children and innocent offspring. A methane lactating Mursian worm can be an embarrassing thing for a parent to explain, let alone having to explain the inefficiency of Human intercourse. That, however, cannot be done until well meaning creatures, of every species, take the degradation of our wormholes seriously. The time to act is now!

If the Universe does not put in place some very specific guidelines regarding decency, then there is no telling how low our standards may sink, until without warning things much worse than pornography begin to intrude, such as politics!

“Man, 7 teens charged in downtown muggings”…but Occupy was the real danger(sic)-A venting


“…a series of muggings carried out Saturday night by groups of attackers, including one that left a visitor from Michigan hospitalized with a broken jaw. In the first attack, a group of young people beat and robbed the 40-year-old man in the 500 block of North State Street just before 10 p.m. The victim, who was in Chicago on business, according to a relative, was treated for a broken jaw…A second attack, which police believe to be unrelated, occurred about 30 minutes later near the Lake/State Red Line station in the 100 block of North State Street. A couple was accosted by an unknown number of suspects near the Chicago Theatre…Police received a report of a third attack near Navy Pier, but police couldn’t provide the exact time of the attack.The attacks occurred as city officials were preparing downtown for the upcoming festival season…”

But recall just a few weeks ago that Occupy Chicago and those crazed anarchist anti-war protesters warrented thousands of Chicago and State Police, as well as hired mercenaries, out of state cops, the military, FBI, Secret Service, a drone, dogs and scores of private security in a great panic that virtually shut down the city. WBBM “News” anchor John Cody, the functionary propagandist for corporate America was positively aroused  at the idea of blood in the streets by the so-called Black Bloc. hundreds of police were marshalled by the city to isolate and encircle protesters who were dressed, as dangerous hooligans often do, in sandals and Birkenstocks while waving Peace signs, rainbow banners and singing(all your big criminal enterprises and n’er-do-wells are like that). And while some of them certainly showed a healthy and vociferous disdain for this Armageddon-like overkill by authorities more interested in silencing debate than defending rights, there was no violence at all before the heavihanded assault by auithorities tasked with crushing democratic and constitutionally protected protest.

These peace officers-peace officers-PEACE OFFICERS in riot gear, with clubs and guns, tear gas, on horseback and military-style and choreographed tactics CRUSHED HUNDREDS AGAINST WALLS AND WINDOWS, which thankfully did not turn out numerous casualties or worse. When those frightened and aghast citizens-guilty of nothing but speaking against the government and corporate power abuse-remember that bullshit they fed us all in gradeschool about freedom-when those citizens sought to defend themselves, they were attacked and bullied, their defense offering excuse for continued assault. They were students, children, the elderly and middle-aged. There were old women and pregnant women, veterans, christians, Jews and muslims guilty of no crime, and yet they recieved assult and attack and denunciation as if they were Nazis or common criminals.

And so where is that heavihandedness now, with actual criminals, assaulting innocent people on the streets of downtown? Why hasn’t the Loop been declared a Red Zone for crime? Why aren’t businesses shuttering and closing against the mere threat of mob action? Why is there no extra security and searches at the metra station as there was during the NATO summit? 

Garry McCarthy laments that there isn’t the overtime and manpower to adequately meet the issue of actual crime in downtown Chicago. Funny, there seemed to be ample manpower and overtime for use against protesters. Dozens of bike cops were assigned against Occupy protesters for the adacity of maybe showing up outside a bank or a politician’s office with a sign or to shout at them…god forbid they should be subject to the crime of heckling.

This, to be clear is not an attack on the police. Rather it is a marker for exactly the priorities this nation has about law enforcement, and the priorities it assigns to dealing, not with the criminal but with the victim. It isn’t about protecting the innocent from the abusive, but about defending the powerful from the 99%. To quote the late Mayor Daley, “the police are not here to create disorder, they are here to preserve disorder,” by protecting the wealthy and powerful.  

For all the law and order Righties, this hypocrisy ought to enrage you to the core, but considering the perverse turn the Right has taken-their post 9-11 hysterics now turned fully into a narcisistic psuedo-theistic sociopathy- they will make some sad equivocation fully at odds with reality and the position they held yesterday. they will argue that the police are just keeping the streets clear for traffic and shoppers-implying of course that the constitution-at least the First Ammenedment is secondary to pedestrian right of way and traffic flow. Of course, ask for the slightest reasonable conrtol over the gun they are currently masturbating with and they will scream that the state is oppressing them. See the difference?

Whew! That feels better…

Turning 50? Gimme a break. It’s just a number!

900poundgorilla is turning fifty. Not the blog, but the monkey pounding the keys…no pun intended. Some would say that’s a milestone, others might wonder who’s to be held accountable for that? I think a couple of the later read the blog.

But god, if I hear another person ask me, ‘how’s it feel to turn the big five-oh,’ or ‘this is the big one,’ well then, Houston, we might have a problem. And I know it causes the wife a bit of heartache. Not because I’ve become any more insufferable than normal, but because she’s really excited about this birthday. I think she’s more excited by it than I am. Ana keeps asking what I would like to do for my ‘special day.’ The answer is, really nothing special.

Truth of it is, I’ve never really been preoccupied with numbers for birthdays. Eighteen came and went with little fanfare. Twenty-one, which in Illinois was the age to drink legally, was a yawn. I’d been drinking for a number of years, which my parents would acknowledge from a few notable moments during my high school years. Thirty? Thirty was an awakening, as I was off to Bosnia and Europe for the first time and studying sculpture under the late master, Milton Horn-while learning some truly salacious things about Horn’s long-time friend Frank Lloyd Wright. And fifty? Well, I’ll admit it’s something, but not what most might think.

Truly, is it a milestone that I managed to survive these 50 years, mostly despite myself? 2 wars, dozens of protests and social causes, bullet fragment in the shin, more car accidents than I care to relate here (most as a kid, and none in the last dozen years or so), breaking damn near every bone in my body, a harrowing drive home back in ’82 in which I was way too drunk to drive, but even drunker to walk, stitches, concussions, fights, frostbite, a near drowning, getting too close to a gang shooting and women. Women, I have to say, were probably the potentially deadliest of all those adventures. The odds were plainly against my surviving any one of those, or at the least ending up in jail at some point. But I did, by the grace of whatever, survive, and managed to keep out of jail to boot.

If anything, my parents deserve the lion’s share of credit. Whatever common sense, reason and powers of negotiation that allowed me to escape all manner of tragedies and alternate fates I got from them. They also, out of benevolent mercy, supreme patience, or a healthy respect for the law, failed to murder me when I was a smart-ass punk all those early years. So for that, I say all due credit goes to them.

Not that there isn’t merit to going out in some dramatic way. Secretly, I’ve always been a bit jealous of people who get eaten by, say, a bear, or that guy in California that got munched  a couple years ago by an escaped tiger. An escaped tiger! Can you hear it…?

“Say, what happened to Joe?”

“Oh, he wasted away slowly, bitter and angry at the end, feeling that life never quite realized all its full promise, his dreams crushed and broken. Too sad really.”

…as opposed to…

“So what happened to Joe?”

“Joe was eaten by a freakin’ lion!”


The other credit for my having survived this long, or at the very least not living on a park bench somewhere, goes to my wife-who also surprisingly has not murdered me yet. And just for the record, or a future jury, if she does, I had it coming. She should walk, and maybe get a reward.  A girl can just take so much! No doubt this whole deal with the birthday thing is stressing her out because she so wants it to be special, and I could really care less. Well, not exactly. There are a few things I would like for my fiftieth birthday?

I can tell you what I don’t want. I don’t want any of those #&$%$ing “over the Hill” shirts, hats, boxer shorts, depends, bumper stickers, cups, napkins, or cakes. Don’t send me any cards with old people, bikini clad grandma’s with quippy sayings. Don’t gift me any campy chattering false teeth, break in case of an emergency Viagra gags. I don’t wear slipper or robes, and I am not looking to settle down with that book I been meaning to read now that I have this time gifts. I am not itching for a fling, a sports car, wanting flashy jewelry to assert my station in life, darkening my hair or combing it over, clinging to guns or becoming more conservative.  Please don’t refer to me as an old man, or any of that. I still bench 250 pounds, cover an average of a hundred miles a week on the bike(a hard ride, not a wobbly middle-aged guy awkwardly guilt-ridden and concerned over his mushrooming blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and feel pretty damned healthy (this will be the line everyone quotes on the off chance I drop like a rock in the next couple months).

What I do want is what I have tried to champion the last 22 years. I would like to know that at the end of that, my contribution to a better world meant something. In my memoir of the Bosnian Genocide, “Everything for Love,” I illustrated that we are the agents of evil done to one another and to the planet by our own selfish nature, and that it is in rising to our communal nature that we begin to overcome that self-serving weakness. It was the reason I stood before thousands of Chinese students demonstrating for peace after Tiananmen, climbed an embattled mountain above besieged Sarajevo, organized relief to Rwanda, and stood arm in arm with Occupy. I stand for human dignity and against war as a relic of our primitive past, not the justifiable and inevitable evil promoted and pretended by the vindictive, the ignorant and greedy. War is only-only emotion co-opting intellect, or worse, parading at intellect.

In “Broken,” I tried to describe the intimate nature of Post Traumatic Stress, and the power each of us holds for redemption. Danny, the main character in the book, an Iraq War veteran, wants some accounting, some purpose for the trials that spun his life in a direction he had not planned; like each of us. And at the end of 50 years I can attest fully, and confess to each of you now that I did not in fact become an astronaut/alien slaying soldier/dinosaur hunter. But I did stand, and I did stand for something, even if I stood alone. Why I didn’t actually become that astronaut/dinosaur hunter, well, that’s just how life goes.

Impediments of Change: Tiananmen to Chicago, part 1

copyright Corbis, used with permission

used with permission, Copyright AP

copyright wc turck 2012



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June 5, 2012

Nothing to do now but wait…in Wisconsin. there is nothing to do now but wait in the recall election of Scott Walker, but god help the democrats if he does lose, particularly the DNC, which did nothing to support the recall effort despite tens of millions pouring from outside Wisconsin to help Walker. Some say that Obama doesn’t want the stink on him should Barret, the opponent democratic lose, no surprise for a President who has accepted large losses for small gains in the face of historic Republican interference. And should Walker win, that significantly increases the chances of a Romney win, which will undo any of Obama’s gains, and turn a critical number of moderates against Obama. Because now it is about schoolyard bully politics, and one either stands up to bullies, or the whole playground will side with the bully. Any stink Obama and the DNC wished to avoid in the lead up will pale in comparison. That stink will make a skunk run and hide. Too late now. It is up to the Wisconsin voters tomorrow.

By 900poundgorilla

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May 28, 2012

21 Days in May: an Occupy novella, the final post

By 900poundgorilla

Sunday, May 28th, 9:35pm. It came about at the last-minute, a slapped together fundraiser on a sweltering night for several of those arrested at the NATO protest melee. There were others who were facing felony charges, one for stabbing a police officer in the leg. Like any fight, there was plenty for each side to be ashamed of, and to accuse the otherside for. But that night, at Cary’s Lounge on Devon Avenue, there was irony in that this all had an almost jovial sense, almost as if there was some odd sense of relief that it was finally over.

Outside, the street was crowded in this mostly Middleeastern and Indian neighborhood. Traffic was bumper to bumper, like one might expect a holiday weekend to be in say, Dehli or Lahore. Those immigrant faces gathered in groups along the street, joined in conversation, or walked as families and friends. Usmania, the restaurant across the street was packed with diners, as was the cheaper “peasant” middle eastern diner, Gahreeb Nawaz, up the street. next door to Cary’s, shoppers crowded at the counter of a Halal Muslim meat market, their forms blended beneath pale yellow lights and the dust and city grime of the windows. 

Monday after the protest, several hundred marched on Boeing headquarters downtown, several dozen covering themselves in oil for a ceremonial die-in on the street in front of the building. Police nearly outnumbered the protesters. Hardly testimony to the state of the movement as much as many of those from outside the city had gone home as the NATO summit ended. Remaining were the core activists of the movement. The downtown was all but deserted that day. The media had  done its job properly enough that most people stayed home and worked for fear of the violence the news people had hyped for weeks.

That morning Jack awakened in his own bed after a fitful sleep. He was staring at the ceiling,  a torrent of emotions raging in his heart. Eva was asleep beside him, a place he’d realized that he’d taken for granted far too much. Jeffrey was asleep in his arms. The boy had erupted in a scream the night before when Jack walked in, as if it was Christmas. Jack had called is boss at home just before midnight trying in some way to explain all this. She stopped him, and said there was nothing to explain, and that if he needed a few days to sort things out that his job was still there.

All that mattered now was that he was home. All Jack Murphy cared about was that he was with Jeffrey and Eva once more. Everything else would sort itself out. He had to believe that.

Lost amid news of the presidential campaign, the JP Morgan losses, the deaths of singer Donna Summer and Robin Gibb, and police superintendent Garry McCarthy’s media blitz about the overwhelming success of  his police in protecting the good citizens of Chicago, was any real news about what had happened behind those closed doors at the NATO summit. Tens and hundreds of billions would be bartered and gifted away without consideration or necessary oversite, while there would continue the call from the Right, acquiesced to by the Left, for more cuts to social programs, education, healthcare and pensions. There was hardly a mention that Congressman Joe Rand would be stepping down due to “health reasons.” There was nothing about Koffer Industries, only the usual blustering by Left-wing hosts who used the Koffers the way Glen beck used Saul Alinsky, except one championed the poor and oppressed, and the others created poverty and promoted oppression.

No charges had been filed, and none were pending. The same went for Ryan Carrera and the two hired snipers. All of them disappeared within the nation’s very same intelligence infrastructure from whence they came. The licenses of the car dealership in Berwyn were pulled by midweek, and the place was abandoned by Friday. The six Indiana men were allowed to plea bargain away the weapons charges, three of them getting sixty days for marijuana found on the farm, the others receiving probation and fines.

As for the police, the city had pressed them into service as virtual slave labor. They’d been fooled into believing the city of Chicago and Mayor Emanuel would honor the contracts. Now they were refusing to pay the overtime and accrued time off prescribed. Occupy Chicago had warned of this very thing. There is always money for war, always money for corporations and always money for banks. The police had accepted the propaganda that Occupy were a bunch of  communist hippies. But the police were a part of that much touted 99%. As the dust settled in the wake of NATO they might have believed they were standing on the wrong side of that protest line. The one percent had used them and then slammed the door in their face.

 There was a decent crowd at Carey’s Lounge that evening. Andy Thayer, who’d led the protest, stocking his ranks with Occupy Chicago, was established now as something of its leader, something Occupy had long eschewed. To say the protest hadn’t changed Occupy would not have been accurate. It had lost something of itself. All America had lost something of itself that Sunday. Beside him was now the defacto leadership of the movement, supplanting true social activism for something akin to personal vendetta against the authorities. It was valid to a point, but different from what the movement had forged itself into the previous Autumn. Hardly had it accomplished anything during the protests, but the forces arrayed against it were awesome and unprecedented, a coordination between government propaganda and corporate messaging that Joseph Goebbels might only have fantasized about.

The corporate media had no interest in validating the NATO protests. From the beginning, there was an effort to skew the coverage fully in terms of potential violence. They succeeded fully in overwhelming the demands for peace and transparency from the protesters. What little coverage the activists received was mocking, condescending or purposely framed them as confused and unfocused in their ultimate message.

It wasn’t a Left or Right issue. The Left abandoned Occupy just as surely when they realized the movement couldn’t be co-opted into a defacto vote factory that the Democrats could use and bank upon. With the presidential election barely six months away, the Democrats could not afford a true grassroots movement from of and for the people to rob them of badly needed votes. Add to that the undeniable fact that the leadership of the Democratic party was every bit as beholden to corporate interests and big money as the Republicans. Their pandering to progressive positions was simply a marketing strategy.

The headline in Tuesday morning’s Chicago Tribune read: CROWDS TRAPPED AT EVERY TURN, a reference to the police effort to contain and marginalize the anti-NATO protesters. What a wonderful message of the state of American democracy. What a beautiful message to send to future generations. What did the country believe that would ultimately mean for its future?

Beside Andy Thayer was one of those arrested in Bridgeport on the so-called terrorism charges. Before the sixty or so gathered in the bar, he recounted being taken not to jail but to a “black site,” where he’d been cuffed to a wall for twelve hours without water and without being allowed to use the bathroom. Beside him, a girl named Zoe, who’d been living in that apartment until that night.

“I got a call that night that said, ‘don’t come home.’ I haven’t been home since. I can tell you that the charges are bullshit. These were all really good guys, but they got their demons that helped to justify the sixty million spent on NATO security.”

Jack was at the back of the bar, just behind a couple of guys playing a serious game of eight ball. He was nursing a beer.

“We’ve raised almost two thousand dollars,” said Thayer from the crowded little stage in the front window, his muscular form silhouetted by neon beer signs in the window. “Please help us with whatever you can. And again, thank you for all coming out, and thanks again to The Exponential for coming out at the last-minute to play for us tonight.

That was Jack’s cue. He stood up and followed the three other members of the group through the crowded tavern to the stage. Sitting down behind his drum kit, Jack realized there was little justice to be found in all of this. Someone joked from the bar, a guy who’d seen his share of protests back to the 1968 Democratic convention, “What do you mean the revolution won’t be televised?”

Jack smiled thoughtfully. He thought of Deacon and Eva, Jeffrey, Blaze, Rebel Rose and all those who lifted their phones and pointed them at the police as they closed in around him. He might have abandoned all of this after coming so close to losing everything. He might have abandoned Occupy, given his criticisms.  Instead, he found community and cause to hope that there were indeed people who cared, and despite the wall of noise the mainstream media proliferated,  somehow they managed to find the true.

“No, it won’t be televised,” he said to himself, “but it will be digitized.”

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May 27, 2012

21 Days in May: an occupy Novella, part twenty-nine

By 900poundgorilla

4:20 pm

Rose had slipped off the median to a small pocket between the wall and the curb when the battle began. Blaze was over her, taking the worst of things as he did his best to shield her. All around the street was a madhouse. Few held any illusions that the police held any sympathy for their cause, but many could not fathom that the police actually intended harm, and that some even seemed to take some pleasure in it. From where he stood, knocked and shoved by the panicking demonstrators, or fighting to maintain that beleaguered working space for Rose, he was certain that it was already too late for Jack and Eva.

“What are you doing down there!” he complained impatiently, almost drown by the din of the growing riot.

“Shut up!” she fired back. “It uploaded. It should freakin’ work!”

Eva fought her way towards that line of police, the place she’d last seen Jack and Angelo. Two Black Bloc members went by, retreating into the heart of the crowd. One of them was bleeding from a gash the forehead. She was nearly to the line of police when she spotted Jack and Angelo. They were struggling. Angelo, the stronger of the two, and trained in combat had the better hand, but was hampered by the fleeing protesters around and behind him.

“Enough!” Jack strained against Angelo. “Stop this!”

Angelo had to get him close to the police, or at least close enough that he could reveal to them the gun in Jack’s backpack, but he had to do it without drawing too much attention to himself, or ruining his chances for escaping back among the protesters. As the line of officers pressed forward, at the very least, all that he had to do was hold Jack there.

Suddenly Eva was there beside them, taking Angelo arm, fighting to pull him away from Jack. Angelo let go of Jack just long enough to through her back, where she tripped and fell, now fighting to keep from being trampled.

For just a moment, Jack, free of Angelo, thought of the gun. Seeing Angelo toss her away where she disappeared somewhere beneath the impossible crush of bodies filled him with a primitive white-hot rage. He might have exploded. He might have given into that vengeful, thoroughly human and purely selfish hypocrisy of “an eye for an eye.” He thought of Jeffrey, and all the lofty and progressive ideals he’d always espoused. Angelo grabbed him again. Jack’s attention was on the place he’d seen Eva go down, the place where she’d disappeared fully to now. His face was torn by that anguish. Jack cried out.


 Eva was in the fight of her life now. The press and power of thousands kept her from finding her feet. She was losing the fight, trampled now as the crush and fear only increased, rising to unimaginable heights. She was helpless in the face of that. Knocked to one side, several fleeing demonstrators stepped on her side, driving the wind from her lungs. Eva gasped for breath and wondered if she was about to die on that street. In her hand the phone and the last hope she had for saving Jack. Eva held tight to it, and would until the very end. She thought of her son and her family, and all those who had so cynically sought to destroy that beautiful island of peace and love. One thought that ran again and again through her mind: How could they…how could they…

Suddenly a massive hand wrapped around her arm. The power of that grip seemed heaven-sent, tearing her from the street and lifting her almost effortlessly to her feet, as unsteady and uncertain as that was for the moment.

She looked up into the big Black man’s saving eyes as if he was some sort of angel. They were eyes filled with the pained and simple wisdom of a man who’d lived a hard life. She wanted to cry. He touched her face.

“You must be Eva,” said the man. “I’m Deacon. You must be Eva. He talked about you all the time.”

“How did you…?”

“I seen that guy shove you down.”

She looked back to Angelo and Jack, now in a life and death hold. The line of riot police was almost upon them.

“Let’s go save your boy,” Deacon said as calmly as if they were walking across a park. Indeed, with his size and power, Deacon cleaved a way through the tangle of bodies straight to the pair. Jack hadn’t seen them at first. From the corner of his eye he noticed Deacon, now looming just behind Angelo. He took his defiant gaze from Angelo’s, feeling suddenly rescued at the sight. Close behind Deacon was Eva. Jack nearly cried out. Instead, with all that brought a renewed resolve and strength.

“Move Back!” The police line closed on the group. Angelo hesitated; long enough to be sure there would be no chance for Jack to escape arrest. At that instant Eva’s phone trembled in her hand.

“Move back, or you will be arrested!” shouted a police sergeant, from just behind the rank of riot police now upon Jack and the others.

But there was nowhere to go. At several places the police lines had trapped hundreds of demonstrators and journalists alike, crushing them against store windows that threatened to give way. If they did scores would be injured or worse. Shouts rose in unison against the onslaught, begging for relief. Realizing the danger, the police lines relented, retreating slightly to relieve the imminent pressure.

A police man grabbed at Jack. More hands reached for Angelo, but he dodged them, meeting one of the officer’s eyes.

“This man has a weapon!”

The reaction was immediate. Several of the officers seized Jack, the line now almost fully closed on the foursome. Angelo turned to escape, and instead ran head long into Deacon. Beside them Eva’s eyes widened as her phone came to life. It was the video she’d shot of Congressman Rand.

Meanwhile, several Black Bloc members, seeing that the police had seized Jack pushed towards them, intent on rescuing anyone facing arrest. Eva saw them and pointed her phone in their direction.

“Phones!” she cried. “Raise your phones! Everyone!”

At first there were only a few, then a dozen, including the Black Bloc, then dozens. Around the protest the battle continued unabated, but in that little pocket, everything came to a sudden halt. The sergeant pushed forward, shouting for his men and women to pause. A lieutenant, and then another appeared, both of them were looking at their own phones in disbelief.    

HOLMAN: … 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:  … I am a sitting US fucking congressman…

HOLMAN: I have all the pieces, including your role in possible weapons charges, organized crime, conspiracy.

RAND: You want the truth? The truth is I meant to stop this Occupation bullshit dead in its tracks.

EVA: The Legislation.

RAND: And you, big cop, 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.

EVA: Rich white guys?

RAND: 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?

Tears flooded into Eva’s eyes. She wished she knew where Blaze and Rose were in all of this. From those up raised tones the video ended with a chorus of tones, signifying that links to the already posted YouTube video’s of Rand’s ad hoc confession had been texted to each phone, available for the whole world to see.

One of the police lieutenant’s came forward. His men now had both Angelo and Jack. Both were already in handcuffs. “Are you Jack Murphy?”

“Yes sir.” Jack nodded, throwing a glance to Eva.

“Ryan Carrera?” he said to Angelo, who looked away without reply.

“Lieutenant,” said one of the officers. Both suspects had a weapon.

The lieutenant’s jaw stiffened a bit. He held no particular love for the Occupy movement, but he was a man of fairness, and his share of wisdom.

  “I’ll take them. I think we’ll find that both of them belong to Mister Carrera.” He took the two backpacks from the officer, testing their weight in his hand. He looked up at Angelo. He already knew something of the man after all that Dan Holman had given them earlier. A Vietnam veteran, Angelo’s absolute betrayal of his nation struck him deeply.

“Ryan Carrera,” he continued,  “you are under arrest for conspiracy, intent to commit fraud, attempted murder, and that’s just for starters.” He nodded to the two officers holding him. “Take him out of here.”

“What about Jack?” Eva almost pleaded.

The officer nodded. “It’s all right. We know he was set up. Why don’t you both come along.”

Around them the drama continued, and would last into the evening. In pockets there were fights, in others tense standoffs with protesters and police eye to eye, but in most places all those citizen activists, all those who believed in a better world, those thousands who shouted despite a corporate media refusing to carry their message honestly, they would depart peacefully enough. They were already part of that better world, and unwilling to descend to the escalated violence of the corporate power structure seizing control of the nation and world, but there could be no doubt who the true enemy was.

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May 26, 2012

21 Days in May: an Occupy novella, party twenty-eight

By 900poundgorilla

3:15 pm

“There’s fucking cops dressed as protesters in the crowd!” Blaze heard one of the Black Bloc guys exclaim from where he sat beneath a tree in the median. Hardly twenty, the Black Bloc guy wore the ubiquitous baggy black clothes and a paint spattered pair of worn combat boots. Wavy, sandy-blond hair tumbled from beneath a plastic “V for Vendetta” mask. He was tall and sinewy, his body squared a bit by a homemade body protector beneath a baggy black tee-shirt. A red and white checkerboard bandana covered the bottom half of his face. Ski goggles dangled at his neck. In a backpack over one shoulder he carried a bottle of vinegar and a large bottle of water, both needed to counteract chemical agents like pepper spray and tear gas.

“I just saw two cops change clothes,” he continued, “and enter the protest with a couple of bricks.”

“Lock arms!” someone shouted, as better than fifty demonstrators formed something of a wall. Behind them, the Black Bloc people, perhaps no more that a dozen or fifteen, hardly the army of despots the media frightened the public over, collected as a tight group, crouched or sitting on the ground to prevent any immediate infiltration. Nearby, the taunting and teasing of a line of riot police grew with the mounting tensions. It was far less than the media and police spokespersons would later claim. Most of the banter from demonstrators were reminders that they too were working class, and that their livelihoods and families were just as threatened. Not that any of that fell on deaf or indifferent ears, but rather upon ears that were steeped in propaganda and an us-versus-the-world mindset, or who were caught in an impossible situation somewhere between their immediate livelihoods and that of a dictatorial system slowing strangling their future.

On Michigan, two blocks south of the stage better than a hundred State Police climbed out of three greyhound buses. They were far more aggressive than their Chicago counterparts, and eager for a fight. They held two dogs against the protesters, drawing ranks against the still peaceful demonstrators, allowing no one to leave. They purposely agitated the dogs, seeming to enjoy the fear it instilled against students, grandparents, journalists and parents with children. Not content with their police-issue batons, some of the State Police sported longer, thicker sticks, capable of inflicted far more damage and much more pain. For one Hungarian woman, it brought back recollections of the Soviet occupation when she was a child.

Amid all of this, Blaze and Rebel Rose sat on the ground cross-legged and leaning against one another back to back. Their laptops were open. Both of them were working furiously on different pieces of the same project. Quite purposely the pair had inserted themselves between a television camera crew and a French reporter live-streaming the protest

He and Rose were furiously trying to upload into the various available connection networks the video Eva and her uncle had of Congressman Rand. He wasn’t having any luck, and something told him it wouldn’t work. Blaze also understood that if it didn’t Jack stood little chance at all.

Eva was somewhere in the crowd, pushing through the crush of thousands of bodies, the upraised arms, fingers risen in peace signs or holding camera phones and cameras. It felt to her like fighting her way through a pulsing, moving forest. She was looking for Jack, wanting to be with him when Blaze and Rose uploaded the video to thousands of phones  at once. But it seemed utterly hopeless. She checked her phone. It was almost four, and almost time for the upload. Beside the stage a line of mounted police drew tighter ranks and edged towards the crowd. She pressed on, pleading with people, begging forgiveness as  she pushed through the reluctant and at times unyielding bodies. And now there was something new. The tension and tempo of the moment built towards a violent crescendo. It whipped through the thousands of demonstrators like a virus. They were being trapped, surrounded and enclosed from all sides.

Angelo waited for the right moment. He waited for the predictable chaos to follow when he could expose Jack and slip away into the confusion. Behind them a double rank of riot police marched into the heart of the demonstrators. West of the intersection, the cerulean police riots helmets fully outnumbered civilians. On command the police moved in, without provocation, without reason, and for no other purpose than to punish those who stood from freedom against the emerging police state of America, and to crush the inclination to challenge the decided authority of the nation. These officers, by purpose or circumstance had abandoned their individual oaths, pressing forcefully against fellow citizens as mindless automatons to their bartered government.

“Move back! Move back! Move back!” the ranks of riot police repeated mechanically again and again, holding their batons out and pushing against the trapped demonstrators.

Now the opposing sides were face to face, squared off in places, cornered and terrified in  most others. Still the police pressure continued, their lines inching forward, compelling emotions, stoking anger, inciting the trapped. Within the steadily shrinking pocket some pleaded, others accused, still others, like the Black Bloc rose to  stand against this tyranny, and when there was nowhere else to go, when they were crushed together, the demonstrators pushed back.

It was the trigger the police had been waiting for, for which they fully anticipated, and which they plainly and purposely provoked. A roar swept through the demonstrators, a chorus of fear and anger and defiance. In small pockets fists were thrown against swinging batons.

The melee still had not erupted full force when Eva spotted Jack not twenty yards away. A line of police pressed towards him steadily. Behind Jack, Angelo shoved him forward, straight  at the police. She checked her phone and strained across the wild mass of humanity to the place she’d left Blaze and Rebel Rose. They were late, her phone silent. She had a sinking feeling that it was too late. When she looked again to Jack and Angelo,,,they were gone.


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